Category Archives: relationships

Exploding Radiator Hoses, Addison’s Disease and a Failed Delivery Attempt

The past few weeks have been really, really strenuous for our family.

A few Saturdays ago, CLP and mini Gwinn went to a birthday party about 30-45 minutes away from our house; I stayed home because of bedrest. They took my car because it’s a lot more comfortable for longer drives than Captain Laser Pants’ Wrangler, and on their way home, my upper radiator hose split and spewed antifreeze all over the inside of the hood, sufficiently causing the car to overheat. CLP was a quick thinker and pulled over immediately, but unfortunately, it was on the side of one of the busiest interstates in America: I-75. Of course, with all the craziness of moving last Fall, being pregnant, etc, I forgot to renew our AAA membership. So after frantically reinstating our membership and ordering a tow truck, I started having contractions as I worried about my favorite people on the planet getting clipped on the interstate. After two hours they were finally home, and all was ok, but we were feeling the pressure of needing a more reliable car. We talked about buying a new Grand Cherokee equivalent to the one we currently have, and then laughed at the $50k price tag. Since I’ve performed this exact repair as a single girl living in Minneapolis (on my old Jeep Cherokee) we both knew it was an easy and cheap fix. A few hours of work and some misordered parts later, old Fancy (that’s my car’s name, Fancy) was as good as nine years’ old new again. I have a whole post about how I would be this exact car if I were a car, but I digress.

Just a few days later our little Corgle mix, Lenny, started acting lethargic. Stopped eating, started puking, and lost his pep. CLP took him to a new vet, who speculated that maybe he had eaten a stick or caught a bug, gave us a $250+ bill and some medicine, and sent them home. After a few more days of weight loss and lethargy, we became gravely concerned and took him to our old vet (fantastic, reliable, but more expensive and far away). Some tests, x-rays, subcutaneous fluids an overnight stay and another $800+ later, we found out our little Lenny Lou has Addison’s disease. Addison’s is an endocrine system disorder that affects the adrenal glands’ ability to function. It looks a lot like renal failure, and sometimes can be confused with Cushing’s. The good news is it is treatable with daily prednisone (he’s already getting food aggressive and it’s only been a week) and a monthly $125 shot. He’ll have a normal life, but this treatment will last the rest of his days.

A few days after that I went to my OB for my 35 week check up to find out I’d lost my plug (gross, I know, sorry), was over 50% effaced, and was 2 cm. dilated. She said, “You really could go into labor at any time, but the good news is there isn’t any traffic on the weekends, so you will be able to get here easily in the next couple days.” That was the 11th. On the 15th, when I went in for my next appointment, I was dilated to 4 cm and she said she was surprised I hadn’t gone into labor yet. We talked about bringing my overnight bag with me on the 21st if I was 5 cm. dilated, and we talked again about inducing on the 21st because of my high blood pressure (which had been lower for a few weeks). She said she would send me to labor and delivery with my bags on the 21st. On the 17th I saw my high risk doctor, who told me the baby was a full pound bigger than mini Gwinn was at birth. He said I wasn’t in labor just yet, but was “probably” going to “go into labor in the next hour or two” and he advised I stay close to the hospital, take a jaunt around IKEA, and see how things were. After an hour of milling around at IKEA, I went home. After no contractions over the weekend, but a lot of symphysis pubis dysfunction pain, we were looking forward to today.

My parents came down to stay with us last night to help with mini Gwinn while CLP and I went to the doctor’s office. We packed my car with the bags, nursing pillow, treats for the labor and delivery team, and headed to the hospital with anticipation. I could barely walk from the SPD pain, but we were eager to see the doctor and go to the maternity ward. We waited. And waited. And when she finally came in, she did a quick check to tell me I was still 4 cm. and tried to leave. CLP told her I was in physical pain, which she brushed off as “late pregnancy discomfort”, told her I couldn’t walk, reminded her we live 45 min. away from the hospital, and that I’ve been dilated for weeks now, my blood pressure was high again today, that I have no plug, and we had made provisions based upon what all the doctors told us. After waiting at the doctor’s office for two hours, we were sent home, tired and disappointed, and still very pregnant.

My parents went home, we snuggled and played with our little guy, but it’s so frustrating. The symphysis pubis dysfunction pain is keeping me from sleeping for more than an hour or two at a time now, and I’m barely able to walk. Before, I wasn’t too worried about delivery since my first was so uncomplicated. Now that I know 2.0 is bigger than mini Gwinn, that labor with SPD this severe will be painful, and that the length of the labor will be ridiculously short, I’m a little freaked out. I don’t want to deal with stitches (I have no idea how to take care of them and I haven’t had to mess with them before, plus I have other people to take care of!), apparently I’m going to need the epidural for SPD (I’m allergic to the epidural), and I may or may not get to the hospital in time to get one- lots of contingencies in this- AND not knowing when this is going to happen, I’m stressed. The average couple usually has family in town, hasn’t had to deal with bed rest for the preceding three months before delivery, doesn’t live almost an hour from their hospital and hasn’t had the string of bad luck we’ve had in the past 30 days.

Can you tell I’m a little overwhelmed?


Bittersweet Perspective

It’s been a heckuva week, interwebs. After the loveliness and traveling for the baby shower, I felt like I needed a vaycay to sleep for 26 hours straight. I don’t have that luxury, due to mini Gwinn (and I don’t really want to miss anything he does), and since Captain Laser Pants was kind enough to watch our little duderino so I could party it up in peace, I needed to be present to take care of our baby, because, frankly, husband needed a vaycay after manning the baby for a whole weekend solo.

While I was away, I felt twinges of envy at my dear girlfriend’s success in her home. Her house is beautiful, with amazing decoration (she could be an interior designer), she has flowers all over the outside of her home, and she has matching china. Gratefully, we were too busy over the weekend for me to take much notice of my feelings. But once I was in the comfort of my own crowded bed (three dogs + two adults = bedtime chaos), the envious side of me started whispering in my head. Truly, I am 90% happy for all that she has in her life, but that tiny portion of me wants the same things.

Two weeks ago some trees decided to commit suicide in our backyard during a barrage of heavy storms and a tornado. They’re hanging perilously close to our roof, but our landlord has yet to send anyone out for a tree removal. I’ve been fervently praying for calm weather until they’re removed. Thank God the biggest tree wouldn’t kill us (it’s not that heavy), but it would put a hole in the roof for sure. We would like to move, but we don’t know where work will take CLP in the next few years, so buying a home seems even further out than we originally thought.

This week we received news that my beloved Jeep (yes, the car whose engine my husband replaced) needed a new transmission, which would put us out just under $2k. Around us people were having babies, getting promotions, buying new homes, eating off beautiful china, and we were living under a dead tree and I can’t leave the house. While others around us seemed like they were having success after success, we were faced with uncertainty. Monday night I cried until my eyes were nearly swollen shut. The burden of so much going wrong around us broke my spirit. I prayed, asked why those who were so much more shallow/ cruel/ undeserving around us were given so much, and we were working to make the right decisions and life was crumbling. I didn’t get an answer that night. I cried until CLP came to bed, and he wrapped around me as I blubbered. He paraphrased Frederick Douglass, “Every man does not deserve all he has, but he must certainly work for what he has” (the actual quote: People might not work for all they get in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.”). He then reminded me of our strong marriage, our beautiful baby, and the strength of character we’re building together as we suffer through our current problems. I fell asleep against his strong arms and muscled through Tuesday morning with a smile, even though my eyes were still good and swollen from the previous night.

Tuesday afternoon I saw a series of amazing quotes from Louis CK (mom, don’t look him up. You’ll be disappointed and offended, most certainly). To give you context, he is talking to his daughter about “fairness” in a sitcom. His younger daughter asks why her sister gets something and she doesn’t, then proclaims it to be unfair. His response, “Listen, the only time you should look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have […] as much as them.”

I was humbled by this quote. It’s not my place to decide whose karma is better or worse than mine, who deserves what, or to even give a crap about what someone else has.  Instead of feeling bitter because someone wasn’t building us a mansion on the side of a mountain, I should feel grateful that our roof doesn’t have a hole in it, our son is healthy, our marriage is healthy, and our car will be fixed. Would everyday dinnerware and a dining room table be nice? Yeah. But that’s not really in the cards for us right now. And when it is, I know we’ll appreciate what we have so much more because we had time without matching dishes or nice clothes. I say that facetiously, mostly, because even now I’m reminded that the kind of stuff we have doesn’t matter to the people that do, and the people that do care about what kind of stuff we have don’t matter to me.

The point I’m trying to haphazardly make is that I had a change of heart this week. A year ago I saw something that said (paraphrased) : What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you gave thanks [to God] for today? I needed that refresher this week. And I’m thanking God for the hot, humid, but not stormy weather we’re having today, among many other people and things in my life.

Hop you all have an awesome 4th of July!


Baby Shower!

This past weekend I had the honor of throwing a shower for one of my closest friends, Terah. In the short years we have been friends, she has become an important figure in my life, and with a baby girl on the way in August, I couldn’t wait to flex my party planning muscles for her (not something I am called to do often). I requested the aid and organizational skills of her best friend, Steph, to assist and plan alongside me (especially since it was out of state!). The result was a beautiful, fun and girly baby shower. You can check out the Pinterest board we shared for inspiration and ideas! It was previously private to keep the guest of honor’s eyes from seeing the ideas, but is now public for idea sharing.

Since we had months to plan, we divided into stages, first going with theme/ colors, then decorations and event time table (games, presents, etc), and lastly the menu. Breaking up the planning over time really helped, especially since I had time to test most of the menu to ensure I wouldn’t totally flop with the recipes the weekend of the event. Like with mini Gwinn’s birthday, taking on projects a little at a time kept everything from feeling rushed or becoming overwhelming. It helped tremendously that my parents decided to travel that same week by car and drove my boxes of shower items up for free! Thanks, mom and dad!

After perusing the aisles of Target, I came across the shower curtain that would be the catalyst for the entire shower “theme”, if you will. From there I built on the pink birds look, surfed hours and hours on Pinterest, and found some beautiful ideas. Once Steph and I pow wow’ed and combined our ideas, I felt confident that this would be a beautiful event.

For the shower favors (one of my favorite aspects of the whole event), I spray painted mason jars with lace taped to the jar, then sealed the paint to protect it from chipping. The lids have pale pink cardstock decorated with a gold bird stamp and “merci beaucoup!” Inside: ginger lemon sandwich cookies and tea bags. Mint sheer ribbon from the dollar store finished the look, and a rock candy swizzle stick for hot tea finished the gift. They turned out so sweetly!

The menu was pretty easy to plan. Terah loves BBQ, so I made biscuits stuffed with store bought BBQ (for shame, I know)- totally easy and really yummy. We had mini corn dog muffins, another craving during pregnancy, Cheetos, and an obligatory vegetable tray to round out the “savoureaux”(savory) side of things. For the “sucre” (sweet) table, we had a lovely white cake from Target, French macarons, chocolates, marshmallows and homemade birthday cake fudge. The drinks were an aqua lemonade (which unfortunately turned darker because of the frozen blackberries) and a pink raspberry lemonade, topped with lemon slices and frozen raspberries. That table was rounded with a wish tree for guests to write wishes for the family to be.

We played a few games, since we had an intimate group. The first was “my water broke” ice cubes with a tiny plastic baby. Whoever’s ice melted first won (I wish I had gotten pictures of the prizes! Cute mini nail polishes and mini files). We also played “the price is right: baby shower edition” and another shockingly difficult game with dry rice and miniature pins. After cake and presents came the crafting, which was definitely the hit of the party. We had a large- scale headband and onesies decorating station for baby M and the gals were so creative and talented!

Mama to be in the Middle, myself in stripes and Steph in glasses

Mama to be in the Middle, myself in stripes and Steph in glasses

I hope Terah had as much fun at her shower as I did planning it! Congratulations, mama, your little girl is so lucky to have you and your husband as her parents!

 


BEST WEEK EVARRRRRR

GUYS. This week is freaking awesome, and it’s Tuesday. I would let you guess, but I’m fresh from a work out and amped up on a protein shake (and a mini kit kat), so I’m just going to tell you.

1. Today my brother and his beautiful wife are welcoming their second baby girl into the world. If you don’t like kids, please stop reading my blog. Kids are awesome, and I’m pretty excited that we’re adding grandchild #12 to the ranks.
2. Valentine’s Day is this week. I could care less about the commercialized holiday itself, but I am fond of pretty flowers and fancy chocolates and telling the world how much I love my husband. It’s also a fun day to give little homemade Valentines and gifts to friends and loved ones.
3.Mini Gwinn is full on walking, talking, and growing more adorable every day. Proof:

Driving daddy's Jeep

Driving daddy’s Jeep

No joke, he LIKES wearing his sunglasses. And driving Captain Laser Pants’ Wrangler. And he doesn’t have any problem shifting the gears (well, he can’t reach the clutch, but don’t tell HIM that). Even when he’s making this face (because I make him climb on the couch without my assistance and he yells at me):

"Help me up, vile woman!"

“Help me up, vile woman!”

He’s still adorable. And sometimes he’s placid and content, like when we’re driving around in my awesome car:

IMG_20130211_152950

Ignoring the fact that “American Tail” is on for his viewing pleasure.

Wait, what?!
4. Captain Laser Pants FIXED MY FREAKING JEEP! That’s right, interwebs, MY HUSBAND THE IT SOFTWARE DEVELOPER REPLACED A REDONK COMPLICATED ENGINE IN MY CAR. He, with muscle and brawn and steel and brains, replaced my engine and a hundred other parts (like the water pump, the intake manifold, the sensors) and brought my beautiful Grand Cherokee back to liiiiiiiiiiiife. Who has six thumbs and is super stoked about this? Team freaking Gwinn, that’s who.

We are planning a baby Valentine’s Party. Because there isn’t anything cuter than that. What are you doing for Hallmark Day, interwebs?


Never Again

Last night, in the middle of our bed time ritual, mini Gwinn’s face nuzzled against my neck just seconds before I put him in his crib for the night. The monumental realization hit me: he will never be this small again (not that 27 lbs. is small for a 14 month old). We will never have this night again.

I think all parents, particularly moms, have this epiphany at some point. It may spur the “let’s try for 2.0!” thought in some, maybe bittersweet thankfulness for going through the last round in others.

This past Sunday I shattered my phone (so for those that haven’t gotten text message responses or called with no answer, you now know why), and without the assistance of Facebook, have almost effectively been cut off from society completely. This has given me even more opportunity to immerse myself in the every moment of my little Fox. If anything, from last night’s realization, I took away the message to invest in his moments. The big stuff, like walking on his own, is obviously grabbing my attention. But his precious peals of laughter? The crazy phrases he says when I’m only half- listening (two days ago he said, “Ok guys!” what the heck, kid?!)? I don’t want to miss any of him. This is the last day he will be this age, this small, and at this point of development. And, I have to tell you, interwebs, he is such a cool toddler. He wears his sunglasses, willingly, at the park. He says funny things, like, “Ta da!”. And while I realize that I can’t eagerly await his every movement or sound, I can be present for him, no phone in hand, no TV in the background, more often.

That’s a concept I’m taking into my marriage, too. Captain Laser Pants is a rare man (for more reasons than his imbibing of orange soda and bizarre dance moves) in that he talks to me, like REALLY talks to me. There are times, for instance, when he is fresh from the gym after work (somewhere between 8-9 PM), and I am exhausted, but he wants to tell me about something he heard on the radio, or something from his work day, and I struggle to listen to him. Again, not that I can be 100% absorbed in my husband every second of the day, but when he wants to talk, I want to be present for him. He’s amazing and deserving, even if he is monumentally forgetful, and he is mine. My boys deserve the best of me, even when I’m tired or distracted, because never again will we be at this point in our lives as a family.


People I Love: Part Two – Mom Friends

It is possible that CLP and I created a monster.

Since birth, mini Gwinn has slept with a beautiful, hand knit blanket that was a gift from my sister’s mother in law. Literally, every night, he has been wrapped up in it and snuggled into the soft yarn of the blanket. He loves it. For fourteen months it served him dutifully, taking beatings in its constant trips across the floor as he crawled with it, traveling to Minnesota and Tennessee and home again, the many washes (on gentle cycle) from the spilled milk or the middle of the night accidents, and many other tortures such a delicate blanket should never endure. Now that he is a destructive toddler, mini Gwinn felt it necessary to deconstruct his blanket, string by string. It now has a gaping hole, smack in the middle of the blanket. Captain Laser Pants and I have had many worried nights that he may find himself stuck in the blanket, twined in the yarn, an obvious death trap waiting to happen. We decided, a mere two hours before bed time, to search frantically for a similar knit blanket at Target. Of course, being my child, mini Gwinn had no interest in the baby themed fleece blankets on clearance, nor did he feel particularly drawn to any knit blanket under $50. Finally, after racing through the domestics aisles like I’m on Super Market Sweep, I found a dark brown, cable sweater knit blanket, similar to his basket weave blanket (more in feel than style, obviously), on clearance for $19. He gave it a good squeeze with his chubby hands, and I rushed to the check out to make it home in time for bath time.

We settled in after his bath, snuggled in the new blanket (yes, I’m a bad mom, I didn’t wash it first, but I didn’t have time to, and couldn’t wrap my child in the blanket of potential death), and had his night time bottle (only one of the day, I promise). As soon as I put him in his crib, he EXPLODED in tears. Like, fits of howling screams and shakes accompanied by a river of heart breaking tears. I let it go on for ten or so minutes, mainly because he NEVER cries anymore, and I couldn’t handle it. We went downstairs and listened to his cello song (Bach’s prelude from Suite 1 for Unaccompanied Cello) three times. He so sweetly laid his head on my chest and his little hands on my arm and sank comfortably against me. When it was time to put him back in his crib, though, the same horrifying “DON’T LEAVE ME IN HERE, DEVIL WOMAN!” screams started again. I waited for fifteen or twenty minutes more and then couldn’t take it. I made him another small bottle and went into his room. With mommy magic I pseudo- stitched up the gaping hole with excess yarn, and as soon as I picked him up with the blanket against him, he cooed in delight. He polished off the four ounce condolence bottle and fell asleep immediately.

CLP was shocked that he had developed an attachment to the blanket. Given that I had my own blanket and passy (pacifier) til I was five, it didn’t come as a shock to me that he would have grown attached to his own, but still.  I wasn’t expecting this kind of reaction.Thoughts?

Anyway! Onto the second post about people in my life that rock my socks: my mom friends.

E-Wizzle: With your little guy the same age as mini Gwinn, and with having met you when they were both still lying on their backs due to immobility, I feel like we’ve been walking the same lines for a couple years now. You amaze me! I don’t know how you work full time, rock at being a mom full time, and seem so serene always. When I felt most lonely, you walked into that library meeting room with your little guy and -bam!- friendship. You are so graceful and kind, and you do this craziness called motherhood with poise. Thank you for being such a fabulous, wonderful friend.

Lu Lu: If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were my sister from another mister. Your dry, sarcastic humor pairs beautifully with your parenting style, and little Pippi is all the cooler for it. She is going to grow up to be one rad chick thanks to all your awesomeness and sacrifice you’ve made for her. Thank you for being such a fast, trustworthy friend. I love that I can confide in you on my bad days, laugh with you on the good days, and play video games with you once the sun (and son) goes down. You are such a seriously cool woman and I am so happy we are in one another’s lives for this wild season of life.

Tay C: You are so brave. And strong. And beautiful, and funny, and such a wonderful mom to Cball. That first step into friendship, remember the diner? That was awesome. I felt like we both needed someone to reflect back to ourselves: I can do this. You are fearless in your approach to new things and people, infinitely creative, and your mothering instincts are enviable. Your encouragement, your perspective and your friendship are huge blessings in my life. Even if you and I hadn’t been surprised with our little bundles of boys, you and I would have crossed paths and been friends, I just know it. Thank you for your friendship and the love you’ve brought into our lives.

I love you three ladies! You are encouragement on the hard days and light on the best of days. Thank you for your friendship, I am honored!


People I Love: Part One

Today was a pretty awesome day. My dermatologist told me I’d only have to take Amnesteem for another month (we originally thought it would be 10-12 months, instead it’s just 7! YAY!), AND mini Gwinn said “hewwo” while he waved to his accordion. Yes, my kid has an accordion. He’s that cool.

So, anyway, as promised, I’m starting a series on amazing people I love/ am so grateful to have in my life. This serves a few purposes, one being that it is a way to display kindness. There isn’t enough of it in the world.

Let’s begin!

Dear Bresus,

As far as friendships that I never saw coming, I am a major fan of ours. I must admit, when I first met you, I was wary, given that you were friends with what’s her name from CLP’s long long ago. But now? I am beyond grateful that you are in our lives. Time and time again you have gone above and beyond and have been an outstanding friend to one crazy mama. You are generous, funny, and smart. I envy you, sometimes (successful career, living the urban life dream), but it quickly fades into pride for you in all you have accomplished. One of my favorite things about you is this dichotomous representation in your personality of a tough lady with a major nurturing side. Everyone that truly knows you is happy to have you in their corners, and I am happy to say that I fall in line with them. Your cooking skills? Rad. You and the Viking? Super cool. Your ability to be funny, loving, accepting, clever and giving? Priceless.  I dubbed you “hot pants” a while ago, but “Bresus” is much more suited to who you are- you have saved our family from crises enough times that you officially deserve a cape. By the way, I’ve forgotten to tell you, but mini Gwinn LOVES his Holy Grail rabbit. Like thinks it’s the bee’s knees. Plus, who is so cool as to give Monty Python gifts for Easter? HELLO, BRESUS.

Thank you for being such a wonderful friend.

Love Always and Big,

Warren G


Get Skinny Workouts Ad Nauseum

Hey! Happy late Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, etc! I have been super out of the loop lately. There have been so many ideas on my mind, but finding the time to write seems increasingly impossible with mini Gwinn wandering everywhere and getting into everything. Seriously. This morning he was slamming a cabinet door into the oven just because he could. It kind of happened overnight, but now I have a wild child toddler, and I’m a busy B (yes, “B”, not “bee”.).

I digress. This topic has been weighing on my mind for weeks, literally. It has bugged me so much that I finally locked mini Gwinn in our computer room with my coffee so I could sit down and knock this one out before I adventure out to the gym. Get ready, it’s not gonna be pretty, but let’s hope I get the message across.

If you’ve ever walked by a magazine rack at the grocery store or looked at Pinterest for more than thirty seconds, you’ve seen those absurd “do this lame workout for seven days and watch the pounds drop!” claims, all accompanied by an image of a ridiculously toned/ skinny chick in a bikini or less. To anyone who will be duped by this, please read these words carefully: that chick did not do this lame seven day workout to look like that. No one did this lame seven day workout and immediately looked amazing. Please, put down the Prevention magazine, stop pinning those “inspiring workouts and words” to your fitness board, and take a few steps back from this entire concept of “get fit quick”. Just like getting fat doesn’t happen over the course of a week, getting fit doesn’t happen in 168 hours.As harsh as it may sound, dough doesn’t transform to granite over the course of a week, or sometimes even eight weeks. It takes a lot of time and a lot (I mean A LOT) of sweat to melt fat and gain visible muscle tone. While a week’s worth of working out will make you feel better, give you more energy, increase your appetite (that is a good thing!) and help you sleep better, it won’t magically give you a bikini body for next week’s vaycay. Your best you comes from dedication to improving your health, not attempting to mimic a rail thin model’s body or society’s idea of “beautiful” (unless you happen to fall into that naturally, and if you do, yay for you!) .

In that same line of thought, I have to admit that I was under the impression that “diets” had fallen out of favor with the gen pub. I could not have been more wrong. Seriously, my reaction to seeing “follow such and such celebrity’s three day smoothie diet to fit into your skinny jeans”pins/ magazines was, “HOLY CRAP DO PEOPLE BELIEVE THIS STUFF?!” If all someone consumes is fruit smoothies for a weekend, s/he may fit into skinny jeans, but s/he will put those on to run to the nearest McDonald’s to indulge in a Big Mac.  Healthy consumption of lean proteins, veggies and lots of water as a way of life, not a temporary starvation diet, will be a better fuel for working out/ health improvement. It makes me sad when I see women who are desperate to feel better grasping at hollow ideas for health.

I’ve heard of many women starving themselves and then running on the treadmill for forty five minutes. If anything, this teaches your body to store up any calories consumed because it thinks it will never be fed AND has to endure major cardio. That’s pretty much the opposite of what any (good) personal trainer would tell someone.

My advice: 1. Learn your body fat percentage, not your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI doesn’t tell much at all about your health. By that same token, your weight doesn’t tell you much about your health. How much fat you’re carrying around? That’s WAY more telling. Gyms will measure your body fat percentage for free. Check out what the numbers mean at Health Check Systems.
2. Eat. A lot. a 130 lb. woman looking to lose fat and maintain/ gain muscle tone should consume at least 50 grams of protein a day. I say “at least” because dietary professionals will suggest as low as 45 grams a day and as high as a 1 to 1 ratio of pounds of weight to grams of protein. That seems impossible to most women, especially given the fact that the average woman consumes around 20 grams a day. Protein will keep you fuller for longer than simple carbohydrates and give you the energy you need to build muscle/ lose fat. Vegetables and chicken, vegetables and fish, whatever your poison for meat- this combo keeps you full. Avoid simple carbohydrates like the devil (this includes: bread, cereal, rice, cupcakes, cake, cookies [my weaknesses], etc). If you just can’t live without grains, try quinoa and oatmeal, both complex carbohydrates that take longer for your body to break down and keep you full longer. Kelly the Kitchen Kop gives insight with an interview from Dr. Davis on the dangers of modern wheat and other genetically modified grains. I’m not pushing “anti-carbohydrates”, veggies have carbs too (say what?), I’m pushing “anti-genetically modified grains” here.
3. Don’t limit yourself to cardio. Weight lifting and body weight/ resistance exercises are going to help you burn fat more quickly and efficiently than just cardio (unless you are morbidly obese). Another myth to these crappy “get skinny quickly” workouts is that you can target weight loss to fat in certain areas of your body, like “7 Days to Lean Arms!”.  If that were the case, all my body fat would be in my boobs and my thighs would look like pillars of marble wrapped in skin. While you CAN target muscles during workouts, you can’t target fat, which is why mixing up a workout is paramount to actual fat loss/ muscle gain. The best fat burning technique I’ve tried- interval training. I’ve pushed this on other blog posts in the past, and I’m pushing it again. My current fave? Turbulence Training, as seen on the Greatist.

I suppose what I’m preaching here is the opposite of what many women do, which is “starve and go easy at the gym”. I say, spoil yourself by eating a ton of yummy, healthy food, and abuse your body like crazy at the gym. Go at it until your clothes are soaked and you can barely walk out the doors. These three day diets and seven day fitness routines aren’t going to cut it; quick fixes NEVER do. Dedication to fitness and a true lifestyle change in how one approaches food will result in a total health and body transformation. It’s pretty obvious I’m no personal trainer or health expert, but I am passionate about my personal health. This makes me seem like a self indulgent psycho to some, but my health matters for the sake of my family (and my sanity). If you’re anything like me, when you feel better, everything seems better, more accomplish-able, less insurmountable. Plus, I’m a lot less likely to Hulk out on someone when I’ve burned all my excess energy (read: rage) at the gym. It boils down to the fact that I just want people I care about to be healthy and happy.

So, in the coming weeks, or whenever I find time to sit down and write a bit, I’m going to start working on the reverse side of “Being Kind is Hard”. Every post for the next several weeks will include a glowing review of someone I love in my life. It will serve as a very public way (with his/ her consent) to display my appreciation, and hopefully spur kindness in myself and others.

❤ to you!


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The Changes Held Within a Year

It’s been a year and a week since mini Gwinn 100% changed my life. That may sound dramatic to those without children (not to exclude you, but it is just really hard to fathom until it happens to you), but to the others in the parenthood ranks, you get it. The day you meet your little biscuit face to face is the day your perspective on everything changes.

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Sitting in the hospital bed together

When I was playing landlord to this little guy, I imagined what his personality was like. He kicked when I laughed, squirmed and wiggled nonstop when I laid down, and kicked Captain Laser Pants in the face when he laid his cheek on my belly. Back then I thought, “Wow, he’s an angry little sucker, just like his mama!” but now I know how wrong I was. He is the happiest baby I’ve ever met. The slightest tickle or funny face results in an eruption of delicious, angelic laughter. He never stops moving; he is infinitely curious about his surroundings and the faces he sees. Months after he was born, CLP told me a fear he had while I was baking mini Gwinn. He had read studies that proved the mental and emotional state of a mother while pregnant affected the baby’s physical and emotional health. He was concerned that our little bear would be somehow “off” because of my horrible mental state. Miraculously, he’s an incredible child, well adjusted, secure, and very, very funny. He has off days, just like all of us, but I feel so, so blessed to be raising such a precious little man.

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Blue eyes, big hair and opinions! Oh my.

This time last year we were struggling in every sense of the word. The exhaustion of taking care of a newborn (for those with family near you, you are so lucky!), the realization of the financial strain of going from two salaries to one, and reconciling the major changes my body had undergone (and would continue to undergo over the next nine months) made life, erm, difficult. The parents that have been kind enough to be honest with me confided that the first three months were just about surviving, and they couldn’t have been more correct. Captain Laser Pants was finishing the hardest semester of his college career (Calculus 2 and Physics, yuck), working long hours and coming home to a madhouse, with his wife as the chief lunatic. I was investing the stress and anxiety I had into running. Mini Gwinn liked being outside, even then, and I (shockingly) felt good enough to start a four mile run four weeks after I delivered our baby boy.

It’s intense for me to look back on those hard days. The emotion is still fresh, the memories aren’t rose colored. The nurses in the hospital told me I would forget how hard the pregnancy and the first few months would be, and with an easy delivery, I’d want more children, and soon. I laugh, even now, at the thought. Perhaps with “eager moms” (those that planned pregnancy, those that enjoyed pregnancy, those that have a normal body image, etc) the idea of having more children is a positive one. For me, the idea of stretching out over a 36+ week course, feeling gross and grossly sick for the majority of the pregnancy, and the immensely strenuous first three months just doesn’t seem worth it.

Team Gwinn, Christmas 2011. Yowsers.

Team Gwinn, Christmas 2011. Yowsers.

The wild part in all of this? Despite my strong feelings of not wanting more children, I have had several pregnancy dreams (not pleasant ones, but still)  in the past month or so. It could be that many ladies I know are currently pregnant, or just that dumb biological clock ticking, but my subconscious mind is blowing my conscious mind. How a year has changed us. No more double chins, for one thing. But CLP and I seem so much stronger. I know that I am for sure, and not just emotionally. I feel more stable and more unstable all at once. I am strong for my son, and weakened by him. Rather, I am more vulnerable because of him. Give- a- thons for orphaned children make me cry. Scenes in Walking Dead make me cry. Once upon a time, I’d be critiquing the choices of the zombie apocalypse survivors, taking notes on survival tips. Now? I am emotionally involved, I’m putting CLP and I in the place of the main characters and fearing for our son if we had to live in a survival- type scenario.

Everything has changed.

At a wedding, November 2012. Yay for change!

At a wedding, November 2012. Yay for change!

This morning, while shopping with CLP and mini Gwinn, I jokingly asked my husband when I had gotten soft. We both laughed and he commented on the way parenthood has changed us both. I truly don’t mind 99% of the changes (belly skin pleats? I totally mind that). Being a mother has given me an entirely new strength in my life. While every woman has a different path in pregnancy, labor and raising her children, I will say that every good mother (not you, crack addicted mom. You should be shot in the face.) grows as a person in tremendous ways. The change you will experience over the first year will astound you. It certainly amazed me.