About Me

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Bonjour!  I'm Christen!  Been all over the U.S., and just moved from Utah down to Texas for my husband's new job!  After having been in the Navy, I am now a student of Anthropology, a stay at home mom to my new baby, a half arsed writer, belly dance instructor/student and performer, and just general, all around "Jack of all trades, master of nothing." 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Writing Prompt Challenge: Day 1

As I wrote about in my last post, I am terrible at making time to blog, and will let tons of time go in between posts or even series.  It's a habit I really need to correct, especially if I am going to try to become more serious in all my writing aspects, both in the blogosphere and on paper for a novel.

To catch up, you can see my post and the Challenge Prompt here.

Day 1: Self Portrait and 5 Random Facts About Myself.

Man, what to put.  I used to have a life, but now I'm a mom.......

  • I used to teach Belly Dancing.  Belly Dance has been my outlet for years, but now with the time constraints of my kid, and my nanny schedule, I haven't been regularly in over 2 years.  I really need to fix that.
  • I can't eat food if it's slimy or squishy.  It grosses me out to no extent.
  • Even though we are a Paleo household, I'm a vegetarian naturally.  Food poses a huge hurdle for me in this house.
  • My most favorite place in the world is the Pacific Northwest (PNW for you locals ;) )
  • I'm a Gemini so my interests are wide and varied, but since I am a true Gemini and distracted easily my huge aspirations often are thwarted by another interest or pursuit.
And a bonus 6th one for you all ;) ~ It will probably be a long time before you see a current selfie of me.  I have avoided the camera like the plauge since the baby was born.  The weight has all been lost, but I also lost my self confidence after birth and just can't stand to see how much I've changed.  This picture is from the last photo shoot I did in 2013, about 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Becoming a More Efficient Blogger

ADD at it's finest does not make for a very efficient blogger.  Weeks will literally get away from me before I realize I need to write another post.  Or I will end up spending so much time on 1 or 2 different posts, that I get overwhelmed and step away for a little bit.  I don't have huge aspirations for the blog, but getting more traffic would be nice (yes, ego brushed, I will admit it).

I noticed the other day that my good friend Shannon over at Only the Betz blog had put up some 31 day writing prompts.  I think that's an amazing idea!  It takes 3 weeks to create a habit, and this has a full month for me to concrete the routine of writing and getting the juices flowing.  It will also allow me a little bit of leeway to get going on my next Paleo Toddler Series post.

Here is the 31 day prompt challenge from Pinterest:

Part of me is so excited to write these, I love exploring different topics. The other part is terrified.  Fear of rejection, having to put really personal things, and you know actually thinking about things other than my family..... that's a lot to deal with for a person who is trying to reclaim her individuality!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Paleo Toddler Series: Basic Pantry Building and Shopping

So now that I've given you all some amazing looking recipes to try, I just know you're chomping at the bit to go out and restock your entire pantry, and start looking like these guys in the picture!
But emptying all your old processed chemical foods into the bin and completely replenishing is just not an option for almost all of us out there!  We didn't have much of a choice since our Baby B's health was at stake, and luckily we were mostly Paleo so there wasn't too much of an overhaul, but it still ate up quite a bit of the grocery money that week.  

Now that we've been doing this for a bit, I'm starting to get the hang of finding out where to save money, how to get the best buys for what we need, and how to do our shopping so that we don't end up wasting a bunch of produce (that shit adds up!!)

Figure out what you eat most.  Spend a month playing around with different meals that are Paleo or Paleo-ish and see what you eat the most of.  If you aren't ready to go full Paleo, incorporate 3-4 meals a week with your standard fare.  For example, we found that we eat a ton of eggs and beef now, leafy greens are here and there, and that we upped our consumption of sweet potatoes, carrots, avocado and peppers.  After you find what type of foods work best for you and your family, meal planning and grocery lists are so much easier to handle.

Plan, plan, and plan some more.  Go through Pinterest (you can take a look at The Paleo Toddler Board, Dinner Time, or "Man Food" for inspiration and take aways) or Google to help find recipes with the foods you eat most often.  Then go ahead and do the handy dandy meal planning.  I Heart Planners is having a September Meal Planning Challenge that I just signed up for, complete with free calendar printable!

Shop small, shop often.  This one I'm not a huge fan of, but it does help minimize our waste.  At the very least, I buy only what we need for the week's meal plan plus a few snacks on hand, and at the most I will end up at the store 2-3 times a week for new produce as it runs out.  This way it stays fresh, and we are sure to use it! 

Don't be afraid of the bulk bins.  While produce is best bought in small quantities, dry goods you definitely want in larger amounts!  We go through coconut and almond flour like crazy, and B can eat lentils and quinoa so it's a much cheaper option to buy big bags and pour in tidy containers! Sprouts has an amazing selection of bulk products, and even stores like Kroger are getting in on the act by having bulk section that they keep adding to.  

Also, if you have access to Costco, a membership will benefit you greatly!  Costco has tons of organic items, which can vary from store to store.  A 5 lb. bag of almond flour costs around $25, much better than $11-$12 for 10 oz at the grocery store! We also use them to stock up on grassfed butter, organic seasonings, eggs, and meat. Be sure to stick to your list otherwise it's too easy to walk away with chocolate cake the size of a small dog, and car batteries!

Phase out old food.  Realize this is a process.  As you finish off your bad foods, simply don't replace them.  Put that money you would spend on inferior food in a jar or in your budget towards clean snacks or grassfed meats.  If you do that for a month, there should be a nice sum to use for your new clean shopping list.  I calculated the amount we would spend on fast food, candy, or bags of chips with hydrogenated oils and my jaw dropped.  We could have had grassfed steak 2-3 times that month at home, and vodka, if we hadn't spent that money!  

Homemade is the way to go.  I know we are all busy, and many of you out there are busier than I am.  I implore you to set aside just a couple hours a week to pre-make a few things.
They taste better, you know what's in it, and it saves you money since you can make huge batches.  I've started making our Paleo English Muffins in bulk and freezing them so we can just pull a couple out to toast  and be on with our day.  Having pre-made food also makes it sooooooo much harder to justify bad food when you know you have options at home.

I promise just like with anything else, it gets easier as you go.  One day you will look back and wonder how you managed without the food-style you have now!  Cheers!

How do you prep and budget for your clean meals? Let me know!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Paleo Toddler Series: Homemade Lunches and Dinner

After getting together our breakfasts and snacks, it's now time to move on to the next step:  lunch and dinner.

This one is a little harder for me since we love breakfast foods in the house. Seriously, we eat breakfast for dinner every Friday, and if we can't think of something to eat, it's bacon and eggs for dinner.

After scouring my trusty Pinterest, I've posted some amazing looking meals that can double for lunch or dinner to The Paleo Toddler board.

Stock up on grassfed ground beef, turkey,

A Study In Housewifery: A Typical 1950's Housewife Schedule

In my last "A Study in Housewifery" post, I quickly outlined my plan to follow what a typical 1950's housewife's schedule might be.  I found the post here on the Stepford Sisters blog.  As I was copying down each thing that needed to be done, I found myself growing more and more exhuasted with each bullet point.  Not only did I have to get all these things done, but I also had the kid and the animals to take care of, plus my little part time job Tuesday - Thursday in the evenings.  What the hell did I get myself into?  How would this impact my interaction with my kid?  How would I fit everything in?  Surely there just weren't enough hours in the day to do all this stuff!

Well, let's take a little walk, dear blog reader and see how quickly I did or didn't lose my flipping mind.

A typical day would go something a little like this:

  Ok, so we're out the gate running. The kid was being fairly agreeable and not entirely clingy which made it easier to get chores done while he ate his breakfast.  It helped that I had some leftover Paleo English Muffins which you can find on my The Paleo Toddler Board.  He could eat those at will with his hands, no need for mom to spoon anything into his mouth.  I had an interview for a nanny gig, but still managed to get ready for the day and most of the apartment picked up.  After the interview, we happened to be near our supermarket anyway so got the shopping out of the way.  Went home, fed the kid, put away groceries, tidied while he played a little bit then it was time to put him down for a nap.  While he was napping I started getting things ready for dinner, got a drink tray ready for hubs, got laundry started, swept and mopped all the floors, cleaned the bathrooms, ran the vacuum, put away dishes.  Then the kid woke up so while keeping him entertained, I changed into a dress, put on some makeup, swept the entryway, picked up the living room and checked on dinner.

This was all before my husband even got home.

THEN it was fixing dinner, sitting down to eat (which means he eats and I feed the kid and get a few bites here and there), cleaning up, taking out the trash, taking out the dog, bathing the kid, getting him ready for bed, cleaning the kitchen while he played, then putting him down.  FINALLY after all that...... I got to make hub's lunch for the next day, get breakfast together for the kid, switch over the laundry, and convince myself to take a shower.

It was exhausting. I was literally on the go from the moment I woke up until I went to bed, absolutely no down time whatsoever.  I really did like it that D had lunch for the next day, and it was nice to have dinner made and a clean house.

The rest of the week was pretty much the same except that I had work from Tuesday through Thursday in the evening.  That really cut down on my cleaning time since I have to get ready for work while B is napping in the afternoon, and used that time to start getting dinner ready for my guys as well.  Plus, I was starting to get really sick and it took all my energy just to get through the day.  Each day I got a little less and a little less done, and had to take more and more time to sit and get through the day.

A few lessons and realizations from the week:

  • I really didn't like not playing very much with Baby B.  We usually take walks every day, hang out on the patio and look at the world, play some games or even just chase each other around the house pointing at things, or read books.  I felt like I was just neglecting him for the most part.  Not that I give him attention 24/7, but it pissed me off when the husband was playing with B after dinner and I was stuck cleaning up after I'd spent all day doing that very thing. 

  •  I also didn't like how each day my husband became more expectant that the house would be sparkling, and his wife would be perfectly coifed and greeting him with a drink.  I made sure his drink tray and dinner was ready each day, and the house was in a reasonably clean state, that should have been more than sufficient! 

  • If I didn't have other responsibilities outside the home, this schedule would work out better and be much more pleasant to bear.  

  • I actually enjoyed the first day of the schedule when I could focus on everything inside the house. 

  • My kid is priority.  It doesn't matter how clean my house is, if I have a screaming toddler who's ready to eat but I'm still busy doing chores and it's not "time" for lunch, I'm not going to enjoy my clean house.  I also didn't like that during work days I had to clean instead of spending time with him since afternoon nap was when I got ready for work.

  • Baby B is (thankfully) becoming more independent so luckily it wasn't too much of an issue, and  I could actually get some things done while he played.  I can't imagine trying to do this with a newborn, especially one that was as sick as mine.  This schedule would work much better for school age children, or toddlers who go to preschool part time/full time.

  • Whoever works outside the home doesn't know how easy they have it sometimes.  The sheer amount of time and effort that goes into just the upkeep of the house is a full time job.  This does not include any extra chores that need to be done such as organizing, or the care of babies, or another part time job.  It is pretty much the equivalent of 2 full time jobs rolled into one.  No, I'm not saying  the bread winner is less important; I'm saying they have the opportunity to leave work at work, and come home and relax.  The schedule called for "indulging in a hobby", but for me that roughly translated to: play with B or do an activity with him (colors/shapes/visual recognition/practicing words by reading books etc)

  • The differences in expectations of housewives are far greater (in my opinion) than they used to be.  Yes, they always had to look pretty, and no they didn't have modern convineniences such as we do.  However, kids were allowed to play on the street, weren't always being shuttled from one activity to another, and visiting was almost a daily ritual.  Nowadays, unless there are scheduled play dates, most moms and housewives spend much of their time locked away in their houses.  No neighbor to chat with over the fence while you both hang out your laundry. No book clubs or bridge clubs during the day where the children played together in the large backyard.

    Ok, so maybe it's not that the expectations are greater, it's just that we have so much more we are attempting to fit into our day, and we are doing it all alone, with absolutely no support system in place.  Work is always more bearable when it's done with someone else. 

  • I learned that I can be more productive during the day.  It's all about balance.  I love playing and teaching with Baby B, but I also like having a clean house and dinner made.  My house will never be Pinterest clean, and I'm ok with that.  But now that my baby is older, he doesn't need to be in the sling every second of the day and I can take time for a few things for myself and keeping the house in relative order.  Sometimes it all feels all so overwhelming, but with my trusty list, and a cuppa coffee, and taking it one step at a time I feel I can bridge the two worlds without compromising my instincts as a parent or my responsibilities around the house.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Embracing the Suck of Mommy-hood

Sometimes you just have to let go.

Sometimes you have to change your expectations and attitude.

Sometimes you have to embrace the suck.

Welcome to motherhood.  Where the rules are made up and points don't matter.  When your baby tricks you into thinking they're finally getting the hang of only nursing twice a night, and then in the blink of an eye are rebelling with two and a half hour temper tantrums in the middle of the night until your nerves are so frazzled

Saturday, August 1, 2015

15 Easy Steps to Being the Best Suburban Mom (SATIRE)

* Disclaimer:  This piece is satire.  I've drawn upon my observations while living here in the suburbs, and added some snarky humor.  Any likeness to person, place, or activity is fictional and does not represent any actual in life instances.*

Suburbia-land.  Never thought I'd see the day where my residence was in an actual suburb and I was a stay at home mom.  As a student of Anthropology, it's interesting to study these people and their culture-at least until I realize I'm not as stealthy as the documentary guys who film animals on the African plains.  They see me watching them, and mistake my disbelief and curiosity for disdain.  In all honesty, some of it might actually be disdain.

After studying the Texas suburban people, women and mothers in particular, I've come up with some ways to help one adapt to their new environment, should they find themselves relocated from their natural environment of a Pacific NorthWest island where sweats are acceptable for everything.

Å Study In Housewifery: 1950's vs. 2015

The nostalgia of the the 50's is unparalleled.  For some reason when the image of a housewife is invoked, it is of the 1950's housewife. With her perfectly rolled hair, classic makeup, immaculate frilly dress (homemade of course, because she had wicked awesome seamstress skills), and coming out of the kitchen with the roast on the platter and a huge content smile on her face as though the only things worth living for were serving her family.  And maybe it was.

Today's stay at home mom's (SAHM) while unburdened by a lot of work with the inovations of technology, seem to be more stressed, get less done, and feel more ashamed of their skills as a homemaker.  I am one of them.  I'm the type of girl who loves to deep clean, get the nooks and crannies, wash baseboards, etc.  But with the demands of parenting these days, I'm lucky if I get the laundry folded and dishwasher ran.
 I understand as my 12 month old gets older, it will be easier to get things done, but at the moment I have choices to make: Play with my son, or keep the house in order.  Take him for a walk or to the park, or organize the fridge.  Sing songs with him and pique his interest in books,  or being "with" him without actually being present with him because i'm busy doing household chores.  

Ok, that last part isn't fair.  Sometimes we do have to do all those things, but the demands of parenting today are so overwhelming.  I don't have any helicopter mom tendencies, but I do have a little boy whose only wish in the world in to be right next to someone, doing what they are doing.  And sometimes that interferes with me getting dinner made or picking the house up, and so I'm just there with him without actually being all there with him.

However, no one really seems to complain about how they were raised by these nostalgia stay at home moms, and we all instinctively know that kids are quite capable of playing on their own without us "engaging" (being up their a$$) constantly.

I came across this blog post a few days from The Stepford Sisters ago that had the author outlining the typical day of the 1950's housewife, and was going to follow it for a week.  I think I am going to follow in her example to see what exactly the difference in mind set/productivity is, and how we can incorporate some of yesterday's standards into today's complete parenting mentality, or if it now a lost art.  Call this an amateur  Anthropology study, if you will :)

So starting this Monday, I will be attempting to be the quintessential little housewife.....we'll see how this plays out.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Paleo Toddler Series: Homemade Snacks and Breakfast Ideas

Now that I've gotten the easy store-bought snacks down, it's time to get in the kitchen, brave this ridiculous Texas heat that our ancient air conditioner cannot compete with, and start making some tasty diet friendly eats for the kiddo.

Baked Egg in Avocado:

So many good healthy fats and protein in this one! I like to season the egg a little with some spice just because that's how we roll in this household, but it's pretty good with just a little salt and pepper! I found this yummy recipe on Pinterest

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Paleo Toddler Series: Store Bought Snacks

In my last post I talked about how Baby B was diagnosed with severe leaky gut and massive food sensitivities.  Nowadays it seems as though EVERYTHING that is marketed for babies and toddlers include dairy, gluten, rice and/or oats, and high fructose corn syrup in at least 3 different forms. After realizing I had to get rid of his yogurt pouches, cheesy puffs, GF teething biscuits and could no longer make his favorite dish of fried rice with eggs and pea, I was left in a panic and scratching my head-what to do next?

I started by doing the same thing I did for myself when I had to go Gluten Free; I sought out the ready to eat snack foods first.  By knowing I had store snacks to eat, it bought me some time to make my own snacks, and encouraged me to really get the ball rolling with the rest of the plan.

Off I trotted to Sprouts to get

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Paleo Toddler Series: Background and Prelude to An (Almost) Drastic Change

We spent the entire first year of Baby B's life battling illness, one after the other.  First, it was months upon months of colic, gasiness and upset tummy.  This coincided with ear infections, sinus infections, a bout of pink eye, and just general malaise.  He was a trooper though, always wanting to play and explore and talk.  It breaks my heart to think of everything he was going through.  

After moving down to Texas we started with a wonderful pediatrician, but ultimately switched as he was practicing outdated intact care for boys. We ended up with a holistic practitioner when B got a horrid case of pink eye. As the PA was examining him, she was explaining that in addition to the fluid in his ears, she had a hunch that his gut flora and Ph was all wonky and was keeping him susptible, as well as his Vitamin D reserves being depleted.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Just A Funny Little Ditty About Baby Poop

Just a funny little ditty about baby poop.

Oh yes people, it's the baby poop story.  We've all got them, and even people without kids can relate to the grossness and hilarity of baby poop.  

Our kid is a little exhibitionist, like most little boys are. Plus now we are living in Texas, and there is no better way to dry the kid off after the pool or bath by letting him run around our balcony bare naked.  He thinks it's the best thing in the world, we get to spend time in the fresh air, and it's one less step in getting him ready for bed.  My husband also continuously states that it's good for him to get the chance to "air the balls".  

It was B's birthday (his 1st! When the hell did that happen????), and we had just finished the cake which was smoothed all over.....well everything.  So we took him out to the patio, stripped him down, and literally rinsed him using the watering can.  Yah, we're those parents.  B was having a grand old time, nice and cool from the water, naked as the day his was born (ha, it was his BIRTHday), and running around chasing the animals.  Then he starts squatting.  We're used to this, he never sits, he always crouches down and sits in a squat.  However, this time we heard a bunch of farts; ppbbbt phhbbbt bbbbbbrrrrt.  He would look up at us giggling like it was the most hilarious thing in the world.  I looked at Dustin and said, "If he poops you're cleaning it up."  

"Oh he won't", was the reply.

"He's farting and just had dinner and cake, it's coming."

Not 5 minutes later, I happen to hear some grunting, a fart, and look over just in time to see our son deposit a hot, steaming pile of poop that might have been big enough for an adult onto our outdoor rug.  The only thing I remember is thinking that it looked exactly like the pile of $h!t emoji icons on our smartphones, as I went running for the wipes and a diaper since obviously naked time was waaaaaay over.  I have no clue as to how Dustin cleaned that up, but have a sneaking feeling the dust pan was involved and can only hope he washed it thoroughly with scalding hot water, bleach or whatever the hell else could kill poop bacteria.  And while I'm past the point of bodily functions from the baby grossing me out, seeing it sitting on the patio had me doing the "huuaaaahhh, huuuaaaaaaa" noises.

We'll keep letting the boy "air his balls", but from now on if food is recently involved, those cute diapers from Honest Company will be staying on his little bum, so the poop will remain off our balcony.  Last thing we need is another stepping in poop story (yep, did that too, feel better?) to add to my repertoire. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Water play

This kid loves to be engaged at all times! So while I'm getting ready (in the bathroom,  right next to him.  Duh. ) he gets to learn "on" and "off", "little" and "a lot", and make a wonderful mess while exploring and playing!  Have towels on hand to clean up afterwards!
It's the simplest things that make the biggest impact.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Easy Oven Baked, Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

So there we were.  I was still recovering from the week.  Baby had just had one of those weeks, ya know?  Husband had let me sleep in a little bit and I woke up starving.  But I was too tired and lazy to go to the store.  Ordering in sounded terrible.  I don't eat fast food, and it sounded blech anyway.  What did I want?

Think, think, think, think.

I wanted chocolate.  AND some comfort food.

Think, think, think, think.

Hey, we have pasta.  Hey, we have mexican blend cheese.  I've got some almond milk left.  We have butter. Uh yup.  Homemade mac and cheese.  I've never made homemade mac and cheese in my life, but no reason why I shouldn't start now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Baby's First Flight: How to Get Through Air Travel With Your Sanity

The night before our flight to visit relatives in Michigan, I didn't sleep.  Granted, the baby was up like normal, more so because of teething and a growth spurt.  But this insomnia was caused by preventative trouble shooting and a mental checklist of what to do if Baby B had a full blown melt down in the middle of our flight.  Thankfully, my aunt had had the wherewithal to book us a nonstop which cut down on the amount of time B would have to get overly tired and turn into Oscar the Grouch. And since I would be traveling by myself with him, the shorter flight was MUCH appreciated.

The mental conversation at 3am went a little like this:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The ONLY resource for homemade baby food you really need!

As you know by now,  we are a fairly natural ingredient household.  Clean food as much as we can,  simple and natural cleaning products,  growing veggies, etc.  So of course we would extend the same to our garbage disposal of a baby :)

The good news is,  most baby food companies have gotten with the program and responded to consumer demands for simple,  pure baby food that is without extra sugar,  salt,  or chemical preservatives.  So most store bought baby food is safe and quite tasty (hey, I gotta know what my kids is eating).  But the store bought can really start putting a dent in the wallet,  especially if your kid goes through food the way ours does.  He's about the size of a 7 month old (at 9 months), and eats about what a kid over a year does.  Hence,  human garbage disposal.

That's where this great book, The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet, comes in. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sanctimommy: The New Reality TV

Ok people.  Seriously.  How many times do we have to say it: quit judging each other!  Especially us moms out there.  Do you even realize how much we have to contend with?!  And, I understand this is a first world problem right here, but the vast amount of choices we have to make concerning our parenting is ridiculous.  Hospital v. birth center, birth center v. home birth, midwife v. OB, cloth v. disposable, breast v. bottle, formula v. breastmilk (I'm biased here since massive studies have shown the benefits of breastfeeding for at least 6 months, but I digress.), crying it out v. attachment parenting, stroller v. sling, vaccines, solid food, toys, tv time, working, working out, staying at home, work at home mother, play dates, day care, babysitters v. full time nanny........  do you see what I'm getting at here!?  

It is completely overwhelming.  And having someone at every turn tell you your decisions are wrong is not only soul crushing and infuriating, but utterly wrong. And it's on every single side of every single issue out there!

There is a term out there right now: "Sanctimommy."  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Little Monday Madness

I've been a very selfish mom.  I'll admit it.  I've mourned the loss of my body and my life most days since the baby has been born.  I can blame some of it on the Postpartum Depression, but a lot of it was I just was not adjusting well to motherhood.  I've been a nanny, and damn good one.  I loved it, loved the kids, treated them and cared for them as if they were my own.  So even though this pregnancy was a huge surprise (not planned for at all), I assumed my being a badass nanny would easily transfer over to being a full time mom.  

I have never been more wrong about anything in my life.

The constant demands on my sleep, sanity, and body drove me to the brink of snapping more times than I can count. I tried in vain not to think in terms of what his crying and not sleeping were doing to me, and focus on what he needed, what was wrong, why he was having a hard time.  But there was always that dark part of me whispering in the back of my ear, "If he wasn't here, you wouldn't have to deal with this."  It compounded my already present depression.  

It's been getting better, little by little each month that goes by. I have to remind myself everyday though that he can't talk yet, his only method of communicating is crying and so I just need to figure his shit out when he's trying to tell me what he needs.

This Monday it all melted away.  He woke up with an outrageous fever, no appetite and lethargy like I haven't seen since he was a newborn and having trouble feeding.  My instincts kicked in, like normal, but this time I was present with him.  I wasn't just going through the motions while lost in my head about how this was cutting into my to-do list, or how I wasn't going to get to work out, or that I couldn't get away from him because he was so clingy.  I was there with him, figuring out what he needed and wanted to help him get better.  I realized there was no way any of my list was getting done, and that was that. No guilt, no resentment, just acceptance.  I finally accepted motherhood.  I didn't feel like a care taker or live in nanny, as I have for most of his short little life, I finally felt connected on a deeper level than we had gotten to, where I knew at my core, my essence, that he was my son.  Remarkably, he recovered from this bout of illness, quicker than I've seen him get over anything.  By 10 that night his fever had drastically receded to 99.3, and kept dropping overnight to reveal a bouncy, happy, bright eyed little boy for me the next morning.

I'm nowhere near to being done realizing the depth of my "mom-ness", and still have to work every day (usually between 3am-5am) on not snapping, not muttering curses and sighing exasperatedly when I hear him wake again each night, not moping or thinking about what his actions are doing to me, but it's a start.  A very, very late start, but a start nonetheless.  I'll take it. 

 He's my little guy, my little man.  And he just needs his mom. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Purple Reign

I am in looooove with purple for decorating right now! Purple and pink are my favorite go-to colours anyway, but when it comes to decorating I usually play it very much on the safe side. So much so, that I become very bored with the dullness of my everyday decor. 

However, in our new apartment the walls are a greyish colour and we have this great crown moulding and huge windows and master bath that just screams for me to make it really eye catching.  

After a bit of thinking, and a ton of Pinteresting, I found the color scheme for the Master Bath and Bedroom.  The bath will be done in a lavender tone, with just a few bronze and silver pops to break it up.  I adore lavender, but had to hunt around to find the right shade I was looking for: nothing too light and girly (husband would have thrown a shit fit lol), and of course nothing too muddy looking since the bathroom has a monotonous grey tone to it as well. 

Here is the colour scheme collage I did for the bath. 

(the clip with the pink flowers is only for the tray ;) )

My chip inspiration:

The cream and lavenders are what pulled me in.
And here we have the perfect palette  for both the bedroom and bath. The sage and mint green will be used in my next post on the Master Bedroom Inspiration!  I'm so excited to piece that one together!

I absolutely adore using Picasa Photo Editing to make the collage, it really helps to organize and simplify your thought process.  And if you're even remotely ADD like I am, you need all the calming and organization you can get!

Now it's your turn, I want to see your room inspiration!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

From Utah to Texas: My First Impression and Recommendations: Food

Holy crap, we did it.  4 days of traveling in a packed-to-the-brim Acura with the dog up front, and the baby, cat and myself in the back so I could tend to the kiddo.  Desert, more desert and more desert.  Stopping in to see some of my favorite people whom I met while living in Washington who are now in Albequrque. Who made us amazing Indian food and plied us with alcohol :). Then West Texas, and the return of Southern accents and huge plates of greasy, fried food.

Plano and Dallas has really changed for the better since I was stationed in Oklahoma while in the Navy

Why? Just Why?: The Over Sexualization of the Fitness Industry

Sex sells.   It's true, it does.  Turn on any commercial and you are more likely to see a woman (mostly young 20's, white,  and with a toned physique) doing any of these:

eating food

putting on makeup 

any perfume ad, ever

aaaaaaannnnndd........selling anything remotely fitness related! 

It's our culture, I get it.  We are a patriarchal society,  it's bound to happen. But God damn,  it's getting to a point of ridiculousness!  When I see a blog about what the author's favorite workout Playlist is, and her accompanying photo is standing serenely at the window with her headphones on. ....wearing cheekie underwear and a tied up t-shirt, with knee high socks!  Who wears that crap to work out???!!!! It's past the point of saying "I look and feel amazing from my workouts and diet,  and so want to share with the  world.", and had definitely taken a huge leap across the line into "I'm so hot I want all of you to want to f*ck me." territory.  I love that particular blog and have been following the author since I was in my second trimester.  This,  however,  made me literally facepalm myself and  roll my eyes. 

I have modeled in the past (oh sigh how I miss my pre-baby body), and it was mostly nudes, posed in some very alluring and suggestive poses.  You know where those photos are?  In my portfolio.  On my modeling page.  In a photographer's portfolio.  NOT in a blog where I'm trying to help women lose weight and feel better about themselves after having a baby!  Yes, I know this particular picture is not nude,  but it's one loosely tied shirt away from being one.

And it's not just that photo.  It's the entire industry of fitness.  It's subconscious body shaming to get the person on the receiving end to buy/look at/use your product.  It's creating envy to plant subliminal messaging.  Enough is enough.  Not only for the customer,  but the Fitness Pro as well. I actually stopped watching Bodyrock.tv  because it became so overtly sexualized that I felt like I was watching amateur, soft core porn. And I was in the military at that time,  NOTHING phased me. All I could think to myself was "didn't any of that make her a little uncomfortable at exploiting herself for someone else's profit?"

No,  there is no need for baggy t-shirts and sweats,  nor even a need to cover the tummy. Let those shorts ride on up! Let the ladies be on display!  Guys,  flex those contractually shown abs! Stand serenely at the window with headphones!  But let's make it more realistic,  instead of looking like you just got done with a f*ck session.  As a consumer,  I'd be a lot more willing to look at/use/buy a product that showed a woman who looked powerful, and with that post workout glow, rather than a delicate and over sexualized girl.

Jussayin. And stepping down off my soapbox now. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Morning Must-Have

My husband is a huge Paleo diet follower.  I follow, but I also love rice, sourdough bread, and cheese.  So let's say I'm a part-timer.  But there is one thing about the Paleo diet that I have found to really benefit me, both physically and mentally.  Bulletproof Coffee.  Oh yes people, that deliciously creamy and sweet coffee mixture is better than anything you can find at Starbucks, and is actually good for you!  The fat in the butter and coconut oil provide good energy and nutrients without breaking the fast that your body has been in since dinner the night before, and I feel so much more alert and clear headed after drinking a cup of that stuff! It helps your metabolism become more efficient, and uhhhh shall we say, helps to "clear" your digestive tract lol.

Making Bulletproof coffee is soooooo easy!

 First, put 1 Tablespoon or more of unsalted organic butter (grassfed is best!) in the bottom of your coffee cup.

Next, add either MCT oil or Coconut oil. I prefer coconut oil, so shakiness and a yummy sweet flavor.  Add Organic stevia as desired for sweetness.

Pour your coffee over it all and stir like crazy until well blended and creamy with the fat and oil resting near the top.  Get approving look from Baby and drink yourself into bliss!

Monday, February 9, 2015

PiYo = Love

I am a self professed PiYo nerd.  After the baby was born, I hit a plateau. I had terrible Postpartum Depression, and Baby B had terrible reflux so I was getting absolutely no sleep. And as we all know, no sleep leads to no energy, which leads to no working out.  I was miserable.  After crying for a few days (weeks) over my body I started going for walks and jogs with the baby in the stroller.  I knew I needed more though, and so contacted my friend Gabriella Harrison who is also a Beachbody Coach, letting her know I wanted to check out PiYo, which I had heard her talk about on her coach Facebook page.  She hooked me up with the challenge pack, which included the PiYo workout series and Shakeology.

 I had done Shakeology before, but had gotten off the wagon for various reasons during the previous year.

Within a week of drinking Shakeology every morning on my way to classes, and fitting in PiYo after the baby went to bed, I started feeling better.  Within two weeks I started seeing some definition in my waist and thighs.  Within a month, my pre-pregnancy clothes were starting to be less tight, and I didn't want to cry or kill myself every time I put on a pair of pants.  Combined with walking 2-4 miles to and from classes each day, and not having time to eat because of studying and a demanding baby, I dropped about 12 lbs.  Then life got in the way, and my workouts dwindled.  I could tell a difference in how I felt emotionally, and how my clothes felt.  But, the great thing about PiYo is that is comes with a workout schedule so if you fall off track you can always pick back up in the program where you left off, or start the program back over.

The program is so easy to follow; a mix of yoga and pilates (hence, PiYo) and is challenging enough that you can always work on your form and moving up to a new level instead of just going through the motions over and over and over.  Rarely do I get bored with this program, even with starting it over.

If you are interested, you can either head on over to www.beachbody.com, or contact me to help set you up with a program!

Beachboy Challenge Pack

Friday, February 6, 2015

Easy Ways to Boost Milk Supply

We've all been there: you're going along, nursing happily and then it happens.  Baby pulls off, looks at you and starts screaming.  You do the "squeeze check" to see if the letdown has happened, and realize, shit, there is NO milk coming out!  The panic sets in, baby is still screaming, and  you are stressing your head off as you try to calm baby down enough to get a bottle of freezer milk ready for him.

It's enough to make any mom feel like a failure, especially if it happens to be a regular occurrence, as is with me.  You cry, you stress, and you know that just makes things worse but you can't help feeling like a failure that you aren't up to the job of nourishing that little person who depends on you for sustenance.

Below is my tried-and-true list of what works for me.  I am by no means an expert or lactation consultant, and will always recommend you start there, like I did.  Those ladies are experts and are amazing. But after that visit with them, or while you are waiting for their visit, try these tips to help get that milk flowing!

1) Milk Tea.  There are a ton of them on the market, but the one I found works best for me is Mothers Milk Tea by Traditional Medicines. Have a cup 2-3 times a day for best results, then 1 per day or every other day after supply resumes.

2) Good Fats.  Whole, nutrient dense foods like avocado, coconut oil, hummus, eggs (if baby can handle), whole fat yogurt (again, if baby can handle dairy), almonds, and grassfed butter are all amazing at helping enrich and build your milk supply.

3) Healthy Diet.  We all know you are working your ass off (literally) to lose the baby weight.  However, if terribly restricting nutrient and calorie intake, your supply will be one of the first things to go, even before any of the weight comes off. Make sure you are getting about 400-500 extra calories a day, and including enough protein and fat, which are the building blocks of baby's milk.

4) Lactation Cookies.  Seriously, they work.  I promise.  And they taste amazing!  You can check out my recipe for Gluten Free Peanut Butter Lactation Cookies here, or check out my favorite recipes pinned on my After Baby board on Pinterest. If you don't have time to make them, head on over to Babies 'R Us, and pick up a few location cookies.  Do about 3 a day for 2-3 days to really see an improvement in supply.

5) Mind the Exercise.  As hard as it is, some of us simply cannot go as hardcore in our workouts as we used to before baby.  It depletes our hydrations, and nutrients, two key elements in making the milk.  Keep exercising, but scale it back a bit and make sure to eat, and hydrate. For example, if I know my supply is low, I will go for a long walk or a short jog or PiYo workout instead of a long run or heavy weight session.

6) Power Pump.  This one is tedious, I won't lie. Pump for 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off for an hour.  At least once a day. Every time the nipples are stimulated with a sucking motion, it signals our bodies to produce more and more of that liquid gold. So when baby is sleeping or just isn't interested in nursing, pull out the pump, turn on a show and go to town.  Try not to get stressed or frustrated that you only pull 1/2 an ounce or so.  It's the motion that will help with the next time you need to nurse.

7) Nurse, Nurse, and Nurse Some More.  Every time baby is calm, especially after a nursing session, let them go a little longer to help signal a second letdown. Again, the more the nipples are stimulated, the more signals are sent out to make more milk. Also, try to drain the breast completely at each nursing session. When the breasts are empty, they have a lower supply of FIL, which is a milk blocker.  Also, an empty breast means no blocked ducts which can lead to mastitis, which will lower  your supply as well.

8) Nurse on Demand.  My favorite phrase that I've heard repeatedly is "watch the baby, not the clock."  Just like we are not hungry at the same time, day in and day out, neither is baby.  Especially during a growth spurt.  When baby is giving hungry cues: fussing, rooting, eating hands, shoulders, your nose, etc. get that baby on the boob! Again, the more the nipples are stimulated.....say it with me kids......THE MORE MILK WILL BE MADE!

8) Warm  Your Ladies.  Cold on the breast will shrink the ducts down and signal a stop to your milk.  Keeping them warm, especially wet warmth will do just the opposite.  Put warm washcloths on while nursing, or schedule your shower at night around the time you know baby will be waking to nurse.

9) Night Nursing or Pumping. Our breasts make the most milk between 1 and 5 am.  Try to get your  little one on there to keep the supply up.  If not night nursing, try to get up at least once to pump.

10) A Drink.  No, do not go get hammered unless you have backup milk, that can actually reduce your supply. But a stout beer will help build your supply because of the brewers yeast.  And when all else fails, a small glass of wine will help relax you. And a relaxed momma is a well supplied momma.

And just remember, if for some reason you milk has depleted to the point of no return, there are pharmaceuticals the doctor can give you that should work.  If not, then don't fret.  You have given your baby as much milk as you can, and each drop of liquid gold is so precious that you should rejoice in the fact that you were able to give your baby as much as you could :)