Weekly Workout Round-up & I Had a Moment

Happy Monday! 

I know it's been June for almost a week already, but it just hit me that it's freaking JUNE! Where did the time go? I am seriously going to be relocating to Rhode Island in less than 2 months. In fact, I have only 6 weeks of work left in Orlando and that's totally insane to me! There are so many things I still want to do before we leave! I'd like to eat at least 4 poke bowls, go to the beach twice, I need to repair my outdoor wicker furniture, I'd like to refinish my kitchen table because it looks like crap and I'd also like to reupholster my chairs because the fabric is old and gross. And then I also have to work full-time, do my wife and mom stuff, workout 6 times a week, lose this last 10 pounds, and try to sleep 8 hours a night. 

.........................................................

That's not asking much, right?? Hahahahahaaa...just writing that makes me look at myself inwardly like, you're nuts bae.

However I'm sure I can do most of what I want to do because I'm pretty dang stubborn when I want to be and right now, I want to do all the stuff and things!! Plus, my work completely covers all of the relocation expenses and movers, so we don't even need to worry about packing anything more than what we need for the few weeks we're living in corporate housing. I'm talking they come into your house and pack and move everything for us and all we have to do is clean up afterwards. And because I'm a total control-freak-planner-crazy-person, I'm pretty sure I've already found a place to live that's in the school district we want AND I've found a daycare and planned out my commute.  

So look forward to hearing more about all of this insanity that we have coming up, because it's truly going to be nuts! 

As I mentioned on Friday, I am going to go down to posting three times a week now, with more emphasis on quality posts and serious shenanigans. Thanks to everyone who provided feedback! Don't be afraid to give me more - I love hearing from you guys <3

Now onto our...

Weekly Workout Round-Up!!

I'm not going to lie - it was a pretty good week for workouts. Not a great week for eating...it wasn't really bad, just not awesome. As such, I have managed to lose 3 of the pounds I gained in the hospital, but still have 10 total to lose to get to pre-baby. and 3-5 more just because I'm fixed on the number even though I said I wouldn't be anymore. I'm not perfect and the scale and I are back in our dumb relationship. Stupid scale - I just can't quit you. I love you and I hate you at the same time!

Monday - P90X Chest, Shoulders, Triceps & Core Workout

Memorial Day workout! I pretty much woke up, got Jules some cereal to snack on and put a movie on, and then did my workout using my iPad. I also did some progress pictures because I plan on really cleaning up my diet over the next 6 weeks and I AM going to get some results. I am always so amused with how different my pictures are when they don't happen at 5 in the morning...

Tuesday - Run & Core 

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Pretty big difference between Monday's before workout picture and this one, eh?

Tuesday's run was supposed to be a half mile warm-up and 8 repeats of 1 minute race pace (8:14/mi), 1 minute recovery jog, 30 second sprint (7:00/mi) and 1 minute recovery. I ended up getting up and out of the door late so I was only able to do 5 of the repeats, but my after workout smile tells me it must have been a pretty great workout!

Wednesday - P90X Back & Biceps and Core

Another super flattering picture that I'm sharing with the masses...I don't even look like I'm awake here (I probably am not actually awake in that picture...it takes me awhile to wake-up). 

Thursday - Run, HIIT, and Core

I have a few thoughts about these pictures...

  1. That is quite the expression on my face in my before workout picture. It's like I'm giving myself a death glare or something "you will do this workout and you will enjoy it, or else!!"
  2. The insane amount of sweat on my arm in the second picture shows me that it was em effing hot outside for that run. I remember feeling like I was going to die because of the heat and this picture shows that I wasn't exaggerating because that's just not something I do. 
  3. Look at how clean the mirror is!
  4. Fakest smile ever.

Oh and Jason came home from work towards the end of this run and followed me around our neighborhood twice while yelling at me on the loudspeaker ("great job" "keep going") and playing Eye of the Tiger...so yeah...our neighbors love us. 

I did Turbofire HIIT 25 for my HIIT workout and it destroyed me in every possible way. In a good way, but I was dead afterwards. 

Friday - P90X Legs & Back and Core

More of the same...wake up, take before workout picture where I look like I'm about to cry, do workout and still laugh at Tony Horton's jokes because I'm ridiculous, rush to take beaming post-workout picture before running around like a chicken with it's head cut off to get ready and out of the door on time, get to work with just enough time to fill snapchat with some ridiculous snaps, and then head into the door to #girlboss all day. 

Saturday - Rest Day

Sunday - RUNDAY

Let me tell you about this run. First and foremost, it's the furthest I've ran this year and I swear I really am proud of it. However this ish was hard. I'm talking, it took some serious pushing on my part to keep myself going. It was so effing hot - my car said it was 86 degrees when we got back and the humidity was like a billion percent. Not even exaggerating ;-) Then I was really really tired - Jules is sleeping so poorly right now and woke me up pretty much all night long. However something else happened this weekend that messed up my mood and motivation and it trickled into my run as well...don't worry, I'm about to tell you all about it. 

As you know, we are moving to Rhode Island soon (super soon) and as such, I have started to sort through our stuff to get rid of things we don't want/need. I have a huge closet filled with clothes that I'm mostly not wearing because they're primarily pre-Jules clothes that don't fit me anymore. So Saturday night I decided it was time to sift through all of these and get rid of anything that doesn't fit me and let's just say it did not end on a happy note. 

I'm getting rid of 80% of my wardrobe.

I started with shorts/skirts/workout clothes and that wasn't a big deal. I wasn't overly attached to any of those items and didn't really mind when those didn't fit. But then I got to my jeans/pants/work dresses and let me tell you, trying to put those clothes on to see how they fit/if they fit/can I even zip them up was extremely disheartening. 

Now I know that I'm still 10-15 pounds over where I'd like to be, however I've been able to wear most of my casual pre-Jules clothes (which is mostly casual dresses and workout clothes). I've even been able to get back into some of my old work dresses as long as I don't want to breathe too deeply on the days I wear them. However jeans and my other work dresses don't lie - they don't stretch or cover up any of this extra weight I'm still carrying and to say my mood decreased with every failed item of clothing would be a bit of an understatement. 

I still have so far to go before I'm close to being back to where I was pre-baby. 

In the spirit on honesty and full disclosure, here's a super fun picture that I probably shouldn't put in a public place but I have no shame...

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Just cause it zips doesn't mean it fits. 

To be fair to myself, I could hardly wear these jeans pre-Jules except for on my super skinny days...you know, those 3-4 days a month where everything fits and your stomach is flat and you feel amazing?!? So it's not 100% fair to call these my pre-baby jeans, but they are a pair of jeans that I was able to wear for a long time that I will never wear again and it hit me hard on Saturday when the majority of my clothes ended up that way. And that sucks. I ended up putting like 12 pairs of designer jeans into that pile of "donate" clothes and didn't even try on half of the dresses because I was practically in tears and couldn't do it to myself. And that mood stuck with me for my run and I seriously beat myself up for the vast majority of the run. 

"This run would be so much easier if you weighed 15 pounds less"

"Look at how far out your stomach is sticking, uggghhhh"

"If you weren't so fat, you could wear shorts to run and wouldn't be so freaking hot"

I absolutely hate how mean I was to myself and I do realize this probably isn't normal behavior and don't worry, I don't say any of this stuff out loud for my kids to hear. It's hard to come to the realization that you just aren't anywhere near where you used to be. Luckily, I'm not completely crazy and by the time I stopped and was stretching I was able to reflect and started to feel proud of myself for finishing the run. Especially since it was such a struggle. And then I was able to start looking at myself with clarity and honesty and I realized that in order to drop this weight and get healthy I am going to need to be honest, and I haven't been. 

Just to be clear, this isn't solely about looking good and vanity - I want to be healthy and I'm not.

I've mentioned this a few times, but I've had issues with my blood sugar and my blood pressure in the past and that scares me - I'm only 34. I know that carrying around 10-15 extra pounds especially when it's primarily around my core, is extremely unhealthy. While I do love to look good and feel good about how I look, this has a lot more to do with wanting to make sure I'm there to see my kids and their kids grow up and feel good doing it.

So yesterday after my run I took some time to reflect and came up with three things I'm really going to focus on to finally start making some progress towards meeting my goals.

  • Booze - if I am being completely honest with myself, I have been drinking way too much booze. I generally go through a bottle of wine in a weekend and lately, I've also had some seriously caloric craft beers and margaritas as well. When I took my measurements on Monday, I was kind of surprised to see that I'm pretty much back to pre-baby on my legs, hips, arms, and chest; however my waist and gut are 2-3 inches more than pre-baby. I guarantee a lot of that has to do with drinking alcohol. I actually didn't drink any booze this weekend, so I'm just going to keep that up for the foreseeable future and I have the feeling I'll see some good results from that alone. 
  • Food - that whole 80/20 thing? Yeah, it's more 50/50. I do fantastic in regards to nutrition Monday-Thursday, but I blow it all to shit over the weekend by eating anything and everything. I'll find myself snacking because I'm bored or just because I want to, and I know that's another big part of what's holding me back. So it's time for me to get seriously serious about what I'm eating - I'm going to track my calories and also cut back on carbs just a little. Not a lot, because I need my carbs, but instead of eating a full cup of rice with my lunch and dinner I'm cutting back to a 1/2 cup and seeing how that goes. And while I'll still allow myself treats, I'm not going to go hog wild every weekend like I have been. A little bit of control is what I need here, and it's been a long time since I've really tried to exhibit any control over my eating. However I've done it in the past so I know I can do it, I just hate doing it. 
  • Sleep - this is a big one. I don't sleep enough and that can have a negative effect on your weight. I have a bad habit of sitting down after putting Jules to bed and cleaning up and then I'll watch tv until it's 10 or 11 and then once I do finally get to sleep, it's interrupted by my butthole toddler. So instead of vegging out for 2-3 hours every night and watching tv I'm going to make a commitment to get into bed by 8:30. This way I will be asleep by 9-9:30 and will get 7.5-8 hours of sleep. I'm sure it will still be interrupted sleep (Juuuuuuules!!!), but at least there will be more of it. 

I'm calling this the Trifecta of Truth and I'm really going to focus on doing those three things for the next 6 weeks, tracking my progress, and then I'll reevaluate from there. Luckily exercise is already such a big part of my life that I don't need to work on that as well. As usual, I'll keep you all updated on my progress including successes and failures, and in true Jamie fashion, I'll probably change my mind about stuff a million times in the process.  

Have any of you reading this had a similar struggle? Do you have any advice for me other than I need to be honest with how much I'm eating and drinking and start sleeping more? I'll probably do some posts with a full day's worth of food so you guys can tear it apart, because won't that be fun?!?

I'll be back in a day or two with something SUPER FUN! Have a fantastic day!

A Birth Control Story

Like a Cinderella Story or the Princess Diaries, but about birth control and totally different. 

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week - I'm sorry about not posting yesterday; the day got away from me and I just couldn't make it happen! Part of that has to do with some HUGE news that I will share as soon as I can, so keep checking in so you don't miss what's going on #deeptease

Today's post has to do with something that I am pretty passionate about, since it involves my health, and my health and longevity is obviously very important to me. Now the men reading might be like, this has nothing to do with me, but I say you're wrong and should keep reading. Let's be real here...do you have sex? Does your special lady friend/wife/baby mama use birth control (and if you don't know the answer to that question, shame on you). Or if you're a dad, you might want to keep this in mind for your daughter since it's kind of a big deal. 

And if you're a woman, it's on you to make sure you are in charge of your health. Use birth control or some sort of fertility method until you're ready to have kids, use condoms, be smart, don't ignore crazy health symptoms, etc. 

So here's my birth control story. 

I have been on some sort of birth control since I was in high school and my high school boyfriend's sister took me to Planned Parenthood because she was smart and knew we were crazy and hormonal and she didn't want a niece/nephew quite yet. I started off on the pill and that worked really well until I was 20 and got pregnant with my ex-husband (best surprise ever). 

I mean, look at how stunningly beautiful I was in high school...who wouldn't want a piece of that? (Btw...this picture is from when I was 14 and I most definitely was not doing the deed then - I'm not going to say when it actually happened, but it was definitely not at 14...way too young). 

Seriously though...black streaks in my hair, hemp necklaces...wow. 

Tangent time...how freaking cute is 1-year old Justin?? If you look under his nose, he has a scab from where he slammed his face into an end table while trying to walk. And then his right eye has a scab where he was bit by a pit bull. True story. One of my coworkers offered to babysit Justin and their dog bit him, completely unprovoked (he was just playing with toys). However this coworker also bragged on the regular about how he would "discipline" his dog by hitting her, so I don't blame the breed...I blame the moron who beats their dog. Lesson learned and luckily it was not as serious as it could have been had he been bit a bit more to the left.

Moving on...

To another tangent...can I get an "awwwwwwwww" for sweet and cute, little 18 month old Justin on a beach in Alaska? I mean, SERIOUSLY!! 

Okay, now seriously moving on and back to my story. 

After having Justin I decided to try something other than the pill, since I got pregnant while taking the pill. At first I tried the patch and I hated it - it was gross and made my skin break out and I just didn't like it. I eventually ended up getting the copper IUD and had it for approximately 4 years without any issues at all, until I had an unfortunate water skiing incident that knocked it loose. 

I'm not even kidding here guys...

No bullshit - this epic wipeout resulted in my IUD getting dislodged #naturedouche? Is that too much information? Oh well - stick with me because it's all important, I promise. 

Luckily I was actually getting ready to start my first egg donation a month after this, so I just stayed off of the birth control and got ready to pump my body full of all sorts of other hormones/medications!

Don't worry...I'll talk about my egg donation(s) experience in a later post.

While I was in the egg donation cycle, they had me take Yaz and let me tell you something...I loved Yaz. Love, love, LOVED it. My skin was clear and glowing for the first time ever and I was able to maintain my weight and I wasn't a raving lunatic once a month - it was the best. 

Unfortunately, while we were living in Massachusetts I started experiencing horrible migraines, usually for a couple of days during the week before that special time of the month. They were usually bad enough that I'd have to leave work and lay on the kitchen floor (it was cool) with the lights off until my migraine medicine kicked in. These migraines involved something called an aura - basically I would get tunnel vision and my eyesight would narrow with blurriness around the outside and lights bothered me immensely. I knew this wasn't normal or okay, so I went to my lady parts doctor who said it was probably due to my birth control and the hormones fluctuating too much and I should try a method that would keep my hormones more steady - so she gave me the Nuvaring. 

I hated it. 

Hate, hate, HATED. So I switched back to Yaz and decided I would just deal with the migraines and they're not a big deal...

Fast forward to a few years when we moved to Florida and I got a new lady parts doctor. After telling her about my migraines she said this is actually a huge concern and that she would not be willing to prescribe any combined-method birth control for me. You see, when you are taking a combined hormone birth control and you have migraines with an aura, it actually increases your risk of having a stroke. My doctor explained this is fairly new research, but she recommended I stop taking combined method birth control and switch to something that's either progestogen-only (mini-pill, the shot, the implant) or non-hormonal (copper IUD, condoms, diaphragm, rhythm method). 

I was super bummed because I actually loved taking Yaz and the positive side effects I experienced with it, but I didn't want to have a stroke (obviously) so I decided to try out the copper IUD again. 

I did not have a good experience with it the second time. I actually ended up gaining over 10 pounds that were primarily in my stomach, had horrible periods, terrible skin, and all sorts of other side effects...

We actually got married a month before I had the IUD removed and luckily I looked fantastic that day :-) Be humble, bitch sit down (it's a song...)

But I really did have a ton of issues with the IUD the second time - it had actually gotten lodged into my right ovary (which meant it hurt like a mother when they took it out) and that was causing a lot of inflammation which could be part of the reason for my bloating all the time. I also ended up getting diagnosed with PCOS around this time and was told I'd probably not be able to have any additional children naturally, which I talk more about in this post...at this point they put me on the mini-pill which is a progestogen-only pill and safe for people who suffer from migraines (especially with aura).

3 months after they told me I had PCOS and wouldn't be able to get pregnant naturally, I found out I was almost 4 months pregnant.

Needless to say, I wasn't overly worried about birth control until 8 weeks postpartum, when I started back up on the mini-pill and luckily I have not really had any issues with it. The biggest thing with the mini-pill is you have to take it at the same time every day and if you miss it by more than 3 hours, you will probably end up pregnant. Not. Even. Kidding. Also, I'd like to blame the fact that I still have baby (toddler?) weight to lose on the mini-pill, but I am capable of being honest with myself and saying that it's actually because I eat like a horse and drink too much wine/beer sometimes. I need to start practicing moderation with my moderation - don't think too hard about it and it will make sense. 

Also in regards to PCOS, I have not had any of the issues since having Jules and I do wonder if mine was just triggered by stopping birth control. I guess only time will tell - you better believe if I start experiencing weight gain, horrible skin, hair on my face, thinning hair, or any of the other myriad of symptoms I experienced after coming off Yaz, I will be going to the doctor and getting a full blood panel. 

To review all of the above:

I was not having sex at 14, I just think the picture is funny.

If you or someone you know (friend/wife/girlfriend/sister/mom) take birth control and experience migraine with aura, please urge them to discuss this with their lady parts doctor ASAP. 

The actual increase in the risk of stroke is a small one, but like I said earlier, I'm not effing around when it comes to my health. A stroke is a big, potentially fatal deal and it's not something I am okay risking, even if it means my skin sucks and I'm 10 pounds heavier (again, probably more to do with my "moderation" than anything). 

And if you are on the mini-pill like me make sure you take it at the same exact time every day or you'll get pregnant. 

Finally, I know you're all concerned about the state of my bathroom mirror. 

Yep! Still dirty...all of the other bathrooms have been cleaned, but I just haven't been able to get to our bathroom yet and my husband is working a bajillion hours so he hasn't been able to do it either. It's happening this weekend though. Hopefully (no promises). 

Other than cleaning my bathroom and folding laundry, we really don't have much planned on this glorious long weekend - Jules is doing much better so I think we might try to find a splash park somewhere? Maybe go to the beach if we decide we can handle the crowds? Grill some steaks or something on Monday?

How about you? What are your Memorial Day weekend plans? Please tell me you're having a BBQ and/or doing something super fun!

Oh and before I forget, I have an awesome deal for Le Tote! I actually kept another one of my dresses from my last box because I can't live without it, and I'm really excited about the next box that I'm getting early next week since it has THREE dresses that I saved on the app instead of the usual one or two. 

Use the code 20OFF3 to sign up and you'll get 20% off for 3 months. That's a seriously awesome deal, so if you're thinking about doing it I urge you to give it a shot for 3 months - that's only $47/month for the 4 articles of clothing, non-maternity box! And doing it for 3 months will give you a real taste for it and you can make an honest decision on whether you like it or not.

That's all I have for today - have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday Catch-Up and Randomosity!

Happy not-Monday! It's always so much nicer when it's not a Monday, am I right? Today has me getting back into the swing of things, going back to work, and hopefully getting into a routine again. Which I think our entire family desperately needs!

Is anyone else a total creature of habit? I do love to do things spontaneously here and there - spontaneous beach trip, unplanned lobster dinner, winning the lottery (that would be nice...) - but for the most part, I do really well when I'm able to stick to my schedule.

Here's an example of my usual weekday schedule: 

5:00am - wake-up and convince myself to roll out of bed and work-out

5:30ish-6:40 - workout

6:40-8:00 - shower, get ready for work, get Jules ready for daycare, wake Justin up multiple times and remind him to shower/eat/brush his teeth/wear deodorant, run around like a chicken with its head cut off, make breakfast, run out the door 5-10 minutes behind schedule and rush to daycare/work

8:45-5:30 or so - #girlboss

6:00-7:30 - make dinner, clean up after dinner, try to play with Jules and talk to Justin before Jules has a tired-toddler melt-down, give her a bath, read story, put to bed, take a deep breath. 

8:00-9:30 - clean up more, prep meal for lunch the next day, eff around on Facebook/Snapchat/the 'gram, talk to my husband if he's not working, collapse into bed and hopefully fall asleep hardcore-style before waking up at 5 the next day and doing it all over again. 

I actually hope to do a day-in-the-life post once we get back into our normal schedule/routine and Jules is doing better, but you get the idea for now. Needless to say, being in the hospital and in and out of doctor's offices for the past week and half has really thrown our schedule for a loop. We were in the actual hospital for 3 nights and 4 days so my workouts and eating have not been where they normally would (and obviously I am okay with this since we had much more important things to worry about).

I think there are two types of people when it comes to dealing with stress - those who don't eat at all and lose weight and those who stress eat everything in sight and end up gaining weight. I'm the person who stress eats everything (especially carbs/cereal/chips) and even though the scale and I had broken up, I decided to check out the damage this morning to see where I am...let's just say that I now have 12 pounds of weight to get back down to pre-Jules weight instead of 7. Womp womp. 

Again, I'm not really super upset about it since we had so much more important things to worry about, but with my weight inching up and knowing in the back of my mind that I have issues with my blood pressure being close to the high-end of normal along with borderline pre-diabetic blood sugar, this is not really something I can just ignore. This isn't really so much about vanity and wanting to look good as it is about being healthy long-term so I can be around for a long-long time and not have any crazy health issues. So I am jumping back onto the workout train and trying to chill out on my eating/drinking and will hopefully be able to lose what I've gained in the past week and a half pretty quickly and then continue to chip away at the rest of it. Like I've said before, it's not that I'm obsessed with the number itself, but I am obsessed with getting my overall health itself back to normal/excellent. Too bad being able to do a million burpees isn't a health factor that doctor's look at because I am awesome at that. 

Moving on from that tangent, why don't we talk about other random crap that we've been up to outside of being in the hospital? The last time we really caught up was in my Fri-yay before Mother's Day post, which seems like it happened months ago!

Mother's Day weekend was a pretty nice weekend. Jules obviously wasn't feeling 100% so it was pretty low-key, but we did a lot of relaxing and goofing off, which is two of our favorite things to do!

All the cool kids wear bowls on their heads.

I obviously had to get a poke bowl...because duh. 

And I had to eat my Mother's Day cake - which I devoured over the course of the weekend. With a baby fork. While standing at the counter #icantimaginewhyicantlosethebabyweight

On actual Mother's Day, all I really wanted was to go for a run, have mimosas, take a long bath, and not have to cook any food myself. Which ended up happening pretty much 100% and it was GLORIOUS!

Jules and I woke up and went for my longest run since December. It was slow and hot and super sweaty with the humidity, but it was still a great run. 

Don't worry...Jules had sunblock slathered all over her little feet so they didn't get burnt - it was just too warm to have her in socks or cover her with a blanket and her ankle was swollen and tender at this point so I didn't want her to wear shoes or anything. Whenever we run I always give her a snack and water and she usually eats and drinks all of it and then takes a nap until we stop - easy peasy!

Then I came home to this...

And Jason made me an awesome breakfast. Then I was able to take a nice and relaxing bath before hanging out with Jules and watching movies on the couch for most of the afternoon. Finally Jason prepared some awesome steaks and crab legs for dinner that I scarfed down before meeting my BFF at the airport to bring her car seats and a stroller, since she was in town for the week on a Disney/beach vacation. 

Monday morning I woke up a bit later than usual and did my workout as planned...

Then I noticed Jules ankle was warm to the touch and we all know what happened then. 

We got home from the hospital early evening on Thursday and I did manage to fit in a couple of workouts on Friday and Sunday - just the strength training stuff; I wasn't in the mood for cardio. 

On a sidenote...here's where you can typically find our cats when they're not sleeping in a sliver of sunlight somewhere. They like to chirp at the birds/lizards that are outside on our patio. Sometimes a lizard will jump onto the door and the cats go nuts trying to chase them all over through the glass. It's insane. 

And that about sums up all of the non-illness/hospital related stuff we've been up to the past week and a half. It's not a lot, because the illness and getting Jules better has taken precedence and been at the forefront of everything, however I think I'm starting to see a light at the end of this tunnel. Jules is slowly putting more weight on her foot and was standing without support quite a bit yesterday, but she's still very timid and hesitant to take any steps. We had an appointment with the infectious disease doctor yesterday afternoon and he said it seems that she's responding to the antibiotics really well and we may even be able to stop them at two weeks instead of three, which would be amazing!

Cross your fingers that she'll be back to running around like a crazy toddler in the next couple of days! I'll be back tomorrow with another What it is Wednesday, since I actually have some fun stuff to talk about that I think you should know about!

Now I want to know, are you a stress eater and weight gainer like me, or are you one of the stress weight losers? I find that I turn to comfort food and all of the carbs whenever I am stressed. It's kind of crazy because when I look at the pictures from my workout on Monday compared to Friday, I can really tell a difference in my arm definition - I'm a lot more puffy in the pictures from Friday. But I know it will go away and I honestly just don't care that much at this point. I'm just extra swole and was carb-loading for the race...that I don't have scheduled. Or planned. It's just an excuse. Whatever. :-)

Trust Your Instincts (with an awesome deal at the end!)

Hel-looooooo friends! It's been so long and I hate that I wasn't able to at least drop in once this week to say hi and let you all know what's going on, but I had some serious mom business to take care of. 

My sweet Princess Jules has been in the hospital since Monday afternoon. If you've been reading regularly then you know that Jules has been sick for a couple of weeks. At first we thought it was hand, foot, and mouth, but then she was diagnosed with croup. Croup sucks, but we've dealt with it once before and we assumed it would be a quick round of steroids, she'd feel crappy for a week, and then be up and running before we could catch our breath. 

On Thursday I noticed she was limping and favoring her left leg. Eventually she stopped walking completely and I knew that wasn't okay and took her to her pediatrician who said it was very likely transient synovitis and not a concern. On Saturday I noticed her ankle was really swollen so we took her to the urgent care where they took x-rays and said nothing was broken and she wasn't acting "sick" so it wasn't an infection and she should be fine in a day or two. By this point my mommy-powers were kicking in and I knew something was wrong, even though everyone else kept insisting she was fine. 

"She got stepped on - it's a hairline fracture"

"Maybe she fell at daycare and has a small toddler fracture"

"It's just transient synovitis and she'll be back to running around by Monday"

Monday morning rolled around and Jules still wasn't herself...

Per our normal routine, I woke up early and was ready to work out - Jules woke up with me and watched an entire movie on the couch, which is not normal for her; she's usually good for 15-45 minutes before she ends up on the floor crawling all over me while I try to finish my workout. On top of not acting like herself, she still wasn't walking and refused to put any weight on her foot or let me touch it. Then I noticed her ankle was discolored and warm to the touch and the warning bells went off in my head. 

Something is wrong here. 

I called her doctor and they got her in immediately that morning - by this point she was running a low-grade fever as well. Her pediatrician became concerned, especially since the fever was a new symptom and referred us to a pediatric orthopedic doctor across town. The orthopedic doctor ordered some additional x-rays and confirmed there weren't any breaks, but she was concerned about the fever and the fact that Julianna's ankle was warm to the touch.

She explained she needed us to go to the hospital and admit Jules so they could do an MRI of her ankle, since she was worried about an infection of the joint at this point and wanted to rule it out. 

Hospitals are not conducive to good pictures - I'm sure you understand.

I'm not going to get into all of the details of the hospital stay - Jules had an MRI which was inconclusive and then ended up having surgery to drain fluid from her ankle to run tests. They did find some significant infectious liquid in Julianna's joint and started her on antibiotics with an official diagnosis of septic arthritis, which is a very scary thing to read about on Google. Luckily the doctor said there shouldn't be any long-term effects or damage because we caught it so early. 

Needless to say, this has been an emotionally exhausting and trying week. Not only was my daughter in the hospital for 3 nights and 4 days, my 13 year old son was on his own for a lot of time 45 minutes across town. We had a cousin who came and stayed with him for two of the nights, but Justin was on his own to get ready for school and make dinner and pick up after himself - my heart and mind were all over the place with my daughter in the hospital and my son at home. I had to hold my daughter down on the table while they placed an IV in her arm multiple times due to the ports closing up and hold her while they put her under anesthesia and then put on my other hat and Facetime Justin to make sure he walked the dog and did his homework. 

We're so lucky to have the friends and family we have - everyone was happy to help us where we needed it and my mom flew down on Wednesday and is staying a week to help us out. Which we especially need considering I haven't slept more than an hour or two consecutively in days and while Justin did a great job being home mostly alone for 4 days, our house has seen better days. My mom is currently cuddling with Jules on the couch so I can get this up for you guys. 

This mom-ing business is hard stuff, but when it comes down to it, trust your instincts and you'll do what you need to do to be a great mom. And after this week I am even more into the mindset of try not to sweat the small stuff. Because let's be real - eating macaroni and cheese for dinner a few times a week or having messy floors all the time isn't really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things (or so I will continue to tell myself).

And even if two doctors tell you everything is fine but your gut feeling is that something is wrong, trust your intuition. If you feel like something is wrong with your child don't stop until you get an answer - your gut knows what's up!

Lastly, toddlers are amazingly hearty people. Jules went almost 18 hours without eating or drinking anything due to her surgery and she was still dancing to Moana songs and playing with toys up until they took her for her surgery. Her ankle had to hurt horribly, but she was still crawling around and playing ball with us in her room while laughing maniacally. And now that we're home, she has started "walking" on her knees to get from place to place while still being able to use her hands because while I'm okay with dirty floors, she's really not and likes to pick things up and throw them away. 

I know if the roles were reversed I would probably be crying on the couch asking for my mommy (and I still may do that because dang has this been trying). 

Now to the deal - while we were in the hospital I got an email from Le Tote with a coupon code for 25% off of your first month. This is a seriously awesome deal and I almost made a post about this alone so you wouldn't miss out, but really couldn't brain the entire time we were there. This deal ends tomorrow, so if you're thinking about joining, now is the time time try it out! 

Go to Le Tote here and fill out your profile. The more items you save and more details you put in your style profile,  the better your totes will be.  The coupon code is MAY25 and it's only good through tomorrow, so don't hesitate if you're thinking about trying it out - again I'm sorry I didn't get it out sooner, but I just couldn't even think about that while we were in the hospital. Give it a shot for a month and see if you like it - like I mentioned in this post, I have been using it for almost 2 years and I love it! Especially since I'm still between sizes (and to be completely honest, probably closer to the bigger size now after stress eating everything while we were in the hospital). 

I'd like to end with a huge thank you to everyone who helped or offered help throughout this week. We appreciate you all so much

I'll hopefully be back for more shenanigans Monday morning - have a great weekend everyone!

You Know You're a Real Runner If/When...

Hi folks! How are you doing? 

It's Friday Eve! 

(when you read that, fake like I'm singing it to you because that's how I meant it to come across)

So we've got Friday Eve going for us - is it just me or is this week dragging? Maybe that will mean this weekend will drag too (yeah right...). 

And if you've already subscribed but aren't seeing the emails in your inbox, they are probably going to your junk mail so check there!

Today's workout was a doozy. Like I woke-up and then farted around for 25 minutes avoiding it before I finally forced myself out the door. Just so you have some insight, I typically get up at 5:10 in the morning but I do not bounce out of bed all excited and energetic. Sometimes I hit snooze, but I'm almost always up and out of bed by 5:20, and I don't usually get started with my workout until 5:30-5:50 depending on what it is and how tired I am that morning. So I roll out of bed, go to the bathroom and look on Facebook while I wake-up, get dressed, make my preworkout drink, take some selfies and then I'm usually ready to tackle whatever workout I have planned. This morning I woke up and went to the bathroom and then did this:

That's me, face-down on my bed. I could not even. So I did that for a minute or two and then I finished getting dressed aaaaaand I threw myself on the bed again. Finally I was like, GET UP AND GO. 

That face is the face of someone who is forcing themselves to workout when they really wanted to sleep another hour. 

And that's the face of a person who just realized they have to get out the door RIGHT NOW or they won't have time to do their core workout and meditate after their run. 

So I did it. I went outside and ran my scheduled workout, which was 25 minutes of running at race pace. I don't really have a race planned right now, but know that I want to improve my 10K time so I ran at my 10K race pace based on what my 5K race pace was (THIS is the calculator I use to figure out all of this pace stuff). I warmed up with a 1/2 mile run and then pushed myself to run around an 8:14 pace the rest of the run. Dude...it was so hard. Like I really didn't think I was going to be able to keep up that pace for the entire 25 minutes. I'm talking I really had to push myself to do it and would feel myself slow down a bit here and there. But whenever that would happen I would concentrate on increasing my cadence and would naturally start running faster just by doing that. This is when having a music playlist with high BPM comes in handy because I just try to match my feet to the beat. I did it guys, but man was it hard!

And super sweaty...but I'm pretty sure I could walk 3.5 miles and end up this sweaty afterwards. I'm a sweaty, sweaty beast! Then I did my transverse abdominal workout for my DR that I posted about yesterday (check it out here), stretched, did a really awesome body scan meditation (great for relaxation) and got ready for the day.

While I was running and trying to keep myself from stopping, I came up with the idea for this blog post. There have been a number of times during my running life that I have thought to myself "now THIS makes you a REAL runner" and I knew I wanted to share it with you guys.

Without further ado, you know you're a real runner if/when...

  • You spit on yourself while running because you were too tired to turn your head far enough to the left and it flies back in your face. And instead of being grossed out you just wipe it off and keep going without a moment's hesitation - this is what happened to me this morning and gave me the idea for this post. 
  • You come back from a run in the winter and have snot all over your sleeve/inside of your shirt where you had to wipe your nose during your run. Bonus points if you've actually blown your nose into your shirt *raises hand slowly*
  • You're convinced your child will love running as much as you do so you try to force them to run and sign them up for races without telling them...to be fair, we won this race and he did love that part, but he hates running overall. Which is a shame, because his form is perfect! Maybe someday he'll run with me again. And I can always try to brainwash Jules!
  • You spend over $100 on a race and then spend hours over the course of the next weeks/months looking up every review you can find of the race, studying the course map and elevation, and planning your race day outfit, gear, and fuel. 
  • You'd rather buy new running shoes than any other type of shoes. 
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  • You have a race day hairdo that you always fall back on #pigtailsforlyfe
  • You do everything you can to smile and have at least one photogenic picture during a race even when you feel like dying, but usually end up looking like a troll. I wish I could find the pictures from the first half marathon I ever ran...it was super windy and my face looked like I was in a skydiving picture but in serious pain too. It wasn't cute. This is the only photogenic racing picture I have and I'm kind of mad at myself for not buying it, but I'm a cheapskate and couldn't justify it. 
  • You have favorite items of clothing/equipment that you can't live without on your run. Mine is my Experia running socks. I may or may not wear them at least twice before washing them on a pretty consistent basis because I forget to wash them after my run and refuse to run without them. They're just that comfortable, people! No substitutions!
  • You regularly wake up before the rest of the world and run around for miles in the dark listening to music or podcasts or nothing and aren't even afraid of getting eaten by a werewolf or vampire because you're 99% sure you could out-run them anyway, even though you're normally pretty afraid to be outside in the dark alone. 

You really can't beat the sunrise in the morning. In my opinion it's worth waking up at the buttcrack of dawn and running around in circles for awhile in order to see it. Unless I did end up getting eaten by a beast of some sort, in which case I would say it wasn't really worth it and I should have stayed in bed that day. 

  • You regularly smile and wave at strangers when you pass them and get kind of butt hurt when they don't wave and/or smile back.
  • You've yelled "great job!" to a random person you pass on a run who is running themselves. I always make a point to yell out encouragement to anyone I pass while running who's pushing a stroller...because that ish is hard, yo! And just in case you have any doubt whether anyone will think you're weird for yelling positive stuff at them, I have had it happen to me a bunch of times and it always make me feel so much better/happier. I remember one 9 mile run that was hot AF and I thought I was going to die. Then this random older running dude yelled "you're doing great" to me around mile 6 and it literally made my run turn from crap to awesome. So don't hesitate to encourage each other out there!
  • You run in the rain/snow/sleet/humidity and like it. I remember this run like the back of my hand - I was training for a half-marathon and woke up excited to run. And then it was raining. There was a point in time when I would have just said nevermind and skipped my run, but for this one I put on a hat and went for my scheduled run. And I remember very specifically that I was running with a smile on my face pretty much the entire time and at the end I thought "I'm a real runner now"

Finally, the number one way you will know you're a real runner? If/when you go for a run.

It doesn't matter how long you run or how fast you are, just that you lace up those shoes and if you're me, more that likely dirty socks, and you get out there and run/jog/shuffle. 

And if you have ever wondered if you are a "real" runner when you pass someone who's faster/has cooler running clothes/wears 95 different gadgets/has "13.1" tattooed on their calf muscle, you are one already and have been one ever since you shuffled out there your first time. And you should be proud of yourself because not every does it, even though everyone can.

So kudos to you, runner!!

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That's some positive talk courtesy of me. Maybe I should become a professional motivational speaker or something? Can you say the f word when you do that for a living or is that frowned on? I better stick with blogging (not that I get paid to do this, because I don't). 

Now I'll turn it to you - when did you decide you were a "real" runner? Did you have a turning point like I did while running 8 miles in the rain like a loony tune, or have you always felt you were a runner? Or perhaps you think running is dumb and I'm insane. That's cool too. I respect your opinion. 

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by! 

WIIW (What it is Wednesday) and Why I'm Quitting Ab Workouts

It's HUMP DAYYYYYYY!! I very obnoxiously snapchatted about it this morning and if you're not following me already, you probably should because I'm hilarious (and modest too). I tend to be semi-to-totally inappropriate, with some ridiculous videos of my kids thrown-in and sometimes a ghost makes an appearance (best. snap story. ever.)

I enjoy these WIIW posts because I really like giving my opinion to everyone and this is a good way for me to round up my opinions on a weekly basis and make it seem less bossy than when I tell people my opinion otherwise. What do you guys think of them? 

You guys, remember when I showed you the Cake Batter/Red Velvet ice cream thing from Arctic Zero last week? This is a Salted Caramel Arctic Zero ice cream thing and it's even better. Yesterday was my fast day, but I needed something sweet and this did not disappoint. Get them if you find them! Shoot, I might stock up just so I never have to worry about them running out!

I have been trying to get my son to workout on a semi-regular basis, because he is a pretty typical, lazy teenager. If he had his way he would sit in his bedroom and play video games the entire weekend, only getting up to make and eat an entire pot of macaroni and cheese. We've done a few 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts from Beachbody and they're perfect for him since they're not super difficult and only 22 minutes. He actually did a workout by himself on Monday AND sent me a sweaty selfie. I am so proud of him! Now if he'll just keep it up!

You might be wondering why I'm trying to get my 13 year old to exercise - the reason why is because the earlier it becomes a habit, the more likely it will stay that way for life. And all I really want for my kids in life is for them to be healthy and happy. Working out helps with the health AND the happiness, so it's a win-win!

I am seriously loving the swimsuit I wore this weekend. It is SO HARD to find a flattering swimsuit that is comfortable and this one is both! And it makes my tiny little boobs look pretty good, so that's awesome too! And it only cost $30 at TJ Maxx, so YASSSSSSSS!!!

Link Love!

I am loving these two articles from Scary Mommy this week. They both apply pretty directly to my life right now, and I had to share them with you guys. 

As A Mom, I Value Quality Way More Than Quantity In My Friendships

I am so on board with the message of this blog. The last thing I need in my life right now is a judgmental, high-maintenance friend and I have made some changes in my friendships over the past 6 months or so that involved distancing myself from people who were like that. I honestly just don't have the time or energy for half-friends right now or people who make me feel bad about myself! I have a handful of really good friends who are both long-distance and local, and even though we don't hang out all the time, we always pick up right where we left off whenever we do hang-out or talk. And we usually do so in a house that I didn't even worry about tidying up because I know they won't judge me. These are the friends that will drink crappy, cheap wine with me and eat my partially stale chips from a half-eaten bag without judging me or making me feel like I need to do more for them. Because our friendship and support for each other is enough, and that's how friends should be. 

So to my friends who are reading this - you know who you are - love you!!

Stop Being A Judgmental A**hole When Someone Tells You Their Child Isn’t Sleeping

Everything about this. When you are pregnant and have young children, it suddenly becomes open season for everyone you know (and some you don't) to give you advice.

"I sure hope you plan to breastfeed since breast is best" (but God forbid you do it in public because that might make people uncomfortable)

"Don't hold your baby like that, she can't breathe correctly" (while holding Jules in football carry because it helped with her gassy stomach)

"You better stop giving her that pacifier now; she's so pretty without it" *insert middle finger here*

Sleep is a HUGE topic point for anyone with baby/toddler and is something that everyone wants to give you advice regarding. And for whatever reason, everyone seems to be baby sleep experts and their little snowflake is a MUCH better sleeper than your child. I get it; Jules doesn't sleep well and never has. Justin didn't either. But then the second Justin hit 2 or so he started sleeping 12 hours straight from when I put him to bed. Meaning if I wanted to sleep a little later, I would keep Justin up until 10 and he'd sleep until 10. And I'm hoping Jules will do that same thing. So instead of telling me how tired I look and that your unicorn snowflake baby slept through the night a week from the hospital and here's what I'm doing wrong, please just commiserate with me and be empathetic. 

I think everyone should try to have more empathy in general and in doing so, the world will be a better place. 

World peace, Jamie-style.

My current favorite songs...

In no particular order...

Just for listening:

  • Every Time I'm Ready to Hug - Ra Ra Riot
  • Silvia - Miike Snow
  • Open Your Eyes - STRFKR
  • Hot Thoughts - Spoon
  • HUMBLE - Kendrick Lamar
  • Cecilia - Simon & Garfunkel

For running (all of these songs have really high BPM which help me keep my cadence over 180 - aka great for running)

  • Drop The Plot - Gregory Peopper and His Problems
  • Hard Times - Paramore
  • Little Sister - Queens of the Stone Age
  • When Your Heart Stops Beating - +44
  • Virtual Insanity - Jamiroquai
  • The Bomb - Pigeon John

Why I'm Quitting Ab Workouts

Man, I'm doing a lot of quitting around here! First the scale, now ab workouts, next I'll be quitting wine or something crazy like that (or not...most definitely not...if I do quit wine it will only be because I'm taking up margaritas #summer). 

First and foremost, I am not a fitness professional so if you are really worried about something being wrong with you or are thinking about starting a new program please see your doctor first. This is just something new that I'm trying and sharing with you so you can be entertained by my success or failure. I'm pretty sure I was a guinea pig in a past life because I love testing out new things!

I know I've mentioned at least once before in the blog that I'm working on strengthening my transverse abdominus. You may or may not be wondering why, but regardless I'm going to tell you why because this is my blog and I control ALL OF IT!!! 

Even though I have been really slimming down all over recently, I still have a very noticeable mommy bulge/tummy/gut. And it's the entire thing - top, bottom, middle. Now some of this I can totally blame on my eating - I don't eat perfectly (and don't want to), but I do tend to eat really healthy overall and *should* probably be seeing a bit better results considering how hard I workout. 

I've known about diastasis recti for a long time and even self-diagnosed myself with it postpartum, however I have refused to accept that I have it and it's affecting me in any way, shape or form because....I'm stubborn? Actually, I know why and that's because they tell you to avoid all impact exercises while working on recovering from diastasis recti, which means no running, jumping, kickboxing, etc - basically everything I love to do. And I can't stop doing that stuff or I might lose my mind, so I ignored it. But it's not getting better, and my core is so weak. The past few weeks I've been doing some additional research on it and have finally accepted it's time for me to do something about it before it gets worse or I give up and become a sloth. 

First, I did another test to confirm how bad my DR is and this one is a great one if you want to try it yourself:

I have about a 1.5-2 finger gap - it's not that bad, but still there and it is affecting my overall core/abs so it's something I should do something to fix. 

What's the #1 thing you need to do if you do have a gap? Stop doing traditional ab exercises. Crunches, planks, the bicycle, etc. - basically anything that is in a traditional ab workout including pilates can actually make this worse! So no more V-Ups for me no matter how cool I feel when I do them!

Like I said, I ignored this for going on 15 months now, however I have noticed that when I'm laying on my back and doing a traditional crunch or sit-up, I have a small cone-shaped mound that pops up on my stomach above my belly button...this is because I have a gap and the muscles are bulging through the gap - appetizing right? This is one of the signs you have it so if you are doing crunches and see a cone-shaped mound or pyramid pop up on your stomach, you probably have DR! If you think you might have DR I encourage you to follow along with the video above to confirm how bad it is and then for the love of Pete, stop doing ab workouts! 

There are several systems out there that you can purchase that help to rehab your core - one is called MuTu - and they all have rave reviews from women so they obviously work. But I'm a cheapskate and stubborn, so instead I turned to the internet and found this workout here. This is actually based off of MuTu and it's recommended to do it every day. So that's what I'm going to do and did do this morning. It took me about 12 minutes since I'm not familiar with the exercises, however I could seriously feel it deep in my core which is exactly where you're supposed to feel it. 

As I said, I plan on doing this every day and I'll keep you guys updated on how that's going success or not, since I love oversharing on the internet!

Have any of you had issues with diastasis recti? Have you tried any of the rehab programs like MuTu that are supposed to help and did it help? Will I ever lose my mom belly without giving up wine and carbs (cause that ain't gonna happen, yo!)?

Do you guys have any fun things you're loving right now that you want to share? Music, food, wine, etc - I love to hear about it all so please share!

I'm Breaking UP

With the scale and I'm serious. This is a dysfunctional relationship and I'm sick of it!

Now that I have your attention, don't forget to subscribe!

Before I get to the end of my relationship with my scale, I want to show you a few things. 

First we have a pre-workout selfie...

Take a look at those leggings and remember them - they play a role in the demise of my relationship with my scale. 

Then I didn't really like that selfie so I decided to mix things up and take another one in my dirty mirror right by our front door...

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I sure do love to take flattering pictures of myself and then post them online for the world to see, don't I?! Also will someone please come to my house and clean all of my mirrors? I'm an embarrassment (but if I'm being completely honest I don't really even care). 

So I went outside and ran this morning. I had looked at my workout schedule like three times yesterday and again this morning and thought to myself every time, "cool, I only have to run 2 miles worth of 1/4 mile repeats - easy peasy". So I decided to do a full mile for a warm-up and run just a little over 3 miles. NO PROBLEM. Except here's the workout I was supposed to do:

I apparently can't math at all because I had that all sorts of wrong. Ugh. I ended up figuring this out mid-run and was like, there's no way I can run 4 miles of 1/4 mile repeats when I had only planned to do 2. Plus I really wanted/needed to do a core workout and didn't have time to do it all since I'd only planned for a total of 3 freaking miles, not 5. So I ended up doing only 5 repeats, for a total of a little over 3.5 miles. Yeesh. 

Get yo shit together, Jamie! 

Why am I showing you two nearly identical pictures of myself? Well I originally took those pictures for a blog idea - I'm really sucking it in on the left and not sucking in on the right and I had this grand plan on doing a post around them somehow. However looking at them right now, I can seriously hardly see a difference between the two and I'm going to be real honest and say that I look good. I mean, I'm pretty happy with how I look in those pictures overall - my stomach is pretty flat even when I'm not sucking it in and I felt great all day. 

Additionally, I have a ton of pictures from our beach day on Saturday and I am happy with how I look in all of them - those are freaking swimsuit pictures, people! I'm never happy with how I look in swimsuit pictures, but the fact that I was happy with all of them made me feel like I was really making some progress towards this whole self-love thing. 

Finally, remember how I told you to remember that picture from earlier with the leggings? Those leggings are pre-pregnancy and I have never been able to wear them comfortably because I always had muffin top with them. Or I'd have serious camel toe because I'd try to pull them way up over my muffin top and they were never comfortable #youknowyoudoittoo

So I should have been feeling pretty effing amazing this morning, right? 

WRONG!!

I got on the scale this morning right after waking up and guess what...I'm up 3 pounds from where I was on Tuesday of last week. 

F&%$ the scale!!

Raise your hand if you hate the scale...

Now raise your hand if you've ever felt great about yourself only to weigh yourself and have your entire mood change....

I am right there with you! I mean, I have been feeling pretty good about myself lately. My arms and my butt are looking really toned! My stomach is pretty flat most of the time and I'm starting to be able to wear most of my pre-Jules clothes while still being able to breathe! I have pictures in my swimsuit that I didn't even hesitate to post!

Then I let that stupid number ruin my happy roll. 

Well I'm not doing that anymore. This was the last straw!

Kind of. 

This will be a gradual break-up since I am currently running a Biggest Loser contest at work and don't want to drop out of it since I'm in charge of the whole dang thing. However instead of weighing myself every day like I usually do (except for Monday - I never weigh myself on a Monday #chipschocolateandwine), I will only weigh myself for the weigh-in days and luckily there are only 2 of those left in the contest. Once I'm done with that, I am going to work to measure my health/progress with other metrics and take the scale out of the equation completely: 

  • Progress pictures - these always make me happy, so this will be my primary method of measurement. 
  • Tape measure - I am usually pretty happy with this, but sometimes I actually measure bigger even when I feel smaller due to being swole. I'm such a douche - that's the second time I've blogged the word "swole". BUT IT'S A REAL THING!! I mean I guess I could say swollen or retaining water, but swole is so much more fun to say. Now if you ever hear me say or read "YOLO" or "FOMO" on this blog and I'm being serious, please find me and slap some sense into me. Moving on...
  • How do my clothes fit? If my clothes are fitting better and I'm more comfortable in my skin then that's a good sign that I'm doing pretty well 
  • Blood pressure and blood sugar tests. I haven't talked about this on here yet, but I've had some minor blood pressure issues since getting pregnant with Jules - my blood pressure can sometimes be a bit higher than I'd like and close to borderline high, like 138/80. Most of the time it's around 120/70, but that's even higher than I like for it to be and where it used to be (110/60). Also I've had two blood sugar tests that were pre-prediabetic in the past few years; like right on the verge. Luckily they weren't consecutive and being smart with my diet makes a huge difference almost immediately - for example, my last test was borderline, but it was in December. December = Christmas cookies. My doctor wasn't hugely concerned due to this, but I'm testing again in June and hope for better numbers this time or else I'm going to have to make some big changes (and I don't wanna). 

I will still weigh myself, but perhaps on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. I might be pretty happy with how I'm looking overall, but find that my health tends to be better when I am below 140. So I know I will get there eventually, but for now I'm slowly breaking up with the scale.

In fact, I'm ghosting the scale.

(if you don't know what ghosting means, it's when someone you're dating shoots you a few texts and then disappears from your life. It's a thing now. Now you know and you're hip and trendy like me!)

MadreDiem Break UP

It's not me, it's you. 

(actually it might partially be me...I ate some chips before bed last night. But whatever...we're still broken up, you dumb scale). 

Have you ever broken up with the scale and if so, did it have a positive effect on your life? I am just so sick of feeling discouraged due to a number, when everything else is making me happy! 

I'm going to throw this in because I sooooooo need it...

Thanks for stopping by, friends!

How I Survived My C-Section

I'd like to start things off by announcing that I slept 7 solid hours last night. Like in a row, without being woken up by anyone, and Jules also slept well (I actually had the baby monitor on last night because I've been feeling guilty and didn't hear a peep from her). 

So I woke up this morning feeling like a new person. It's amazing what some good sleep will do for a person!

I actually woke up this morning and was excited to run. WTF, right? I was all, YEAH, I'm so excited. See?!?

That's my BEFORE picture and I'm SMILING! WHAT?!? Anyone who has read my blog at all knows my before workout pictures usually rival Grumpy Cat. 

I actually had a real workout planned this morning too instead of my usual run around the neighborhood at a steady state for 3 miles (so boring) - this week I'm starting to incorporate some actual speed training into my workouts and it's obviously just what I needed. In case you're interested, my workout was:

  • 1/2 mile warm-up
  • Race pace for 1 minute, jog for 1 minute, SPRINT for 30 seconds, jog for 1 minute and repeat 6 times (you'll need a watch or timer for this)
  • 1/4 mile cool-down (ish - I just finished my lap around my neighborhood)

It ended up being just a bit over 3 miles and an AWESOME workout. Just in case you're wondering what my paces are, my jog pace is 9:30-10, race pace was around 8:10 and my sprint was around 7:15. If you want to know what your training paces should be, I highly recommend looking it up on Google "run training pace calculator" :-)

This is my post-run and pre-core workout selfie. I wanted to show you guys I'm not even kidding about being the sweatiest beast of all time. They say the more you sweat the better your body is at keeping it's temperature regulated and it's a good thing, so I'm going to roll with what "they" say this time. I sweat because I'm an awesome body temp regulator. 

Speaking of my core workout, I'm trying to focus more on my transverse abs right now, so I looked up "transverse abdominal workout" on youtube and did the highest rated 10 minute workout I could find. 

Little Cat wanted to say hey post workout as well, so "hey" from Little Cat. His real name is Marley (because we give our cats dog names...), but for whatever reason I've pretty much always called him Little Cat and it has stuck. Moving on...

How I Survived my C-Section (but just barely)

Let me tell you a little story about a girl named Jamie whose son had shoulder dystocia when he was born and had some struggles right after his birth. Needless to say, when I found out I was pregnant again I was worried about everything, including my preeclampsia that I had with Justin in my final trimester and the shoulder dystocia at birth. That ish is scary, my friends - Justin didn't breathe right away and the last thing you want to hear after giving birth is nothing. You want those throaty, desperate infant cries, AMIRIGHT? 

About 2/3 of the way through my pregnancy with Jules I voiced my concerns to my doctor and he said that since Justin wasn't a large baby, the dystocia probably happened due to the way I'm built. He recommended I have a c-section and then told Jason "if it was my wife, I'd tell her to have a c-section".

*insert angry face here*

Even though all I really wanted was a "regular" birth, I reluctantly agreed to a c-section and we scheduled it for January 20. Deep down in my gut I felt like it was the wrong choice and I do wish I had listened to my intuition. Did I get my beautiful baby girl out of it and escape alive? Yes. But I think we all kind of know what's best for us when/if we listen to our gut and I didn't listen to mine and I do regret it. 

Before you start thinking I'm slamming c-sections and/or people who schedule all of their deliveries, I promise I'm not. I'm a firm believer in moms doing what's right for them - c-section, all natural, epidural, champagne in the delivery room, breastfeeding, formula feeding, cry-it-out, cosleeping...you do you, mama! But for me I feel having a c-section was the wrong choice. 

So we get up way before the buttcrack of dawn on January 20 and head to the hospital for our scheduled c-section. 

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Look at how cute and excited we are! 

The c-section itself was not bad at all. It was like 15 minutes and BOOM, baby.

And she cried immediately. 

I was even able to do skin-to-skin for a couple of minutes before they took her back and cleaned her up and stitched me up.

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Then we were wheeled into the post-op room and this is where I ran into an issue. I had a 2 nurses - one who was the boss and one who was training. The nurse who was training asked me if I'd like some ice chips to see how my stomach tolerated it. Unfortunately she gave me a huge spoonful of ice and I ended up aspirating a piece and gagging/coughing for a couple of minutes. I was still completely numb from my c-section and didn't feel any pain at the time, but ended up popping a stitch and bleeding internally. This eventually ended up leaking through my exterior stitches and was a horrifying and terrifying sight - I'm talking murder scene stuff. I was so-so tired (more than I should have been) and could hardly get up and walk - I even blacked out at one point and almost fainted. Turns out I actually lost a lot of blood and ended up needing two blood transfusions and had a hematoma, which caused me to be extremely tired and terrified I was going to die. As far as I'm concerned I'm done having children - two extremely awesome kids is enough for me, and having scary complications with both of them is enough to turn me off of ever wanting any additional kids. 

They tell you when you have a c-section the best thing you can possibly do for yourself is to get up and walk around ASAP and while I was planning the birth and hospital stay I had every intention of doing this immediately. I was going to get up within hours and walk and pee by myself and have an awesome sushi meal and some champagne. Unfortunately due to my complications, I ended up not really being able to walk around until after my transfusion and then it was so painful due to the hematoma and ripped stitches that I could hardly make a loop around the nurses station without crying. 

By the time we were released and made it home, I was in rough shape. I kept running fevers on and off and could hardly walk. I remember Justin helping me walk back and forth along the hallway outside our condo several times a day while Jason stayed inside with Jules and I could hardly do it, which is obviously quite a departure from my usual running/push-ups/working-out-like-a-fool self.

I guess that wasn't such a short story, but I wanted to get the point across that my c-section sucked and it was probably out of the ordinary, since it seems to me that most of the people who have them are fine within days. That being said, when you leave the hospital after your c-section, your doctor will tell you not to lift anything and not to drive for 6 weeks and they send you on your way. That's it. 

A Cesarean is a major surgery. 

However it really isn't treated as such and a lot of women end up in lots of pain or have adhesions and other complications and have no clue what to do.

Well here's what helped me. 

This post will include some Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase an item I recommend I will get a very small commission. This doesn't change the price of the product; it's just a small (very small) thank you from Amazon for my recommendation. 

First and foremost, ask your doctor for a medical grade stomach wrap. 

It sucks and you won't wear it very long because it's horribly uncomfortable, but I honestly don't think I would have made it the first 2 weeks postpartum without it. These wraps are stupid expensive if you have to buy it yourself, so insist that you get one from your doctor while you're in the hospital and it will be covered by your insurance. Have your husband help you get it on, since you probably won't be able to get it tight enough by yourself. It will be uncomfortable, but I promise it's a lot better than the searing pain you will have whenever you cough or do pretty much anything the first few weeks. 

You might thing I'm over-exaggerating, but I am not kidding when I tell you I could hardly even walk for 2 weeks afterwards. 

Another plus of the wrap is that "they" say it helps shrink your uterus back down and get your pre-baby body back. 

Always have a pillow handy. 

You'll need to have the pillow to press on your scar any time you cough, laugh, or anything involving your core when you don't have a wrap on for the first couple of weeks.

Trust me here. 

Ask for help. 

My husband had to help me with literally everything for the first week. I couldn't even shower or use the bathroom or get the baby to breastfeed her without his help. He had to help me wipe and saw and did things I never thought I'd allow. He was absolutely amazing and more help than I ever could have imagined and I love him for it. 

C-section underwear

I'm not even kidding when I say these saved me. I was still feeling pain for months postpartum and having these to compress my incision was the extra thing I needed to get through the every day stuff. Yes, they're hideous and yes, they're pretty expensive; however they are 100% worth it and I would recommend them to anyone getting a c-section. I ended up getting two pairs and swapping them out every day, wearing one and washing the other. 

You can find the sizing in the images for the product and it's based on your current waist size (your preggo waist). So I went with the L-XL and they fit perfectly - you want them to be super tight but obviously don't want them to be so tight you can't pull them up.

Push yourself, but not too hard. 

I quit the hard painkillers a few days after getting home from the hospital, so everything hurt really really badly for weeks. I'm talking searing, horrible pain - I have a pretty high pain tolerance, so that's really saying something. Still, I persevered and made myself walk as much and as often as possible from the moment I could. By 3 weeks postpartum I was forcing myself to take a longer walk almost every day, and walked 2-3 miles as often as possible. Yes, it hurt. But I knew I would feel so much better more quickly if I kept it up. 

I would either wrap my baby up with me or push her in the stroller and listen to a podcast (I highly recommend you listen to Straight Talk with Ross from the beginning if you're looking for a hysterical podcast to listen to) and then I'd walk as far as I could. And then the next time I would push myself a little further. I remember it took me over 40 minutes to walk 2 miles the first time I tried to go that far and tracked it. There were some days where I would wake up with a lot of pain in my incision so I knew I needed to scale it back a bit, but overall walking helped me to feel better and I know it helped me recover more quickly. One thing that helped me a TON with walking was to wear a waist belt - by this point I was over my hospital grade wrap-thing, but still needed some extra support. 

You can find it at Walmart or on Amazon, but this belt helped me a lot with giving extra support on my incision. Just wrap it around you as tightly as you possibly can. I felt like I was in Gone with the Wind when I'd put this shit on - you know the scene where she's holding onto the bed post and getting her corset tied up? And if you haven't seen Gone with the Wind we cannot be friends. So go watch it now, because we should totally be friends!

I also recommend making your walk a family affair. Whenever possible I would wrangle Jason or Justin into my walk, which made it a lot more fun and also got them out of the house. 

Just make sure you go by yourself a lot too - it's a nice break from everyone else and Jules slept through our walks 99% of the time so I could just listen to my podcast and laugh maniacally because it's that funny.

Scar massage

Talk to your doctor before doing this, but I highly recommend starting scar massage as soon as possible. I didn't find out about this until months postpartum and it wasn't mentioned to me by my doctor, even though it's a mandatory part of cesarean recovery in other parts of the world. Seriously, look it up. Other countries include scar mobilization massage as a part of their postpartum recovery, as it should be. A lot of women develop adhesions post-cesarean, which sucks because adhesions can cause a ton of issues, including but not limited to back pain, bladder issues, pain during intercourse, and other fun things. If you don't start scar mobilization massage early enough, there's really not a ton you can do - they can do surgery sometimes, but that usually just ends up resulting in more adhesions. Scar massage also helps to diminish that beautiful mommy apron I'm sure my fellow c-section moms love as much as I do. 

There are some places in the US where you can get this done professionally, but it's rarely if ever covered by insurance here...another reason why maternity and postpartum care sucks in the US. That being said, there is plenty of information that can be found online and there are even some videos on YouTube that give you directions - as mentioned, I discussed with my doctor and he said it's absolutely fine to do and said the techniques I had found online were great. So again, talk to your doctor first and clear with them before starting anything. 

Lastly, don't give up on yourself

I still have pain and issues with my incision and my daughter is 15 months old. Like I mentioned, I didn't start scar mobilization massage until I was a few months postpartum (maybe even 6 months) and I definitely have some strange muscle imbalances and issues that I'm convinced are related to my incision. Every once in awhile during a workout I'll feel a strange pop around my scar and I speculate it's an adhesion being ripped/popped. It's hard to explain, but if you've ever experienced it I'm sure you know what I mean. Sometimes it hurts and I have to stop what I'm doing, but most of the time it's almost like a strange release feeling. There have also been times where I'm doing plank work and I cannot lift my right leg if I'm in a side plank - it's the weirdest thing. I used to actually collapse to the ground when I first started trying to workout postpartum. But I carry on with my workout as long as there's no lingering pain, continue massaging my scar when I remember and carry on with my life because that's all you can do! 

And regardless of how much my c-section sucked, it was totally worth it for this little princess. 

Picture from Monday morning - she thought she was so cute (and she was).

I hope this list helps someone out who is either getting ready or has already had a c-section. And don't let my story scare you off - I was one of the very few people who ended up with a complication and from what I have read/heard, most people end up fine! But regardless, take care of yourself and make sure you have that damn pillow for when you cough/laugh - you'll need it!

Also, don't feel bad if you're voluntarily scheduling your c-section. Do what's right for you! Not everyone wants to push a watermelon out of their hoo-hah and that's fine!

For those of you reading who have already had a c-section, did you have any complications or were you pretty much fine afterwards? Have any of you experienced any of the weird muscle imbalances I have/am experiencing? It's so weird and I don't have 100% evidence it is from the c-section, but that's the only thing that changed since I started experiencing them. So Dr. Jamie has diagnosed it as such and so that's what it is. Medical degree thanks to Google, just in case you're looking for my credentials. 

I hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday. 

I'm a Happy, Peppy Person - How I Keep My Energy Up & Stay Positive

Happy Friday Eve, my friends! How is your day/week going so far? 

I'm still having a crazy-doozy of a week, and I'm blaming it on the full moon. I know these are super small potatoes in the grand stew that is life, but here are some of the fun things that have happened so far this week:

  • Jules is sleeping like crap. Like super duper crappity crap. She has been waking up 1-3 times and waking up for good earlier than usual, which is throwing my entire morning routine off. This morning she decided to wake up at 5:30, which was about 5 minutes into my workout. Instead of stopping (not an option), I brought her downstairs, gave her some cereal and some water, and put the Minions movie on my iPad. It kind of worked. 
  • The wifi wasn't working yesterday morning, but I didn't know it was the wifi and assumed it was the AppleTV (we don't have cable, FYI). So I did a hard reset of the AppleTV and then figured out the wifi was broken. Meaning I need to reinstall all of the apps on the AppleTV and I don't know any of the dang passwords.  
  • Julianna's hairbrush went missing and it was picture day yesterday - I attempted to do cute pigtails using my brush, but it just wouldn't work because her hair is fine. So her hair wasn't done for pictures.
  • Speaking of the pictures, Jules refused to smile and is actually super teary-eyed and sad in her picture; the upside of this is we didn't pay $50 for a ton of pictures we won't use the majority of!
  • There is still egg everywhere from our shenanigans the other day - I found a bunch on the floor and wall of Julianna's play enclosure in the living room, which is pretty far from where the stupid egg exploded. I am not a real grown-up and I refuse to adult. Obviously. But now I have to clean it up, which is dumb.
  • Scooby is still on antibiotics and absolutely hates them, so any time I go near him he tries to hide. This resulted in him running under the bed yesterday morning and missing a dose because I couldn't get him out and I needed to leave for work like 5 minutes earlier. 
  • I tried to make my breakfast yesterday before going to work; I have been doing a copycat Bacon Gouda Egg sandwich from Starbucks the past few weeks, because I love that sandwich, but it costs like $5 and it's hardly big enough for a snack. So I've been making it at home. Went to make it yesterday and the cheese I'd just opened a day or two prior was freaking MOLDY. I don't do mold. I know some people will cut it off and still eat it, but I can't. My stomach won't allow it and I'd puke all over. 

So just in case you haven't figured it out, I'm cranky and I'm tired and my house is covered in egg and I don't want to adult. At all. So how in the crap am I still energized and (mostly) positive? Let me let you in on my ways...

Crack. 

Just kidding. Don't do crack, it's wack.

First and foremost, I exercise.

Even on the nights when Jules is up several times and I'm so effing tired I can't even, I just get up and do it. As long as I was able to get 4-5 hours of sleep, I'm forcing myself to get up and get my workout in. Now you might be thinking to yourself that this is dumb and how is it possible that waking up 60-90 minutes early to do something active gives you energy, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that I have never regretted a workout. Ever. Sure it's sometimes hard to roll my happy ass out of bed, but I know that by getting my workout in I'll feel great when I'm done and it will give me energy to get through the day. I do always have my preworkout aminos and sometimes will have a small bowl of cereal prior to starting my workout, which gives me that little burst of energy I need to push play or run out of the front door for a run. 

I know a lot of people struggle with that 2-3pm slump where they are dead tired and need to get another coffee in them to survive. You're probably going to hate me for saying this, but I don't have that slump (anymore). And I really think it's because I workout in the morning. 

Another reason I don't get that slump?

I don't drink any caffeine after noon. 

Ever. Like never ever. As I've mentioned in the past, I only drink one caffeinated drink a day, and that's usually my preworkout amino drink. Any time I do drink caffeine after noon, I struggle to sleep that night and have anxiety attacks that day. So if you're really struggling with your energy and you have the dreaded slump every day, try cutting that caffeine out in the afternoon and do a workout in the morning. It might take a couple of weeks, but I promise you will see some positive results and feel so much better!

So now you're like, but Jamie, how will I make it through the day without my mid-afternoon caffeine? 

Don't worry, I have more!

Get up and move around. 

Get up  and go for a quick walk. Shoot, just get up and go to the bathroom or get some water. Go outside for 2 minutes, even it it's cold and snowy and cloudy. That might even jolt you awake even better than when it's warm and sunny. Either way, get outside and move. I work in an environment where we're all expected to be available to answer phone calls and questions as they come, but it's still okay to get up for a few minutes and shake your legs out. So if we can do it, you can do it!

Eat a balanced diet. 

Don't be like 26 year old Jamie. 

What this means is protein, fat, and carbs. I've done the low carb thing and I understand the appeal - you lose a lot of weight quickly and it really leans you out. But I don't give a crap what anyone says, I have NEVER had more energy on a low carb diet. I always have a headache and feel like shit and my brain doesn't work. On that same token, you need to balance the carbs you eat with protein and good fats. Don't just eat a donut or pop tarts for breakfast, wash it down with a soda, have some "healthy" veggie pasta for lunch, and then wonder why you're so tired and gaining weight and feel like crap every afternoon.

Make sure that whatever you're eating for breakfast and lunch (and dinner too) has carbs and protein and fat. If you want to eat oatmeal for breakfast that's great, but don't just eat oatmeal. Have an egg or two on the side, or add some chia seeds and protein powder to the oatmeal. One of the best benefits of eating more protein and balancing out the carbs you eat with protein and fat is that the food you eat will keep you full for a longer period of time. I think this is probably another reason I don't get that slump - every lunch I have includes carbs, protein, and fat. I rarely need to eat after my lunch until I get home from work and get dinner ready...although I do sometimes snack on chips because I love them and I can't quit them. #imnotaquitter

That pasta was the bomb.com. 

One final and totally amazing thing that I have recently started doing that keeps my energy up is...

Water temp cycling at the end of my shower. 

I have no clue where I read this, but a couple of months ago I read that at the end of your shower you can run the water super cold for 10 seconds, hot for 10 seconds, and then super cold again for another 10 seconds and it will give you energy. Guys, this has been a game changer for me. I have been running cold water at the end of my shower for a long time , but doing the cold-hot-cold cycle immediately gives me a surge of energy that is long-lasting. Plus it makes your hair shiny!

Also if you're not taking a shower in the morning, I would recommend you do it; always works to wake me up!

So I've given you some of my tips for energy, but how about the ways I stay positive? First of all, I'm just a positive person. I may complain a lot and call people assholes all the time, but deep-down inside this crazy body, I truly believe in glass half-full AND I believe in the best in people. This does sometimes get me screwed over (because there are assholes out there that take advantage of this trait), but that's okay because I also believe in karma and those assholes will get theirs eventually.  

Being positive and having a happy face can be a struggle even for me sometimes, but I'm always getting compliments on how full of energy and happy I am so whatever I'm doing is working. 

I remember reading on a blog that I read and I'm sorry I don't have the link to the specific post, but Tina had a blurb at the end of a blog a year or two ago about changing your mindset and a good way to do that.

So here's my biggest secret...instead of thinking about having to do stuff instead I think about getting to do stuff. That's it and it's one of my biggest tips for energy AND positivity! I use this almost every single morning when my alarm goes off and I just don't want to get up and workout. I may not want to do it, but I get to. The same goes for work - I will totally admit that I don't love my job. Sure, I'm good at it, but I don't really love it all that much. So what do I do when I'm in my car complaining on Snapchat before going into work because I really don't want to do it that day but I need to get my butt inside and get to work? I think to myself that I may not want to go to work, but I get to. 

So I urge you to start doing this yourself (and thank you so much to Tina for posting about this since it has made a big positive impact in my life).

You may not want to go to work/clean/workout/adult, but at least you get to. 

And there are people out there who can't do what you get to do. I promise that making this one change in your mindset will make a huge difference in your overall attitude.

Don't worry, that's not all - I have some more tips for you. 

Smile

Force yourself to smile, even if you don't want to. I know it sounds cliche, but the more you smile the better your mood will be. If I'm in a particularly shitty mood I have a guided mediation that I have bookmarked on Insight Timer that is absolutely amazing. Just don't do it in front of people because it will make you look batshit crazy due to having your eyes closed and smiling approximately 900 times during the meditation. So find a nice, quiet room somewhere and try it out. You might feel weird the first few times you do it, but even then I can ensure you'll be in a better mood. 

Do something ridiculous/funny

All of my friends and family are funny and ridiculous people. We send each other funny pictures and videos and do ridiculous things to make each other laugh.  We are all also positive people - coincidence? I think not. If you're feeling down, do something funny or watch something funny. Look up ridiculous cat meme's. Watch Vine compilations. Whatever makes you or others laugh will pep you up immensely!

This also ties into my next tip which is to...

Surround yourself with positive people. 

Negativity spreads - don't hang out with negative people! Have you ever noticed that you'll be at work or somewhere and one person will start complaining about something being wrong. Either something isn't right or unfair, but for whatever reason something just sets them off. So they're complaining and going on and on and even if they're not justified and you know it, I bet it brought your mood down, right? I do everything I can to remove myself from negative situations. You obviously cannot remove yourself 100% of the time, but by getting out of the negative situations and away from the negative people as often as you can, you remove that influence from your life as much as you can control it. And that's a good thing. 

Dress up and put your face on.

No matter how crappy I feel after being up with Jules all night long or having a crap night/morning, I always make sure I shower, put on something nice, and do my hair and make-up for work. Except on the weekend - then I just braid my bangs and don't usually wash my hair unless we have something planned, but just the fact that it's the weekend is enough to make me happy. There have even been times when I have overslept and I have called and let my boss know I'm going to be late and I'll stay late or skip my lunch to make up for it (luckily my bosses are awesome). This might just be me, but I would feel so much worse if I threw on any old thing and didn't make myself look decent.

Just to be clear, this isn't even full-on a vanity thing. It's really not so much about looking good, but feeling like I have my shit together by looking like I have my shit together. And we all know I really don't and I'm a hot mess 90% of the time - but I can fake like I'm on my A-game with the best of them! So if you're feeling really down and out, get all dolled up and I bet you'll feel a bit better (bathroom selfie is optional...). If not, maybe try my next tip...

Watch something dumb.

I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've been made fun of for watching crap tv and silly movies. Yes, I know it's crap, but while you're watching your "smart" tv shows/movies and the news and all of the negativity that's sometimes associated with those things, I am completely disconnected and watching something ridiculous and probably laughing about it and feeling pretty good about life. I don't have to think and it makes me laugh and I'm a happy, peppy person overall, so it's obviously working!

Do something nice for someone

And this part is key...do it without expecting anything in return. If you're in the drive-thru somewhere, pay it forward and buy the food for the person behind you (unless they're driving a minivan, because I'm not made of money, kay?!?). If your friend is talking about needing help with something, volunteer to help without having to be asked. When you're at the store and see something that you know your spouse/significant other/kids would love, get it for them and surprise them with it (I often do this with candy/treats for my husband and kids). If you only do nice things for others because you expect them to reciprocate, you will end up disappointed ALL THE TIME. However I've noticed that just doing something nice for someone gives me all the good feels, which is a type of reciprocation and enough for me to do it again and again and again. 

Treat yo'self!

I am a very disciplined person - I wake up early to workout almost every single day and eat well most of the time. The key words there are almost and most of the time. If I was 100% healthy and disciplined all the time I would be one miserable beyotch. You can't miss out on all of the good things in life, and treating yourself is a GOOD thing. Take that rest day if you need it. Go on vacation and don't do a workout the entire time, unless you really want to do it. Eat 80% of the cookie butter cake you make for your husband for his birthday (recipe here...make it; it was amazing). Drink that beer/wine/cider/margarita. Get a groupon for a massage and take a half-day off of work to go get it without feeling an ounce of guilt. Take a bubble bath after the kids are in bed and leave the kitchen not perfectly clean.

The best part about being disciplined and healthy most of the time is when I treat myself. Because MAN does it taste/smell/feel good to do it. So don't make every day a treat/cheat but make sure you always have some sort of treat to look forward to or something fun planned for the future, which gives you something to look forward to and in turn, makes you HAPPY!

So what do you guys think? Are any of these tips things you already do in your life? Are you going to try any of these tips out yourself? 

Also, make that cake. It's awesome. 

TOMORROW IS FRIDAY!!!!!

Have a great day!

Jamie, out *mic drop*

Why I Run, Plus My Gear Recommendations

Happy Tuesday! We made it through Monday, and oh what a Monday it was! That was probably one of the Monday-iest Mondays that ever Monday-ed!! It was such a Monday that Jules couldn't even handle it and slept terribly and woke Jason and I up a bunch of times and we're both zombies today. Needless to say, waking up this morning was a bitch.

Holy crap am I beautiful first thing in the morning or what?!? 

I didn't even take an after picture, so I'll just leave you with the above gloriousness and move on.

First, I want to let you guys know about a challenge that I'm having...with myself. I'm currently the only participant. But it's something I really need to do and I think it will help a lot with my anxiety, which I talk more about here.

I've decided to challenge myself to meditate every day for the next two weeks.

It doesn't have to be a long and crazy meditation with om'ing or heavy breathing. Just a 5-20 minute guided meditation in the morning or at night or even at work when I need a mental break. I decided to do this challenge this morning when I had a few minutes after my workout before I needed to jump into the shower and did a quick 6-minute guided meditation and love the way it made me feel. So I'm putting it down in my blog, which makes it official and public and you guys can chastise me if I fail. Deal? Do any of you want to join? I'm using the Insight Timer app, which is free and totally awesome! Let me know if you want to join in!

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This is usually where you can find Scooby whenever I meditate - this is an old picture, but 9 times out of 10, he's trying to sit on my lap or rub all over my face, which is suuuuuuper relaxing. *insert sarcasm here* 

Speaking of Scooby, he does seem to be doing a little bit better after being on antibiotics for a week and a half. He's still not 100% his old self, but he's started sleeping in bed with me again (he wraps himself around my head) and he and Little Cat were playing like crazy people this morning, tearing up and down the stairs and all over the house. He's also put on 0.2 pounds from last week, which makes me very happy. Hopefully he continues to improve - thanks again for your happy thoughts while he was sick!

Today I thought it would be fun to talk about why I run.

Running is such a scary thing for so many people and most non-runners seem to be intimidated to start. Coming from a prior lazy AF non-runner, I truly believe that anyone can be a runner and reap the benefits. Which are many. I also use these reasons to fight the voice in my head telling me to hit the snooze button in the morning or stay on the couch and surprisingly enough, it usually works. And when it doesn't I take that as a hint that my body needs the rest and I listen to it. 

Most people start running because they want to lose weight, which is precisely why I started. My ex-husband and I had just gotten divorced and I wanted to drop the baby weight so I could be a MILF. So I started running. Coming from being a person who simply hated to exercise at all, it wasn't the easiest thing to force myself to do, but I have the feeling getting out of work an hour early to go exercise (this started while I was in the Air Force) helped motivate me from the start. I wouldn't run a ton - just 10 to 15 minutes to start, sometimes indoors on a treadmill and sometimes outside. 

Cool story about running outside in Alaska...

I was running by my house on base and the base wildlife officer came tearing down the road and told me to get behind his car. Not even 10 seconds later a huge black bear came running out of the woods, right in the path where I was running. Holy shit-my-pants moment, right? I'm pretty sure I stuck to the treadmill after that. 

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. After a few months of adding running into my routine, I noticed I had dropped all the baby weight plus some. AWESOME!

My original reason to keep running was for continued weight loss. 

I think this is why most people start and continue running, because it does work remarkably well for weight loss at first, especially if you've been pretty sedentary. While this worked well for me when I was younger, I've since had to add in a lot more strength training and other methods of working out to try to lose weight, but that's another post for another time #gettingoldersucks

So you may be thinking to yourself, why in God's name are you still running if you no longer think it's the most effective way to lose/keep weight off?  Good question! Here are the other reasons I run. 

Endorphins

Even the worst runs I have ever had still give me endorphins. And I have had some serious bitch of a doozy runs. I've been halfway out on a 10 mile out-and-back in April in Florida, ran out of water, and starting having heat exhaustion symptoms. Meaning I had to walk/jog the rest of the way back, stop in a gas station as soon as I could find one to get water, and try not to cry about it where anyone could see me (this happened while training for the Country Music Half Marathon). But even then, I was still amped up and happy afterwards.

The runner's high is real and I love it!

Also, I need that shirt. 

Running helps me cope

Some of my favorite runs have been when I'm either super pissed about something or super sad about something. For whatever reason, I go out there with those emotions and I either pound the SHIT out of the pavement to get out my aggression or run a seriously therapeutic cry out of myself. I am not a big crier and have a hard time getting myself to cry, but when I'm super sad or bummed about something I've found that going running always gets me to cry and then I feel a bajillion times better afterwards. And then I smile and take a selfie. 

Pigtails

Where else can I get away with wearing my hair in braided pigtails? I've even learned how to Dutch braid my pigtails now which is a bit more complicated than the French braid, but way cuter. Braided pigtails are my go-to long-run/race hairdo now because they look cute and keep my hair out of my face. And no one judges me for being a 30-something runner with pigtail braids, when it may not be socially acceptable elsewhere. Not that I care or anything, because I don't. 

I run to be a good example

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Even though Justin absolutely loathes being active, he knows that by doing it he will be a healthier and happier person. I can only convince him to do a workout with me every once in a blue moon, but even when he refuses to participate I know that by being a good example and having running/exercise a part of my regular routine, he'll get to that stage eventually himself. Luckily it usually doesn't even take that much convincing to get him to join me for a run while he ripsticks (newfangled skateboard thingy) so I'm able to make him be active without running since he currently hates it. 

 

 

Jules has had no choice but to be a part of my runnin, since she's been my running partner through both a half-marathon and 5K training. She usually just sits nicely in the stroller for about 20 minutes before falling asleep for the remainder of the run, and she almost always wakes up when I've finished and laughs and smiles through my stretches.

I have this super secret hope that one day we'll run races together - shhhhhh, don't tell anyone. 

I run to always do better. 

I am super competitive. Sometimes with other people, but most of the time I am competing to beat myself. When I started really getting into running and started running races with my dad's wife at the time, I found out that I was actually pretty fast; I think I was running 8 minute miles without any training, just some recreational running here and there. I stuck to short races (5K to 5 miles) for years until I ran my first half marathon in 2012. I didn't train very well for the race and didn't run it very fast (I think I finished in 2:06 or something like that), but even though I hated the race and it hurt and I was way slower than I'd planned, I knew I had to run another one so I could beat my time. The next half-marathon I ran I knew I had to get under 2 hours, so I trained and really pushed myself and managed to meet that goal in 2014. Every race thereafter, I've been trying to beat myself in one way or another. My newest goal is to run the Mount Dora Half Marathon (my PR course; I've PR'ed twice there) in under 2 hours postpartum after totally blowing up during the race in 2016. I would also like to PR my 10K, since I actually have a really slow 10K time (in my opinion, 56:11) and there is nothing more motivating than a new PR. 

It's peaceful...

Yes, seriously. Sure it hurts and you're sweating and breathing heavily and sometimes your IT band or piriformis starts acting up and you know the run is going to end up being a shitshow, but even then it's still peaceful. My runs are my time that I get to myself, when I otherwise don't often get any time to myself (even in the bathroom right now #toddlerlife). I always try to make it a point to look around me while I'm running and appreciate the view. Whether I'm running on the beach, running through a neighborhood, or running through mountains - there is always beauty to be found. I can listen to music (just not too loudly - be safe, people!), zone out a bit from the every day stressors, and pound the pavement. 

The above pictures are from a run I took in Upstate New York in July of 2015. I miss running in the mountains!

You have to buy new stuff all the time - any excuse to go shopping is a good reason for me!

Overall running is a pretty cheap sport. You really just need decent running shoes to start. But once you get into it and start doing crazy things like running races or long distances, you will need to start buying some new stuff - some of this will be so you're comfortable and some will be so you don't die (see above story about the time I started to have heat exhaustion halfway into an out-and-back 10 mile run). 

On that note, here are my top recommendations for gear. 

I will be including some Amazon affiliate links. These links do not change the price of the item or do anything other than give me a small (very small) kick-back for making the recommendation. Thank you for the support!

Shoes

I started with Aisics, moved to Mizuno, and finally found Brooks. 

I love Brooks running shoes. 

I've actually had my gait tested and was fitted for running shoes and hated the shoes they told me I should wear. So my motto now is to run in what is comfortable. I also prefer the shoes to be purple - it makes me run faster (runner's superstition). My absolute favorite running shoes were the Brooks PureCadence 2, but they were discontinued like 3 years ago. I actually still run in them sometimes (I have two pairs). I don't like the way the new PureCadence models or the PureFlows feel, so I haven't been able to commit to a different shoe just yet. However I've heard a lot of really good things about the Brooks Launch, so I think I'm going to give them a shot next. ASAP, since I really need a new pair of running shoes. 

The picture on the right is from a couple of years ago - let's just say I have a few more purple running shoes thrown into the corner of the closet right now. I have an addiction.

Along with shoes, you really need good running socks

 

I used to run in whatever I could find, but found that my feet would slide around and I'd sometimes get blisters during longer runs. So I did some research and ended up finding the Thorlo brand of socks and haven't looked back. They're comfortable and supportive and amazing. Buy them. 

 

 

Clothes to run in

When you first start out, you'll probably be fine running in any old pair of shorts and a ratty old t-shirt (I know that's what I did), but once you start factoring in heat and cold and sweating and wanting to look cute, you'll want to start investing in some good running clothes. 

For pants I've always had really good luck with the running capris from Target. I also picked these beautiful dip-dye leggings up on Amazon a few months ago and they've quickly become a favorite because I'm basic AF and love anything dip or tie-dye. And the high waist keeps everything tucked in tight, which makes me a lot more comfortable than when my waistband falls down and my stomach flops all over (true story - not comfortable)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a hard time with running shorts right now since I'm still a bit over my pre-baby weight and find my shorts tend to ride-up whenever I run, which drives me bat-shit crazy. Chub-rub sucks.

However one of my goals for 2017 was to get back into running in shorts, since it's so god-awful hot in Florida 80% of the time.

I had really good luck with the Brooks Chaser short and Oiselle Roga, so I'm planning on breaking those out this month and giving them a shot during one of my shorter, morning runs. I know they fit since I use them for other workouts, but haven't gotten up the nerve to try running with them yet since having Jules.  

As you can tell with both pairs of the shorts, they have a wide waistband, which is key to prevent any muffin top digging. They also both have several pockets throughout the shorts, which are a good enough size for a GU, chapstick, or your car key.

As for shirts and sports bras, I tend to buy what's on sale and what's made for the heat. I like the UnderArmour heat gear tanks and love the sports bras from Target. I'm not super well-endowed, so I don't have good advice in regards to sports bras for more support, but I've heard the bras from Moving Comfort are pretty amazing. 

Sun Protection

I live in Florida, otherwise known as the Sunshine State. That's not a misnomer since it is SERIOUSLY sunny here most of the time. Unfortunately I struggle to run with sunscreen since it makes me sweat even more than usual (and I'm a sweaty beast). I'm taking sweat pooling in your shoes and streaming into your eyes here. Due to this, I don't usually run in sunscreen unless I'm on the beach or an unshaded area, and I try to run as early as possible and on a shaded trail. I do recommend that you run with sunscreen when at all possible. I do take extra precaution to wear a hat or visor because I suffer from melasma and getting any sun on my face results in some serious skin discoloration. I tend to use whatever hat I can find laying around the house until it starts getting super hot out and then I break out my visor. And I love that the band soaks up all of my sweat from my forehead and scalp so it doesn't get into my eyes. 

Running watch

I used apps on my phone for years and they worked just fine, but I love having a running watch. I've owned two Garmin's and highly recommend them, but especially recommend the newest one we got in January. Yes, it's refurbished - I buy everything refurbished since it usually just means a customer got it, didn't like the color or something, and returned it. This watch can do everything I need during a run including vibrating at me if I'm running under the pace I want to be running at, which is super helpful if you're training for something. It's easy to read and I was able to set it up without reading the directions, so it's easy to set-up too! 

My Garmin runs always tend to be more accurate than the apps I use on my phone, which is also really important when you're training for a race. Also, this watch comes in purple if you can find it (but the refurb price was more important to me than it being purple)

Water bottle

This is especially important in Florida or for any run over 4 miles or so, but I prefer to run with water all the time. I used to run with this and it works okay for shorter distances, but it was never enough for anything over 7 or 8 miles and if there weren't any water fountains on my route...heat exhaustion. I'm not a huge fan of the water bottles that you wear on your waist, so I will probably look into getting a bigger handheld bottle when I start training for my next half marathon in September. 

Technology crap

Since getting my new phone (the iPhone 7+), I had to upgrade most of my gear, since I preferred a pair of wireless ear buds and something to carry my phone in that wasn't an arm band due to the phone being so effing big. I did a lot of research and settled on...

The above ear buds, which are only $26 and are FREAKING AMAZING! I have a seriously terrible time getting ear buds to stay in my ears for any length of time during a run. Which is infuriating when I'm sweating and need my music to keep me going and the ear buds keep falling out. These suckers NEVER fall out or need adjusting. I'm not even kidding when I say I love them. And the music quality is so much better than the other ear buds I've tried. Needless to say, I highly recommend them. 

And this waist belt, which is only $8. I start my music, shove my phone in, zip it up, and turn it so the phone is on my booty. And then I run and forget it's there. It doesn't fall off or really even move the entire time. 

Fuel

Prior to leaving for a run (or in the morning before whatever workout I have planned), I always drink my watermelon Aminos. I've said it before, but I love this stuff and highly recommend it. It gives me clean energy without any jitters, there's no artificial colors (with the watermelon flavor), and I don't experience a crash later in the day. Also coffee gives me heartburn if I drink it prior to running and this stuff doesn't.  

If you plan on running more than an hour, you should plan on bringing something with you to snack on/replenish the salt lost through sweat/replenish electrolytes/give you energy. I have always had good luck with GU, and almost enjoy the salted caramel flavor - I think it's the most palatable.

A word of caution, I only eat about half at a time and eat it slowly while drinking water. This stuff is very thick and sweet and sticky and it's hard to swallow if you try to eat too much. This might be disgusting to some of you, but when I do have one I slowly eat half and then shove the other half in my sports bra for later. #extrasalt #frommyboobsweat

The thing that I LOVE to eat before a longer run is a honey stinger waffle. I usually have a bagel at home an hour or two beforehand and then have a waffle right before taking off. These things are delicious and I always eat one before any long run that's more than 6 miles. I have a fairly sensitive stomach and these never bother me and give me a nice burst of energy #carbs

That's all I have for today! Please let me know if you have any recommendations for gear you love for running. Do you have a favorite running shoe that you're diehard loyal to #brooksforlife, or do you think I'm a crazy person? 

I hope you have a fantastic day - thanks for stopping by!