How I Got Through College as a Single Parent

Hump day, whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!? This week has been dragging for me! I thought it was Wednesday yesterday and that has just thrown everything off. Boooooooo!!

You may or may not have noticed this about me yet, but I am kind of a type-A freakazoid. As such, I like to try to plan as many things out as possible so I can be prepared everything. Well knowing that we're moving in less than 5 weeks has me seriously trying to plan and get shit organized, because moving is so stressful and I'm hoping to make it as smooth as possible for everyone. However I'm also kind of in panic mode and feeling a lot of pressure about it too. There's just so much to do and really not very much time to do it all. I've actually started a spreadsheet with three columns labeled "Things to Do", "Things to Buy", "Things to Pack" - type-A right hurrrrrrrrrr!!

I'm not sure why I told you that other than to get it out and in the universe, maybe? Anyone have any tips to make this easier?

Also, I wanted to mention that Le Tote has another seriously awesome deal going on right now that I want to make sure to get out to you guys in case you're thinking about joining. Now through June 30, you can get 60% off the first month of a Le Tote subscription by using the code SAVEME60. This is not a joke...60% is a LOT of savings! So head on over and get signed up and try it out - don't miss out on this deal!

My last Le Tote box was FIRE and I love all four of the dresses, but I especially love this one. It's soooooo pretty and the pattern is unique and I think it's pretty flattering!

As always, I would never recommend you try anything that I myself don't use on the regs. I love Le Tote and it has saved my work wardrobe right now while I'm still in-between sizes trying to lose this baby weight. I am a part of an affiliate program with Le Tote, so if you decide to sign up using my link I will get a small commission as a thank you. Thanks for your support!

Today I wanted to talk to you about something that I happen to have a lot of experience with, but it is a huge challenge that may seem insurmountable to many people. 

I've mentioned this a few times in different posts and here, but to those who haven't been reading for a long time or may have missed it, I was a single mom to my son Justin for a very long time. My ex-husband and I separated when Justin was less than a year old and from that point forward, I was a single parent. Just in case you're not sure, I'd like to reiterate...

Being a single parent is really hard.

It's also extremely rewarding and can be lots of fun, but when it comes down to it, it's really, REALLY hard. As a single parent, you are completely responsible for the well-being of another human. That human is 100% reliant on you for everything and you have to make sure that you are able to provide that human with what they need in life AND give them love and support and all that good stuff. 

When I got divorced I was still in the Air Force but I knew I didn't want to make the military a career and as such, I separated as soon as I was able to and began my first semester of college pretty much immediately. At that time, I thought I wanted to be a nurse and enrolled in a local community college back home in Illinois. This leads me to my first two tips for successfully getting through college as a single parent. 

Join the military

First off, there are a few states out there that will give you 100% free tuition if you join the military and come back to that state once you separate. Illinois (and Texas...maybe Alaska and Connecticut) is one of those states and as such, I was able to use my GI Bill to cover some of my living expenses. Join the military and do your service. I am a huge advocate for the military because it gave me some seriously awesome experiences, some fantastic friends, insane work ethic and free mother effing college. 

It is possible to be in the military as a single parent - you'll need to make sure you have help and may want to look into the reserves or guard, but you can do it if you really want it!


Go to a community college

For some reason community colleges tend to get looked down on as not being as academically advanced as 4-year schools, but that was not my experience at all. Most of my favorite professors from my college career were in the community college I attended - they were more accessible and helpful than the professors at the university I transferred to after 2 years and they really seemed to care more about my future. Plus community college is exponentially cheaper than a 4-year school so you are able to get a degree for a much smaller cost.

I chose to get a 4-year degree in business (specifically marketing) after changing my mind on my major, but there are several 2-year degrees that you can get amazing jobs with - nursing, engineering, paralegals, etc. You can also always look into trade schools, however I'm not sure how grants/loans/scholarships work for those. 

Talk to a counselor and figure out your options and then go from there.

Take all the help you can get

This includes loans, grants, babysitting from family and friends, live at home, etc. - don't think you have to do it all on your own and I highly recommend you don't try to do it on your own. When we first moved back to Illinois Justin and I lived at my parent's house for over a year. I had a lot of debt when I got out of the Air Force, so I wasn't able to afford living on my own at that time. After about a year I moved in with a friend from high school and lived there for a little while before I found a really cute, cheap, and tiny apartment in the town where my 4-year university was located. That being said, I still needed help with babysitting and hugs from my mom on bad days, so we spent a lot of time hanging out at my mom's house or driving down to my dad's in St. Louis when we wanted a weekend away. 

Sometimes you just have to play giraffe football...a really weird game we made up one day at my mom's house when the power was out...

Another thing that I was lucky to have the option of having, was roommates. I actually lived with two different friends while I was in school and while having a roommate can obviously suck sometimes, it made it more financially feasible. Plus both of them were amazing and would hang out with Justin so I could run sometimes or when I had to go to the library to work on late-night group projects!

Financially there are a lot of resources for single parents. As a single parent you are able to qualify for a lot of grants, which are basically free money for school. Then there are always scholarship programs, especially for specific majors such as nursing, teaching, and social work. And there are always student loans, however I caution you against taking out too many student loans as they are a bitch to pay-off. I only had $25,000 in student loans when I left college and I've been out of school for 7 years and still have $16,000 left to pay. You will also want to be really careful about taking out student loans if you are majoring in something that doesn't pay very well or doesn't have a good job-outlook, since your loan payments can easily be $200-500 a month and that's a lot if you're only making $30,000 a year after school. Throw a kid or two in the mix and that's just not enough to live on.

Be careful with student loans!

Another thing you need to do is get over your pride and look into public assistance programs. As a single parent in college you will probably qualify for food stamps, free or reduced daycare, and possibly even housing assistance. There was a time in college when I did receive food stamps and I am not at all ashamed to admit it, because it helped me get through school and now I'm paying back into the system so others can do the same thing. I was also able to qualify for free or reduced child care the entire time I was in school, which helped a lot. 

Also make sure you're getting child support. Contact your local child support agency and have them open up a case for you if you aren't getting it. And if you are getting it but it's been a few years and you know the other parent is making substantially more money now, make sure you get it amended. It does take a little work, but you shouldn't have to do it on your own.

Do your research and don't hesitate to take every possible form of help you can get!

Now you may be wondering, how did I manage to get any studying done when I had a crazy 3-7 year old boy running around and being insane all the time? Let me tell you my secret...

Study at McDonalds or the park

We would spend hours at McDonalds or at the park on a regular basis - I'm talking 3-5 times a week. Obviously it needs to be a McDonalds with a playplace, but this is one of the biggest things I did that helped me graduate! Justin would run around like a crazy person for hours, making best friends and burning off energy, and I'd tune everything out and study, study, study. We would go to McDonalds when the weather was crappy or when I needed wifi (it's FREE!) and we'd go to the park whenever I needed to do some reading. And I always took breaks to run around and play with him, since life isn't fun without fun. Duh. 

Word of caution on this, you do want to always make sure you can see your child and that you've had several, maybe even hundreds of talks about not talking to strangers, bullies, and what to do if someone does try to take them (FIGHT AND SCREAM!). I always sat in the playplace and made sure I knew where Justin was and always kept him in my line of vision while at the park. 

Work your ass off

Going to college as a single parent is not easy...at all. I was lucky in that I had some money coming in with my GI Bill and qualified for grants and had my parents to help out with babysitting or small loans for bills that I always paid back immediately, however I still had to work my ass off. This includes a part time job, doing homework until 3 in the morning or waking up early to read, late night study and group sessions for projects, writing papers during vacations, etc. 

I remember very specifically going on several vacations with my parents and watching everyone else drink beer all day without a care in the world while I sat back and wrote a paper or read school books. I know, #firstworldproblems at least I got vacations (thanks mom and dad!); I'm not complaining, just telling you how I made this work. There were also a few times that I had to scramble all over trying to find a restaurant with wifi while driving back from a trip so I could turn in an assignment on time. At one point we were driving back from Florida and I'm pretty sure we stopped by 3 or 4 restaurants in the mountains in Chattanooga before I found a place to turn my assignment in. Did it make my vacation less enjoyable? Sure! But I knew it's what I needed to do to get through school and that those small short-term sacrifices would pay off in a big way in the end. I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed going on my first vacation after graduation to South Padre Island and just being able to relax on the beach with my mom and my son without having to do any homework.  

I also worked a lot of part-time jobs - waitress, bartender, barista...waitressing or bartending is a great way to get some extra cash if you have the personality for it. And I firmly believe everyone should work in the service industry at some point in their lives since it's really hard work and teaches you how to work hard and not be an asshole (always tip your server). There were many weekends where I would work Friday and Saturday nights (my mom would usually watch Justin) and would easily make $400-500. This went a long way towards paying bills, having food, and having fun...

Take time to have fun!

Fun doesn't have to cost anything. Justin and I went hiking a lot, would go down to my dad's house in St. Louis and explore the city there, we went to every playground we could find, the zoo, children's museums, canoeing/tubing on the river with friends and family, etc. We'd often pick up a $5 footlong from Subway to share (remember when they were $5?) and a lot of museums/parks/things to do have discounts for students/veterans so everything we did was cheap. 

Get creative

This includes finding ways to study, things to do, and ways to make money. I am actually a 6-time egg donor, which obviously helped a lot towards getting me cash for school/living/fun stuff to do, but that's not for everyone and there are risks involved so I don't recommend it to people. Figure out things you can do to make your life easier or to get money and do it! Babysit, pet-sit, walk dogs, wash cars, rent out your 2nd bedroom as an Airbnb....do what you have to do to get through college, because I promise you, it's worth it for you and for your kids in the end. 

Push through it

I have actually had several people tell me that their lives just aren't as easy as mine or that not everyone can work as hard as I do...WHAT?!?! First of all, my life has not been easy in the slightest and I have had to work and work hard for everything that I have - literally nothing has been given to me. There were many times while I was in school where I just wanted to cry and give up (and I did cry a lot, actually). But I never gave up because I knew it would be worth it in the end and it has definitely been worth it. Yes, I am a hard worker and driven internally to work my butt off now, but I firmly believe everyone can work as hard as I do because I haven't always been this way. I was the laziest teenager who ever lived. I slept until 3 all summer and on the weekends, I never worked out, was crap about helping out around the house, and I barely put any effort into school. It wasn't until I had Justin that I realized I needed to get my ass into gear and really start trying to make something of my life so I can give him the best life possible.

Find something that drives you and motivates you and focus on that. Use whatever that is to keep you going even when times are tough. As I mentioned above, I cried A LOT through this process because it is a really hard thing to do, however Justin seemed to always know when I was down and he'd wrap his sticky little arms around me and give me big hugs and kisses and this kept me going. I talk about other things I do to keep myself motivated here if you want to check it out for more ideas. And when you go through that hard time and pull through it, whether it's a bad grade, your car gets repossessed right before Easter and you have all of the Easter stuff for your son in your car (true story - I used to be really terrible with money) or you have finally graduated after 2-4 years of seriously hard work, be proud of yourself. Because you did it. And it's SO worth it!

And then once you get that degree and start a job, you can start looking into fun things like certifications or advanced degrees because you are absolutely insane like I am...or just enjoy this accomplishment, since it's a huge one!

Thanks for stopping by - I'll be back on Friday with more shenanigans and insanity!

Time for some Monday

And WHAT a Monday it is! My car is being dumb so I had to take it to the car shop where I'm sure they'll try to inflate everything that's wrong with it so they can get all of my money. And it's cloudy and rainy and just blaaaaaaaaaaah outside. This is the day where I wish I could call in and hang out at home while wearing my unicorn onesie pajamas, but I'm a responsible grown-up so I'll just go to work and be all responsible and stuff. So dumb. 

Plus, my vacation time doesn't renew until July, so I don't have any time to take anyway.

I obviously have a case of the Monday's today! It doesn't help that there is a huge wolf spider in Julianna's room. At least that's the last place I saw it. And that mother effer RAN at me when I tried to go in and kill it. So of course I ran from her room while screaming bloody murder and now I don't know where that asshole is. What I do know is that wherever it is, it's probably plotting to kill me in my sleep EVEN though it's not poisonous. It's so big that it will actually grab a knife from the kitchen and STAB me in my sleep. Yeah, not even exaggerating...

So today I'm going to do a weekly workout round-up/weekend happenings/what I'm doing this week for workouts post. 

Monday - P90X Chest & Back and Core

I don't remember ANYTHING about this workout, so it must have been fine. Actually, that's a lie...I do remember that I actually struggled more during pretty much all of my workouts last week until Friday. Like I had to do less reps with the same weight. Which is annoying. I'm assuming it's because I'm watching what I'm eating a bit more and not carb loading for a non-existent race like I have been the past 16 months (2 years...). Also, I look super puffy in the 2nd picture compared to the 1st...I'm swole??

Tuesday - Turbofire, HIIT, and Core

I may have mentioned this a million times in the past month or so, but Jules is sleeping terribly again. So she's been waking up between 4-5 and getting up with me for my workout, which usually is fine. I had hoped to run on Tuesday and Thursday this week, but it was thunderstorming both mornings and with Jules being awake that makes it a double-nope. So I subbed a 30 minute kickboxing workout and 10 minutes of HIIT on Tuesday, along with my core workout. 

Jules is also doing this thing where if I put her down for any period of time and leave the room she screams bloody murder. So this is how I have been able to get ready for work...

#nopantsclub #workingmomlife #idowhaticantomakeitallwork

Wednesday - P90X Shoulders & Arms & Core

I apparently only got a before workout picture...my bad! I'm sure we will all live without the after and don't worry, I have so many more to show you!

Thursday - Kickboxing & Core

See?!? More pictures! I couldn't run on Thursday as I mentioned above, so I did a 53 minute Turbofire workout and my core workout. And I mixed things up by taking my before and after workout pictures in our still clean bathroom mirror. Ooooooooooooooh!!!

Friday - P90X Legs & Back and Core

Oh man, that's a great before picture! Classic Jamie. Jules woke up midway through my workout on Friday and at one point I was doing these squat jump things and I knocked her down with my butt. To be fair, I didn't know she'd gotten off the couch.

Best. Mom. Ever.

Also, I love messy baby wake-up hair. She looks so cute all mussed and messy!

Saturday - RUN DAY

Awwwww...look how hopeful and smiley my before workout picture is!! Jason ended up picking up a shift Saturday morning so I had to run with the stroller, but I figured it wouldn't be a big deal since pretty much all of my long runs are with the stroller. We even ended up leaving an hour earlier than we left the week prior - it's gonna be a great run!!

1.5 miles in....

4 miles in....

It was SO EFFING HOT and humid out during this run. Oh my GOSH it was rough. I literally had sweat pouring off of me by the time I was done. And for some reason I decided to challenge myself and run the bridge, which I hit at 2.25 miles and 4.5 miles. I actually ended up walking once I hit the top of the bridge and going down it on the way back because I had zero gas left and still had 2 miles left to run. Also I didn't wear a hat for some reason...still not sure why. So all of the sweat went into my eyes and I didn't have protection from the sun at the end. 

But by the time I was done and stretched, I was actually pretty happy about the run because it was the furthest I've ran this year! I was supposed to do some sprint repeats at the end, but decided that was a horrible idea and just ran the 6 miles. 

Do you SEE how freaking sweaty I am here?!? GROSS!! When I picked Jules up from her stroller she actually didn't want to touch me because I was so disgusting. Can't say I blame her!

The rest of Saturday was spent cleaning, errand running, and hanging out with some friends.

Walking the dog... 

Waiting out the rain before dashing into the grocery store...

Shoving a delicious poke bowl in my face hole...

Shenanigans...

Sunday - REST DAY

Which involved me taking a NAP with Jules from 10-12 because I was up past my bedtime hanging out with friends and watching Girls Saturday night and Sunday also involved cleaning/organizing for the move. 

Here you can see Jules is wearing a long-sleeved onesie and her Christmas dress from last year - both still fit her really well, so I think she'll be wearing them both again this year (just not at the same time). 

So now I have something important to ask you...

Do you know how to get rid of wolf spiders? I need to catch this killer death spider before it hunts me down and eats my face off. 

Also, how do you feel about the same Christmas dress 2 years in a row? I'm actually 100% into it because (1) it's cute and (2) she only wore it for like 4 hours...that's a waste of money and I'm a cheapskate!

As for my workouts this week, I actually only have one week left of P90X - time flies when you're having fun - BUT there's a new set of Shaun T workouts being released this week and I love him. So I'm putting P90X on hold for this week and doing Shaun T week and then I'll do my last week of P90X next week. So be sure to keep an eye out for my results/thoughts on both of those programs!

Here's to a great Monday, friends! 

Fri-YAY Fun Post (and am I crazy?)

Happy Friday to all of you, my friends! It's such a great day, isn't it? I love Friday. I know I've said this before, but I like Friday even more than the Saturday or Sunday because it's the day that starts the weekend and I'm always in a great mood knowing I have 2 days off coming up! 

Today's post is going to be all about the things that are making me say YAY! Some of them will be funny, some will be weird, some might be annoying for some of you, but whatever! It's my blog and I do what I want. 

Don't tell me how to live my liiiiiiiiiiiiife!! 

First and foremost, how many of you are like me and you eat well for a few days to a week and start looking at yourself like, have I lost all of the weight yet? Am I making progress? Am I skinnier yet?

This was me yesterday and I was feeling good. Like, oooooh I feel so good in this dress and my stomach is feeling flatter and YAYYYYYY. Then this morning I weigh-in and I've lost less than a pound in 2 weeks. Mother fucker. 

This weight loss stuff is so fucking frustrating and I hate how I can feel good one day and the next be so annoyed because the scale is a dumb whore. 

Am I the only one who goes through this? Am I insane? Please tell me I'm not crazy...at least not in this regard. 

Also, sorry about the language...I'll limit my French from here on out :-)

This is the other sunrise picture I took last week after my run when the sunrise was just so freaking pretty. No filter needed here, my friends!

How about some fun/ridiculous take-out pictures?

You know, these are the pictures that I deemed not worthy for other blog posts, but put in here because I have zero shame.  

Here's a series of the ridiculous faces I make when doing my pre/post-workout pictures. 

I am so photogenic. 

Speaking of photogenic...time for some BABY SELFIES!!

She gets it from her mama!

And her daddy too

I love how curly her hair is! I hope she keeps the curls and has beautiful, wavy, thick hair like her daddy. 

Just in case you're wondering where Justin is, he's been up in his room playing video games except for the times I order to him to come downstairs and hang out for an hour or two while I'm making/eating dinner or when I yell at him for not doing his chores. 

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Oh how I wish I had a summer break again. I've actually thought about getting my teaching certificate and becoming a teacher, but that would be a big problem for me because:

  1. I like money and things and that would be a huge pay-cut and homie don't play that
  2. I don't really like children very much. I mean, I like my kids and my friends kids and my nieces and nephews. But that's because they're all pretty well-behaved and not total assholes and have manners. It's the asshole kids without manners that I don't like to be around and I have the feeling teachers have to deal with a lot of those. 

So no being a teacher and having a summer break for me! Womp womp!

Would you like to hear about how crappy Jules has been sleeping?

There's apparently an 18 month sleep regression and I'm 99% sure Jules is going through it right now.

On top of that, toddlers apparently start having nightmares around her age and I'm pretty sure she's having those too. They can start around 18 months or earlier if the child has experienced some sort of trauma, which the poor little girl has definitely dealt with :-( 

So what we're dealing with right now is a toddler who wakes up at least once in the middle of the night and absolutely will not let me put her down. I've tried rocking her and putting her back down in her crib and patting her back, but she's absolutely not having it. And then I work full-time and can't miss out on the limited sleep I do get, so I'm lazy and put her in my bed with me. So now she's doing this super fun thing where she wakes up between 4:00-5:00 and thrashes around and flings herself all over the bed, waking me up repeatedly until we both finally get up when I workout. Then she sits on the couch or bed while I'm working out and whines/cries through most of it. 

Needless to say, she's killing me. I am so tired and find myself getting frustrated with her and then feeling horrible since I know she's just a growing toddler and this kind of behavior is to be expected. I am hesitant to do sleep training again, since I don't want to traumatize her any further, but I don't know how much longer I can live like this. 

Do any of you have any advice? Have you gone through this and found a way to help the situation? 

"That flash is so bright mom, don't take pictures this early!!"

And to that I say, "your foot is so strong and swift when it kicks me in the head at 4:30 in the morning...stop doing that and I'll stop taking pictures"

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DEAL????

(she's flailing around and fussing in that picture...send help...I'm going to lose my marbles)

You know how I have absolutely no shame and like to post horrendous pictures of myself for your enjoyment? Well here come some goodies!

I'm pretty sure I was trying to show how tired I was after my run in this picture, but all I'm getting from this picture is that I sweat a lot and make some INteresting faces. 

Of course I took more than one super unflattering pre-Jules jeans pictures! No shame in my game, folks! I need to just burn those dumb pants. BURN THEM!!!!!!!!

Except they're really nice jeans, so first I'm going to try to sell them to a thrift store. But then if they don't take them, I'm BURNING THEM!!

Speaking of flash...

That didn't work at all. But it does show that our bathroom is still pretty clean and organized and I'd like to give myself a pat on the back for that

*tries to pat self on back but remembers that I have no shoulder flexibility so I just scratch my neck instead*

Close enough.

Finally, I have some music recommendations for you guys! Do any of you even listen to any of my recommendations? If you don't, you should!

  • Reverend by Kings of Leon (late on the train for this one, but I love it!)
  • Wish I Knew You by The Revivalists
  • Slide by Calvin Harris
  • Know No Better by Major Lazer with Travis Scott
  • Rollin by Calvin Harris

For tv stuff, I'm still watching Girls and currently in the last season. I really like this show and would recommend it to everyone! Lots of boobs and butts with some "V" thrown in as well, just so you're not thrown off guard when it pops up on the screen. 

I also started watching The Handmaid's Tale last weekend and can I just say, HOLY SHIT! This show actually stresses me out so much that I can only watch one episode at a time. And tv shows never have that effect on me. But it's SO GOOD! 

Finally, the new season of Orange is the New Black was released today! Woohoo!! I will probably wait a month or two before watching, which is what I always do...once I watch it, I have to wait another freaking year for more! So I like to wait and savor knowing that it's there to watch before I binge all of the season in one weekend. Anyone else do this?

That about sums things up for me! This weekend should be fairly low-key, but busy. We're taking Justin out for dinner tonight to get some Udon/Ramen because he made the honor roll. I have a 6 mile run with some sprints at the end planned for tomorrow morning and I'm going to do it without Jules, which should make things easier...however as things always happen with running, it'll probably end up being a total shit show instead. Or it'll rain like crazy the entire time like it's been doing all week and I won't run at all - I'll run if it's raining just a little, but it has been straight pouring/storming every morning this week. Then we're having some friends over Saturday night and I may or may not be painting my kitchen table on Sunday #norestforthewicked

How about you? Do you have anything fun planned this weekend?? I hope it's a great one for you!

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...

Blog13.JPG

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!

Just Being Totally Truthful

Hi guys! It's me!!

I'm still over here doing my usual running and working and moming and wifeing and being awesome and stuff. 

I'm also wearing a DIRTY shirt that I'm pretty sure I talked about in another blog post (but I could be making that up since I'm super tired and my brain don't wanna worky). Anywho...I spilled food on this shirt the last time I wore it and then I apparently threw it in my closet instead of washing it. And now I'm wearing a dirty, food-covered shirt. 

#imthemessiesteateralive 

#evenmessierthanmytoddler

I wish I was kidding, but I'm not...ask my husband.

I'm also still here creeping on my kids and taking amazing pictures of them like the #photographer than I am. 

And don't forget about the super fun every day crap (pun intended) that I'm doing...like taking a picture of the "clean" litter box that Justin took care of earlier this week. I'm sure the cats loved having the scooper in there while they tried to do their business. That's like me trying to pee while the plunger is in the toilet.

Awkward AF.

One thing that I'm not doing enough of right now is blogging and for that, I'm sorry. Life is really busy right now. Work is insane and my husband is working a bajillion hours so home is insane too. Throw a promotion and relocation on top with a dash of a hospital stay, and you have pure chaos and insanity...

Fun story...whenever I'd read the word "chaos" I used to read/say it phonetically. Like "cha-hohs". Until I was a senior in high school. Now if I was just saying it in a sentence I would say chaos correctly. It was just whenever I had to read it out loud for some reason. 

I'm super effing smart though, I swear. 

Back to what I was saying...

Life is a bit crazy right now and as such, I may not be able to blog as much as I have been blogging. It's going to be even more insane once we move to Rhode Island and get settled in. I do intend to continue blogging regularly, but I'm thinking I will go to a 3 times a week schedule and try to make them more meaningful/fun/informative. 

So now I turn it to you - what would you like to see more of or have me talk about? Do you like the day-to-day stuff and shenanigans or would you rather have more of the informational posts and how-to posts? I'm thinking about going to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday plan with Monday being a weekly wrap-up of workouts/food/shenanigans, Wednesday being a WIIW or informational/how-to post and Friday being either a Fri-yay or informational/how-to post. 

What do you think? Please leave a comment and give me some feedback so I can keep this thing going and give you what you want!

Also...

Happy Friday!

Have a great weekend, friends!! 

WIIW - Stuff & Things

Happy hump day!! It's all downhill to Friday from here! Holla!!

How's your week going so far? Mine is pretty good! I actually got a little bit of sleep last night - still not enough and Jules was up once around 1am, however it's better than it has been!

Today I'm going to do another round of What it is Wednesday and then tomorrow I'll post a deep Topic Thursday of some sort (I have to alliterate in my titles...can't help it...sorry, not sorry). 

First and foremost... 

Don't mind his goober face on the right (he was half asleep), can we marvel at how much he has grown and how BIG he is now?!? If you look at where his ears are on the door, he has seriously grown like 4 inches. I can't handle it...time can slow down now. They aren't even kidding when they say you need to cherish the time you have because it flies by - I have an 8th grader. It's been several years since he has asked me to pick him up (and since I've been able to physically hold him since he's way bigger than me now). Before I know it, he will be in college somewhere eating pizza all day every day and never putting pants on...which honestly isn't that much different than where we are now. 

So the entire point of this is, do try to cherish the time you have with your kids because it does fly by and they're all grown up before you know it. Even when they're being assholes, because let's be real...kids are assholes a lot of the time (you know it's true). 

Mirror update...it is CLEAN!

I deep cleaned the entire bathroom this weekend and organized some crap and it looks so great. And I can see myself in the mirror without any embarrassing stuff all over it. I mean, I didn't really care all that much, but it was kind of gross. 

Guess what my first thought was when I saw this picture my husband took of Jules and I playing at the splash pad? "Uuuugggghhhh...why is my stomach so pushy-outy, I look so..." and then I stopped myself and thought (1) look at how happy Jules and you both are!! (2) Jason actually took a picture of you so stop your bitching and post the damn picture!

Also my hamstrings look awesome, so shut up critical inner voice! 

More splash pad fun...

Such great pictures of all of them <3 

Jules is walking so much better - she still has a limp that I am calling her pimp walk...judge away. But she's able to pretty much run now and is obviously loving having her mobility back. 

She even got to walk her dog this weekend, which made all of us happy...except Jax. He's not really a fan, but he tolerates it. He's become even more tolerant since he's figured out Jules will feed him anything she's eating if he's patient and sits next to her. Smart dog!

No filter necessary for the sunrise during my run yesterday. Seriously makes getting up worth it!

This picture was taken on Sunday. It's super cute, right? Now scroll up and look at the first picture I posted from Justin's last day of school on Friday...same shirt. I'm 99% sure he wore it the entire weekend and I'm also 99% sure those are the same pants. 

Teenagers are so gross. 

This picture is still cute though.

Jason worked extra duty at MegaCon this weekend, which is a huge comic book/tv show/movie/nerd fest and he was able to get us some free tickets so we went for a little bit on Saturday. First off, I saw some famous people from across the room - so cool (it's the simple things for me). Also I was pretty impressed by the amount of dedication these people have for their costumes and it makes me want to come up with a cool cosplay outfit for myself...except I'm lazy and don't care enough to spend that much money on a costume/outfit. HOWEVER we do still have our Halloween costumes from this year and since we'll be up by Massachusetts I think we'll need to go to Salem in October dressed as the Sanderson sisters (from Hocus Pocus) and Marti is totally going to fly up and join us, RIGHT MARTI?!? :-)

Now I have some super fun food/music/tv/movie recommendations, because what would a WIIW post be without those??

Favorite Recipes Right Now

These firecracker meatballs are so effing good. I urge you to plan on making them asap - we've had them 2 or three weeks in a row now and I might make them next week too...that's how good they are. We usually eat them with some white rice and broccoli or whatever your veggie of choice is and I seriously struggle not to get seconds...or thirds. DO IT!

Then I made these chicken thighs last night and MAN they are good! It is a bit of work for a weekday meal, but we ended up having 4 of them leftover so they'll be great for dinner tonight too. Of course I served them with white rice and sauteed some zucchini and summer squash for sides. Yummmmmmmm. And super cheap too; since the recipe calls for skin and bone-in chicken thighs they were only $0.99/pound at Aldi. 

Favorite Songs Right Now

I'm still obsessed with that Ra Ra Riot song I talked about in an earlier post - pretty sure I listen to it every day. Then I'm also still into the Hamilton soundtrack and have been jamming to that as well (when I say jamming I mean bopping in my car with jazz hands and faking like I can sing). However I also have some new favorites that I'm just going to admit to and get it over with...

Malibu by Miley Cyrus

The Cure by Lady Gaga

Sweet Creature by Harry Styles

So yep...that pop explosion just happened. I do find that I go in waves with the music I'm listening to based on the weather/time of the year. Here's how it usually goes...

January - early March: crazy, ratchet rap music. I need to get crunk after listening to Christmas music for a month and a half or so

March - May: I always go through a Dave Matthews phase when the weather starts warming up and lots and lots of alt rock

May - August: Summer always calls for lots of pop music, classic rock, and random musicals for road trips

September - October: I usually go back to alt rock/classic rock with some seriously hard rock/metal throw in for whatever race I'm training for. I love running to Slipknot. 

November - December: All Christmas music, all the time. Not even kidding - ask my husband. He loves it. When I say I'm basic, I mean I'm basic. 

Moving onto my favorite show right now...

I realize I'm super late to the game on this, but I've been binge-watching Girls for the past month or so and I really like it. However it makes me cringe constantly. I'm pretty sure that's the entire point of the show, but I literally cringe several times each episode. 

Finally, what I'm still all about right now...

No, not my disgusting and messy car...I'm talking about the empty carseat with my purse in the back. I'm still 100% putting my purse in the back whenever I put Jules in the car so I always have to walk around and grab it. In doing so, I ensure that I will never leave her in her carseat on accident. This is super simple, but I urge you to adopt something similar if you have a kid(s) in carseats so we can prevent any further tragedies with the hot weather this summer. 

So now I want to know some stuff about you! Do you go through random phases with your music? One music I never go through phases with is country - I can't stand it. I mean, I liked the Dixie Chicks in high school like every other chick who graduated in 2001, but everything else country is so not my jam. Also have you watched Girls and does it make you cringe as much as me? Hannah is just sooooooooo cringe-y and entitled and it drives me insane. 

I hope your hump day is humptastic!!

Monday on a Tuesday and the BIG NEWS!

Is it just me, or do you also feel like you only got 2 days off and it's actually Monday? There's no way I'm the only one feeling this way. 

Needless to say, I was on the struggle bus for real today. Actually, I was on the struggle bus all weekend. Jules is not sleeping well at all. We've moved her back into her bedroom and we're basically back to square one with her sleeping like total crap and waking up and then we bring her into our room and she sleeps horribly and basically keeps me up all night. And I feel super guilty doing any sleep training since she just went through that whole hospital/illness ordeal and is extra clingy and needy right now. So for now, I'm back in the no sleep club. 

Last night was especially bad since I kept dreaming we were living in a house like the house from The Conjuring, which is scary AF and kept jolting me awake all night long. And then Jules was screaming bloody murder and I brought her to bed where she rotisseried all night long, kicking me and resulting in an awful night of "sleep".

I would say send coffee, except my anxiety is through the roof right now and caffeine makes my anxiety much worse. So don't send coffee. Send me a clone who can work for me all day while I nap under my desk. 

Before I jump into the BIG NEWS, I thought I'd do a workout round-up from last week. 

It wasn't a great week for workouts - I'm still getting back into the swing of things after being in the hospital the week prior, Jules isn't sleeping well, and I'm also not sleeping well, so waking up to workout was a real struggle all week last week.

Monday - P90X Chest & Back and core workout 

I was off of work so I could take Jules to some doctor's appointments, so I didn't end up working out until 11. Which means I was able to smile BEFORE my workout. It's amazing how that works when you're not still half asleep and feeling like the living dead!

Also the core workout I'm doing is still the transverse abdominal workout for diastasis recti - I am staying away from traditional ab workouts until I make some awesome progress on my gap.  

Tuesday - nothing, nada, rest day

I couldn't wake up to workout before going back to work and there was no way I was doing it after work. Oh well!

Wednesday - P90X Arms & Shoulders and core workout

I worked a half-day on Wednesday because my mom was flying home in the afternoon and we weren't ready to take Jules back to daycare yet, so I slept through my alarm in the morning and did my workout in the afternoon. Hence the happy "before" picture. 

And just in case you're wondering how I manage to do an almost hour-long workout while I have a toddler in the house who is awake?

I use the iPad for my workout and Jules hangs out on the couch and watches a movie on the tv. Right now she's really into all of the Toy Story movies, Sing, and the Secret Life of Pets. She does sometimes get up and whine, but she usually allows me to put her back on the couch or have her play with her toys and 95% of the time I can finish my entire workout without any major meltdowns. 

Where there's a will there's a way, and I will get my workout in!

Thursday - Speedwork and core workout

First, I exploded my aminos/preworkout all over everything on the counter. I'm still not even sure how it happened - I was tired and spazzed out or something? 

This lead to me giving a stank-ass-before-run face - look at that grumpy face!

However a good run always makes me feel better and this was a pretty awesome run! Hard as crap and humid as a mother, but a good run!

What a fantastic picture of me. So flattering.

Friday - P90X Legs and Back and core workout

I was definitely struggling a bit, as you can see from my lovely pictures above, however I managed to get my crap together and get a great workout in so that's all that matters!

See what a great workout does though? Look at how happy I am! Using filters helps too...

Then I took Saturday and Sunday off because Jules slept horribly and it was ridiculously hot outside and I didn't want to run or do anything. 

So I had 3 rest days last week - whatever, it is what it is!

As I mentioned a post or 2 ago, I gained a solid 5 pounds the week we were in the hospital with Jules - stress + all.the.carbs = fluff. On top of the lack of activity, excessive carbs/wine consumption, and stress, it was also a certain special time of the month. Resulting in me being extra super fluffy. Between then and now, I have lost some of the fluff, however I still have 9 pounds to go before hitting pre-Jules weight and then a solid 4-6lbs to get to a "happy" place...although at this point I think I'd be pretty happy just to get to pre-Jules weight. And yes, the scale and I are back together for now but there's a legit reason for this...

I have to lose the Jules/wine/food weight (I can't realistically call it baby weight anymore...). You may be asking yourself why there's an urgency now when I've been carrying it around for 16 months without much concern...wellI have to be able to fit into all of my cold weather clothes again by September or so...

Because we're moving to Rhode Island!

The company I work for has their home office in Rhode Island and I've been offered a promotion with a completely new position in a different department. I know I've mentioned not loving my job all that much in the past - I've hit a bit of a ceiling here in Florida and can't promote without moving, plus I love being challenged and haven't felt challenged in awhile. So Jason and I decided to accept the position/move and we'll be moving in mid-July or so. Well, I'll be moving with the kids and Jason will likely have to stay behind for a couple of months until he's able to start a position in RI or Mass (law enforcement jobs hire in waves so he likely won't be able to start right away even if he gets hired somewhere right away). So this will obviously be a huge challenge since I'll be moving to a new state, with a higher cost of living, with two children, and likely by myself for a few months. However Jason and I have done the long distance thing in the past and taking this move/job sets us up to be able to finally put roots down somewhere for good instead of having to worry about moving every few years in order to move up in my career. Being in home office is something I've always wanted, so I'm super excited for the possibilities for my career and our lives in RI. I've always had this ridiculous vision of Jules running through an apple orchard in the fall with cute, little pigtails and a basket of apples...is that weird? 

So we'll have to struggle for a bit, but I have always found that it's the hardest times and riskiest choices that have the greatest pay-offs. 

Luckily I have quite a few friends up in RI and Mass and Jason has a lot of family in CT that will only be a 2 hour drive away, so we have more of a support system that I've ever had when moving in the past - we moved to Mass and Florida without knowing anyone in either place. We're already planning on Jason coming up once a month for a week at a time so we're still able to see each other as much as possible, and I'm 100% confident this will only make us stronger as a family/couple. 

So bring on the lobster, Block Island ferry, nor'easters, FALL, pumpkin everything, NYC, blizzards and snow days, hiking every weekend, leaf peeping, weiners, and Waterfire! 

And now you know why I was dreaming about living in the Conjuring house...it took place in Rhode Island! So I'll be getting super hippie-dippy and smudging and sage-ing the crap out of wherever we move to because I'm not doing any crazy haunting crap. No way!

You better believe this is going to end up resulting in some interesting posts, so I hope you have subscribed so you never miss any of this crazy adventure!

Does anyone have any tips for moving cross country with 2 kids? I've done it a couple of times with 1 kid, but doing anything with 2 kids is a huge challenge! Also have you ever saged a house? It's a legit thing that people do to cleanse bad energy from a new home before moving in - I'm seriously going to do it. I can see Jason in my head shaking his head while reading this. Lol. 

Have a great 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!

What it is Wednesday!

Howdy ho, friends! How are you doing?

I am doing okay-ish...it seems that all of my emotions and stress from the past week are starting to catch up with me and manifest in some not so fun ways. For example, all of my muscles in my legs are cramping up all day/night long, I have a horrible stiff neck, and I am completely unable to fall asleep. Like I lay down at 9:30 and then my heart starts pounding and flopping around and I will start to fall asleep but jerk myself awake a million times until it's 1:30 and I know there's no way I'm getting up at 5 to work out. So that kind of sucks a lot! However I'm sure it will work itself out soon and I'll be back to normal in no time.

On the plus side, Jules took a couple of steps to get to me when I came home from work last night. Can I get a hallelujah?!?

Today I'm going to bring you another edition of WIIW, which is when I talk about some of the things that I'm totally loving or want to rant about. 

I actually don't have any new music to talk about this week...I KNOW!! I honestly have not been listening to much music since we've been in the hospital and then rushing around to appointments and whatnot. However one thing I have been doing, since I felt I needed some laughter in my life, is re-listening to all of the Straight Talk with Ross podcasts. I have been all caught up on the new episodes and decided to start back from the beginning, which has been a great decision since laughter is the best medicine and this shizz is FUNNY! 

I highly recommend you check it out if you like to laugh and love ridiculous people and shenanigans - and since you're reading this, I'm assuming you do. The podcast can be found online here and you can also listen through any podcast app that you might have on your phone. 

Let me know what you think if you check it out!

Another new absolute favorite thing for me right now?

I guess this is a two-fer because that expression on Julianna's face kills me "MOM, I'm EATING!! Get that camera outta my FACE

Let me tell you a little bit about Caramel M&M's. They're delicious, I love them, and you should get them. I don't like regular M&M's at all; like not even a little. But these caramel M&M's are so effing good - the caramel is the perfect consistency and everything just works together to make it one of my favorite candies of all time. Get them and thank me later. You're welcome. 

I love, love, LOVE baby raccoons. This little fella/lady was so freaking cute. Probably had rabies, but still SO cute. 

Another thing I'm loving so much right now?

Meme's about man rompers...

Just in case you're wondering how I feel about man rompers, I think these express it perfectly. 

Moving on.

What do you do when you've been super sick and cooped up in a hospital for several days and then stuck in the house for several more days and you finally get out?

Go to Target and browse all the stuff and things and try on hats. Obviously. She's definitely my daughter!

This picture has so many of my favorite things in it. My husband being all handsome and silly, Jules reenacting Lady and the Tramp with chips and her daddy, and a yummy Mexican restaurant with $3 happy hour margaritas and the best queso fundido of all time. 

If you check out the third picture, that's Julianna's new silly face. She goes "oooooooh" or "wowwwww" and makes that face and then giggles like a loon all the time right now and I love it. 

I'm so glad she's feeling better and acting like my silly little Jules again.

Speaking of silly little Jules...

When you're feeling lazy and don't want to lean forward to play on the iPad, why wouldn't you use your foot? So smart.

We've also started playing peekaboo/"where's Julianna" on the regs again since getting home from the hospital. She's such a good hider...

You may or may not know this, but I am about to have an 8th grader on my hands...

Those pictures are from his first day of school - he's already grown out of two shoe sizes (those were 11's and he's in 13's now) and is in a size large for shirts and 32x34 for pants. Like a real man.

I'll post a comparison picture after Friday, but holy crap.

I look way too young to have an 8th grader, right? 

Here's some link love for you...

This is so effing funny and makes me love Melissa McCarthy just a little bit more. 

If my house is a disaster when you come over, it's because I love you.

Finally, I'd be completely remiss if I didn't mention how freaking amazing and awesome my mom the cat/dog/toddler whisperer really is. She found a flight and flew down last Wednesday and has been such a huge help throughout this entire ordeal. I never would have asked her to help, but didn't need to since she's an amazing mom and knew we needed her. She has helped with doctor's appointments, getting Justin to/up for school, cooking, cleaning, drinking wine, helping me cope, etc. And I seriously don't know what we would have done without her - I would have made it work, but I'd be way more unhinged than I already am and that's scary. 

So thank you, mommy for being the best mom ever. Also, thank you Daddy Todd for telling mom to go when you knew she and I both needed it. Oh and thanks to my mom's boss for also being awesome and telling her to come down here and being so understanding (Hi Chris!). 

That about wraps things up for this week's edition of WIIW! I hope you found something funny/useful/amusing and noticed that my sense of humor and amazing personality is starting to shine through my writing again. Just think how amazing it would be had I actually slept more than a few hours the past couple of nights (or maybe it's better because I'm delirious?). 

What are your favorites/rants/whatevers that you want to tell me about? I'd love to hear what it is for you on this lovely hump day! Take care and I'll talk to you tomorrow! 

*mic drop*

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. :-)