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!

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!

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!! 

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!

Fri-yay before Mother's Day!

Oh man...let me tell you about this morning. I could not get out of bed to get up and do my workout. So I didn't. Which would be fine if I slept well for the hour and a half extra I got in bed, but I didn't. I woke up right around when Jason got home from work and he's all "geeeeeez you look tired". And he's a smart dude, so he wouldn't just say because he's daft and doesn't realize that those words can be taken really badly if I wanted to...I really looked awful. Huge, puffy bags under my eyes and I have a constant frog in my throat that I just can't clear out. 

Then I woke up my kids and they were both terrorists this morning. Whining and complaining and slamming their cell phone on the counter...

Needless to say, I'm not feeling so hot today! Luckily I get to leave work early to go to a Mother's Day tea at Julianna's daycare (I will try to take pictures and not be the worst blogger ever, I promise!). On the flip side, I'm going into work tomorrow for a half day to get caught up on stuff. Womp womp. 

Since I'm feeling like crapola, I don't have a ton to talk about but thought I would do a quick Fr-yay with some of the things that are making me say YAYYYYYYYYY today. 

Other than the fact that it's Friday...because that always makes me say yayyy!

Jason ordered a Mother's Day cake from Julianna's daycare and then Jules decorated it. Heavy on the sprinkles...just the way I like it :-) Her decorating skills look just like mine! The food always tastes amazing, but it looks just kind of meh. 

I guess this is the opposite of a yayyy...Jules has been excessively cranky and whiny and just not feeling it every day when I pick her up at school. She actually went to bed at 6:30 last night and slept all night until I went in to get her at 7:45.

I hate having a sick child and feeling helpless to do anything :-(

I finally jumped on the bandwagon and ended up binge watching Big Little Lies in a week. So. Effing. Good. I haven't read the book, but now I want to read the book AND I really hope they put out another season because I need MORE!! So what I'm saying here is, watch this dang show because it's amazing.

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Guys...this was our Sunday dinner and it was probably my favorite meal we've had recently. All of it was good, but that chicken...holy crap. I will be making it again soon! The recipe for the gnocchi is here and the chicken is here

Just another series of amazing pre-workout pictures, courtesy of me. This was before my run on Thursday and I just didn't wanna. Obviously.

Finally, I wanted to make some music recommendations since several people have told me they like those. Here are the songs I'm really feeling right now. 

  • Moving to New York by The Wombats
  • Every Time I'm Ready to Hug by Ra Ra Riot (this is my favorite favorite favorite right now)
  • Silvia by Miike Snow

And that's really all I have for today - like I said, my brain is dunzo!

I hope everyone has a great weekend - treat your mom/wife/baby mama like gold and if you are a mama - happy Mother's Day!

Take-Out Thursday

Happy Friday Eve! We're almost there! 

I'm starting to feel like crap, which makes me think I've probably picked up whatever Jules had/has, which is not a good thing. Because I literally do not have the time to be sick. 

A quick Jules update for you - she is doing mostly better. She's still clingy and cranky once I get her from daycare (she went back on Wednesday). She's also developed this fun new cry that sounds how I'd imagine a pterodactyl with a smoking problem would sound. It's absolutely ridiculous and drives me nuts; I'm guessing she got a reaction she wanted while doing it when she was sick so now it's her new cry. Yayyyyyyy...

Today I'm going to do a Take-out Thursday, since it's been awhile since I've done one. These are basically the pictures I deemed unworthy for a regular blog post that I've decided to share anyway, for one reason or another. So here we goooooooooooo!!

Sick, miserable Jules picture from Monday afternoon. I was like, I can't put that on my blog...that makes me a shitty mom. But now I'm like, whatever...it doesn't make me a shitty mom and it makes me more relatable because I'm sure most of us do it.

Did you know that apparently relatable isn't a word? I mean, I know it is, but I'm getting a spelling error and I know I spelled it right because I googled it. Weird. 

Anywho, moving on...

Other than the fact that I have melasma, my skin is pretty good...I rarely break out and if I do, they're usually itty bitty little zits. Not this week! I had this giant honker on my forehead yesterday and of course I had to share it with you guys! You're welcome!

Some outtakes from our run on Saturday. We're so photogenic and don't you forget it!

Jason was so excited about the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert a couple of weeks ago. Can you tell?? (He might kill me for putting this picture up, but that's the whole point of this post - crappy, outtake pictures!)

Jules really, really, really, really, REALLY loves breadsticks. Don't worry, I made her finish it before we took off. She's not allowed to eat back there by herself yet since I'm a psychopath and am terrified she'll choke. 

I made caprese salad on Sunday, which is one of my favorite summer dishes. I'm lazy and like to keep things simple, so I just buy the mozzarella pearls that can be found in any deli, cut up some tomatoes, some basil, salt, and olive oil. 

Get in muh bellay!!!

Not our good sides. 

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That's Julianna's "sup, brah" face. 

How about some fun outtakes from our beach trip?

First off, Justin is an amazing photographer...

About half the time I ask him to take a picture he zooms in and tries to make it ridiculous. And it's usually awful. Like up my nose or something.  #eyeroll

Being photogenic and working our angles runs in the family. 

I love how much Justin loves Jules (and she obviously adores him). I've talked about this a few times already and went into depth about my gap kids and their bond here, but it makes my heart so happy <3 He's been a huge help this week since Jules has been so clingy and won't let me put her down; they've watched all of the Toy Story movies together and he's helped her with snacks and tried to calm her down every time she'd lose her shit while I was trying to make dinner. I really loved when I took Jules upstairs to go to bed and Justin was still watching Toy Story when I came back down - he's a good teenager. 

I wanted to prove I have my priorities straight...

That's the pile of laundry in the corner of my bedroom that really needs to be folded and I was going to do it last night...but I decided to paint my toenails instead. To be fair, my toes were looking ratchet AF - it had been a solid month since I've painted them and instead I was just putting an extra coat on anytime one chipped. So yeah. Not cute. But now they're super cute! 

#priorities

Finally I wanted to share the sunrise from my morning run with you, because it was so beautiful.

No filter needed. 

Seriously, if you really want to get into a good workout routine/schedule start forcing yourself to do it in the morning. Yes, it sucks for the first few weeks and when Jules doesn't sleep well, but I am always so happy to see the sunrise after an awesome workout. Give it a shot!

That's all I have for today and I hope you enjoyed my random picture outtakes and musings. Are you a naturally photogenic person or are you like me, and you always look like a troll if you're caught in a picture unexpected. Seriously...I am only photogenic if I'm prepared. Otherwise, WATCH OUT...it'll be funny, but your picture will be ruined. 

Have a great Thursday!

Working Mom Wednesday

Happy Hump Day! It's a downhill slide to Friday from here, my friends! 

Don't forget Mother's Day this weekend!

There's still time for you to put something special together or order something nice from Amazon, so get on that! 

I do recommend you learn from me and don't send something to your mom that includes something perishable that will melt in the heat...because I live in Florida. And it's hot. Oops.

Today I thought it would be fun to talk about something near and dear to my heart, which is being a working mom. I will be completely honest in that even if I didn't need to work, I would still work. I really enjoy working - seriously! I've been working from way before it was probably legal, starting off as a babysitter for a few years before getting my first official job as a busser at a restaurant when I was 15. I worked at McDonald's for a couple of years in high school, became a server at a number of different restaurants, was in the military, was a bartender and a barista before finally joining Corporate America in June of 2010. 

When I started in my current career, my son and I were transferred from Central Illinois where we had family and friends to Western Massachusetts where we did not know a single person. I'm talking not one person. And I was a single mom, so I didn't really have any help from anyone other than my silly 6 year old. Was it hard? SURE! But I'm a firm believer that it's the hard stuff and how we deal with it that builds our character. And I might be a bit biased, but I have an AWESOME character. 

No matter how much I do enjoy working and the accomplishment I feel after a hard day of work, there are times when it is a struggle to be a working mom. Either the baby kept me up all night long or Justin is being a bunghole and got behind on homework or he's having a teenage meltdown and Jules won't let me make dinner or I just want more than a couple of minutes between when I get home from work and Jason leaves to have a conversation with my husband...I'd be lying if I told you there aren't times I wish I could be home more/all the time. This week with Jules being sick has been one of those times. Poor baby :-(

Still, I wouldn't change my working for anything and thought I'd share my top 3 tips that helps me make it work. Because let's be real, we all need help and ideas to stay afloat sometimes!

My top 3 working mom tips!

MEAL PLAN

I know I've been talking about doing a meal planning post since I started this dang blog and I still haven't done it - SORRY! Here's an abbreviated post on how I do it. 

First and foremost - plan your meals and grocery list. I do this every Saturday/Sunday and while you can use any old notebook to do it, I found this on Amazon and like it because it's a better size to keep in my purse and it's just a bit more organized than a normal notebook. 

I know some people like to do a full week's worth of meals on a Sunday and then eat them the rest of the week, but I personally think that's disgusting and can't do it. I'm sorry if you do that and can get away with it, but I can't stomach eating chicken that was prepped on a Sunday 5 days later - gross! Plus I seem to get food poisoning by just looking at something that's partially spoiled and I can't handle that ish; ain't nobody got time for that!

Instead of prepping all of my meals ahead of time, I make all of our meals as simple as possible and make them either at the time of the meal or a day or two ahead. For example, I always eat my breakfast and dinner the same day I make it (unless we're having leftover spaghetti or something) but I make my lunch the night before I plan on eating it, usually while I'm cleaning up after dinner and doing the dishes. 

I rarely if ever eat out while at work since I always prep my lunches one or two nights beforehand. I also like to try to eat different stuff for lunches since I tend to get sick of eating the same thing every single day. For example, this week I ate pulled BBQ chicken with rice and broccoli on Monday and Tuesday, leftover dinner on Wednesday (honey garlic meatballs, noodles, broccoli), and I'll have chicken sausage, rice and broccoli on Thursday and Friday. I eat a lot of chicken sausage with rice and broccoli, however Trader Joe's, Aldi, and even Walmart have an awesome variety of nitrate-free chicken sausage that doesn't have any nasty shit in it (mostly anyway) and because there's a variety of flavors I don't get sick of eating it on the regular. 

My biggest take away with meal planning is to plan all of your meals on paper and make them as simple as possible. I prefer to make things that don't require a recipe or if they do require a recipe, it's nothing crazy that I'll look at on Wednesday night and be like, NOPE and then order a pizza because I'm effing exhausted. Most Wednesday's and Thursday's we end up eating leftovers or something super easy like...you guessed it; chicken sausage :-)

I save my complicated Pinterest recipes for Sunday night dinner - I love Sunday night dinner!

Moving on to my next tip which is to...

Let shit go

Seriously. You cannot be a working mom and have junior and juniorette in ballet, baseball, basketball, and tumbling, expect them to be on the honor roll to your detriment because you have to help them with homework every night, have a clean house, make a gourmet dinner, provide homemade, organic cupcakes at all school functions, watch all of your stories on tv, drink wine like a boss with your friends, have regular sex with your spouse/SO, exercise and keep yourself fit, etc. 

You need to prioritize the stuff that is important to you and let some of that other stuff go. I refuse to have Justin in more than 1 extracurricular activity at a time - it doesn't benefit him or me to be running around from sport to activity to home for dinner at 8pm and still having 3 hours of homework to do and a messy house and I haven't even sat down yet and I'm going to lose my marbles...NOPE. I also don't try to stress myself out about cleaning because it will always be there and it will get taken care of eventually (...my effing bathroom mirror is still dirty...). I always take time for myself to get my workout in before going to work so I don't lose my mind and I try to take an hour after the kids are in bed or occupied to watch something on tv that I want to watch in complete silence. 

You may have heard this before, but you know when you're on a plane and they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before helping anyone else? This is so applicable in every day life. Take care of yourself and then worry about everyone else - in doing so you'll be better able to take care of everyone else, I promise. 

And my last and final tip...

Get new-ish clothes

I am going to include some affiliate links here, but hear me out...I'm not just trying to get you to subscribe so I get paid. I use Le Tote myself and have used it regularly since I became pregnant, and it has been a lifesaver for me. 

Full disclosure - these links are affiliate links for Le Tote. What that means to you is if you click on them and decide to subscribe, I will get a small financial thank you from Le Tote for the recommendation. I would never recommend anything to you that I myself do not use and I have been a member of Le Tote for almost 2 years now so it's obviously worth the recommendation!

I love having a pretty new outfit to wear into work. That may seem super materialistic, but the fact of the matter is, I feel better when I look better and I'm pretty sure most of you are the same way. As a manager in Corporate America, I've always made it a point to dress the part of the position I want, not the position I have. Meaning I might be a middle manager, but I like to dress like I'm a VP #respectmyauthoritah

When I found out I was pregnant with Jules and then started looking at how freaking expensive maternity clothes are, I was like...shit...leggings and tunics it is (which is totally fine if that's your deal - it's just not mine). Then I remembered reading about Le Tote and how awesome their maternity clothes were, so I decided to give them a shot.

There are 3 different options for maternity boxes:

  • 3 clothing items & 2 accessories for $69/month
  • 4 clothing items for $69/month
  • 2 clothing items & 1 accessory for $49/month 

I chose the 4 clothing items box starting when I was about 6 months pregnant, since I could no longer squeeze myself in my tight dresses and it was getting embarrassing for me and everyone else. I always got 4 dresses in each box and loved every single dress I was ever sent. Seriously, when you're huge and pregnant and get something new you can wear whenever you want, it makes a huge difference in how you feel while waddling into work while 38 weeks pregnant and miserable. 

How does it work?

You can click on the link above for a complete FAQ on the website, or read below for more from how my brain interprets it.

You sign up and fill out a style/size profile and then you are also able to go through all of the clothing available and like items you'd like to have sent to you. Next you get a text/email stating your box is ready to be styled. If you don't like what they picked for you, you can trade those items out for a different item - I would always trade out any shirts/pants/skirts for dresses since I hate wearing pants pretty much all the time, but I especially LOATHE wearing pants while pregnant. I have found that I will typically only get 1 or two of my "liked" items per tote, but some of my favorite items have actually been things that I didn't "like" - trust the process.

You'll receive your box a couple of days after it's shipped and the items are already washed and ready for you to wear! Once you're sick of wearing those items, you send them back in a bag they include in your box and then wait for your next tote. What's SUPER cool is if you really love something, you can just keep it and purchase it at a discounted price (compared to retail price).  

After having Jules I put my account on hold until I went back to work and realized I was for sure not fitting in any of my pre-baby clothes. Once I faced that harsh reality, I signed up for the classic subscription which is a bit cheaper than the maternity membership. 

  • 3 clothing items & 2 accessories for $59/month
  • 4 clothing items for $59/month
  • 2 clothing items & 1 accessory for $39/month

The past couple of totes I've gotten have included items that I never would have picked myself, other than the 1 or 2 items I had "liked", and those have ended up being some of my favorite pieces. I've branched out from just work dresses to shirts and casual dresses and I've even kept a couple of them. 

So why am I recommending you subscribe to a $60/month clothing subscription service? Because it has helped this 16 month postpartum mama who goes to work full-time, likes to look like I have my shit together, and is still between sizes feel good about herself. And that's really saying something because we all know how hard it can be sometimes to feel good about yourself, espsecially when the house is a disaster and/or the baby won't eat/sleep and/or the teenager keeps locking himself in the bathroom for way too long and you just can't even. 

Le Tote

Have any of you tried Le Tote or any of the other subscription services? I tried StitchFix a few years ago, but wasn't overly impressed. The clothes weren't great quality and were expensive for the quality (I went with the cheap box and could have gotten better stuff at Forever21, in my opinion). 

Do you have any tried and true tips for me to help me out? I'm always up for more ways to make my life easier!

See ya tomorrow!

Hand, Foot, and I'm Going to Cry

What a weekend we had in our house. Not that it was really eventful because it wasn't, it was just not a relaxing one in any way, shape, or form.

Jules is sick. There is a kid in her classroom at daycare who was diagnosed with hand, foot, and mouth and I'm pretty sure that's what she has. She's been running fevers (up to 102) on and off since Thursday afternoon and has been completely miserable, other than a few short moments of levity, pretty much all weekend. She has been extra super clingy, meaning I couldn't get anything done and I feel terrible for her because I can tell something hurts, but she can't tell me what. 

She actually woke me up around 3:30 this morning and thrashed and whined in my bed for another hour and a half before I finally gave up and went downstairs with her. I put Moana on and she watched that and fell asleep for a bit while I did some yoga and got my food ready for lunch, but then she woke up right before I was getting ready to jump into the shower. And she cried...and cried...and cried. She does not want me to put her down and she doesn't want anyone but me right now...and I have to work today. So I got ready like this.  

I'm talking I did my makeup, blow-dried my hair, and got my breakfast ready like that. And on the inside I just wanted to lay-down and cry alongside Jules because I am exhausted and my back hurts and I feel bad for her. Then Jason came home from work and took her to the doctor so I can go to work for a half-day before going home and putting my mom hat back on so he can get some sleep because he worked all night. These are the times when I hate being a working mom and wish I could just be home with my poor, sick baby. 

However I'm not even going to lie and fake like it won't be nice to not have a feverish, whiny, snotty toddler draped all over me for 4 hours today though. I hope that doesn't make me a shitty mom, but it's exhausting and it's been happening for 3 days now! 

Today's post will be a quick workout round-up from last week, since my brain is completely dunzo and I don't know that I can think of anything super clever or witty to write about. 

Monday - P90X Shoulders, Triceps & Chest

I also did my DR core workout (for diastasis recti - I posted all about it last week if you want to read more!)

Classic Jamie-before-workout-face. I feel like they're actually getting worse, but it is entertaining to me so I'm okay with it. Hopefully it entertains you guys too!

Tuesday - 32 minute run & DR core work

This was the day I was supposed to run 8 quarter mile repeats but couldn't math and ended up only doing 5 (see my blog from Tuesday for more info on that - I'm a hot mess). 

This is a pretty amazing picture too. Man, I am photogenic!

Wednesday - P90X Biceps & Back 

I also did my core workout. It's a trend - I did it every day last week except for Saturday!

Thursday - I ran real fast for 25 minutes...

25 minutes at 10K race pace (8:14/mile) with a 1/2 mile warm-up. This was super hard but I was so proud of myself once it was done and I actually hit my goal pace!

That after-picture though...man, I am trying to out-do myself with awesome pictures!

Also, my goal this week is to clean the master bathroom...including the mirrors. I can't handle the grossness anymore - like I'm almost embarrassed. Almost...not quite though.

Friday - Legs & back, extra hip strengthening workout, DR core work. 

BlogFriday.jpg

(this is the only picture I have from Friday. Gross, gross mirror!

Saturday - Rest DAY!

Peach-a-rita day?

I may have had a handful...over the course of like 5 hours. But still, a handful. It was after Jules went to bed and I was binge-watching Girls and snap-chatting all of my friends, so stop judging me!!

Sunday - RUN DAY! 

Jules woke up in a decent mood and didn't have a fever, so we went out and ran a little over 4 miles together. It was a pretty hard run - probably had more to do with the peach-a-rita's than anything, but I'm blaming it on the wind. 

LOOK!! I'm doing my old duck lips pose here! I haven't done that in forever!!

Maybe I should bring it back for good?!?

Nope...not gonna happen.

Mid-run picture, for the win!

This is apparently our new signature pose. I'm pretty sure she's telling me not to touch her with my sweaty, gross self. 

After our run we came home and I did my DR core workout and another hip workout, we had some breakfast, and then Jules laid on me and whined and thrashed around for the rest of the day. The poor thing looked like I look when I have a migraine and had a fever pretty much all day, so I gave her painkillers as directed, but she was pretty miserable all day long :-(

Did you have a better weekend than we did? Have you ever dealt with hand, foot, and mouth? How much do you LOVE my ridiculous pictures?