Fri-yay!

Howdy everyone! I updated the About Me page, so feel free to check it out here!

We made it - it's Friday!

And it's not just Friday, it's Cinco de Mayo!!

I don't have a ton to talk about today - all my posts this week have been pretty informative and detailed so I think my brain is all tapped out. However I didn't want to leave you guys hanging, so I figured I could post some random pictures and tell you about them! Obviously some of them will be funny or weird or dumb because that's how I roll, fam!

Here's my favorite breakfast from this week...I think it was on Wednesday. Some pan-fried potatoes with mushrooms and chicken bacon, some avocado, 2 drippy eggs and cheese. SO EFFING GOOD!! 

LOOK! Not only do I like to post awful pictures of myself on the internet for everyone to see, I also like to post terrible pictures of my children for everyone to see. Best. Mom. Ever. 

It's not often that I can get everyone smiling at the same time, but I can almost guarantee we can all look ridiculous in a picture at the same time. 

This is what happens when I turn my back for 30 seconds to try to get dinner started. 

Jules just wanted to play Cards Against Humanity - NBD. I really am working on my Mother of the Year award, aren't I?!

Here's another angle of me really not wanting to run yesterday. 

Don't worry guys...I still haven't cleaned the mirrors in my bathroom. How long has it even been? 2-3 months? I feel like I should be embarrassed but I'm not. The bathroom in the downstairs bathroom is clean and that's good enough for me!

This was from this morning after my workout - multi-tasking like a BOSS!

Here's a seriously #latergram of Justin and me before the race we won 3 years ago. Look at how cute and little he was!

Finally, my clothes have been on point this week and it's all thanks to letote. I don't have an affiliate link to share yet, but I've been using letote since I was pregnant and refused to buy expensive maternity clothes to wear to work. I'm currently still in between sizes so instead of giving in and buying clothes in a bigger size, I just rent my clothes from letote. I haven't been totally sold on them postpartum up until recently, when the last two totes I've gotten have been on point. Here are some of my outfits from this week, all of them with letote clothes:

Does anyone else take outfit selfies in the bathroom at work, or is it just me?

We don't have a full-length mirror at home, so this is the only way I can TRULY get a full outfit selfie!

And that's all I have for you today? What do you have going on? Any super fun weekend or Cinco de Mayo plans? I may or may not pick up some tequila for some margaritas at home, but Jason is working so that means I'd be having a margarita or two by myself - is that bad? Do I even care if it's bad? 

I hope you have an awesome weekend and that it dragggggggggggsssssssssss on for all of us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link Love!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World peace, Jamie-style.

My current favorite songs...

In no particular order...

Just for listening:

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

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

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

Why I'm Quitting Ab Workouts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend Happenings and Beach with a Toddler

Happy Monday, my friends! Are you ready to tackle this week like a boss? 

How was your weekend? We had a pretty great weekend, including a nice trip to the beach. I ended up getting absolutely fried, which I'm pretty upset about since I try to avoid too much sun due to religiously using tanning beds in my youth. So to get super fried (like my legs still hurt from the burn), is embarrassing and a health hazard. Not. Cool. 

I did use sunscreen, but it's about a year old and I'm guessing it's expired or something - let this be a lesson to you; don't use old sunscreen at the beach in Florida!

Before I go into our beach trip, including some recommendations on how we make the beach work with a toddler, I want to do a quick workout round-up from last week. 

I also had to post another smiling pre-workout picture, since they're usually so grim. 

Monday - P90X Shoulders, Chest, and Triceps

Tuesday - Speed running workout (see it here) & abs

Wednesday - P90X Back & Biceps

Thursday - Hangover rest day (booooooo!!)

Friday - P90X Legs & Back

Saturday - I planned on running but overslept (booooo!!)

Sunday - I wanted to run but my legs were too sunburnt. Yes, seriously. Not. Cool. 

As you can see, I did not do 2 of my planned workouts this week. So even though I absolutely LOVE working out and it's usually a part of my daily routine, I am still human and life (and beer) happened. And I'm perfectly fine with that since I know I'll have a better week this week. So if you happen to miss a workout or two don't let it get you down, we all do it!

Moving on to the fun part of the weekend...THE BEACH!

(look...we're all smiling! That never happens! Also, how does my Justin tower over me so much? I can't handle how grown he is!)

Also, if you're wondering about my swimsuit, I found it at TJ Maxx or Marshalls and even though I'd just gotten another cute one a month before, I knew I had to get it because it's flattering and comfortable and those are rare qualities in a swimsuit. I didn't get any pictures of the backside, but it's pretty cheeky which I love because I love my booty and like to show it off #datass

We only live 50 minutes from the beach, yet we hardly ever go. Which is crazy, because we all love the beach. It is just a lot of hassle to get all of the beach crap together, plan out food/snacks/drinks, pack and unpack and pack and unpack everything, wash all the towels, sweep up all the sand, deal with the aftermath of getting a sunburn...

But still, IT's THE BEACH. Now that the water is warming up, I hope we can start going more often. I'd like to challenge myself to go at least once a month from here on out, but we all know how my challenges go *cough, cough...meditation challenge...cough cough*

(to be fair, I've been consistently meditating most weekdays, so it's still a winner in my book)

Back to the BEACH...

We went to our favorite park which is right next to Cocoa Beach - it has free parking as long as you get there early enough, lifeguards, bathrooms, rinse off stations, and no crowds. I'm not posting the name because I don't want everyone to go there and ruin it, but if you really want to know hit me up and I'll tell you. 

Since moving to Florida I've become a huge vadge when it comes to water temperature and rarely go in the water from October to May, however the water was absolutely lovely this weekend. It was warm, but still refreshing. Even Jules loved the water and we all spent hours splashing around, boogie-boarding (the waves were too choppy to ride any, but still fun to play on), and making sand castles. 

As the mom of a toddler, pretty much everything we do is a bit more difficult and complicated. I obviously wouldn't trade it or her for anything, but I'm just going to be real and say it. I'm sure most of you would agree with me, if you have a toddler or have been around one. We can't just go to the beach with a towel and some beers...it doesn't work like that anymore! However we have gotten this whole beach with a toddler thing down to a science, and luckily for you, I write a blog and love to overshare my life and tips! So without further ado:

My tips and tricks for beaching with a toddler!

Pack the car the night before...

This is very important - otherwise you will end up scrambling and running late, you'll get all hot and sweaty and cranky, and you'll miss your free parking spot which is no fun for anyone. I always make a quick list of snacks/drinks for everyone, run it by my husband to see if I'm missing anything, and make a quick store run the day before. We tend to make sandwiches and bring chips and vanilla wafers most of the time, but every once in awhile I'll make a caprese salad that we'll eat out of the container like savages or if I'm feeling REALLY fancy I'll make ceviche and we'll eat it with tortilla chips. The recipe I use for ceviche is this one and it's so freaking good - let me know if you try it! 

The evening before we are going to the beach we get all of the food made and packed up in bags and then pack the car with all of our beach gear, which is a lot of crap - beach chairs, umbrellas, sand anchors for the umbrella, towels, cooler, boogie boards, Jules float thing, buckets to play in the sand...now you might be wondering how we get all of this to our spot on the beach without killing ourselves?

Get a beach cart

For some reason I fought tooth and nail on this - I'm pretty sure that in my head this was like trading in my SUV for a minivan. Like, I'm too cool to use a beach cart - only dorky, prepared grown-ups use those! Well guess what? I'm a dorky, prepared grown-up now! My mom ended up getting this for Jason and me 2 Christmases ago and I don't know how we ever went to the beach without it. If you ever go to the beach for more than a day or two, get one of these!

However I am never getting a minivan - I don't care how cool and comfortable they are. You can mark my words here...no minivan ever. 

Sun Protection

Even though I got fried this weekend, I am usually pretty psychotic about being fully protected from the sun. I always wear a hat unless I'm boogie boarding or surfing and I try to always wear sunscreen all over. I also religiously coat my children in sunscreen and force them to wear hats/shirts/rash guards (except for poor Justin's feet, which got burnt this weekend too #momfail). Julianna always has a long-sleeved rash-guard swimsuit (we found her mermaid suit at Target this year) and she always wears a hat. We really like this one and have already purchased two of them in the past year:

As for sunscreen, I really try to avoid any of the chemical crap since it really is terrible for you. I'm not being crazy, do some research and see how you feel about Banana Boat then. One place you can go to check out how awful or amazing your sunscreen is is the EWG website here . I urge you to do a quick search on the sunscreens you currently use and see how your sunscreen ranks. Then do some additional research and see how bad some of these chemicals are for you. THEN I think you'll jump on the chemical-free sunscreen train with me.

Here's my favorite stuff to the left. To be clear, I didn't use this kind this weekend since I couldn't find it - I used some stuff I had leftover from Hawaii which worked well in Hawaii, not so much here in Florida.

I know the bottle says baby, but it's good for everyone. The EWG ranks sunscreens from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst - this type of Blue Lizard sunscreen along with the sensitive Blue Lizard (blue lid), are both ranked as 1's. It is expensive, but I've found that a little goes a long way. 

One big tip for you when you're using any zinc oxide/titanium dioxide sunscreen is to rub it in. Seriously take your time and REALLY rub it in. If you don't, you will either look like a geisha OR you'll look purple. 

Another benefit of the chemical free sunscreens is they don't harm the coral reefs - all of the chemical sunscreens we use are actually doing MAJOR harm to the coral reefs and fishes and that's no bueno. So use the chemical free stuff and save yourself and the fishes!

You need shade!

We never go to the beach without beach umbrellas and/or a canopy tent thing (ours broke last year). Right now we are going with the two umbrella set-up, which works pretty well. You do end up having to move your chairs every couple of hours to chase the shade, but it's better than frying in the sun and then being burnt for several days because you were too lazy to move (I'm glaring at myself right now). 

If you're going to be using umbrellas for shade, please make sure you also get some sand anchors so your umbrellas don't blow away. Seriously...it's super windy at the beach and I've seen so many people almost get impaled by umbrellas flying away.

Yes, it is entertaining for us to watch, but I would feel bad if anyone actually got hurt. 

I found this picture on Walmart.com so you know what I'm talking about, but you can seriously find these things at any gift shop or drug store near the beach. I'm pretty sure ours only cost us $8 each and they've been a real life saver. 

Literally a life saver. Don't impale people who are on the beach because you didn't anchor your umbrella.

Bad juju.

Make sure you have somewhere to sit. 

I know the beach purists are probably all, "oooooh I just like to lay in the sand and chairs are for lame-o people". Well I am totally a lame-o person who has a toddler and needs a place to park my ass. Seriously. Get yo-self a good beach chair and thank me later. We've ran the gamut from the super cheap ones you get at a beach store to our primo Tommy Bahama chairs, and I highly recommend the Tommy Bahama backpack cooler chairs - worth the splurge. We usually use the cooler part for garbage and having the ability to wear the chairs on our backs gives us that much more room in our beach cart for all of the other crap we need. 

You're obviously more than welcome to buy through my affiliate link, but we actually got ours at Costco for like $30 each. #justsaying. 

The benefit of the chair is two-fold. You can sit down while you and your toddler eat a snack and make funny faces. 

And it gives you a place to relax and enjoy a cocktail while your toddler takes a nap for an hour or so. 

Those peach-a-rita's are delicious. I had 4 (over the course of 5 or so hours so STOP JUDGING ME). Yes, I know they're terrible for me, but IDGAF. So yummy. 

Bring it all...

We always bring:

  • a ton of diapers and wipes
  • paper towels and a garbage bag
  • a change of clothes (or two)
  • a bajillion towels (one for everyone, plus a huge one we lay in front of the umbrellas for sun and a beach blanket for under the umbrellas)
  • TONS of water
  • a sippy cup
  • things to play with (sand pail, something with wheels, shovels, water toys, etc). We actually failed on this one this time and only brought a sand pail - Jules ended up playing with the contents of my bag for an hour. Take everything out, put it back in, and repeat 24 times. 
  • Bluetooth speakers - we love to have music playing while we're at the beach. This way we don't have to listen to the crap other people are listening to AND Jules loves to dance so it keeps her happy and occupied on and off throughout the day.
  • snacks (fruit especially watermelon, chips, etc.). On a side note, Jules isn't allowed to eat popcorn due to it being a pretty significant choking hazard, however we used to always bring SmartFood popcorn. Then we noticed it always became super stale right after opening at the beach. I don't know if it's the salty air or the wind or what, but I'm talking 30 minutes after opening. So I don't recommend popcorn for the beach. 
  • Lotion for afterwards so your skin doesn't feel like it's turning to stone - or is that just me?

Have your husband drive...

So you can all nap on the way home. 

The beach is exhausting and Jules and I both slept the entire way home (I think mine had more to do with 4 peach-a-ritas than anything). 

That about sums it up! How about you? Do you have any additional beach tips I may have missed? Have you tried the peach-a-rita? It's SO GOOD! How was your weekend? 

This post includes some affiliate links from Amazon. If you click through and purchase any of the items I recommend it does not change the price of the item at all, it just gives me a very small commision for making the recommendation. Thank you for your support!

How I Survived My C-Section

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*insert angry face here*

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

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

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

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Look at how cute and excited we are! 

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

And she cried immediately. 

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

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

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

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

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

A Cesarean is a major surgery. 

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

Well here's what helped me. 

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

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

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

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

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

Always have a pillow handy. 

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

Trust me here. 

Ask for help. 

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

C-section underwear

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

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

Push yourself, but not too hard. 

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

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

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

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

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

Scar massage

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

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

Lastly, don't give up on yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday. 

Mother's Day Gift Ideas - 2017

Happy Friday, from the little snot monster and me!

I can't believe we finally made it. This week has been such a doozy. As I mentioned earlier in the week, I've been fighting a migraine on and off and have been completely exhausted and also a total lunatic (see yesterday's blog for more info on this). It's been so bad that I skipped blogging Tuesday and Wednesday, which I haven't done since starting up this bad boy and hated doing. I really enjoy blogging - it's a creative outlet and it's keeping me sane while Corporate America tries to suck the soul out of me - so for me to skip 2 days meant that I was really feeling like crapola!

Before I jump into the meat of this blog, I'd like to show you how fashionable I am. 

Exhibit A:

I pull my bangs back the second I get home. While I love having bangs partially because they look cute and also because I have a huge 5-head, they drive me absolutely nuts all day long. I'm pretty sure I enjoy pulling my bangs back every evening even more than taking my bra off, which is really saying something.

The reason I'm showing you this picture is because I somehow forgot to pull my hair back while I was changing out of my work clothes last night and I was too lazy to walk back upstairs #befitlikeme. So  I took one of Julianna's hair clips and used that instead - blue flowers to match my blue eyes...

True story: Jules kept pointing at the hair thing all throughout dinner and bath time last night while bitching at me in her baby language. She was not happy to be sharing and I thought it was hilarious. 

Exhibit B

Let's take a moment to really appreciate this sexy outfit last night. Super fuzzy and warm socks with my leggings tucked in. What you don't see is the bleach-dyed black wife beater tank and tie-dyed sweatshirt I was also wearing.

Please don't forget to remind Jason how lucky he is to have this sexy beast for a wife the next time you see him.

Rawr. (that's me being sexy)

Speaking of men being lucky, let's all be totally honest with ourselves and them and the universe and get this out there...

Our men are really lucky to have us. 

And we are some awesome moms! Even if you have a bad day and snap at your kid because they lost your em effing iPhone charger for the 14th time or you decided to finally try CIO because your 15 month old is waking up 45 times a night and she wakes up with bags under her eyes and you're convinced it's because she was crying all night even though you didn't hear a peep from her...you're still an awesome mom. And as such, you deserve to have an awesome Mother's Day and the people who should make sure it happens are our significant other. Let's be real - the kids probably won't remember and if they do, soggy uncooked toast is sweet and all, but hard to gag down. So for those of you reading this who have no clue how they would like to be appreciated or for the dude's reading who have no clue what to do for their wife/baby mama/mommy, I've got you!

Mother's Day - 2016

Mother's Day - 2016

First and foremost, Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14.

Add that to your calendar with a reminder right now so you don't forget. 

This is just my humble opinion, but the #1 thing women want on Mother's Day is to have everything planned out, with them in mind, and not having to plan/cook/do anything that they don't personally want to do. Let's say you're broke and/or don't want to spend a ton of money, here's what you can do:

Take the kids in the morning without waking her up or saying anything - this will require you to wake up before the kids do so they don't get her up first, so you may want to set a quiet alarm or even sleep on the couch and give her the entire bed so she can really get some restful sleep. Around 8 or 9, grab the kids and run to her favorite coffee place and get her the drink she always talks about - this will require you to pay attention to her while she's talking for the next couple of weeks if you're not sure what that is, but I promise she talks about it. Make sure you take an insulated travel mug with you so you can get the drink in the mug and keep it warm for her if it's a hot drink. Then go home and clean something random while you wait for her to wake-up - I recommend the refrigerator, pantry, tupperware drawer/cabinet and/or toilets. The things that she usually takes care of herself but hates doing - do it without asking and I promise she will be so excited when she notices. Once she wakes up, don't ask her what she wants for breakfast - just make her something that you know she loves and give her the cards that you and the kids made/bought for her. You do know her favorite breakfast/brunch, right? If not, now's the time to figure it out.

Make sure you and the kids handle clean-up and let her go get ready for the day. Maybe she wants to go for a run or catch another workout somewhere. Tell her to go do it and take the kids to the park or something while she's doing it. Maybe she wants to spend all day hanging out with the family - plan something fun that you know she enjoys; maybe it's a day at the park or the beach, perhaps find a cool hiking trail somewhere or a family-friendly winery. You know your wife and what she likes, so this shouldn't be too hard. The key here is to have it all planned out for her so she doesn't have to worry about it. 

Finally, plan a dinner for her that you and the kids can put together and serve her, along with her favorite drink-of-choice, before telling her to take a nice bubble bath and relax while you and the kids clean up and get ready for bed. If she wants to have some sexy time later on that's fine, but let her initiate and if she doesn't want to don't be offended; mom's are always "on" and rarely get down-time, so she may need to just go to bed after a nice day of being taken care of. 

Now there is a chance that you have no choice in what you can do for Mother's Day because your mom already expects the entire family over for lunch/dinner/all day to celebrate. This is fine - do the things you can in the morning to make her feel special and make sure she gets some down-time after you get back from whatever you have to do. Get her a glass of wine and tell her take a bath or watch her favorite show  - whatever she would like to be doing if she had no responsibilities. Then tell her you have her Mother's Day planned for the next weekend and do whatever she'd like to do for the day then and make sure you handle bath and bedtime so she can really relax. 

This is probably enough to make your wife really happy (I know it would work for me!), however maybe you want to give her something as well. Don't worry, I got that covered. 

This post will include some affiliate links. If you purchase the item through the link provided I will get a very small commission, however this does not change the price of the item. It's just a thank you to me for making the recommendation. 

Mother's Day 2017 Gift Recommendations

Get her a Target gift card with specific directions to spend it on herself. No cleaning supplies or things for anyone else in the family. Then take the kids and tell her to go to Target by herself without a time limit. More than likely she'll spend more than the gift card, but there is something about wandering around Target by myself that is so amazing and fun and everything I see online shows that I'm not the only one who loves it, so I guarantee if she likes Target, she'll like this gift. 

An Initial Necklace - I love these and already have like 3 of them. Something dainty and pretty and simple is the name of the game folks. We're lucky in our family because all of us have "J" names, however there are plenty of options on Amazon and Etsy if you need more than one initial if you're getting it for kid names. Or you could just get her initial to keep things simple. I really like this one if you're going with the one letter:

Or you can go for this one if you have three kids (there are plenty of options for 2 or more if you search around Amazon). 

 

Another great option for an actual gift is a watch. I love my Michael Kors watch (basic AF and IDGAF). I absolutely love this one on Amazon - Michael Kors AND rose gold. YASS!

Michael Kors makes some pretty quality watches, so it's worth the investment and I promise your wife will be happy with one. I've had my watch for almost 5 years and still get compliments on it all the time.

Some other brands of watches that will make your wife pretty happy are Kate Spade, Coach, and Marc Jacobs. 

You can also always blow your entire food budget for a year and get her a Rolex or something, but that's just dumb (unless you have that kind of dough, in which case congratulations)

Flowers are always nice, but I wouldn't recommend just getting your wife flowers and calling it a day. It's pretty cliché and doesn't really seem like you put a lot of thought into it. Plan out the entire day and let her relax and cater to her every need AND get her flowers and you'll be just fine though. You could also add on some of her favorite wines and some chocolate and you'd win the day for sure!

I know it's not for everyone, but I love a good massage or mani/pedi. Go here and get one at a discount!  Make sure you get at least an hour massage so she's really able to enjoy it and if you can book one that includes wine or something extra special, BONUS POINTS!

Does your wife enjoy working out? Why don't you get her some classes at her favorite gym or something new that she hasn't tried yet? I highly recommend:

  • OrangeTheory - cardio and weights and intervals and everything fun and hard about working out. You can look up if there are any studios in your area here
  • Barre workouts are all the rage and a fantastic workout. There are two primary barre brands that have classes countrywide and you can find out if they are in your area here and here. Barre classes are also really easy to do at home so if you know your wife/baby mama/mom would enjoy the classes, I highly recommend you check out Suzanne Bowen Fitness for a huge selection of classes that can be streamed online. 
  • Yoga is a fun option, but I would only recommend doing this if you know your SO wants to try/do yoga since it's not for everyone. You can usually find some pretty great deals on groupon or by doing a simple google search for a yoga studio in your area. Buy a 5-10 class pass and then plan out when your wife wants to go and take the kids so she doesn't have to worry about finding them care!

A word of caution - only get something fitness and workout-related if it's something your wife really enjoys and it won't offend her. If you have any doubt that she might be offended by this, DON'T DO IT!! 

This is a lot of stuff, but I can promise you with almost 100% certainty that if you just plan the day out with her in mind and let her sleep in, cook and clean up, and let her have a bubble bath, you will have a very successful Mother's Day. 

Don't forget to get the pets involved too...

What do you guys think? Am I crazy, or are these some pretty good ideas? Is there anything you are dying to get for Mother's Day that I forgot to put on the list? 

Also to the dude's reading - I will do one of these for Father's Day too and you better believe I am all about appreciating Jason just as much as he appreciates me. So you'll get yours too!

What are your plans this weekend, anything fun? Jason is working all weekend so it should be fairly low-key, other than when we are helping a friend move for a bit. 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a great weekend. Make sure you subscribe so you can get notified whenever I post something new!

I Got the Blues

The Monday Blues!

Seriously though friends - I am on the struggle bus for real today. 

I don't know what is going on, but having two Monday's in a row where I am seriously just not feeling it kind of sucks. So I have decided to keep today's post light-hearted and easy for all of us, since I'm sure I'm not the only one struggling today. 

This will be our weekend in review...with pictures and 7 word captions or less. Can I do it??

(probably not...I'm a bit wordy)

But I'm going to try! Here we go. 

Before workout - not crying, just tired.

(easy so far!)

Forced after workout smile - still tired.

(2 for 2 - yes!!)

Friday night date night with my hubs. 

Only dinner, no movie - we can't hang!

(I'm still making the 7 word thing work!)

These pictures will never get old!

Wearing pants on your head is cool!

Here's what happens while I make breakfast...

(I can't believe I'm still able to do this! 7 words isn't easy, folks!)

Easter egg hunt time!

In pajamas because we don't GAF.

After breakfast walk with daddy & Jax.

Family hike time!

Runner scared the shit out of Justin!

I love my Lillebaby (and my baby)!

Don't get in the water.

Even the gator thinks you're weird.

We're all looking at the camera!

Don't fall in. Seriously.

Quick break before heading back.

Jules isn't sure about the position change. 

She's FREE!

And she's done.

We all needed a nap. 

I did it!

That was actually a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.

I'm just glad I settled on 7 words or less instead of 5, since that's what I was originally thinking. 

Do you think you could describe your holiday weekend in 7 words or less? I know I can...

Not long enough.

BOOM!

I hope you have a great Monday!

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

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

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

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

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

Crack. 

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

First and foremost, I exercise.

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

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

Another reason I don't get that slump?

I don't drink any caffeine after noon. 

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

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

Don't worry, I have more!

Get up and move around. 

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

Eat a balanced diet. 

Don't be like 26 year old Jamie. 

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

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

That pasta was the bomb.com. 

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

Water temp cycling at the end of my shower. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smile

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

Do something ridiculous/funny

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

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

Surround yourself with positive people. 

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

Dress up and put your face on.

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

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

Watch something dumb.

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

Do something nice for someone

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

Treat yo'self!

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

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

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

Also, make that cake. It's awesome. 

TOMORROW IS FRIDAY!!!!!

Have a great day!

Jamie, out *mic drop*

Fri-YAY Part Deux

We made it to Friday!! THANK GOD!

I am still of the mindset that I could use another day to get all the work done that I need to do, but regardless of how much shit I have to do at work, I'm so happy it's Friday!

I thought I'd do another edition of Fri-YAY, or the things that are making me say YAYYYYY today. 

First of all, I managed to get all 5 of my workday workouts in. YESSSSS! I did oversleep on Wednesday and had to workout that evening, but managed to get Justin to workout with me. So a big YAYYYYYYY to that!

Also, the pictures I get with Justin both before and after our workouts are classic. The above shenanigans were on Wednesday - it's insane how much taller he is than me now! I'm on my tippy toes for all of them but the last one, and you can really tell how freaking tall he is in that picture - what happened to my sweet little boy?!? 

There he is!

He might be a dumb teenager sometimes, but most of the time he's still my fun, crazy, Justinsane. He worked out for about 15 minutes with his shirt like that. Yep. 

This song is a huge YAYYYYYYYY for me right now. I know that everyone else has been loving and listening to this song for months now, but I just got on that train. So don't judge me and let me enjoy it. 

Speaking of music, I might be a little bit biased but the playlist I use for running is pretty effing awesome. The vast majority of the songs have a BPM (beats per minute) of 170 or more, so when I run to those songs I match my strides to the beat of the song and it helps me run faster and more efficiently! Click on the link above and let me know if you give it a listen. The songs are kind of all over the place in regards to genre, but I promise it will get you moving quickly if you just go with the flow!

Also if you're into alternative music at all, check out the new album by Spoon. I've been a fan of Spoon for many moons (I had to rhyme it, sorry), and their new album is probably their best work. CHECK IT OUT!

Here's something that makes me say YAYYYY but can be a bit of a frustration for other people...assholes who can't park!

nice parking job madrediem

I love when people do something jackassery that I can put on snapchat. So please, keep being inconsiderate and lazy so I can blast you on the internets!

Seriously though...how hard is it to fix your parking job? 

I love spaghetti night. For reals though. We had spaghetti Monday night and there was more than enough leftover for everyone to eat it on Tuesday (I was fasting so I didn't partake, see my post from Wednesday). As far as what we use to make our spaghetti, I saute a pound and a half of ground turkey with some EVOO and minced garlic.  I'm way too busy to make my sauce from scratch, so I get the Bertolli Organic brand, which is one of the lowest in regards to added sugar (6 grams vs over 10 for most of the other brands) and dump that in once the turkey is cooked and heat it up for about 10 minutes. And I really like the Dreamfields pasta since it has a lot of fiber. And fiber makes you poop. Pooping is good. POOP!! 

I was feeling pretty good in two of my outfits this week and when that happens, you know I'm taking a bathroom selfie! YAYYYYYYY!! The outfit on the left is a dress from letote (clothes rental - highly recommend it!) and shoes from TJ Maxx and I was wearing some awesome shapewear that my me look like I have some pretty nice tatas, and the dress on the right is a PRE-PREGNANCY dress from The Limited (R.I.P.) and the same shoes, no shapewear. Sometimes you just gotta selfie!

Something that will always make me say YAYYYYYY is Jules running towards me all excited and stuff. I can't even with this one.  

Poor Jax.

Ridiculous pictures make me say YAYYYYY.

Apparently we're not supposed to have any dogs at Jason's Uncle's condo. So poor Jax had to get carted in and out in my beach bag to go to the bathroom. By the time we were ready to leave on Sunday morning, the poor thing would run away and try to hide from me. SORRY, BUDDY!

Twinning - madrediem

Can I get a YAYYYYYY for twinning with my daughter? She's so effing cute. 

And yes, I did draw a t-shirt on my daughter - she always eats in her diaper since it cuts down on stains on her clothes, but I'm not trying to have my pictures targeted by pervs. So stay away, ya effing pervs - you're not getting any content here!!

Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend? I am going to be relaxing and spring cleaning; hopefully doing more relaxing that cleaning. My main focus is going to be on closets, bathrooms, and my car. Cause my car is gross, mmmkay?

Happy Friday, everyone! 

Take-Out Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope your week is off to a good start and you're not as busy and overwhelmed as I am right now - my head is spinning with all the work I have to do this week! The good news is that it makes the day fly by, but the bad news is that my evenings and weekends are also flying by. Can I please get an extra couple of hours at night to just chill out before going to bed? Please? 

Don't forget to click below and subscribe if you'd like to be notified whenever I post anything new. If you have already subscribed and aren't receiving the emails, they are probably going to your junk/spam folder, so check there!

After yesterday's heavy-ish post, I thought I'd keep things light and simple today. 

Without further adieu, I bring you Take-out Tuesday! No, I'm not talking food here (although some poke take-out is definitely happening this weekend), I'm talking about photos I've taken that didn't make it to the blog for whatever reason. I'm going to keep it simple here and just do a quick title for each picture - I hope you enjoy it!

Beach Day Casual

alternate title: I Forgot My Beach Cover-Up

The PreWorkout Series

Photogenic Like Mommy

Tricep Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend

Trying to Capture the Elusive Both-Children-Smiling Photo 

As Real as it Gets

Get in Mah Belly

Leftover Toddler Toast: Pre-run Fuel of Champions

Lucky I'm Cute

alternate title: I Kept Mommy Up All Night

Can We Leave Already?

Hanger

Building Immunities - One Public Table at a Time

Finally.

Lesson Learned

alternate title: She's a Ninja and Grabbed That Cup and Almost Spilled It 

Blog 4.jpg

Good Sport

alternate title: Jason hates Disney

Mischievous Little Elf

Check Please

alternate title: We Need to Pay Before Jules Loses Her Shit

No Make-Up, Sweaty Selfie - IDGAF

Never. Stops. Moving. 

That's all I have for today! I hope your work day flies by, is super productive, and you get everything done that you need to accomplish, and if you're home, I hope it's a nice and relaxing day. Thank you for stopping by!

How I Deal with My Anxiety

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a great weekend! 

We had a super busy weekend, beaching and beering it up in the Fort Lauderdale area. Don't tell my husband that I agree with him since I always push back whenever he says it, but I really enjoy southern Florida. Jason always talks about wanting to move there and I argue that it's too expensive and hot, but I really do enjoy it there. We just both need to make a ton more money and then I'd be okay with it. Time to play the lottery.

Before I jump into my anxiety stuff, here is some weekend stuff.

Jason has family in town at their Florida condo in Sunrise, FL, which is 10 minutes west of Fort Lauderdale, so we made the trip down to see them Friday afternoon. We didn't end up leaving until 2 or so and hit some nasty traffic on the way down, so we stopped for dinner around 6:30 to try to avoid some of the rush hour traffic. The place we stopped was an Italian joint and it was pretty good, however the average patron age was approximately 70 and that's not a joke. Since we had Jax with us we ate outside and had a grandparent of some sort stop by our table every 2 minutes or so to talk about our dog and our kids. It was actually quite amusing and made me miss my grandparents a lot - my grandparents are awesome and I wish we didn't live so far away!

I managed to get a cute kid picture but failed on the group shot... #reallife

At least Justin looks good! We still had about an hour to drive after leaving the restaurant, which is no fun, and we didn't make it to his uncle's condo until 8 or so. Jules was all amped up and ended up staying awake until 9:30 or so, which is insane because it's a solid 2 hours after her bed time. But then she ended up sleeping through the night, so I'll take it! We all actually ended up sleeping until 9:30 Saturday morning, which is super late for us. We'd planned on going to the beach early in the morning, but by the time we had breakfast and got everything together, it was closer to 1 before we got down there. Oops!

As usual, the beach was absolutely beautiful. The water was warm-ish and clear and we all had a great time. I was a bit worried, however Jules absolutely loved being in the water. We bought her this float off of Amazon last year and she didn't really enjoy it last summer but absolutely loved it this beach trip. After we eased into the water (it was a little cold for us Floridians), Jason and I set her into the seat and after a few minutes of clinging to my fingers she started kicking and squealing with joy whenever a wave would rock her around. 

We obviously kept a really tight hold onto the float the entire time as this float doesn't really provide any life preserving elements - Jules was actually pulling herself halfway out of it by the time we were all ready to get out of the water. She's an insane daredevil baby. 

Then Jules and I played in the sand for awhile - throw sand into bucket, flip over to make castle, destroy castle, and repeat. I somehow managed to forget to put any sunblock on myself, but made sure everyone else was taken care of, so I guess that was a mom-win, me-fail?

By 3 or so we were all starving and since we were in the area, we had to stop off at Funky Buddha, which is our favorite brewery of all time. This was our first time going to the actual brewery - we usually just pick up their beers at the store - and we were not disappointed. Jason and I tried a few beers and we all got some food and just hung out for awhile, which is always a great time. 

I of course got a flight (always get the flight) and I really enjoyed all of the beers I tried. Jason tried a variation on Last Snow called Last Buffalo (or something like that) which is aged in liquor barrels, meaning it was strong AF. 

Still good. Still my favorite brewery.

The picture below is the best picture out of 5 pictures that I took of all of us in front of Funky Buddha... I'm going to start making everyone wear hats and sunglasses so we can get more consistent pictures together. That's essentially my secret to looking good in pictures. Wear a hat and sunglasses and smile #photogenic 

Blog19.jpg

We ended up sleeping pretty well on Saturday night too and got some donuts to share with Jason's aunt and uncle before leaving to make the drive home. Jules was awesome in the car (Justin's always awesome) and slept half of the way before we stopped to get some Subway, and then she just hung out the rest of the time. I can admit I'm pretty lucky that my kids are both awesome travelers!

I meal planned in the car while Jason drove the first part of the trip and no, I haven't forgotten about doing an entire post on that sometime soon, I promise!

I would like to talk about anxiety. 

Before I start, I do want to remind you all that I am not a medical professional or trained counselor or anything like that. I'm just someone who has been dealing with anxiety for a very long time and has some tricks that have worked for me that I'd like to share. 

I have had anxiety for almost 20 years now and for whatever reason, people are usually surprised to find I suffer from it. I've been told "you seem so confident and put together" and they just can't believe that I deal with anxiety, so I feel it is important to share my experience.

There are tons of different types of anxiety and lots of different people can be affected by it, but what I suffer from are panic/anxiety attacks. I still remember the first time I had an anxiety attack - I was 15 years old and laying on my bedroom floor watching Les Miserables on tv when my heart started pounding out of my chest at a rapid pace and I literally thought I was going to die. I ran downstairs to my mom in a total panic and she ended up rushing me to the hospital. I underwent a myriad of testing - cardiovascular tests, MRI and CT scans, blood tests, etc. In the end, the dr said I had anxiety and gave me Paxil, which I took for a couple of days, hated, and stopped. At that point, just putting a name to what I was experiencing was enough for me to feel better, and I don't believe I had another serious episode until I hit my 30's. Then for whatever reason, my anxiety came back with a vengeance and has stuck around pretty consistently since then. Here are the symptoms I experience, along with some of the things that will set me off:

Symptoms

  • Erratic or exaggerated heartbeats (heart palpitations, random large beats, etc); if this is happening to me you will often see me taking my heart rate to confirm it's fine - my resting heart rate is actually usually in the 50's because I'm in good shape, even while having an attack - but I always have to track my heart rate to make sure my heart is still working whenever I have an attack. 
  • Tunnel vision
  • I'm convinced I can't swallow which leads to me actually struggling to swallow
  • Vertigo
  • Light-headed
  • Breathing heavily

Triggers

  • Being over-tired
  • Driving long-distance
  • Driving through mountains
  • Driving over a bridge or even a tall overpass
  • Feeling constrained, like in certain roller coasters
  • Heights 
  • Elevators

As you can see, driving is a huge trigger for me, but I also have attacks at work on a regular basis. While I do have the attacks often while driving, I am fine while riding in the car. I find that I do better in the morning and as the day goes on, I start to have more issues. I don't have anxiety attacks every day, but I would say I have a few of them on a weekly basis, whether it's just the beginning of one that never actually comes to fruition, or sometimes giant, full-on panic where I have to excuse myself from what I'm doing or pull over if I'm driving. I also find that the frequency and severity can vary based on where I am at in my cycle - it gets really bad right before, during, and after my period.  

My anxiety never comes for any reason that I can quantify. For example, if I'm in an emergency situation I am always absolutely fine - in fact, I've often been complimented on how well I maintain my composure during an emergency. However I can be sitting at work having a normal conversation with a co-worker and go into a full-scale attack for seemingly no reason. 

Anxiety has no rhyme and reason and often makes no sense. 

There is one place where I never seem to have any panic/anxiety attacks and that's home. So there are times when I am really suffering when I will look forward to getting home for an entire day since I know I will feel better immediately.

If you're suffering from anxiety, the first thing I want to tell you is that you're not alone. I can almost guarantee that if you ask around you will probably have a number of friends/acquaintances who suffer as well.

I would also encourage you to see your doctor first to rule out any medical issues, as there are a number of medical conditions that can cause anxiety attacks. There were a few months in 2013 where I was having constant anxiety attacks on my way home from work, where I just happened to be eating almonds for a snack each time. Turns out, I'm allergic to almonds and was experiencing anaphylaxis - yeah, really. So go to the doctor. They'll run a bunch of tests and rule out anything medical and you can also look into medication at that time if you would like, since I know a lot of people have success with medicine. Although I do have a prescription for Xanax, I use it very sparingly - I will take 1/2 a pill an average of every 2 weeks whenever I can't sleep due to my anxiety, but that's it. I've had my prescription for over 3 months and still have over half of my 30 pills left. 

Other than the minimal medication I take when I need it to sleep, here are the other things I have done to help minimize my anxiety:

Reduce your caffeine intake

If I drink more than a cup of coffee (or the caffeine equivalent), I will have terrible anxiety and panic attacks all day long. If you are suffering from anxiety I highly recommend you cut out caffeine and see if it helps improve your symptoms. I do actually plan to quit caffeine completely one day in the hopes it will help my anxiety issues even more, however I have cut down my intake dramatically and it's made a definite difference so I'm okay right now keeping my one cup of coffee in the morning. 

Exercise

I think the benefits are two-fold for me with exercise - it's time I take for myself on a daily basis and it gets those good endorphins pumping. A word of caution though; whenever I do a seriously intense program like Insanity, my anxiety actually gets worse for a week before it settles back down. So I would recommend skipping the super intense stuff if you're really suffering.

Limit your alcohol intake

I try not to drink any alcohol during the week and really try not to drink excessively at all anymore (except for the occasional out-of-control date night with my husband or crazy girl's night out). This is just my experience, but I have found the more I drink the worse my anxiety is, even if I just have a glass of wine with my dinner. 

Meditation

I will be honest and let you know that I have not been meditating very often lately (or at all), BUT I have had a lot of success in the past with meditation helping my anxiety and I find that the more I do it, the more it helps. There are two apps that I've used on my phone, and when I practice I'll take 5-15 minutes after my workout in the morning to sit quietly and listen to a guided meditation. The apps I have used are Headspace and Insight Timer - the second one is actually my favorite, but I know a lot of people really like Headspace when they're starting out. 

Diffusing oils

First and foremost, I'm not trying to sell you anything so don't skip through this part thinking that's what I'm doing. I had read that oil diffusing helps a lot with anxiety and after having several really bad weeks in January/February, I bought some oils and a diffuser from Amazon. First off, my diffuser is pretty and the lights are very soothing. Secondly, I love the way the oil blends I use smell and I have found that I can minimize or eliminate an attack if I feel one coming on by breathing in the anxiety blend deeply. 

Whenever I'm at work my diffuser is on and pumping. It might be a placebo effect, but my anxiety has lessened a bit since I've started using it. In fact, I like it so much I even bought one for home and use a blend that's supposed to aid with sleep and guess what...it does seem to be helping me sleep better! Here are the items I personally use for anxiety; most often at work, but if I know I'll be driving long distance I will take my oil and breath it in deeply if I'm feeling an attack festering. 

Finally, I also take some supplements for my anxiety

If you are considering supplements please discuss with your doctor first as some supplements can interact with medications - plus, you should really talk to your doctor about anything health related! Here are the supplements I use, which can also be found under my favorites page. 

This magnesium drink is the number 1 thing I recommend. Not only do I feel a difference in my level of anxiety on the days I take it, it also has the added benefit of helping you stay regular! As such, if you do decide to get this as a supplement, start of with a 1/2 teaspoon and work your way up to a full dose.

Trust me here.

I dissolve a teaspoon or so into 2 ounces of hot water before leaving for work in the morning, let it sit for a minute or two, and then swish the water around to make sure all of the powder dissolves. I also add my next supplement to the hot water, which is Inositol. 

Inositol is supposed to help with anxiety and is also supposed to help alleviate PCOS symptoms. I discussed this in another blog, but I was diagnosed with PCOS and suffer from many of the symptoms of this disorder, including anxiety. I haven't been having as many of the PCOS symptoms since having Jules, but I would prefer they don't come back and as such, continue to take this supplement in the hopes it will stay away (PCOS really sucks - look it up). 

That's all I have in regards to my anxiety and what I do to try to alleviate it - do you have any issues with anxiety and panic attacks? If so, what have you tried to fix it and/or do you have any tips for me? I am always open to more ideas since it's still something I struggle with almost daily. 

Thanks for stopping by!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a percentage of the sale if you make a purchase using the links. This does not change the price of the item (at all) and is something I have just decided to start trying since I do make recommendations on a regular basis. The opinions are still 100% my own and not at all influenced by me using the affiliate links.