slugging back into shape postpartum.

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Let’s just admit it, trying to get back in shape after months of moving like a sloth is so hard to find motivation to do no matter how athletic you claim to be. Before getting pregnant I was an avid boxer and runner with a pretty disciplined schedule, but as soon as that morning sickness and fatigue kicked in and the nesting and comfort food cravings arrived my exercise routine quickly dwindled. I didn’t beat myself up about it though, after all I was creating a tiny human, which is hard and exhausting work in itself.

Now that I am no longer carrying a large sack of potatoes in front of me and can once again see my toes, I have been trying to find the motivation to get back to working out. However, I do think it’s important for all mama’s (myself included) to remember that you did just pop out a human and it’s completely normal for your body to be exhausted. It’s also ok for it to take a while to get back to a full workout routine, or even have the strength and energy to do so. There are days I get up and don’t even know if I slept…night time is a blur and that morning cup o’ joe is my only true friend I look forward to seeing. So, there should be ZERO expectation for any of us to hit the ground running after waddling around for so many months.

Those celebrities who are running around a week after giving birth and looking like they never even carried a child is not a reality most of us have the luxury of experiencing. Hence, I have decided to block that shit out and start out slow, with small goals to achieve–the first one being to just get my ass on a walk. Not setting any expectation as to how long or far to go, just get out and go, that’s the only expectation.

I figured slowly as time goes on I would walk farther, longer, and more strenuously.

Easy enough.

This week was my first week back at it, and it’s been challenging to say the least. Some mornings the very idea of moving my body makes me want to throw a tantrum, so I stand there staring at the ground trying to convince myself that sitting on the couch breastfeeding all day and watching HGTV burns calories and builds muscle too. Then I realize my lazy attitude could easily become a pattern and a year from now I could still be staring at my feet and having the same daily internal battle–so, I finally get up and put on my running shoes.

So far each day I have walked a little bit farther and longer and have felt great doing it. The routine feels like it is sinking in. So, yesterday morning I decided I would try to run a bit. Once again not setting any expectation, just running as much as I felt comfortable with while pushing a baby in a stroller, it couldn’t be too hard I thought–HA!

Note to any new moms out there with the same naive ambitions as me: running with a jogging stroller is not the same as running by yourself and for me it requires mental and physical strength and determination to get through it without breaking down.

To every mom out there who can jog a stroller up a hill and make it look like it’s a skip in the park, I envy/loath/admire you. I felt like I was DYING. Huffing and puffing, panting and sweating, dodging curbs, cars and obstacles while a senior citizen walked passed me. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into and I quickly retracted my cocky attitude and replaced it with passive defeat…none the less I pushed through and survived, but realized I have some work to do and it is going to take me a while to do it, which secretly sucks.

This morning physically hurt, but the good kind of hurt where you actually consider putting yourself through the pain again. Hopefully the pain will morph into gain and eventually I’ll be one of those cool moms who can effortlessly jog with their baby…or not we’ll see how these next few days ago.

They say it takes 3 months to make a habit a lifestyle..so here’s to a long, painful three months of kicking my ass back into gear.

 

Good luck to all my fellow mama’s out there busting their butts to get back into shape. It is no easy task.

Please feel free to share successes or failures you’ve experienced so that I don’t feel so alone in this transition back to reality. Also if anyone has any tips or suggestions about how to run with a stroller I would love to hear them, because right now it terrifies me.

 

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learning to breastfeed aka the great tunnel of boob doom.

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So my little bean and I are a little over two weeks in to this whole breastfeeding thing and man has it been a learning process for both of us. A painful, frustrating process with a wonderful reward after a razor sharp tunnel of boob doom. I’m not going to say the beginnings of breastfeeding is as painful as labor, but it does merit some attention.

After making it through these last couple of weeks I now understand and respect the intimate process baby and mama go through in the beginning.

I learned rather quickly that that cute little bundle of joy doesn’t come out magically knowing exactly how to latch, instead they chomp and bite trying to achieve the perfect suckle with serious expectation of a result. Not only is it frustrating, but it hurts like the devil’s branding you on the tit…with sharp little knives, then kick’s you in the crotch (because that still hurts too).–My ONLY relief during this time was soothing gel pads AND this natural nipple butter. It’s amazing, smoothing, natural and smelling great, plus it’s safe for baby to digest! Those two items were my life line and I will forever be grateful.

Now that I’m pretty much through the tunnel and see that glowing light getting closer and brighter, I look back to the first week or so and I have to say the most frustrating part during the learning period was my fear of nursing because I was scared of the pain. Nursing is supposed to be a magical bonding time, but every time Harland would wake up out of his peaceful slumber and demand the boob, it was like having my nipples tattooed. It sucked, because I wanted to be excited about nursing and happy to feed him, instead I wanted to flee the scene and cry in a closet with a giant bottle of wine while I iced my boobs.

It does get better though, slowly and day by day and that’s what I’m focusing on. I also realize that there are so many other women out there who have it much much harder than me. Some women endure months of struggling to breast feed and provide enough nutrients for their little ones. I can only imagine how it must feel for all of those mama’s, and I feel lucky that the worst thing for me was getting used to the physical adjustment my body had to naturally go through in order to feed my son.

None the less, those first weeks sucked…and I’m so glad they are nearly behind me.

In the end and after this experience I am left with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment for pushing through because it would have been so easy to give up and put my baby on a bottle, but that wouldn’t have been fair to me or my little bundle of love. Nursing is such an amazing and special bond between a mother and her baby and I feel so lucky to be able to experience the magic, because not every mother can or even has the choice. So, with that in mind, I will remember to be appreciative and cherish this phase forever, because I know one day I’ll think back and miss it.

 

 

the beautiful journey of child birth

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Every mama’s birth story is different.

Some women have natural births from start to finish, others plan for natural but don’t have much of a choice in the matter, while there are some that fully embrace what the hospital has to offer…or opt out of a hospital all together. One thing is constant though, no matter how a woman ends up giving birth, each one is beautiful and valiant and should receive no judgements.

While pregnant I loved hearing different women’s birth stories and the amazing support that went along with the reenactment. No matter what their story was, painless or dreadful, the conclusion was always the same, “You’ll do amazing, and in the end you’ll be holding that miracle you created.” Hearing all of these beautiful stories and strong women pull through one of the hardest things imaginable gave me confidence and hope for when my time would arrive.

Like I said, every birth is different, because every body is different, and every mind is different, and what I have learned out of all of this is you can’t plan for anything except for a safe delivery and a healthy baby. That’s it.

I hadn’t planned much in terms of the birth, I was keeping my mind open to all possibilities, because I knew that there was a chance, well actually FACT, that the whole labor and birth process was not going to go how I imagined it in my little fairy tale brain. I thought I would go into labor, spend a few hours at home timing my contractions, then walk into the labor and delivery dilating every hour and the whole shebang would all be done within 20 hours.

I could not have been more wrong.

My journey started on Saturday (10.22.16) at 6:30pm when I went in to have my swelling and blood pressure checked since my feet were giant sausages and it was getting a little out of control. While there I began my first dainty little contractions and I thought, psh…I got this. I was 2 cm dilated and they decided to admit me after I walked around for a bit and cruised through another cm. Sure it was a bit early, but the doctor assumed I was going to continue my forward movement (as most would) and I was ok with her decision because my OB/GYN was on call in delivery that night. Those dainty contractions continued until about 3 in the morning, when they decided to almost entirely stop all together. That’s right… hours go by and my contractions decided to play hide and seek. They checked my dilation…I was still only 3cm, I hadn’t made any progress since I first arrived. So naturally I was sent home Sunday morning around 6:30am, without a baby and feeling dreadful.

Sunday was a GREAT day, because as soon as I left the hospital my little cute contractions came back, but with a little bit more of a pow. All I could hear was my OB in my head saying, “Wait until they get 3-5min apart, last more than a min for 2 hours, and when you think it’s time to come in, watch a movie.” This was her way of making sure I wouldn’t end up in the same situation. I contracted all Sunday, and by the evening I couldn’t eat or concentrate on anything because the pain had grown and was radiating from my back to my front. When my contractions became 3-5 min apart and lasted longer than a min for several hours I told my husband I wanted to go back in, because this felt HORRIBLE, and I was sure it was my bodies way of telling me I had made some progress.

We arrive at the hospital again Sunday night(10.23.16)…still only 3cm…maybe 3 1/2 (but I think the midwife was trying to be kind). Shoot me. I thought for sure since I had been experiencing those delightful bone breaking, suicide worthy contractions I was at least entering active labor, but no. So we go home AGAIN. I lay in bed unable to sleep, eat, move, breathe, laugh, cry, or talk. I felt like jumping out of a window and just giving up, at least I would have had some relief.

Monday (10.24.16) morning rolls around and I hadn’t had a wink of sleep in the past 48 hours. Since Saturday my body was in survival mode and I couldn’t deal. I tried taking a bath, which helped until it didn’t. I tried meditating, which was easy to achieve when I couldn’t even focus on breathing, ha. I tried going on a walk, but couldn’t make it around the block without convulsing into a ball and driving my nails into my husbands arms. Finally Monday afternoon my contractions went from being 3-4 min apart lasting over a min into rolling contractions greeting me every 1-2 min, some without breaks. I couldn’t even walk to the car once we realized I was in labor, but I had wanted to wait long enough to know it was the real deal because I was so scared of being sent home again.

Back to the hospital we go! It was the 3rd day in a row that we had shown up in labor and delivery, and I swear the nurses were all talking about me. I wait for the doctor to see me while my contractions continue to roll into one another. The doctor checks my dilation and finally I hear those beautiful words, ” You’re in active labor…let’s get you a room.” YES. FINALLY. The very first thing I said after that was, “Give me the epidural…when can I have the drugs?” I was exhausted and in pain and honestly would have loved to go all natural, but my body and mind were not on the same page.

Within 20 min I felt the sweet relief of that beautiful drug. Now, I had always been one of those people who had a negative opinion about taking drugs during labor, because after all women have been pushing out babies in fields since forever, and they could do it without drugs, so why couldn’t I? Because I had endured days of labor, no sleep, and I was about to crack…that’s why. And I was totally ok with it, and judge no one making the same choice, or opposite for that matter…whatever works for YOU.

My water broke during the epidural procedure and unpredictably the babies heart rate was dropping, sometimes as low as 60 bpm, during each contraction. The nurses tried not to look concerned, but I could tell. The midwife came in and inserted fluid back in to my uterus hoping that would alleviate the pressure causing the heart rate to drop. They told me the strain was most likely the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, no big deal. No need to panic. Sure. I was also placed on oxygen for the remainder of my labor which was fun. Best part is, I couldn’t lay on my back or my left side, because whenever I did…the babies bpm dropped again, so I was stuck on my right side with a ball between my legs until I pushed the little dude out.

At the wee morning hours of Tuesday (10.25.16) the midwife came in with some more glorious news, she wanted to start me on pitocin (another drug I was not a fan of) because my contractions were slowing down again and they also didn’t want to wait too long with the strain on the baby, so more drugs it was.

No plan, just a safe delivery is all I was thinking.

Luckily the pitocin worked like a charm and I was pushing within the hour. This was the easiest part of the whole labor. Pushing. I didn’t think that would be the case, but I had two awesome nurses, a great doctor and my rockstar husband all rooting and shouting motivational phrases at me. Since the babies umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck I had to push while on my side as to not strangle my child, which was interesting. But even with some minor hiccups everything worked out in the end, and after a handful of pushes I was holding my brand new little baby boy early Tuesday morning. None of the pain or issues during labor mattered anymore. Seeing his face was the most rewarding moment of my life, and I will never forget it.

Birth is a beautiful thing, and after going though it, I have so much respect for all mama’s out there. Every woman, her body, and her story is different and overwhelmingly personal and I’ve realized sharing those moments is a wonderful way to bond with other warrior women. Each story is strong, brave, scary, and unpredictable, but that’s what makes each one so incredibly and amazingly beautiful.

So all you mama’s out there rookies or veterans you have my full support and respect, and I urge you to share your story too because it really does take a village of love.

Also, remember that labor bag I spent so long trying to pack perfectly? Yeah, it meant nothing. Didn’t open it once.

Oh and this post took me about 5 days to write, because newborn. Hopefully it’s coherent enough to follow.

Cheers.

feeding your candy gremlin

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I love this time of year, Fall is full of the best weather, movies, and of course FOOD. However a lot of the food and delicious treats out there are really bad for you and can bring on the tummy wars like no other. I love being a healthy clean eater, mostly because I am highly sensitive to dairy and processed foods, but also because it’s just the lifestyle I prefer. However during my whole pregnancy this little kiddo inside of me has brought on the sweet tooth candy gremlin like no other. I eat a meal just so I can have dessert… seriously, who’s with me? When I walk into a grocery store I have this overwhelming impulse to run to the candy isle and grab all of the shitty treats I can carry. This all sounds well and good until I’m 3 snickers bar and mini twix bags deep and feel HORRIBLE. Then I remember why I don’t eat that stuff.

I love healthy good foods that make the body happy, and I love cooking them even more, but sometimes I don’t have all day to make this elaborate creation that also empties my bank account just to get the ingredients…sound familiar?

Sometimes I just want something simple, easy, and quick to take care of my unhealthy cravings. This is why I have started searching for easy, cheap and healthy alternatives to take care of my candy gremlin, and yours too!

I have posted a few simple recipes I found that are easy to make, with ingredients you mostly have, or won’t cost you much to get.

 

Reese’s peanut butter cups:

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First up I have the very simple and allergy sensitive (dairy free, nut free, soy free, egg free, shellfish free, gluten free) Reese’s peanut butter cups, because they are amazing. This recipe is super easy and is perfect for those lazy days.

All you need is:

  1. A jar of peanut butter, like this one (or if you’re feeling fancy and less lazy make your own by just blending peanuts and salt in a blender with a little bit of oil.)
  2. Chocolate- I use Enjoy Life chocolate chips, when I am not in the mood to make my own chocolate. These are the BEST chocolate chips I’ve had that are allergy sensitive. They can be found at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and some general grocery stores depending on where you live, or you can always order them online.
  3. Himalayan salt (optional).
  4. If you want to get really crazy add a layer of jelly to make them peanut butter and jelly cups.

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate chips and use mini cupcake trays and or liners and fill the bottom with desired amount of chocolate, I don’t usually put too much since there is more to come on the top. Put tray in the freezer until chocolate hardens.
  2. Add in layer of desired amount of peanut butter. Put in the freezer once again until peanut butter has hardened. This will help avoid a messy treat where the peanut butter oozes out of the sides and down the front of your shirt, which is what will happen if the butter doesn’t harden.
  3. Add last and final layer of chocolate and sprinkle a little salt on top (if desired). Put back in the freezer until everything has hardened and ENJOY!

 

Next up is snickerdoodles:

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Ok, so these ones are not so healthy because after all, they are sugar cookies…but I had to post them because they are such a hit! You can however make them so that there isn’t any dairy in them, and you can always substitute with gluten free flour and flax for the egg.

I’ve tried several recipes and none of them tasted as amazing as these ones from here.

Things I learned and modified:

  1. Use earth balance or ghee instead of butter
  2. If you don’t have cream of tartar (like most people) you can substitute with using baking powder in equal amounts (1:1) for both baking soda and tartar.
  3. I did use egg in mine, but if you are vegan, for the egg you can use flax meal as a replacement as well as 1/4 cup whipped tofu for added volume if desired.
  4. For the holiday season I also liked to add pumpkin pie spice to the mix, but its totally optional!
Serves: 20 large cookies
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature–or dairy free butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, plus 1 yolk–or flax meal 
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda–or 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar–or 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2¾ cup flour
Cinnamon Sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper, set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. With mixer on medium speed add in egg, yolk and vanilla and beat for another minute, scraping the sides as necessary.
  4. Turn mixer to medium low and mix in baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and 1 tsp cinnamon. Mix for 30 seconds, scraping sides as necessary.
  5. Turn mixer to low and add in flour, mixing until just combined.
  6. In a separate small bowl make your Cinnamon Sugar by mixing together cinnamon and sugar, stirring until evenly combined.
  7. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, measure out about 2 Tbsp of dough and roll into a ball. Then roll each cookie dough ball into the Cinnamon Sugar mixture.
  8. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning cookie sheet halfway through baking.

I have also had my eye on these coconut flour snickerdoodles from Goop, but have not made them yet, but obviously suggest them since they look amazing! 

And a holiday favorite, cornbread:

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This is a simple and easy vegan recipe I found from here. The recipe is great, but a few things I changed/modified:

  1. If you are cooking them in cupcake liners also cook at 350.
  2. Use coconut oil instead of canola oil–it’s so much better for you!
  3. You can use any form of dairy free milk from almond to coconut to rice… I have been really enjoying Cashew milk lately because of how creamy  it tastes…but it’s up to you!
  4. If you want them to be sweet, which I usually do, add about 4 additional TBSP of maple syrup/or agave to the recipe..and taste to make sure it’s up to your sweet tooth standards, you can always add more and it won’t change the outcome of the bread.
  5. You can always add a little bit of corn kernels in the blend to make it sweeter too…it’s up to you how much.
  6. They are already pretty moist, but if you want them to be even more lush add 1/3 cup dairy free yogurt.
  7. Follow the instructions exactly–making sure that the milk is room temp and the coconut oil is melted otherwise it will solidify.
  8. Make sure you spray the pan!! I forgot to do this and mine stuck to the sides, which is never fun.
  9. If you love coconut as much as I do try this coconut butter spread with your cornbread, you will not be disappointed.

Makes 12 to 16 squares

2 cups cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil–try coconut oil!
2 tablespoons maple syrup/agave–or at least 6 for sweet bread
2 cups soymilk–or any non dairy substitute, try cashew!
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar–you can also use lemon juice in the same amount
1/2 teaspoon salt


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350, line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper or spray the bottom lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, wisk together the milk and the vinegar/juice and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt).
Add the oil and maple syrup/agave to the milk mixture. Wisk with a wire wisk until it is foamy and bubbly, about 2 minutes.

Pour the wet ingredient into the dry and mix together using a large wooden spoon or a firm spatula. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Slice into squares and serve warm or store in an airtight container.

 

And there you have it, three great yummy treats to keep that candy gremlin away a little longer. 

What are some of your favorite sweets to make? 

Soaking in the last days of freedom

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As I near closer to my due date I am making sure to take full advantage of my energy and mobility outside of the house. Motivation to stay active isn’t hard for me, it’s more the giant bowling ball resting on my pelvis that makes movement such a delight.

How do I stay active you ask?

Morning walks have been a daily ritual for me since moving. Living in the heart of West Oakland didn’t really offer up much nature or soothing and comforting sounds nor surroundings, but living right up against the mountains sure does and it’s what keeps me motivated. I think I’ve seen more animals, heard more birds and hugged more trees than I have my whole life living in a city, and I’m LOVING IT.

Recently I’ve been seeing so many deer it’s becoming as common as spotting pigeons in the streets of a city, but I think we can all agree deer are significantly more majestic creatures to admire. Some days I’ll see one or two roaming around in the distance, while other days there are so many surrounding me I feel nervously outnumbered. This morning was a Snow White kind of morning… birds chirping, deer prancing, and me waddling over as close as I can to grab a shot of the Disney moment.  These are the little joys I get in life right now people. Soon my camera will be full of my new little bean…and me with glorious dark circles under my eyes, but until then it’s nature and animals.

Side note: Also, I’ve become known as the giant pregnant woman who walks around the neighborhood and that’s a pretty awesome accomplishment if I do say so myself.

Ready to get this show on the road

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Today marks 38 weeks for me, and let me tell you…I am done. There is constant pressure EVERYWHERE, I can’t lay down, or get up comfortably, and I’m tired of waking up 10 times a night to pee only to look over at my peacefully sleeping husband which always gives me the impulse to sucker punch him in the face just so he has to be taken out of his peaceful dream world too.

Don’t get me wrong, I have felt very lucky during my whole pregnancy. I never really got that horrible morning sickness that has you dancing with the toilet, nor that gnarly indigestion leaving your throat burning no matter what you put in your gullet, and I didn’t have any complications that had me worrying. So all in all it has been easy breezy, however, now that I am at the end of the roller coaster and know that it is soon time to get off the damn ride, that moment can’t come fast enough. I know I still technically have two weeks to go, but he’s done cooking and I’d prefer for him not to grow inside of me for much longer seeing as I am not a particularly large person.

That said, the one important thing to have prepared for the big day is a labor bag. Now I have read so many different opinions on what to pack and more and more I have gotten the ultimate review of “keep it simple stupid.” Only bring the basics, as you are not packing for the end of the world, but rather just the beginning of one. After asking a group of fabulous seasoned mommies on what I should pack I came up with the following basics:

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  1. Comfy clothes and SLIPPERS!
  2. A good light weight breastfeeding bra.
  3. A sweater, because hospitals/birthing centers can get cold.
  4. Socks- ones own are always better.
  5. Baby clothes and swaddle
  6. New Mama Bottom Spray– This was recommended by a mom, and after doing a little research this is the all natural good stuff to help your lady parts recover after popping that little one out.
  7. Not shown: Make-up (If you don’t want to look like a hag in those great newborn pics), hairbrush and toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner, a nice pillow from home, a robe, MUSIC, money for those vending machines to feed your hungry family in the middle of the night, and an added plus is a nursing pillow.
  8. Also, don’t forget about your partner!–They also need fresh clothes and items, otherwise they will stink, and no one wants that.

Hope this helps anyone preparing for the big day, and please share any experiences you’ve had too, I’d love to hear them!

It’s all about to change

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I’ve never thought of myself as someone who would blog, because honestly that whole world terrifies me, but hey here I am…starting a blog. My name is Isis and I am a soon to be mother to a brand new tiny baby burrito boy. I figured, why not start a blog about this crazy new journey and anything and everything that falls in between- from baby haikus to survival tactics, and of course the reason we all have children…new accessories (for baby and mama) and home decor. If this blog is a bust, at least my husband and I will have something entertaining to revisit years from now. Hope you enjoy my unedited word vomit, inappropriate thoughts, and self actualization through pregnancy and motherhood. Cheers!