Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Heart

I started this blog as a place to write about the things that were on/in my heart, thus the title of Mommy Friday's Heart. Well, lately I've had a couple of things on my heart and in the next few posts I'm going to share them with you, but today I want to write about the first thing that has been on my heart lately: orphans.

James 1:27 says that, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Jesus says in Matthew 25: 40, "The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"

If orphans aren't the least of these, then I don't know who is. I don't think all of us are called to the adoption of orphans, but it is clear that God wants us to love orphans and help them in any way that we can.

I do not feel the call of adoption and I don't have a ton of money laying around to donate to orphans so what can I do? Well, I have this little blog here that has about 200 readers (an astonishing amount to me but not that many compared to other blogs) that can read what I write about orphans. I can show my readers ways they can help.

We have several friends who either recently adopted or are currently in the adoption process and it can be tedious and frustrating and at times, very heartbreaking. I do not want to diminish anyone's adoption process and we certainly have tried to help out as we could, but right now, we have very dear friends who have recently been called by God to adopt a little girl out of Ethiopia and her name will be Josie.

The costs of adoption, especially international adoption, are astronomical and our friends cannot even begin to really get started until they've raised about $6000.

I am not asking you to donate, but I am asking you to go to their blog and follow along with them on their journey. If nothing else, maybe you can see what it like to go through this process. They have a Facebook page that you can "like" and get updates that way too.

Right now, they have two things going on. They are selling tshirts, which are incredibly adorable, and the only reason why I haven't purchased one yet is because I can't decide which one I want more. They also have a giveaway going on.

The basics of this giveaway is that you donate money and based on the amount you donate, you get a certain number of entries, and these entries give you chance to win an American Girl doll of YOUR CHOICE!!!! That's right, you get to choose. Even a donation of a mere $10 can get you entered. You don't have a little girl to give a doll to? Donate it to some needy child. Your little girl isn't old enough for one? Put it up for later when she is old enough. I promise you that you can find someone to give this doll to, all while helping bring Josie home to the family God has called her to.

To read their story from the beginning, go to:

To check out the awesome shirts, go to:

To get in on the American Girl doll action, go to:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

An Update of Sorts

It has been a while since I posted. Do I start all my blog posts that way? I feel like I do. Anyway...

What have I been up to lately? A lot.

Today I gave a grammar mini-lesson on how "a lot" is not one word. Actually, I do that at least once a week. If these kids don't learn ANY thing else, they will leave my room knowing that a lot is not one word, which is more than I can say for a lot of people. :)

Right now I'm looking at a pile of 9th grade essays that need to be graded. Oh the joys of being an English teacher.

Last week my great aunt passed away. The week before that she was perfectly delightful. She went in for a regular stress test, had an allergic reaction and then she went 12 minutes without oxygen. The next day she was declared brain dead and they took her off the machines. Three days later she went to be with Jesus.

The day after the machines were turned off, my grandmother was found unconscious on her bathroom floor bleeding. She had an upper GI bleed and has been hospitalized since then. Yesterday she was finally moved to a physical therapy facility.

In the midst of all that, I have felt God's pull to apply to grad school. I would like to get my masters degree in Educational Technology, which is really just a fancy term for a Media Specialist/School Librarian. I can see God opening several doors for me so I am following his lead. I have finished my application and just have a few things left to tie up loose ends with that process. I feel like a high school senior all over again. I'm so nervous!

I've been attending a mom's Bible study on Wednesday nights and that has been such a breath of fresh air.

In other news, we are traveling up to Alabama the first weekend in November to attend Anthony's cousin's wedding. The second weekend in November I will be running a 5K at Animal Kingdom. The third weekend in November we are attending the Auburn vs. Alabama A & M game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This will be the first time we've been back to Auburn since Ansleigh was about 4 months old. We are spending the week of Thanksgiving in Alabama and then heading back to good old hot Florida to wrap up the semester, celebrate Ansleigh's 5th birthday (FIVE!?!?!?! Already???? How did that happen?), and begin our many Christmas celebrations.

I've been figuring out what the girls are going to be for Halloween. Halloween is expensive when you need TWO costumes. Addisyn is going to be Rapunzel (Ansleigh picked it out for her) and who knows what Ansleigh will be but it will be some princess that she already has the costume for. 

I've also been figuring out what the girls are getting for Christmas from Santa. I always buy the Santa presents in October, and everyone else's Christmas presents in November, and then we just have to pay for Ansleigh's birthday and all our holiday travel costs in December. I do this so we aren't spending so much money all at one time. Addisyn's is getting a convertible car seat and a few toys. Ansleigh will be getting a bunk bed for her Carly doll and her McKenna doll (she's getting that one from Lolli & PopPop) plus a few other things she wants.

In the middle of writing this blog, I've stopped twice to rock a fussy baby who got her shots today. She had her 6 month check up and I left work early to take her to the doctor and then we had a little Mommy & Addi time.

Some days, I'm just exhausted. Most days I'm just exhausted. I get tired of doing laundry and washing bottles and grading papers, but at the end of the day, I love my life, and more importantly, I love my kids and I love my husband. And that, my friends, is what it is all about.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere...Or The Dean's Office

I have one class of freshmen, and 4 classes of SENIORS this year. I cannot even begin to describe how much I love them. My seniors brighten my day and crack me up all day long. They are awesome. Several of them I taught when they were in tenth grade so that might be why I feel a little more connected.

Last year I was super pregnant all year long.

This year I've come back to compliments galore.

"Mrs. Friday, you look great!"
"Mrs. Friday, you've lost a lot of weight!"
"Mrs. Friday, you're so skinny!"
"Mrs. Friday, there is no way you've had TWO kids!"

I've also gotten a lot of comments from my 18-year-old boys.

"Mrs. Friday, you look NIIIIIIICE today!"
"Mrs. Friday, I'm legal now, you know?"
"Mrs. Friday, you can't come in the classroom. You look too pretty today. We won't learn anything."
"Mrs. Friday, those eyes, you can't look at me with those eyes."
"Mrs. Friday, you can't get glasses. Angels don't need glasses."

These kids are harmless and they say ridiculous things to me (such as suggesting I should quit teaching and be a Victoria's Secret model) mostly just to get a rise out of me, and partially because they have no filters on their mouths and no understanding of what is appropriate and inappropriate.

I appreciate a kid telling me how nice I look or how thin I am just like the next girl, but I'm working on teaching these young gentlemen that being married means something, and if/when they go into the work field, they can't treat their bosses this way. They are reminding me to be VERY cautious in how I dress, not bending over, where I position myself when I'm helping a student, etc.

And just to be clear, I'm not the only teacher that gets hit on. Pretty much if you teach and aren't 85 years old, you'll get hit on. I am not writing this to let people know how hot kids think I am or how popular I am at school. I realize I am not the only one that this happens to. My point is, these kids have really made me feel good about myself and when they say this stuff to me, I can't help but laugh at them because they are so funny when they say it.

I've decided to keep a log of all the insane things they say to me so that one day when I'm fat, and old, and ugly, I can read it and remember all these things and laugh.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tell It Like It Is...

I'm a tell-it-like-it-is kind of a girl so here is what's up with me:

I have found it harder to keep up with all my workouts and running since I've gone back to work.

I completely stopped the 30 day shred about a week before I went back to work because I found that running and doing that was putting too much stress on my body (well maybe not too much, but a LOT more than I could handle at the time and I was starting to get injured).

I've still been running. I completed the Couch to 5K training and just ran to run for a couple of weeks. I find it difficult to do that--to just run without anyone telling me what to do. Then I started the Couch to 13.1 training program. I'm a week into it, but instead of running 3 days a week and being done, it has me (well I'm supposed to be) running one day, cross training one day, running one day, cross training one day for all seven days a week. Yikes!

Fitting in the time for running is harder now that I work all day outside of the home. Life is back, full-swing, and it seems like there is something every night of the week. I can't run (outside) on Mondays because Ansleigh has dance class on Monday nights and homework EVERY NIGHT (the kid is in pre-kindergarten and has homework EVERY night!) and dinner and bath. I can't run (outside) Tuesday nights my husband plays church league softball unless it is pouring rain. If it is raining that much, I can't run outside and if he's gone, I have both kids to feed, bath, etc. and don't forget the homework. Wednesday nights is church dinner, kids choir, and my mom's bible study. When I get home with the girls (Hubs has praise team and choir practice), we still have to do homework, bath, and tiny tot needs her bottle. Thursdays I can run outside. We actually have nothing those days. Fridays I could run outside too but by then, I'm just so dang tired.

My goal has been to run Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday mornings. I usually have to do Tuesday nights on the treadmill my mom gave me (Thanks, Mom!!!). Thursdays and Saturdays I like to run outside, but the weather often dictates if it is outdoors or on the screened-in porch on the treadmill.

I like to run outside, but I've recently run into some interesting "experiences" that have made me question running near my home. When I run outside I'm almost always spotted by one of my students (they are seniors who drive and where we live is zoned for the school I teach at). Two weeks ago, I had a guy (not a student!) literally hanging out his truck window whistling at me, while another guy raced by on a bike and said, "I bet you get that all the time." Just a few days ago, I had a guy ride alongside of me for half a mile asking me strange questions like how often I jog and can he jog with me.

Yes, my husband could run with me, but that implies that he wants to go run three days a week. If he did, we'd have to take both of the kids with us, just so I could be safe while I'm running. Yes, I could run with a friend, but I don't have many friends who live in my area of town who would want to run with me and could run on my schedule. Where does that leave me? I don't know.

On the other side, I have found that it is easier to control what I eat when I'm working all day and don't have time to think about how hungry I am. Plus, even if I do get hungry, I don't have anything to eat there aside from what I bring with me from home. I bring a morning snack (granola bar) and my lunch (sandwich and chocolate pudding). You can't eat what you don't have. :) I have eaten a little too much pasta lately on the weekends and then I've had to work it off.

I'm still losing weight, but it is slower than when I could kill myself this summer. I find myself longing for the summer days of waiting for my husband to get home so I could fly out the door running. In my mind, I thought that since I'm not coaching anymore, I'd be able to come home and work out or run before the kids came home but that hasn't happened one single time since I went back to work. I've found that I stay later at work trying to get papers graded and things prepared for the next day, working hard not to get behind. When I do get home, it is time to start dinner, or go pick up the kids and then start dinner. Or go pick up the kids and get to ballet or church.

I keep telling myself that I'm going to start getting up at 5:15 (YIKES!) in the morning to run once the time changes and it is daylight then. I'm not a morning person and I LOVE to sleep so we'll see if that actually happens. Plus, I could still get abducted at 5:30 in the morning just like I can at 7:30 at night.

I have the Mickey's Jingle Run (or whatever it is called) November 10th coming up and I am going to do the Color Run in December. February is the Princess 1/2 Marathon. I am committed. I haven't registered yet because it costs money, lots of money, but I will as soon as I get a few more pay checks.

Anyone want to run with me? Anyone have any tips on how to stay safe running alone? Anyone have any motivating thoughts/advice for me?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fitness & Weight Loss Journey: 30 Day Shred

Fitness & Weight Loss Journey: 30 Day Shred

Overview: This is a 20 minute intense workout by Jillian Micheals, one of the Biggest Loser trainers. The workout has three levels and she suggests starting at level 1 and working your way to level three. Since the workout is supposed to be for 30 days, I plan to spend 10 days on each level. Her workouts are based on what she calls the 3-2-1 method—3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs. The only required equipment is a set of hand weights and a mat if you are going to work out on a hard floor.

Day 1, Level 1: This was not the first time I have done this workout. The first time I did it, I couldn’t even do the whole thing. Today, I struggled with the push-ups but I’ve always had a hard time with that, even when I was a three sport, super fit, teenage athlete. There is a cardio series where you do jumping jacks, then jump rope, then jumping jacks, and then jump rope again. I had to go pee right in the middle of it, even though I went to the bathroom right before I started. I’m going to blame this on birthing a child less than 4 months ago.  I should note that I also ran 2.5 miles today (several hours after completing this workout).

Day 2, Level 1: Today my oldest child was watching her favorite tv show, so I popped the DVD into my laptop and took it out on our screened in porch. I got a little sweatier than I did yesterday when I was in the air-conditioned house with a fan blowing on me. J I made it all the way through the first set of push-ups today but did have to take a short (super short!) break on the second round of push-ups. I also had to go pee during the jumping jacks/jump rope section again. I tried to hold it but for some reason, I just really had to pee. I stopped the DVD long enough to run in the house and go to the bathroom. I came right back out and picked it right back up. I was a little bit sore today and I definitely felt the burn a little more today than I did yesterday. Overall it was a good workout and I am seeing progress with my endurance.

Day 3, Level 1: I liked being out on the porch yesterday so I did that again today. The humidity makes me sweat a little more. I like to imagine I’m sweating off all my fat. Ha! Today I did all the push-ups except 1 (for both sets) which is a major improvement. I’m essentially doing all the more difficult level moves as opposed to the modified version offered with the exception of push-ups. Even in my teenage prime, I could not do a “man” push-up and I certainly don’t expect to be able to do one now. Another accomplishment of the day, I didn’t have to leave to go to the bathroom during the jumping jack/jump rope segment. Because of this, I definitely felt the burn more today than I have the past two days. I can see improvement and that gives me encouragement to keep at it. Also, I thought I saw a vague glimpse of a muscle in my arm. Score!

Day 4, Level 1: Today I was in a foul mood. I started this workout hoping that it would clear my mind and help ease my mood. It didn’t. Eldest Tot kept coming out and asking me questions every three minutes. I must admit that I didn’t give 100% today but I did do it and I did complete it. The cardio part (jumping jacks/jump rope) was still killer on my legs and the push-ups were a struggle but I did them.

Day 5, Level 1: Today I spent 11 hours in the car. It was 9:30 (but 10:30 for what my body is used to) before I started the workout, but it felt great to do it. The cardio was tough but I made it through. The push-ups were easier (not easy, just easier). I made it all the way through with no complaints.

Day 6, Level 1: I skipped Saturday and Sunday L I feel like a failure. I could give you a list of excuses, but that is just it, they are all excuses. Today I did my workout in the living room of my mom’s house while watching 3 kids. The kids did the workout with me and I ended up having to use Addisyn as hand weights the last 5 minutes because she was only happy if I was holding her. The cardio section with jumping jacks and jump rope was still very difficult but the rest of it was not so bad.  Today I also ran a mile and a half.

Day 7, Level 1: My nephew hid my hand weights from me so I had to hunt for about 20 minutes to find them. Ansleigh and Tyler did the workout with me while Addisyn napped in the swing. The cardio part was still difficult but I managed it without completely dying. Everything was much easier at the end-not sure why.

Day 8, Level 1: Everything was pretty much the same today except that I had to use Addisyn as my weights for some of it because she was fussing so much.

Day 9, Level 1: Did the workout from memory today. Did not play the DVD at all. I went back and checked and I definitely got all of it in.  I also ran 2.5 miles today.

Day 10, Level 1: Finished level 1!!!! Did it all! Some of it was still a little bit of a struggle but I’m really excited to be moving on to Level 2—partially because I’m sick of doing the same things over and over again, and partially because I have compared to pictures from Day 1 to Day 10 and there is a difference.

So far, I have lost 6 more pounds since I start the 30 Day Shred, but that could be because I am still counting calories, or because I've been amping up my running, or a combination of all three. I will have to say that I've begun to notice a lot more fatigue on my body. I'm not sure if my body just isn't used to this much exertion or if it really is a bit too much. I think it would be best suited to do on my days off of running as cross training but I'm going to try to stick to it and finish out my 30 days. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

I struggle with making excuses. I make excuses and make excuses and then whatever I'm making an excuse for or about never gets done.

My excuse making isn't limited to just one area of my life. I make excuses for why I'm too busy to wash those bottles or excuses for why I shouldn't make the bed. I make excuses for why it is ok if I'm late to work or why it will be fine if I don't grade those papers today. I make excuses about calling friends or helping somebody out.

Lately though, not to brag, but I've been totally rocking in the house cleaning, chore doing, dinner cooking department. Ok, maybe I'm bragging a little bit. Our beds have been made and clothes washed and put away, bottles clean, dinner cooked and ready to eat when hubs gets home, etc. It is easy for me (notice I said me, not everyone else--we all have different situations) to get all this done when I'm at home and not working my full-time job.

So what's the excuse problem? My workouts.

No, seriously. I often find myself making excuses, especially now that I've started the 30 Day Shred Challenge.  Instead of doing it in the morning when I have time, I think, "No, I'll do it later when the kids are sleeping." But then the kids aren't all sleeping at the same time. Or facebook and Pinterest really need my attention ;) Then it doesn't get done and it is 9 or 10 o'clock at night and I'm trying to talk myself out of doing it. I do this with my running too. Because I only run three times a week, I find myself saying, "I'll do it tomorrow." Eventually, the runs get done, but not the way they are intended to be.

I have eventually talked myself into doing the workouts, but I have found, that the excuses are the most difficult part of losing weight for me.

The one thing I have discovered though, is that you have to want to be healthy/skinny/toned/etc. MORE than you want to watch tv or play on the computer or go to bed early. This is something I'm still struggling with, but I know what the solution is.

I'm not perfect and I haven't met my goal yet, but I'm working on it, which is more than I was doing last summer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weight Loss & Fitness: My Decisions & My Opinion

There are a million ways out there for people to lose weight. Why did I chose the methods I've chosen?

Mostly, because they are free. Also, because they are lifestyle changes and I don't really have to leave my house (or at least not go very far) to do any of it.

From what I can tell, one of the most popular methods people use are diet pills. Well, that's great for you, but I don't care how many infomercials tell you it works, it doesn't. And even IF you lose weight, it will come right back.  Plus, you have to buy all those stupid things and they can get expensive.

Another common method is joining a gym. I think joining a gym is a GREAT idea if you are actually going to go. I joined a gym once when I was in college. I went twice and paid for that stupid thing for a year. What a waste of money! I won't pay for a gym membership, even if it is only $10 a month, because I know I won't go. Plus, seriously, when am I going to go to a gym with two kids, a full-time job, and a husband? I won't.

I've read about detox diets that make you drink all these disgusting juices and then you poop for however many days straight. If I wanted to lose weight that way, I'd just go get myself some food poisoning.

There are people who pay to go to nutritionists once a week and people who pay to get personal trainers. That crap cost money! I can get all that same nutritional information off the internet for free and I have a personal trainer--her name is Jillian Michael's and that woman is a beast. She cost me a one-time-fee of  $9.99 two years ago.

I don't do Weight Watchers or Nutrisystem either. It cost money! I know it helps to have that accountability but if you have a good friend or a spouse, you have accountability; you don't need to pay for it. It also helps to have someone telling you what you can eat and what you can't, but I've never liked to be bossed around and I'm not about to start now.

I use Lose It. It is an app that I downloaded on my phone. I don't know how much it cost now but when I got it, I'm pretty sure it was free. This is how it works: you enter your current weight, then you enter your desired weight, then you choose between losing one pound, one and a half pounds, or two pounds a week. From there, it will tell you how many calories you are allowed to have in a day. You enter the food (and drinks) you have throughout the day and it does the math for you. It has an incredible database of things already entered for you and if whatever you are eating has a code on it, you can just scan it into your phone. Easy peasy. If you are over your calories for the day, you have to do something (exercise type thing) to get back down under your limit. Hand washing dishes and even cleaning the house burn calories. Play the Wii. Do situps during commercials. It counts!

I also run. Running is something a lot of people think they can't do. Unless you have a physical reason from a doctor, you can run. It is your attitude that stops you. I hated it at first and then all of a sudden, I realized one day that I loved it. You may not love it, but it will get you into shape. Will you lose weight from just running? Only if you are controlling what you eat. If you run but have a milkshake everyday (hello 1000 calories!), you won't lose any weight unless you are running a good 13 miles a day. You don't have to be fast to run. By the end of my workout/training session, I can walk faster than I run. I've also gotten better though and now I can do a 9 minute mile when I need to, you know, if I see creepers in the neighborhood or big scary dogs.

I've said this before, but when I run, I use three apps on my phone. I know, that seems a bit excessive, but let me explain. Right now I'm in week 7 of the 9 week Couch to 5K training program. I *think* it was a free app too but I could be wrong. It tells you exactly what to do and exactly when to do it. It starts you out walking and then running. Over time, you increase your running and decrease your walking. When it is time to run, your screen goes red and it beeps at you. Awesome. :) The only thing I don't like is that it doesn't keep up with mileage or your pace, so I use Run Keeper for that. It was free too. Run Keeper has coaching on it too but I don't use it. The third app I use is a new one for me--Jog FM. This one indexes all the songs on your phone and then plays songs based on the pace you are going. You can blacklist songs (like all my Christmas music), choose "Pump Up" songs, and favorites. I love it. I think it was $2.

All in all, my weight loss methods have cost me a whopping $2 this go around and total (over past 5 years) maybe $20.

I do have to tell you that I need motivation to run, which is why I enter races. When I know I've paid to do something like that, it makes me more inclined to train for it. It is really hard for me to just train for nothing except fitness. So the races cost money, but they are SO much fun, especially the Disney races, and since we have passes, it turns into a Disney weekend for my whole family.  Races are not necessary and I spread them out over the year, plus, when you pay to enter a race, you are donating to charity! :)

Yes, you can spend money on cute running clothes, or hats, or watches, or apps, but you don't have to. Losing weight can be free.

If you are really motivated, you don't need to spend a crap-load of money so a bunch of people can tell you 82 ways to lose weight. In the end, the only thing that is going to work (and help you keep it off) is to do the work--hard work. Eat right and exercise. You can drink all the "smoothies" and take all the pills you want, but in the end, the weight will come back if you don't keep it up. People say they don't have time to run--BULL CRAP! If you have time for facebook and pinterest, you have time to run. Time isn't the issue, your "want to" is the issue. Get off your butt and go do something that makes you sweaty! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Losing the Weight: Step 1

The first step in weight loss is the motivation it takes to get started. Everyone wishes they could lose 10 pounds or be as skinny as so-and-so or be as toned as someone else. It is easy to want to lose weight, but the hardest part is wanting to lose the weight badly enough to actually start.

The first time I ever really gained any weight was our first year of marriage but you must know that when we got married, I was 21 years old, was 5'6", and weighed somewhere around 115-120 pounds. The picture below was the day we got engaged. Would I like to look like that again? Of course I would! Who wouldn't? I was thin, toned, and totally healthy and happy....and 21. The weight gain was only about 10 pounds so it wasn't that big of a deal.
Then, two years after we got married, I got pregnant with Ansleigh. I only gained 22 pounds with her (excessive vomiting will do that to you!) but that muffin top was a beast to get rid of and I never really did. It took around two years to really get that 22 pounds off. I finally did and I felt GREAT! I used Lose It and ran my first 5K (The Disney Princess 5K) and my second 5K (The Flamingo Run). I ran some and walked some. The weight was off, I went back to work, and stopped caring.

I mostly kept it off for about a year and then I really stopped caring because the talks were beginning about having a second baby. Who cares about a few pounds here and there? Well those few pounds turned into about 25 in just one semester and summer. Yikes!

Once you put on the weight, you feel almost defeated. It is there. You see it in the mirror, you see it with your clothes that you can't wear, you see it the most in pictures of yourself. It was sickening for me.

Throughout my pregnancy, I kept thinking about the first time I lost the weight, how I did it, and how I could do it again.

It is one thing to think, "I'm going to lose this weight." It is another thing to actually do it. It is so much easier to sit on the couch than to get up and do something.

How did I motivate myself? I looked at pictures of myself when I was thin and happy. I also looked at pictures of myself when I was a Fatty McButter Pants.  When you have a new baby in the house, you take pictures constantly and as we uploaded them, I kept seeing myself and wanted to throw up.

I started with food. That is easier (to me) to control. I was careful about what I put in my mouth. Mostly just the amount, not what I was eating.

Then I got out of the house and started walking.

Honestly, my biggest motivation was that I'd be seeing my sister-in-law (who I LOVE! and who weighs like...10 pounds) in a few months and I'm always worried about what I look like when I see her because she always looks so great. My motivation was that I didn't want to be fat when I saw my SIL. She would never judge me, and for sure, not out loud, but it is just one of those things. Plus, I knew I had no more excuses. No pregnancy, nothing. No excuses!

I also was motivated by the fact that I had gestational diabetes. When you have that, it makes you much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Pair that with the fact that BOTH of my parents and one of my grandmothers all have type 2 diabetes and it makes me like the poster child for someone who will likely develop it. I love pasta and I love Coke and I love chocolate. I cannot have diabetes.

Another motivator was the fact that we teach our children by example. If I'm always shoving my mouth full of crap and never exercising, what am I teaching my children? Ansleigh is at such an impressionable age. I want her to think that a healthy lifestyle is the only option. Nothing will motivate you like your babies can.

My sweet husband would never say anything to me about my weight or what I'm eating--he values his life too much ;) and respects me more than that, but I knew he was concerned about my odds of having diabetes later in life. Plus, who would really want a fat spouse? I mean seriously! Especially when that spouse was a mere size 2 when you married her? I know he doesn't love me for my weight or my size but I love him enough that I should be healthy. I need to be healthy enough to raise our kids and spend my life with him.

What are some other ways to motivate yourself?
  • ask yourself why you want to lose the weight
  • look at pictures of the you that you want to be
  • talk with other people who have been in your shoes
  • find a buddy who is going through the same thing you are RIGHT NOW
  • find a friend that can be mean to you and by mean, I mean honest. 
  • enlist your spouse or roommate--make them tell you to put that cookie back
  • link up your running app or your weight tracking app with facebook so EVERYONE you are friends with, all 800 of them, can see that you went out and walked, or ran, or maybe went over your calories for the day.
  • ask your friends to encourage you, because they will. They are your friends and they love you!
  • GET OUT THE DOOR! That is the hardest part. 
  • Put on your workout clothes. Wear them all the time. Why? If you have them on, you are more likely to do something that makes you sweat. Promise!
  • If your kids can't read yet, put a sign on the fridge that says, "Put that back, Fatty!" :) Or better yet, train your kid to tell you that you can't have that or to remind you that you need to exercise that day. Kids are relentless. 
  • If you are on Pinterest, do some searches for fitness, healthy foods, running, whatever and follow lots of those board. Your feed will fill up with things that remind you to "Just do it, even if you suck!" Or it will tell you "You're not hungry, you are just bored. Drink some water and learn the difference." If that isn't motivation, I don't know what is. 
  • If you like to read, read books on nutrition, or losing weight, or running, or whatever you are interested in that is active. Not only will it improve your knowledge on the subject, but it will also keep you focused on what you are doing. 
  • Listen to your workout music when you are in the car or washing the dishes. If it pumps you up, it might make you want to go do something. 
What motivates you? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Weight Loss and Fitness Journey

Last summer I was fat. Fatter than I've ever been. And then....I got pregnant (on purpose, might I add!).
This was one year ago. See? I told you I was fat.

When I got pregnant I weighed 164. Hold on...I just threw up a little.

Ok, better now. When I went for my first doctor's appointment she told me that I was officially overweight and on the verge of obese. OBESE!!!!!!! But I was pregnant so it wasn't like I could do some insane diet. I decided to just not care. I'd worry about it later and blame it on being pregnant.

As my doctor's appointments continued and I adamantly refused to look at the scale. I did not want to know what I weighed. Only at the very end of my pregnancy did I ask how much weight I had gained. I was told I had gained 22 pounds. Not bad for pregnancy but that just added to the extra weight I was carrying around. If you add those numbers together, you get 186 pounds. That means I weighed 186 pounds when I walked into the hospital to have Addisyn. Yes, almost 8 of those pounds were her, but still...

When I came home from the hospital, I was determined not to be fat anymore. Not just that, but I wanted to be healthy and toned and I wanted to keep it that way.

I decided to run a half-marathon. I knew I'd need a while to get ready for it so the 2013 Disney Princess 1/2 is what I chose.

I started out just going for walks until  I got tired (I'd been on bed rest for 5 weeks prior to delivery) and then I started making those walks a little longer. Then, I started trying to jog a little here and a little there. Six weeks postpartum, I started Lose It (a calorie counting weight loss app). By this point I had lost the 22 so I was back to 164. Again, barf.

My goal is to lose two pounds each week (the maximum the app will allow) and this allows me roughly 1200 calories a day. The more I did each physically, the more I could eat. Which means I often found myself scrubbing an already clean house just so I could burn all those calories...haha! That is a first in our house, I promise!

I might need to also tell you that I'm a smidge bit addicted to Coca-Cola. I LOVE it! It  is the one thing I refuse to give up. I know I could drop the weight much quicker if I'd stop drinking soda and only drink water but that wouldn't last long. I'd pick the Coke back up and the weight would come back. I'd rather lose it while still indulging in my one bad habit. I usually only have 2 canned cokes in one day anyway-one for breakfast (I don't drink coffee) and one with lunch. That's only 24 ounces in one day.

When Addisyn was 9 weeks old, we went to Disney for a week. When we came back, I started my training (running). I registered for a 5K at Animal Kingdom in November and started using the Couch 2 5K app. I am currently starting week 6 of the 9 week program and now run 19 of the 30 minutes which includes a 5 minute walking warm up and a 5 minute walking cool down.

I have become addicted. I love to run. I love the peace and quiet I get for 30 minutes. I love the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. I love the feeling I get when I get tired and want to quit, but don't and pick up the pace. I love the feeling of accomplishment I have when I get home covered in sweat. I love it.

The training program has you run 3 days a week. Ideally, you'd run Monday, Wednesday, Friday and rest on Tuesday and Thursday. I HATE taking the kids in the stroller, simply because I want to be child-free and it is much easier without pushing 50 extra pounds. Because of this, I usually go on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. My husband isn't home on Wednesday nights so that is why I run on Tuesdays. Plus, who wants to spend their Friday night running?

I have to tell you though, on the days I don't run, I find myself desperately trying to find a way to fit it in. My neighborhood isn't really a place a young woman my age would feel safe running in when it is dark outside so I have to go before then.

I have also done the Jillian Micheal's 30 Day Shred a few times. The first time I did it, I couldn't do all of it, even on the easy level. Now I can do all of it except all the push-ups, but that is because my 4-year-old has more arm strength than I do.

I've also started to read a new book and I love it. The author is a former Olympian runner and she makes things so simple and it is really set up for beginners which is very helpful for someone like me. She has tons of great tips and a great story and personality.
I have become much more interested in eating healthy foods and finding substitutes to make things better for us and lower calorie. When we go out to eat, I beg to go to Panera Bread (only if it is a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday) because they have the most amazing garden vegetable soup with pesto and the big bowl of it is only 160 calories!!! I have also found myself searching out fitness tips and healthy recipes on Pinterest. Being healthy has become an obsession.

I don't deprive myself of food I like. I ate a Kit Kat last night. I love pasta. I just try to find a healthier way to make the foods I like. I use whole wheat noodles and fresh vegetables. I watch my portion sizes and try to eat only one serving of food instead of three of four. One of the things I do so that I can still eat what I like is that I find a way to burn off the calories. I run it off or I do a work out DVD or wash the dishes that are sitting in the sink. Or cut the grass for the hubs. Something. Anything. Losing weight isn't impossible and you don't have to starve yourself and only eat egg whites and carrots.

Being healthy is an addiction. The more you work at it, the more you want to work at it. 
The picture on the left is at the hospital right before delivery. The picture on the right is at Disney World 13 weeks later.

I currently weigh 141 which means I have lost 45 pounds since I went into the hospital. I still have around 10 or so to go, but my focus isn't on what the scale says. My focus is on what I look like. People can't see what my scale says but they can see what I look like in my clothes. I know I'm not finished yet, but I've never been more motivated.

Yesterday I started a new goal. I'm going to do the 30 Day Shred for 30 days in a row. It has 3 levels so I figure 10 days per level. I took a picture of myself yesterday (Day 1) and will take a picture on Day 10, Day 20, and Day 30. Assuming that I reach my goal, when I do, I will post pictures and update you guys.

Do you have any fitness tips to share? A great weight-loss story? Any good healthy recipes? I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Packing and Preparation

I am compulsive. Obsessive compulsive. Not in the everyone claims they are kind of way, but in the I take medication for it kind of way. I get it from my momma :)

Tomorrow we are leaving to go spend 10 days in Pensacola/Navarre. This is quite possibly my favorite week of the year EVERY year. My family has gone every summer of my life (with the exception of two summers). 25 of those 26 summers have been spent at Pensacola Beach (the other was a trip to Savannah/Tybee Island).

We are traveling and vacationing and that means I have a lot to pack. I mean, I'm packing for a 4-year-old, a 3-month-old, my husband (yes, I do most of his packing), and myself.

I always see all these blogs with tips and tricks for packing and most of them are well...stupid. These people are flipping idiots really. Some of the tips are things like making drawings of all the places you'll stop. That might be fine for some family that will spend 4 hours in a car and it will feel like they have spent a week in the car. That's cool and all, but uh, every year we drive 7-10 hours multiple times a year to visit our families. I'm not letting Ansleigh draw pictures of all the places we'll stop because we don't stop. We pee, eat, and get gas all on the same visit. We are hard-core.

ANYWAY, people seem to be interested in my organizational skills and my craziness so I thought I'd post about it.

Packing for the girls:
  • Their clothes have been packed for approximately 3 weeks now. Seriously. 
  • They have matching outfits for EVERY day. 
  • They have bows to go with those matching outfits. 
  • They have swimsuits for EVERY day, most of them matching.
  • They have bows to go with those swimsuits. 
  • They have pajamas.
  • Ansleigh has underwear, Addi has her blankets, diapers, etc. 
The way I packed for them is that I got out all the clothes I knew I wanted to take with us and took them to Addisyn's room where I could spread out in the floor. I got several gallon-sized ziplock bags (a whole box to be precise). I got the outfits that I wanted them to wear the first day out. I found bows to match. Got out the shoes Ansleigh would wear with that outfit and a pair of underwear. Outfit, shoes, underwear, bow, hair tie/headband all went into a ziplock bag (one per child) and labeled for the first day. I did the same thing for all of the other days. If a bow I needed for one outfit was already packed with another outfit, I made a note on the ziplock bag of which bow it was and what bag it was already in. When I finished with all the outfits (one per day), I put them in their bags, but not just in any order. I packed them with the last day we will be there on the bottom and then the day before that on top. That way, all the clothes are packed in the bag in the order they will wear them with the first day's clothes on top.

Next, I did the same thing for swimsuits. I found their matching (or coordinating) swimsuits and put them into baggies with the bows that go with them. Each one is labeled for each day. Those bags got packed into the duffle bags the same way--last day on bottom, first day on top. My husband wanted to know why they needed bows to go with their swimsuits. While my first reaction was to say, "DUH. Why wouldn't they need bows?" I realized, this probably wouldn't sufficiently answer his question. My girls are bow girls. They do not leave the house without one. Period. They aren't leaving a condo without one either. I don't care if the ribbon gets wet; it will dry. They will look gorgeous and southern at all times. He smiled, nodded, and accepted the crazy that he chose to marry. :)

Then, pajamas. Here is the thing about being obsessive compulsive: you aren't that way about everything, just some things. I don't care about their pajamas. I don't care what day they wear them; I don't care which ones they have packed; I don't even care if they wear the same pair twice. I let Ansleigh pick out which p.j.'s she wanted to take (the only thing I could let her choose because I can't handle letting her pick the other stuff) and then I grabbed enough sleepers for Addisyn. Those all got put into the duffle bags.

I should mention that the inside of the duffle bags are packed in stacks. The far right stack is their pajamas (both bags). The middle stack is swimsuits. The left stack is their matching outfits. I should also mention their bags are monogrammed because pretty much everything we own is.

I packed a few extra outfits for Ansleigh that are more what I would consider play clothes, just in case she needed them. I packed an extra outfit for Addi for each day because well, babies spit up and their diapers explode so...extra clothes are needed. I *might* have gone a little far with packing an extra outfit for her for EVERY day. Sue me. 

Extra stuff I had to pack (in a different, monogrammed bag):
  • enough diapers to last 10 days
  • wipes
  • formula
  • bottles (those have not been packed yet as we are using them)
  • bottle brush
  • dish soap to wash bottles (Palmolive Free & Clear. Only Palmolive Free & Clear)
  • Sponge to wash the bottles. The purple one that I always use. I only buy the purple ones. 
  • pack n play
  • baby tub
  • bumbo
  • boppy
  • the kitchen sink (just kidding...mostly.)
I also had to pack for myself and the hubs. Our packing is fairly simple. One outfit (I always pack in outfits so I know exactly what we will wear and what goes together and I don't forget anything I need for that outfit) per day. Pajamas. Running clothes (both of us run so we both need them). Shoes and socks (for running). Swimsuits. Underwear. The basics plus my hair dryer, straightener, make up, meds, etc.

We are staying with Anthony's brother's family tomorrow night, so unless we want to take EVERYTHING in, I needed to pack stuff in different bags. The girls have a small bag to share. Their outfits (in ziplock bags), pajamas, and their toiletries are all packed in that bag. Anthony and I have a small suitcase with what we'll need for that first night/day packed. I keep a Vera Bradley (duh!) travel case packed with travel sizes of all our toiletries so that is thrown in there too. 

All our beach towels (two per person) are packed in an old diaper box. All the other things we need to take with us to the  beach/pool are packed in our beach bag. Ansleigh's sand toys are packed in a rubbermaid tub that has a handle. The whole tub will just get carried over to the beach.

I prefilled all the bottles with nursery water so they are ready to be used. As many as possible are in the diaper bag. The others are in another bag.

You know those little crib things that you put up that light up and play music? I mounted one of those to the headrest of Addisyn's seat in the car so she will have something to look at. She also got a car seat toy to grab at.

Our minivan has a third seat in the second row that you can take out. We usually have it out but since the third row will be folded down, I put the seat back into the car so I can climb back there and still be seated and buckled to feed the baby to prevent unnecessary stopping.

I took a shoe organizer and attached it to the back of the driver's seat to put all Ansleigh's crap in. Coloring book, colored pencils, crayons, markers, other coloring book, sunglasses, leap pad, random toys she NEEDS to have. You know, 4-year-old kid crap. It is all right there where she can reach it. I saw this on pinterest. I cannot take credit for the genius that this is.

Since the DVD's have to be changed up front, ALL her DVD's are in a cd case in the front so I can easily change the movie when she wants to watch something different.

One idea I did steal from a blog, was taking a craft tray (or tackle box) and filling the little compartments with various snacks. The idea is that it gives them a variety, it is all crap you have in your pantry, and once it is gone, it is gone, and no more snacks. I will say that it is a BUTT TON of food for a kid. I think it is intended for kids to share but Addi can't have people food yet so....

The car is already filled up with gas (Hubs did that last night). I cleaned out all the trash, 90% if which came from Ansleigh; shocker, I know. I also wiped down all surfaces and intend on vacuuming the car floor and rugs tonight when I have a little extra help with the kiddos.

We have chargers in the car for our iphones, his ipad, and my kindle. I have already charged up my kindle so I shouldn't have any battery issues. Ansleigh, Anthony, and I all have headphones. Mine are mostly for ignoring the "Mommy! Mommy. Mommy. Mommy!" from Ansleigh and the "WAAAAAHHHHHHH" from Addisyn (if she is just crying out of boredom).

I have a list of last-minute things to pack such as:
  • Ansleigh's sleeping toys
  • Addi's bottles
  • Our computers, phones, chargers, camera (all that stuff Anthony takes care of)
  • drinks for the ride
  • my pillow and blanket
  • my kindle
Tonight and in the morning, I will load the car. My husband is great at it, but I am better :) and too controlling and I NEED to know exactly where everything is. I already have where everything will go planned out in my head.

Also, I don't want it to seem like my loving husband is useless and doesn't help. He does, but when I get into this mode, I'm kind of like a tornado. It is best to just get out of the way. He helps me check off my lists, tries clothes on that he only wears once a year (because I want him to wear those and that is the beauty of me packing his stuff, he has to wear what I choose...hahahaha). He also takes care of the kids and packs up all things electronic. He fills the car up with gas and best of all, he drives. Even when we travel at night, after he has worked all day.

In my spare time, I made Ansleigh a necklace to wear with our outfits for beach pictures. :)

I need help, I know. Can you think of anything I might have forgotten?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ansleigh's Rapunzel Party-Better Late Than Never

I realized recently that I never updated on my blog post regarding Ansleigh's 4th Birthday--Rapunzel style.

Here you go:

 Plates, cups, utensils, and the Rapunzel braid :) (braid came from Etsy)
 Birthday girl blowing out her candles on her Rapunzel Cake (made by my mother)
 Candy Bar and Rapunzel dress name banner (banner from Etsy)
 Cupcake "tower"
 Food--I served food from the movie that would be pub food
Another view of the food table
 Pascal Party Blowers--these were a HUGE hit
 View of the porch
 Princess bounce house--best money ever spent
 Rapunzel Cake--yep, she's edible. Thanks Lolli! :)
 Birthday girl in her Rapunzel Birthday shirt--made by Lolli
I made the wreath and I purchased the door hanger from Etsy

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

You Just Never Know...

Today my oldest girl had a playdate after VBS at our beloved Chick-fil-a with some sweet church friends. While the girls were playing on the playground, we got to have some time to just talk.

The Back Story
Sarah (the friend I was eating with) was my first real friend in Melbourne. We met at a church function and then kept running into each other. She was so sweet and kept inviting me to things and checking up on me. She had her first child during the summer and when I went into early labor with Ansleigh, she was the first one to come to the hospital. She offered to bring me an iccee and stayed with Anthony and me while I worried that my parents wouldn't make it on time (they didn't but they sure tried their best!).

Ansleigh was a terrible baby. She was beautiful, but a terrible baby. She had colic and acid reflux and cried all the time. My dear, sweet husband was working second shift building a satellite that went into space so he was hardly ever here. Sarah would come over with her baby to visit with me and would do my laundry for me and offer to do any and all other chores.

Sarah was my friend when I didn't have many, or at least any that could drop by for a visit.

As Sarah and I were sitting there talking, all I could think was that I wished we spent more time together and that I love how easy she is to talk to. We were just chatting away about living away from our families, our girls, church, VPK and homeschooling, and really just jumping all over. I started noticing that Sarah kept mentioning things about how crafty I am, or how honest I am, and then she blew me away. She said that she was talking to another friend of ours the other day and asked her if she had seen me lately. When our friend said no, Sarah said she told her that I'd lost a ton of weight and how great I looked.

It's true. Not the amazing part or the great-looking part, but the weight loss part. When I got pregnant with Addisyn, I weighed 164 pounds--more than I've ever weighed in my life. That is more than I weighed when I walked into the hospital to have Ansleigh. I only gained 22 pounds with Addisyn but that 22 made me a robust 186 the day I delivered.

Since I came home from the hospital, I've been carefully portioning my food, started counting calories again, and have started training for a 5K that I'm running at Animal Kingdom in November. Monday, Addisyn was 12 weeks old and in that 12 weeks, I've lost down to 148. My Easter dress that I wore 4 weeks after she was born was a size 12 and last week, I got into a pair of adorable size 6 capri pants.

I still have about 12 pounds to go, but that's not the point. The point is, nobody has noticed. Or at least, I thought no one had noticed. I would casually mention it in conversation, secretly (or not-so-secretly) bragging and people would look at me with a "You are such a liar" look and say something like, "Oh, that's great."

Even I can't really notice a difference. I can with my clothes, but not when I see picture of myself. I still feel fat. And jiggly. And pretty much just all around gross. But someone noticed.

My sweet friend Sarah, who lifted me up in other ways today, noticed. And not only did she noticed, but she bragged on me to someone else.

I may not look like my 125 pound, not a stretch mark, always perfect hair, sister-in-law (whom I love dearly!!!!), but today I realized that even though I'm not as tiny as I once was, that does not diminish the fact that I have lost 38 pounds in 12 weeks. I'm proud of myself, but more importantly, I'm glad I have a friend that pays attention and cares enough to make sure I know she has paid attention.

You just never know who is noticing you or the effort you are putting in.

LOVE YOU SARAH!!!! Thanks for making my day!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Disney with a Baby

We have lived on the east coast of Central Florida for five years now and this is our third year to have annual passes to Disney. We love going (obviously)!

When we first bought passes, our oldest daughter had just turned two. Disney with a two-year-old isn't that difficult. Take a sippy cup, a stroller, and plenty of pull-ups and wipes and you'll be fine.

The older she has gotten, the easier is has been. We have always taken the stroller with us because even now that she's four, she still won't walk the whole time. Heck, our nine year old nephew took advantage of the stroller. :)

We even went to Disney up until I was a good six months pregnant with our newest addition. Disney pregnant wasn't that difficult either. You just rest when you need to. I would often request going to one of the shows when I needed to sit for a bit and it was not uncommon for me to just sit down on the ground while in line for things.

I am sure there are people who go to Disney more than we do, but we feel like we've mastered the art of going to Disney World for a day or two.

In March, I delivered our second little girl and we waited until she was 8 weeks old before we attempted to go. We had a week long trip planned with Anthony's family a week later. We went to Magic Kingdom for her first trip and then a week later we went for the week.

Now we have always had a few things we always take with us: camera, stroller, small cooler/lunch box with drinks and snacks, Ansleigh's blanket she always wants when she gets sleepy, and her autograph book with a sharpie attached. You never know when you will see one of those rare characters :)

Taking a baby was a lot easier than I expected. Disney is very accommodating for anyone, especially someone with a baby. They have baby care centers at each park where you can nurse, use changing tables, etc.

Going just for the day, these are the extra things I took: diapers and wipes, 8 bottles pre-filled with the right amount of water, 8 travel packs of formula, baby sunscreen, double stroller, Moby wrap, cold compresses, clip on stroller fan, my Itzbeen baby timer (I don't leave home without it), a bib, gas drops, a thin blanket, and refillable water bottles.

  • Dipers--a given. I took 10-12 (just in case) and a travel pack of wipes
  • Pre-filled botles--I didn't want to have to look around Disney for water to fill the bottles, plus, I wanted them to be as ready to use as possible. We don't heat the bottles (You don't need to!!!!) so warm water was not an issue but you can ask any Cast Member where you can get warm water and they will find it for you. Your best bet is a restaurant, not the bathrooms. 
  • Travel formula packets--these take up WAY less space in the diaper bag than those bulky containers that hold enough formula for three bottles.
  • Baby sunscreen--she really didn't need it because she stayed covered up so much but I put it on her just in case
  • Double Stroller-we have two kiddos now so we need to be able to push both kids. We have the Baby Jogger City Mini double stroller and it is amazing. We have the stone color (khaki) one which I chose on purpose. I knew we'd mostly be using it for Disney and we didn't want a dark colored stroller to leave sitting out all day in the Central Florida heat.We also have two Mommy hooks on our stroller to hold the diaper bag and cooler/lunchbox.
  • Moby wrap-my sister gave me that thing and it was wonderful to have. I wrapped her up in that thing and could stand in lines without having the weight of holding her, plus I had both arms free to constantly germ-x my oldest child.
  • Cold Compresses--I used these in one of the layers of the Moby wrap (you could also do the same thing with a sling or baby carrier) to help keep Tiny Tot cool. It worked perfectly.
  • Clip on Stroller Fan--I knew it would be hot. This thing is awesome. We ended up getting two (one for each kid). The batteries lasted an entire week of being constantly used. I would even take it off the stroller and hold it blowing on the baby while we were in line. Several people stopped me and asked me where I got it-they were totally jealous. 
  • Itzbeen Baby Timer--when Ansleigh was a baby I wrote everything down in a log (when she ate, was changed, etc.). This little timer does all that for you. It also has a nightlight and all kinds of other amazing features. I have a hard time keeping track of time anyway at Disney so this timer was clutch for us because we could just glance at it to see when she needed to eat again. 
  • Bib--my sweet little love leaks out of the side of her mouth. I took this one and it was ADORABLE!  This lady also made one with Minnie Mouse on it for me :)
  • Gas Drops--we have the world's gassiest baby so I took those with us just in case we needed them
  • Thin Blanket--I used this to keep the sun off any parts not covered by the stroller or to put between my skin and her skin so she wouldn't stick to me. A think blanket will make them too hot but a thin one worked great. I used our Baby Biscotti blanket (it was the softest, thinest one we had) but since then I have gotten a pack of Aden & Anais muslin blankets and those would have been perfect too.
  • Refillable Water Bottles--These were for the other three of us, not baby. I recently found out that you can go to any quick service place at any Disney park and ask for a cup of ice water (or three in our case) and they'll just give it to you....for FREE and then you just pour it in your water bottle. Disney also has water fountains but they are mostly disgusting so go for the ice water. 

For the week, there were a few other things that I made sure I had with us.
  • Nursery Water--we use this anyway for our bottles but I didn't want to use the tap water at the hotel.
  • Bottle Drying Rack--I knew I was going to need to wash bottles and this just makes it easier, especially with all the parts that go with our Dr. Brown's bottles
  • Bottle Brush and sponge--to wash the bottles
  • Dish Soap--I found a small bottle of Palmolive baby dish soap so I took that with me
  • Pack n Play-- Disney will provide one for you free of charge but since we're only an hour and a half away and I had a newborn, I wanted my own. Plus, sometimes those things frustrate me and I was scared I might break the Disney one. 
  • Bibs--I packed every cute bib we own, just in case
  • Boppy--I always use this to feed her (not at the parks, of course) but she was still taking several bottles during the night and I knew I'd be so tired so having something I could rest her on helped a lot. 
Other tips:
  • I packed using a lot of ziplock bags. I put the bottle brush in a ziplock bag, the soap in a bag, the sponge in a bag, and then put all those in one bag together. I also used these for hairbows, underwear for Ansleigh, socks for both girls, to keep all the travel formula packs together, etc.
  • I found out quickly that the hotel sink isn't really intended for washing bottles. I ended up washing the bottles and all their parts in the bathtub and that worked much better.
  • Even at the "Value" resorts, they have a fridge in every room. We brought canned drinks, bottled waters, juice boxes, etc. to keep in there and then we'd load up the cooler each morning before we went to the park. We also took Uncrustable sandwiches with us and threw them in the cooler each morning along with a lunch pack of chips and our drinks. This kept us from spending money on Disney food for lunch. 
  • If you need a microwave or need to sterilize bottles, some resorts have them in the rooms and some don't. Our resort did not but they did have one I could use at the cafeteria. I didn't sterilize the bottles while I was there but wanted to know just in case. 
  • To prevent over-packing, I packed our clothes by outfits. I did this for my husband, both girls, and myself. The girls were wearing matching outfits each day (I mean...I am breathing so that is a given!) so I packed their outfits from the bottom up, meaning the last day's clothes were on the bottom, Friday's on top of that, Thursday's on top of that, etc. I did pack extra clothes for the girls but just two outfits for Ansleigh and three for Addisyn (the baby). 
  • When you are going during warm weather (here that's March-November), I recommend wearing comfortable clothes. I wore running shorts and a tshirt or dry-fit shirt almost every day. I wasn't there to impress anyone. Plus, you have the advantage of all your sweat not being AS noticeable, and the added bonus of drying off more quickly when you get off Splash Mountain where your butt WILL be soaked. Promise. 
  • Anthony carried a backpack with him the whole time. This is the first time he's done this and he says he is a fan. He kept the camera, snacks, ponchos, etc. in his handy dandy backpack. He also had a few extra ziplock bags in there in case it rained or to put his phone in while riding Splash Mountain.
  • Be prepared to spend a few minutes going through Security at each park although if you are prepared and ready, it will go much quicker. We had our bags out and unzipped when we stepped up. The security people seemed to appreciate that. 
  • When you go through the ticket gate, have one adult (usually hubs) have all the tickets and the other person push the stroller through the gate. We always put Ansleigh's ticket in first (no finger print scanning for her), then mine, and then while I'm going through, Anthony puts his ticket in and walks through. 
  • Most rides you can take infants on. The only ones you cannot do that with are ones that have a height requirement (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, Tower of Terror, Rockin Rollercoaster, Everest, Soarin,  Mission Space, Test Track, etc.). You can do Peter Pan with a baby, Winnie the Pooh, Teacups (although I don't recommend it), It's a Small World, Buzz Lightyear, Nemo, pretty much everything. For those rides that you can't take Tiny Tot on and you REALLY want to ride, Disney offers rider swap. You go through the line together and then one parent gets on the ride and one parent stays with the kid(s). When parent #1 gets off, parent #2 gets to ride. You won't get to ride together but at least you'll get to ride. 

It really was fairly easy to have a newborn at Disney. I fed her while my husband and daughter were on a ride I didn't want to do, or during a show, or even walking through the park while Hubs pushed the stroller with Ansleigh in it. I changed her diaper when I went to the bathroom or more often in the stroller. I tried to be discreet about it but I really suck at stuff like that and I didn't really care if someone saw me changing her diaper. I'd rather get a nasty look from someone than have to stand in line behind five people who need to change their children's diapers. I pulled the hood down super far and put the stroller where most people couldn't see and did what I had to do.  I don't nurse my daughter but I know a lot of people do. If you have a nursing cape, you could do this anywhere at the park. If you have a MobyWrap, you can nurse with that too, or you can always use the Baby Care Centers.

Are there other things you want to know about? Have you been with a baby and have a suggestion? Let me know!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Mother

I have the most amazing mother. No seriously, I do. I know a lot of you are thinking that you have the most amazing mother too, but you don't unless you are my sister.

Not only is my mom super smart (she was salutatorian of her graduating class), but she is beautiful (and looks like she's 35!), and she is talented (she cooks, bakes, paints, sews, creates). Any of those things would make someone special, but the most special thing about my mother isn't any of those qualities; the most special thing about my mother is that she is selfless.

I didn't realize how much my mother did for me until I was a mother myself. When I was growing up, my mother (and father) worked herself to the bone to be able to put us in tap, ballet, jazz, and gymnastics. She was the adviser/sponsor of my little league cheer team so we would have someone to coach us. When I was in high school, my mother would take her lunch break during 7th period so she could come to ALL our pep rallys and watch us cheer. She spent her weekends all over the state of Alabama braiding the hair of my softball team at various tournaments and keeping the book for our team. She sat in snow and sleet and even extreme heat just to watch me, even if I was only riding the bench.

When I was a senior in high school I was accepted to the only school I wanted to go to, Auburn. A few months later I was accepted and received a full scholarship to the local university. I told my parents I'd go to the local school because it was free. My mom knew I didn't want to go there, and if it hadn't been for her and the many conversations she had with me about it, I never would have gone to Auburn. If I had not gone to Auburn, I would not be the person I am today and I would have never met my husband.

The summer after I graduated high school, my mother and sister spent the summer finding things to stock my apartment. My mother even searched high and low to find me the exact same bedding that I had in my room at home so I'd feel more comfortable. My parents moved me in and then my mother stocked my fridge and cabinets. When finals came around my first semester, my mother took off work and came and stayed with me to cook me good meals and clean my apartment so I could spend my time studying. When I started dating Anthony, she immediately took him in as if he was her own. My sophomore year of college I started having some health issues and she got me in with various doctors and then even came to stay with me when I was having some tests done. When I got engaged, she helped me plan an amazing wedding all while planning my sister's amazing (and completely different) wedding. She even made Anthony a cake shaped like Jordan-Hare Stadium.

When I told her I wanted to have a baby, she took me to Walmart and bought pregnancy tests and ovulation kits for me. When we moved, she came and helped me set up my first house. When I went into labor a month early with Ansleigh, she killed herself to get here and then stayed with me for a little over two weeks to help me recover and to cook and clean for me and learn how to be a mother. She even missed spending Christmas with my dad and sister and all the rest of our family because I needed her.

All of Ansleigh's life she has loved on her more than I thought any person possibly could. She makes sure she has the best of everything. She has been here for her for all the major things in her life and made sure she had the cutest clothes on while those things happened.

When I was pregnant with Addisyn, my mom came and helped me throw Ansleigh an amazing birthday party. Then, when I was put on bedrest, she called and checked on me everyday. She made my dad drive her down here one weekend to turn a guest room into a nursery for the baby. When Addisyn was born, she jumped in the car and got here as soon as she could and then took care of Ansleigh while I was in the hospital. When we came home from the hospital, she stayed with me for a week, cooking, cleaning, and entertaining Ansleigh while I recovered and spent time with my new baby. She even repaired one of Ansleigh's stuffed animals.

My mom does anything and everything for me and never tells me no and never ever tells Ansleigh no.

In fact, my mom overnighted a box of clothes to Ansleigh and Addisyn for us to take on our Disney trip.

No one has a mom as amazing as my mom. I didn't appreciate her when I was a teenager, but she means the world to me now and if I could live next door to her, I totally would. If I can be even 1/4 the mother she was/is to my girls, they will be blessed beyond measure. I hope I can be that kind of a mother to my girls and that they will grow up knowing just how much they are loved, the way I always have.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Taking Them a Meal

5 weeks ago I had a baby. 5 weeks prior to having a baby I was put on bedrest.

The people in our church have loved on us and blessed us beyond measure. Almost immediately after news was out that I was on bedrest, a list was started, people started signing up, and meals started being delivered. Not only did they bring meals, they came over and cleaned my house, helped me clean out the room that was going to be the nursery, and even took things to Goodwill for me.

One week after having the baby (family was here for a week to take care of us), the meals picked back up.

I totaled it up and we have had 8 weeks worth of meals delivered to us, 3 times a week. Again, I cannot stress what a blessing it has been to have this.

Now I'm a prideful person and really didn't want to let people help me, especially when I was on bedrest, but thankfully, these people know us and love us and wouldn't take no for an answer. I've always been honest on here so I need to tell you that for the past two years or so (since I started back to work), I've been terrible about bringing meals to people, even people I'm friends with. I didn't have time to cook for my own family, much less someone else's. After people taking such good care of us, I am ashamed of myself. I was always too busy or didn't have time or they lived "too far" from our know, across town. Even when I did take a meal to someone, I did it terribly. One person I cooked two bags of one of those skillet meals (the frozen ones) to take. Another person I even took them two pans of Pizza Hut pasta. I don't think there is anything wrong with taking people already prepared meals, but I do think there was something wrong with my attitude and laziness regarding the situation. I am ashamed.

Never again will that happen. In fact, I've even made Hubs promise me he wouldn't let me make ANY excuse the next time someone needs a meal, or their house vacuumed, or their laundry folded.

With all these people bringing us meals, I had several moments when I thought, "What an awesome idea!" Because of this, I have decided to make a list of suggestions and ideas (mostly for myself) for the next time someone needs a meal. Feel free to use these yourself, share them with others, or even pin it if you feel like it is worthy of that. Please keep in mind, these are just things I saw when people brought us a meal and I wanted to remember the good ideas. This does not mean I wasn't INCREDIBLY grateful for anything and everything people brought us, but really it is just tips for myself for the future.

First of all, disposable containers are such a blessing. Don't get me wrong, people (myself included) will be extremely grateful for whatever you bring them, but it seems that everyone has the same kind of tupperware and it is really difficult to remember which container belongs to which person and there is the added bonus that the person doesn't have to worry about the clean up.

Second, speaking of dishes, throw in some paper plates and plastic utensils. We had so many people do this for us and it was such a blessing to be able to just throw everything away and be done with it.

Third, if you have time, put the recipe(s) with each container, so that when they LOVE what you brought them (they will!), they can store the recipe and make it at a later time for their family. Plus, the added bonus is that if they have any kind of allergy or are just curious about what all is in it, they have the list of ingredients at the tip of their fingers. This doesn't have to take a lot of time. If you got the recipe off pinterest, just print a copy of it and throw it in with the stuff you are bringing. If it is a family recipe (or one you just have on a recipe card), you can use your printer/copier/scanner (if you have one) and make a quick copy. The same thing would go if you got it out of a cook book, just make a copy.

Here is an adorable printable package you can get to go with the meal you are bringing: Gifting Dinner Printable Package

Another awesome idea is if the recipe makes a fairly large dish, use two smaller containers; one for now and one to freeze for later when the meals stop coming. On the frozen one, be sure to write what the dish is and the cooking instructions because it may be a while before they get to it and they might forget.I still have probably two weeks worth of meals in my freezer thanks to our amazing church family.

If you bring a salad, throw in a bottle of dressing too. They may have their own favorite that they'd prefer to use, but they might not have any dressing on hand, or in our case, what they have might have expired in 2007...LOL.

If you know the mom is nursing, feel free to bring a higher calorie meal. If the mom is bottle-feeding, you might want to skip bringing something slathered in mayonaise or grease. We never had an issue with this and I wouldn't have turned ANYTHING away, but it is a nice idea to remember. We had several people ask if we wanted something a little healthier or if it mattered and to me, at that point, food was food and as long as it wasn't McDonald's, I'd gladly eat it.

People usually bring a main dish, some sort of veggie (usually a salad), and a dessert (cookies, brownies, or my favorite-rice krispy treats). A couple of people were so thoughtful and also included something we/I could have for breakfast. Now this doesn't mean you also have to throw together a breakfast casserole along with all the other stuff you are cooking. Our Pastor's wife brought us a bag of bagels, a thing of cream cheese, and some fresh fruit. Several other people brought us muffins of various varieties. It doesn't need to be anything difficult.

We even had several people bring us a gallon of tea. Now, with us being as southern as we are, we were overjoyed to have tea delivered to us. Now, not to brag, but I make some almost perfect sweet tea, so I think I would just make some and throw it in a jug to take over instead of buying some at Publix, but if you are in a hurry, some from the supermarket would work just fine, especially if you live where you can buy a gallon of Milo's sweet tea.

Also, most people have gone to using . If your group/person is using this site, go look at what the others who are signed up for that week are bringing. Now often, it will say TBD (to be determined) but if the other people for that week are all bringing chicken, maybe you should make something with beef or pork. Again, they will be so thankful for whatever you bring, but it is something to consider.

If you are taking a gift for the baby (which is not necessary) and there is an older sibling, you might consider taking something small for the sibling too. So many people were so sweet to include our Ansleigh. It doesn't have to be anything big or flashy--just something to show that you remember the other kid exists too.

Second (and third) time moms, often have a little bit of an easier time than first time moms. I think it has something to do with knowing what to expect and having a little experience. But just because they already have one child, doesn't mean they don't need help. I am learning that with two, there is a fine balance in making sure both kids have what they need, are taken care of, and are both getting plenty of your attention.

If you are going to have a little bit of extra time, ask the mom if there is anything you can do to help around the house. Most of us don't want to clean our own house, much less someone else's house, but it doesn't take long to wipe down the counters for them or run the vacuum over the main living space. I would NEVER have asked anyone to clean my house for me, and even when they asked, I often said there was nothing to do, but I was blessed just by the offer. Plus, most people that wanted to clean for me knew me and knew I would say no so they just came in and washed the dishes in the sink really quickly or grabbed a Clorox wipe and wiped down the counters.

Everyone, even stay-at-home moms (who sometimes have a little more time to cook), are busy. Sometimes taking someone a meal can seem like a lot of work that we often don't have the time for. If you can plan ahead for a few of these little extra things, it might make it easier to do a little more. And a lot of people need to bring the kids with them when they drop the meal off so don't feel bad if you can't clean up for them. No one expects someone to bring them a meal and clean their house, but it can be an added blessing so if you can plan ahead to maybe have the hubs watch the kids, you might have time for it. Or, bring the whole family along. We LOVED it when the doorbell rang and the whole family was there for a quick visit. I'd have people stay hours if they could have so they company was a wonderful blessing as well.

If you really do not have time, or are going to be out of town, or there is some other reason why you can't help out, grab a gift card to a local restaurant and put it in the mail for them. We got a couple of gift cards and are using them now. It is awesome to be able to get out of the house for a meal and not have to pay (or not have to pay as much).

Hopefully you will enjoy these tips and someone will be as blessed as we have been, and hopefully, I'll be able to return the blessing to someone soon.