Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Run Liv Run

I don't believe in stressing out about weight gain during pregnancy.  Or anywhere soon after delivering a baby for that matter.  I eat well, exercise regularly, and keep hydrated but I don't feel guilty about having a big ole' bowl of ice cream sitting on top of my growing belly.  It is a time to nurture your body, to retreat into yourself and enjoy the moment for what it is: growth.  And after the baby is born, it is more of the same: taking care of your body so that you can take care of your new little one, getting in the right amount of calories so that your body can produce enough milk.  I've always tried to keep a healthy outlook on the weight gain, the decreased endurance, the slowness that takes over my usual active self.  I am growing a family and these physical changes really are worth it.

But then the times comes to start moving again.  I can feel it from the top of my head to the tips of my toes: my body starts aching to become strong again.  I have more energy thanks to the baby developing better sleep habits, I am able to leave him for short periods of time thanks to his feedings spacing out more and more.  My soul is awakened as the post partum phase melts away: he is not an infant anymore and it is time to move into the next chapter.  I have rested and nourished my healing body and now it is time to build it back up again.

My plan: good old fashioned clean eating and exercise.  There's no cheat sheet for losing weight in my personal experience, only hard work and dedication.  I am listening to my body and it is speaking loud and clear: MOVE!!  Get up and go and do it often.  Here's how I'm getting it done:

1.  Fitbit: This handy little activity monitor keeps me motivated and accountable.  It counts my steps each day and then, thanks to its wireless capability, uploads my daily activities to my computer where I am able to track everything.  My online profile, which I'm also able to access on my iPhone, allows me to keep a daily food and exercise log.  Keeping a food journal is key for me.  It really keeps my eyes open to what I am really eating versus this ideal picture I have in my head of what I'm eating.  The Fitbit has been a great source of motivation for me.

2.  Run Liv Run:  I'm running again.  I'm embarrassed to even document how long it's been so I've ran but, trust me, it's been a while.  I'm easing back into it with the use of the Couch to 5K app and keeping my runs to only 3 times a week.  I'm cross training in the gym 1-2 times a week to encourage muscle strength and endurance.

3.  Yoga:  I'm still doing yoga 3-4 times per week but I have taken my practice up a notch, focusing more on strength and core muscle building.  I am using and I can not rave about this website enough.  There are so many different options for classes to take, intensity levels, class duration, etc.  Shawn and I are even using this site for guided meditations after we put the kids to bed at night.  My current season of life just does not permit me to go to class outside of the home but this website literally brings a multitude of classes to me.

4.  Cleaning up:  Though we eat very well in this house, we could always be eating better.  Last month, we went through our kitchen and let go of some things that just weren't good for us, bringing in the healthier alternatives instead.  I do not believe in deprivation, only moderation.  By making slow and steady changes, we are setting ourselves up for long term success.  We follow a couple of rules in our kitchen and they really work for us: eat seasonal, shop local, stick to the outside perimeter of the grocery store, prep the fruits and veggies for the week for quick access, plan ahead to avoid temptations, and treat yourself at least once a week.  The cleaner I eat, the less my body craves high calorie/high fat foods.  Hydration is key and I try to drink at least 80 oz of water per day.  I don't believe in diets or quick fixes, only nutrient dense foods that will keep my body strong and healthy.

I am a work in progress, a beautiful mess of a woman who has grown and given birth and nourished three babies.  I do not want to be skinny or perfect or any version of my old self, I simply want to be the best version of my current self.  I want to be strong and flexible, I want to be able to run a 9 minute mile.  I want to be able to do a hand stand away from the wall.  I want to feel good in my clothes and comfortable in my own skin.  I want to be able to look in the mirror and feel proud of myself, to know that I am doing good things for my body and therefore doing good things for my family.  When I show myself love, when I take care of myself and focus on the positive, I am showing love to everyone around me.  This journey is a beautiful one, no matter how hard or discouraging it sometimes feels, and I am humbled each and every day as I witness my body changing and accomplishing small goals.  Cheers to good health, self love, and a stronger version of me!


Friday, March 21, 2014


As we were getting the little kids dressed after bath time, I excitedly told Shawn about Brees and her new found love of the solar system.  At three years old, she can recite all eight planets and tell you little facts about each one.  "Venus has no water and Saturn has rings made of ice!" she told me this morning over breakfast, all things she learned from a series of videos we've been watching.  Shawn and I hugged her and complimented her, so proud of the way she latched onto this new information, adding to her growing collection of facts and lessons learned.  Her three year old mind is just soaking up every piece of information we can give her and it is an amazing process to witness.

But then Belle stepped in, a look of hurt on her face, "I can recite all of the planets, too!".  She was upset and defensive, the attention her sister was getting like a slap in her face.  She felt left out, overshadowed.

I hugged her close, empathetic towards her feelings as I have felt them myself with my own siblings. "I know that you do" I said to her, squeezing her close.  We let her know that we were proud of her, too, but that this conversation had nothing to do with whether or not SHE knew something, it was about something that Brees did.  Celebrating a victory for one sister does not mean that we are expressing disappointment in the other sister.  One has nothing to do with the other.  "I know" she said, looking down at her feet.  "I just felt kind of, you know...".

We know.  We understand.  And it's okay.  This is how it goes with siblings.  Each member of a family is different: different strengths, different weaknesses, certain qualities that are all their own.  Sometimes it feels that one person in particular just has it all together, rising to the occasion at every golden opportunity.  Some people are just naturally more charismatic than others, some people have to work really hard while others just seem to flow right through life.  Sometimes you get lots of attention, other days make you wonder if anyone even knows you're alive.

"God created each and every one of us in His image", I said to Belle.  He made us all special and perfectly unique.  He gave each of us something extraordinary, something that makes us exactly who we are supposed to be.  But, more importantly, He put certain people in our lives on purpose.  This family, it is no accident.  We are all here together, living this life, because we were meant to journey as a team, our own little tribe.  Whatever you are lacking, your sister is here to lift you up.  When she or your brother are in need, you are just the girl to run to their rescue.  Sibling rivalry, feelings of jealousy or inadequacy: these are all normal feelings that everyone experiences. Don't let it get you down, though.  For there is no greater love than the love of your brother and sister.

When I think back on my childhood: my siblings are the ones who hold my heart so dear.  Late night talks after Mama thought we were asleep, long summer night bike rides, adventures in the woods, sneaking out to the high school after party that we weren't supposed to go to: those are the memories that shape so much of my early life.  And I want my kids to know that love, to feel that connection, to experience that sense of belonging.  There will be times, I am sure, when their relationships are not always so close and sweet.  But the love they share right now, the foundation that they are building as they spend hours playing Barbies together, those are the times that will always lead them home.  To each other.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Stats: Month Six


River at 6 months:

Weight/Height: 17.8 lbs 27 inches long

Sleeping:  We moved River to his own bed this month and he has been sleeping all night ever since.  The transition was super easy: he was ready to have his own space to stretch out, a quiet room with no distractions.  We didn't use any special strategy or technique, we simply followed our normal bedtime routine and put him in his crib: dinner, bath, story time, prayers, and then bed.  He was a little fussy for the first two nights, understandably so.  Being alone in his bed was a new concept and so we stayed nearby and went into his room to reassure him when he cried out or fussed.  We picked him up, rocked him, calmed him down, and then put him back down.  I've never been able to let my kids cry it out, it's just not for our family.  But going into River's room to reassure him when he was upset worked for us.  After two nights of this, he was comfortable in his new bed and slept 12 hours straights, from 7 to 7.  Words can not describe the difference a full night's sleep has meant for ALL of us, baby and parents.  We are all happier and starting our days which much better attitudes.


Feeding:  River is nursing like a champ, so much so that I've had to add an extra pumping session during my work day to keep up with his demand.  I have to be very vigilant about staying hydrated and eating enough calories to keep up with my growing boy's needs.  He is showing a big interest in food, reaching for things at the table and watching us intently.  We will start solids with his pediatrician's approval after his 6 month check up.


Milestones:  River is sitting up independently and rolling over both ways.  He gets up on all fours and rocks back and forth.  He has two bottom teeth and is working on more.  He babbles "dadada" and "mamama" and squeals and coos constantly.  He recognizes faces and voices and gives me the best greeting when I get home from work.  He also protests very loud and clear when I try to put him down.  This month, River celebrated his first Mardi Gras with his first trip to New Orleans, had his first Valentines' Day, and spent lots of time with family and friends.


Personality:  River is very active now and seems to be in constant motion: rolling and scooting and grabbing.  He is a very, very happy baby and giggles and smiles constantly.  His hair is a strawberry blonde color and his eyes are still grayish blue.  He looks exactly like his Daddy to me.  He loves to hug and give kisses and play on the floor with his sisters.  He loves to play with his feet and eat his toes. He loves to be outside and enjoys going on walks.  River is a thumb sucker and loves his Sophie the Giraffe. River loves to sleep on his tummy and no longer likes to be rocked to sleep, preferring instead to fall asleep on his own in his crib.  I will admit that this makes me very sad.

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This has been my favorite month so far with our little buddy.  His likes and dislikes are very clear and his cues are very easy to read.  I feel so comfortable with him and he is by far our easiest and most mobile baby. He has stolen all of our hearts and is truly a very loved little boy.


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014



Sometimes, when my mind is so filled with thoughts that I can barely decipher them all, I am my most quiet. My voice takes a back seat as the wheels in my head spin and spin, making plans, understanding new ideas. I feel myself growing in that vocal silence, allowing my brain to take over, working hand in hand with my heart as I move along through my journey. I don't express myself well during times of transition and so I sit in the quiet that is really internally not so.

It has been six months since I gave birth to our precious son and I feel a sense of awakening beginning to take shape.  I am ready to move forward in my career, seeking new opportunities that have come my way, pushing myself and my boundaries all in the name of personal growth.  I am working hard at the arduous task of cleaning up my diet, getting my body moving again.  The task of carrying three nearly 10 pound babies has taken a toll on me and it is time to regain my physical strength and endurance.  I am cultivating happiness: focusing on the people I love and less on the things that are not true, focusing on the good and less on the misfortunes, practicing awareness in all areas and learning to be more forgiving.  I am awake and alive and putting myself out into the world in new ways.  It makes me scared shitless but I have found, more often than not, that being scared shitless is actually a good thing.

I sat on our front porch this afternoon and watched Brees play in the dirt, dirt that we recently prepared to make room for a new garden this spring.  Putting down more roots, growing new and beautiful things. I watched her dig and sing to herself, twirling in her grass stained tutu, completely oblivious to any stress or worry or care. "Close your eyes, Mommy, and think of your happy place!".  That is her new favorite thing to tell all of us.  "Where's your happy place, Brees?" I ask her, already giggling as I imagine her answer.

"With you, and Daddy, and Sissy and River!".  No specific place, no overly complicated details.  Just us. A girl after my own heart.  We are each other's jumping boards, the platforms from which all over things evolve. We are the foundation that supports all other ventures.  Family.  And together we grow and welcome new changes, new ideas, new chapters.  Together, we enter new seasons.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014



A portrait of my family, once a week, every week in 2014.

It was a slow week, dare I say easy?  I kept my work schedule light, recovering from our weekend away in New Orleans.  We unpacked our bags and settled back in, resting when needed and welcoming back the familiar feel of our routine.  As much as I claim to miss spontaneity, there really is no place like home.  We skipped piano lessons, choosing to climb into the big bed instead for a little TV watching and cuddle time. It felt good to be all together, saying no to a few obligations and putting each other first instead.

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