To My Son, on Your First Day of “School”

Sweet Bug,

It seems like it was yesterday that we were celebrating your birth-day. I knew you were coming that day from the moment I woke at midnight, just like I knew your name from the day we found out you even existed. Your entrance into the world was so smooth and easy, but I’ll be honest Sweet G, those first two weeks were rough. We both cried a lot- me way more than you.

I didn’t know what I was doing. YOU didn’t know what I was doing. We were so out of sync. I sat there in the dark (after figuring out you hated when I turned all the lights on at 2am) so many nights just nursing you while I cried, feeling like I was so ill equipped for the role of being your mommy. I thought a lot that maybe there would be someone better for you, someone who didn’t make you cry so much. Someone who wasn’t so anxious or sad. Surely I wasn’t what God had in mind for you.

Then one night, about two weeks in, as I sat there in my sadness, a song came on the radio that said “and I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night, and You tell me that You’re pleased and that I’m never alone.” I needed to hear that so badly. I needed to hear that I was chosen to be your mommy and that I was good enough. Being your mommy reminded me how much I needed Jesus.

Hearing that encouraged me to accept my role instead of fighting it. You and I fell into sync that night- it was magical. I always knew that you were a huge blessing to me and that you would change me for the better, but the ways God uses you, my sweet one, are profound.

I’m so excited to start a new adventure with you, as you start to go off into the world, little by little without me. You need to know that I am now and will always be your number one fan, even when I can’t be standing right beside you. I know that the goal of being your mommy is that I train you up to be loving and kind and independent, but if we could take that independent piece gently…..

My Sweet G- I love you so much.

Forevever, For Always, No Matter What.

I Lava You.

Mommy

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Baby Vs Barbell

Life is really busy right now. All the moms in the room, I’m sure, are nodding knowingly. My little man will be 4 months old on Monday and I feel like I am just now getting back into the swing of things. This new found rhythm made me think that going back to the gym would be a snap.

Mr Ham and I located a gym very close to our home where there is daycare ($1/hr! Amazing!) and we signed up right away. I was pumped. I know that lifting again will get my head right and will help me feel more like myself. Unfortunately, there is one thing I didn’t take into account:  Mom guilt is real.

Monday afternoon I rushed home from work to get my workout clothes on. I was pumped. Then I realized that I could no longer just drop everything and lift. My body was different now and my baby was nursing. I would have to time things just right so that he had food and so that my body wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Timing this sort of thing out is hard, guys.

Not only that, I also had to take into account the effects that lifting would have on the quality of his…dinner. (There’s no way to phrase this that doesn’t come off slightly awkward!)

Thirdly, lifting always leaves me a little sore the next day (DOMs) but I never took into account that it would make me sore for 4 fulls days. It was such a chore to just walk up the stairs- it was hard to get down and play with my son when I was as sore as I was.

All of this made me feel guilty- was he going to suffer just so I could start to get my body back? I felt so guilty, like I was taking from him. See- mom guilt is real.

However, what I realized then and have to remind myself now, my body will serve both of us better if I am healthy and strong. There may be some stumbling blocks on the way there, but if I am careful and take care of my body well (hydrate, lift smart, keep walking) I think the both of us can benefit from this process!

I’m excited to get back under the barbell! Time to get to work!

 

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Lucky Number Seven

Seven. I have about seven weeks until my son gets here, my world gets rocked, and life changes forever.

Or so I’m told.

The last few months have gone by fast. Between moving, work, and weekly birth classes, I’ve barely noticed that we have snuck into single digits. It wasn’t until I was sitting in the living room folding an amazing yet unending pile of Newborn to 3 month baby clothes we were gifted that I realized just how soon there would be a tiny body in them.

Reality– my favorite brick wall to the face.

Time hop offers me a look back at my life a year ago: all the hiking I was doing, all the PR’s and lifts I was hitting, and all the crazy adventures I was getting myself into. Man, I was busy.

Now my days are full of preparing for a tiny human to join our crazy little family unit. I’m still very busy.

Instead of leaving everyone wondering if I got eaten or fell off the face of the Earth, here are some things that I am up to:

Each week my husband and I take a childbirth class, focusing on the Bradley Method, through Colorado Natural Childbirth. I like it because when I think about things that keep me healthy (like the ideals that I hold dear and that drive the personal decisions I make), having a drug and intervention free delivery and offering that same type of start to life to my son is of utmost importance. It’s my way of putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak. We learn lots of different things from anatomy to interventions to relaxation techniques. All of this is so that we can be informed consumers and directors of our own healthcare decisions in the delivery room. I feel empowered.

Also, many of you know I struggle with a clinical level of anxiety- taking these classes has given me the knowledge that I need to be able to calm myself down and somewhat know what to expect when the big day comes. GI Joe wasn’t kidding, and if you struggle with anxiety like I do, you know that one of the best tools to combat new situations and triggers is to get informed. Some of the information is scary and overwhelming, but the alternative of freaking out in the delivery room is way worse.

Our class also has a nutrition and stretching/exercise component, which I really like. While I haven’t been able to maintain clean or even paleo type eating through the pregnancy (haven’t/chose not to…), the nutrition guidelines they ask us to follow are pretty basic and very helpful. They keep me eating a certain number of green and orange veggies, protein, eggs etc. each day, which I needed. The stretching and exercises we do are great to keep my body flexible and strong for the marathon that is labor.

My husband and I have a birth plan we are happy with and a healthy level of reality where we can expect the unexpected.

My sleep, which is one of the 4 pillars of health I try to keep my focus on, is sufficient. The only major issue I’m having is hip pain, causing me to roll like a rotisserie chicken on a spit throughout the night. That’s an attractive visual, isn’t it? I end up getting close to 7 ½ hours each night and I generally wake up feeling pretty good. I just try to remember that the dull ache is my body stretching and moving to make room for Tinybaby to come into the world.

The only piece of my life that I’m truly “missing” these days is walking/hiking. I used to be able to get out for hours on end and wander, but now if I get too far from home I worry that I won’t be able to get back or that I’ll have to go to the bathroom while in the middle of nowhere. This is not ideal.

Anyhow, this is where I’m at, for anyone who was wondering. Life has a rhythm right now, and soon a new rhythm will replace it- one full of crying, giggles, snuggles, and adventures as a family. And for that, I am so freaking excited.

Eating Real Food

I have safely arrived in the third trimester and I have to say I’m feeling pretty good. Aside from the triumphant return of my complete exhaustion, my symptoms are fairly minimal.

One thing that is helping is that we swing by the local farmers market on Sunday’s and for $10 we fill a giant produce bag.

Here’s the haul from today:
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More mindful eating is helping me manage my stress while feeding my body and the baby’s body with good vitamins and minerals.

If you haven’t checked out your local farmers market, you’re missing out!

Change of Plans (Surprise!)

I was just sitting here thinking “I should probably update my blog and tell folks how that big awesome list of things to do is going…”

Well, here is your update: I have done zero things that I said I would so far. And it’s totally ok.

After I wrote that amazing list of things I was going to accomplish in 2015, I got sick. Around Mid January I found myself barely able to pull myself out of bed. I was lethargic, weepy, and just plain exhausted. I thought at first that maybe the time change that had happened in November was having some lingering affect on me. Maybe I was coming down with mono or some other sort of illness. Maybe I overdid it at Christmas and my body was revolting.

Never once did I consider the now obvious answer.

I’m expecting.

It’s crazy- after trying to get pregnant for nearly two years, you just stop expecting it to happen. At the urging of a friend who heard my symptoms, I went to the store and bought a pregnancy test. In fact, I bought a two pack. I have been through the let down of the negative test before, so I was bracing myself for more of the same. My husband, however, had not and I didn’t want to get his hopes up and crush them, so I decided to take it in private. I even went as far as to hide the packaging and extra test in my car, so that when it was a bust, he would be none the wiser.

As I sat there waiting for the three minutes to come around, I watched in awe as a second line appeared for the very first time. Two. There were two lines.

My husband was in the other room asking me questions and telling me about his day, when I quietly asked him to come in the bathroom and help me. I’ve always wanted to be one of those girls who had awesome ways of surprising her husband with the news, but in my shock and awe, all I could get out was “Are those two lines? There’s two, right?”

He had no idea what I was talking about, but he did agree there were two. Then his eyes focused on what exactly I was holding and he looked up at me as I shook violently.

The next hour was filled with phone calls to close friends, talking and staring at the test, and tears.

I am now 17 1/2 weeks along and Bacon Bits (the name we have affectionately given out spawn) seems to be doing well.

I haven’t done much since I got pregnant- I always thought I would be one of those moms you see, belly out, still dead-lifting, but alas I am not. I’m lucky if I have the energy to walk 5,000 steps a day. We tried to go for a hike the other day and I had to go very slow up some very small hills. I just can’t breathe like I used to.

This little peanut is taking a toll on me. But to quote a picture I saw the other day, “Pregnancy is the happiest reason there is to feel like crap.” It’s so true.

I’m hoping this summer can bring some more hikes, but for now I am doing what I can to keep my stress down, sleep a ton, drink all the water, and nourish my body well.

Lucy and Maui get promoted!

PREVIEW: Area13.1 Half Marathon ($10 off!)

When I was in high school I was the proud owner of the first ticket sold to “X-Files” for our local theater. I was obsessed with aliens- I had glow in the dark alien stickers all over everything I owned and I was fascinated with outer space.

A lot of time has passed since then, I have grown and changed, but in the back of my mind I still consider the possibility that something is out there…

Last fall my friend and I used a sweet Groupon to sign up for the Area 13.1 down in Castle Rock, CO. I was still in my “I love running!” mode and was super jazzed about this fun race. We trained a lot, bought glow in the dark things (shoe laces!), and got our outfits ready to go.

Then the unthinkable happened- Colorado was struck with the worst flooding in ages and every tv station we turned to was filled with Emergency Alert System warnings. We watched all week as water poured out of the sky, people’s homes and lives were lost, entire towns disappeared. The Saturday of our race we made the tough call to stay home and not make the drive south for the race. It was just too dangerous.

This was the first time I had ever NOT participated in a race that I was registered for. It has bugged me ever since.

You can imagine my joy when I caught wind that the race was going to be held again this year! YES! REDEMPTION!

The only problem? That I love running! bug went away and I have been lifting, Spartan-ing, and GORUCKing…. Until last week. Watching people out in the sun, getting some miles, enjoying life appears to have brought my bug back to life. I still am a firm believer that lifting heavy and walking are the key to my goals, but there is something that I can’t deny about the way my heart feels when I run. It’s life giving for me. So, here we go again!

 

THE RACE!!! (Click here to sign up!!!)

Area 13.1 (there is also a 5k option) will be held Saturday September 6th in Castle Rock CO at 5:30pm (7pm for the 5k)

It is a nationwide Half Marathon/5K Series originating in Roswell, Georgia. This is a night race; seriously when have you ever heard of aliens invading during the day?

All runners will receive an “out of this world” extraterrestrial-friendly shirt and if needed have your choice of glow-in-the-dark tools to ward off those pesky aliens that might be hiding along the course.

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The AREA 13.1 Half Marathon/5K race was created to honor the life of Matthew E Russell, who passed away at the age of 22. Matthew had a passion to bring education and hope to the Zulu people of South Africa. His foundation supports the building of libraries and furthering higher education for children around the world.

The Invaders are coming. Will you escape? 

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I hope you’ll consider joining me for this one- it’s going to be such a blast!!!

If you are interested in getting $10 off simply use the code: ALIENBLOG at check out!

See you there!!!!!

Carb Nite and Food Remorse

For as long as I can remember, my most favorite meals inevitably all ended the same way: with food remorse.

I don’t know if this was due to my food addiction, my fear of never having enough (money, food, safety- you name it), or if I was legitimately grieving the loss of this THING I was enjoying so much. All I know, is that at the end of a good meal, those last few bites were almost always wrought with the same pain and loss as losing a loved one. Saying that out loud makes me feel about 2 inches tall. Losing my dad was NOT the same as finishing a piece of cake. Yet, the immediate response in my mind is that they are more similar than I care to admit.

I have known for a while that I have a sugar addiction. It is what it is. Starting my day with a piece of fruit usually wrecks me, and the cravings for more and more sweets don’t stop until I go to bed. I tried, for a while, to tell myself that as long as I was still eating gluten free, I was still nourishing my body well, but it was a lie.

It was all a lie.

In a fit of desperation, after I annihilated an entire chocolate Easter bunny, I decided to bite the bullet and make a change. I recently had heard a couple interviews on my favorite podcasts an awesome man named John Kiefer (or just Kiefer) talking about his books Carb Nite and Carb Backloading. In college I had done the low carb thing, and had awesome success, but after a while I couldn’t take the exclusion of the things I love and the thought of not partaking in them anymore was stressing me out more than food ever should. I was testing my ketone levels neurotically- 3 and 4 times a DAY. I was unable and unwilling to continue. After returning to the standard American diet, I put on everything that I had lost and then some. That back sliding is what got me to my highest weight and worst health situation ever. (You can read more about my story here).

I looked back at my various ventures in diet (noun, not verb) and I had the most success with Paleo and LowCarb- two things where you (either intentionally or by circumstance) consume way less sugar than the average American.

I’m not going to get into the logistics and chemistry or science of the book (Keifer does a way better job) so if you are interested in learning more, check out the book then come back to this blog!

Anyhow, back to the remorse.

So the first nine and a half days of reorientation by eating ultra low carb went well for me. It was a lot like sliding back into the Atkins world, with the caveat that, in a very short amount of time, I would get a brief reprieve. When that night of carbs came around, my husband and I were excited. Knowing that for 6-8 hours we wouldn’t have to say no and we could choose things that we enjoyed greatly made both of us happy like children on their birthdays. It wasn’t even so much sweets we were looking forward to- it was the fruit and yogurt and bread (which my gluten-sensitive self will address in another blog…) and baked goods that had us all twitterpated.

We went on a date night, which was fantastic for us as we had a very stressful week- the kind that would send most folks careening off into the ditch. We ate and enjoyed each others company. Towards the end of our 8 hour eating window, we picked up our last little goodie of the night and took it home. We sat in the living room and finished off our snacks and I realized something…

I was not sad that it was over.

I started to cry, with happy tears, as I felt freedom for the first time in a very long time. I wasn’t grieving the end of my meal, I wasn’t fearful it wasn’t going to come again. I was just done eating.

Like a normal human being.

I can’t even begin to explain how it feels to not feel like I was caught in the grip of darkness- to feel whole and complete without the substance. I had no problem waking up the next morning and getting back to my ultralow carb eating- it was all foods I loved anyway. I didn’t crave the sweets, breads, or fruits from the night before. My body and mind seemed to be on the same page, for once. It was liberating.

At this point, I don’t even care (mostly) if I get the outcome of fat loss that the book promises, because the freedom that I felt that night is worth more than anything else.