Sunday, January 4, 2015

Weight Watcher: a pregnant lady's story

It's probably a little stereotypic to start the year off with a post about weight.

I'm not really a resolutions kind of person.  It's just not my thing.  Mostly because I think the New Year is a wholly unattainable time to swear that this time, really, you're going to get your stuff together.

Yeah... you and the rest of the world are suddenly going to reform all bad habits because another new day rolled around on the calendar.


Here's the thing, though: for me, it is time to do something on the weight front.  My journey with weight has been such a roller coaster over the last five years, it's a little crazy.

When I got pregnant in 2009, I was at my lowest weight since high school.  Within just a few pounds, in fact.  Beyond just the superficial, I was healthy.  I was strong.  I was a version of myself that I was extremely happy with.

Hormones, though, are absolutely not my friend.  The second I got pregnant, before I could even schedule my doctor's appointment and about thirty seconds after the pregnancy test had dried, I gained five pounds.  No big deal...

Confession?  I gained sixty five pounds during my pregnancy with Leah.  Yup.  And although I would never in a million years tell you that it wasn't worth it, sixty five pounds is a ton.

Because of my miscarriage risk, I am always advised to be on the "walking and swimming only" exercise plan during pregnancy and, although my diet wasn't perfect, I suspected at the time that my weight gain had a lot more to do with hormones and genetics.  My mom gained 80 pounds during her pregnancies.  My grandma talked about gaining 100.  Even my sister, who is extremely health-conscious, gained 65 during her pregnancy.  So, it was what it was.

After Leah was born, I tried to get my body back.  I wasn't overly worried about it, as I knew that I wanted to turn around and get pregnant again, but I gave it a shot.  I joined a gym and spent about 6 months really working on it.  I lost most of the baby weight, but my body stubbornly stuck at 20 pounds up from where I'd been pre-pregnancy.  No matter how much I worked, I couldn't get rid of that extra 20 pounds. The truth is that, even 20 pounds up I was still in a healthy BMI range (if that tells you how skinny I'd been before getting pregnant!) and felt pretty okay about myself, so I let it go.

Then, when Leah was one year old and I stopped nursing, 10 pounds fell off literally all by themselves.  I did nothing different except stop nursing, and within like 2 weeks, I was down 10 pounds.  No, hormones certainly have nothing to do with my weight gain or loss...

When I got pregnant with Logan, I was still 10 pounds up from where I'd been when I got pregnant with Leah.  Weight wasn't the end of the story, though.  My body.  Whew.  Even though I was only 10 pounds up from the skinniest I'd ever been, pregnancy had warped my body.

When the weight came, it came fast and furious.  I ended my pregnancy at virtually the same weight I'd been with Leah (within about three pounds), but the way it looked on me the second time through was completely different.

This time, I had a horrible time getting the weight off.  Partly because I was a) so broken for so many months, b) so very, very tired and worn out from dealing with sweet baby Logan and c) because instead of giving birth in spring with summer and warm temperatures to contend with, I had a fall baby and jumped immediately into the holidays when I'm naturally less likely to exercise and eat well.

Over the next summer, I gave losing the baby weight a shot.  I was about 15 pounds up from my pre-Logan weight (25 pounds up from my original pre-pregnancy weight).  The first thing that happened was I very quickly gained five pounds, at which point I got discouraged and gave up until I stopped nursing, hoping I could repeat the success I'd had after I stopped nursing Leah.

I stopped nursing Logan in September, but the weight didn't instantly come off.  I began a diet and exercise routine, and by October I'd lost about 8 pounds.  I was proud of my success... but at the beginning of November, I found out I was pregnant with Olivia.  Just like I had when I got pregnant with Leah, the first thing that happened was that I gained five pounds.  Boom.

So... here I was.  20 pounds up overall and pregnant again.

There was a brief few weeks when I was the heaviest I've ever been in any pregnancy - at like week 34, no less.  Then, for whatever reason completely unbeknownst to me, I ended up losing weight at the end of my pregnancy to put me at exactly the same weight I always reach.  My body, evidently, knows the weight it wants, and it doesn't matter if I eat kale or cheeseburgers, I am going to reach that weight regardless.

I am not one to have issues about my body, whether I'm "thin" or not.  How could I?  It has made three pretty wonderful little humans, and I've always felt that this season is temporary.  That being said, going to Hawaii was pretty humbling.

Holy Moly... that's a heck of a picture of me.

My pant size has gone up immediately after having my babies - after Leah, I was an 8.  After Logan, a 10.  After Olivia, a 12 - even though my weight has been practically identical in all three pregnancies.  In fact, I was a pound down on Olivia's d-day from where I was on Logan's.

People, it's time.  Enough is enough.

It's not a vanity thing.  Not mostly, anyway.  At my core, I just miss being me.  I miss feeling like somebody I recognize, that somebody who was athletic and fit and strong.  I deeply miss having a place on the long list of important things that take up my time.

So, I am committing to a 90 exercise program.  It's about 20 minutes six days a week, and I am absolutely carving out that 20 minutes for myself come heck or high water.  With Casey gone and homeschool and everything, there is no way I'd be able to squeeze in trips to the gym.  But this?  This I can do.

Heaven help me, I'm posting my before pictures.  I am keeping track of my weight loss through measurements - but I am not stepping on the scale.  Based on my previous experiences, I have a really tough time losing weight while nursing, so odds are good that I either won't lose or may even gain weight, which I know will totally de-rail me.

In case you were wondering, this is what my body looks like five months post-partum after three bebes.  I wouldn't change where I've been for the world... but still, I am very excited about where I'm going!

Not to mention, Casey is out of town until February.  I'm eager to see what changes he might come home to!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

What a year it was!

We have so much to be thankful for this year, and so much to look forward to in 2015!  Thanks for sharing this journey with us!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's still the most wonderful

I didn't take many Christmas photos this year.  I was too busy soaking it up.

Every year, I say that this Christmas was better than the last.  It has always been true, but it is so difficult to imagine that there will come a year to top this one!  Even though the kids were sick, it was such a joyful time.  The kids are at the perfect ages to enjoy the magic of the season, plus we got to celebrate Miss Olivia's very first Christmas.  I couldn't have been more grateful if I'd tried.   

We attempted to have a mellow Christmas this year, particularly in terms of gifts.  We feel so blessed, so we wanted to keep it simple and focus on the spirit of Christmas rather than the stuff of Christmas.  

Of course, our families got involved and pretty quickly put an end to that dream!  The kids had so, so many wonderful gifts under the tree, it was just amazing.  The morning itself was simple, partly because we were all sick.  We took our time, opened presents and then played, stopped for our traditional Christmas morning breakfast and got back to it.    

Santa definitely came through and brought both kids the scooters they had been asking for, and those scooters got some mileage!

 Besides the kindness of our relatives, the thing I want to remember most about this Christmas is how delighted our kids were - for all the right reasons.  This year was not about the presents for them.  They were equally as excited to drive around looking at Christmas lights or to bake cookies.  They appreciated each other's presence.  They worked on sharing and gratitude.  Leah's favorite part was sleeping by the Christmas tree with her brother.

On Christmas eve, we loaded up the van with kids, cocoa and cookies and drove around looking at Christmas lights.  As we were coming home, sweet little Logan said, "Mommy, I love our home.  I'm so happy we have a home."

Because we were sick, we didn't have family around this year.  The fancy ham I'd intended to prepare is still in the freezer, and I just pulled together simple meals from whatever we had on hand. But somehow, the house felt full and festive just the same, and nobody felt as if they were missing out.  The kids' voices singing Christmas carols, their blurry figures flying by on new scooters... it was perfect.

It really hit me this year what a big kid Leah is turning into.  I couldn't help but think about the fact that we're probably halfway through these magical childhood Christmases with her.  It won't be too many more years before things begin to change... and UGH, that is such a hard thought!  I just treasure the memory of the three of them, jammied and mussy-haired, hardly able to contain their excitement and anticipation while waiting at the top of the stairs.

It truly is hard to imagine that it gets better to this.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas!

We know exactly what we're thankful for this year:

And to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas joy tastes like cookies

This is what cookie baking looks like in our house:

Jammies?  Check.

Aprons?  Check.

Taste testing?  Check.

Finishing up some other projects?  Check.

Assorted props?  Check.

Audience?  Check.

Santa's little helpers?  Check.

Merry and bright?  Check and check.

Now all we need is for Santa to come...

Monday, December 22, 2014

On a one horse open sleigh

You know those ideas that sound really good in theory but turn out to be a bit of a disaster?

That happened to me recently.

The plan was simple enough: take the kids on a festive, Christmas-y sleigh ride, complete with jingling bells, over-loud off-key caroling, marshmallow roasting and hot cocoa.  

I booked it weeks in advance, and I knew that my festive-y, Christmas-loving children were going to be absolutely delighted.  

But when the day came, it was snowing.  Reeeeeally snowing.  And absolutely freezing.  I called the ranch before we left to see if they were even running the sleigh rides, and they assured me that the weather wasn't too bad.  The did advise me to bring extra warm clothes, but that it would be okay.

So we packed up the car, every article of warm, winter clothing we own, and set off.  

I could feel in my bones that it was a bad idea practically as soon as we set off.  The drive took us almost an hour longer than it should have, and the van was slipping all over the road.  The snow was coming down pretty heavily, and when we had to stop so that the kids could go potty, it was 7 degrees outside with the wind howling. 

I think it was the kids' enthusiasm and excitement to go on a sleigh ride that kept us from turning around.

When we arrived at the ranch, it was slightly better.  It was a balmy 24, the wind wasn't whipping quite so badly, and we were promised lots of blankets for the ride.  I very seriously considered staying in the car with the baby, but decided to push on.

...A decision I very quickly regretted to my very core.

Thirty minutes later, the sleigh had only been able to go maybe 1,000 yards due to the high, windswept snow.  The baby was absolutely bawling - screaming her head off even though every in ch of her was wrapped up not only in her winter gear, but then inside a blanket and protected completely from the snow by a second blanket.  I was convinced she had hypothermia, because I am not at all overly dramatic.  When they could go no further (we were nowhere near our destination), we had to get off the sleigh so that the horses could turn it around to head back to the barn.  The snow was so high they couldn't pull it and us through it.  It was a complete nightmare.

Unless, of course, you asked my children.  Who, despite the ridiculous conditions, were absolutely as happy as they could possibly have been (well, except for the screaming one).

All they saw or cared about was the fact that they were  on a sleigh ride at Christmas time.  They didn't care about the freezing snow hitting their faces, or the fact that when we got out, the snow came up to Logan's waist.  They made snow angels and waited for the horses, shouting encouragements and calling them by name.  They were so excited and completely overjoyed.  In hindsight, I have no words to describe those two little joyful souls.

We went back to the barn to enjoy our hot cocoa, and I'm pretty sure my children had no idea that what they had just experienced was SO not the way it was supposed to go.  As far as they were concerned, it was perfect.

The lesson there is pretty clear, particularly at Christmas time.

Although I was extremely grateful to get back in the car, those two sweet, excited children made it a wonderful memory.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Santa Stop and Zoo Lights 2014

These are two of my absolute favorite traditions.

Santa comes to our neighborhood every year.

We walk two blocks over to the pool to visit him while enjoying hot cocoa, cookies and carolers.  There is also a horse-drawn sleigh to ride through the neighborhood, but because the line was long and we had a very tired Olivia, we didn't do that one this year.

 At summer camp in July, Leah absolutely fell in love with a pink scooter.  She rode on it every day, and it was all she wanted to talk about when she got in the car.  Several times, she asked if she could have one, and I replied that we would start making a list and she could ask Santa for it if she still wanted one at Christmas time.

Well, wouldn't you know it, she has held onto that thought for the last five months, and she followed through with her plan and asked Santa for that pink scooter.  With as good as she's been, I have no doubt he'll follow through.

Because sister has been talking about it all this time, Logan got on the bandwagon too and decided to ask Santa for a blue scooter - you know, because blue my favorite color!  It was pretty cute to see them very politely make their requests.

We also took some time out and stayed up past our bed times to visit the zoo for zoo lights, which is so much fun every year.

Just like the parade of lights, the weather was perfect.  Just the right kind of cold - festive, but not so cold that we were all miserable.  The kids enjoyed looking at the lights, but most of all, they enjoyed the hot cocoa that is such a staple at this time of year!

Best of all, we had Daddy around for these fun activities.  After such a long time away, we were grateful to be together.

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