Thrown off the Band Wagon

Hi.  Don’t shoot me.  But.  I gained weight.

It’s not because I got lazy or gluttonous or forgot about my promise to document my weight loss journey.  It’s because of…things.

Thing 1:

I get stressed.  I eat.  Stress food is not kale or smoothies.  Stress food is Fudge Rounds and Dr. Pepper.  I also realize I would probably have a little more mental clarity if I just ate healthy stuff.  This is something I am working on!

Thing 2:

Eating healthy (which for me, is raw vegan) means eating a lot.  Fruits and veggies aren’t cheap.  When I am diligent about my “diet,”  I can burn through my whole supply of fruit in a few days.  After that, I despise going to spend more money at the grocery store or farmer’s market on more expensive fruit.  However, investing in my health now is definitely cheaper than eating cheap junk, and paying the consequences (read: doctor/hospital bills) later.  I am working on this as well!

Thing 3:

This is the big one.  I can handle Things 1 & 2, but this particular Thing is beyond my control.  I am a nursing mommy.  When I started this “diet,” my milk supply went way down.  I don’t really understand why that happened, but it did.  Also, after a day of eating pretty healthy and increasing my water intake, I began to break out.  That’s to be expected as our bodies start to detox, but I know if toxins are escaping through my skin, they’re also likely to be getting in my milk.

Thing 3 is really what contributed most to Thing 1.  I want to lose weight, and I know I have the willpower to do it!  The thought of having to stop breastfeeding, though, is pretty scary to me.  I don’t want anything I’m doing for myself to harm my baby.

Conclusion:  I’m going to need to slow down.  I can’t quit everything cold turkey or my dwindling milk supply is going to be riddled with toxins.

New plan:  Replace snacks with smoothies for a few days, and drink lots of water.  After detox has ceased, I’ll replace a meal with a raw vegan one.

Have any of you nursing mothers experienced this?  What did you?  Halp?

Seeing Green (Smoothies, That Is).

I have lost 4 pounds since my last post!  Honestly, I haven’t been working that hard at it.  I guess it’s just coming off quickly because I had been doing nothing about my weight.  Since I started on this mission, I’ve been walking about 3-4 miles a week, cutting back on soda and junk, and eating more vegetables (cucumbers and ranch are my new favorite snack!).

I’ve always enjoyed adding spinach to my smoothies.  You can’t taste it at all, and it adds so much to the nutritional value.  The spinach alone in this smoothie adds about 110% Vitamin A, 40% Vitamin C, and 15% Iron.  That’s not including all the vitamins you get from the fruit and yogurt in this thing!  The best thing about it, is that it tastes great.  My seven year old, who lives on a steady diet of macaroni and cheese, pb&j, chips, and pizza (I’m doing my best to change the dietary preferences of this strong-willed child of mine!) loved it!  I poured her nearly a full glass of it, and she drank all of it.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup yogurt (I used plain Greek)
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1/2 an orange
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • water, to get it moving (optional)

Green Smoothie

 

See how pretty?  Who wouldn’t want this every morning?

I was worried that this wouldn’t blend well in my cheapo, non-Vitamix blender.  I just added a splash of water, and it all blended together just fine.

Hopefully, I’ll be making this everyday and watching the pounds just fall off!  (Please?  Can the pounds just fall off, please?)

Green Smoothie

 

Enjoy, you healthy, skinny person, you!

 

Baby Weight and a Winner!

I have been putting off writing this post because I knew if I did, I’d have to follow through, but  I’m putting on my big girl panties now.  I’m doin’ this!  As you are all aware, I just recently had a baby.  And by “recently,” I mean 12 weeks ago.  12 weeks is a sufficient amount of time to lose the recommended 25-30 pounds of weight gained during pregnancy.  Problem is, I didn’t gain 25-30 pounds.  I gained 60 pounds.  Granted, a significant portion of that was water.  I lost 25 pounds in a week and a half.  But now…I’m stuck with the remaining 30, and if I want to get to my ideal weight, I should really lose about 40.

To give you an idea of how much work I have ahead of me, here’s one of me at my ideal weight taken about 4 years ago.

Ideal Weight

I remember looking at that picture, and thinking I was chubby then.  lolwut  Dummy.

Here’s one of me about 70 pounds heavier at my baby shower.

big fat baby shower

Hawt.

And currently…I’m not going to do the whole here’s-my-fat-butt-and-belly-in-a-bikini “before” picture with my current weight plastered on it.  At least not until I have a pretty good “after” to go with it.  Heck, I’m not even going to show you a full-length picture of myself fully clothed, and adequately covered until then.  But here’s this giant picture of my face so you can compare and see how much more of it there is now compared to the first photo.

well here's my face guise

So…yeah.

I’ll try to update once a month or so with *cringe* progress pics and stats.  In the meantime, I’ll be working hard and sharing my favorite healthy recipes and workouts with you guys.

And without further ado, our winner from the cloth diaper giveaway is Nicole LeQuire!  Your package of cloth diapering goodies should be on your doorstep by the 31st, you lucky lady, you!

Cloth Diaper Mini Starter Kit Giveaway!

Bijou Baby Gear Cloth Diaper and Fish and Loaves Wetbag giveaway

Who wants to win some stuff?  Win your very own cloth diaper mini starter kit with an AI2 cloth diaper from Bijou Baby Gear and a wet bag from Fish and Loaves!

I just recently wrote a review for Bijou Baby Gear’s awesome AI2 diapers, and I can assure you, this wet bag from Fish and Loaves is a perfect match in quality.  Plus, awohsocute!  This wet bag is quite versatile!  You can keep your Bijou Baby Gear diaper in it while on the go, or use it for soiled bibs, onesies, cloth wipes, etc.

Be sure to stop by Bijou Baby Gear and Fish and Loaves to say hello!

Giveaway is open to US residents only. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Click here to enter!

Bijou Baby Gear AI2 Cloth Diaper Review

Bijou Baby Gear Diaper

I was recently given the opportunity to review an up and coming cloth diaper brand – Bijou Baby Gear.  I could tell just by looking at her shop that store owner Jaime was a skilled cloth diaper maker.  Even with my already high expectations, I was still somehow shocked at the amazing quality when I received the diaper.  She currently makes fitteds and AI2’s.  I received an AI2 to review.  Honestly, it is the best quality diaper I have in my stash.  It is so soft and squishy!

AI2-4

I wanted to include this close-up so you can see the quality for yourself.  As a seamstress myself, I can assure you, this stitching is qualiteh!

AI2-8

Here’s my favorite part!  There are 2 snap-in soakers included (I took the bottom one out so you can see).  But look!  No snaps touch baby’s skin!  The top soaker is made up of three layers of bamboo/organic cotton fleece, and is topped with a stay-dry layer of microfleece.  The doubler is made an additional four layers of bamboo/organic cotton fleece.  This is seriously like wrapping your baby’s bottom in a soft, squishy blanket.  I was tempted to pitch every last one of our back-up disposables after using this.  Why would I want to wrap my baby in a weird paper/plastic concoction when I could use something luxurious like this?

AI2-7

These diapers are sized, which is not what I usually use.  Most of our diaper stash consists of one-size diapers.  I do think that sized diapers provide a better fit, though, and since there are no rise snaps to adjust, diaper changes are just that much quicker.

AI2-11

See?  Fits snugly around my baby’s chubby thighs without being too tight.  In fact, we had a pretty major poopsplosion shortly after taking this picture, and every last bit stayed inside the diaper where it belonged.

AI2-10

The only cons I found were that it is pretty bulky (which could be remedied by removing the doubler), and being a snap waist, it didn’t fit exactly how I would like around Wink’s tummy.  He is currently in between snaps on almost all of his diapers at the moment, though.  So, this isn’t the only one that we own with that issue.

I expected these to be pretty pricey, given the quality, but I was quite surprised to find that they’re extremely affordable!  Price varies depending on size, but they are, on average, about $20 each.  I had expected them to be about five to ten bucks more than that!  So, these are really a great value!

I had told myself, before receiving this diaper, that I wouldn’t write a gushing review.  I tend to think reviews like that aren’t entirely honest.  However, I couldn’t write an honest review for this brand without gushing.  Srsly, guise.  It’s pretty amazing.

AI2-12

So what’s on your baby’s butt?  Visit Bijou Baby Gear to get your own!

Psst!  Stick around for a week or two and you might find yourself winning one of these!  Shh!

Letter to my Daughter

2013-06-29 png

 

Dear Squid,

You are so silly!  Sometimes, because your brother is sleeping, I will ask you to calm down.  Stop running.  Stop sneaking up on me.  Stop making so much noise.  Stop hopping.  Stop skipping.  But please know this is something Mommy is working on correcting.  I don’t want you to stop being silly.  I want you to climb trees and pretend like you’re a ninja, roll your race cars on the floor and fly past to see if you can outrun them, practice skipping until you are the best, darned expert skipper this side of the Mississippi, make silly faces in the mirror…just be silly!  Life is serious enough on its own.  You’re only a second grader.  Mommy should let you be a second grader sometimes.

Speaking of second grade, when did you get so old?  When you were Wink’s age, I thought a week lasted an eternity.  You cried nonstop.  You were inconsolable for four and a half months.  Time picked up after that though, and now you’re getting ready for second grade!  I love that you love school.  You love learning.  You love your friends.  You love your teachers.  It is so fun taking you to orientation at the beginning of every school year, and seeing the excitement on your face as you walk into your new classroom and greet your friends with hugs.  It’s even more fun watching you chase down and corner the boys until they have no choice but to hug you!  Don’t worry.  They’ll come around!   And please, don’t worry if you don’t get an A+ on every assignment, test, and quiz.  Mommy and Daddy are always proud of you if you do your best.  I don’t know where you got the notion that your grades need to be perfect.  Do your best.  Be proud of your good grades, and learn from your not-so-good ones.  Mommy and Daddy will always be proud of you, no matter what!

Lastly, Mommy would like to thank you for being such a good big sister.  You love your brother so much, and it makes me so happy to see that!  You hate it when he cries – not because it’s loud, but because you know he’s unhappy.  It broke my heart when, at his vaccinations, you both ended up in tears!  You are very empathetic, and that is very special quality in a child your age.

You make Mommy and Daddy proud everyday!  I love you very much, my silly, silly, Squid!

 

Love,

Mommy

Cloth Diapering 101: Fitteds and Covers (Part 4)

Fitted diapers work much like AIO’s except that they do not have a built-in waterproof layer.  For this reason, they require a cover of some sort to go over them.  I only have two fitted diapers in my stash.  I have found that they work quite well for us, but Wink looks sort of hilarious in them because they are so bulky.  Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of how this system works.

Fitted outer

fitted innerSo soft and squishy!  Here are a couple pics of a cover I have.

grovia cover

grovia cover inner

Pros:

  • Function.  Super effective at containing messes.
  • Cute-ability.  Since the cover doesn’t need to be changed, you can put your babe in a cover that matches their outfit, and they can wear it all day.  Sometimes Wink’s pocket diapers clash pretty badly with his clothes.
  • Drying time.  You can dry fitteds in the dryer, which makes laundry day so much faster!

Cons:

  • Diaper Rash.  Due to their lack of a stay-dry liner, babies in fitteds are more prone to get diaper rash.
  • Difficulty.  If you’ve got a wiggly little one, the last thing you’re going to want to do is diaper him or her twice in one sitting.

Cost:  The average fitted sells for about $11.  Covers are about $10.  Assuming you do 12 diaper changes a day, you’ll need about 24 fitteds and maybe 5 covers.  That’s an initial investment of $314.  Purchase one-size diapers, and you’re done until you little guy potty trains.  Using disposables, you’d spend that much in just 5 months.  Again, even after you factor in the cost of laundry, you’re still saving a ton of cash!

Do you use fitteds?  Which brand is your favorite?

 

100% Effective, New and Improved Monster Spray!

You probably don’t know, but sometimes monsters get under our beds and in our closets.  They never bother anyone.  They’re not mean.  They just live there, and we don’t like it.  They’re cute really, but much like Mommies don’t like cute, furry mice living in their walls, kiddos don’t tend to like cute, furry monsters living under their beds.  Thankfully, these harmless beasts are easily deterred by one magical product.

Monster Spray

Monster Spray!

Now, I didn’t invent the stuff, but I did come up with my own recipe.  The problem is, I can’t tell you what’s in it!  Squid sometimes reads my blog posts over my shoulder, and if kids know what’s in Monster Spray, it just won’t work.  Magic is finicky like that sometimes.  But what I can tell you, is that my recipe for Monster Spray has two ingredients.  One is readily available via tap, and the other is sparkly (and irritates the daylights outta me because it. gets. everywhere).

After you mix up your spray and put it in a bottle, here’s what ya gotta do:

1.) Shake it up!  We can’t have all that sparkliness just sitting in the bottom of the bottle.

2.) Spritz once in each monster-infested area and at the bottom of all doors and windows.  They won’t be sneaking up on anybody now!

3.) Reapply once every 24 hours.

Squid just recently tearfully confessed to being afraid of monsters under her bed.  I wasn’t sure where she got that idea, but it broke this momma’s heart!  Since giving her the spray, she has confidently been playing in her room fear- and monster-free!

Cloth Diapering 101: AIO’s (Part 3)

All-in-One (or AIO) cloth diapers are similar to pockets, except that the absorbent layer is sewn in.  This makes them quite similar to disposables as far as prep goes.  There’s nothing to fold or stuff!  Wink does have one AIO, but I won’t be sharing pictures of that for this post.  He’s not feeling well, and this momma just doesn’t want to put him down to take pictures when he’s feeling that way.  But, a quick Google search will help you out there if you want to see some.

Pros:

  • Easy to use.  A favorite of babysitters and grandparents, AIO’s are as simple to use as their disposable counterparts.
  • Portable.  AIO’s are even more portable than pockets.  There are no inserts or pieces to pack in your diaper bag.  Just grab the dipe and go!
  • Trim.  They tend to have a trimmer fit than some other styles, and therefore fit more easily under baby’s onesie.

 

Cons:

  • Expensive.  While still more cost effective than disposables, AIO’s are the most expensive cloth diaper option available.
  • Drying Time.  The added bulk of having a sewn in absorbency layer makes these a bear to dry.  Make sure you have another day’s worth on hand while you wait!

 

Cost:  AIO’s are expensive, as far as cloth diapers go.  They typically sell for about $15-$25 each.  Assuming you use 12 diapers a day, you will need 24 AIO’s.  at $20/ea. that’s $480.  Disposable diapers, at $0.17/ea. using 12 a day, would cost you that much after just 7.5-8 months.  If you purchase one-size AIO’s, you won’t need to buy any more cloth diapers until your tot potty trains.

So, while all-in-one diapers may be more expensive than pockets or prefolds and covers, they are still more economical than disposables…even after you factor in the cost of running the washer and dryer!

 

Why I’m No Longer Afraid of my Camera

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this public service announcement:

Your camera is not scary.

I have always loved my cozy comfort zones.  When taking violin lessons, I almost refused to practice playing in third position.  I wasn’t used to it.  It didn’t come naturally.  It sounded terrible when I practiced!  So you know what happened?  I never got any better at playing the violin.  I plateaued at mediocre.

My approach to photography was no different when I got my first DSLR.  I turned that sucker to Auto and Auto Focus, and left it there.  Surely this piece of machinery knows more than I do about its optimal settings.  About six months in, I switched to Aperture Priority, but my photography skills didn’t really improve that much because I still didn’t know what I was doing.  I hate trying things and failing.  If I can’t do something after a couple of tries, I tend to give up.  Sad, but true!

Fast forward to this month (over a year and half after getting my camera).  I decided I was going to figure this out, sucky pictures be darned!  I changed my shutter speed!  I changed my ISO!  I switched to scary Manual focus!  You know what happened?  My focus got sharper, and I can now take pictures indoors…without a flash!

Want to see my first ISO experiment?  (Disclaimer:  I wasn’t planning on sharing these when I took them.  They’re not good photos.  I was just experimenting with my ISO settings.)

ISO before after

 

I was stoked when I saw that I could take pictures indoors if I really wanted to.  Learning things like this has improved my photography, and caused me to enjoy it a lot more than I did shooting full Auto.

I realize that most of you are probably quite comfortable with your cameras, and are throwing a big, fat, “DUH!” at me right now.  I know.  I’m slow.  I just wanted to share my experience in making myself learn these settings just in case there are any other comfort zone weirdos out there like myself.  It’s not scary!  You will probably take several bad pictures for a while, and then you’ll be all like, “Daaaaang.  Look at my awesome pictures!”

Join us next week for lessons in how to stop being so cocky about your danged pictures.  Nobody cares.