Monday, November 22, 2010

Advocare Day 22 and other exciting news

I was back up to 172.6 but I'm ok with that after Saturday's eating frenzy. I'll also say that having come this far, I'm definitely more considerate about what I eat. AND everything tastes so much better!

In addition to trying to lose 50 lbs (now 40), I've also been working on closing my abdominal separation. I have a separation of my rectus abdominis muscles. It's not pretty. You can see a diagram and learn all about it here. Many women have this condition, not just moms of multiples. I learned about the Tupler Technique this past spring and took a 3-session class from a local instructor. You measure your separation in finger-widths. Mine was 6 at the top, 8 in the middle and 4 at the bottom. I wore the splint and by the time I was done with my sessions, I was 3 on the top, 6 in the middle and 3 on the bottom.

It was too hot to wear the splint over the summer and I needed a new one since the velcro was shot on mine. So when it cooled down, I got a new splint and have been wearing it. I've been KINDA doing my exercises again but not like I should be. The other night I was laying on the floor with the babies and decided to check again. It's only 3 in the middle now!!! This has given me the motivation to really get on it and get this stupid thing closed! If only it would also get rid of the extra skin and fat :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Advocare Day 21 - afternoon

As of yesterday I was 171.6. I was 173 this morning but let me tell ya - I ate like a PIG yesterday. We went out for Sean's birthday. I had a stuffed mushroom appetizer at the Pub. Then we had sushi rolls (the fattening kind) at Sake. Then we went bowling and I had 2 appetizers there. It was like I couldn't stop eating. So I think the 173 this morning is AMAZING and also think it was mostly water considering how much salt I consumed last night.

I've more than made up for last night today and am poised to finish out strong. My only concern is dinner Wednesday night since we'll be traveling to visit my family. I'm not sure what I'm going to eat. I'm definitely ready for Thanksgiving dinner!

I keep going back and forth about what I'm going to do after I'm done. I still want to lose another 40 lbs. Sean was like, "Do you really need to lose another 40? Are you supposed to weigh 130?" I told him that that's the "recommended" weight for my height and frame. But in all honesty, I'd be thrilled with 140. I mean, how am I going to get to 130 without exercise?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Advocare Day 16 - bedtime

Over the weekend I was 174, yesterday was 175 and today was 176. Here is my list of cheats:
  • Sample of apple pie @ Kroger on Saturday
  • Two samples of a cracker with cheese spread
  • A sample of a chicken nugget/wing thing
  • Grated parmesan on my dinner Sunday night and yesterday for lunch
I will say that I've been feeling really good despite having one or the other baby wake up in the middle of the night for the past week. Normally after this long of that going on, I'd be a zombie.

I'm definitely ready for this to be over. I want BREAD. I want fast food! I bought some Kroger cupcakes for Sean for his birthday today and I want one! I want dairy. And all these wants have me thinking about how to deal with them and continuing to lose weight. How do I make it work?

I've been a little bummed that I've been holding right around 176 for almost the past week. But I had someone remind me that I'm still doing really well. I remember back when I was dieting and exercising regularly and it would take a whole week to go down a pound. Ultimately, I'd still like to lose another 4 lbs. I would LOVE to see 169.

In the meantime, I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for Thanksgiving and lots of traveling and not pigging out the entire time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Advocare Day 12 - morning

My meal update will have to come this weekend but I wanted to post an update on my weight loss. Yesterday I was at 175.2 and today is 174.2. I hope to continue making progress over the weekend!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Advocare Day 10 - bedtime

Today was the last day of the 10-day cleanse and I was at 176 again. I really bumped up the water yesterday and today and cut back on the minimal complex carbs I was eating. If this continues tomorrow, I may actually add on some calories to see what happens since I'm not sure if I'm getting enough with the breastfeeding.

As for my energy. I drink one Spark in the morning in lieu of coffee. I feel like I could forego one if the afternoon but it's nice to have something besides water. I'm definitely not as groggy come 3pm as I was before the cleanse. And most evenings, I feel more energetic than I was before. I this my energy will be even better in a few days once I get caught up on my missed sleep.

I was able to resist a cookie sandwich thing they had at work today for someone's birthday. I don't even really like those kinds of things but let me tell you - I WANTED IT. So I'm thrilled I was able to resist.

Tomorrow I start the 14-day Max Phase. I'll be having meal replacement shake for breakfast. I also plan to kick it up on the veggies. This weekend, I'd love to get a few walks in!

Day 9
Breakfast - apple
Snack - egg, carrot sticks
Lunch - Leftover ginger chicken, steamed sugar snap peas, red quinoa
Snack - carrots, almonds
Dinner - Chicken breast, small salad, red quinoa
Snack - no snack

Day 10
Breakfast - apple
Snack - carrots
Lunch - Salad with canned salmon
Snack - no snack
Dinner - Turkey meatloaf, steamed cauliflower & broccoli, red quinoa
Snack - no snack

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Advocare Day 9 - morning

Well, the day I've been waiting for finally came. I was back up to 176.4. Four pounds? I keep telling myself I'm not going to obsess about it but I can't help but keep wondering what I did differently. The only thing I can figure is that the salmon dish had soy sauce in it so maybe it's water? I still feel very motivated so it's not a super big deal.

I was talking to our sitter about it this morning and she said she doesn't weigh herself that often. And that reminded me of another conversation I had with a coworker the last time I was working on losing weight. She said I shouldn't weigh myself daily or else it might become an obsession. My response? Um, look at me. Do I look like I obsess about my weight? NOT paying attention to my weight on a daily basis is what got me into the spot in the first place! Ever since I lost about 20 lbs a couple years ago, I've weighed myself at LEAST every other day - even during my pregnancy.

Granted, I think that weighing oneself is a personal issue, like so many things. I realize that a daily weigh in might cause problems for some people. I'm not just not one of those people. At least not right now. And once I get this weight off, I plan to continue with at least an-every-other-day weigh in. I don't plan on letting my weight get out of control again. I once dated a guy whose mom would work on losing weight if she gained 5 lbs. Five pounds is much easier to lose than 50.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Advocare Day 8 - evening

Today was rough because the babies woke up at 4:45. That, on top of them being up multiple times Saturday night made for a super tired mom.

I've had a few people ask me if I'm spending more money on groceries. That is definitely a big no. BUT, I have to add that we already buy a lot of produce. For most people, it would probably be an increase. Over the past year, I've been moving toward more of a plant based diet and cutting back on meat. I've haven't eaten this much meat in a long time. But it's working so I'm going with it.

Right now, I'm toying with continuing the diet part after I'm done with the challenge (except on holidays). And then doing the cleanse again in three months if necessary. That should definitely get me close to my 50 lb. weight loss goal. We'll see!

Day 7
Breakfast - Spark, pear
Snack - no snack
Lunch - salad w/canned tuna
Snack - hard boiled egg, almonds, carrot sticks
Dinner - Salmon and Avocado with Sesame Tamari dressing, steamed asparagus and collard greens (recipe to be shared at a later date)
Snack -

Day 8
Breakfast - Fiber drink, apple
Snack - hard boiled egg, almonds
Lunch - salad leftover salmon, red quinoa, greens
Snack - Spark around 2:30, I wasn't going to have a snack but the babies wouldn't eat the plain scrambled egg we made for them so I ate that
Dinner - Spicy Ginger Chicken with sugar snap peas and brown jasmine rice
Snack - Don't think I'll be having one @ this rate.

Advocare Day 7 - lunchtime

Busy morning but I just wanted to say - 172.2! Insanity I tell ya! I have some recipes to share later.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Advocare Day 7 - morning

174.4! Every morning I prepare myself to maintain or gain and can't believe it when I'm down another pound! Craziness!

Yesterday I had a late lunch because we were doing M&E's 1 year pictures. I packed lunch for me & the babies and we ate in the mall food court while we waited for the pictures to be printed...while Sean ate Gold Star Chili. A girl nearby was eating Taco Bell. And I could smell all the rest of the yummy food. Including my new favorite vegan restaurant there - Loving Hut. Granted, I could've eaten there, but we had all those fresh greens that needed eaten.

Day 6
Breakfast - pear
Snack - hard boiled egg
Lunch - Salad with tuna and balsamic vinegar & EVOO
Snack - carrots & almonds
Dinner - baked chicken breast, sauteed swiss chard and brown jasmine rice and hot sauce

Today, I want to make some quinoa to mix it up a bit. I'm just trying to decide what to add to it to flavor it up. We have some fun things planned for dinner this week.

I can't help but wonder how this would be going if I could manage to squeeze in some exercise too.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Advocare Day 6 - morning

175.6! Every morning when I weigh myself I'm blown away. I knew I'd lose some weight doing this but I never dreamed it would be this fast and this consistent. It's just craziness. Last night I was telling Sean about how I try to remain positive but still mentally prepare myself to hit a plateau or maybe even gain a pound. I'm more than halfway through the 10 day cleanse and things are going great! I'm very pleased with my results so far!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Advocare Day 5 - bedtime

I'm going to take a break from trying to figure out Sean's stupid phone for a bit and talk about my 24-day challenge! Today I felt like I had more energy today. I probably could've done without my 3pm Spark but I wanted it, so I drank it.

I ordered the Omegaplex and a tub of fruit punch Spark. That came today. It'll be interesting to see if I notice anything from the Omegaplex. I've already made some collard greens and kale for the weekend. Plus, we got a LOT of fresh, fabulous salad greens in our happy box tonight. AND we got a recipe for roasted turnips. I'm excited about that because we've gotten several in recent weeks and I have no clue what to do with them or how to prepare them.

I'm ready for the weekend!

Day 5

Breakfast - Apple
Snack - hard boiled egg and approx 20 raw almonds (left my carrots at home today - boo!)
Lunch - turkey burger, roasted delicate squash, brown jasmine rice w/hot sauce. I brought steamed broccoli but it tasted funky. We weren't watching it and the water evaporated and when I went to clean the pot, it had this brown stuff in it? I have no clue where that came from b/c the pot is stainless steel.
Snack - hard boiled egg, spark
Dinner - turkey burger, roasted delicata squash, brown jasmine rice and hot sauce, and sauteed swiss chard
Snack - no snack!

Advocare - My meals so far

At Heather’s request, here is what I’ve eaten so far. Depending on what we get in our Happy Box today, may diet may vary next week. I know that I have Swiss Chard & Collard Greens at home that need eaten so I’ll be eating those for the next couple days! I sure hope we get some more delicata squash because I love it. If not, I’ll be buying some!

I only include the Spark b/c it’s replacing my normal morning coffee and the fiber drink. In addition to those 2 things, my 10-day cleanse includes 3 herbal vitamins before bed and days 4-10 include 2 small probiotic pills ½ before breakfast. I got a promotional deal, but normally, you would also take some Omegaplex supplements after dinner. I ordered these separately and they should be arriving today. The second part of the challenge (the last 14 days) things will be different.

Please keep in mind that I’m still nursing twins in the morning and at dinner and bedtime. So my calories needs are still a little higher than compared to a woman my age/weight/height who isn’t nursing. I just eat as I’m hungry and if I’m still hungry after a meal or snack, I eat more veggies or protein.

Day 1
Breakfast – fiber drink, then half our later an apple
Snack (around 10:30) – hard boiled egg and approx 20 raw almonds, Spark
Lunch - HUGE salad w/canned tuna packed in water w/balsamic vinegar & EVOO dressing
Snack (around 3pm) – hard boiled egg and approx 10 carrot sticks (we don’t do baby carrots), Spark
Dinner – chicken breast (Sean fried it in a tiny bit of oil w/Montreal seasoning), salad w/balsamic vinegar & EVOO dressing and brown jasmine rice w/hot sauce
Snack – apple

On any given day, a typical salad for me may have any combination of these ingredients:
Random greens – romaine, spinach, mizuna, green leaf or anything else we get in our happy box)
Frozen peas (thawed)
Artichoke hearts (canned in water)
Hearts of palm (one of our favorites but these are a treat b/c they’re like $3.59/can)
Sugar Snap peas

Day 2
Breakfast – fiber drink, then half our later an apple
Snack – hard boiled egg and approx 20 raw almonds, Spark
Lunch - HUGE salad w/balsamic vinegar & EVOO dressing and a chicken breast (same as dinner last night)
Snack – hard boiled egg and approx 10 carrot sticks, Spark
Dinner – chicken breast (Sean fried it in a tiny bit of oil w/Montreal seasoning), salad w/balsamic vinegar & EVOO dressing and brown jasmine rice and hot sauce
Snack – apple

Day 3
Breakfast – fiber drink, then half hour later an apple
Snack – hard boiled egg and approx 20 raw almonds, Spark
Lunch – Baked salmon filet sprinkled with rosemary salt, steamed cauliflower and zucchini sprinkled with garlic garlic (Tastefully Simple) and brown Jasmine rice w/hot sauce
Snack – 2 hard boiled eggs, approx 10 carrot sticks and approx 20 raw almonds (hungrier than normal today), Spark
Dinner – Baked salmon filet (same as lunch) steamed cauliflower and zucchini sprinkled with garlic garlic (Tastefully Simple), brown Jasmine rice w/hot sauce, and some roasted delicate squash
Snack – no snack

Day 4
7:30am – Slam! (never had any Spark the rest of the day)
Breakfast – Apple
Snack – hard boiled egg and approx 20 raw almonds
Lunch – baked turkey burger (homemade) HUGE salad w/balsamic vinegar & EVOO dressing and some roasted delicata squash
Snack – Hard boiled egg (didn’t eat the egg until 4 and then, it was only b/c I never know how late my dinner is going to be b/c of the babies and didn’t want to be STARVING all evening)
Dinner – medium salad w/balsamic vinegar & EVOO dressing, a turkey burger and approx ½ c brown jasmine rice w/hot sauce
Snack – no snack

Advocare Day 5 - morning

I was down another pound today. Technically, the scale said 176.4 BUT I decided to weigh myself without clothes. Since I haven't been doing that all along, I'm only counting 1 lb. I really can't believe that today I'm halfway through the 10 day cleanse! This time next week I'll be into the second 14 days of the challenge and doing things a bit differently.

A few people have asked me if this is a "running to the bathroom" cleanse. No, it is not. And I was a little concerned about that since I don't have constipation issues AT ALL. I'm just going to leave it at that but if you have more questions just ask. I'm not afraid to talk about it! I will say that I'm definitely going to the bathroom more frequently from the additional water I'm drinking. And that's saying a LOT because I'm normally a heavy water drinker.

Also, I was talking to my mom about this cleanse. I was already working on cutting out dairy, so I was pretty much there when I started this. I already limit the carbs we eat and we only white bread when out at restaurants. We only buy whole wheat bread at home, except for special occasions. As for sweets, I did occasionally have those and would definitely go in spurts with them, but they aren't something we regularly keep in our house. Plus, I already eat tons of veggies and complex carbs. So for me, this 24-day challenge is really about cutting out any crap I was already eating, and adding the supplements.

I feel good about making it the rest of the way!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Advocare Day 4 - morning

I have a lot to say but its not easy to blog on my phone so I'll just say this - 178.1! Down 5 pounds! I'm trying not to get too excited but am just focusing on one day at a time. With normal dieting, I often lose 10 pounds and then get cocky and that causes me to slack off and gain it back. No more!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Advocare Day 3 - morning

I was down another pound today - 179.2. Our scale is digital and it tells you your weight to the tenth of a pound. I've never paid attention to that since I can't remember that tenth of a pound in my head. But since I'm tracking this, I'm going to start paying attention to it. I also always weigh myself twice to make sure I get an accurate reading. I'm guessing other people have similar weigh-in rituals?

Today's fiber drink wasn't bad. I won't be drinking it again till Monday (it's part of the plan) and I won't miss it. Although this isn't hard for me, I think about when I'm done with the 10-day cleanse part and can have oatmeal again!

I was reading some comments on one of my current favorite blogs - Fed Up with Lunch: The School Lunch Project. The anonymous blogger, Mrs. Q, is a teacher who's eating school lunch every day for a year. She has learned a lot through this process and now wonders if she has a gluten allergy. One of her commenters said they had some skin issues that actually turned out to be some food sensitivities - even for things like soy, spelt, rye and wheat. This person was already vegan so I can't imagine all the diet restrictions they have! I have never had any testing to determine what my problem is but I'm definitely curious.

We'll see how today goes since Madeline woke up at 12:30. I was a wimp and nursed her back to sleep. I definitely feel more tired than I did yesterday at this time. I only brought 2 Sparks with me to work. I like to save them for 10 and 3 but I may have to have my morning on early today.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Advocare Day 2 - bedtime

Today was great! My energy didn't start to wane until 8 which is an improvement. Dinner was chicken, brown jasmine rice and steamed cauliflower and zucchini. I had hot sauce on the rice. That's a combo I just thought of today and I LOVE IT!!!

Tonight, Sean was snacking on swiss cheese. Then he had a grilled ham & cheese with tomato sauce. It all looks and smells so good! It's funny how much you want something when you can't have it!

Advocare Day 2 - lunch

I guess I should talk a little bit about my goals with this 24-day cleanse. First and foremost, I want to lose weight. I don’t even really know what is typical or average for someone who follows the 24-day challenge as prescribed. I’d like to lose 15. We’ll see. Secondly, I want more energy. Other than one person I know, I’ve heard several stories about how great people feel after doing this – they even wake up without an alarm clock. How great would that be? And last but not least, I’m hoping a cleanse will flush my system of whatever is causing my eczema.

I keep going back and forth about actually admitting my weight. After all, it’s just a number, right? I don’t make a secret of the fact that I’m 50 lbs overweight. So anyone who has a general idea of what a woman who is 5’3’’ should weigh should be able to do to the math. But I’ll save you the trouble and come right out with it – 183. Well, that’s what I weighed yesterday morning. And yes, this is my pre-pregnancy weight. I had lost all my baby weight by the time M&E were 3 months old. So there you have it – 130 is what all those stupid weight charts say I should weigh. But I’d be thrilled w/150. I’m confident this 24-day challenge will be a good kick start for me.

Today's lunch was another chicken breast, brown jasmine rice with hot sauce (unbelievably good), and a small salad (exactly the same as yesterday's minus the tuna). I've only had 1 spark and feel pretty good. My energy is surprisingly good despite only having had 1 spark and NO COFFEE. Also, no headache yet today. That makes me wonder if it wasn't sinus pressure yesterday. I made sure to use the neti pot this morning.

Advocare Day 2 - morning

I decided to just drink my fiber drink normally today and it went much better. But as I was drinking it, I couldn't help but wonder if it's really necessary. I mean, I'm already regular. Do I need more fiber? But the whole point of this is to "cleanse" so I'll carry on.

I was down 3 lbs this morning when I weighed myself. I had pretty much expected to see a loss this morning since I knew I was retaining water from all the junk I had on Sunday. You can't eat a McGriddle, KFC, tons of cashews and corned beef without retaining about 10 lbs of water! At least I can't!

Sean is going to the grocery today to get me some salmon and more fruit for me and the babies (they love grapes). I don't want to bore myself by eating the same thing everyday.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Advocare Day 1 - bedtime

Dinner was another fabulous salad and a chicken breast. Today wasn't bad at all. I definitely feel like this is doable :) I'm so proud of myself for staying away from the donuts. There were a few times this evening that I saw something and wanted to eat but realized I couldn't before it was too late.

I'll probably take a Tylenol early tomorrow and see if I can ward off the caffeine-withdrawal headache. I can't afford another semi-productive day right now.

Advocare Day 1 - afternoon

I have a headache. But I can't tell if it's from lack of caffeine or sinus pressure. I was planning on saving my second Spark for around 3 but I have to leave to go pick up my car (finally) so I decided to drink it early since I needed it. I couldn't focus because of the headache. Despite the annoying headache, I still very motivated!

Advocare Day 1 - lunch

I had a Spark around 10. Normally, all I drink is black coffee, water and unsweetened tea. But the Spark was ok. It reminded me of Tang but made with artificial sweetener. And just like Leisa said, I felt mentally alert. I liked how it made me feel. I'm glad I brought two because I plan on having another this afternoon. I have a mild headache that I can only guess is from lack of coffee.

Lunch today is the most fabulous salad. We got spinach, mizuna, green leaf lettuce and radishes in our happy box. I also have the last tomato from our garden, cucumbers, avocado, green peas, black & kidney beans, artichoke hearts and tuna. I’m wondering about the beans though since they’re on the “favorable carbs” list. I would never consider beans a carb.

Ever since I discovered balsamic vinegar and olive oil for salad dressing, that's all I've eaten at home. And after reading The Kind Diet, I started adding in a bit of ume plum vinegar.

Right now, I feel confident about success.

Advocare Day 1 - early morning

Today I started the Advocare 24-day challenge. And today, there are Krispy Kreme donuts over near the breakroom. Fortunately, it’s early and I’m feeling very dedicated to this cleanse and motivated to give this my full attention. The fiber drink didn’t taste bad but I did almost gag. I think it’s b/c you’re drinking something that has texture. I think I might do better if I just drink it instead of chugging it. I’ve NEVER been a good chugger.

I need to find out if I can have a Spark since I can’t have my coffee. My mentor chic also said no tea (even my decaf green tea) because it has too many carbs. I didn’t think it did but I wasn’t going to argue. Well, I checked and it has zero carbs. So I’m going to revisit that with her.

I'm prepared for dinner and ready to do this!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Please keep your fragrance to yourself

The less I use products with “fragrance” the more sensitive my nose has become to scents (when I’m not having allergy issues). So I frequently find myself assaulted by other people’s fragrance (deodorant, perfume, body spray, smoke, etc) more and more.

I now use an unscented natural deodorant that’s basically a roll-on version of crystal rock deodorant. I don’t use any scented lotions or body sprays. Our homemade detergent only has essential oils that don’t leave any scent, we use white vinegar in lieu of fabric softener and skip the dryer sheets.

The only things left that I haven’t given up are my shower wash and my beloved Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner (body envy). I’ve been contemplating switching to baking soda and water for my hair. You can read all about that here.

I can definitely say that my sense of smell has improved since I’ve cut back on scented products. And who needs all that mysteriously named “fragrance?” Not me!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Everyone has limits

Everyone has their limit for different things. When it comes to green living, what is simple or necessary for one person can be completely overboard for another. I read a LOT of blogs about natural or green living so I'm constantly learning about new things. Just this past week I read about washing your face with oil, "family cloth" and lactofermented vegetables. I find all of these things fascinating, regardless of whether they're something I would ever incorporate into my life.

Another example of this is line drying. I wanted an umbrella clothes line for a while to sun my diapers. When I first expressed my desire for one, Sean said, "That's what I bought a dryer for!" To me, it seemed perfectly logical to hang clothes when we had the time (weather permitting) and save a few pennies. We eventually got one and now I hang clothes out when possible. I love it!

One of the crazy blog posts I read this week was about "family cloth." While I would consider doing this, I shared the idea with a few people who thought it was COMPLETELY overboard. My sister even requested that I please keep toilet paper around for guests. I knew from reading various online forums that some people don't use toilet paper. And I always wondered what they used instead. Bidets?

For me, it wasn't that out there since we already wash diapers daily. So what's the big deal if we wash some big people wipes? I knewfigured this was a bit much for Sean but decided to approach it with him as if I really wanted to do it - just for kicks. Surprisingly, his response wasn't as crazy I as expected, but he definitely wasn't down with it.

I read an interesting forum thread once where someone asked, "What green living things would you absolutely not consider?" Would you stop shaving your legs? Would you stop using deodorant? Would you use mama cloth/diva cup/etc? For now, we'll definitely be using toilet paper around here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I've been toying around with actually having a focus to my blog. Up until now, it's been part personal, part green living. Yes, I know people make money blogging. But I don't feel like I have that kind of time to devote to my blog. But yet I want to.

And then there's that other issue. The one where I'm torn between wanting people to actually READ my blog and wanting to keep it from people I know for fear of offending someone or opening my thoughts and/or writing up to criticism. Or worse, what if no one cares to read it? I can't even get my husband to read it and I even set Google Reader up on his homepage so it would show him when he had new posts to read. I mean how lame can my blog be if HE doesn't even read it?

But does any of that even matter? I love reading other blogs about green living. Maybe there's someone out there who would like to read mine?

Friday, August 20, 2010

We compost, now what?

One of my big things for this year was that I wanted to compost. I started reading about it last year but with the pregnancy and me practically being incapacitated, it wasn’t feasible for us to start - especially since it was something I wanted to do but Sean would have to do all the work. Early this spring I started thinking about it again and researching options. I know it can be as simple as a “pile” but we live in the city in a neighborhood and I didn’t really want to create a “pile” in our backyard. And the garden is right up against the back of the house where our bedrooms are and I didn’t want to do it there either. Retail composters can be ridiculously expensive so we were left weighing our options.

Fortunately, Sean’s SIL Denise wanted to compost too and his brother decided he wanted to make a tumbling composter. He found instructions on the internet but it required an enormous pickle barrel and the only place he could find those was in Kentucky. Believe it or not, he drove down and bought 2 – one of for us, one for them. I still can’t believe Eric drove to Kentucky just to buy 2 pickle barrels but I’m glad he did.

We scheduled a Saturday for us to go to Eric & Denise’s to make the compost bins and all was well. We got there shortly after lunch and they got started. It didn’t take them long to realize it was going to be more difficult than they thought. Turns out the directions were merely a diagram! Afternoon turned into evening and I was exhausted from trying to juggle the babies away from home. Despite much help from Denise & Adrienne, I just needed to go home. We decided that Sean should just stay as long as he needed to to finish it because we didn’t know when we’d have another weekend for him to do that. Luckily, we had driven separate since there was no way the finished product was fitting in my car.

Sean didn’t get home until almost midnight but our composter is awesome! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed dutifully taking our scraps out and dumping in the stinky bin (it’s behind the garage for optimal sun) and dodging all the bugs. But last night Sean said, “So when do we stop putting stuff in there?” I said, “That’s a good question. I guess I’ll have to look that up.” I was so set on getting started I never researched how long it would take or how full we should make it can still tumble and breakdown, etc. I guess I need to get on that.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Living Simply

My mom was visiting this past week and mentioned an article she’d read about a woman who had 100 belongings. I didn’t really think much about it till someone shared this article on Facebook. I have since read Tammy Strobel’s blog about social change through simple living. And she had a guest blog from the writer of Becoming Minimalist.

I really love the whole concept and plan to start working on this right away (what’s one more thing in my life?). The author of Becoming Minimalist started simplifying his life by cleaning out his car. I’m starting with my iPod. I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to music. Ideally, I like to listen to a CD before I put it on my iPod so I know if I really like it but this rarely happens. Instead, I have an iPod full of music – some I don’t like and some I’ve never even heard! I often listen to my iPod on shuffle and it’s annoying when I have to keep hitting Next because I don’t like a song. Whenever I eventually need a new iPod I’ll definitely be more selective about what I put on it.

I have 26GB of music on my iPod so I guess this isn’t really starting small – that’s 823 albums by 584 artists. It’s going to take me a while to go through everything and decide if I want to keep it. It’d probably be easier to start in the kitchen!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reuseable Bags

We’ve been using reusable bags at the grocery for over a year. We have 2 Kroger bags and 2 Trader Joe's bags. Four bags is USUALLY enough for us. We’ve gotten into the habit and remember to take them 99% of the time. We even have 2 reusable produce bags (we lost one but I want to buy more anyway). I hate when I make an unplanned trip to the grocery and don’t have any bags. While I could just store the ones we use in the car, the ones we have aren’t very compact and definitely won’t be lasting indefinitely.

I’ve been contemplating the purchase of some new reusable bags for MONTHS. I want some that are sturdy yet compact when folded and I want them to be durable. At first, I thought I wanted a set of Envirosax, preferably this style. But when I finally decided to buy them, they were out of stock. In the meantime, I kept looking at the ones on I want some that will work at Kroger and Walmart so the cashier doesn’t huff and puff when I pass them over so I’ve also considered something like this. But I also like these and these.I think this is a case for Nancy!

I'd love to hear what you use as well as suggestions about what I should buy!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Get it together!

I have sensed that some people are under the impression that I have it together. I do not. I hate to ruin the fa├žade but it is true. I only have it partly together. Some of the time. Yes, we use cloth diapers while both working full time. Yes, we make our baby food. But have you seen my refrigerator? Trust me, you don’t want to. Another case in point, my emotional state.

We started a new sitter this week. Our old sitter is in the family way and is hopefully by now relaxing and preparing for her family’s newest addition. When we started with Caitlin (sitter #1) when the babies were about five months old, they were too young to care that she wasn’t me. This, in addition to several other factors, made it much easier to leave my awesome babies with her every day and head off to work. Now, the babies are nine months old and painfully aware when I leave them with this new stranger.

We took them over there for a little bit before the first day and they did fine. But this past Monday was a different story. It doesn’t help that by the time I drop them off, it’s about time for their first nap. And while each day has gotten better for Regina (new sitter), each morning has gotten harder for me. If this is going to be the trend for this week, I’m dreading tomorrow and Friday. I had to fight back tears as I drove away. And it got me thinking about how on earth I can be a stay-at-home-mom, again. What could we get rid of so I could be with my babies? Even if we cancelled the cable/internet, that wouldn’t be enough. My car will be paid off next year but even that wouldn’t be enough for me to quit working. Renting wouldn't be any cheaper than our house payment so that wouldn’t work either. Do you think my lender would care if I stopped paying my student loan? Sadly, even that wouldn’t help either. Maybe we need to play the lottery.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Flashback to December 2007

It's funny to read this now. While I still agree with the album choices, there are definitely some I'd add... but maybe later.

Sometimes thoughts flow into my mind and I am overcome with an urgent need to get them down, to share them. I am in the process of making a special CD for a special friend who is going through a big life change right now. I had asked for input of a few select people and k8 suggested The Heart of Life from John Mayer's Continuum.
I can't always associate the name of a song with the actual song so I pulled it up in my iTunes and was instantly hit with this need to express how much I love this entire CD. For me, this CD is one of those rare CD's where you can put it on, listen to the ENTIRE thing and just go to a happy place. The minute I played this song I was reminded how much I love this CD (sometimes I have to put a CD into early retirement so that I won't get sick of it from listening to it too much).
My next thought was being at home all comfy on the couch, sipping tea during late afternoon…listening to John serenade me to sleep. There are many other CD's that I like to listen to beginning to end.
Here are a few of them…in no particular order.
The Black Parade – My Chemical Romance
Alright Still – Lily Allen
American Idiot – Greenday
Descended Like Vultures – Rogue Wave
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace – Foo Fighters
Love.Angel.Music.Baby – Gwen Stefani
Songs About Jane – Maroon 5
Third Eye Blind – Third Eye Blind
Let Go & Under My Skin – Avril Lavigne

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Revisiting July 28, 2007!

In honor of my 30th birthday, I decided to put together some of the things I've learned and observed in my 30 years on this planet. Some of these things may seem like contradictions…the key, as in everything else, is finding the right balance.
1. Keep a real dictionary nearby - the potential to learn new words is greater this way. You can't help but see nearby words!
2. Be objective - or at least TRY to be objective, all the time.
3. Don't take things personally. What does it matter what other people say or do? Trust me, this is truly liberating and will save you a LOT of headaches. It takes work but its well worth it.
4. Keep your bad thoughts to yourself. Ninety nine percent of the people you encounter on any given day at any given moment do NOT want to hear YOUR sob story – they have their own! Stay upbeat and positive and people will love to be around you. This is something I still struggle with.
5. Send handwritten mail - people LOVE to get mail that isn't bills!
6. Smile
7. Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize!
8. Never put anything valuable in your trunk after you've reached your destination. If you want to do this, stop before you get there and do it. If you wait until you've gotten wherever it is that you're going, a mean person could be watching you, drill a whole in your trunk, and take your purse.
9. Credit cards are bad....use with extreme caution.
10. Learn to balance your check book and do it!
11. ALWAYS say please and thank you.
12. Don't be afraid to ask questions...(most of the time) it is better to find out than go around not knowing what you don't know! There are also some occasions where there are things you should already know and asking would make you appear uneducated. It is important that you learn the difference. My rule of thumb is – is knowing the answer to this question necessary for me to continue on this conversation OR will not knowing the answer to this question cause potential problems?
13. Floss
14. Don't hold grudges. This messes up your Qi.
15. Don't be afraid of a little your wardrobe, in your diet, in your life.
16. Carry your cell phone charger in your carry-on. You never know how long you'll be stuck without it if your luggage gets lost.
17. Don't sweat the small stuff. Seriously, it is not worth getting upset at inanimate objects. If something isn't working, take a break. Go back later when you can handle it.
18. Use a Neti Pot twice a day. It may seem gross but it will improve your health and overall quality of life.
19. Don't be afraid to try new things...especially new FOODS. Yum. And, of course, the Neti.
20. Don't be afraid to admit that you're wrong.
21. Practice active thinking....whenever you read, see, or hear anything - actually THINK about it and decide if you truly believe it! If you don't, form you OWN opinion!
22. People who claim they have a lot of anything (work, money, girth), usually don't.
23. Learn alternate routes to work, school, church - anywhere you frequent, BEFORE you actually need to. This will come in handy in times of extreme traffic, weather or acts of God and you get to take the scenic route and actually ENJOY it.
24. You can always learn a lesson from your interactions with other people.
25. It's all relative. This little tidbit came from Mr. Snyder in the 8th grade but I didn't fully understand it until recently. We are constantly comparing things, people, and places. So keep this in mind when you're feeling high and mighty AND when you're feeling down in the dumps. This is yet another reason to just be yourself. THAT should be Nike's slogan.
26. We all have the right to be 100% content, happy and loved. Do not let others get in the way of this right. You have to look out for yourself.
27. Sometimes you have to be selfish.
28. Don't go around saying "sorry" all the time. Not only is this habit annoying, but it lessens the impact of the word when you truly mean it and makes it appear as if you are to blame for things when you're not.
29. Always be on the lookout for your next job. I read this gem in one of my FAVORITE books, The Big Sister's Guide to the World of Work.
30. Be nice. You get more with sugar :)
I am sure my thoughts and beliefs will continue to shift over the years. Maybe I'll update this list when I turn 40…and maybe at 50 and 60. I can't even fathom what things will be like in 20 or 30 years. My precious iPod will be an antique by then!

Friday, July 23, 2010

An Oldie but a Goodie....from 2008

I always wanted to be a cheerleader. My mom was a cheerleader and I had seen pictures. It looked like a lot of fun and I wanted to do it. Plus the uniforms were cute and who doesn’t love perky cheerleaders (I know some people are really annoyed by them but not me)? I tried out in seventh and eighth grade but never made it. So when there were only four or five girls trying out for six or seven spots (my memory is horrible) my freshman year, I thought I would finally get my chance.

Before I go any further I have to back up to my traumatic eighth grade year. I really liked one of my friends and was constantly harassed by his girlfriend who was a freshman. We had been good friends since fifth grade and it had progressed to something more but he wouldn’t break up with his meanie girlfriend. Since only eighth graders were allowed to go the eighth grade dance, he asked me. And that’s when I got my handwritten death threat from this gem a lady (I still have it and always get a kick out of reading it when I run across it). If that whole mess happened today she would get in SO MUCH trouble! He finally broke up with that bitty and we had a like a week of bliss until I found him making out with one of my good friends at a party.

Flash forward to my freshman year cheerleading tryouts. Nasty ex-girlfriend’s mother was the cheerleading advisor (or somehow involved) and I KNOW that is the reason I didn’t make it.

At the time I was very traumatized…as most fourteen year old girls are by such things. But now I look back and have several questions/thoughts I’d like to share.
1. Why did this mother/advisor feel the need to inflict her power on me and keep me from doing something I could’ve done and been very good at? She very well could’ve kept me from discovering my life’s calling as a cheerleader (LOL).
2. What kind of ADULT meddles in the lives of teenagers? Especially after their daughter is no longer even dating the boy who caused the mess! Get a life! Besides, is this behavior really something you want to teach your children?
3. Cheerleading could’ve been my way out of band. My parents had already made it clear that I wasn’t quitting band "just because." But in my mind, if I had another extra-curricular activity that prevented me from being in band, they’d let me quit.

I’m not going to name names. And it isn’t out of fear. It’s not of respect for them either – because I have none. It’s more out ofself-respect and knowing that I don’t need to belittle someone else to feel better about myself (at least not today and definitely not about this). I do take comfort in knowing that there are a handful of people out there who know who I’m talking about and hopefully you’re as amused by this story as I am.

And for all of this, I’d like to saythank you. Thank you for being a stereotypical, conniving woman. Thank you for helping me realize the kind of person I don’t want to be. Thank you for not allowing me to become a cheerleader and thus forcing me to stay in band. I was a much better French horn/flute/baritone/saxophone player than I would’ve been a cheerleader. Not to mention, I made some great friends in band (and have even managed to hold onto a few). That’s not to say that I couldn’t have done the same if I had cheered but I’m happy with the way things turned out. Thank you for teaching me to not let mean people get OR KEEP me down!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Domestic Affairs

I'm having an affair...with Corningware. I've already admitted my sins to my dad, but can't bring myself to tell my Fiesta. It all started a little over 4 years ago when Sean & I were on our honeymoon. There was some French White Corningware with lids in our timeshare. We were AMAZED by how well it warmed up our leftovers. They were as perfectly heated as they were in the restaurant.

Off and on over the past four years I've often thought of those dishes and how wonderfully they helped warm up leftovers. I had even mentioned it to dad about HLC coming up with some kind of lid to fit on some of their bowls. He said it wasn't possible because they allow for a 1/8 inch variation (EITHER WAY!) on all their dishes. So there would be no way to make the lid fit all dishes.

I haven't given up on my press for lids that fit my Fiesta, but I broke down and bought Sean a 20 oz French White cup with vented lid to warm up his lunch in. I just washed it and feel a little bad about my Made in China cup. But one little cup won't hurt. Right?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Repost from May 7, 2008

I used to have a blog on MySpace before I got my grown-up blog here. I'm going to repost some of my favorite posts on here since I don't plan on keeping that account open much longer.

I've been on an Oasis kick lately. I even requested all the Oasis CD's they had at the library since I only had one. Oasis is one of those bands that instantly takes me back in time. I can put it on and all of a sudden I'm 20 years old sitting in Molton Hall with my favorite soccer player listening to Oasis REALLY LOUD. Good times.

And when I think about that time during my life I think about the rest of my four years at Rio…and hanging out in the courtyard behind the president's office. It was so quiet back there. And of course there's the helicopter pad (whatever that was – they have a road that goes up there now) and the water tower.

I remember skipping class with Jason (Wells, not Bingman) and driving around Gallia County for hours…just getting lost and not really caring…listening to music (with Wells it was usually Bob Marley not Oasis – different crowd).

Then there was one of my favorite pastimes - skipping Grande Chorale practice to party…or just to nap (usually to just nap). Occasionally there was calling off work with Steve (Wasteir, not Bush). When we worked together we had to coordinate that – especially if we were using SNOW as an excuse.

It's funny because some of my more prominent memories are with people who were only in my life for very brief periods of time.

And despite the fact that I'm happy and content with my life right now, I still occasionally wish I could go back there and relive it – just for one day. Okay, maybe a whole weekend. I'm beyond glad that I had the opportunity to go to college. I'm also glad I chose Rio. A lot of people complain about it but I wouldn't change a thing. I feel like I was meant to go there; destined to meet the people I met and make the decisions I made that have led me to where I am today. You all know who you are…and I thank you for being there and for being you. I had a blast.

Monday, July 12, 2010


An inspiring young lady I know passed away today. I didn't know her very well and was not prepared for how much her passing would affect me. I realize this is nothing compared to the loss her family and friends are feeling right now. I can't even pinpoint the source of these feelings.

Is it because she was so young? Is it because even though she spent most of her life very sick, she spent that time living life to the fullest and yet I complain about minor difficulties in my life?

Or is it because I view things differently now that I'm a mother myself? I can definitely say that I look at almost everything differently now that I'm a parent. When I hear things like this, I think about how I would feel if that were my child. Though, I'm fairly certain, that if she were my child, through the pain I'd be proud she was mine.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Having twins

Since the day we found out we were having twins, I've made a conscious effort to not let myself think about how my life would've been if I'd only had one baby. God blessed us with not one, but two babies. Why waste the mental energy thinking of a life that is not? But try as I might, these thoughts often creep into my mind.

These thoughts usually strike during moments of high stress - like when I'm home alone after a long day and Madeline is crying because she doesn't want to go to sleep and
then she wakes Emery. And all I want to do is take out my contacts and go to bed!

But they also strike at other times, like when I just want to sit and rock one baby but the other is fussing. Moms of singletons get to relish time with one baby without the added pressure of that other baby needing to be tended to (I realize it's only like with the first born but still!).

I know they say that the grass is always greener on the other side. And I wouldn't trade either of my babies for anything. And I know it will only get easier and that having twins can also be a lot of fun. But yet, I still wonder sometimes. And every time I wonder, I try to stop and thank God for both of my babies.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Body Image

How am I supposed to help my children develop a healthy body image when I don't have one myself? Granted, I'm sure mine is better than some. But isn't everything relative? Even at young age, I remember sitting on the rust colored velvety pews at church and being aware that my thighs were fatter than my sister Mandy's. I also recall her wearing "slims" while mom had to buy me the "pretty plus." And I wouldn't even say I was a chubby kid. I just wasn't skinny.

Moving on to middle school, I "blossomed" terrifyingly early at the ripe old age of 11. It was like I woke up one day in 5th or 6th grade and needed a bra. I skipped right past the training bras. Despite how traumatic this was at the time, I can't remember the precise year. Yet, I was very aware that there were only one or two other girls like me who needed to wear a bra. The others were blissfully unaware. I read the Judy Blume books about girls wanting breasts and thought they were crazy. I wore baggy shirts until 7th grade when I either came to terms with my body or was just distracted by other boys.

By high school, I had come to terms with my body but definitely would've liked to have been about 3 inches taller and 20 pounds lighter. This amuses my 32 year old self since I know what my weight/measurements were back then. We got fitted for color guard uniforms my freshman year and I still have the piece of paper they wrote my measurements on: 34 - 23 - 35. Despite weighing 110, I never wore anything smaller than a size 6. I've never understood how some people could wear smaller sizes than me - even now. I always wonder, "where on earth do they shop that they can fit into (pick your size)." Now, I just ignore it. It is what it is. I don't care what size my clothes are, I just want them to make me look halfway decent - preferably 3 inches taller and 20 pounds lighter (or 40!).

I was just coming to terms with my body type and happy with it when I started driving a desk for a living in my mid-20's and started gaining weight. I'm not blind. I've seen my relatives and know what's hiding for me in my genes. I started exercising and eating better. It was a slow process but I was making progress. Then I had knee surgery followed by TWINS. Although I'm VERY close to my pre-pregnancy weight, the abdominal separation I have now frustrates me. And somehow my butt has disappeared. Oh, and I don't like my flabby arms. And last but not least, I'd still like to be 3 inches taller and 20 pounds lighter (or 40!). Yes, I know what I need to do to make this happen. Yes, I realize I just need to make it a priority. At least now, I'm smart enough to focus on loving my body as it is and being thankful that I'm healthy and that my body functions like it's supposed to (with the exception of an unhappy left knee and some minor foot pain - pregnancy does a number on your body). I just hope I can help my children learn that long before the age of 32.

I could go into the affects of the media on body image but that's a topic for another day!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Loving cloth!

I’m sure many of my readers are dying to know whether we decided to use cloth diapers or not (kidding). I decided that if anything might sway Sean to be supportive of CDing, it would be showing him how much we would save. I remember vividly the day I first brought up the subject with him. I was about six months pregnant and we were sitting at BW’3 because I was craving wings. I had found a website that had done all the math for me and had printed out some information along with calculations about how much we’d save – times two!

He barely even took the time to hear me out. He was very much against it and wasn’t interested in hearing anything more about it. We still had plenty of time before the babies were due so I just continued to read about them and research them online. A little closer to their due date, I broached the subject again. I talked about how we could get a starter kit of prefolds and covers and even if we only used them for a few weeks, we wouldn’t be out any money. I also suggested we wait a few weeks after the babies were born to start. As much as I wanted to do it, I wasn’t in any hurry either. I was nervous about whether we’d like it and if we could handle it.

When the babies were three weeks old I ordered two starter kits of prefolds, snappis and covers. Once we’d gone through all the diapers we came home from the hospital with and had to BUY some, AND Sean saw how quickly we went through them, he was MUCH more open to the idea. Not to mention, all those times when you put a brand new diaper on a newborn and in the pee in it WHILE you’re putting it on them, yeah, well that helped too.

It’s funny, after I’d done all this research about which diapers to start with, I was paralyzed with fear about washing them. I finally found a detergent I could wash them in, we prepped and started our journey. At first, we didn’t have enough to CD full-time. But after a couple weeks, we decided we were ready to do it full-time and ordered enough prefolds for a full day. I was really surprised by how easy it was and how into the whole process Sean was. Before I knew it, he was telling other people about how easy it was.

A month or so later, we did a trial of an assortment of cloth diapers. Even though I’d decided we wanted to use one size, I was interested in seeing what else was out there. I liked some of the diapers in our trial but also didn’t want to invest a lot of money. In the end, we only kept a Blueberry one-size cover and a Bum Genius 3.0 one size diaper from the trial. I came across some OS Fuzzibunz on Craigslist so I got four of those and one Happy Heiney’s OS in Silly Monkeys (I was dying to have a fun print). That HH is the most expensive diaper we own and it’s my least favorite. Granted, we’re rough on our diapers because we wash every day and dry on low.

I only buy BG’s on sale so I’ve never paid for more than around $15/diaper.

This is our stash:
BG’s – 10
FB OS – 4
Nubunz – 6
Monkey Snuggles – 3
SmartiPants – 1
Tot Bots – 1 (we got this free for being a tester)
Infant PF’s – 30+ (these STILL fit Madeline)
Regular PF’s – 18
Covers – 2 Flip, 1 Blueberry OS, 1

We like to send our pockets to the sitter and since we don’t have a lot, we do laundry every day. Our house is small so it’s very easy to do this throughout the evening while we go about our lives. Since our babies wear different sizes, we have 2 baskets on our changing table and we just keep them separated.

I tell everyone I can about cloth diapers. I would say the majority of people think of cloth diapers as they were 30 years ago. They’re always surprised by the pockets (even the prefolds and covers). They also think about dunking. People don’t realize that poo from an EBF baby is water soluble. Plus, they make diapers sprayers. We have one but and only really used it when the babies were first start solids. Now, we only use it occasionally.

Cloth is entirely too bulky to travel with with twins so we still use disposables when we travel. I hate doing it but it’s just not practical.

I could go ON and ON. And I probably will. I still need to talk about our routine, our awesome current sitter and our awesome soon-to-be sitter and how they fit into the mix. I LOVE to talk about cloth diapers so please don’t hesitate to ask question.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Sometimes I find out new things in the most roundabout ways – at least it seems that way to me. I was browsing the archives of a blog I subscribe to and came across a post about kefir. I had seen it mentioned in recipes here and there so this post piqued my interested. Suddenly, I had to know what kefir was and I wanted to try some NOW. Here is the original blog post.

Kefir is a fermented milk drink. You can buy it or you can ferment your own with kefir grains. After you have a batch, you remove the grains (by straining) and start all over again. There’s much more to the process but who wants to read all about that? If you do, you can go here. Personally, I think kefir is like a liquidy yogurt. It has oodles of health benefits (probiotics, vitamins, etc) that I won’t list here. You’ll just have to trust me. There is a wealth of information online.

I decided to try kefir before I attempted to make my own so I got a premade bottle at one of my favorite stores, Health Foods Unlimited. I got a flavored kind and I really liked it. So I called around to find some grains. All I could find locally was a powder but I decided to try that before I ordered actual grains online. With the grains, you just add it to milk and let it ferment at room temperature. With the powder, you have heat the milk, cool it, mix the powder and then set it out for approx 24 hours. I did this a few times and actually prefer the stuff I made myself to what I bought in the store.

For ease of use, I’d really like to get some grains. I found a woman in Fayette, Ohio, who sells them. She seems very knowledgeable and helpful, should you have questions about the process. The only issue with getting my own grains is that it multiplies very quickly so I’d need people to give some to. I know of one person who would be interested so there could be more. This lady also buys them back. Not sure if that’d fit into my schedule but we’ll see.

So what do I do with it after I’ve made it? So far I’ve only made smoothies but I’ve seen other recipes that call for kefir. I just haven’t had a chance to make any yet. Kefir can be used as a substitute for buttermilk, sour cream and yogurt. I’ve even seen a banana nut bread that had kefir.

And now you know all about kefir. Well, sorta.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Nursing Twins

I have so many things I want to blog about it’s hard deciding what to start with. Forgive me for ending my sentence with a preposition – it always sounds entirely too formal when I write things like “deciding with which topic to start.” (I think that’s correct…) I finally decided on breast feeding. Long before I met my awesome Lactation Consultant friend Joan, and long before I really learned how much breast feeding benefits both baby and mom, I knew I wanted to try it. I can’t really say why. I often claimed that the only reason I hadn’t looked into getting a breast reduction was because I didn’t want anything to interfere with my ability to breast feed.

When we found out we were having not one, but TWO babies, I was nervous about how I would juggle breast feeding two. I did a lot of research about it and read everything I could get my hands on. I was really bummed when I went to the New Moms Panel at our local Mothers of Twins Club and only ONE woman had attempted BFing and hadn’t done it very long. I tried to remain positive but still had nagging worries in the back of mind. I tried to counter every worry with a vision of me happily nursing both of my healthy babies (That was always another worry – delivering early. But I’ll save that for another time). In my search for other twin moms who breastfed, I even attended a La Leche League meeting. I was so glad to meet a twin mom there who had successfully breastfed her twins.

Fast forward to the arrival of Madeline and Emery. Although born at 36 weeks 5 days, they were very healthy babies. The only issue was jaundice. They started out on biliblankets and we could only take them out long enough for me to try to breastfeed them. After they took them off those, their bilirubin counts jumped back up and they had to take them and put them under stronger lights. Them having to have light therapy coupled with sleepy babies who didn’t want to nurse and had latching issues and constant visitors made for a rough time learning for all of us. I asked for a pump right away but it was unpleasant in the beginning and I was so tired and there were always people around (you can’t pump discreetly – especially when you don’t know what you’re doing).

Since the babies had jaundice the hospital told us we needed to supplement to help flush out whatever it was that was causing the high bilirubins (I don’t remember). They knew I wanted to breast feed so they told us we could finger feed (w/a dropper and a finger in the mouth). We kept getting conflicting advice about breast feeding from each nurse so I finally asked to see a lactation consultant. Of course the first time they came to visit was right after a nasty pediatrician told us we had to give them bottles.. Many of the people who came in told me I shouldn’t feel guilty because we had to give the babies formula. I didn’t feel guilty, I felt FRUSTRATED! Even though the babies were healthy and had good weights, they had lower bilirubin standards to meet because they were technically “premature.”

Because I was so tired and trying to take care of two babies, I wasn’t pumping as much as I needed to be so I became engorged. The nurses showed me how to cut open a diaper and put ice in it to use as an ice pack. So when the time came, we were discharged supplementing. I hated it but I tried to not dwell on supplementing and focus on breast feeding.

And we supplemented for three very long months. Breast feeding AND supplementing is quite a lot of work. I would nurse both babies then we’d have to prepare and give bottles and I also had to find time to pump during all this to try to increase my supply. Luckily Sean got laid off when the babies were a couple weeks old and he was home to help me. It’s quite a challenge to get situated to nurse two babies at once. I hated it when he was gone plowing snow. It was especially hard to do by myself.

For the first two months, barely a day went by that I didn’t think about quitting. I’m not really even sure how I carried on or why. I do know, that in the end, it was all worth it. About a month before I went back to work, Emery stopped wanting a bottle after I nursed him (he was my star nurser long before Madeline was good at it). Then after a bout with reflux, about two weeks before I went back to work, Madeline stopped wanting her bottle too. We had finally done it! Now, I can do everything by myself and have even nursed in the car (while parked). But I definitely need Sean’s help for that.

Although it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve even done (even harder than learning to run), I’m so thankful that we hung in there and I’m glad I’m still able to do it. Exclusively breast feeding is SO MUCH easier than BFing and supplementing with formula. I love not having to mess with bottles. I’m also very thankful that my job allows for pumping. Originally, my goal was six months. But we’ve worked so hard to get to where we are, I plan on trying for one year. It’s been much easier for me mentally since M&E started solids at six months. I feel a sense of relief not having to be the sole source of sustenance for them.

It has been a struggle to keep my supply up with pumping during the workweek. I’m supplement regularly with fenugreek capsules and Yogi Support Nursing tea (it’s really not bad at all). It’s all worth it though, not only do I get to spend lots of quality time with my babies, I get to eat a ton of food too. Granted, I could watch what I eat and probably get down below my pre-pregnancy weight with no problem, but I am always SO hungry, that’s a struggle. Plus, it’s nice to be able to eat pretty much whatever you want for once!

This blog wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention that none of this would’ve been possible with Sean’s support. He had to do a LOT in the beginning to allow me the time to focus on breast feeding. If you’re still reading, thanks. I know this was LONG!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back in the Saddle

My friend Christina has inspired to me cowboy up, ignore the sleep deprivation, and start blogging again before the twins turn 1. Since my last post was from a few weeks before the babies joined us, I have few things I’d like to cover before we get started – for those of you who aren’t in the know (meaning the few who aren’t on Facebook).

- Madeline Elise (5lb 15oz) and Emery Dale (6lb 7 oz) were born on October 24, 2009. Yes I’ve started their birth story and no, it’s not done. You can add that to a laundry list of things I need to do. Despite having both types of delivery, I was very happy with how things went and the babies only had to spend one extra night in the hospital due to jaundice.

- We are cloth diapering M&E. We did a trial when they were a few weeks old and realized it was beyond manageable and took the plunge. It has since become one of my obsessions. I can see how women go overboard with it so I’m trying to keep my habit within reason.

- I’m still breast feeding. And yes, I nurse them both at the same time. It’s called the EZ2 Nurse pillow and every mom of twins who wants to breast feed needs one.

- We started solids at six months and we’re making our own food. Much to my surprise, I LOVE making baby food. We get to start some new things in a few weeks and I can’t wait.

- I try not to refer to the Madeline and Emery as “the twins” all the time. I try not to obsess about it, but I want them to be individuals just as much as they are part of a unit.

If you don’t hear from me for a while, feel free to give me a “nudge” about posting. I do enjoy this and hope some of my readers enjoy reading it. I definitely have a LOT to say about a lot of things.