Category Archives: Personal

Back on the Workout Bandwagon

Wow, it’s been almost 3 years since the last time I actually did a workout (aside from a few hikes and the occasional evening walk with friends). Since the last time I posted (back in June 2011) about starting a new routine with my Mobile mom friends, I’ve quit that (I didn’t like working out in the oppressively humid summer heat in Mobile), had another baby (she’s now creeping up on her second birthday), and moved across the country from southern Alabama to southeast Alaska. A lot has happened, but that is no excuse for neglecting my body.

I’m going to be real here, I weigh 170 pounds. Now, just like I mentioned in that 3-year old post, I kept 10 pounds after giving birth the first time, another 10 after the second baby, and yes, another 10 after the third baby. I have no trouble losing the baby weight with breastfeeding and carrying my babies around, but the “little extra” that I seem to gain along with baby weight is my absolute nemesis. Now, I’m not humongous, but I am larger and jigglier than I’d like to be.

Over the past year or so I’ve scoured Pinterest and saved workouts that I thought would be helpful for the time that I’d be alone and can have uninterrupted exercise time. *cue uncontrollable laughter from all the stay-at-home homeschooling moms with small children* Yeah, these lovely, wonderful, goobers are with me all day and all night. There is no Alone Time. So, the only solution is to make these kiddos my workout buddies.

As I was eating breakfast this morning and pinning still more workout ideas, I thought about our daily routine and what pockets of free time we have. Usually we don’t start doing homeschool work until after lunch when Julie goes down for her nap, and the afternoons are spent doing school/housework/playing outside, then it’s dinner, bath, and bed. So the only time we could squeeze in a workout is in the morning between breakfast and lunch. That seems like a big chunk of time for most people, but for us it’s not really. By the time we finish breakfast it’s almost 9 am and we have lunch around 11:30. It is the perfect time though because we can exercise in our jammies, then shower, and get dressed for the day. That doesn’t contribute any extra “workout clothes” to my already massive laundry piles. Always a bonus.

We started this morning. My biggest kid (Jeremy – 7 years old) did almost all the workouts with me. He didn’t do all the reps, but he did his best. Jesse and Julie (4 years and almost-2 years old) tried to copy my movements and did really well for their ages and were totally adorable at it. I’m happy with the effort I gave and will keep the routine as-is for this week until my body gets used to it, then next week I’ll up the ante a bit.

Today we turned on some music and did 2 minutes of stretching, then we settled into the plan: 10 push-ups, 1-minute bridge (kids did crab walks), 15 tricep dips, 50 arm circles (each arm), 15 bicep curls (each arm, 16 oz. water bottles for Jeremy, 5 lb. weights for me), 20 squats, 20 lunges, 20 calf raises, 20 leg lifts (each leg, inner), 20 leg lifts (each leg, outer), 20 releve plie, 30 jumping jacks, 30 crunches, 20 donkey kicks (each leg), 10 grand battement (each leg), 50 flutterkicks. Then we did the arms again (push-ups – biceps) and 2 more minutes of cool-down stretching. This afternoon I’m hoping to add 30 minutes of cardio (hopefully a 5-mile bike ride) or at least a good brisk walk.

I’ve also started keeping track of my food and exercise with the Lose It website and phone app to make sure I don’t eat more calories than I need in comparison to the exercise that I do in a day. Today I am on track so far: I plotted the breakfast and lunch that I already ate and after adding the exercise from this morning, my cardio plans for later and our dinner plans, I’m left with a whopping 95 calories to have an afternoon snack. (Actually, the afternoon snack is the second half of lunch. I am a grazer by habit and tend to have small meal/snacks all day with a good dinner at the end.)

It’s only the first day, but I’m really hoping that I start building good habits. I’m not really changing our food. I’m eating the same things all day and making the same dinner as I would have before, the only thing I’m adding is exercise and I am really needing that to work for me. My Lose It plan has me on a 1244 net calories (intake minus those burned) per day budget which it says will get me to lose 2 pounds per week and be rid of this nagging 30 pounds by August 20. I’ll update this post later with my beginning measurements and clothing sizes as well. I am really dedicated this time to drop it and be at not only a healthier weight (the number on the scale isn’t a big deal to me, the clothing sizes and overall make-up of my body is my focus) but become a better example to my kiddos. We are a family of bookworms and we love our computers/tablets/electronics, we need to make a commitment to get outside more often to take advantage of the incredibly beautiful place we are so lucky to live in. Sitka is breathtaking and now that spring has settled in and our seasonal allergies have subsided, we need to get out and love it!


Trying to Get in Shape

A handful of my friends and I have started a new workout. Bodies By Cindy, a local group of personal trainers, has started offering free boot camp classes twice a week on the Coast Guard base at lunchtime. They have also invited us to their free Saturday morning classes. I did all three workouts this past week and though I felt like I was going to pass out on Tuesday, I was doing much better on Thursday. This morning was pretty rough, but I got through it.

I am most definitely carrying quite a few extra pounds, and when we run or do jumping jacks I can feel all of the extra going up and down. After I had Jeremy my body bounced back pretty quickly, but I realized that an extra 10 stayed with me. 😦 Over his first few years I came to accept my new size and figured it was just what moms dealt with. No biggie. My new weight was still considered “average” for a woman my height, so I really didn’t worry about it. After I had Jesse, the breastfeeding helped me to drop most of the baby weight really quick, but again, 10 pounds stuck around – yes, on top of the 10 I had been holding on to for the past 4 years. 😦

My little boy is over a year old now and I’ve still got those 10 pounds, which means I’ve gained 20 pounds in the last 5 years. Uncool. It’s high time to get rid of it!

I have a hard time joining gyms and staying motivated because generally I don’t like working out alone. Yes, I know that at a gym you are not alone, but if I’m with people I don’t know I consider myself alone. I don’t know how to use the equipment and I really just feel ridiculous. I do much better in a class setting with people I know to help keep me motivated. These boot camp classes are exactly what I’ve been needing.

I totally ate it when running down a hill on the first day. Scraped up my forearm pretty good, but I kept going. Thursday I had to modify some exercises so I didn’t have to go down on my elbows. Now I have a beautiful itchy scab but I expect to be all healed up by next week. All in all I’m feeling fantastic, sore in places I didn’t know could get sore, but it reminds me that I’m doing a good thing for myself.

What’s funny is that I’m also making some little changes in our eating habits. At home I am the chef, so I set the menu and prepare all the food. Once in a while I leave the family to fend for themselves, but that’s rare. I’ve realized some of what I’m making isn’t all that good for us, but it’s really tasty. For the last week’s menu plan I’ve cut down on the heavy “meat & potatoes” meals and added more sandwiches and other light meals. So we’re having a filling meal (with correct portion sizes kept in mind) once a day and a lighter meal once a day. Breakfast is always whatever you can find because I don’t make that every day.

I’ve also cut down my sweet tea addiction. I was going through a full gallon by myself over just 3 or 4 days. Jason was going through Diet Coke like crazy. He has switched to sugar free lemonade (Crystal Light) and having a diet soda once in a while. I have limited my tea to just two glasses a day. Once in the morning (like a substitute for most people’s morning cup of coffee, I don’t drink coffee) and once in the afternoon. Ice water for the rest of the day. I have noticed some headaches stemming from what I think is caffeine withdrawal, but I can deal with that til I get used to my new intake.

Major thanks to my friends Ericka, Kara, Melissia, Brittney, Tonya, and Lisa for coming together and keeping all of us motivated. Pushing us when we want to give up. And reminding us to show up when we want to stay home and relax. I’ve rejoined a Facebook group comprised of my California friends who are all trying to get in better shape, so I’ll be keeping my blog up to date with my progress and use Team Zombie for another level of accountability.

Smack in the Middle Kind of Day

Today was a tough one…

Forgive my brash phrasing, but I feel like I’ve been rode hard and put away wet. From the moment the kids woke up this morning I’ve been “on” without a break and now I’m exhausted.

5:30 am . . . . . Jesse wakes up hungry. I sit up in bed and feed the baby, browsing Facebook and Google Reader on my phone to stay awake.

6:30 . . . . . Put the baby back to bed, try to catch another couple of Zzzz.

7:00 . . . . . Jeremy comes in the room and everyone’s up now.

7 – 9 . . . . . Shower, dress both kids, feed both kids, do my hair and get dressed, re-dress Jesse because he drenched his first outfit in spit-up. Run around the house looking for baby shoes, don’t find any.

9:15 . . . . . Leave the house 15 minutes late, head for our Tuesday playgroup.

9:30 – 11:30ish . . . . . PLAY PLAY PLAY. Well, I wrastled Jesse a bit, tried to keep an eye on Jeremy, tried to carry on several conversations with my friends as they played with their well-behaved children. We had a great playgroup meeting this morning, but I left tired.

12ish . . . . . Walk in the house and immediately start making lunch. Fight with Jeremy to eat the lunch. Lose the battle. Feel quite defeated by the 4-year old because he won’t eat cheese. [What kid doesn’t eat cheese? Seriously. I thought most kids’ diets are made up of about 90% cheese or something.]

1 – 3 . . . . . MORE PLAY. Wii games, Don’t Spill the Beans (which Jeremy refuses to play correctly), books, baby toys, a couple episodes of The Spectacular Spiderman (the kids cartoon). All the while Jesse absolutely will not stop pooping carrots and wails anytime he is put down for even 3 seconds.

3 – 5 . . . . . Jason goes to work, I am left unrested with two kids who don’t think they’re tired. I finally coerce Jesse to sleep, turn on some Veggie Tales for Jeremy, and start working on my menu plan for the week. How two hours went by so quickly, I have no idea.

5:00 . . . . . Jesse wakes up angry because I tricked him into sleeping. [I know, those of you who know him are confounded that Jesse could ever be angry. Let me assure you, he has my red-headed flash temper and when he gets angry, he is angry!] I take nearly an hour to feed, console, rock, bounce, sing to, and otherwise attempt to pacify the small one. Eventually something worked, or perhaps several of the things acted in unison as the sun passed exactly into the correct succession with other celestial bodies and a shaman somewhere in the world took pity on me and said a blessing – however it happened I’m grateful. During the pacification attempts Jesse whacked me in the eyebrow with a maraca, kicked me in the throat, alternated between pushing away from me violently and pulling toward me via my shirt and every facial feature (eyelid, lip, cheek, earlobe, nose and neck), all the while yanking my hair constanttly. Oh, not to mention he bit both my nipples really hard, with teeth!

6:00 . . . . . Cook dinner while working with Jeremy on his homework book and doing my best to keep Jesse from losing his $h!t because he’s strapped into his highchair. Throw in realizing that our computer chose to wig out and I find a blue screen of death staring at me. I successfully restarted is normally, but I really didn’t need that tonight.

7:15 . . . . . Jason comes home, we eat dinner as a family and he goes back to work. This 30-minute stretch is the most calm we had all day. It’s, no kidding, the calm before the storm. The only breather I get before the children go postal.

8:00 . . . . . At this point Jeremy is very nearly vibrating with exhaustion as he is overly tired and his little 44-pound body is doing it’s best to expel every last bit of energy before he collapses. Jesse is in exactly the same boat but one-ups his brother just slightly by refusing (still) to be put down at all. I allow Jeremy to play two rounds of Wii boxing because he desperately needs to release the last of his energy which is boiling just below the surface. Jesse is furious because he is trapped in his toy corral. (Jeremy does a lot of hopping and moving around while boxing, the last thing I need at this point is for him to squish his little brother.)

8:30 . . . . . Pajamas and a book (of course he chose a long one). This is usually the best part of the night because Jeremy gets quiet and cuddly. But, let’s throw in a big ol’ except right here – Jesse is wound up like a tangled yo-yo and tries to leap from my arms to attack the book. I try to nurse him while I read; he holds on with his teeth while simultaneously pulling away from my chest (who knew nipples could stretch so far!) to get to the book that I am holding an arm’s length away (my arm’s length). I let out a cry of pain and frustration, Jesse releases a cry of anger, and Jeremy covers his ears with his hands. I close my eyes, breathe, and count to 5. I hug my boys close to me and finish the book.

9:00 . . . . . I tuck Jeremy into bed. He gives Jesse a hug and kiss and says “I love you brother.” My heart shatters.

9 – 9:30 . . . . . Jesse gets some nursing. He fell asleep about 5 minutes in but ate heavily in his sleep until his chunky 24-pound body took a deep breath, shuddered a little and gave up.

10 pm . . . . . I have not been this tired in SO long. I contemplated just falling into bed fully dressed, but I needed to get this out or my mind didn’t have a chance of shutting off.

All this time I have been also considering what I wanted to do to relax before going to bed:

  • I could knit, that always feels good.
  • I could take a soothing bath with the new lavender bath salts we made at MOPS last week; that would calm my mind.
  • I could read over and try to answer the questions from last week’s bible study.
  • I could watch a mindless chick flick; that would drown my thoughts.

Then I thought of all the things I need to do:

  • Clean the kitchen (again). I already put the plates and things in the dishwasher and ran it, but the pots and pans are still on the stove.
  • Install and set up some security for my blog. Though I have thrice now un-hacked my website, I don’t particularly like doing it as it aggravates me highly.
  • Pick up the house; there are children’s toys strewn everywhere.
  • Finish Frank’s laundry.
  • Start planning next week’s MOPS newsletter.
  • Write today’s post for the Mobile Spouses’ Club blog.
  • Review this month’s budget. Have we totally blown it?
  • Unpack the suitcases from that Christmas trip we’ve been home from for two weeks now.
  • Call my mom and grandmother to thank them for the birthday cards I received a week ago.

That list could go on for quite a while. I think all I really wanted to say here is that some days are good days, and some days are bad. Some days are smack in the middle and seem to leave you the most tired of all. A mother’s work is never ever done, but sometimes the kitchen can stay messy til morning, your blogs and newsletters can wait til the weekend, a home that houses small children will never be perfectly picked up, the laundry will continue to grow. Eventually we’ll wear all of the clothes out of our suitcases, I’ll wash it, and put it all away in our rooms. It’s too late to call folks now, so it’ll have to wait another day (again) (sorry Mom!).

Right now Mama is tired to the bone. I’m going to leave all those things for another day, take a hot shower, and go to bed. Tomorrow we’ll start all over again. I’ve got a morning bible study class which will be a wonderful two hours for me for a few reasons: 1) I’ll see several of my good friends; 2) someone else will watch my children for a while; 3) and lastly, I’ll spend some time getting some much-needed spiritual refreshment.

And now, finally, “Goodnight ya’ll!”

Seasonal Allergies, No Thanks

I slept like the dead last night, but woke up feeling the same. I’m exhausted, sneezy, with stuffy sinuses, a mild headache, and itchy throat. Joy of joys.

I’m thankful for summer to be over and fall moving in, but the change-of-seasons allergies are kicking my butt this morning. Even poor Jesse is affected. My little baby man has a gross snotty nose and is more sleepy, less playful than normal. 😦

I think I’ll take a Benadryl, rest, and bake some cookies for Jeremy & Jason to have when they both get home this afternoon.

Is anyone else dealing with miserable seasonal allergies?

Happy Mother’s Day

First, happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there. This is my third Mother’s Day and it has been wonderful so far. I look forward to so many more.

Second, I’d like to share a short personal story. This is my first Mother’s Day spent away from my mom and grandmother. Though I feel very loved by my own boys, it’s tough not being able to hug the two most important women in my life.

This morning was our second time visiting a new church. We are already feeling very welcomed there and enjoy it very much. We sat toward the middle of the sanctuary this week instead of at the rear like last week. When the pastor asked all the mothers to stand to be recognized, some nearby women took notice of the sweetly sleeping baby that I held and they gushed over him. As we sang during the offering, an old woman appearing in her late 80s crossed the church, came over to us, and gave Jesse and I a warm hug.

I didn’t think I’d remember the smell of my great-grandmother’s perfume. She passed away almost four years ago. I miss her so very much. I think about her daily and wish that she could have lived to see her great-great-grandchildren. Jeremy was the first of his generation in my extended family and Mimi passed just three days before he was born. Jeremy has her baby blue eyes.

Jen's Mimi

The lovely stranger who hugged us smelling just like my Mimi brought wonderful memories to the surface and happy tears to my eyes. It was more than the perfume. She dressed very much the way Mimi did on church days, had the same curly white cottonball hairdo, and the thin elderly soft skin of her hand on my cheek was just the same. I don’t know whether that sweet lady realizes just how much that quick hug meant to me today, but I hope with all my heart that she has some family to show her love today like I wish I could to my mom, Nana, and Mimi.

First Time Mom-of-Two

Today was the first time I took both my boys out of the house by myself. Sure, this may not sound like a huge deal to some people, but it was a major milestone to me.

This morning was a Mothers of Preschoolers meeting. I’m still new to the group but I didn’t want to miss it. There are lots of kids that Jeremy really loves playing with and I enjoy the discussions that all the moms have together.

Jason and I had a nice breakfast together and then he got Jeremy ready to go while I got Jesse’s things packed up. Quick kisses goodbye and I was headed off to our playgroup with two children for the first time without someone’s help.

I’m pretty sure that at some point I will have a difficult tearing-my-hair-out experience, but this was not that time. 🙂 Jeremy was well-behaved almost the whole time (aside from a few impolite moments in the play area) and Jesse slept in his sling against my chest for the entire three hours. I was fully expecting to need to change a diaper and/or pull-up and figure out how to breastfeed in the sling at least once. None of those things needed to happen and we all had a fabulous time.

Lucky for us, we also met a new Coast Guard wife to add to our group and made plans for some park and library playdates. I really love spending time with other moms. I’ve made some great local friends and it’s so very handy that we all have kids of similar ages, they all play well together.

This was my first outing with both my kids without Jason to help and we did great! A few ladies mentioned that they were surprised that I was out and about, especially by myself, so soon after Jesse’s birth. I have to admit that it was nice to hear because I was wondering if my recent elation was actually showing or if it was just an internal feeling for me.

As I was telling Jason as I walked in the door, I feel so much more like a mom now that I have two kids. Not that having just Jeremy didn’t give me wonderful mommy feelings, but I feel so much more empowered and competent now with my second baby. With Jeremy I felt like I was muddling through just trying not to trip up too much; with Jesse I’ve been there done that with this baby stuff and I feel confident that I can handle everything better this time around.

Jeremy holding Jesse

Motherhood is so fantastic, and I’m just so lucky to be sharing the parenting experience with such a wonderful, understanding man who is more than willing to take up his share of the load. I think that is the biggest thing driving me to such happiness right now, Jason is so supportive that I don’t have time to feel any “baby blues”. The Coast Guard gives new parents 10 free (paid) days off and he saved up vacation time to be able to take the entire month of April at home with us. How much fun we’ll have! I wish every mom had the opportunity to have her partner spend so much time at home to help her through the tough first few weeks after a baby’s born.

Visiting California

I cannot hardly wait for my trip to California to visit Jeremy, family, and friends.

My plane leaves Mobile at 6:40 am this Saturday and after I spend a wonderful busy week with my loved ones in California, I return home to Alabama at 5:15 pm the following Saturday.

Having laid that out, I’ve got a lot of travel prep to do tomorrow:

  • Laundry
  • Pack
  • Clean out the fridge of the leftovers that no one’s going to eat while I’m gone.
  • Print out my travel itinerary.
  • Charge up my cell phone and make sure it’s filled up with minutes.
  • Charge up my camera and pack the charger.
  • Start my next crochet project so I don’t have to “ch 304” in a cramped airplane.

Oh yeah, and we need to go to my second prenatal appointment. My new OB said he likes to do lots of ultrasounds, and this is the first appointment where the baby is developed enough to have a heartbeat and big enough that we can actually see body structures. Hopefully the doctor will do an ultrasound so that we can see and hear those things for the first time. At my first appointment a little over a month ago, the baby was still just a ball of cells inside a yolk sac. There wasn’t really anything to see other than a few concentric circles and there hadn’t been a heart created to beat yet. This appointment we’re having tomorrow is essentially when most women go for the first time. I just happen to have found out we were pregnant within just a couple of weeks of conception instead of a couple of months like most people, so I had a super early appointment at just 5 weeks along.

We’re really excited about this appointment. Jason wants the doctor to try to guess at the baby’s gender, but I keep telling him that there is no way to tell at this point from an ultrasound. Those parts of the baby are still being formed and aren’t at all visible for a couple of months yet. But still, this is Jason’s first baby and he is super thrilled to be able to be at this appointment.

So, we’ll go in for that at 12:30 tomorrow and I fully expect to walk out with some sonogram still shots of a tiny little person that is barely the size of a Teddy Graham cracker (that’s what Jeremy looked like in his first pictures – a little round body, little round head, and four little round nubbins of limbs).


I cannot wait to see Jeremy on Sunday. Really and truly I don’t know how I’ve made it this long (7 weeks) without having seen him. We talk on the phone almost every day. He’s still getting the hang of conversations over the phone, but it warms my heart to just hear his voice. I hope I don’t burst into tears on Sunday morning when I pick him up, that would probably upset him because he wouldn’t understand why I’d be crying. I really want to be able to hold it together at least until he’s asleep at night and I can cry out to myself and release all that pent up missing of my little boy.