Thursday, May 16, 2013

Updates & Recipes!

So after I made my proclamation to all of you that Dillon and I were going to get healthy, I sat down and made a grocery list so we could put my words into actions.

(TIME OUT: my child has his entire hand in his mouth. All 5 fingers up to the last knuckle. Talent.)

Annnnnnyways...I will share with you a few things that I purchased to help jump start our healthy lifestyle.

-big tub of Plain Greek yogurt (great for smoothies as well as substitutes for cooking)
-big tub of Organic vanilla yogurt
-small cups of Chobani Greek yogurt with peach
-Organic Almond Milk (we aren't milk drinkers, and this stuff lasts 2-3X as long as cow milk)
-Multi-Grain Cheerios (great for breast feeders. I eat 1 bowl every morning)
-Green bell peppers
-Organic honey
-Ground chicken (why did no one ever tell me this existed?)
-Granola from the big bins at Kroger Marketplace (LOVE our Kroger Marketplace)
-Peanut butter
-Honey wheat bread
-Motts Applesauce Natural (same price as the Cinnamon or any other flavored kind)
-Black beans
-Pop-Tarts Oatmeal Delights (I know Pop-Tarts aren't healthy, but Dillon eats breakfast on the go every morning, and he requests Pop-Tarts so I did the best I could and found some made with whole wheat and sprinkled with oatmeal on top.)

We have already had some great meals and tried new things. Recently I have discovered that I like green bell peppers. This was one of those things that I tried as a kid and apparently didn't like, but as my tastes matured, I liked it. Awesome! Remind me sometime to write a piece about Pitza 42, which is where I really started liking peppers.

One of the first meals I made was Chicken Taco Salad. I browned the chicken and added a packet of Taco Seasoning. We then cut up a bunch of peppers and tomatoes. I put crushed up tortilla chips, cheese, chicken, peppers and tomatoes, together in a bowl and mixed it up. I put a drop of plain Greek yogurt on top as a substitute for sour cream and...voila!

I also made a fruit dip that I got from Pinterest. It was said to be "better than Nutella" and "like crack," so obviously I had to try it. It goes a little something like this:
-about 2.5 oz plain Greek yogurt
-about 2.5 oz organic vanilla yogurt
-2 TBSP peanut butter
-1 TBSP honey
-a dash of cinnamon
We ate it with apples, grapes, and bananas!

Lastly, I will share with you a smoothie that I created myself.
Peach Banana Smoothie
-2 cups ice
-1.5 cups almond milk
-1, 6oz cup Chobani Greek yogurt with peach
-1 medium banana
-a dash of cinnamon and sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
-1 TBSP of rolled oats
-1/2 tsp honey
Blend or liquify this in your blender. You may have to blend it and then stir up the remaining pieces and blend it again if there are too many large pieces for your blender. I have an old blender that is probably as old as I am, which I inherited from my parents.

Tonight I am making Italian chicken, a recipe from my Meme.
Get a covered dish, like a glass casserole dish and place chicken breasts (however many you need) inside. Cover the breasts with Zesty Italian dressing (I like Kroger brand). When I say cover, I mean cover them well! Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour and then serve with green beans. It is really good to pour the juices over your beans too.

I hope this is encouraging! Love you guys, and thanks for reading. (:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Plans

Today as I was considering attending my friend’s college graduation in the upcoming weekend, my mind began to wander to the past and to my past desires. My friend goes to a private liberal arts college --the college I wanted to go to more than anything when I was a senior in high school. I applied to the school and was accepted, but was not awarded nearly enough money to cover the grand tuition it required. I crunched the numbers every way I could with the generous private and state-funded scholarships I had received combined with the college’s academic scholarship offer. It just wasn’t going to work.

I wanted to go to this school more than anything because I thought I was liberal. I thought I was artistic. I thought I was eclectic and different and bold. I thought I wanted to party on the weekends and study hard on the weekdays in order to keep this scholarship.

Maybe I was different. Maybe I was bold in certain circles. I was actually artistic. I had no idea what liberal really meant.

I thought I was going to be an author, and I was going to major in creative writing to make this happen. I wanted to move far away from Arkansas. I understood I might not ever be JK Rowling or anything, but I wanted to make a living from my art. I was, in reality, an intelligent, rebellious, disrespectful, hopeful, determined, desperate, curious, girl who still lacked some of the most substantial part of my being.

After I suffered the crushing blow that I would not, in fact, attend my dream college, I conceded to go to the University of Central Arkansas. This is a public university in the same town as my formerly intended college which offered me a full ride scholarship with stipend left over every semester. I imagined I would still go to the same parties and make the same friends and work towards the same major as before, just on a different campus. I could still hang out at Hendrix. I could still have that life.

So I went to UCA in the Fall of 2011 and my life was rocked. It was shattered. It was absolutely torn to shreds because I met my Father. I met God in the midst of my rebellion and my anxiety and my grief. I met the Spirit for the first time in 18 years and my life just fell to pieces and I let God pick it all up and put it back together His way, with His additions. I let Him throw away a lot of the old pieces and make new ones.

He threw away my anxiety and replaced it with His love. I was able to wean myself off of powerful anxiety pills which I had been prescribed and addicted to for a long time. God took all of my symptoms away and He filled me with the ability to be consoled by His love.

He threw away my addiction to bad relationships. Gone were the days when I fell for guys who needed me to fix them. I wasn’t falling for guys from broken homes, with Mommy issues, who had no love-web, who looked to substance for fulfillment. I wasn’t falling for someone who would leech off of my strengths and gifts. God gave me a real man. Not a boy. He gave me someone who led me to the cross, who encouraged me, who built me up. He led me to Dillon.

God rebuked my hatred for other girls by giving me friends who exemplified His example of a Godly woman. He taught me how to trust. He taught me what transparency was by giving me examples of how to show it. He taught me how to cry for and care for and love a friend. He gave me Regina and Kayla and countless others.

What God did not give me was a free ride to Hendrix. He did not give me my plan. He made His own plan. I sit here and look back on my life at something I really wanted at the time and just thank God for not giving it to me because I see now what He had planned.

This revelation, if you will, has taught me one of the most vital lessons in true discipleship.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. --Proverbs 3:5-6

Man, God, you rock. I could never have made a plan as good as the one You prepared me for today. And I never, ever will. I’m a married mother of the most beautiful boy. I’m on my way to achieving a degree in teaching, of all things. I’m prayerfully considering homeschooling. Most importantly, I’m living the real dream. I’m living every day with my God.

As many of you graduate, or simply move ahead in your lives, remember that God’s plan is what you should ultimately follow. Pray to Him about your life and your intentions. Let him take your thoughts captive. Listen to Him for His answer. He will rock your world and give you what you need.

Monday, May 6, 2013

We Need a Change!

So after Roman was born, I wanted to shed the weight I was still carrying as quickly as possible, so I told myself I was going to jump right in and eat a lot of healthy snacks. Fill myself up on carrots and ranch or trail mix so that I wouldn't overeat at meals. I drank tons of water and some juice and only had a minimum of soda because I had heard caffiene can stunt your breastmilk production.

As Roman got older and the weight really fell off, I began to get back into the old rythm. I'm still going to college and sitting at home with him at nights while Dillon is working, so in the day I tend to rush around getting food and at night I have too much time to snack. My snacks went from veggies to chips fast and pretty soon the weight loss stopped and I became stagnant.

Dillon had also gained a few of the lb's along with me during pregnancy, so he has expressed desire to get fit again as well.

When you are pregnant, you might have a job or activities that take up your time, but at the end of the day if you have thirty extra minutes to go to the gym (for me, the gym is 2 minutes up the road at my apartment's office, where Dillon works). I guess it never occured to me that after he was born, I would have zero extra minutes at the end of the day. Even when I find  myself sitting on the couch flipping through Netflix, I have him with me and Dillon is working. You can't exactly haul a baby up to the gym and sit his carseat next to the elliptical, especially when your baby likes to scream his little monkey head off just for the entertainment of hearing his own voice. It makes people nervous, or just annoys them, to have a baby in a place where there are usually only adults. Plus, I'm not sure what the apartment's policy is on having kids in the gym.

I have walked a lot on the vast sidewalks of my complex, and even tried running some. I ran up the golf cart trails on the course, but I found that the trails aren't quite big enough for those speedy carts and my stroller. Plus, some golfers will actually ask you to leave the trail because they are afraid you will be hit by their golf balls and be hurt or file a complaint. Apparently running with a big stroller on a golf course also makes people nervous. Hmm. That still leaves the sidewalks, so I'll keep trying.

My point in all of this is, it's very hard to get back into the swing of things and get your pre-baby body back. I have lost about 25 pounds since I gave birth, putting me pretty close to my pre-baby weight, but numbers aren't everything. This is especially true when I gained every bit of the 32 pregnancy pounds in my hips, belly, or breast.

This is me on Christmas, just 1 week after delivery, weighing 134 lbs. I lost 16 pounds during delivery and the week after. (Reminder: my baby weighed 7 lbs 11.5 oz. So the waters and placenta must have been pretty heavy!)

At this point, 4 months 3 weeks post-baby, I approximate my weight to be 125 lbs (I don't own a scale), but my belly is not in the shape I would like it to be. I bagged up all of my bikinis and bought a nice tankini with full coverage bottoms. I don't expect the stretch marks to fall off anytime soon, although the weight just might. I am back in my size 2 jeans, size medium fitted shirts, and size small t-shirts. I actually like my hourglass shape, but not the front pouch.

I know I will have to do a lot of work-outs to get my belly toned up, but I have decided that my first step will be eating right. This will also help Dillon get back on track as well. It was his idea that after all the soda in our house is gone, we will stop buying it. I'm not sure if this means we don't have sodas out anywhere either, or if we are really quitting them, but that is one major leap for us! I told him I may have to start drinking coffee regularly if I am going to keep up with school work and not completely die of caffiene withdrawls (through a straw of course, to save my pearly whites).

This post is a declaration of our desire to change our lifestyle. We want to step away from our usual go-to's and jump into a routine of healthier, cleaner eating. This means more whole foods, more veggies, more whole grains, more organic, less carbs --- better choices!

I have turned to the interwebs for help.
Through Pinterest, I've found Tanner and Stephanie on their blog Kissy Lips and Carrot. They are two 20-year-old college girls who made a healthy lifestyle change by promising to text one another every time they ate in order to keep their focus on healthy living.
I've also found Taralynn McNitt on her blog undressed skeleton. She is a 20-something who changed her life dramatically by losing a lot of weight. She constantly posts pictures and write articles about the meals she is eating and even helps you find choices for healthy eating at restaurants.
And of course, one of my favorite bloggers Amber Massey (from Life Moments with the Masseys or 3 Ladies and Their Gent) on her dietician blog Chocolate Broccoli.

I've also found a few faith points to keep me going:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, SELF-CONTROL; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
verses found here

Final thoughts: This isn't simply about "weight loss", because as I said earlier, it isn't about the numbers. This is about being healthier and starting a routine. I still love chips. It will still take a lot of work to get me working out. However, I am willing to try to make a change. None of this post is meant to get you to say "You look great..." or throw me compliments. I know I have bounced back well, but I am looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that I can keep this body and make improvements to it. This will make it easier on me in the future when I have more children, my metabolism slows, or a number of other things that happen as we age.

Please encourage me to keep going. And don't post so many cake pictures on Pinterest or Facebook, ok? haha

Saturday, May 4, 2013

4 Month Catch-Up

Today, as I sit in my apartment with the heat on (on MAY 4th)(It's 45* here in Arkansas), I decided to write about my little man.  He is not only the biggest blessing in my life, but the biggest source of joy.
And let me tell you, he can do so many things!

As of today, Roman is 4 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days (actually 2 days, 22 hours, & 25 minutes) old. But who's counting?

He still has his long brown hair and dark blue eyes that everyone told me would change, but hasn't! At his 4 month doctor appointment, he weighed 17 lbs, 1 oz and was 26.5 inches tall. Compare this to the 7 lb 11.5 oz, 19.25 inch tall newborn he was, and he is one big boy!
At this same appointment, he got his 4 month shots (which is just a booster of the 2 month shots. Why do they need a booster just 2 months later? Beats me.). He is seriously the worst at getting shots, and it breaks this mama's heart. Within a second of the needle hitting his fat little leg, his face gets red, his mouth pops open as wide as it can go and a forceful wail errupts from his tiny (yet very very strong) lungs. It's Daddy's job to hold the screaming boy during shots, and Mommy's job to calm him down after they're done.

Over the past month, he has been extremely fussy. He has had some bowel issues that I won't go into, but let's just say we've introduced prune juice to his diet. ....And he likes it. Also, he his gums have been super hard as his teeth start getting ready to come in. No teeth have broken the surface of his gums yet, but he chews hard on everything in sight. He will hold his paci in certain places on his gums and chew it instead of sucking. Lately, we have been giving him teething tablets -- tiny, quick dissolving, homeopathic tablets -- which make him feel a little more normal. I took one to see what it was like, and although nothing on me was hurting, I felt like it was a boost of happy feelings.

He has also developed a few new skills over the past month. He can now easily and quickly roll over from back to tummy and tummy to back. He can also lay on his side and balance. These new skills have given him a newfound love for tummy time. Those of you who are worried about your child hating tummy time, just wait! Our love used to detest tummy time and would cry to be turned over or picked up. Now, you can't keep him on his back for more than a few seconds. He will roll over and begin inch-worming his way off the blanket and around the living room.
That's right, our boy is mobile!
He will stick out one leg and use it to steer while he presses his face and chest into the ground and pushes off. This, combined with his arms flailing around like he is drowning in a pool, propels him wherever he needs to go.

Gone are the days when I can lay him on a blanket and expect him to be in the same place when I turn back around. He will be off the blanket, under his swing, with the manufacturer's tag in his mouth. When he sees he's been caught, he will flash me the most mischevious little toothless grin. I love it!

He has also started reaching out for things. "Things" may include: every piece of food you eat in his presence, cups, full plates, pieces of paper, his paci, PHONES, or your face.

Roman and I with one of my high school friends, Elizabeth, and her 7 month old boy Landon
The babies were checking each other out.
This was their first time to meet.

I am so enjoying being the mom of this babe. He is developing so quickly and making me so proud with every passing day.

--Also, we found a fantastic, loving, babysitter for Roman this summer while Dillon and I are in summer classes, trying to make up for the ones we had to drop last semester due to having a newborn and all. Praise God for a loving, Christian, woman to babysit our lovey. And I know someday soon (soon is a relative word) she will want to have her own family, so this is great pratice. Happy day!(: