My life revolves around yellow.

So, if you know me, you know I love yellow. I think it started with my obsession with rubber ducks, but now its evolved into a general love for the color and all its happy, positive vibes. And I’m picky about my yellow. I don’t do mustard or citron. It has to be creamy, dreamy yellow.

My son has picked this up. I didn’t brain-wash him into the obsession, but he just loves all things yellow.

Between that and his obsession with cars, we have a yellow car issue we’re dealing with.

We own every yellow hot wheel car ever made, I think. We also own just about every hot wheel car that has traces of yellow on it (for when we can’t locate a pure yellow one on the rack). My son can spot a yellow car ANYWHERE. I’ve been coerced into taking many a detour just so we can drive past the yellow cars in our neighborhood.

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Heaven help any kid who tries to “share” his yellow cars. Heaven help any kid who wants to use the yellow car at the San Antonio Do-Seum. This kid has a problem.

I kind of hope he never grows out of it. Though I’m definitely not buying him a yellow car when he’s 16.

….Who am I kidding. I’d totally be down with that. I’d probably trade my mini-van for his sweet yellow ride.

Mutu System, in case you were wondering…

I recently started a new program called The Mutu System. “MuTu” is short for “Mummy Tummy.” They say “mummy” cause the founder is from the UK. It also means that in all the videos you get to listen to that awesome British accent.

“Mummy Tummy” is referring to a problem a lot of moms have– that pooch that doesn’t go away after you have the baby. Sometimes it’s extreme, called diastasis recti, when the ab muscles separate and can’t hold in your core. I’m somewhere in the middle– I don’t have a bad ab separation, but I have a small hernia above my belly button, have zero core strength, and my belly juts out because of it, making me look like I’m still pregnant. So when I found this program, I knew it was heaven-sent.

I have not been perfect. In fact, I plan on re-starting tomorrow. Between going on a road trip (and then recovering from said road trip) it just hasn’t happened. But from what I’ve done so far, I can already tell it’s going to help me so much.

It’s not so much a work-out program as it is a life-style change. It teaches you about eating clean, giving your body fuel it needs to heal from having babies, and teaches the science behind why our bodies don’t just whip back into shape after babies. It’s all about going back to basics– walking and standing correctly so your core doesn’t have excess pressure, hip and back pain, etc. We are supposed to “ditch the heels” and wear minimalist footwear so our feet can move freely like they’re supposed to (did you know athletic shoes have heels?! I never thought about it before!). And the exercises (which I haven’t even gotten to yet, cause life got crazy) are low impact, high intensity exercises that make “every work-out a core work-out” without hurting your recovering body.

I love that it’s a program specifically designed for post-partum mamas. I love that it isn’t just about sweaty, want-to-die exercise. I love that it isn’t a diet, but rather guidelines to help you eat cleaner. And I LOVE that it isn’t a sales-pitch thing. It’s not a pyramid scheme or level-marketing whatever. No one is pressuring you to buy any special magical protein shakes or anything. It’s just a product that works, that is for sale, straight up. And to me, it was worth the investment (even though I may have cheated and found it on Ebay for cheaper).

I just wanted to share what it is I’m doing for anyone interested. I am not getting paid to write this, I’m not trying to sell anything, I just want to share it cause so far, I’m loving it.

https://mutusystem.com/

Socially Acceptable Triple-Chin?

So, my sister and I have this game we play. Every time we FaceTime each other, we have a contest of who has the most chins or ugliest face when the other answers. I usually win, lets be honest.

And as I was playing with my son tonight, I found myself making “silly faces” at him, resulting in him cracking up.

But as I was contorting my face into all kinds of horrific, it occurred to me that maybe that is not something to be super proud of….

Like. When most people are told to make a silly face for the camera, they do this:

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And then there’s me…

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And lets not forget this gem from my college years.. my infamous rendition of “Chet,” a simple lumberjack who is just really excited about the all-you-can-eat buffet.

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I think I’m basically Lindsey Lohan in Mean Girls in that scene where she actually dresses up as a terrifying zombie ex-wife, missing the memo that Halloween was an excuse to dress skanky. I definitely missed a memo somewhere.

Why am I sharing this information? Why am I admitting to the fact that I can contort my face into such hideousness I could make children cry if I wanted to?

Mostly cause it’s late. And I should be sleeping.

 

Being Happy…. When you’re not.

I’m a big believer in happiness. I’m all about it. I love being happy, making others happy, and finding ways to be happy.

I read a book a while back that basically changed my life. I think it was called “You Can Choose to be Happy.” I think I lent it to someone else cause I can’t find it anywhere, but it’s okay because the principles it taught me are basically ingrained in me now.

I don’t think I had understood that concept before… that we can literally DECIDE to be happy. It was a game changer! I remember being offended by someone at a store or in a parking lot or something, and letting it bother me for a while, and then all of the sudden realizing, Hey! That person doesn’t give a crap about this! They probably aren’t giving it a second thought! So why the heck am I wasting time being irritated or angry or insecure when I don’t have to?! 

Thinking that way gave me freedom like I’d never known. I was no longer hostage to my feelings, no longer so reactive. I started letting things go! It was amazing.

I remember reading in The Book of Mormon about Nephi and his brothers Laman and Lemuel and noticing how they went through a LOT of the same trials–having to leave their home, going back and forth across the wilderness, facing hunger, sickness, etc… and yet those brothers all reacted SO differently. Nephi kept positive and happy and overcame his trials, while Laman and Lemuel threw fits and were depressed and angry and basically stupid about the whole situation. And it hit me– we CAN be happy even through trials! We can CHOOSE to lift our heads up, have faith that we will pull through, and make the most of it. We can also choose to hate our lives, but we will go through trials either way, so why not make it a little easier on ourselves?

HOWEVER, I realized something recently.

It’s a lot easier to be happy…. when life is awesome. Duh?

The past few weeks I have been a bit of a monster. I’ve been grumpy, mildly resentful, and have just had a poor attitude. Why, you ask?

Because SOMEONE, who shall remain nameless, likes to keep me up in the wee hours of the night.

And I do not do well on little sleep. I’m basically a big baby about it.

But last night I slept GLORIOUSLY. Like, I have been in such a good mood all day. That kind of sleep. The kind where you just float on clouds as you gently wake to sunlight and just… it’s just so good.

And now that I’m human again, it occurred to me how hypocritical I’ve been. I’m all about preaching CHOOSING TO BE HAPPY, but when my circumstances were less than ideal recently, I was not happy. I didn’t want to be. I almost couldn’t be. My nerves were shot, my patience was gone, and it was just hard.

So, I’m re-committing to happiness. Cause looking back, I could have been happier. I would have still been tired, gotten mastitis, had a messy house, but I could have been happy and kinder to my family.

I wrote a song about this topic called “Yellow” like, forever ago. I plan on recording it very soon and sharing it. But SOMEONE, who shall remain nameless, wants me to hold her all the time, so that will happen when it happens.

Until then, here’s to being happy, and lets all try to be our best, happiest selves, even on no sleep! 😉

Remember when I had time to eat?

I basically need seven arms. Between lugging around a monster baby of 20 lbs (and she’s not even 5 months old yet) and trying to keep up on the house and chasing a toddler and trying to remember to pee, it can be hard to eat healthy. Or at all.

But I have issues when I don’t eat. And even worse issues when I eat stuff that isn’t good for me. I turn into a moody, unpredictable, irritable monster.

Add to that my recent realization that white flour/sugar makes all those symptoms worse for me, it was starting to feel impossible to eat. Cause I need food quick, easy, and healthy. And quick. And preferably one-hand-able (did I mention my monster baby who is teething and always wants to be held?)

So, I’ve discovered “breakfast cookies.” Basically, they are “cookies” that are full of good-for-you energy-sustaining goodness. And you can modify them to your tastes and needs and they are these quick, one-handed miracles that I can eat right out of the freezer. It’s AWESOME.

So I wanted to share a few of my favorite recipes. Just in case anyone reading this struggles like I do.

First, Healthy No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars. Recipe here.

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These are AMAZING! I just recently made a double batch after the first ones went so well. I grab one when I have a sweet tooth craving or when I just need a boost of energy between meals. And I just recently got a couple bags of Lily’s Stevia dark chocolate chips, so they’re gonna be even healthier next time I make them ;D And they honestly don’t taste “healthy.” They’re divine. 

Second, Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies. Recipe here.

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These sounds scary. And they kinda are. Cause you have to grate carrots. But holy crap, these are delicious. And SO FREAKING GOOD FOR YOU! If you can get over the lengthy ingredient list and prep work (they call for cooked quinoa, and like I said, grating carrots) they are so worth it. I was honestly surprised and how yummy they were right out of the oven, and right out of the freezer when I needed a snack later. Try these!!

And last but not least, Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies. Recipe here.

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I made these when I found out I was going to be induced into labor in three days, so I would have something healthy and easy to grab when I was home recovering. And these things saved me! They are full of fall-pumpkin spice-holiday flavor, and kept me going when I was too exhausted to cook.

All of these yummy “cookies” are great right out of the freezer, which I love. I tried making a million muffins to keep in the freezer for quick, healthy snacks, but you have to thaw them or microwave them and aint nobody got time for that.

Hope you enjoy these like I do! Happy one-handed eating!

 

Obnoxious Amounts of Vitamins.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always struggled with having energy. Especially now that I’m a mom.

A year or so ago I started relying somewhat on massive Diet Dr. Peppers from sonic to give myself a productive boost. But I started noticing I needed more and more of it to just function at a normal level. And it occurred to me that we shouldn’t HAVE to have something like that just to feel happy and awake and normal. I hated depending on a chemical concoction I knew wasn’t good for me (even if it was supposedly diet). So I quit. Cut out ALL caffeine.

And it SUCKED.

My adrenals were all screwed up, I was grumpy, and I just felt awful.

Then I started taking vitamins.

You guys. These have changed my life. I take an obnoxious handful of supplements and vitamins and minerals every morning and they help me SO much!

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I want to recommend a few key vitamins I take that have helped me see a BIG difference in my energy levels.

First, get a good B-Complex. We take Mega Foods brand which is AMAZING. They’re pricey. But I’m starting to see the value in investing a little more in quality health products. And really, if you aren’t taking any B-Complex, try a kind you can afford, and you WILL see a difference in your energy levels and overall well-being.

Second, if you’re adrenals are thrashed from years of drinking caffeine (hey, I wasn’t even drinking coffee or energy drinks and I was still so messed up), get an adrenal support supplement. I take the Vitacost brand of “Adrenal Complex” and I noticed a big difference within a few days. It helps heal the damage caused to your adrenal glands, and helps support normal, natural energy.

Third, minerals. I had never even thought about taking minerals before. I take ConcenTrace brand “Trace Mineral Tablets” and love them. They help balance me out and help me feel better overall.

Also, if you struggle with stress and anxiety, try out Ashwagandha. I started taking it when my doctor recommended I try it to help with my anxiety as I was weaning off of Zoloft and trying to be a normal person. Ha! That didn’t work out so well. Zoloft is still my saving grace. BUT adding Ashwagandha to my supplements helps me relax at night and helps me deal with stress during the day and I really have noticed a difference in my ability to handle stressful situations. It’s worth a try!

Anyway, I’m no doctor or health expert or anything, just want to pass along what has helped me! I haven’t had caffeine since January 2016 and it’s amazing what our bodies are capable of without that stuff!

Also, here’s a few links if you’re interested in any of the vitamins I mentioned. These aren’t those links where I get paid when you click or whatever, I don’t even know how people do that. Ha. But in case you want to check them out!

ConcenTrace Minerals

MegaFoods B-Complex

Adrenal Complex

Ashwagandha

Go forth and have energy or whatevs!

Happiness.

So, I don’t think enough people actually read my blog for this to be necessary, but just in case I have millions of secret followers who are just obsessed with the sporadic ramblings of my life, I wanted to let ya’ll know I’m changing things up a bit!

I started this website with the intention of it being all about my music. I had all these ideas for adding a downloads page, links to my YouTube, a calendar for upcoming gigs, that kind of thing. But my music is still a work in progress. RIght now, my LIFE is what is happening. Motherhood, wife-hood, and music is there, too. But what I’m more passionate about right now, even more than my music, is HAPPINESS.

I am a happy person. It hasn’t always been that way. I have worked SO hard to get to where I am now, and I know I have a long way to go. But I have spent the last few years making changes to all aspects of my life, and it has helped me live a much happier, more fulfilling life. So I want to share my “happiness secrets” with you.

I’ll still be sharing songs I’ve written and all that, but most of my music is about trying to be happy anyway!

I truly believe that God wants us to THRIVE, not just exist. We should treat our bodies like they are the only ones we get. We should feed our spirits with positive, uplifting messages and knowledge. We should always try to be better than we are. We should overcome fear and let faith take it’s place.

I wrote this song a while ago, while I was pregnant with Amy. I was having a hard time handling my morning sickness in combination with my severe phobia of throwing up (emetophobia, it’s a thing). Listening to the song now, it seems kind of mellow dramatic. But this song turned into being about so much more than that one challenge for me. Writing the words to this song was so therapeutic and helped me see how much God loves me and wants me to trust in Him, even when I hate waiting around in the dark. It’s uncomfortable and scary to not know how long trials will last, or when they will come, but I know that whatever we face, it’s for our good. Every hardship we face is BECAUSE HE LOVES US! Isn’t that crazy? If we could just remember that when things get hard, so much fear could be replaced by faith and reassurance, knowing that it will ALWAYS be ok in the end.

So here’s “It’s Worth it.” And I hope you continue to follow along for help in becoming a happier, healthier person.

 

 

Ramblings.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, so excuse me while I just unload the contents of my frazzled mom brain.

I love being a mom. It’s amazing. It is so hard, but at the end of the day, I feel so fulfilled.

But being a mom is not exactly “glamorous” per se.

There are days when I feel like a super lame mom. Days when Jake watches two (or more) whole Pixar movies. Days when I don’t get to shower. Or remember to shower. Or remember to pee. Like, I literally have to remind myself to pee. And eat. And feed the cats. Cause mothering is a NON-STOP job. If one kid doesn’t need me, the other does. And then on those glorious moments when both kids are sleeping at the same time, it’s like a race to see how much I can accomplish, or I just collapse and waste that precious time taking a shower or sitting down to eat. It’s so crazy and SUCH a busy life.

I fantasize about having a perfectly run household. Having an exercise routine. Having meals planned out. Eating only whole foods and actually having the time to prepare them. I’ve recently discovered that white sugar/flour is a no-go for me (it’s probably a no-go for everyone, really) because it makes my anxiety/irritability way worse, so it’s just not worth the temporary satisfaction that is sugar.

I have all these things I tell myself I have to do, and when the day is done and I barely managed to keep my kids fed and happy, sometimes I feel like I’m failing.

But I know that’s a lie. Nobody cares if my house is Pinterest-perfect or if we eat organic or if we sat down and bonded over home-made crafts. We just do the best we can.

And for goodness sakes, I just had a baby four months ago.

On another awesome note, I FINALLY figured out a way to make time for my music. I now switch off babysitting with a friend so we each have a three hour block each week to work on our creative outlets KID FREE. It’s amazing. Thanks to this new arrangement, I may just have a new song to put up on YouTube for the first time in a year or so. So yay!

Also, we’re in the process of buying a house! WHAT?!

It’s the house we’ve been renting for three years. So it’s not exactly as exciting as like, buying a house normally is. But it’s about to be ours! Which means I can paint the kitchen cabinets! 😀

Life is good. Busy and crazy and messy, but wonderful.

Now it’s time to get Jake down for a nap, she says with peaceful solidarity.

So, I had a baby.

It has been forever since I’ve blogged. So much has been happening and it’s been hard to keep up. But I happen to have a few minutes to spare between chasing my toddler and nursing my newborn, so I figured I’d share the birth story.

If you don’t like words like “cervix” or “vaginal” I suggest just skipping this post. Cause birth is all about the privates.

Also, just a side note, this baby has been measuring big this whole pregnancy. Like, 95th percentile big. Thank you, gestational diabetes!

We went to the doctor a few days before the birth for my weekly check up with my OBGYN, and after checking my cervix, she told me I was 80% effaced and 3 cm dilated. She gave us two options. Either we could induce her ASAP, at 37 weeks, and try for a vaginal delivery, or we could plan on a c-section for 39 weeks. She explained that trying vaginally was risky since she was measuring so big; babies of mothers with gestational diabetes tend to have bigger tummys, which means their shoulders can get stuck and cause complications. But after talking and praying about what to do, we decided the best option was to induce. So we spent the next three days cleaning and prepping and cooking like mad people to get ready for her early arrival.

Tuesday, October 18, at 5:00am, we went to the hospital. I put on that sexy gown and those hospital socks, got pricked and poked with IV needles, got pitocin all up in me, and when the contractions really picked up, I got the epidural.

Funny story: Right after I got the epi, but before they put in the catheter, I started feeling like I needed to pee. I was too numb to do anything, so I naturally started freaking out, yelling at Mark “I’m about to pee the bed! How do I stop it?!” And before I knew it, I was peeing. All over the hospital bed. Which made me laugh uncontrollably, probably because of the drugs I was on, but also because of how crazy the whole situation was. I called a nurse in to tell them the embarrassing news, and continued laughing, but then realized the more I laughed, the more I peed. And the pee wasn’t stopping. The nurse checked, and sure enough, I wasn’t actually peeing. My water had broken. Ha! 

I took a few cat naps, watched movies, and just laid there while the nurse came and checked my progress periodically.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t dilating much at all. So they put weird pillows between my legs and twisted and turned me around into weird pretzel positions, hoping that it would help get things moving. But it didn’t.

Finally, after 12 hours of labor, my doctor checked me, saw I hadn’t made progress, and told me the baby was too big to come down any further. It was time to go to plan B: C-Section.

I knew this was a possibility, but I was still pretty shocked at what was happening. I was about to have surgery. What the heck?!

They turned the epi WAY up, making me numb from my chest to my toes. I started shaking from the drugs and my anxiety as they wheeled me down the hall and into the operating room.

Mark was whisked away to go change into one of those surgical outfits, while they moved me to the operating table to prep me. I stared at a spot on the ceiling, trying to stop shaking, but it was impossible.

I told them about my fear of throwing up, especially during a surgery, and they “reassured me” by saying “Don’t worry, it happens all the time!”

GREAT. THANKS. THAT HELPS.

I was in full on panic mode when Mark came back in. Holding his hand so hard I could have broken it, and staring into his reassuring eyes, I felt a small flicker of peace. I still couldn’t stop shaking, but our baby was about to be born. Well, sort of? I guess born is still the right term.

The whole procedure sucked. They tell you that you won’t feel any pain, and you don’t. But what you don’t know is that you can feel things pushing and pulling all up in your insides. Like, your organs get smooshed around and you can feel everything and it’s a pretty creepy feeling. I forgot about it momentarily when they pulled her out and I heard her sweet cry and saw her sweet little (well, kind of little) body. They all gasped and muttered “Wow. That’s a big baby.” And they were right. She weight 9 lbs 2 oz. Whew!

And then I got back to shaking and feeling my insides smooshing and sloshing.

And then it was over and they were wheeling me back into a recovery room and the pain began.

The next two days were hell. I couldn’t stop shaking, was in so much pain, and kept having panic attacks. Turns out that anxiety is a side effect from narcotics, and since I already suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, those drugs really messed me up. But as soon as I figured that out, I refused any more, switched to milder pain meds, and slowly but surely stopped shaking and stopped freaking out over everything. I was able to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

The first time I got out of bed it literally took 3 hours, and then I had to hold on to Mark and the nurse for dear life while I slowly hobbled like a broken dinosaur. But eventually I was able to get up and move around by myself, without clinging to walls or anything. What felt so helpless at first was quickly turning out to be an experience that taught me that I am capable of more than I knew.

Side note: You know your husband really loves you when he helps you change your pads, get dressed, shower, and basically takes care of you like you’re 95 years old. At one point I broke down crying because I felt so “un-lady-like.” I mean, he saw me at my absolute worst, in all my sweaty, vulnerable, gross, bloody, stretched out, stitched up, flabby glory, and you just never think your husband is going to see you like that. When you’re dating you think you’ll always be attractive and sexy to each other, and I just wasn’t feeling like that at all. But he sweetly told me that he thought this was the most lady-like he’d ever seen me… That I had just brought a child into this world, his daughter, and that none of those superficial, physical things mattered. We were growing our family, and he was my partner in this. And then he made me laugh about something, which was the worst. Have you ever laughed with a new c-section incision? Or coughed? Or sneezed? Don’t do it. 

Amy Lynn McCann has been here over three weeks, and we are loving every minute (except for the minutes we could be sleeping). We had Mark’s mother out for the first two weeks to help with Jacob and the house, and it basically saved us. Jacob has been in love with Amy since he first met her in the hospital. He’s been so helpful and sweet and I just love that little boy. Things are stressful and crazy, but so good.

We are capable of doing incredible things. And I am so grateful to have our sweet little girl here.

And being able to eat carbs again is a MAJOR plus.

Here’s to the next chapter: Life with a Newborn and a Toddler and Three Cats.

 

 

Last Hurrah!

This Thursday (8/25/16) will be my last gig for a while. I LOVE playing live, especially at Fralo’s. But i’m coming to a new chapter of my life.

This next chapter will be about an ever-expanding uterus, the disappearance of my ankles, and even more consistent Braxton Hicks contractions. I will be focusing more on nesting and resting than my music.

And then I will have a needy newborn and a needy toddler and the holidays will be here and life will be wonderfully nuts for a few months. I probably won’t perform again until next spring. Hopefully sooner, but let’s be honest. It’s hard to breast feed and play piano at the same time.

So come on out to Fralo’s this Thursday! I’d love to see some familiar faces there for my last hurrah before my life changes like crazy. 6:30-9pm ish. Fralo’s has the best pizza, is kid friendly, pet friendly, outdoors and super fun. It’s up past the Rim/La Cantera a little ways, but totally worth the drive! Come check it out! And be serenaded by a large pregnant woman who will be eyeing all of you with envy as you eat your carb-loaded pizza.

And on that note, I just want to say I can’t WAIT till I don’t have Gestational Diabetes anymore. Cauliflower pizza crust just isn’t the same, folks.