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!

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.

 

 

Let’s Pretend I’m a DIY Blogger.

So, here’s the story.

I got fed up with not having enough drawer space in our kitchen. So I started googling ideas for more kitchen storage. And the thought popped up in my head, “I wonder if I can make a kitchen island… like, a rolling kitchen island that has more storage and counter space…”

So I googled. And low and behold, I saw these:

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So naturally I started Craigslist hunting. And Goodwill hunting. And stalking sketchy neighborhoods for thrown out pieces of furniture. And finally, I found this:

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I brought it home and told my terrified husband that “it would only be a weekend project.”

Unfortunately, it ended up having a couple flaws I didn’t realize until I brought it home. The bottom legs would not really support wheels to make it how I wanted, and it was a tad wobbly.

So Mark ended up having to help, as he presumed he would. He sawed off the unusable legs, got plywood, evened everything out, and made it happen.

After that it took a lot of sanding, stripping, and sweating, and then I got to do the fun part: Painting.

 

Mark plopped wheels onto the bottom, and here it is!

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It’s perfect for our kitchen storage needs.

Cutting boards and stuff…

Measuring stuff…
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TUPPERWARE STORAGE, PRAISE THE HEAVENS!

IMG_5998 IMG_5999 A kid stuff drawer…
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A cat stuff drawer…
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You get the point. It’s awesome.

Anyway. I’m totes not a DIY-er blogger, but in case anyone else wanted inspiration for a storage solution, here you go! It’s hard work, but it is already paying off.

 

 

Pregnancy Projects.

For some reason, when I’m pregnant, I get the DIY itch. I start googling furniture restoration ideas and before I know it, I’ve located a piece that needs loving on Craigslist, spend too much money on supplies to make it perfect, and spend days in the garage sweating and wishing I had just not started this huge mess.

But you know what? There’s nothing like seeing something in your home that YOU made. Or helped make. Or refinished or changed or covered. It’s hard sweaty work, especially when pregnant, but I can’t help myself.

I’ve come a long way from when we first got married. I used to paint antique shutters on grass in our yard, leaving nice window pane streaks of white on the green. I used to plop a piece of furniture on our kitchen floor and paint, assuming I could just clean up the paint off the floor later. I used to think I could use ceiling paint as primer.

Lots of trial and error. But I’m learning so much and I love doing it.

I just spent lots of today painting coats on drawers, stripping the finish off the wood on top, staining the wood, sanding, and doing all sorts of stuff. And I am so exhausted. But it’s coming along. And I can’t wait to show ya’ll how it turns out!

[I’m turning an antique desk into a rolling kitchen island.]

Maybe after this project I’ll take a break and just be pregnant.

But then there’s so many cute things I could paint for baby girl’s room….

Live at Fralo’s Tonight

Hey! If you feel like eating pizza in the sweltering San Antonio sun tonight, I’ll be playing at Fralo’s! Should be fun! Hopefully my large pregnant belly won’t get in the way as I lug my equipment around.

I love playing live. It’s one of my favorite things ever. And this place is so much fun. It’s pet friendly and family friendly and their pizza is seriously awesome.

Hope to see you there!

Fatherhood.

Remember me? How I used to blog and stuff? My website was down for like, a month. And things have been absolutely nuts and we haven’t had time to fix it. Till yesterday.

So hi!

First off, it’s Father’s Day.

I am so grateful for my own daddy, cause I never ever doubted how much he loved me. He worked so hard to provide for us and be there for everything we needed, and made our stomachs hurt from laughing too hard. He’s a wonderful man and helped me know what kind of man I should marry.

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And yes, I was a massive baby.

Which leads me to my baby daddy. I am so grateful for my husband and for the wonderful father he has become. I almost had my doubts when I was pregnant with Jake cause he always said that babies were gross and that he wouldn’t even touch ours till he turned 3 and was fun to play with. But the second Jacob was born all those teases and jokes vanished and he became a different person. He frequently refers to Jake as his “best friend,” and they really do have an incredible relationship. I look forward to seeing him grow with and love each of our children.

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And speaking of children, we found out that we are having a GIRL.

Like. A female human.

It’s crazy. I’m FINALLY not going to be completely outnumbered any more (considering all three of our kitties are guys, too).

We really didn’t see that coming. We always thought we were gonna just have a house full of boys. And I have no idea how to french braid. And sassy little attitudes terrify me. But we will figure this out! And we are beyond thrilled. Jake’s getting a baby sister :) And he will teach her all sorts of potty talk.

Family is everything. Life is good. And only 20 more weeks till we get to meet our sweet girl.

Oh, and let me just wrap up this past month in a nutshell:

We spent two weeks in Portland watching our niece and nephews while the parents took the trip of a lifetime to Europe. It was wonderful and challenging and definitely a learning/growing experience for us. And Jake LOVED playing with his cousins for two weeks straight.

I started my gestational diabetes deal. I feel like all I eat is rabbit food.

Our car died a violent death. So we got a new car. Well, new to us. It’s amazing. RIP Subaru Outback, you were a trooper!

I’ve written new songs. But there’s a tiny human sitting on my organs making it hard to breathe let alone sing. So… eventually I will get videos up. I keep beating myself up for not doing more with my music, but really, this is life. Life has seasons to it. And right now, my life is in the sweaty, pregnant, huge, sweaty season of Texas Summer whilst pregnant. And it’s only gonna get sweatier. So I’m cutting myself some slack.

Happy Daddy Day!