Sunday, September 30, 2012

60% there

NOTE: This blog contains serious thoughts and feelings of a postpartum mommy desperately trying to lose pregnancy weight number three.

Five weeks ago I rigorously started a new diet and workout routine to lose the tremendous amount of pregnancy weight that decided to take up residence. For some reason, after number three, the hint to leave is not easily received by the unwanted visitor on my thighs....arms...face...well, you name it! So, I started a ketogenic diet which basically teaches my body to use my fat cells as energy instead of depending on carbs. It is a low carb (under 20 g/day), high fat and protein diet. However, unlike the Adkins diet, it allows me one day of carb eating so that I'm not starving my body from all that is out there, ultimately teaching me how to keep the weight off when I do indulge a little bit. Now, let me please say that this type of diet isn't something to live by your entire life, but rather a means to an end where you feel comfortable in maintaining your weight loss.

My first worry when I investigated this diet was the results it would have on breast feeding. I was unwilling to even try if it would jeopardize that. However, since I am not concentrating on cutting calories, and I am truly eating more wholesome foods like spinach, broccoli, eggs, meats, etc. I am able to keep up my milk supply. I would even argue that in some sense it is more whole as my calories aren't consumed in junk food. Every calorie that is consumed is good for you and not wasted (minus maybe diet And as my son has gained almost 3 lbs in the last five weeks and grown 2 inches, I feel pretty good about my current decision.

So what do I eat throughout the day? Remember that my diet is truly focused on fat with protein.

Regular coffee w/ a tsp of Coconut Oil
2 egg omelet with mushrooms, cheese and ham (or bacon)

Chicken Curry Salad (mixed with celery and almonds)
Avocado Half

Meatloaf wrapped in bacon (recipe modified to not contain any bread or tomato sauce)
Broccoli with butter and salt

2 TBS of Natural Peanut Butter with Celery
String Cheese
Handful of natural almonds

In addition to the strict diet, I also strive to workout five days a week.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are strictly cardio days. The other days contain a warm up of cardio (15-20 minutes) with Monday's focus on ab/core strength, Wednesday's on lower body/legs, and Friday's focus on arms and back. It has been a good mix for me and I can feel myself getting stronger and leaner.

Saturday mornings are weigh-in days, as Saturday night is my cheat night ( I LOVE Saturday nights!!). My goal is 2 lbs a week and, for the most part, I have been able to keep to that goal. This will get me to goal weight by the end of the calendar year. Now, I do want to say that at this point of my journey I have technically lost all of my pregnancy weight with Kasen (child number three.) The remainder of the weight is what was still lingering from the other two pregnancies. :)

I'm pleasantly surprised with the results and how I feel while on the diet. I even find that, after carb night, I look forward to getting back into my routine. I will say, though, that I am looking forward to the end of the year when I can put this all behind me and not worry about it any more!

Happy Dieting! (I think that is an oxymoron)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Harvest Festivals

Now, I realize that Summer is chalked full of fun, adventurous things to do with your family. However, there is something about the onset of fall and the anticipation of pumpkin patches and fall festivals that get me really excited! About this time, I start scouring blogs, forums and newsrooms to make a list of these festivals and outings for our family. Yesterday, though, hubby surprised us with a trip to a local Harvest Festival that I had not heard anything about! We were so excited; bouncy houses, cotton candy, snow cones, hot dogs and pumpkin decorating awaited us!

When we arrived, we quickly stopped by the cotton candy stand to immediately sugar up the girls. I'm pretty sure the bag lasted a whole 2 minutes :)

We then moved on to all the bouncy toys. There were about eight different toys, all promising a different level of adventure. The favorite of the group was the big obstacle course ending in a huge slide (see videos below.) Coming in a close second was the old fashioned "jump 'till your hearts content" and the jumpy connected to a slide.

After the girls had officially gotten "all their wiggles out" we naturally got them a snow cone to eat prior to dinner, because dessert before dinner is necessary on adventures such as this. Their cute little lips were dyed red, along with parts of their clothing and fingers.

Then it was hot dogs and apples, just to balance out the amount of artificial sugar we just shoved down their throats!

Finally, it was pumpkin time! This particular venue asked that only one pumpkin per family was taken, which took a little convincing to our two princesses. However, together they found the most perfect pumpkin and I managed to capture a few semi-"Kodak moment" poses. :) Unfortunately, our time was running out for painting and decorating the pumpkin, so that will be a project for another day at home.

We had such a wonderful time! A great way to kick of the start of Fall.

Oh, and Kasen thoroughly enjoyed himself too...

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Love letter to my son

If you scour this blog (which I haven't written in consistently for awhile), I have yet to mention the newest member of our family, born to us on July 10, 2012.

This is our son, Kasen Baylor:

This letter is written with only words that a mother can pour out for her dear son.

My dear, sweet son ~
Words can't express the joy that filled my heart when I heard those words whispered "it's a boy!" Oh sweet boy, how I had prayed years for you believing that maybe a little boy wasn't in the future for me. Prior to finding out we were pregnant with you, your daddy and I struggled with the loss of another baby which broke mommy's heart. As the due date neared for the baby we lost too soon, I nearly gave up on trying for another child for a little while. The due date came and passed for our lost baby, only to find out shortly later that you were alive within me!

Oh sweet boy, I could hardly contain my excitement. The whole situation seemed so surreal with the perfect timing set only by our Lord. All the preparations for your arrival seemed sweeter, surviving the struggle of pregnancy seemed that much easier, and even labor was less painful knowing we were blessed with you.

In your short 10 weeks of life, the joy you have brought me has been immense. There is a certain bond between a mother's heart and her son that I cannot seem to explain. I long to protect you. I long to show you how to be the sweetest boy and young man; to make sure that you learn the act of chivalry and how to protect all those around you. I earnestly pray that you will fall in love Jesus and become a godly man and leader of your future family. I pray for your future wife and the love that you both will undoubtedly have. But before the future engulfs my thoughts, I hope only that your arms never get tired of wrapping around your momma. That you will forever indulge me in sweet kisses on your chubby cheeks and allow me to always call you my sweet baby boy.

I look forward to the weeks, months and years that we will have with you. The Lord has truly blessed us with this time to raise you and get to know you. How honored we are. I love you sweet boy. Always remember how much you are loved and that you were prayed for, day in and day out. The Lord answered my prayer with you!

Love, Mommy

Monday, September 17, 2012

Never late...Rarely early

This morning, in my moments between chaos and crazy, I spent some time with the Lord thanking him for his provisions throughout the coming day. Though consistency can be somewhat challenging as I learn to balance my new life of three, I find that these sweet moments alone in the morning (coffee in hand) allow me to focus clearly on the rest of the day with the correct perspective.

This morning I was reading in Jeremiah 5 and this verse stood out among the rest:
"Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest."  ~ Jeremiah 5:25
Here in chapter 5, along with the previous chapters, the Lord is working through the reasons why he must punish the people throughout the land. Though they were once close, they had chosen to completely walk away, worshiping false Gods, continually backsliding and rebelling, perversion...and the list goes on. The Lord's conversations with Jeremiah are based around how He will get His people to know and acknowledge him again, and the appropriate means to do this.

The above verse is embedded within a conversation of just that. The Lord is showing Jeremiah exactly what the people of that land are not doing; however, this verse stuck out to me as a promise.

So many times in life we feel that the hurry to fulfill or accomplish provides the better order in life. Being a planner in all areas of life, I understand the struggle between having everything ready ahead of time and waiting patiently for the direction from the Lord. I can feel the stress creeping in when the weeks are nearing a decision and there isn't the clear direction following the deadline. The Lord is continually having to teach me the beauty of the journey and freedom of trust and letting go. If I slow down and focus on each day as it comes, life becomes so much more enjoyable without the worry.

My most recent example has been my maternity leave timing. FMLA standards state that one gets 12 weeks (either consistent or intermittent) every 12 months either paid or unpaid. My company allows you to take disability pay for the first six weeks (60% of your normal salary) and then you can utilize any accrued sick time or vacation time for additional pay throughout the leave should you need to cover your salary. Prior to my son being born, my husband and I went back and forth on how we could cover finances during my leave and what the appropriate length of leave time would be for our family. We finally settled on 10 weeks leave as that was the accrued time that was available for financial coverage.

Well, this week marks the 10 week mark for me to return to work. However, about a week ago the anxiety started to set in again. I still feel so unprepared to return to work, as I'm not totally settled in to the schedules of three children plus trying to fit any other life into a normal day. After some investigation, it seems that I have more time accrued for coverage than originally perceived and I can now take my full 12 weeks of maternity leave!

Coincidence? I think that the Lord allowed this brief moment in time to again show me that He knows exactly what we need and will provide it at the exact moment. You see, nothing was different in the time that I had accrued, just the way that we had worked through how coverage would work, causing the decisions we originally made. At that time, thinking about 10 weeks of leave was sufficient for us, however, as the time grew near and anxiety set in, the Lord allowed the clarity of reality in what was available because that is what I needed at that exact moment.

The Lord is never late in His timing and rarely early. Everything He does is exactly on time, providing us the appropriate harvest when the conditions are just right. When I can remember this, life seems so much sweeter as He unfolds the blessings on my life both daily and annually.

Today's blessing: knowing that I now have a few more weeks with my babies before returning to the office! Thank you, Lord!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall is in the air...

Colorado must have missed the memo on the fall season as the clear sky and warm heat still hovers around 80 degrees. But, as it is mid September, I'm already planning out the fall decorations that will make their appearance shortly, dreaming of fall outfits and tall boots, and craving the sweet smells of fall desserts, soups and entrees.

This weekend, I couldn't resist the tasty dishes any longer. With some fresh pumpkin frozen in the freezer (seriously...use fresh pumpkin instead of canned. It's WAY better), I decided that chocolate chip pumpkin cupcakes were on the menu for this weekend.

I wish I had a before picture of all the ingredients but, alas, I did not think that far ahead. So, you will have to use your imagination on how I get to this:

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 box of white cake mix (try yellow or spice cake as well)
15 ounces of pumpkin (1 can -- if you insist)
1/2 bag of chocolate chips

Seriously. That is it! The best part is that, since there is no raw egg, you won't feel guilty about feeding the batter to your children or setting some aside for yourself to dip graham crackers into while you wait for the others to bake. You will have to forgive me for not having exact measurements on the spices. You could probably go without the spices and it would still taste delicious, but they add that little extra that definitely makes it worth it. So, do as I do, and add a little bit of this and a little of that until you feel it tastes just right. Cooking instructions follow the cake box directions.

I then topped my cupcakes with delicious cream cheese frosting, because how could you not, and then sprinkled the top with a little cinnamon. Betty Crocker has a pretty good canned cream cheese frosting. However, you could also quickly whip up your own frosting combining the following:

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
8 ounces of cream cheese
2-3 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Combine the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar until desired sweetness.

These seriously were just what we needed to kick start the fall season, even if the weather is a little behind. Try these today. You will thank yourself, and me.

For an added bonus, this is how easy it is to make your own pumpkin puree:

Pie Pumpkin (the smaller pumpkins - they are sweeter and will be better for cooking)
Blender/food processor

Cook the pumpkin in the oven according to the directions on the sticker (usually at around 400 degrees for about an hour.) When it is done cooking, allow it to cool to the point where you can handle it with your bare hands. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Scrape the pumpkin off of the skin and add it to your blender or food processor. Blend. If it is too thick, slowly add water to it as you blend until you can get a smooth consistency. Then measure out the pumpkin puree into freezer appropriate bags or containers, measuring out 15 ounces per container (this will make it easier for any pumpkin recipe you find, as most recipes go off of the canned pumpkin.) You should get at least 30-45 ounces per pie pumpkin.

Happy Fall!!