Sunday, December 24, 2017

Looking Forward to 2018

I spent some time today decluttering baby/toddler clothes. I was able to put together two medium sized boxes and a trash bag full of clothes to donate or sell. I decided to weigh the boxes/bag -- 17 pounds of clothes. It felt great to go through some of the extras and find things I can let go of, but I still need to organize what is left so that I can actually find the clothes when I need them.

This reminded me of my decluttering efforts from earlier this year. I began to follow the KonMari decluttering method. I started but I don't think I ever completely finished the second category: non-sentimental papers. I promised myself I would continue the process when we moved this summer, but I have not gotten back into it.

Then I began thinking about my goals for 2018. I tend to set many goals in a wide variety of categories. I usually make strides on all or most of them but rarely seem to be able to actually accomplish them. However, as I continue to grow up and mature, I am finding what works for me. I seem to make a little more progress every year. I have been able to be at peace with not finishing my goals but simply making strides.

But this year, I want to be a finisher.

In 2017, I spent nine months pregnant and then gave birth. I completed 12 college classes (36 hours). My husband and I completed a God-centered marriage program to help strengthen our relationship with each other and God. We had some big expenses but paid cash for all of them, avoiding any new debt. I blogged for 100 consecutive days. I went on my first real vacation (which was basically our honeymoon... two years later). We said good-bye to our first home as a married couple (a teeny tiny little apartment) and moved on to an amazing town home. All in all, a pretty exciting year mixed in to all the mundane of the day to day.

What I am looking forward to accomplishing/making progress toward in 2018:

  • Losing 100+ pounds. I started this goal almost two weeks ago (why not get a head start?). I look forward to crushing it with healthy food as well as trying my hand at strength training (something I haven't really ever done). I am going to try to lose as much weight as possible (and is healthy) while I am on maternity leave so that I have a jump-start for when I go back to work. Working means less time to cook and do dishes. It also means stress and temptations. Getting this head start is super helpful for me in accomplishing this goal.
  • Finish my BA degree. I need 4 classes (12 hours). I would love to finish by May as long as it does not distract me too much from family. If I need to take it slower, I will, and I will still finish before the end of 2018.
  • Continue to work on business ventures that could potentially turn into passive income for my family.
  • Get back to decluttering my home.
  • Possibly finish and publish an ebook I started this year. Still not 100% committed to this one, but I want to at least take some time to review what I have already written on the book and make a decision.

I have a ton of other little goals that I would like to accomplish as well. However, the most important thing is being present with my family. I feel like my daughter's first year went by in a flash. I remember it, but at the same time I sometimes feel like I don't. I would hate for it to feel that same way with my son's first year. Although my goals are meant to help make my family better, I do not want to lose sight of them as I work to accomplish these goals.

What do you plan to accomplish in 2018? 

How do you plan to get there?

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Quick thoughts...

My computer is running an update that has been taking all morning to complete. Two hours later it is at like 20%. So, I bring you a few super quick thoughts I am having this morning, written from my cell phone:

-Day 4 of teaching my child to use the potty chair. I would have given up by now if my husband had not been helping me. It seriously is a job for two when your child is this stubborn.

-I wonder if I'm spending too much time on my cell phone instead of enjoying this time off with my kids...

-And with that, I will sign off, put the phone away, and get on the floor to play with my children

Friday, December 22, 2017

Long Shot (Netflix Original review)

As you may be able to tell, I enjoy crime documentaries. Netflix has been excellent at releasing documentaries that expose the holes in our investigative and justice systems. I recently watched "Long Shot", a 40 minute documentary about a man possibly facing death row simply because he could not prove his alibi.

Juan Catalan had an older brother who was involved in gangs and violence. However, Juan did not follow in his brother's footsteps. When an eyewitness supposedly matches Juan to a violent crime, he is suddenly facing the possibility of death row.

All this time, Juan denies he committed the crime and realizes he had an alibi: he was at a Dodgers game. But providing a ticket stub was not enough. He had to prove he was there.

His lawyer works hard to try to provide this evidence. It is a nail-biting process.

The documentary leaves us with thinking about the "What ifs". There were so many things that happened that if the stars had not aligned, Juan's outcome may have been much less pleasant. The film asks us to try to not live in paranoia of the what ifs, but you have to wonder...

My husband and I agreed that if the documentary accurately portrays the case, the evidence against Juan was weak. If he had been convicted on the "evidence" presented and sent to death row, then that is most certainly an injustice. This felt like a case where he was guilty until he could prove himself innocent which is the opposite of what I like to think our justice system is about. Maybe I'm wrong.

Did you watch this documentary? What did you take away from it?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Why I started Whole30 two weeks postpartum

The Whole30 is a strict elimination program that lasts 30 days (plus 15 days of re-introduction) to help heal your body (especially your gut), tame the sugar dragon, and help participants know what makes their body feel less than optimal. The vast majority of participants also lose weight and/or see body composition improve.

I did two rounds of Whole30 after I gave birth to my daughter. It helped me to lose the weight I had gained during pregnancy and cut cravings. I did these rounds in the spring and summer of 2016.

Unfortunately, I started incorporating the foods that made me feel bloated and sluggish back into my diet in late 2016. I did not get back on track for the entirety of 2017. Granted, I was pregnant for most of 2017, but that didn't mean I had to eat whatever I wanted and gain 50lb (a "healthy" weight gain for a pregnant woman my size would have been about 20lb).

Between the weight gain, already being heavy to begin with, and eating less-than-healthy foods, I felt pretty terrible the last trimester. My energy was super low. I was getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night but as soon as I started maternity leave I started napping in the afternoon as well. I just felt blah.

I had been thinking about wanting to get down to a weight that would be more optimal for my size for the entire duration of my pregnancy. Obviously pregnancy is not a time to lose weight, so I had to wait.

I started Whole30 two weeks postpartum because I knew that I could 1) eat plenty of food to still produce breastmilk for my baby while 2) helping tame my sugar cravings, start feeling better, and lose weight.

Some people may think that I'm crazy to do such an extreme program so soon after having a baby. The truth is: this is actually a great time! Since I normally work outside the home, being off work means having a lot more time to cook and do dishes. Plus, I don't have all of the office treats (think: breakfast tacos, cookies, cakes, and pizza parties) constantly being thrown at me in addition to vending machines in the break room and fast food places on my drive to work.

If you read my post yesterday, you'll know that I am also trying to help my daughter learn to use the potty while nursing a newborn while doing a Whole30. So yes, maybe I am a little crazy. But being a parent does not excuse me from taking care of myself. If anything, it gives me a greater sense of urgency. I need to do this -- for myself and for my family.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

It took me over an hour to write this post

Today, I am attempting to teach my older child how to use the potty.

My older child (almost two years old) is running around today without a diaper or pants on. We are going to the bathroom every 10-15 minutes for her to sit on her potty chair for a minute or two. While we sit, we're reading books, looking at pictures, and "talking".

I started making my breakfast about 8:40 and finally sat down to take a bite at 9:17. It was cold. My eating was then interrupted by a potty break.

I also have a 3 week old child who is breastfed on demand. So far I have been able to squeeze his feedings in between potty visits, but I know this will be a challenge.

I opened up my computer to write this blog post around the time I started to fix my breakfast. I am finally hitting publish at 9:54. Hint: that's why there is no stock photo. If I wasn't part of a daily blogging challenge, this post would not be happening.

I am still in my pajamas however I did manage to brush my teeth. Maybe I will have a chance to change clothes by noon.

This potty learning process is supposed to take three to four days. And that's not even including the nighttime potty needs... just the daytime.

As my dad likes to remind me: "This parenting thing isn't for the faint of heart".

So here I go, armed with my pet odor and stain remover spray, lots of picture books to look at while we sit, sticker rewards for her successes, and as much patience as I can muster.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Becoming a Mother of Two

I had a lot of people tell me this last pregnancy that going from one child to two is a lot harder than going from two to three.

Photo by Joshua Clay on Unsplash
From my current experience, I can vouch that becoming a mother of two has definitely felt different than becoming a mother to my first.

With my first, I constantly thought about my baby and being pregnant. I would say things like, "We're going to have a baby!" and "I can't wait to meet my daughter" all the time.

With my second, I would literally forget I was pregnant sometimes (sorry, son!) until I had to pee again for the 57th time that morning.

With my first, I counted down the weeks and days, read all the apps giving me updates on my growing baby, and felt like my due date was forever away.

With my second, I sometimes read from one of the apps if I remembered and had a second. My due date felt like forever away the first week or two of pregnancy and then all of a sudden it was here.

With my first, I could sit around and just watch her sleep as a newborn. I would hold her for hours on end.

With my second, I sometimes feel guilty for having to set him down for an hour or two while he sleeps in order to get my daughter dressed and fed, get myself presentable, and maybe do the dishes.

There truly is something special about your first baby that is just different. I would encourage first time moms to relish it. I absolutely love my second child -- he is amazing! But I have just not been able to dedicate the undivided attention to him as I could to my daughter. Every moment is amazing, though, and I am thankful for each and every one. The most heart-warming change with having the second child is watching the first one interact with him. She hugs, kisses, and tries to cuddle him, she talks to him, and she watches as I feed him. It's fun to have a little shadow "helping" me through these newborn days the second time around.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Old-Fashioned Thank You Notes

I'm not sure what it is about having a baby but people become extremely generous. I have been absolutely blessed and amazed by all the love (poured out to my family through diapers, clothes, other baby gear, and even gifts for my older child) that people have shown us in the past few months.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
There are times I become overwhelmed with all the gifts, feeling that we are not worthy of all this love and support. It is hard to express just how amazed and grateful I am.

One small way I try to express to these friends, family, and co-workers how much I appreciate their acts of kindness and generosity is through a handwritten thank you note. I ordered some customized thank you notes from VistaPrint and after someone gives me a gift I take the time to write a few sentences, address the envelope, and mail a note to whoever the gifter was. I work hard to make sure I do not forget to thank anyone through a handwritten note. It's truly not much, but to me it represents to the gifter that I sat down and thought about them, their gift, and my gratitude toward them.

I believe that in this age of impersonal internet communication, a personal and old-fashioned form of communication is a breath of fresh air for many. In addition, making sure that those who showed generosity to me know they are appreciated is super important to me. They could not possibly know how much I appreciate my village coming together to make this stage of life less stressful, but maybe a handwritten note will give them an idea.