high heels and grits

high heels and grits

Monday, May 26, 2014

Whole 30

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My friend from college posted a before and after picture of her body after a Whole30 experience. 
First of all: SO BRAVE of her! I'm so proud of her, she looks awesome! 
Second: I was sold! I googled Whole30 as fast as I could.

It didn't seem too bad, just 30 days of unprocessed foods, grains...easy enough
But then you can't have beans, rice or even peanuts
Also no dairy!
So basically meat and veggies. Not totally paleo (no substitutions like "healthy brownies") and not entirely Atkins (not pure meat).

Start date: April 13 one month after giving birth.

This first week has been fun. I'm exploring my small town grocery store (no Whole Foods or Central Market here) and using my imagination with my menus. 

I'm on maternity leave so I have plenty of time to make meals. 

However my husband does come home for lunch and his sister makes lunch for him and his dad. I have slipped up a few times. I had corn tortilla and rice and white potato with cheese. Following the white potato I got ill! 

Week 2: I realize why this Whole30 works for me. It's not called a diet or a detox, even though that's kinda what it is. I guess it's a lifestyle change? A program? I'm not sure what to call it. But the anonymity of it leaves little room for excuses. And I like that. 
Really doesn't help that this week was Easter and I was tempted with Easter candy. While I didn't give in to the candy I did have some baked goods - brownie and cake. But I'm usually a sucker for a Reese's peanut butter egg and I willingly rejected one.

I had a doctors appointment this week which means we went in to the "big city". Things got crazy as we tried to squeeze in errands and we ended up on the side of town with fast food restaurants, not REAL restaurants. While I wanted to try the Pita Pit thinking it had healthier options than any place serving fries. My husband was turned off by the name and suggested Sonic. I was tired and hungry and didn't want to stop at two places for lunch so I gave in to Sonic. I couldn't fathom deconstructing my burger in the car so I just ate the bread. #fail However, I wasn't hungry for dinner that day. 

Week 3: Ok, so they say you can't slip in during the Whole30, but I'm here to tell you: You can! (not in a good way) I made the choice to make/eat jumbalaya the other day - it was the quickest thing I could make for my FIL and Husband. A few days later we were invited to hubby's aunts house and she made gorditas and desserts. That's all that was available to eat! And yesterday I made chinese meatballs with brown sugar glaze and beef shortribs with brown sugar. I'm sure I could have found a substitute, but I didn't. However, I WILL because I had a headache all night due to the excess intake of sugar! I thought week 2 was going to be the worst - my my I was wrong...

Week 4: Whole 30 has come to an end and I am grateful I've attempted this. I realize that I do eat sugar and that is greatly effects my body. I've found new sources of sweetness. After a fast from sugar you realize fruit is incredibly sweet! I almost wanted to fast from fruit too! I found a new love for coconut in this banana, coconut, nut salad. Quite yummy!

When I go back to work I will DEFINITELY need to pre cook and pack my lunches. There is TOO much temptation to eat out. And in the past I focused too much on the meal. I expect each meal to have a vegetable, meat, carb, something sweet, something crunchy. I've learned I will survive without that sweet, that carb and that temptation. With a new baby I'll want to spend my time with him, not in a fast food line. Something I did for my pregnancy was create freezer meals that I could throw in a crock pot. I ended up burning 2 of them, but it was a good concept. Yes, I'm the girl who burns meals as easy as crockpot meals. I found these Whole30 freezer meals at Stuff I Make My Husband. Worth a shot!

In conclusion...
I noticed a HUGE difference in my body shape and in how I felt. I was alert (no yawning - even with a new born!). I could see definition in my body. I didn't feel "blah" and "mushy". I felt pulled together and centered. 

I guess I need to read the book: It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways
I will need to try Whole30 again - maybe in June? and I will need to COMMIT 100%. If that means turning down an invitation to a family event or bringing my own food. So be it!

Meal suggestions for next time:

Blueberry, raspberry, strawberry almond milk
Spinach, kiwi,  banana, pear, almond milk

Hard boiled eggs and grapefruit
Breakfast sausage and eggs
Veggie Omelets with spinach

Beef lettuce wraps with homemade taco seasoning
Chinese Meatballs (with ground turkey - don't tell my hubby!)

Steak, grilled veggies: cabbage, zucchini, asparagus
Beef stew
Beef Shortribs

veggie chips
Dried bananas
Dried apricots
Salad: Banana, Cashews, Almonds, Cinnamon, Coconut pieces

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Friday, May 16, 2014

The nursery

There have been many requests for a post about the nursery. Remember I wanted to do a forest theme

Lesson #1: Finish your nursery before you have the baby! There is so much going on as a new parent you think your maternity leave is a vacation but it's actually more difficult than your day job!

Now I know....

MJ is now 2 months old and the nursery is still a work in progress. Just take a look:

When you walk in you see a window, laundry basket, artwork from my SIL and yep, that's my bridal portrait...guess I need a new place for that.

Close up of SIL artwork

To your right is the crib. Baby cribs are so simple. They can't have too many pillows or blankets so there's just the sheet and a few stuffed animals. Our "nino" sign is hanging up. And yes, we still need a mobile. The one from my previous blog looks cool when you look right at it, but it's not that interesting to the baby. Weird, once you have the kid you're more interested in his needs and not your own. Someone warned me that would happen!

Across from the crib is my dresser turned changing table turned baby's dresser. My jewelry and make up use to take up the entire surface of this dresser. Not any more! I don't even have all the drawers. He has three and I have four. 

This is his favorite place in the room because of this DIY mobile I made:

Babies can see in B&W so I made this mobile out of a paper plate, note cards and a sharpie. He could sit for hours under this mobile! Ok, more like 10 minutes straight, but to a new parent that time is a much needed breather!

What looks like clutter on the dresser is a two-tiered fruit basket that is a diaper holder and diaper accessory holder. We're still going through the disposable diapers that were given to use during our baby showers. I've tried cloth diapers on occasion. One brand did not hold in a #2 while the other brand was stolen by the neighbor dog when I left it outside to dry! Gotta love country dogs.

All the baby books from my baby book shower are displayed on top of this dresser. I emptied out this dresser thinking we'd move it but it hasn't made the move and is now full of extra baby stuff. Towels, blankets, clothes in the next size up, clothes he's outgrown...so it has come in handy and won't be moved into storage.

Things on the top of the dresser include:
Baby size crucifix, baby cross, frame (that needs an ultrasound picture in it - opps!), Sophie the giraffe, digital alarm clock used for nature sound feature and static (white noise), baby's hand print will be created soon and MJ's favorite accessory: the wipe warmer

Now you've had a quick tour of our nursery....

We have a rocking chair in the family room but MJ prefers to bounce rather than rock. So we use that yellow yoga ball and he's a happy camper! 

High Heels! 

p.s. there is a can of dirty diapers that didn't make the photoshoot. Because who wants a picture of a trash can?

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A day on maternity leave

I thought you might be wondering what happens on maternity leave.
Then I realized I was wondering what was happening on maternity leave. It's been 2 months! This time is just flying by!
My pregnant self had these amazing visions of getting so much accomplished while at home on maternity leave. Three months to just sit at home?! Sounds like a dream come true. Little did I know, it would take FOREVER to get ANYTHING done while on maternity leave.

So to prove to myself that I was actually accomplishing something throughout the day I decided to log one day. This was last Friday:

2 am: feeding, dad put to sleep
5 am: feeding, mom put to sleep
7:30 am: feeding mom and baby fall asleep on recliner
8 am: dad leaves for work
9 am: mom and baby wake up for another feeding
9:15 am: baby falls asleep on couch, mom works out
9:40 am: baby wakes up during work out, diaper change, go for walk outside take Max and Ranger
10:40 am: back from walk, another feeding
Mom wonders when she'll have time to make lunch
11 am: baby won't fall asleep, wear baby in Moby wrap and begin making lunch. Turn on podcast
11:20 am: baby is asleep, carefully transition baby into crib, shut door,  continue with lunch
12:18 pm: dad finally home for lunch, baby wakes up (of course!)
12:19 pm: mom inhales lunch because baby is crying and must be hungry
12:20 pm: mom goes to feed baby, not hungry, so tries 5 s's
12:30 pm: baby falls asleep
12:35 pm: baby is up
12:45 pm: tries 5 s' s doesn't work. Burps baby, dad eats lunch alone while mom is attempting all this.
12:50 pm: baby falls asleep
Whisper around the lunch table and try to have a conversation...didn't really work out.
1:30 pm: hubby leaves for work, baby still sleeping
1:33 pm: try to move dishes to sink, too loud!
Log on to computer. Need to be sure baby's doctor is covered by our insurance. Computer wants to update! Lovely! Don't they know These are precious minutes!

At this point I stopped taking a log of the day. If I remember correctly I did make some calls and pay some medical bills. But I also had a really hard time getting MJ to nap throughout the afternoon. 

Which means the rest of my day looked like this-

He loves being held like this. I hear it's a colic baby thing....

I'll try to log again this week just for some self satisfaction! Only 4 more weeks to be productive.


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Monday, May 12, 2014

Birth Announcements

Now that the birth announcements have been delivered I am happy to share them with the blogosphere! 

But first let me take you through the process of capturing this adorable picture! It was not easy.

I visited Pinterest and various blogs for advice and inspiration on this photo shoot. Newborn babies are so squirmy, after my first attempt in Dallas I realized this would be a big overtaking. 

The biggies mentioned on every website were:

  • Keep the room warm
  • Use natural light
  • Be sure the baby is in a deep sleep
The first two were a Catch22 for me. It was mid March and cold outside, so if I set up near a window for natural light, it would be cold. I brought in a space heater, but it didn't warm the room well. 
And yes, newborns sleep, but not as much as they eat! MJ was up every hour so by the time I fed him, burped and rocked him to sleep, I had SECONDS before he would wake up for his next feeding. This is why he's awake in our photoshoot.

I was telling people I took over 700 picture of MJ during this photoshoot but it turns out I took less than 100! I was so exhausted afterwards I guess I over exaggerated! 

Now to the pictures....

Did you see it?
Did you see the ONE perfect little smile? 
It was in 'Take 4'.

This was MJ's 2nd week on this earth so he wasn't at a developmental stage for smiling on demand or smiling in general. One smile in almost 100 photos. That one shot was a gem!!!
The other contenders were....


but this

is perfection.

You may remember my post about our Christmas cards and how I should have used Minted.com. Well I remembered my own advice and went to Minted.com for the birth announcements. They have a HUGE selection for baby announcements. It was very difficult to make a decision. 

I was torn between the following:

I really loved the B&W one, but I also really liked the picture being in color. 

I decided on this:

 and we couldn't be happier!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Who's waiting when waiting tables

Before the baby we country folk went to the big city. No not Lubbock, Dallas! While in Dallas we decided to go out to eat. There may be a lot to see and do in Dallas but I love the restaurant scene.

I was am ambitious teenager. As soon as I could have a job (age 16) I had two jobs. By day I was a camp counselor and by night a steakhouse waitress. Both jobs fit my personality and satisfied everything I was looking for in a summer job. Two paychecks didn't hurt either...IF ONLY I had saved that 'fun money' and not eaten Chick-fil-a every day! Then again, only in my teens could I get away with eating Chick-fil-a every day. 

I digress... There is a HUGE difference in Dallas restaurant experiences and country restaurant experiences. I'm not talking Kenichi vs. Cracker Barrel. I mean really....the service in the country is slow. This is expected and embraced. Ok, maybe not embraced but it's dealt with because you have no choice. There aren't as many people in the country, so the waiter is going to enjoy your company, your food will be made fresh (or freshly defrosted) and you'll find little to complain about when the only other table is across the restaurant. This slower pace was a huge transition for this city girl but I've grown accustom to it. 

However, in Dallas?! No. Not expected and not embraced. With the restaurants so packed and waiters flying all over the place you expect attention and therefore fast service. During our recent trip, at this un-named restaurant, our waitress was as slow as molasses. Seriously. I understand if you're double sat or in the weeds, but this chick WALKED slow and TALKED slow. Think Daria. (Remember Daria?) I always thought she talked slow.

The worst part of the entire meal was towards the beginning when my dad asked for lemons for his iced tea (why didn't the tea come with a lemon to begin with?). She left the table for the lemons and went somewhere (not the kitchen because we could see the kitchen door). We see her walking towards us with the lemons but in route she decides to grab a water pitcher and refill water from another table and they ask for the check. So she goes to a POS, waits for the person using the POS to finish, and then prints the check and drops it at the table. THEN she brings my dad his lemons. 

Thankfully my parents had their back turned and didn't see this. My sister, husband and I saw her entire journey and knew we were doomed!  I am a firm believer in the common saying "everyone should work in a restaurant or retail at one point in their life". I totally agree. I even agree with Maria who writes "7 Things you Learn from Working in a Restaurant" Her final thought is working in a restaurant gives you the "inability to tip anything less than 25% for the rest of your life." I've been known to over tip. I even have my husband over tipping! 

HOWEVER, after you've worked in a restaurant you realize that it's NOT THAT HARD. That there are certain things you ALWAYS do. Like:

  1. Greet your guests as soon as they are seated so they know you saw them and they know they are important to you. There is nothing worse than looking around the restaurant like a pound puppy thinking "doesn't anybody love me?" Hubby and I have been known to leave restaurants if we don't get greeted in a timely manner. First impressions people, first impressions. 
  2. Bring lemon with iced tea (and water) <-- why has this stopped being the norm? Know that your table is probably watching your every move. And if you would rather stand in line at a POS than serve a table they will feel under appreciated and have a bad experience.
  3. Do the 360 turn! When you leave a table turn around in a complete circle and check ALL the tables around you- yes, even those tables that aren't yours. You'll notice something is needed, or a guest will ask you for something. It's a guarantee! Don't just walk away! Do you want your table to walk away from the check? Didn't think so. 
  4. I agree with Maria, in that the wait staff isn't a servant or a slave. However, they are the only way to get anything at a restaurant...if I could I would have grabbed those lemons out of her hand and given them to my dad! 
My husband paid for that lunch and I was sure to write a note on the check. Back in MY days the manager would read the credit card receipts to be sure you input the correct tip amount. So I always leave my notes on the credit card receipt. Is this still the case?

Am I turning into a bitter old lady? Sorry for the rant.


p.s. I would never work retail because I know I wouldn't have a paycheck after that job! I would spend everything on the inventory I was selling! I can only eat so much food so I took the restaurant route. Anyone feel differently?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Books I've read during my pregnancy

I've always loved to read. No matter where I am I'm reading something. I give credit to my mother and my grandmother (a retired librarian). Heck, I had a book themed baby shower!

It comes at no surprise that I remained an avid reader during my pregnancy. I'd like to share with you the books I read during my pregnancy and my personal book review.

     My favorite book this pregnancy was Ina May's Guide to Childbirth which speaks to the very natural process of childbirth. This hippy book is about a midwife who lives on a farm in Tennessee. Women would come from all over the nation to have Ina May and her team guide them in natural childbirth. Each woman becomes a part of the farm during their time before and after their childbirth. They clean their own cabin rooms, help with farming and even walk the woods during their beginning contractions.
     I heard about this book on a blog and I'm so glad I did! The beginning of this book contains stories of women who had natural births on 'The Farm'. The second half of the book, written by Ina May, speaks to the process of natural birth and explains terms and medications your doctor will mention. I will say this book is very biased. Ina May is completely against a medicated and hospital birth (she HAS had to take a high risk mother to a hospital for a birth - she's not cruel). But the 1960's hippy girl in her never died as she fights for women's rights and sticks it to "the man".

     When I heard about two friends from my Catholic elementary school becoming pregnant around the same time (1 year before I became pregnant) I was so happy for them! I wanted to send them a congratulations gift. I looked and looked for what I thought would be best and I came across this book. Unfortunately by the time I found this book I thought it was too late to send a congratulatory gift. But let's face it, it's never too late to send a gift!
    This book is a week by week journey through your pregnancy. Each week is about 2-4 pages beginning with what's medically going on in your pregnancy, followed by real life stories and advice from the author and finished with a prayer. The prayers were short and always had a challenge for the week: Dear Jesus, walk with me in these final weeks of pregnancy, and hold me close to your Sacred Heart. I am looking forward to meeting this baby, but I'm not necessarily looking forward to the process that gets me there. Keep me wise as I prioritize and focus always on God's will for my every day. Amen. See?  I loved this book because it was a light read before bed. Nothing too scary or too heavy.
     I just realized this book also has a chapter on baptism. I guess I need to read that (we haven't baptized Marshall yet).

     Another Catholic book I read throughout the nine months was Prayerfully Expecting by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle. I knew the nine months of pregnancy would be a perfect novena opportunity. A novena is when you pray for nine days in a row. It sounds easy but it is really hard for me! I figured if I had nine months I would at least have 30 days to remember my novena commitment. Believe it or not I still fell behind!
     This novena is pretty intense. You really need to set aside time to pray this. Not only are you praying a rosary (which takes about 30 minutes) there are other prayers and meditations that go with each month. While this was the most challenging book to read/pray. It was also the most rewarding. If you're up for it, I say give this a try!

     Funny story. One day I was in a Salvation Army store because they were having a sale. $5 for as many books you can fit in a box. I found a What to Expect When You're Expecting and put it in the box. I figured "Hey, I'll be pregnant someday and these books are expensive!" What do you know, it came in handy! 
     As soon as I found out I was pregnant I read this book cover to cover. Seriously. And it was an AWFUL idea! While they guide you through month by month, there are many tangents you can take when you find a symptom throughout your pregnancy. Q: "I have gas, what does this mean?"  A: "Gas is very common for pregnant women, it is due to the change in hormones. However, if you have severe gas it could be a sign that this pregnancy will be horrible and you will have a severely painful birth!" I would proceed with caution with this book. It give a LOT of information, most of which I found unnecessary during my pregnancy. Just keep it by your side as a reference but definitely take your doctor's word over anything.

     When I wasn't reading I was visiting blogs, pinterest and the WhatToExpect website. One day on this website I found a message board for mothers due in March. I joined and someone shared that there was a Facebook group for mothers due in March that would work better than the message board. So I joined the March Mom facebook group. This community was a godsend. No really, God sent me this community. Without them I would have been a nervous wreck throughout the pregnancy. We were all going through similar symptoms at the same time. "Anyone buying new bras? Where are you getting yours?" "My body is doing this funny thing, anyone else?" "Is my baby bump supposed to look like this?" etc. 
We turned Wednesday's Hump Day into Bump Day and would share our belly bumps!
Faces distorted to protect privacy. It was a secret group on Facebook.

     My sister-in-law was the only person in my life who was pregnant around the time I was. This was her second baby and so she had her hands full with a toddler. With over 200 women in this Facebook group there was always someone to encourage you, comfort you and suggest medical attention. This group is still going strong today as we share milestones our babies are reaching. I've learned I'm already a competitive mom. I said to J the other day: "A baby in my mommy group is already rolling over. Should Marshall be rolling over? I'm going to see if he can roll over." yikes! It has begun!

High Heels!

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Monday, April 7, 2014

What happens PP (Postpartum)

My sister took this picture when MJ was 1 week old. 
Which means I'd been a new mom for one week! 
My expression sums up how overwhelmed I was after 1 week, haha!

I was so ready to become a mom. I read every blog and book out there! I thought I was so prepared for what would happen before, during and after the delivery of my son. However, I will admit I skimmed over the after part. 

I took advice from mothers close to me who said:
  • take everything from the hospital: disposable underwear, extra large pads (and I mean EXXTRA large), baby brushes, etc.
  • You won't sleep at the hospital or when you get home so get ready
  • You won't want to look, touch or even think about what happened down there - just mentally avoid that area all together. 
  • require anyone who holds your baby to wash their hands first
However there are a few things I didn't expect to happen. Let me share: 
  • You will lose your butt! It was so firm and tight and now it's flabby and loose. I was wondering why Tracy Anderson was so focused on the glut exercises during my pregnancy workouts... now I understand and it's depressing!
  • Your baby will not be a newborn for long! We're already out of newborn diapers (thankfully we flew through three boxes of newborn diapers in perfect timing). He outgrew newborn clothes by week 3.
  • Your boobs will be HUGE for a few days after delivery and then deflate. Womp womp (Don't buy new bras for this new "huge" stage, it only lasts a couple of days)
  • You will need night vision. You'll be nursing and changing diapers in the dark. Unless you want to turn on the light and confuse your newborn into thinking it's daytime. Therefore causing him to stay awake all night and sleep all day. Trust me - keep the lights off!
  • Breast milk will get EVERYWHERE. In some cases that's ok. They say breast milk can soothe baby acne or mucus in the eye - even diaper rash! But it will also be on on every shirt and pair of yoga pants you own. (Because you will only be wearing yoga pants in public now) I say "in public" because you may walk around the house naked. Or maybe in just a pair of boxers and a nursing bra. Seriously- no shame anymore you just squeezed a baby out of you know where! Your body is AWESOME.
  • Baby spit up will be everywhere too! Think you have enough burp cloths? Think again! Did you buy those onesies with clever sayings on them? Well that will be covered up by a bib until your baby out grows that onesie. Think not? well if your child isn't wearing a bib you'll be changing onesies non-stop because they are spitting up every 5 minutes! Oh, and you probably don't have enough bibs either. 
  • And finally, if you think you are a good person because you went to the baby shower, bought a gift and said "congratulations" the day your friend's baby was born; you're right you are a good person. But after you have a baby you realize a FREAKIN AMAZING person comes over, cleans the house of the new mommy, gives her time to nap and doesn't touch her baby's face and spread germs just in time to leave her with a sick baby. 
Of course you'll never truly understand ANY of this until you have a baby of your own. I just had a baby and I still can't believe half of it!