Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Healing From the Inside

Have you ever heard of 21st Century Syndrome? It's otherwise known as adrenal fatigue/adrenal burn-out, and I've got it.

My adrenals are fried, folks. FRIED. It's really not surprising, I suppose, considering what my body has endured over the last five years. For five years I have been pregnant, breastfeeding or breastfeeding WHILE pregnant. Not a single day off. Add to that three c-sections, and now 16 months of sleep patterns that would qualify as torture in most countries.

My body needs some help, so after much research I have decided to take the following steps:
1. More rest. I won't go so far as to say more sleep because that's really up to my kids more than me. Especially Baby Belle. If she can just figure out how to sleep without waking six or seven times a night, my body will benefit. In the mean time, I'm going to at least take the time to let my body rest during the day. That means that while my kids nap, I will also nap.
2. Vitamins! I'm now taking a daily mixture of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, a B vitamin complex, vitamin C and licorice root. Also a healthy dose of sea salt with each meal.
3. More gentle exercise. I really love pushing myself when I work out, but I don't think it's the best idea while I'm trying to heal. I'll stick to shorter workouts, and try to include more yoga.
4. No more coffee. This one will be hard. Even on days when I don't feel like I desperately need coffee, I still want it! I love my morning ritual with a hot cup of coffee. But I kicked the habit back in March, and I know I can do it again - and I know my body will thank me for it.
5. Better eating. I'm trying to be as strict as possible in eating Whole30-style for the next month. My body just functions better when I eat this way. My energy is higher and more consistent. And I'll certainly need that while giving up coffee!
6. Wean Baby Belle. I know there are plenty of mothers out there just ready to give me all kinds of grief for choosing when my baby weans. I'm just not into super-extended-breastfeeding. (I'm not against it on principle - do what you want. It's just not for me.) I think I've done her a great service by giving her over 16 months of breastmilk. (She's never had a bottle, and she only had a couple of ounces of formula in the hospital while she was being treated for jaundice.) I know it will upset her - she's definitely a booby baby. But it's time. My body needs a rest!

I am hopeful about the difference this will make in helping me feel better. I'm also hopeful that it will provide the best chances of allowing my hair to grow back (though I know it's not a guarantee). Now I just need to come up with some way of reminding myself to take my vitamins four times a day!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Redefining My Days

Two simple facts about my family are about to change my day-to-day life in a big way:
1. I'm married to a teacher.
2. My firstborn is nearly four and a half years old.

Starting on Friday, my husband will be off work for two glorious months! And when he goes back to work in September, Princess will be starting school.

That means I only have a few days left of being a stay-at-home-mom of three little ones all by myself. Having another adult around full-time makes a huge difference in the rhythm of our days. It's nice to not have to change all the diapers and make all  the snacks and lunches. It's nice to have someone else to entertain the kids while I make supper. I'm really looking forward to having a lot of fun - and getting some extra rest - while Francis is home with us for the summer.

What I'm not looking forward to is sending my sweet little girl off to school in the fall! I know she's ready. She's been asking about it for a while now. She'll have no trouble with the academic side of things (can you really talk about the "academics" of junior kindergarten?), since she's very keen and learns really quickly. Socially, she'll thrive I'm sure. She loves to meet new people and make new friends. But the days will be long for her. She has always been at home with me, and suddenly she'll be out of the house for a whole school day, five days a week. I'm just not comfortable with that! Things may be different come September, but right now she still naps for an hour to an hour and a half every day.

I'm excited to see how Princess will make out in school, but I'm also excited to see how things evolve here at home. Music Man will be about three and a half in the fall, and Baby Belle will be one and a half. It will be interesting to see the dynamic between the two of them grow once the ringleader is out of the picture. Music Man will have his shot to be The Big Kid, and I'll have more one-on-one time with each of them.

And what about me? Will I be able to get more done during the days with only two kids around? How will I spend my extra time? Or will it actually be harder while these two are sorting out their new relationship?

One thing is for sure, though: While I'm looking forward to this next step and whatever it brings, right now I'm ready for summer vacation!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Maybe Next Time!

I was all set to actually participate in Inspiration Monday over at two birds this week, and then I made a huge boo-boo - I didn't actually get a decent picture of what I wore! Go figure! (Which especially sucks because it's so rare for my husband and me to get a chance to get all dressed up.)

I didn't actually attempt to recreate the outfit they chose for the week, but rather I used the colour scheme as the inspiration for what I wore to a dear friend's wedding on Saturday. I'm a sucker for the black/white/red combination.

You can see a little in this photo that I wore a black dress with teeny white polka dots (and pockets!!) and a giant red belt. What you can't see is the remarkably comfortable-yet-adorable red pumps, and what I'd ditched at this point was my vintage black clutch and my straw cloche. (Hat like this one, but with a plain black band.) I also wore the pearls my mother-in-law gave me at my wedding, and a new-to-me pair of onyx earrings. (And don't forget my very on-trend leopard-print hair colour!) Other than my hat (and those sunglasses - necessary at an outdoor reception) everything was either a gift (earrings and pearls) or thrifted (everything else). I've really caught the thrift-store bug!

(And this is why, no matter how big my closet gets or how awesome my outfits become, I could never be a fashion blogger - it's so foreign a concept to take pictures of myself! Oh well. Good thing there are so many other great blogs out there - I'll just live vicariously.)

The groom at the wedding we attended is an old and dear friend, near to both our hearts. But we hadn't actually seen him in several years, and as a result we met the bride for the first time in the receiving line. I knew *right away* what kind of woman she is when she excused herself and left the receiving line for a moment to greet and hug two street people who had come to wish her well on her wedding day. Apparently she has a real heart for people who are homeless, poor, suffering with mental/emotional illness, or in any way looked-down-upon by society. I'm so happy for my friend that he found a woman who is so full of love that she can lavish it on everyone she meets! I wish them both a long and happy life together, filled with joy and babies! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guess What? I'm White!

Shocking, isn't it? In spite of the fact that my ethnic roots are not entirely Caucasian, I am perhaps one of the whitest non-albino people going. Nurses love taking my blood because it's so easy to find my veins. True story. Oh, and I don't tan. At all. Ever. 'Specially my legs. (With all my whitey-whitiness, I look even paler standing next to my beautifully brown husband.)

I'm 33, so I've lived a long time with my pastiness. I used to hide my legs year-round. Last summer I bought a pair of shorts. One. A single pair of shorts. And it was the first time I'd worn shorts (outside the gym) in at least a decade. Now I've just gotten to the point that I don't really care anymore, and I'd rather be comfortable and not sweat buckets when it's nearly 40 (Celsius) outside, thankyouverymuch. This year I own a couple pairs of shorts and several short skirts and dresses. It's time to let my blindingly white legs see the light of day!

Why the post about pale skin, you ask? Well I went to our church's annual picnic on Sunday, and it was really hot and humid. So, of course, I wore shorts. And I got made fun of. Twice. By adults. One of whom is the same friend who offered to shave her head with me a month ago! (The other was her mother - I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!)

For a second or two, it hurt. Really hurt. It brought back all the feelings of being picked-on as a kid - those feelings that made me keep my legs covered for so many years. And then I made a new commitment to not-giving-a-rat's-ass.

My skin is white. Very white. My legs are the whitest (visible) part of me. I have very short hair which is still riddled with empty patches. I'm a few pounds heavier than I'd ultimately like to be. And I don't care. I'm not going to let those things hold me back. They won't keep me from doing the things I want to do. Big thighs won't keep me from wearing a bathing suit. White skin won't keep me covered up. Patchy hair won't make me embarrassed and feel the need to cover my head. I'm going to wear what I want, do my make-up, don some big earrings then just head out and enjoy my summer!

This is the only me I have - the only me there is. I refuse to waste any more time being hung up on what's "wrong" with me.

(This post inspired in part by this one. Which, by the way, I love in part due to the fact that she worked out in a dress. I once did 50 burpees in a maxi skirt.)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thanks, Mark

I whine, I complain, I try harder, I slip up, then I pretend I don't understand why the scale isn't moving.

Then I read this article, and I realized all the ways I'm not helping myself lose any weight.

Too much stress (mostly from sleeplessness), needing to watch my carbs more closely, building muscle, not really succeeding with IF, probably eating too much at meals, probably approaching my body's happy weight, not enough sleep, not enough willpower, and definitely not sprinting.

Oh, and my own personal bonus reason: Still breastfeeding. I have no objection to nursing as long as mom and baby are still happy with it, but I'm not happy with it. Baby Belle is nearing 16 months, and I've been either pregnant, breastfeeding, or breastfeeding while  pregnant for over five years. I'm done. (Problem is, I know she needs to be weaned gently, and that won't really be possible until my husband is off for summer vacation to help.) I suspect that my body is retaining a small amount of extra body fat as insurance while breastfeeding.

Whatever my reasons, I'm pretty sure the scale is not going to make me smile tomorrow. Meh, whatever. I was definitely sticking closer to my plan this week than I had been in weeks gone by, so I'm happy with that. Yes, I ate a gluten-free cupcake at the church picnic today. (I certainly didn't need it, but I wanted to test the results of my new recipe!)

I know I need to try harder this week, because the shorts I'm wearing today fit differently than they did a month or two ago - and not in a good way. What I need to do is plan in advance for the times I want to "splurge", and keep it strict the rest of the time. With a double-reception wedding coming up on Saturday, I think my "splurges" have been planned for me!

Friday, June 8, 2012


Did I say I was going to log all my food here? Oops. It's been a non-stop week, and I've barely had time to put the food in my mouth, let alone write down what it is!

Baby Belle got four new teeth in three days. Four teeth. In three days. She went from three to seven teeth with much wailing and gnashing of the afore-mentioned teeth.

Three straight days of play dates. Wednesday was one with a dear friend whom I don't see nearly as often as I'd like. Yesterday I babysat two of my friend's children so she could run errands with just the youngest. And today, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and her three boys came to play.

This weekend I have to make a 200-serving cake for the church picnic. Next weekend I have to do two small wedding cakes. I am a little out of practice, ever since I decided I was just too busy and had to put my business on the back burner.

But in the midst of all the craziness, I got to do something really fun last night. A friend of mine - we'll call her J - is learning photography, and as part of a workshop she's taking she got several hours of time in a well-stocked photography studio. Last night she was going to take maternity photos of our friend S, and asked if I would come along as one of her assistants. Talk about FUN! I got to hold the light reflector thingy, help make suggestions for posing, even help with propping some photos.

(I won't post any of those pictures here since they are neither my work nor my image, but I'll say this: They are gorgeous. I really believe my friend has a future in the photography business!)

So as to make the most of her time in the studio, whenever S was changing outfits, myself and the other assistant would pose for some fun photos, just for added practice for J. The results were funny, but well photo-graphed!

It was really significant for me, since there aren't many photos of me from the past year. The biggest collection is from Baby Belle's baptism, at which point I weighed about 30 - 35lbs more than I do now. I've lost track of what I actually  look like now, and it's easy to forget about what I've actually accomplished in my weight-loss goals. I too often get caught up in what I'd still like to work on, and forget to celebrate having lost all my pregnancy weight plus an extra 25lbs! Seeing the photos she took helped to remind me that I've come a long way, and I'm actually looking pretty good - even while I wait to lose 10 more pounds and have my hair grow back! :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Back At It

Weekly weigh-ins? Kinda gross. It's not so much that I'm concerned with the actual number on the scale (because I know, I know, I KNOW that muscle mass is heavy, and I want more muscle mass), but I know that the reality of having to get on a scale at a set time is something that motivates me during the week. It's more the fear of seeing an increase, than an overwhelming desire to see a decrease. Does that make sense? I know when I pig out and eat garbage and lots of salt, my weight goes up quickly. But when I eat well, my weight goes down a little, or at least stays at a happy place. My scale is just a battery-operated conscience.

Monday, June 4th - 125.6lbs

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (whisked with coconut milk) and kale cooked in ghee, with two cups of half-decaf with coconut milk and a tiny bit of honey.
Lunch: Ugh. Leftovers. And not the good kind. Let's just say it involved a small piece of the kids' homemade (gluten-free) pepperoni pizza from Saturday.
Snack: DCQT. (Dark Chocolate Quiet Time. That means I sit and savour a square of dark chocolate for a ridiculously long time while the three kids nap. This often happens on days when I'm extra tired.)
Supper: Hot Italian sausages fried in coconut oil, with a side of oven-roasted cauliflower with olive oil. We were supposed to have guacamole with supper, but I've been having the worst luck with avocados lately! I cut into four today, and all of them were still too hard to mash, but they were already bad inside! Argh.

It was a weird day. My house is a disaster, and I have to give a talk tomorrow night that isn't written yet. But still, instead of working on those things, I sat down at my sewing machine. Last week I made a skirt while avoiding talk-writing, this week I took in a black strapless dress I wore like CRAZY last summer. Just one of those Old Navy jersey numbers. Nothing fancy, but it was such a great little just-throw-it-on-and-go, dress-it-up-or-down, easy-peasy dress. I loved that the elasticized strapless-ness of it made it a breeze for nursing Baby Belle. (Under a nursing cover, of course. I'm not really a whip-it-out kind of breastfeeder.) In addition to the dress getting taken in, I finally got around to altering a plaid skirt I bought about six weeks ago at the thrift store. The pattern is adorable, and it fit perfectly in the waist. But it was about three inches past my knees, and a frumpy kind of stiff A-line. I took it in and hemmed it up, and now I have a plaid pencil skirt. Go me! And now I really must get at that talk, or the girls are going to be mighty P.O.ed tomorrow night!