Thursday, April 10, 2014

Don't ever give up on your body

My daughter Charlotte turned one on the 31st of March. It has been a year filled with many firsts from breastfeeding to teething, Christmas and one emergency room visit. The learning curve of course, has been huge and it's been a year of tears, love, happiness, and often loneliness on the journey that is being a new parent. This first year has been a year of readjusting. While I'm getting better at leaving the house in a timely manner, it's not always easy to get yourself plus one ready for the day. I have another schedule to work around, another mouth to feed, a little soul that's constantly begging for my attention and always underfoot when I'm doing anything from vacuuming to showering. The past year was one of sacrifice and choices which were often unpleasant yet freeing. I could deal with selling our house, my dwindling bank account to pay for sitters and substituting happy hours for naps but the one thing I refused to give up in my life was working out.

Me in the best shape of my life pre-pregnancy

Can I tell you that standing on a scale a year after Charlotte was born, I'm so happy I never gave up on the body that didn't give up on me.

Let's be clear my best friends...I do not own a scale. I never have. I find them to be the source of unhappiness in life. When I was pregnant the scale taunted me and I hated each appointment where I had to step on it and see the number go up and up. My gym of course has a scale and so that is the only reason I ever knew how much I'd weigh here and there. Parked outside the bathroom, the scale at the gym was a source of amusement for me while waiting my turn to use the restroom. I prefer to go by how my clothing fits but I can say when I saw the number at 125 before I got pregnant I was elated. I worked hard for that number and spent many hours taking yoga classes, pushing myself on the spin bike and refusing to put the weights down in yoga sculpt. I swung kettlebells, box jumped and gymnastics tumbled my way into that 125 number and I was damn proud of it. Not just the number but how much muscle I had added to my body and how lean and healthy I felt and looked.

Here is the thing about one tells you after you give birth you will go home looking like you are five months pregnant still. The day I gave birth I was 157 so I had gained about 32 pounds with Charlotte. While some of the weight did come off right away due to the baby being born, blood, fluid and placenta loss, I hovered around the 130-135 mark for a long while. Slowly I eased my way back into workouts. Sometimes I'd take Charlotte to the gym with me and park her sleeping self by the elliptical. Other times I'd leave her with Chad while I did yoga. No longer could I take 4 classes in a day because I didn't have the time. Often I would choose spending time with my family over myself and my workouts.
first day home from the hospital

Here's the thing best friends, once something becomes an addiction that addiction is hard to beat. It's always there and it gnaws at the pit of your soul until you become agitated. The less I worked out the meaner I became because I wasn't happy mentally or physically. Maternity pants didn't fit but neither did my old jeans and I became more than annoyed with my body. The baby was out, why didn't it look like it did before? Where were my abs and toned arms? Why did my thighs still touch? I wanted to give in to the craving of working out but I had to do something else first....I had to thank my body for all it had done and I had to forgive it. I could not move forward and find a new normal until I could be grateful for the life my body hosted. I could not find my abs until I thanked my body for allowing me to have a natural birth.
at 41 weeks

It took a year friends. I know celebrities will tell you the weight melts off. I know magazines and friends will say breastfeeding will burn all your calories for you. You have to remember it took nine months to put on the weight and it will take longer to burn it all off. I had to stop buying angel food cakes and ice cream bars like I was still pregnant and start eating right. I had to hit my yoga mat with a new intention to make the most of that 75 minutes. My legs moved faster and spun harder knowing I may only get 30 minutes of cycling in a week. I hiked the hardest 14ers I could and did more yoga in a weekend at Wanderlust than I'd done all year. The end result was not what I was expecting. I didn't get my "old" body back...I earned a new one.

So while the number is the same on the scale my body is not. My belly button is deeper and my boobs are a little smaller stretched. My core isn't as strong as it was but it's getting there. I can do yoga postures like forearm stand and gymnastics moves like piking up that I never could before. My body is reenergized and refocused and I appreciate the fined tuned machine I now know it is. I trust my body more than I ever did before and I understand what it takes to be not just thin but strong.
4 weeks out vs today

Most of all I appreciate the every day. Our bodies are meant to constantly change and grow. Some days the scale will say more...some less. This is not an indicator of my self worth and it shouldn't be to yours either. What should determine your worth is how you feel. I didn't feel good when I wasn't working out and now I can see a difference mentally and physically. It takes a long time to lose the baby weight make no mistake but go at your pace, do what you love and in addition to getting to know your baby get to know yourself again. Your body is not your enemy, it's a giver of life...and whether that's to another human being or just to host your soul...well don't you think that's pretty cool?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Charlotte's web first birthday party

We celebrated Charlotte's first birthday on Saturday and things could not have gone more perfect. The weather was 70 degrees, the first Saturday in awhile it's been so warm, there was hardly any wind and both my parents made it into town. I hired my friend Lacee Muller of I heart Cupcakes to help me bring my ideas to life for Charlotte's party. A Charlotte's web theme was a no brainer and we used the food and d├ęcor to bring the barnyard chic idea to life. We started with the invites which had pigs on the envelopes and on the invitations which encouraged people to "get our your barnyard best." We went with a pink, white and red theme which kept it just girly enough to be cute while the red balanced out the farm feel. Lacee sent over an list of all the items she could make and I picked out what I felt would work best. We invited about 40 people but I only ordered a dozen of each food item which ensured we had enough food to satisfy but not enough to go overboard on an afternoon party.

we filled these jars with strawberry milk for the kids

lacee took the extra cake she had and put it into jars with icing which was a hit!

we had everyone sign a copy of Charlotte's web in lieu of a guest book

habanero lemonade

my mom made charlotte's party hat

we had one year photos done by Lisa Pummel photography and displayed them at the party

The food table was the centerpiece of the room. On the other side of the living room guests were greeted with a gift table and pictures from Charlotte's one year photo shoot. This is also where we had the favors which were animal crackers which guests could grab on their way out:

Our house has an awesome outdoor space so I took advantage of that and the nice weather as well. I had Lacee get us two hay bales and bought a little circus tent from Ikea for a "pig pen" area for kids. When I ordered balloons from Party City they had these little air walker balloons so I got the pig and cow and tied them to the hay bales:

We put a tarp down with a blanket on top to create extra seating there as well.

When it came time for the smash cake we brought Charlotte outside and put her in the high chair where we all sang happy birthday to her:
She was a bit overwhelmed but she had a wonderful time overall. She got so many presents too!

Some of which we opened after her afternoon nap and most we saved for the next day.

We really could not have asked for a better turnout for Charlotte's first birthday party. I really want to thank all our friends for coming. We don't have family that lives in town so be surrounded by friends who have seen us through from pre-pregnancy until now is so important. I was very grateful that my mom and dad joined us as they were a big help getting everything together for the party as well. My dad was the one who made the bacon so if you enjoyed that you have him to thank for it! Of the two kegs and 13 gallons of beer we got, only 2 gallons remained the next day so we have some party friends for sure! None of the food was left either at the end of the night so it's a good thing we got some packs of hot dogs and buns for our after party guests.

For those who enjoyed the habanero lemonade here is the recipe. Jordan made it spicier adding a whole pepper and I tweaked the recipe using frozen lemonade concentrate:

I know we set the bar high as far as first birthdays go but it was my dream to do this for Charlotte. If you know me you know I love birthdays so to be able to throw a party like this was so much fun. I really can't say enough about Lacee and her organizational skills. I could not have put this together if it hadn't been for her. Best of all I stayed within my budget and was able to throw a wonderful party without breaking the bank! I highly recommend contacting her and saving yourself the stress of baking all day before the party. I did the veggie cups, pigs in a blanket, mini almond butter and jelly sandwiches, favors and house cleaning and that was enough for me!