Monday, February 8, 2016

On being strong not skinny

I always knew that my body wouldn't be the same after giving birth.  I'd read all the blog posts about how pre-pregnancy weight did not equal pre-pregnancy body and frankly, I've never had serious body image issues and this was especially true during pregnancy.  Pregnancy made me feel strong - sure I couldn't move as quickly especially toward the end and I was definitely limited in some physical activity, but I was growing a human inside of me.  My body was doing that. 

 And lest we forget, our little was not so little after all - at a whopping 9 lb. 2 oz. And that all happened in my body. 

I gained almost 45 pounds during pregnancy.  Much of that was baby related (30 pounds came off no problem within the first 6 weeks) and some of that was brownie and mac-n-cheese from weeks 35 following related.  (I still blame the pregnancy, but those brownies will do that to you...)

Then about 4 weeks after having the little, my knees started going crazy.  Like super painful crazy whenever I would try to sit down or get up from the floor or sitting.  This started just at the end of pregnancy and I chalked it up to gaining weight so quickly, no big deal.  But I was shocked when it got worse 4 weeks in. 

Not having any idea what it could be, I decided to go to an orthopedic doctor for an evaluation and later to physical therapy to find out that nothing was actually wrong with my knees - they had just maybe gotten a tiny bit off track during pregnancy, but that the huge weight fluctuation combined with my muscles weakening in my legs since I had stopped going to the gym and wasn't nearly as active in the last half of pregnancy, had taken a little toll. 

They gave me some exercises for both the gym and at home.  My first question to the doctor, "can I run on the elliptical, will that help?" (I'm an elliptical girl in the gym).  His response took me back for a second.  "Sure, that will help you lose weight which will help," he said.  "But you really want to strengthen your muscles. 

I had just never thought of muscles in conjunction with bones.  It makes sense to me that strong muscles support bones and joints, I just had never thought of it.  I went to the gym before to stay slim.  I was strong, and exercising definitely helps me feel better, cool.  But I never actually considered that maybe I should focus on being strong and so much less on how my body looked. 

I started going back to the gym and getting on the elliptical, because frankly, I need a little cardio and I would be thrilled to get rid of this extra little cushion around my tummy.  But, I also started focusing on weight training - especially in my legs, but also for the rest of my body.  And do you know what?  A magical thing started happening.  The pain in my knees started going away.  And I actually started paying attention to my body gaining strength.  And it is truly incredible to think of how all the parts of your body interact and work to support one another. 

And so, I accept these new stretch marks and less than toned mid-section for now because I know my body is getting stronger.  It is functioning as it should.  It grew, birthed, and is sustaining a human life (until he starts solids in just a month and a half, which this mama is totally unprepared for because how in the world has it already been 4 and a half months?!?!). 

I'm focusing on being strong and not skinny.  Of course, I'm hopeful that the slim will come (I'm pretty close to pre-baby weight, but it's totally different), but I'm mostly thankful for the strong. 

Working on eating healthy (although, I still make a mean brownie) and getting activity in as much as I can and I like it.

Friday, February 5, 2016

#LiveRadiantly: St. Ives Skincare Review

I love a good mail day.  I get excited to check the mail everyday and love when there is something personal rather than the usual junk.  I get ESPECIALLY excited when there is a package on the doorstep.  I'm not sure what it is about it, but I just love to have something delivered.  It should be no surprise then, that I am stoked every single time I get a little VoxBox for review.

My most recent box had 3 full size products  from St. Ives - their Even & Bright exfoliating body wash in pink lemon and mandarin, oatmeal scrub + mask, and their Refresh and Revive body lotion in Pear Nectar and Soy.  

What a treat!  I've been using these products for the last couple of weeks so that I could give an accurate review and I'm happy to report that the review is positive.  Below are my thoughts on each product: 

Even and Bright Exfoliating Body Wash (Pink Lemon & Mandarin): I actually cannot say enough good things about this.  I love the smell and I love the tiny little exfoliating beads.  They are just the right amount of exfoliation for all over.  This has been my favorite of all the products!

Nourished and Smoothing Oatmeal Scrub and Mask:  This facewash is fine.  I like that it is paraben free and that the exfoliating beads are not too rough.  I've tried face washes before with beads that feel like they are scratching my face.  No thank you!  I noticed my face getting a little dry after about a week of use, but this was remedied pretty quickly with a good moisturizer cream.  Overall, I like this for an exfoliating wash, but wouldn't use it everyday.  

Refresh and Revive Body Lotion (Pear Nectar and Soy):  This one also gets a strong recommendation from me on smell alone.  I would never think of pear and soy (and I've never to my memory ever picked a pear scent in cosmetics), but this smells so refreshing without being overwhelming and it definitely locks in moisture without being greasy.  My only complaint with this is the packaging.  I really don't love the pump bottles of lotion, because when it gets to the end, it is SO HARD to get the last bit out and when you take off the lid, you've got the whole little pump stick to put somewhere while you lotion your legs.  So many companies do it though, so if you don't mind, more power to you.  Overall, the lotion is great though.  

So there you have it. If you're in the market for any of these products, they have my vote.  :)
Do you use St. Ives products?  If yes, what are your favorites?  

*I received these products for free in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

2016 Goals: for my personal and blog life

Happy New Year [almost] a month late, my friends.  What a new year it has been.  So much has happened since this post last year where I shared my goals and plans for the new year.  Of course the biggest change from 2015 is that we are now a family of 3 (!!!)  So three cheers for that.  I am learning so much this year already as we adjust to our new roles as parents, going back to work, and taking care of a little. 

Realizing it's a month after the fact, I'd like to share some of my personal and blogging goals for the new year - mostly because if I write them out on the internet, I'll keep them, right?  (right...)  And we're snowed in this weekend, so what better time to get back online?

Happy New Year glitter

Thrift for Today Blog Goals for 2016
Really, there are just some basic things I would really like to take care of on the blog.  I've learned that while I like to post consistently (and I think that's important to growing the blog), this can be tricky since sometimes when we're living in the most blogworthy times, stopping to post about them can be tough.  So, with that, I'd like to accomplish the following on the blog this year:

1 - Create a new header.   And I'm open to your ideas about how to go about that.  I want something simple, but something pretty and not too flashy. 

2 - Update our "home" photos.  Just because they are really outdated.  I mean, we have a nursery now.  And no more pink walls. 

3 - Blog more consistently.  Maybe at least once a week.  I think I can. I think I can.  This is a really fun outlet and I love to keep up with what you all are doing also, so I would really love to get to work on this front.  I've got a few post ideas bouncing around in my head, but getting them down isn't always the easiest.

Personal Goals for 2016
Hubs and I always make a list of family goals at the start of each year, which I always enjoy and they are fun to work on together.  I also keep a separate list of personal goals that I keep in the back of my agenda each year.  Here is what I'd like to accomplish this year:

1 - Read at least 4 books.  I did this last year and ended up reading about 6 books.  Now that we have a little though, I think 4 goals (one a season) is a pretty fair goal.  Two of the books I'm most looking forward to are The Best Yes and Give Them Grace.  Hubs bought both of these for me for Christmas this year straight off of my wish list. 

2 - Read the Bible through.  I didn't finish this last year and our church is reading though together this year, which has so far been helpful to keep up with.  It's especially helpful to know how much I should be reading each day to stay on target.

3 - Memorize Philippians.  Hubs and I want to memorize a book of the Bible this year and we picked this one.  We're about 8 verses in so far. 

4 - Go to the gym at least twice per week.  This one is hard.  I was doing so well about 3 weeks ago - but it is tough to get the little taken care of, work, and also get out to the gym.  I'm leaving it though because ideally, I'd like to get out to the gym at least 3 times, but I think 2 times is more realistic (and I've been failing at this the last couple of weeks).

5 -  Create a better home organization/cleaning system and routine.  This is especially important to me now that we have a little and time is so precious.  Our house is pretty comfy, and I try not to stress about it being perfectly organized, but I sure do feel better when we have a little clutter and mess as we can.  And it is great to not get behind on cleaning.  I would like to develop a routine around here that maximizes and prioritizes our time together while still letting us keep an orderly home. 

So there it is friends.  My lists for the year.  I think they are reasonable, but I know they will also take some work to stick to them and get them done. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Quick, healthy breakfast: egg muffins

I've been working hard over the past several weeks to watch what I eat in an effort to be more consciously healthy and also to be sure that I am eating enough and a variety of things as I go about each day taking care of the Little.  One of the key things that our discharge nurse stressed in the hospital before leaving was the importance of eating enough food and that the food be in the form of well balanced meals and snacks.  I've also got lots of pre-maternity jeans that I would love to squeeze back into when I get rid of this baby weight as a little added incentive.

With all that said, breakfast tends to be one of the more difficult things for me to throw together - until a lovely friend from our Bible study brought over egg muffins during our first week home from the hospital.  I had seen them floating around Facebook links very recently, and I was excited to try them.  I've cooked a dozen every weekend since to have on hand for the following week.

I love them because they are quick, easy, nutritious and versatile.  Really, you can add almost anything you'd like.

For my muffins, I add green pepper, spinach, sausage, and a little cheese.  You could also use bacon, different veggies, etc.  

10 large eggs (for a 12 muffin pan, like the one above)
1/4 cup milk
1 lb ground sausage (you could also do less, but I just cook the whole roll) 
1/2 bell pepper
4 cups uncooked spinach (this is an estimate, I really just get a big hand full)
Just a little cheese

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 and grease muffin tin
  • Cook sausage on stove top.  Once cooked thoroughly, drain.  Don't put all that grease in your egg muffins.  
  • Cook spinach on medium heat on stove top until wilted and let cool. 
  • Chop pepper into small pieces
  • Once spinach has cooled, you should use a paring knife to cut it into smaller chunks as well.  
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  
  • Add other ingredients and mix well.  
  • Use a ladle to fill muffin tin with mixture and sprinkle with just a little cheese.  
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes until the center of the muffins are not liquid.  (You'll be able to tell that the center is not too squishy or jiggly - this means the egg is cooked through)  I usually leave them in for about 23 minutes.  
You can store these in the fridge and eat them all week long.  Just re-heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds and you're good to go.  You can also wrap them individually and freeze them if you want to make an extra large batch.  

I've found these to be so easy when I am trying to get in something healthy and quick in the mornings.  Way faster than cooking eggs each day and I love that I get veggies too.  

What is your go-to nutritious breakfast on the go?  Please share.  Variety is the spice of life.  ;)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I wish someone told me: on going home with a Little

We celebrated our Little turning 2 months old this week and him turning 9 weeks old - two celebrations in one week, and good grief, how quickly the time is going by!

I've had this conversation about a thousand times it feels like with friends and family and poor hubs has heard it almost every single one of those times.  But, today I want to share the one thing that I wish someone told me before having a little and bringing him home:  it's hard and scary and exhausting and not always cuddly and fun.  And by that, I mean for me it was I think one of the hardest things I've ever done - trumped by pushing the 9 lbs 2 oz of his sweet baby love out of my body.