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    Holiday Season

    I looooooove the holidays. This is truly my favorite season. Growing up, this was normally the only time I got to see my extended family. Though I always felt out of place, I was always so happy to see them.

    And now I have a family!

    Come to think of it, the holidays are really only fun to me when you’re the child or when you have one. My pre-having babies time was pretty lame. I digress…

    This Christmas season we’re actually doing Elf on the Shelf. At first I thought it was really creepy. A little elf that “magically” appears in random places around your house because they’re following you. Yeah, super creepy. But I read the story and have managed to turn it into a behavior modification tool. Mini is 100% convinced that Santa can now see her. Santa sent her a note about something she’d done and she was sooooooo geeked about it lol!

    Holiday traditions are my favorite. Growing up, my brother and father would go pick out the tree after thanksgiving. We’d put it up, turn on some Christmas jams and decorate. I would always get a popcorn tin and only eat the caramel. On Christmas Eve my brother and I would sleep in his room and tell one gift we knew we’d each gotten. Then we’d get up super early and tear into our presents. I’m getting warm and fuzzy thinking about it!

    As much as I love the presents, I really want my girls to have memories of the giving. This year we’ll begin some new traditions starting with doing a family community service project. I want to feed and clothe the homeless. I’m thinking I can go thrifting on $.25 day, wash and hand the clothes out as well as find a soup kitchen or something. But I want to give and have my family involved in it as well.

    We’re going to do all the fun things and I’m excited. So far we’ve decorated the tree and house, made cookies, and wrote her letter to Santa. On Christmas Eve we’re going to head to see the lights of Life University and enjoy their little Christmas town. This weekend I’ll have my nieces and I’m so excited about that. I really want my girls to look back on the holidays as I do.

    What holiday traditions do you have?

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    10 Minute Workouts For New Moms

    Becoming a new mom can be time consuming but that doesn't mean you stop your workouts--well, once cleared. Have 10-minutes? Get ready to sweat!

    I’m a self-professed workout junkie—or was. After having mini I was determined to become a runner. Why running right? Well, I grew up as a competitive swimmer and during our workouts, running was the one thing that I just couldn’t do. I remember getting made fun of and how that made me feel. Well, after mini I became a runner. I have a triathlon and half marathon along with countless 5&10k’s under my belt. Dedicated and disciplined. That’s what I was.

    sigh

    Now it’s time for me to get back on the train and stay there. This adjustment to two kids has hit my energy levels hard. My plan was to resume morning workouts before everyone woke up. This way I would have my me time along with my workouts and start my day out strong. Well, abc has a different plan for me and my morning workouts have become null and void. Actually, all my working out had become null and void. Right at the 6 week mark I was on it but I was also home. I was getting my 20-30 min workouts in and feeling really great about myself. But then when I returned to work, that changed.

    sigh

    One of the things I have to change is my mindset about working out. I have to remember that with 1 infant and 1 preschooler, a 1 hour morning workout just may not be in the stars—but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t still be working out. I read a blog written by a mom who talked about just getting in 10min a day. And that 10min/day is better than no minutes. As baby gets bigger, workouts can get longer because you can leave them with people. I’ve come up with some basic 10min workouts that both involve baby and some that don’t to help my fellow mommies out there.

    Becoming a new mom can be time consuming but that doesn't mean you stop your workouts--well, once cleared. Have 10-minutes? Get ready to sweat!

    Equipment:

    • Kettle bell (my favorite)
    • Yoga mat
    • Weighted Jump Rope
    • Weighted Gloves
    • Pilates ball
    • Moby Wrap or other baby wearing contraption

     

    Baby-Friendly Workout

    Make sure that baby is securely strapped to you.

    00:00-00:30 Marching in place

    00:30-01:00 Squats

    01:00-02:00 Stationary Lunges (30sec each leg)

    02:00-02:30 Standing Oblique Crunches

    02:30-03:00 Plié Squats

    03:00-03:30 Wall Sit

    03:30-04:00 Tricep Dips on Chair

    Unstrap baby and lay on yoga mat

    04:30-05:00 Push-ups

    05:00-06:00 Baby Chest Press (lie on back and do chest press with baby—make sure head is supported)

    06:00-06:30 Push-ups

    06:30-07:00 Plank

    07:00-07:30 Heel Taps (lie on back with knees bent. Place baby so their backs are resting on your thighs and legs are resting on your stomach/chest)

    07:30-08:00 Cruches

    08:00-09:00 Pilates Roll-Ups

    09:00-10:00 Walk in Place

     

    Kettle bell Workout (My Favorite!!!)

    00:00-00:30 Jog in place

    00:30-01:00 High Knees

    01:00-01:30 Butt Kicks

    01:30-02:00 Jumping Jacks

    02:00-03:00 Kettle bell Swings Alternating hands

    03:00-04:00 Figure 8’s

    04:00-05:00 Single Leg Deadlifts (30 seconds each leg)

    05:00-05:30 Skater

    05:30-06:00 Goblet Squats

    06:00-07:00 Kettle bell Lunge Press (30 seconds each side)

    07:00-08:00 Kettle bell High Pull (30 seconds each arm)

    08:30-09:30 Kettle bell Russian Twist

    09:30-10:00 Walk in place

     

    Mini Boxer Workout

    Need weighted gloves and jump rope

    00:00-01:00 Jump rope

    01:00-01:30 High Knees

    01:30-02:00 Butt Kicks

    02:00-02:30 Jumping Jacks

    02:30-03:00 Fast jabs

    03:00-04:00 3 Jabs, 1 Knee lift

    04:00-05:00 3 Uppercuts, 1 Kick

    05:00-05:30 Boxer Shuffle

    05:30-06:00 Tuck Jumps

    06:00-07:00 Oblique crunch in low squat

    07:00-08:00 Side to Side Twist in low squat

    08:30-09:30 Fast jabs

    09:30-10:00 Walk in place/Boxer Shuffle

     

    I have more that I’ll post as time goes on. I wasn’t a believer that 10min could make a difference but something is way better than nothing!

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    The Ugly Truth of Racism

    Tonight I stared my babies in the eyes and saw their beauty and potential staring back at me. Mini is this wonderful, quick-witted, strong willed, stunning little girl who has the energy of an unbroken stallion. And my abc… She’s the sweet bundle of giggles who sees everything. Nothing gets past her. These are my girls, my breath, my future.

    But how will the world see them?

    Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. John Crawford. Ezell Ford. Dante Parker. Tamir Rice. Countless names. The body counts rising daily. And all of them had mothers that looked them in their eyes and saw what I see in my babies–a future for them.

    Were they perfect? No. None of us are. We all make mistakes. I’m so lucky that my guardian angels have been looking out for me with my slew of mistakes made. But no one deserves to be murdered for their mistakes that they’ve made or yet to make.

    It hurts. Seeing these people continue to get away with cold murder hurts. Will my baby be one of the people shot in cold blood because her car broke down and she needed help? Will my nephew be gunned down for walking down the street? Will my husband be strangled to death because he’s perceived as a threat though he’s done nothing threatening?

    It’s disappointing to see and hear people who think that this has nothing to do with race. If it’s not race than what is it? How is it that white people can riot over pumpkins throwing glass bottles at cops and everyone make it out alive but a black child walks down the street with his hands in his pockets and he’s suspicious. As much as I’d like to believe in a utopia where color doesn’t matter, it does. It matters. Whether you’re Raven Symone, Shaq, or Trayvon Martin, we are seen by our color.

    I want the world to be better. I want my girls to have the opportunity to grown up in world that won’t try to harm them because of the color of their skin. I want them to have the same opportunities as their white friends. I don’t want color to have to stand in the way of their greatness. I’m worried. I want to have faith but right now I’m filled with concern.

    What if they make a mistake and it costs them their lives? What will it take to truly make our world a safer place to live in? Why don’t more people want this?

    For now, all I can do is pray for the safety and protection of my girls and love on them as much as I can…

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    Breathing in the Positive and Exhaling the Negative

    Whew! This past 24 hours has been an eventful one.

    After abc woke up with a fever of 102.5 in the middle of the night, I packed her up and took her to the ER at my pediatricians recommendation. Last night I learned that all ER’s are not made equally when concerning babies. Getting seen was a breeze though the entire experience was awkward to say the least. Between the “beautiful mind” moment I had with the nurse to the radiologist touching the air around abc versus her to the doctor telling me about his marital problems after asking me if I suck abc’s snot out with my mouth (I do), I was waiting for the cameras to jump out to say I was being punked.

    Nevertheless, I wasn’t.

    They ruled out pneumonia but they didn’t do a very good job at telling me what was wrong with her outside of maybe a little virus. That wasn’t good enough for me so I took her to the pediatricians office. There we found out she had fluid in her left ear and an infection in her right ear. Pobrecita!

    Cool. So we have the diagnosis. abc seemed to be in good spirits so we did a little running around.

    Breathe in the positive… when I went to pick up the very last Elf on the Shelf from Barnes & Noble, the cashier gave me her discount! Breathe out the negative… I couldn’t get abc to nurse. Instead she slept through her feeding. Breathe in the positive… I got a chance to start on my Christmas shopping at my favorite place in the world and got some great discounts! Breathe out the negative… abc wanted to be held as I walked around Target. 15.5 lbs while pushing a cart is NOT easy.

    Breathe in the positive… Target price matched Publix on my antibiotics so I paid nothing for them!!! Breathe out the negative… abc again wouldn’t nurse so I go to hand express in the car to relieve some pressure and she has a blow out–all over me. Breathe in the positive… We got cleaned up, made it home where she nursed and I was able to hand express a total of 5oz.

    Now that I’m on a positive note, I need some R&R with my hubby!!!

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    Sick day really means sick day

    abc has a little cold.

    It sucks. When they’re this little (I think she’s almost 16 weeks? I’m terrible at this) the only thing you can give them is snuggles and their boob (or bottle). We got in from Nana’s house late last night. Though she’s been in great spirits I decided to stay home with my little.

    In making this decision I was like “yes!!! I can do so much! I can run errands and fold the thousand of laundry waiting patiently to be put away!!! I can write! I can work out!” Here’s my reality check that came in the form of the most cranky and fussy version of abc I’ve ever seen: she’s sick so that means sick day is filled with snuggles for my baby–that’s it.

    The crazy thing is that I’d made this whole schedule in my head. We were scheduled naps and snuggles and laundry till 1pm, errands from 1-2:30pm, workout at the park at 3pm, pick mini up at 4pm, take her to the park to play till like 5ish, go home and make the side dish to dinner, play, snuggle, etc till bed time. Nope. Not one of those things has gotten done except the napping and snuggles. Every time I try to move out the bed, she’s whining and crying. It’s almost like she has a gps attached to me that alerts her when I move.

    I mean, I’m stealthy. I put ninjas to shame with my ability to quietly navigate the bedroom without waking a sleeping baby. But not today. Today I’ve barely even had a chance to eat. I’ve had a sum total of 40oz of water, oatmeal, and 2 apples w/ peanut butter. And I’m nursing her. Can I get a lunch break?! abc says “no”.

    *sigh*

    I need to do better with my sick day planning.

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    preschooler is synonymous with “killer of joy”

    i’m not so sure why the two’s are called “terrible”. maybe the person who coined the “terrible twos” didn’t have a child in the 3’s or 4’s just yet. i’m sure that if they did, then it would go more like the “training twos”, “torrential threes”, “far from fabulous fours”. and i’m in the fours now. -_-

    just my luck.

    but i know for a fact that it’s not just me going through this. in fact, i think that mini is picking up these blasted temper tantrums from one of the little girls at school. last friday they had an art show (it was so cute) and this little girl had tantrums back to back for like 5 minutes. and the mom was so calm. inside of me i was getting agitated and in both awe and shock at the calm the mom displayed. watching this interaction almost killed my joy–but then i realized i didn’t have to take her home with me.

    or did i.

    all this past weekend mini has been whiny and full of tears. her whining and crying sounds like nails on a blackboard. if i’m superman, then those things are my kryptonite and not in the cutesy “i just want to give her the world” weakness. it’s more like “i just want to leave and not come back until she’s done making noise for forever” weakness. i hate it. i cannot stand crying. at all. even with abc. i can’t stand her crying either but she doesn’t have words. mini? she has lots of words. instead of using her words to communicate feelings, she uses them to lie and be sneaky with–which i hate slightly less than the crying and whining.

    i think the kicker about preschoolers is that they know what they’re doing, what type of reaction it’s going to get and they do it anyway. and then they have the nerve to have an attitude when it garners the reaction that they knew was coming.

    and now i think mini is going through the jealousy bit. she’s saying dumb things like “you don’t think i’m pretty”, “you don’t love me”, “you don’t ever forgive me”, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. mind you, the kid gets pretty much everything she wants, does the things she wants to. but nope, that’s not good enough. and she knows that i love her. she knows that the crying, saying mean things, and temper tantrums get her nowhere BUT SHE STILL DOES IT!!!!! why!?!?!?!?

    ugh… right now i’m over aaaaaaaaalllll things preschoolers–minus them spending all those hours at school. that i love.

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    “you have a…….beautiful body mommy”

    mini said this as she watched me shove my stomach into my jeans. yes, after having two babies, i now “shove” my stomach into things.

    this wasn’t what she wanted to say and i could tell by the look she gave me that her thoughts of mommy’s body were a little less than the beauty that she spoke of but my little miniature self has been working on her tact and what she came up with was beautiful. i initially wanted to be hurt. i’m dealing with some of my own issues having to do with seeing my body as being beautiful after the birth of my second daughter. things just aren’t quite the same. i’m a work in progress though.

    instead of being hurt and showing my little sponge the self-conscious nature that little girls are taught to have about their bodies, i said “yes, mommy’s body is beautiful. i have birthed two of the most beautiful little girls and have managed to sustain them with my body as well. it is beautiful.” and this is the truth. my body, though not what it was last year or last decade, is beautiful nonetheless.

    in a world where body shaming women is sport, it’s really hard to look in the mirror and see my body for it’s worth. i have curves, though some of my curves have curves. and in all honesty, i love my shape. i just wish i could do some fine tuning on it. suck some fat out here, there, well….everywhere. but it’s not a bad body. it’s not one that shows my battles with a pretty hush hush eating disorder when i was 12. it’s survived being abused twice. the evidence of heartbreak isn’t there. nor does it show my chronic injuries because i’m the second clumsiest person i know (mini being the first… she gets it from her mama).

    but it does have a road map of life on it. i have marks that show the parts of me that spread during puberty at 11. my stomach shows the evidence that i created life within my womb. my boobs aren’t nearly as perky since this is the first thing that your babies don’t put back in place after nurturing them. and i’m soft. i’ve snuggled many babies to sleep–two of them my own. my arms are jiggly but strong. they’ve picked me up when i’ve fallen, hugged my mini so tight she’s forgotten the pain, and held on to others so they’re reminded they are never alone. my “thunder thighs” could use some firming up but they have a strength of their own. they’ve kept me moving when all i wanted to do is sit still and mourn.

    my body is not that of a super model but i’m learning to see it as beautiful.

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    Moms cry

    Like a lot.

    I think I cry more now than I ever did as a child. That may be an exaggeration as I sit here trying to hold my tears in now.

    Raising a preschooler is hard. Raising one while having an infant and fresh marriage is even harder. Everyone says that they’re at the age of testing limits and learning boundaries. Well I’m convinced mine just isn’t learning and I’m at my wits end.

    My mom thinks that the cure is to just send her to her. No. That’s not the answer. She needs to learn to have some sense–here and I’m not giving my child to someone else to raise. That just doesn’t make sense though after tonight, I’m giving it a second thought.

    Yesterday was a decent day. She was great up until she got sleepy and needed a nap. Her thing now is that she doesn’t want to take naps and our afternoons/evenings are hell because of it. She loses control over her mouth and body. It’s the craziest thing. And no, it’s not because she needs more exercise. She runs and plays and it just hypes her up even more.

    While yesterday she was a star child for the most part, today she was an embarrassment. At church she was reckless then I had D take her to the fresh beat band concert where apparently she was even worse. Then after D had given her some directions to go to bed she decided to try and break loose and run. Where? I have no clue.

    She acts out and I feel like the terrible mom. I’m sitting her trying to figure out where I went wrong. I took no drugs when having her, she was breastfed then put on organic baby food, I did the conservative immunization schedule. And still, she acts like she’s got no fucking sense when I know she has it!!!! She’s the best big sister, has a great sense of humor and is so smart. She’s got the greatest smile and is an awesome helper. But I just can’t for the life of me understand why she chooses this behavior.

    Am I a bad mom? Is this normal?

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    red velvet cookies

    i didn’t know what red velvet was until i moved to the south. and then i fell in love.

    red velvet is like my red lipstick. it’s something i need in my life. well, maybe my thighs and stomach don’t need them but man, red velvet anything is delicious.

    since i’m not much of a cake eater but i love cookies, i decided to try my hand at making them myself. with the following batter, i made some basic red velvet cookies and then i dipped some oreos in there and made those too. oreos are definitely my favorite cookies so naturally these things went together in my head.

    red velvet cookies:

      • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
      • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 2 eggs
      • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
      • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1 tablespoon red food coloring

    i just mixed the ingredients together and baked at 375 for 10 min.

    voila! deliciousness is yours!

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    cream cheese chicken chili

    Ingredients:

    • 4 frozen chicken breasts
    • 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes (original)
    • 2 cans of corn, undrained
    • 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 2 packages of Ranch dressing mix
    • 1 Tsp of chili powder
    • 1 Tsp of cumin
    • (Optional) 1 tsp of onion powder
    • 2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese **if freezing, wait to add this until about 30min-1hour before serving**
    • Optional (but highly recommended): cilantro, sour cream, and avocado for topping

    What to Do:

    1. Throw chicken breasts, Rotel, corn, black beans, Ranch dressing mix, chili powder, and cumin into the crockpot and cook on high for about 4 hours (can also cook on low for about 6-7 hours).
    2. If you’re home, stir occasionally.  If not, carpe diem and don’t worry, it’ll be fine.
    3. 30 min. before you’re ready to eat, take the chicken out of the crockpot and shred it into bite-sized pieces with two forks.  Put chicken back in the crockpot.
    4. Then, put the cream cheese in and stir it for a few minutes, encouraging its break-down.
    5. Replace the lid and let hang out for the remaining half hour.
    6. Stir a little more to ensure the cream cheese has melted.
    7. Serve and enjoy!

    I made some corn bread waffles and served this over them. Talk about delicious!!!

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