baby mama

happy hump day! i’d love to shine the spotlight on someone vital to my motherhood journeys as well as my Christian walk. remember my confession post, In Love With Lean, from about 6 months ago? weeeeeell,

this pretty young thang is one of the good friends i was referring to… my BM, Marguerite!

(i.e., Baby Mama, as we affectionately call each other.)

 through my infertility struggles with both pregnancies, Marguerite helped me cope with having to ‘sit down somewhere’ from all the excessive exercising i was doing in the most loving way possible. lol. she has a masters in counseling because it’s clearly what she was born to do!  we met at UH, were even roommies for a semester, and continued to keep in touch after graduation.  she prayed and fasted with and for me during those times, and i received her advice and words wholeheartedly because i knew they were from the Lord. fasting solo (and usually for your own personal issues) is physically and mentally difficult enough.   but to care for another friend so much (i’m not talking about your spouse, mom, dad, siblings, etc.) that you sacrifice yourself and go to the Lord on their behalf… i am utterly thankful God put her in my life.  i’m also grateful she was willing to let Him use her in the first place!  being obedient to God’s commands and tasks can be uncomfortable and downright hard.  it can often make relationships difficult, very awkward…or even eventually non-existent. but you must do what He tells you to do… His way.  it’s about His glory, never us.

we were preggo together for both of our children, however, she is chunking me the deuce for babies #3 and 4, hahaha! i’m on my own now, but i know she’ll be with me in spirit.

CYMERA_20140818_140449

i was almost 9 months along and she was about 6 when we met up for our BM prenatal massages and lunch back in 2011. we worked out (walked on the treadmills), hung out and talked about baby stuff, and ate good of course. boobs and bellies everywhere!

011

we were gettin’ our Red Lobster on for lunch in this throwback pic,

20140414_110248

and a few months ago we met up for brunch at Le Peep before heading to get our massages. i was 8 months along and she was right behind me again at almost 6!  because my birthday had recently passed, she told me my massage was on her.  what a sweet, sweet surprise and a testament to her character.

aaand of course we attended each other’s baby showers!

PhotoGrid_1408409028909PhotoGrid_1408408641694

i’ve had so much fun sharing blessings and making memories with this girl.

bm

she came to spend some quality time with Odego and i at the hospital back in June, and i was recently blessed to return the favor because her sweet baby girl, Callie Marie, is already HERE! today is actually Callie’s due date and i am elated she is safely in her mama’s arms and in the comfort of their own home.

PicsArt_1408237229099

she’s perfect. and PINK:) i’m looking forward to all the girlie advice Marguerite will pass my way because i’ll need it :) .

i just want to give a sincere congrats to the blessed Hairstons who are now a family of four!  thank you, BM, for simply being the sister you were called to be. i appreciate you. <3

le

twice baked southwest sweet potatoes

 up and at it eeeearly this morning again gettin’ sweaty with the stair master. i thought it was pretty cool to see my own sweat on the machine but when you really think about just how GERMY gyms are it’s pretty disgusting! wiping your machine down before you use it eases your mind a little..but far from a truly effective germ blocker.  also, if you’re like me you’ve got your phone, ipod, headphones, etc. with you that you’re constantly touching in between sets. wash your hands and wipe those items down before you leave! if you use weight gloves, wash them often and don’t even think about driving home in them. eeeeewwww.

20140812_073138_1

i told Sonny if i start going hard with the snooze button to simply push me out of bed.  for real. 9 times outta 10 i severely regret not getting up to get my workout in.  it jump starts my mood, my productivity, my drive to accomplish some goals on my to-do list… i need my early am workouts. my day depends on them. when i skip, it’s like i never wake up and really get going until the day is pretty much over. which means getting to bed is a must but sometimes difficult with these unpredictable little people.

20140812_074108_1

 fighting through some soreness from all the lifting i’ve been doing, but it’s nothing some consistency won’t fix.  ‘starting over’ physically after being quite active is always a humbling experience for me. it gives me a bit more mercy on the first timers that take my classes for sure lol.  anyhow, 8 weeks postpartum today,

CYMERA_20140812_113144_2

and 8 weeks old for this little guy <3 .  the back of his onesie says ‘focus on me’. loves it!

i was inspired to whip up this sweet potato recipe via Instagram earlier today.

PhotoGrid_1407897326725 (1)

Twice Baked Southwest Sweet Potatoes

the stuff:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, roasted
  • 1/4 cup sweet summer corn
  • 1/4 cup low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar almond cheese
  • 4 oz grilled chicken breast, chopped into chunks
  • 1 heaping tbsp Mrs. Dash Southwest seasoning blend
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste and avocado for presentation

do this:

  1. set your oven broiler to high and coat a square 8 x 8 pan with no-stick cooking spray.
  2. halve both sweet potatoes and scoop out the insides (but leave some around the edges so the halve can stand on its own) and add it to a large mixing bowl.
  3. add all seasonings, corn, half of the green onions, black beans, 2 oz of chopped chicken, and half of the shredded cheese; mix well.
  4. spoon mixture back into the 4 sweet potato shells evenly and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, green onion, and chicken chunks and arrange them in your prepared pan.
  5. place pan in oven (not too close to the broiler flame though!) and let it go  for 12-15  min or until the cheese is melted and the tops are browned/crisped.

20140812_151336_1once done, top with tomato and avocado. make it pretty.

PhotoGrid_1407885171468

hey these can even be vegan if you nix the chicken!

PhotoGrid_1407897242980 (1)

 makes 4 servings. for 1:

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 8.14.48 PM

 yall enjoy!

le

boy: a noise with dirt on it

a mommy-friend of mine invited the boys and i to toddler story time at a local library recently.  actually, she invited us weeks ago but i finally got it together enough on my end so that we could attend. it was a morning event so i got up super-duper early just to ensure we’d make it. a lil late, but we made it.  i feel like i have to start getting everybody ready like 3 hours before we have to be somewhere, seriously.  and when we are rarely making good time, Chiso suddenly has to go go to the restroom as i am loading up the car or Dego throws up on us.  never fails!  but hey, we made it AND we even got a nice breakfast in!

PhotoGrid_1406652321887

i had egg whites with black pepper, mozzarella almond cheese, a little homemade guacamole, low-fat turkey sausage, and french toast with strawberries!  big breakfast to support my activity levels these days which includes hitting the weights again, nursing around the clock, and keeping up with my 3 yr old. among other things.

20140725_095819_2

Chiso has requested pancakes for like 2 weeks straight now. maybe even longer than that.  so made him some sprinkled with mini chocolate chips, sugar-free syrup, and a little fat-free Redi Whip.

20140729_110819_1

our boys warmed right on up to each other and enjoyed the crafting, songs, and puppet show.

20140729_112336_1

 Maranda is a mom of 3 boys herself so i know she feels my pain can relate to life with these little knuckleheads!

CYMERA_20140729_131804

 our first official outing together.  we did it!! we’re pros now. i actually avoided leaving the house with both boys for the longest…but the saying is true. ‘ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it.’ after that? piece of cake! for the most part. thinking, i.e. worrying, about every single thing that could go wrong is no way to live. i’ve learned to be prepared, prayerful, and cautious, not crazy.  Chiso’s independence could not have come at a better time though. for him to be able to get in and out of the car himself, clean up his toys and messes, retrieve and/or throw away Dego’s diapers, and turn on the bathroom light so i don’t have to get up lol helps out big time. sigh…no more baby Chiso!

just another one of those bittersweet mommy moments.

20140729_113009_1

well all that fun didn’t result in a nap at our house, but Chiso enjoyed himself and has asked to go back countless times now. Maranda is a pro at finding free & fun stuff to do around our city, and i recently came across Houston on the Cheap with even more ideas galore.  check it!
CYMERA_20140729_221917

i got to bed way too late so my early gym date was definitely out this morning. i hit the streets for some sprints once Sonny got home instead. i haven’t run full speed in almost a year and i’m sure i’ll pay for it tomorrow and the next day!  i did ladders:

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.47.46 PM

i started slow and only went ‘down’ the ladder from 5 to 1.  that was all i had, woof.  also, here are two foodie items being adding back into my diet that i’ve posted about before: almond cheese (gotta cut down on the dairy cause of bloating) and calorie-free Grey Poupon mild & creamy mustard. i got great feedback via Instagram about Daiya vegan cheese so i’m gonna step out and try that brand next.

Q: what have you tripped over that wasn’t even worth tripping over once you did it?

le

H-town’s very first 24 hour donut cafe

 a former colleague of mine and fellow UH Cougar, Ose Ohen, opened up Glazed last week!  we headed to stuff our faces immediately after church as planned.

20140727_122331_1

transparency is a wonderful thing.  i appreciate and enjoy being able to watch my food being prepared and just the entire process in general.  maybe that’s why i’m such a big fan of Unwrapped on Food Network.  seeing how things i’ve been eating for YEARS are made is just really interesting and cool.  anyway, kitchen windows build trust.  it can also change the way an employee works if you know what i mean, lol.

CYMERA_20140730_202407_1

 they had 3 flavors ready to go for the soft opening: lemon poppy, glazed, and maple bacon (with a turkey bacon version as well).

20140727_122357_1

more glass windows, awesome.

20140727_123726_1

we all sat down and got comfy while Sonny went to order our sweets.  i didn’t even have to tell him what to get either.

20140727_122606_1

*just before pulling the deliciousness out of the bag*

IMG_20140727_131012

i know. and it tasted as incredible as it looked.  perfect balance of sweet/salty/doughy/chewy/fluffy. WHAT a donut. i am crazy excited about this gigantic list of flavors they’ll be selling in the near future and i’m not even a donut person!

20140727_124024_1

Chiso eats his donuts just like his pizza, plain.  i’d say he enjoyed it.

20140727_180039_2

 well you knew this was happening later.  sweaty stair master intervals and some core work completed my sunday.  5 weeks postpartum and i still work my kegal muscles (when i think about it randomly at home) to strengthen my pelvic floor again.  it’s a process, ladies!  be patient, work them daily if you can, and make sure you do them on an empty bladder.

PhotoGrid_1406604969250

 as i got meal prep going for the next few days, i channeled my inner Fish City Grill with these tacos for dinner.  if you’ve been there and ordered them they should look pretty familiar to ya ;) .  i used La Tortilla Factory 70 calorie tortillas as usual (which i saw at HEB recently!!!!) and filled them with baked swai fish, bagged cabbage and Annie’s all natural Lite Goddess dressing.  this is super similar to the Crunchy Ginger Rotisserie Chicken Wrap from a few days ago.  then i grilled them up on our griddle for a few minutes until they browned.   heating the tortilla first makes a huge difference vs a cold, flimsy tortilla.  try it!  someone from Instagram suggested i taste that flavor of Annie’s next and i’m glad i did.

Q: kolaches or donuts?

i’m a cheese lover so that’s an easy one. 

le

saturdate + 6 week pp fitness goals

Sonny and i attended a wedding late last night/morning, so the boys hung out with their grandparents overnight.  which also means i was confined to my breast pump every 4 hours or so.  i remember being away from Chiso overnight for the 1st time and fearing he would reject my breast cause of nipple confusion once we were reunited again. it drove me crazy, but i was also a first time mom. a lot of things drove me crazy then.  fortunately, both boys latched right back on like nothing ever happened. *although it is recommended to give newborns at least 3 solid weeks of breast only before introducing the bottle if you can help it*. after sleeping straight through the night i woke up full of liquid gold and leaking through my clothes and bed sheets. there’s always a trade-off! was it worth a night of uninterrupted sleep?

heck yes.

CYMERA_20140726_094117_1

 i headed to ‘weigh-ins’ with Sonny, as he calls them.  the 6 Pack USA  plan works for people inside and outside of Houston. ‘weigh-ins’  is where we check our 6 Pack USA Houston clients’ progress in person if they choose (body fat, weight, motivation levels) to ensure they are on track with their customized meal and workout plans. video links are provided for  those that prefer to have a family or friend measure them weekly.  i’m 5 weeks postpartum and currently pondering about my own fitness goals these days. here are a few i’d like to share with ya:

  • naturally detox my body from processed foods (i’ll still be eating whole wheat bread and tortillas, etc., but i’m referring to unnecessary things like cool whip)
  • drink way more water (WHEN will i get it together in this department…i mean really.)  it will help keep my milk supply up, skin hydrated, and things moving along in my digestive system
  • lift these glutes! i eat pancakes…i don’t wear them. ready to squat heavy again and build my booty back up.
  • strengthen my entire back – the weight of these boobs have my posture slipping big time. not cute. and i’m feeling quite unbalanced and shaped like a number 9 at that. gravity is just not my friend.  this is another job for heavy weight lifting.
  • widdle down my waist – which will largely come from better nutrition, time, and patience.
  • shooting for 13-14% body fat  (long as that comes with a normally functioning menstrual cycle. since i’m breastfeeding i don’t have to worry about Aunt Flo for a while anyway, woo hoo)
  • upper-body definition - i can only do a few push ups on my toes before modifying to my knees because my core is still pretty weak, but like anything else, the more i do them the stronger i’ll get.
  • start my own 6 Pack USA plan soon!

that’s it for now;  just want to tighten a few things up. not ready to hit any stage anytime soon or anything though.

20140726_120818

 the last piece of evidence to this pregnancy…. my linea negra and tummy discoloration. it stuck around for like 4-5 months after my first pregnancy, so it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. no crop tops for me this summer though!

CYMERA_20140726_122840

two dates in one weekend? don’t mind if we do.  hubby and i don’t work out together too often (we actually train at different gyms), but when we do it’s always fun and special cause it’s so rare. maybe once or twice a month at best.  it’s one of those ‘too much of a good thing’ kinda idioms for us i guess.  20140726_124252_1

afterwards we had lunch at one of our fave Greek spots, Niko Nikos. they were on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives a few years ago but they were already well-known in Houston long before then!  i would love to visit every place Guy has gone one day.  i already told Sonny if we ever visit a city with a restaurant that was featured on his show, we are going. it’s mandatory.

20140726_125309_1

what…?  #unphased #stillsnappingaway

20140726_125530

i started out with one of their fresh greek salads with that signature block of salty feta cheese on top,

20140726_131205

then our shared, ‘appetizer’, The Hercules Plate, came next. lol.

20140726_131225_1

we hadn’t been here in a while so we were surprised to see breakfast items on the menu! Sonny got a steak and egg gyro for himself that was really good.  the pita bread is always so soft, warm, and magical.

20140726_131746

instead of ordering my usual grilled chicken and spinach pita, i got The Broiled Flounder Plate w/ half rice half lemon baked potatoes with tzatziki sauce and pita bread.

20140726_134423

hey. just hiding my food baby.20140725_125414

  i REALLY wanted some greek donuts, but i went for some Arctic Zero, fat-free Redi Whip and sprinkles when we got home to kill my sweet craving.

Screenshot_2014-07-26-18-17-31-1

  not sure who is harder to raise….  husbands or kids? i’ve been saying i have 3 babies lately, lol. ironically, i showed this to Sonny and he didn’t even get it!!!

Q: have you ever eaten at a restaurant featured on Food Network?

le

crunchy ginger rotisseri chicken wrap + stay fuller longer

having the same thing i had for breakfast yesterday while there are a few La Tortilla Factory Tortillas left in this house. they go so fast cause we all like them! Chiso eats them as pb & j rollups, Sonny makes tacos, and quesadillas are my fave. the exact kind i get are only at the Sprouts Farmers Market closest to where i live.

PhotoGrid_1406136524486

 since i always make them for lunch or dinner,  i tried a breakfast quesadilla this time with egg whites, red bell pepper, green onion, low fat turkey sausage, and 2% pepper jack cheese.  i cooked it on the griddle for 4-5 min on each side and threw in some tomatoes, bluebs, and homemade guacamole. excellent!

IMG_20140724_104217

 my day gets going after some good fuel, and this thing makes it so much easier to get stuff done around the house when baby boy is fussy or i just don’t want to put him down.  i received this Baby Bjorn as a gift while preggo with Chiso and i love it for home use and outings.  Dego is a thumb sucker and puts his whole hand over his face while he does it! so funny.

20140724_200729_1

so with breastfeeding and getting back to my random, sweaty workouts as of this week, i am double HOONGRY. this is ridiculous.  i just want to eat the entire fridge and pantry when i get home.  coincidently i got an email from Spark People titled ‘Tips to Stay Full Longer’ and i could not click the link fast enough.  these are some awesome tips to follow and i’ve already been doing some of them such as:

  • eat protein and fiber rich foods every 3-4 hours with healthy snacks in between (like fresh fruit and mixed nuts)
  • fill up on the non-starchy veggies and fibrous foods (leafy greens, cucumbers, red bell peppers, spinach, zucchini, sugar snap peas) with every meal
  • reach for natural fruit first to lessen/knock out those sugar cravings. remember, white sugar only makes you crave it MORE! it’s a dangerous cycle.
  • drink a full glass or bottle of water before every meal
  • take your time and eat!!! when i’m super hungry i rush and stuff myself (which is why eating every couple of hours is still the best option for me). it takes about 20 minutes for your tummy to tell your brain you are even full, but by that time it’s too late and you’re on your way to a food coma. take your time to chew and swallow every bite.

20140724_192218_1

today was my first day back on the stair master since i was like 6 or 7 months preggo!  my heart rate always shot up and being up so high with my belly made Sonny uncomfy so i just stopped using it. i didn’t miss it. lol. hurts so good though!  i did some intervals for about 30 minutes for my cardio and headed to a core class.  how about i modified everythang. my postpartum core is way stronger now than in my first pregnancy, but i still have a crap ton of work to do. but first….. :D

20140724_203149_1

afterwards, i picked up some of nature’s candy from Sprouts.  i love their 3 for 5 bucks sale! i got 2 strawberries and one pint of bluebs. and those sweet, crunchy nectaries of course.

20140724_215417_1

i also picked up another one of Annie’s all natural dressings– Gingerly.  winner!

20140724_221048_1 (1)

i wanted to use it right away, so for dinner, i threw some shredded rotisserie chicken, raw red bell pepper, bagged cabbage mix, cilantro, green onion, and crushed almonds into a bowl, poured in the dressing, and coated the chicken mixture in it.

20140724_222014_2

i grabbed a La Tortilla Factory tortilla, rolled the chicken mixture up really tight and made a Crunchy Ginger Rotisserie Chicken Wrap that had so much flavor!  please try this, guys!

CYMERA_20140725_122226

 for dessert i skipped the fruit and had some Arctic Zero with mini chocolate chips, fat-free Redi Whip, and sprinkles lol. have a fun friday night and a great weekend!

le

Q: what are your thoughts on Artic Zero? yay? nay? 

 i add a tbsp of Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate syrup to mine, stir until creamy, and add a few toppings first. hits the sweet spot.

hello there mr. speculum + 1st postpartum home workout

postpartum check up time!

5 weeks in, and here we are again.

20140721_153820_1

the last time i sat on this table i was 40 weeks preggo and 2 cms dilated.  just in my thoughts as i waited for Dr. A. lol.

20140721_155432_1

soon as i walked in the office my eyes were immediately drawn to the tools on the counter though, especially that darn speculum. hate it. and that clicking noise as it opens drives me craaaazy.

however, it was standing in the way of me and the gym so i tolerated it for yet another 60 seconds.  i know i’ll be seeing it for the rest of my life so i’ll make peace with it some day.

CYMERA_20140721_163954

aaaand we’re done here!  Dr. A cleared me to go back to my usual workout routine whenever i am ready.  however, i’m taking it super, duper slow.  teaching vs. taking a class are two different experiences for me as i’ve mentioned before.  kinda like Beyonce vs. Sasha Fierce– falling down the stairs and all.  i don’t want to push it too fast too soon, but ultimately i will be taking classes again, adding the weights back into my routine slowly but surely, and paying attention to how my body responds.  listen to your OB ladies, and listen to your body. i’ll discuss some of my fitness goals in the next post though!

*****

afterwards, i decided to share my very first workout at home with my Mr. Piggy! Sonny is NOT feeling Odego’s nickname but because he grunts and snorts like crazy when he is hungry it was only right.

#sorrynotsorry, hubs.

     

 i’m using body weight for these super basic moves for the most part as Dego only weighs like 9 lbs.  it’s perfect cause i’m forced to go super slow while i hold my precious cargo!

  • squats – looking up and out at the ceiling while performing squats helps to keep my back flat and knees behind my toes.

  • plie squats – you don’t have to go deep! gradually work your way back to that level.

  • side bends – try these to start and keep a flat back and elevated chest for better posture.  my postpartum core strength is loads better this time around as i worked my obliques throughout my pregnancy.

  • modified push ups with kisses :)

remember moms, my pace is not your pace and vice versa.  if you feel any pain or discomfort, STOP.  and if you haven’t been cleared to do these exercises yet, don’t even think about it!  if you have been cleared but still not ready, go outside and walk, hit the elliptical, or start with some postpartum yoga.  if moms could have their pre-preggo bodies back sooner than later, then let’s be honest– i’m positive a vast majority would jump at the chance to.  my message is to first and foremost show how proper nutrition and physical activity can aid in doing just that.  make no mistake, this is not a race.  i repeat…this is not a race.  i exercise because i love it. i make time for it because it’s a priority in my life.  there is absolutely nothing unrealistic about eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly during pregnancy. nothing. my journey may not be typical or the norm, but my results are very real.  my skin gets thicker by the day because of Instagram lol, but i won’t apologize or feel bad for being blessed to have an active pregnancy (i don’t take it for granted one bit) and/or living a healthy lifestyle.  ANY mom can do it and i hope to inspire other women enough to even try!

semi-rant over.

20140721_222912

 

i stopped at GNC on the way home to try some new Quest Bar flavors before i buy a whole box of them and i’m excited!  they have been helping with my sweet cravings and i don’t mind the fiber and protein that comes with them.  they’re all natural, high fiber, gluten-free, 1g of sugar, and low carb. i bought hubs the Cookies & Cream flavor which he swallowed on sight (which is why it’s not pictured) and i managed to get a piece and loved it too.  it nipped his Oreo cookie craving right in the bud, sweet!

Q: what is your favorite Quest Bar flavor? 

le