No Such Thing as Super Mom

Mama Mama

Some days I feel like I am on fire! Chores get done, kids are fed full and balanced meals, animals around the farm are happy, one or more of the many projects around the construction zone got checked off, we did arts and crafts, and even took a nature walk, and I made it through the day alive.

Then are are days and nights like yesterday.

My threenager would not listen, and every time I either asked or told him to do something I heard “I don’t want to” or there was a gigantic break down. Then, my youngest, Avaley, she could not for the life of her sit with Daddy, snuggle Daddy, or sleep in her own bed. She had to be on mama at all times, or kicking me, or touching my face or poking at any part of me she could. And for some reason, from the hours of 1:30 am – 3:00 am she was awake and tossing and turning in bed. Half dozing, half smiley. Which means I was awake, doing the same, because she was in my bed. No cries, or discomfort, just being a turd.

My weakness comes with my overactive brain. Definitely not a super power.

Once I was awake because I was so frustrated that she was not only in my space, but wouldn’t stop moving…I irritated myself to the point I was fully awake and then my mind wouldn’t shut off. I began thinking about all the things causing stress in my life right now.

  1. House construction. If we could just get the drywall done, we could paint, and we could get moved into the bedrooms upstairs, and if the kids had their own room it would be easier to MAKE them sleep in their own beds. Then this would not be happening.
  2. Money. Everything we are doing is costing too much money.
  3. Our third baby we are growing inside me right now. I was doubting ever fiber of my being last night because this new baby means another many years of not being able to sleep next to my husband, and more chaos and more cleaning up after, and more head butting and body slamming toss and turns at night.
  4. Back to the third baby. I saw the midwife yesterday and all day I worried about everything we talked about. I am going to have to go see a specialist again, to determine whether or not I should take progesterone shots with this pregnancy since Avaley was to term. There are so many questions, factors, and honestly, I don’t even think the specialist knows, but progesterone is really THE ONLY “option” for women who have had a preterm birth in the past. I’ve been doing my research myself, and I am at a lost for how I feel about it. I am praying my gut gives me some sort of sign sometime soon.
  5. Then I began thinking about today…what should our day look like? This is Javin’s ONE DAY OFF he has with us here at the house, so I know we are going to try to cram too many projects into too little time. We will start with banana pancakes, swimming lessons, picking up the durango while we are in town because it’s been in the shop (another cost we can’t afford). We will need to go to Freddie’s because we are out of fruits and vegetables, I’d like to organize the garage enough so that I can get my gym equipment in there and out of the living room, which means I need to get that slider out! So maybe I’ll try to sell that, then the crib and a few other things can be moved upstairs to the bedrooms for storage for now, the insulation needs finished, the dining room/craft table needs cleaned, and at some point, I need to prep and put together the meatballs we are having for dinner. Which reminds me, I need to take that meat out to thaw!
  6. After this shitstorm, I realized I needed to breathe and pray. So in order to not wake Javin and Parker, who were managing to sleep through the majority of Avaley’s craziness, I whispered calm thoughts to God.
  7. I got up to pee for the second time, checked the clock, it was 3:47. Crawled into bed and FINALLY fell asleep.

And though I got VERY. LITTLE. SLEEP. last night, and woke up before the sun did this morning, the first thing I wanted to put on my list of to-dos, was a workout.

Taking care of me, is more important some days than anything else because If i don’t take care of Mom, Mom can’t properly take care of everyone else. So even though there’s a list of to-dos a mile long that I made mental note of in the middle of the night, I am changing the game plan and making me a priority today so that I can feel my best and hopefully be as productive as possible. That’s how I have to do it.

And I remind myself:

supermom

There’s no such thing as super mom. And today, I’m going to wing it like every other day.

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Stair and Band Workout at Home

Workin' Out

Sometimes a little fresh air makes all the difference when you’re pregnant, already have two littles running you 24-7 and just NEED a workout for your sanity.

First trimesters suck. During this time, I feel sleepy, emotional and at times light-headed. Everyone keeps saying with the 3rd baby I should show super early…and though I feel my body making changes, and we got to see little baby and it’s heartbeat this week, I don’t feel pregnant yet. Just feel blah.

The fresh air this morning helped wake me up and I was happy to be able to get in my workout before my afternoon exhaustion hit.

I’ve been wanting to use our stairs for a workout for a while now, but our contractors are usually busy in the area, so being as it’s Sunday, I had the stairs to myself!

With the resistance band, I did 5 sets each side of lateral step ups with lateral leg lifts. After that I did 5 sets forward step ups with glute kickbacks. I finished the lower body portion with wide banded squat jumps.

After that I did incline push-ups x 15, spidermans x 20, dips x max, and incline kb row x 10 each. 4 sets.

Ended up being a successful workout, and I felt great afterwards…but I was starving! 🙂

 

Chicken Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Nutrition & Good Eats

When I was prepping for my first bikini competition, I ate so many sweet potatoes multiple times a day, it’s actually amazing that I still enjoy eating them. The thing is, they are probably my favorite carb.

Growing up, one of my all time favorite side dishes was twice baked potatoes. The cheesy, crisp topping never failed to match any main course my mom or grandma accompanied them with.

Now days, I try to find healthier versions of my childhood favorites. Which is where this recipe came from.

I have done sweet potatoes many ways, but this is one of my favorites by far. And the nice thing is, the whole family munches these down and I don’t feel bad about them getting seconds because these potatoes aren’t overly cheesy, and they are full of protein.

As far as twice baked potatoes go, there is the time consuming method, and the short cut. I usually take the short cut because as a busy stay-at-home mom, who happens to not have a full kitchen at this point in time, the most convenient route is going to be the one I choose.

Route number 1: Spend hours baking the sweet potatoes in the oven before prepping for the “twice baked” portion of the recipe. The number one benefit of this method is the skins of the potatoes get crisp and delicious.

Route number 2: Make multiple stabs into each full potato with a sharp knife, and microwave for about 5 minutes. Flip over and microwave again. If they are large potatoes they will take about 10-12 minutes to get soft enough so that you can hollow them out.

No matter which route you choose, allow the potatoes to cool so that they do not burn you on this next step.

During this time, prepare your meats. I like to add bacon and chicken to these potatoes. The chicken makes it feel like a meal and the bacon adds a little extra flavor. You could use turkey bacon as well. I used Applegate, uncured “Sunday Bacon”. After bacon is cooked, I set aside on a paper towel to drip any extra grease off.

Using the same pan, I remove the majority of the bacon grease and toss in chicken breast that has been cut into cube size bites. To spice things up, I added chili poweder, garlic, and black pepper with a pinch of salt. While this is cooking I return to the potatoes.

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Cut into half and hollow out the insides. Scoop the soft potato into a big bowl, and set skins/halves aside.

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Inside the bowl add a couple heaping scoops of cottage cheese, or ricotta. I have a hard time finding organic cottage cheese, so these potatoes in particular were made with ricotta. I prefer cottage cheese because of the protein and the taste is slightly more tangy than the ricotta.

Crumble the bacon into bits and add to the potato mixture.

Spoon the potatoes mixture back into the potatoes skins and top with a light sprinkle of cheddar (or your favorite cheese).

**You actually don’t need to add any cheese, the ricotta makes the potatoes super creamy as is**

After the chicken if fully cooked, scoop big spoonfuls over each potato half.

Broil the whole pan until the cheese and chicken is slightly crisp and golden.

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Serve with a salad full of veggies and you have yourself a healthy family meal!

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Deck of Cards Workout

Workin' Out

Today, again, started out as a busy day, and I know there’s no slowing down until bedtime. When Javin is home, it’s high on my priorities to get a workout in, even if it’s a quick one. So today, I grabbed a deck of cards, and got in a 24 minute quickie.

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There are a couple variations to the deck of cards workout, but today I stuck to the simple one. Not only is a workout like this super easy, but it’s versatile, and you can take it anywhere, depending on the exercises you chose to do. I have used this game in bootcamps, and it’s been a hit each time.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Shuffle your deck of cards. No jokers.
Step 2: Decide your exercises for each suit.
Step 3: Gather your equipment, if you need any.
Step 4: Flip a card, and do the planned exercise in the amount shown on the number of the card. ACES ARE 11 REPS, ALL FACE CARDS ARE 10 REPS
Step 5: Repeat until all the cards are done, or until you’ve maxed out on your allotted time limit.

The exercises I chose were:

Clubs: Alternating curtsy lunges off step
Diamonds: DB high pull into press
Hearts: Plank with DB rows
Spades: Pop squats

Example: The first card I flipped was the 7 of spades, so I did 7 reps of the pop squats.

I almost ALWAYS chose burpees for one of the exercises during this workout, however, the one pregnancy symptom I’ve been experiencing is light-headedness. So because of that, the only jumpy exercise I added in was the pop squats. I usually keep every exercise multi-joint, OR, I split 2 for upper and 2 for lower so that the workout is still total-body. In this case, I had 2 exercises that were lower body focused, and 2 that were upper body focused.

I knew I wanted to get through the whole deck, so I timed myself. It took me just about 24 minutes to finish all 52 cards. The tough part was, my shuffle wasn’t very good apparently because I drew diamond after diamond and my shoulders began to fatigue early on.

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Pop Squats

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Curtsy Lunges

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High Pull into Press

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Plank Rows

If you have no equipment, this workout is still effective if you do, say, burpees, squats, sit-ups, and push-ups. Or, get creative. Again, all you need really, is a deck of cards. 

After going through the whole deck, you will have done a total of 65 reps each exercise.

You could spice it up a bit, and throw those jokers into the pile. Each joker could be something intense like 50 burpees, or 100 jumping jacks, or another exercise that you aren’t already incorporating.

Preschool Home-school Themes

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Being mama full time definitely is a lot of work. Emotionally, as well as physically, it’s very demanding of me. But, I wouldn’t want my “job” to be anything other than this. This is the most important job I could ever have. And since our oldest, Parker, is somehow almost at school age, I begin a new adventure!

Parker will be four years old in February, so this September, when school season begins, we will start a preschool routine. I think I might be more excited about this than anyone else, mostly because I know I now have more excuses to get creative and be a kid and learn myself.

Preschool…usually fun stuff. 

However, still very educational.

Our boy is ahead of the game in a sense that he has been learning for the past two years, and to him, “school work” has always been fun.

A few days ago, while my husband was home, I had a chance to actually put together a full school year of weekly preschool themes in which I plan to schedule my weekly and daily work around. I figured for the youngsters, themes are something to look forward to every Monday morning. (Heck, even us adults like themes, am I right?!)

I figured I would share our list of weekly themes, in case there are any other mamas out there who are stumped at where to begin with homeschooling a preschooler, or even a kiddo at an older age.

Preschool Homeschooling Themes rainbow

We are teaching based on our core values, Biblical references, and Oregon guidelines for early learning and kindergarten through the Department of Education.

Each day of the week will be broken up into individual lessons based around the overall theme. In addition to the weekly themes, I will be creating a list of sight words that will be learned alphabetically as the year progresses. 

As for Avaley, she will be two at the end of December, so we will come up with a “younger” version of many of the same activities Parker will be doing. She is still learning shapes, colors, animals, and things like that.

I now have a month to finish getting everything in order, and I know August is going to fly by! This is a new thing to me, homeschooling. So if there are any other moms with any pointers and/or advice, it would be very much appreciated! 

 

Homesteading– A Dream, A Plan, A LOT of Work.

Our Homely Farm

Seven months so far.

That’s how long we’ve been working on our house and property. Seven, very long, and tiring months. Only recently have we “moved in”, all into the one room in the house that needs the least work.

It’s not really anyone’s fault necessarily that things are taking so long. We knew we were getting ourselves into a big project, just didn’t know how big until we dug in. (As the story goes) And to be fair, this winter was extraordinarily long. It rained from October through parts of June. And when I say rain, I don’t mean a little drizzle, maybe some showers…it poured. We accumulated somewhere around 180 inches of rain here on the southern Oregon coast. That limited us since the majority of big projects involved tearing into rot from the exterior and inwards.

Even with rain and wet weather, the entire interior of the house needed to be gutted, so there were projects to be done.

I pulled shag carpet from every single room while Javin was at work and whenever the kids could go to Grammy’s. Kitchen included. The two full bathrooms upstairs got demoed and were all 100% tile with extra mold on the inside of every wall. The kitchen was smashed and we took down walls. Our contractor replaced four 8-foot sliding glass doors, and has replaced to this day ten windows, and a full picture window door in the kitchen. We also had a brand new wood-stove insert installed in the living room, since this big house needed some dry heat with all the moisture it had collected being empty before we found it. We also had the whole kitchen re-wired, and sconces added to the bedrooms as well as the living room. For some reason in the 70’s and 80’s people didn’t build in light fixtures like they do now. My parent’s house is the same way, like a cave. And last but not least, we had the plumber move some pipes around and also plumb us in a gas line for our stove.

We were stuck at that point for quite a while. Waiting. Once the rain decided to let up and allow summer to begin, we’ve really dug in to some big projects around here.

The balconies have been rid of rot and re-framed. There are no railings yet, as we are waiting for the roof to be done. (That should be within the next week) Javin stripped the roof, and we pulled all staples and our contractor has finished any repair work that needed to be done up there. The exterior is only about half sided, because of all the replacing and repairing that’s been done, but we have the new siding in the garage. We have spent hours cutting down trees and brush and burning. Even on wet days, we burned brush. We have a round-about driveway, and when we first bought this place, it was overgrown and thick! We’ve now cut well over 50 trees down, all smaller ones. A lot of them were rotten and were a hazard anyways. The others, we will use for firewood. We actually didn’t realize how much usable land we had until we began clearing brush and trees. It’s exciting being able to see the potential our land has now.

And yet, after all of this, we still have so much to do. 

The roof needs to be done. After that, the drywall. After that, the painting. After that, the floors. After that the kid’s bathroom upstairs. Somewhere in there we also need to do the railings for the three balconies, paint and seal the water-proofing on balconies, establish some sort of make-shift kitchen since we wont have the finances to put in a full, brand new one right away. And, maybe unpack our things that have been in storage over a year now.

We will also be having our property logged by a professional, he should be here within the next few weeks. That’s going to leave a mess, since it’s now fire season and we cannot burn the heaps and heaps of limbs we will have piled. If it wasn’t for the fact that we are adamant about wanting to create a more self-sufficient life, we wouldn’t be pushing to get the property done right away. But we want our greenhouse, an orchard, a chicken coop, pigs, more goats, bees, a barn, and the list goes on! Plus, the kids and dogs need a yard or space to be able to run around and play.

Now that we have baby number three on the way, I’ve been getting a little antsy.

I feel like I can see at least a place in the near(ish) future that feels more like home rather than a construction zone. But it’s been hard to say the least. But I guess this is the price to pay. We wanted to be close to family, knowing we also weren’t going to sacrifice our dreams of creating a little farm. We new this was the route we would have to take to get what we wanted.

But the most exciting thing, is knowing that we WILL have what we have always said we wanted no matter how long it takes…three beautiful babies, the love of our family, a house that is more than big enough for us to continue to grow into, the resources to grow and produce food on our own property, and the ability to teach our children that this is what life is all about. That, is the biggest blessing. 

Photo_2017-05-27_02-01-22_PMThis is the style we are going for. We will be replacing portions of the cedar siding with horizontal hardy-plank. Both sidings will be painted the same color, similar to this farmhouse here. Decks will be tan, with walnut stained wood. Trim will be white. Roof will be dark brown. 

 

Plank Workout

Workin' Out

Planks are wonderful.

They are for the most part low impact. They offer total body possibilities. They allow you to take exercise anywhere and everywhere without equipment. They help build strength, but also posture and balance.

I decided to play around with your average plank and came up with a fun planking workout that was somewhat new to me, and also challenging enough that I was sore the next day from the exercises. These planks however, used added equipment. I did use a step/box and a set of dumbbells.

1. Decline plank with alternate kick through— The goal with these were to keep a tight form, and push my “kick” as close to my opposite elbow I could get without twisting my hips to the point where my core was no longer strong and activated.

2. Plank with front raise— Holding the plank position while lifting a dumbbell forward until arm was straight and parallel to the floor. Then alternate sides.

3. Plank twists— The one exercise in this workout I’ve done many times. From the forearms, twist just enough as you dip your hips. You should feel these in your obliques.

4. Reverse plank with leg lifts— Reverse planks are challenging without adding any extra movements to them. The position of hands are my biggest struggle with these, as after a while, my wrists get tired and achy. From the full reverse plank, lift legs and alternate sides. I noticed that with each leg lift, I had to focus on keeping my glutes and core tight or my hips wanted to fall and break form.

5. Plank with open and push— similar to the front raise, but opening up your body just enough to push overhead rather than up and forward. Again, keep form tight and don’t allow wobbly twists.

All these exercises were done in controlled movements. Never try to go so fast that you sacrifice form in order to finish the reps faster. Each exercise ranged between 12-20 reps. Do 3-5 rounds.

A Third Tiny Little Poppy Seed

Mama Mama

As you know, our family has been discussing the idea of a third baby for the last eight months. Before our second, Avaley, had her first birthday we decided it wasn’t time. (My husband actually decided, he was certain he was not ready. Which is quite alright, I don’t think I was ready either.) And after our positive test a few months ago that didn’t hold, we made plans to wait until the end of summer and then decide if or when we should have another baby.

Well, here we are, not quite at the end of July, a couple months ahead of schedule and we found out over a week ago that without any planning, God decided we were ready for that third baby!

When life gives you lemons…or a tiny little poppy seed…you fill your heart with so much love that any nerves, confusion, and stress just melts away.

The nerves. Emotionally, maternally, I have wanted another baby for a while. Logically, sometimes I think I am crazy.

I had given myself goals, that I hadn’t fully accomplished. We are not fully living in our house, and wont be for months still. My husbands schedule at work is beyond inconsistent and makes it so he doesn’t get to join us for dinners or many important family times. We have a big house, but the layout isn’t ideal for three children so now we have to get even more creative with space. Do we need a bigger car? Holy cow, I do not want to take progesterone shots again! And how in the world am I ever going to grocery shop with three babies!? Some days getting by with two that are so close in age and still young is challenging enough.

First thing’s first. For me, I need to stay sane and feel healthy. 

My goal was to get back into tip-top shape before getting pregnant again so that not only can the pregnancy also be active and healthy, and labor be smooth, but I can bounce back like I did after both my others. I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be, but I know my body can still gain strength even during this time. I lifted all the way through my second pregnancy and Ava’s birth was perfect.

Not a horrible starting point.

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Fit pregnancy here I come!

As far as getting creative goes, I’m good at that. And thankfully, so are many many others on Pinterest.

We are in fact going to need a new vehicle in the near future, but not only because of a third baby, it’s just about time. Not sure how we are going to pull that one off though.

The shots. Dreaded and hated and literally the one thing that makes me angry about being pregnant. I already know the midwives are going to strongly suggest them, which means I will have a little time to research and try to come up with an alternative, but when it comes down to it, a healthy and to term baby is important.

Everything else, the day-to-day, we will figure it out. A little time, a little prayer, and a lot of love. We will find what works for us, there’s no doubt.

There’s only a million and a half things going on right now, but you know what?!

We are having a third baby. Another blessing. And we are super excited about that!

**Note: I am not sure exactly how far along I am. I wont see the midwife for another ten days.** 

 

 

 

Sample Weekly Meal Plan

Nutrition & Good Eats

The truth is, in our family, the only way to be successful at eating healthy, is to PLAN AHEAD! Not every week do we actually get a full game plan of meals laid out, because lately, it seems every week’s schedule is a little different from the week before, leaving holes to fill and arrangements to be made. Most of the time, we manage to figure out four days at a time, and then make a new game-plan when the time comes.

Having a meal plan not only helps you eat healthy, but it also helps save money, makes less grocery trips, and eases your mind. When it comes time for dinner, you can feel prepared rather than anxious and guilty about boiling up mac’n’cheese for the second night in a row.

I’ve had so many people in the past ask me for advice and guidance when it comes to planning meals, so I decided to throw together what a week of meals looks like in our crazy world.

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I am a creature of habit, so the only thing that we do that isn’t 100% accurate on this chart, is most mornings, breakfast is the same. And most days, our first big snack/early lunch is always eggs of some variety. For the sake of giving you ideas, I added in a few other options.

NOTES:

-My body responds well with eating the majority of my carbs in the morning and early afternoon. When dinner comes around, I tend to stick with protein and vegetables.

-A lot of days, Greek yogurt becomes my dessert, instead of a snack during the day. 

-I try not to forget my probiotic drinks, and usually have coffee in the morning. About four nights a week I enjoy a small glass of cabernet, organic if I have it. if you’re trying to find balance, or lose weight, drinks should be included in your meal plans because most people don’t realize the significance of whats in most beverages. 

-An after dinner snack/ dessert option I did not list is popcorn. We pop our own on the stove top. A little bit of coconut oil, heat, and a tiny pinch of stevia, and you’ve got a delicious and light snack. 

-Javin almost always takes leftovers for his lunch to work, so the kids and I may not always get leftovers.