Thursday 29 August 2013

Giving the Good

Earlier I shared my top tips for being a great visitor of a Mama with a new baby; if you missed it you can find it here. If you're looking to arrive bearing gifts here are some things you can do or bring that would be helpful to the new Mama you love so much!

 gifts for a new mom

1. Meals for the family - sometimes meal time slips through during the early days of having a new baby at home. Adjusting to the new normal takes time and practice, and helping out with meals really is a great service!

2. Babysitting/play dates with older kids - this would be best at someone else's house so mom can just sleep when baby sleeps

3. A big water bottle - there are no words to express how thirsty a nursing Mama is, but then throw in recovery from birth and you have one parched beauty!

4. Smoothies - make it green and choke full of healthy goodness! 

5. Chocolate and magazines - recovery takes resting, and resting needs entertainment. And chocolate. 

6. A rice bag for sore muscles - so wonderful!

7. diapers and wipes - have you ever seen the mountain of diapers a newborn produces? 

8. baby clothes/items - or better yet, offer to host a baby shower for her at a later date!

Take the time to know what would be most helpful, and do it. But remember to be mindful of the pointers here and here so that you are being as helpful as possible without holding back Mama from sleeping and recovering.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Four Months Ago...

...I had a few hours old baby snuggled up next to me. Audrey was born at 6:28am, and laid awake in my arms for a couple of hours soaking in her surroundings before we both went to sleep. Through the first week of Audrey's life I made a list of all the wonderful things people did that made bringing this sweet little girl into the world. I was reminded of this list when I saw this article posted by a friend on facebook yesterday. It's so important to celebrate each special spirit joining our lives, but here are some pointers on how to make the celebrations easier on both momma and baby.

how to help mamma with a new baby

1. When you visit over a meal time, bring the meal to share with the mom and her family. **Update: And, bring the meal in disposable containers so the new Mama isn't trying to figure out whose Tupperware is sitting on her counter a month later. Thanks Tanis for the tip!**

2.Don't overstay your welcome. 30 minutes is a long enough visit

3.Don't pick up baby without washing your hands and asking mom first

4.Ask what needs to be done around the house, then do it

5.Pay attention to the older kiddos - the baby only really wants its mother, and the older kids are hurt by the lack of attention

6.New moms need rest; if you're monopolizing those helping her, then she's not getting the rest she needs. Pay attention, and again don't stay long

7.Call before you head over - it may not be a good time after all, or there may be something that is needed and you could pick it up on the way

8.Space out visitors. Even if they're staying for a short amount of time, if mom isn't getting enough time to rest in between its not good

9. AND For goodness sakes, don't bounce the baby! They're newborns; snuggle them don't jiggle them

Friday 23 August 2013

One to Three

When I had one child I was over whelmed. The screaming, the constant demands, the screaming. Oh my the screaming. Darius likes to remind me often that he was my first baby, a badge of honor he wears with pride. His status as first born almost earned him the "Only Child" badge as well, but after much thought, prayer, and negotiations we agreed to have a second. Both my Hottie Husband and I knew that if we had another screamer we were done at two. My sanity barely scraped through with Darius, and well, we weren't too sure that either of us could handle a repeat of the screaming we had already endured. 

Low and behold, Eli was a golden baby who slept through the night after six weeks, crying really wasn't his thing, and he napped without having to be pushed in a stroller. Eli restored my faith in myself. I believed I could do this motherhood thing again, and when we started thinking about having another baby I was fully on board - in fact I was down right excited! 

Audrey is now three months old, closing in on four months if I'm being honest with myself. Having three kiddos is far different than having one, not only in a logistics way, but in a mentality. Logistically I'm out numbered, often pulled in three directions, and have three very different children all with different needs to be met. My attitude as a mother has changed from rigid to more flexible, and go with the flow. We still have a schedule, but I no longer feel like a bad mother when I don't get the kids into bed right at 7pm. We still eat healthy foods, but I no longer cringe if the boys have the infrequent hot dog. We still have toilets, but I no longer worry when my boys pee on the rocks outside instead. Somewhere along the way, my kids have taught me to enjoy the moment instead of thinking of how it could be better. They've taught me to slow down, enjoy the sun on my skin and the smiles looking up at me. Somehow, my kids have taught me that being out numbered is a wonderful feeling. 

Today was a busy go go go day of cleaning, van shopping [yes, you read that right, VAN shopping]and cousins arriving for a weekend of playing. I've been up since before 4:30 when Eli decided it was time to get up. Scrubbing toilets, stripping beds, vacuuming, all with a baby in tow and little men helpers. All five of us test drove and looked at vans at the dealership. And now, with three sleeping kiddos and myself headed that direction I'm looking forward to seeing three big smiles looking at their cousins across the breakfast table, scrabbling about the beach all day, and running wild in the summer sun. 

Life is definitely busier with three kids [especially with cousins in the mix:) ] but I can't imagine life any other way.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Training update

Before I dropped off the mystical blogging cliff of busy mama life, I posted the half marathon training plan I created to prepare to run a half marathon in September. It's been a great plan to follow so far, and with nine weeks behind me and the final three to go I'm feeling back on my feet once again. Getting back into a running groove has been a challenge at times, but focusing on one workout or one week, at a time has really helped me push through the discomfort and lace up my sneakers anyways. One of the most helpful things I've found is looking at my training as a week long endeavor. Looking at training one week at a time allows me to juggle my workouts according to my schedule. Some weeks my long run has been completed on Friday, others Monday, but the point is it always gets done.  It's not always easy, but man is it ever worth it!

I have trained for and completed many races, and by far this training plan has been the most effective - and yet it has the fewest runs per week. For some this would be a deterrent, but with a small babe on hand I needed to make sure that I was maximizing my training time and keeping my time away from her to a minimum. Between cross fit, strength training, and yoga I gain awesome strength, conditioning and cross training. My running workouts each week consist of one speed or hill training day (it alternates week to week) one mid distance run which caps at 5 miles, and one long run on the weekend. My longest run of the training program is coming up this Saturday, 10 miles. Hitting this week, the week of maximums, is always one of my favorites.  Not only do I know I have come A LONG WAY but I know that come Monday it's time to taper off to race day :) Cause in the end, 12 weeks of training is focused and directed towards one end goal - completing the half marathon with a smile on my face and burning legs! "Leave it all on the course" is my motto, and a training principle I rely on to make me stronger, better, and faster. After all 12 weeks will pass anyways, why not discover my potential in the process?

Sunday 18 August 2013

I'm still here!

It's been a while. A long two months break if we're being specific, and it's been a crazy busy two months at that! So much has happened that has pushed my blogging to the back burner, from a natural disaster to rival hurricane Katrina in my city, to my hubby being on the front lines of safety during and after said disaster (which rendered me a single parent for a month or so) to many mini vacations since. Throw in soaking up all the summer we can while it lasts and you'll get the idea. It's been busy.
Many times over the past while I've written down topics I wanted to tackle in a post, and so now I have a long list of topics that may or may not be addressed based on their relevance moving forward; but we gotta pick up somewhere so here we go!

There is something different about having a daughter. When both of my sons were born, life stood still as I breathed in their very existence. My eyes glistened often with tears of gratitude and joy as I would snuggle them close to my chest and let their sweet baby scent envelope me. I do the same with my daughter, and my heart tugs at the thought of all the roads I have traveled that she will too in the not too distant future. Each time she connects her big blue eyes to mine, smiling her big toothless grin, I pause and soak in the trust and love that she has for me. Right now I am her everything, and I am absolutely loving it. 

The need to be a stronger role model for my children is very much at the for front of my mind. To walk the road that I tell them they must tread. Living a kind, healthy and generous life has a whole new meaning when I have a princess following my wake, along with my two little princes. Here is my wish for my sweet little Audrey as she sleeps soundly in the room next to me:

I wish that you will see the world full of possibility and light; full of goodness to be gleamed and given, and love to be shared. I wish that you will see the rising of the sun each day as the dawning of possibility, and take a moment at each sunset to focus on all the blessings and gratitude in your life. I wish that you will stand on the strength within you, and look to the Lord for solace and know that you are amazing. I wish that you will know through the look in my eyes that I adore you and know you are the most amazing girl in the world. I wish that you will feel the power God has blessed you with as you run, climb, and conquer each challenge you face; that you will see every mountain as a journey to be enjoyed. I wish that you will see me as a sounding board for ideas, a companion through thick and thin, and a mother whom you wouldn't trade for anything in the world. I wish you a thousand smiles and more, because you are my princess whom I adore.

Life became a little more rosy and pink three months ago - and to say I am loving every minute would be an understatement.