Monday, October 1, 2012

Stella the Gymnast

Stella is enrolled in gymnastics!  Yep...you heard me.  Sure, she is only 16 months old but hey...why wait to begin building coordination and kinesthetic awareness?

The class is 16 months-3 years old, so she is definitely the youngest in her class.  She doesn't quite know what to do but still seems to have a good time.  We've only done 2 classes so far but she is already improving.  The first class consisted of me lifting her and carrying her through different stations.  But the second class was much better.  She went on the trampoline by herself (granted she still can't hop with 2 feet but she liked it all the same), and ran to the vault by herself.  She is even getting the hang of tucking her chin to do a forward roll by herself. 

Most of all, I'm proud of what a good listener she is.  She stays in circle time to stretch (even though she has no idea what we are doing) and follows the cirtuit activities well.

Here is a picture of her in her new leotard after our first day of gymnastics (9/19/12)

Miss Frequent Flyer

Wow...it has been way too long since I have updated this blog.  So much has happened in our lives since the last post but as Stella gets older, her progression slows down a bit so it is hard for me to remember to post something about her new accomplishments and journeys. 

In the last few weeks, Stella has become quite the traveller.  We all know that she has made countless 5 hour car trips to Auburn and back over the summer but she has now officially crossed the country.  In Mid September, Matt had a softball tournament in Orlando, Florida.  He's competed in this tournament for several years but I've never gone with him.  However, this year my brother and his wife live in Florida so we decided to make a vacation out of it.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't a tad bit nervous about flying across the country with a 16 month old.  I knew she would be missing both of her nap times and she really never falls asleep in people's arms anymore.  To state it simply, I was scared of the unknown (and the dirty looks other travellers give to parents of screaming children). 

She was great from Spokane to Seattle and then was great on the 6 hour flight from Seattle to Orlando.  She was sitting on daddy's lap while the plain taxied down the runway and wouldn't you know...she fell asleep before we even took off (So did daddy)!


She slept for the first 1 1/2 hours of the flight.  Then was content watching Bubble Guppies for the rest of the flight.  Yes...she had a few 2-3 minute melt downs but overall, I think she did really well.

This gave me a bit of confidence for the flight back but I was still nervous.  She didn't fall asleep quite as easily on the flight back.  She fought it and cried for about 10 minutes but eventually caved and slept for a good portion.  Poor monkey probably had no idea what time zone she was in.  That night when we got home, we gave her a bottle at about 5:45 (much earlier than normal but 8:45 Florida time) and she fell asleep drinking her bottle.  Poor thing!  She ended up sleeping 14 hours that night and woke up at her usual 7:30am the next morning.

To make her life more complicated, we went to Kansas the next week to visit my grandparents (her great grandparents).  These flights didn't go quite as well.  She really fought going to sleep.  I definitely felt the eyes of the people around me glaring into my soul!  She really probably only cried a total of 15-20 minutes but I know that is a long time for people travelling without children.  Shoot...that was a long time for me.  By the end of the second flight (from Kansas City to Seattle), I was just about in tears...exhausted, frustrated and hurting for my upset baby.

Needless to say, we had wonderful trips but we are done traveling for a while. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

A New Phase - The Dreaded Toddler

A new phase is upon us.  If you have read my previous posts, you know that I have said we have been in a good phase, knowing that children grow in phases and it could switch at any time.  Well...that time is here. 

Baby Stella is disappearing and toddler Stella is making a strong appearance!  She is now walking up a storm...doing circles around our living room and kitchen.  This means she has developed a strong sense of independence and wants to do everything by herself.  However, at the same time, she has developed a little clinginess to mama and seems to get scared or nervous when she is with new people or can't see me.  In addition, she has started throwing little fits if she doesn't get her way, although she is still easily distracted. 

Ok - that is the bad but here is the good - She is still an AMAZING sleeper despite cutting 2 molars!  She is an an excellent eater...maybe too excellent.  Every time we sit her down to eat, she shoves food in her mouth like she hasn't eaten in days.  Occasionally she'll shove so much in that she'll gag, spit it out and start all over again.  She pretty much eats anything.  Sometimes she doesn't like fruits but she loves cheese, raisins, any meats, rice, eggs, peas, carrots, asparagus...you name it, she eats it!  Fortunately, we are now at a place where she pretty much eats whatever we do for dinner which is great for family meals.  Here she is enjoying a taco noodle dish...





Here is little miss sassy Stella posing in her new sunglasses, which she loves wearing by the way!  Oh yeah...that's right...she's rockin a side pony!  Summer...HERE WE COME!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

I Won't Give Up

I'm sure you have all heard this song by Jason Mraz.  If you haven't, you should...GO...GO NOW and listen to it!  This is my new favorite song right now.  It has such a different message than everything else we are bombarded with on a daily basis.  We live in a world that is selfish and requires instant gratification.  We are all being taught that we should always be asking, "What's in it for me?" and that we don't actually have to work for anything, we have right to it and it should just be handed to us...whatever it is - money, love, success, etc.

This kind of world really scares me.  I don't want to live in a world where I only think about myself and where I don't earn the things that I receive.  Ok, ok...it would be nice to win the lottery but you know what I'm saying.  I want to live in a world where we all encourage growth in one another and constantly look out for the well being of each other.  I am doing a bible study with a friend right now and we were asked to think about whether we will impact the world or if we will let the world impact us.  Interesting to think about...

Anyway, this song's lyrics are just amazing.  They emphasize commitment and loyalty that is so often forgotten about.  I personally think of my marriage.  I've always told Matt that I am only doing this marriage thing once so I can be a happy married lady and we can work through our issues or I can be a grumpy married lady but I'll be married to him either way :)

We will be married for 6 years next month (together for almost 10) and I know to some of you that isn't a very long time but I'm so proud of us.  We haven't always had the easiest path with crazy work stuff, health stuff, money stuff and other issues but somehow we have managed to remain committed and loyal to one another through it all and, guess what, still in love!

Lately, I've been having a hard time with a few things in our relationship, choices that Matt has made that impact our summer and our family, but I am realizing that they are temporary and superficial issues and that deep down, we love each other way too much to let any of those silly things impact our relationship.  In fact, this song reminded me of that last night.  It was featured in the choreography round of So You Think You Can Dance and the moment it started playing Matt and I both said, "I love this song" in unison.  NO JOKE!  That is when this revelation hit me.  We both found a connection with it because of it's message and melody.  I guess it confirmed what I already knew deep down; that commitment was important to both of us and it just made me smile thinking about it.

I encourage you all to listen to the words of the song.  They are so unique and so uplifting.  Then, think about how you can serve and uplift others during your day.  We can impact our own lives by changing our perspective and let's hope that it will have a ripple affect with those we interact with.  Have an amazing day today!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

12 month check up

Stella had her 12 month check up today and, boy, what a difference 3 months makes!  Do you remember at her 9 month check up how concerned they were with her growth patterns since she dropped so dramatically?  Well...3 months later, she is a whole different baby.  Here are the stats:

Head - 17 3/4" - right on 50th percentile
Weight - 22lbs 4oz - Just under the 75th percentile
Height - 29 3/4" - Just on the 75th percentile

Everything checked out beautifully and she is a healthy little girl!  We will begin transitioning off of formula soon and Stella can start exploring the world of real adult food in little cubes. 

She did get 3 vaccination shots but they did them in the nicest way possible.  2 nurses come in and do the shots at the same time so that she only has to endure the torturous pricks a few times.  Stella gasped in a deep breath, turned beat red and then started sobbing.  It was a cry I hadn't really ever heard before...it was like she couldn't get a full breath of air and was gasp crying but that was short lived...only about 2-3 minutes of cuddling and she was all better and ready to play peek-a-boo with the receptionists.

I know I've said it before but I just feel so blessed by this little girl and the place that my family is in.  We are in a good phase right now.  I know it is just a phase and I'm waiting for things to change but my goodness, this phase is AWESOME!

We have a big weekend ahead.  Grammy and Grumpy are coming into town for my graduation and Stella has her 12 month pictures with Kim this weekend!

Enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Has it really been a year?

Last year at 1:02pm, Stella Grace blessed our world after 4 1/2 hours of labor.  She was delivered by Dr. Smetana and my best friend, Diane Labelle.  My husband and mom were in the room while my dad waited patiently outside in the lobby.  Stella weighed 7lbs 7oz, was 19" long and was perfect in every way.  She looked like her daddy's clone but had my feet.  She was truly my dream come true.  The nurses commented on how Matt and I acted like veteran parents upon discharging us from the hospital.

The first 6 months were tough.  She went from being a great sleeper, to being an awful sleeper, then back to great again.  At 3 weeks old, she had to have an EEG for seizure like twitching and, thankfully, she was totally fine.  Although her brain was fine, she was extremely gassy.  I had to adjust my diet drastically to avoid adding to her digestion issues.  We think this is what led to her fussiness during the first 6 months. 

When she turned 7 months old, it was like we had a whole new baby.  She is absolutely FULL of personality and only cries when she is hungry or tired.  At 9 months she lost 2 lbs from her 6 month visit so we began to supplement in formula and eventually, I weaned her from breastfeeding on her 10 month birthday.  She is so full of joy and one of her favorite things to do is bop to music.  Grammy has been teaching her so many fun songs and she catches on to them so quickly.  Her latest fun new thing is cuddling when you ask her to.  She'll come right over, put her head on your shoulder and pat your back with her hand.  Tooooo cute!

I'm so proud of who she is and I am so blessed that God chose me to look after her on Earth.  Here are some memories from the past year of Stella's life:

* First roll over - 5 weeks old when she was hysterically crying
* First flight - 7 weeks old to Seattle and then Kansas
* Baptism on July 3rd - 8 weeks old at Family of Grace Lutheran Church
* First tooth - 4 1/2 months old and hasn't stopped teething since.
* First night out (left with my parents) - 5/31 for Matt's birthday
* First night out (left with a sitter) - 7/29 for our 5 year anniversary
* First food - Carrots & sweet potatoes @ 5 months old (10/7)
* Rolled over from back to front @ 5 months old (10/1)
* Sat up by herself for the first time @ 5 months old (10/22)
* First time seeing snow - 11/12 - 6 months old
* First fruit - Apples - 11/14 - 6 months old
* Top teeth cut through on Christmas - 12/25
* First word - Mama - 8 months old - 1/9
* Cutting 5th tooth on bottom left - 1/17
* Second word - Dada - 1/18
* Stood by herself for the first time - 10 months - 3/23
* FINALLY started crawling - 3/31
* Walks by herself with toy walker - 4/13
* Birthday party at Grammy's house - 4/28
* 8 teeth total at 1 year


Words at 1 year:

* Mama
* Dada
* Puppy (pup pup)
* Papa
* Hi
* Bye Bye
* Num-num
* Baby
* Ball

Favorite Songs:
* Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee
* ABC song
* Itsy bitsy spider

Animal noises/actions:
* Fishy
* Snake
* Monkey
* Bumble Bee

Thank you all for being a part of Stella's first year.  It has been the ride of a life time with highs and lows and everything in between but I wouldn't change a thing. 

We love you!

On another note, I've turned in my final portfolio for my Master's program and will graduate next week!!! Woohoo! I'm officially done with school!

Birthday pictures

Here are some more pictures from the party and the weekend - in no particular order :)






























Monday, April 30, 2012

Stella's First Birthday Party!

The big day is coming up on Wednesday, May 2nd, but we had her party in our home town on Saturday.  The event was really fun! We had a lot of guests, including 12 kids!  Thankfully it was a nice day outside so the kids got to run and enjoy the backyard.

Stella had a gorgeous cake and smash cake that we got from Celebrity Cakes in Tacoma.  They did an absolutely amazing job on it and it matched Stella perfectly!  However, when it came to actually eating the cake, she was not so sure about it.  She didn't like touching the frosting and held her hands up to me asking to be cleaned off.  I took a little of the cake and tried feeding it to her.  She ate it, gagged 3 times and then threw up in front of everyone on her birthday outfit.  Memories!!  Here is a video of the entire scene and then a close up of it coming back up for a visit.

video

She was such a good girl all day and this little girl is so blessed to have the best circle of friends and family looking out for her. Beyond that she is SPOILED! She got so many fun toys and clothes! We can't wait to play with and wear them all!

Overall, the day was perfect including the cake vomiting.  I wouldn't have changed anything for the world.  I will add more pics later!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Results You've Been Waiting For

Ok...here it goes.  The final results...

First, let me review the last 14 days because I was awful about updating you with the events.  I travelled to Auburn and then to Kansas.  Traveling and keeping healthy eating habits is hard but I did my best.  Our hotel offered waffles and lots of yummy goodies for breakfast but I stuck to eggs, oatmeal and fruit. I was pretty proud of myself.  I did miss 2 days of vitamins on the flying days but overall, it wasn't too bad.

So, after the full 24 (or 26 in my case) days, here are the results.  I am down a total of 4lbs.  I was a little bummed that I didn't lose any weight after the first 10 days but I knew I felt better and that is what really matters.  Weight really is just a number and if I feel good about the way I look, I really don't care what my weight is.

As for inches, I originally measured the following body parts: Right arm, shoulders, chest, waist, hips, right thigh, and right calf.  Here are the end results:

Right arm: down 1/2 inch
Shoulders: no change
Chest: down 1/2 inch
Waist: down 1.75 inches!!
Hips: down 1/2 inch
Right thigh: down 1 inch!!
Right calf: down 1/2 inch

Total loss: 4.75 inches on areas I measured.  I am really happy with that number.  Matt didn't measure himself but he lost a total of 6 lbs from the challenge and is at one of his lowest weights since I met him almost 10 years ago!

Here are some other cool things...

I don't crave desserts like I used to.  I used to HAVE to have something sweet after dinner.  I don't even think about it that often and Matt and I decided we will treat ourselves to FroYo on Saturdays for being good during the week.  I look forward to that treat but don't NEED it.

I have really enjoyed snacking on almonds and fruit.  I no longer crave the carb snacks.  I used to want bread or chips or icky stuff but after seeing some results, I don't want to sabotage myself.  This doesn't mean that I will never eat them again but I do like the feelings and energy I have without them.

This is one of the most stressful times in my life.  I have a lot going on and yet, I have energy and a positive attitude! I really do think that is amazing.  One thing that helped me through this that Advocare doesn't sell is prayer! Whenever I got hungry or tempted, I would pray and that also did a world of good for my energy and attitude.  So, with Advocare and God, I'm feeling pretty good right now. 

I still have a long way to go but I'm at least on the right path.  I'm continuing with my Max3 packs and have added catalyst and thermoplus to my daily regiment.  I've also begun working out again, at least 3 days a week, so I'm hoping that will also kick start some additional loss.

Thank you to all the support and prayers you have sent my way through the challenge...I love you guys!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Days 9 & 10 - Finishing the Cleanse

Alright everyone! I'm done with the 10 day cleanse portion of the 24 day challenge.  In review, it really wasn't that bad.  The worst part about it was drinking the fiber drinks because they aren't super tasty but they aren't bad.

Over the past 10 days I have noticed the following benefits from the cleanse:

* 3.5lbs weight loss!!
* Headaches are gone
* Higher energy without crashes
* Clearer skin!! I think this is from the Omegaplex.

In addition, it has made me much more conscious of what I have been putting in my body.  I have been able to resist my usual cravings for sweets and eat leaner proteins and smarter snacks.  Rather than eating chips, I would eat carrots or an apple, which just makes me feel better overall!  It has also made me more aware of how much water I am drinking.  I faithfully drink water all throughout the day!  I have not had coffee or soda since we started, nor wanted it which is the shocking part!

So now we are onto the replenishing portion of the 24 day challenge, which is just about putting the right vitamins back into your body so that it can efficiently function.  Each day has 4 little packets of 3-4 pills to take.  I take the first yellow packet 30 minutes before breakfast, 2 white packets with lunch and 1 yellow packet 30 minutes before lunch.  I usually eat lunch around 11 because I start work at 6 but today I didn't take my vitamins till 11:30 and waited to eat lunch at noon.  I started to feel sick around 11:45 because I was so hungry and sometimes my stomach doesn't do well when taking vitamins on an empty stomach.  I didn't have that feeling at breakfast so I'm hoping that it was just because I waited to eat and not because those vitamins don't sit well with me.  I will keep you posted on that.

I'm flying to Seattle this weekend for Easter with the fam and then taking off to see my Grandparents in Kansas next week so I am going to try and stay as faithful to the healthy eating and the vitamins as possible while traveling.  I've packed some meal replacement shakes and spark to take with me so hopefully that will help me out.

Stay tuned...I'll try and update some while I am traveling!

Happy Easter everyone!  He is risen!! He is risen, indeed!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Days 6, 7, & 8

I will be honest, this weekend was tough.  Matt and I usually go out to eat quite a bit on the weekends but we stayed home and tried to be good on the healthy eating plan.  I only lost .5 lbs over the weekend but hey...that is better than nothing.  So I did break into the 150's.  I'm at 159.5.  We are in the final days of the "cleanse" portion of the 24 day challenge and then we begin replenishing our body with the good vitamins and minerals it needs.  Matt is doing really well and he has lost 4 lbs already.  It feels good to be putting good things in my body but it is still hard. 

On kind of a neat note, headaches are rare, energy is higher than normal and I am feeling good.  Life is kind of crazy right now with trying to finish my portfolio for school and work but I am glad that I have the energy to get it all done.  I'm on the home stretch!

On to the better stuff, Stella is officially pulling herself up and trying to walk and she finally is crawling all over the place.  Her crawl is a little strange.  She puts her left foot on the ground and her right knee and pushes herself forward with her foot.  It is really funny to watch but we are glad to see her progressing.  She is still super happy most of the time and just loves people.  We could not be more blessed!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 5 and Funny Stella Video

Here we are at day 5 and I've made it through the first work week.  Last night was hard because I found myself wanting to eat more than I knew I should at dinner time.  I think it is my body adjusting to not eating carbs as much. We had a great dinner - oven roasted turkey breast, asparagus and oven roasted potatoes but I still wanted more.  I ended up snacking on some almonds and that helped subside the need to eat. 

This morning was the first morning I really felt the affects of the "cleanse".  I haven't really seen any change to my digestion or visits to the restroom but this morning, I finally had a little cleansing moment.  It felt really good and I swear my stomach got flatter LOL.

So far this morning is going well.  I've had my probiotic pills, a spark and breakfast.

I weighed in at 160.0
Total loss - 2lbs

Not bad for 5 days!

On a separate note, Stella did that funny sitting up thing in bed again...only this time, she was so tired she started falling asleep while sitting up.  I video'ed her video monitor...take a look.  Sorry if it is sideways :)

video

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stella's New Trick = Rough Nap!

Well, Stella is developing more and more, which is so fun to watch, but that leads to new tricks including sitting herself up in her crib during bed and naptime.  Normally she will just figure out how to get herself back down to her belly and fall asleep.  Unfortunately, we weren't so lucky this time.  During her 1:30 nap, she pushed herself up to her butt and started playing with her little blankie like it was a pom pom.  That was fun for about 15 minutes but then she realized she was tired and got so upset that she refused to lay back down.  Normally I'd let her work this out on her own but the scream/crying was killing me so I went in and laid her back down.  What do you know, she pushed herself back up and scream/cried even harder!  FINALLY, after about another 20 minutes, I went in and laid her down again and she went to sleep.  Here is a pic of her on the video monitor...just sitting up in her crib and chillin!

Day 4

Not a whole lot to report about yesterday.  I found myself getting sort of hungry but I am getting better about making healthy choices for snacks.  Things like apples, grapes, almonds, carrots, luna bar, etc.  We roasted a turkey breast to have some protein throughout the week...it is yummy!

I also made steel cut oats in my crock pot overnight.  I cut out the butter and brown sugar but put in cinnamon and apples.  It was a little bland so I'll have to figure out a way to spice it up but boy...talk about easy and healthy breakfast.

I forgot to weigh myself this morning before drinks or food but I weighed after I ate and I was weighing in at the same 160.5.  I'm hoping that I'll break into the 150's over the weekend!

Day 4 is when we start with the probiotics so we did that this morning.  I can report that I woke up without a headache again but I am tired today.  We have gray skies...I'm sure that doesn't help.  I always perk up in the sunshine!  Plus, I find Thursdays somewhat difficult...the weekend is within sight but not quite here.  Today may be a day where I drink an extra dose of spark.  BUT I'm doing well without my coffee...haven't had any coffee since Sunday!

Praying for the sunshine to peek out!  More tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 3 - Met my nemesis

Here we are...day 3 of the 24 day challenge and I realized that I may not have planned this challenge at the most strategic time.  I headed downstairs yesterday and what was staring me straight in the face?? GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!!!! I had ordered them over a month ago and they finally came in a few weeks ago.  I had honestly forgot we still had some thin mints laying around and then I spotted them.  There they were just begging me to eat them...they looked so good.  The package was open and the cookies smelled soooo good.  It was snack time and I was hungry.  In a moment of weakness, I popped one in my mouth but immediately wrapped them up and buried them in my messy pantry.  I'm hoping I will go back to forgetting they even exist!  Damn you, thin mints, damn you!!!!

Anyway, other than my little encounter with my nemesis, the thin mint, yesterday went pretty well.  I found myself getting hungry a few times but I reminded myself that hungry is not a bad thing.  I don't need to be stuffed to the brim every moment of every day.  It is ok for my body to be hungry, as long as I am not letting myself get too hungry where I will eat anything and everything in sight...been there, done that...it ain't pretty!

Like I mentioned in my post yesterday, I had woken up with a headache but it dissipated as the day went on.  Again, not sure what is making that happen but I am sure happy about it. 

Here is the most amazing thing that happened yesterday...I actually had the desire to clean! For those of you that really know me, you can pick your jaw up off of the ground now :) YES...me, Ally, cleaned my kitchen on my own free will!  Normally at night all I want to do is sit and play with Stella and watch TV...veg and not think about a thing.  Last night, I just got this little burst of energy around 7pm.  I had put Stella to bed and decided to reorganize one of my cupboards so I did.  I also organized the island and picked up all of the crap that had been cluttering my kitchen for months and months.  It felt good! 

I still had time to sit down and relax for part of the evening but I felt good knowing that I had been productive!  Hopefully that will continue.

In addition, this morning, I woke up without a headache.  It has been over a month since that has happened.  I also woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I am by no means a morning person and I start work at 6am.  It usually takes me a good few hours to get my happy face plastered on but this morning, I woke up ready to tackle the day!  The weather has slightly dampened my mood since it is so drizzly and nasty outside but hopefully my energy level will stay high.  I have a lot to do and I desperately need to get my butt in gear to finish my final portfolio/thesis for school!

Day 3 morning weight - 160.5.
Total loss - 1.5lbs

More to come...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 2

I made it through the first day and I have to tell you...it wasn't that bad!!  Here is a quick review of how it went.

I woke up in the morning with a headache...nothing new since I have been battling with my sinuses for about 4 weeks.  Upon waking up, I drank a glass of Spark and went on working.  30 minutes later, I drank my fiber drink (not the tastiest thing but also not the worst) and then drank a meal replacement shake for breakfast.  About 2 hours later, I had an apple for a snack and about another 2 hours later, I had lunch.  Lunch consisted of a grilled chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  During the first half of the day, I also consumed about 32 oz of water.  Needless to say, I was racing to the bathroom to relieve myself quite often. 

Around 2pm, I had a second glass of spark and as I was drinking it, I noticed that I didn't have a headache.  This was probably the first time I hadn't had a headache in about 3 weeks - no joke!  It was like a huge weight had been lifted!!  I'm not ready to say that it is any one thing - spark, water, healthy food, etc - but the combination was awesome!

I had a luna bar for a snack after work and then Matt and I had a very yummy dinner of salmon, brown rice and green beans!  Surprisingly really filling and really tasty!  Then it was off to Young Life, like every Monday night.  I noticed that I did have more energy than my normal Monday night.  Normally, I'm dragging by about 8pm but I had a little spring in my step last night.  I got home at about 9pm, took the "cleansing tablets" and went off to bed.

I woke up this morning at 161lbs (1lb down) and felt more alert than I normally do at 6am.  I did have a headache again but I'm hoping that will disappear as the day goes on.  So far, I'm feeling good and still motivated.  I've had my spark, fiber drink and breakfast (no coffee) and I'm not tired!  Today is sunny and I'm keeping a positive outlook!

Monday, March 26, 2012

24 Day Challenge - Day 1

Welcome to day 1 of my 24 day challenge.  For those of you that know me, you know that I am fairly in shape but I'm always looking for a way to lose a little weight or get into better shape.  Over the years, I have tried many things and some have been very successful but most of the time my bad habits get in the way and I eventually gain the lost weight back.  Well, today I am beginning a 24 day challenge/cleanse to hopefully rid my body of the toxins and cravings that I am currently experiencing. 

The 24 day challenges is from a company called Advocare and it is based off of 10 days of cleansing the body of the waste and toxins and then 14 days of building up the good vitamins, nutrients and probiotics so that your body can process and utilize food as fuel, the way it was intended to.  This is not one of those crazy cleanses where you drink cayenne pepper and lemon water and you can't eat food and you are running to the bathroom every 10 minutes...oh no - I could not handle that!  This is a combination of high fiber drinks, probiotics and healthy food to cleanse and recalibrate the body.  During the entire challenge, I will still be eating food but the food will consist of fruits, veggies, lean proteins and complex carbs.

On average, people lose 12 lbs during the 24 day challenge.  I don't have a ton of weight to lose but realistically I've been in the same 15lb weight range for the past 12 years.  I go up and I go down but I pretty much always stay between 150-165lbs (OMG I just admitted my weight in print!! SCARY!) I am 5'8" and have a good foundation of muscle mass from being a gymnast, so that weight isn't ridiculously high but it is still higher than I would like it to be. 

I feel good about my body when I am 150lbs so that is my initial goal.  I'm currently at 162 so that would be a 12lb loss.  I know that 150 is something that I can achieve because I've been there before in recent years, however ideally, I'd like to find out if 140's is attainable.  Honestly, I'm not really sure whether it is or not because I haven't been there since I had my big growth spurt of 10 inches in high school.  Once I get to 150, I will do another assessment to see how I'm feeling and whether I feel that I should maintain at that weight or if my body can remain healthy and lose more.

Of course weight loss is a priority for me but more than that, I just want to feel healthy again.  I know that I am not eating the things that properly fuel my body and I feel sluggish and icky most of the time with constant headaches.  From reading other people's reviews of this 24 day challenge, their energy level increases, their focus and clarity increases, inches and weight decrease and headaches disappear.  That is my hope.  With everything that I have on my plate (graduate school, work, baby, husband, volunteer work, etc) I could definitely benefit from those results.

So...now that I've bared my soul (and my weight - I still can't believe I did that!!), here is how the next few days will go...

Days 1-3

* Wake up and drink Spark (Advocare's version of an energy drink - full of vitamin B) on an empty stomach
* 30 minutes later drink the cleansing Fiber drink with breakfast.  Breakfast consists of a few eggs or a piece of fruit or a piece of oat toast with peanut or almond butter or a meal replacement shake.
* Snack of fruit or almonds between breakfast and lunch
* Lunch - salads w/lean proteins or vegetables and lean protein
* Snack again (same thing)
* OmegaPlex supplements taken with dinner for the healthy fatty acids.  Dinner consists of lean protein and veggies again (complex carb if needed) - we are having Salmon tonight YUM!
* Snack if needed before bed
* Cleansing tablets at bed time. (Herbal Cleanse Tablet: Senna extract, wheat grass powder, cranberry juice powder, burdock extract, astragalus extract, echinacea extract, milk thistle extract, schisandra extract, beet powder, odorless garlic powder).

I will let you know how we did tomorrow.  Oh yeah...I say we because my husband is doing it with me!! This is the first thing that Matt has shown an interest in doing with me because it is done with the purpose of healthy, rather than weight loss like my other ventures like weight watchers, etc.

Wish me luck! I'll keep you posted along our journey!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An Update on Stella's Weight

Miss Stella had her 10 month check up (which was only a result of being low weight at her 9 month visit) so that they could check her weight and it went really well. We have been feeding her what feels like a TON of food and she is loving it. Here is her current schedule:

8am: wake up and nurse
8:15am: 3.5oz of fruit solids
8:25-9:15am: play play play
9:15am: 8oz bottle of formula
9:30-11 or 11:30: nap #1
12 noon: nurse or 4oz bottle of formula
12:15pm: 3.5oz meat solids
12:30-1:30 play play play
1:30- 3 or 3:30: nap #2
3:30pm: 8 oz bottle of formula
3:30 - 5: errands or play with mommy
5pm: 3.5oz vegetable solids
5-6:30: play with mommy and daddy
6:30pm: bath time
7pm: 8 oz bottle of formula
between 7:15-8p: bedtime

As you can see, a good portion of our day is eating, eating and more eating. Here is the kicker...when we starting this eating regiment, she could barely eat 5oz at a time. Now she gulps down 8oz and then wants more!

Needless to say, I was confident that she had gained weight since her last appointment and, sure enough, that was confirmed when she was weighed. Little Miss Stella gained 4 pounds!! 4 POUNDS!!! Can you believe that? 4 pounds in 1 month. She is now 19.4lbs. That gain put her right back up on the 50th percentile. The doctor said that he was extremely happy with the result and to keep doing what we are doing.

I asked what the maximum is that she should be getting and he said that he really doesn't think she can eat too much at this point but if I am concerned, I need to make sure she gets a minimum of the 24 oz of formula and then I can always offer water as an alternative. If Stella had her way, she would be drinking 32oz of formula plus solids plus nursing every day.

At this point, I only have 1 or 2 nursing sessions a day and my supply is way down. I'm a little bummed that my breast feeding days are coming to an end with her but it is also somewhat freeing. I was planning to wean her at a year anyway so we aren't that far off and Stella is such a happy baby so I know we are doing what is right for her.

She is also sleeping 10-12 hours at a time now and pretty consistently. I think the formula at night helps her feel full through the night so she doesn't have to wake as early to eat. I will be honest...I'm pretty happy with this result of the feeding change.

Overall, we have a happy (really joyful) and healthy 10 month old daughter that steals my heart on a daily basis. As frustrating as the weight loss was, we rebounded and came out of it better than ever. It is now 1 bump we can add to the road of parenting :) We are smooth sailing for now but I'm sure there will be many more bumps to come.

Thank you to all who had my baby in your prayers over the past month!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My First Weekend Away

I finally did it...I left my baby for the weekend.  Matt and I ventured to California for a weekend of fun in the sun.  My parents kindly headed over the pass and stayed at our house with Stella so that we could leave knowing that she was in good hands. 

As we pulled out of the driveway on Thursday night, I was overwhelmed with anxiety.  I knew that Stella would be fine with my parents but I had spend 9 months carrying this baby and then another 10 months with very little separation from her.  I was anxious about just being away from her.  A little of me was excited but a lot of me was anxious.  I tried not to show it but I think everyone could tell.  I am surprised to say that I did not cry at all.  I kept thinking I was going to but I talked myself out of it.  I probably would have been more sad at the airport but thankfully, we didn't have time to think or rest there.

We arrived at the airport an hour early, which is plenty of time at our small regional airport, to find that our flight was running behind and there would be very little chance of us making our connecting flight in Oakland.  So, the front desk agent make some calls on her walkie talkie and was able to get us and our bags on a flight that would be departing in less than 15 minutes.  We rushed through security (there were only 3 people in front of us in line) and they greeted us by name at the gate and we boarded the plane.  PHEW!  We weren't able to sit together on the flight but at least we knew we wouldn't be stuck in Oakland.  We ended up having to fly to Boise then Oakland then finally LAX.  It was a long day of travel for a total of about 3 hours in the air but we finally got to the hotel at midnight.

We stayed at the beautiful Hyatt in Huntington Beach and had a gorgeous view of the ocean from our room., which we didn't know until the next morning since we got in so late.  The first night was the hardest for me.  Believe it or not, I had a really difficult time sleeping.  I woke up at about 3am and couldn't fall back asleep until about 4:30am.  I kept thinking about Stella and how much I missed not being able to roll over and look at her video monitor.  I finally turned on the white noise that she sleeps to (which I can hear over the video monitor) and that helped me go to sleep.



The next day Matt and I spent the day at Disneyland!  It was a lot of fun! We began at California Adventure and did 3 rides: Soarin over California, The Tower of Terror, and California Screamin.  I have never been able to get Matt to ever ride any rides in the history of our relationship but he agreed to go on all of them with me and even admitted that he had a great time on them all (especially the roller coaster)!!



We made our way over to Disneyland and went on Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean (not very fun) and Splash Mountain.  We just happen to be in a boat with 4 heavy men and 2 women (Matt & I included) which weighted down our boat/ride quite a bit so every splash seemed to make its way into our boat and onto all of us!  Thankfully Matt and I were in the back but we still got pretty wet.  Poor Matt had 1 very wet shoe.




We almost made it out of Disneyland without spending more than $40 but then we found the big Disney store in Downtown Disney and I went a little nuts getting presents for Stella. Whoops!

The next day, Matt went golfing while I got an amazing massage at the hotel spa.  His golf game took a very long time so I spent the rest of the day by the pool of the hotel in 78 degree weather.  It was quite lovely...sipping pina-coladas by the pool...ahhhhhhhh! BLISS! 

After sunbathing by the pool, I headed up to my room and got to video chat with Stella! It was so fun to see her.  I found out that Grammy had taught her so many new tricks!  It was so comforting to see her so happy and doing well without me there but it made me miss her a little bit more.

We left early on Sunday and had another long day of travel ahead of us.  We got to the airport at 11:30 but didn't actually fly out till 2pm.  Then our 2.5 hour layover in Oakland turned into a 3.5 hour layover and we didn't get home until 9pm.  Stella was already asleep when I got home and I didn't want to wake her but I did go and peek in on her.  I swear she grew while we were gone. 

I was so excited to go and get her out of her crib the next morning and she seemed just as excited to see me.  It was pretty darn adorable! 

Overall, the weekend away was a success!  I survived away from my baby and my baby LOVED spending a weekend with Grammy and Grumpy.

Friday, February 24, 2012

We're having a BABY!!!

Don't get too excited...I'm not talking about me but my best friend, who is like family to me, went to the hospital this morning after her water broke. I am beyond thrilled to meet this new addition and am just beside myself with excitement!  I can barely concentrate on work and my mind is going a mile a minute!  We don't know the sex or name yet so I am crawling out of my skin with anticipation! 

To my best friend, Diane -

I am so excited to welcome you to the mommy club.  Your baby is one lucky kid to have you and Bob as parents.  I cannot wait to watch you and your family grow together!  Stella is also very excited that you made her a new friend :)

I love you!!!!

Ally

Please keep her and her family in your prayers today!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Great Grandma!!

Today is Stella's Great Grandma's (on mommy's side) birthday so we took a little picture for her!


We feel so blessed to have Great Grandma Hedman (and all our grandparents and great grandparents) in our lives!  We love you! Happy birthday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

And We Can Clap!!

Look at who learned how to clap while mommy was out playing Bunco...Sorry it is sideways :)



Monday, February 13, 2012

The Wave

Miss Stella is perfecting the wave. Not the kind you see at sporting events but the kind you use to say hello and goodbye.  She has figured out how to flick her wrist up and down and she now does it to everyone.  Unfortunately, she still won't do it on command but, boy oh boy, when she is in the mood to wave, she will wave at anyone and everyone.  Last night, we were shopping at Safeway and she would look down an aisle and wave at anyone in her path.  It was pretty darn cute.  Now if she would only do it on command.  Our next trick we are trying to learn is clapping!

She has also discovered her shadow and found that it is the only friend that will never leave her when she wants to play.  Here is a quick video of her recent discovery.  You can see her wrist start to do the wave flick just a little bit in the video


video


She also loves playing with her football that Grammy gave her for the Superbowl.  According to her daddy, she might be the first female kicker in the NFL...we'll see.  I'm guessing kicking may be her best bet because she fumbles the ball quite a bit right now :)

video

As for an update on her weight issue, she still isn't so keen on drinking 8 oz of formula at one time but she is adjusting really well to it.  The max we can get her to drink is about 6.5oz, which is great in my book.  She is loving her solid foods and puffs, of course, and I am still nursing her as much as I can.  I sort of feel like all she does is eat these days but I guess that is what she needs right now.  I'm still dealing with a bit of mother's guilt but she is slowly helping me through that by being adorable and sweet.  She is just growing into such a sweet little girl and I am so thankful to have her as my daughter! 

She ate meats for the first time last week and she isn't quite sure about the taste.  She had chicken with vegetables and she definitely eats it but doesn't scarf it down like she does her other foods. 

She has also recently gone outside of the house with her nanny, Selah, during the day while I work.  Selah takes her to the YMCA for some water play and then to the local library for a sit and read with kids her age.  I'm glad that she is getting a chance to be exposed to other children.  Being that she has a nanny that comes into our house, she doesn't really have that much exposure to other kids which is good for some things because she has stayed relatively healthy but she doesn't get the socialization that daycare kids get.  In addition, she also spent Sunday morning in the church nursery.  The woman in the nursery said that she just sat and watched two 18 month old boys run around and didn't make a peep.  My chatty little girl went silent LOL. 

Lastly, here is a picture of Stella lounging in a high chair while we ate breakfast (in her adorable outfit from Auntie Serena!).  I'm not sure why she does this but she pulls her legs up over the bar and just leans back to relax.  It is pretty funny to watch.  We can always get her to sit properly by putting a few puffs on the table for her to reach and eat :)


That's all for now :) I will keep you posted on her progression.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A step back...

Motherhood has been an amazing journey so far but I feel like I am on a bit of a roller coaster sometimes.  Over the past few months, Stella has become this happy, interactive little girl.  She really only fusses when she is hungry and tired and both of those things have easy solutions so we have been able to maintain a pretty calm and happy household.  We've been able to travel easily, go out in public for extended periods of time and have fun as a family. 

Stella has been a little dream baby lately.  She is so flexible and happy to go with the flow and be social so it has made life more fun and exciting.  This weekend we went back to visit our family in Auburn and she was so content being at events and being with other people.  She would even bop to music when it was played.  I just glowed watching her interact with everyone and seeing how happy she is.  I finally felt like I was getting a grip on this whole mothering thing...finally getting really confident in my abilities and with my instincts and then sure enough, I get a curve ball.

We had Stella's 9 month check up yesterday and she has lost weight.  She went from being on the 50th percentile to being on the 5th for weight.  She is back at her 4 month weight which is just shocking!  I had a feeling she might be the same weight as her 6 month check up but I had no idea she had lost 2 pounds!!  The girl is an eater! I am still breastfeeding her on demand.  When she is fussy, she eats as long as it is within reason (meaning I wasn't feeding her every 30 minutes but she never goes longer than 4 hours without eating).  I was doing what I thought was really best for my baby and breast feeding her and she was not getting enough nutrients from me.  In addition to breastfeeding, she also eats solids 2-3 times per day and gets plenty of cereal puffs and fruits and veggies in her mesh feeder.  She was so content and happy after breastfeeding that she didn't ever seem hungry or like she wasn't getting enough. 

When I look at the situation, my logical brain knows that it isn't my fault and that I was doing the best I could but my emotional brain is dealing with a lot of guilt right now.  How could I not have seen that kind of weight loss?  What could I have done better?  What am I doing wrong?  What if this affects her long term?  UGH!!!! It is so frustrating.  My mommy confidence is really shaken by this whole thing and I feel extremely guilty for letting this occur to my sweet, sweet baby!  I was doing everything that my instincts told me I was supposed to do and I thought everything was as it should be but it turns out I was wrong.  Again, I know logically that I was doing the best that I could but it is really hard to swallow that this could happen right under my nose.

The doctor, although very concerned, was great about reassuring us that he knew we were loving parents and would never neglect Stella.  He noted that he wrote that in his notes so that the insurance company would not put a red flag up about neglect due to her stats.  Just writing that word breaks my heart!  The fact that based off of the numbers presented someone could think that my baby was neglected!  That just pains me to the core of who I am.

The doctor has asked us to supplement in 3x 8oz bottles of formula per day, along with 3x solid feedings and I will continue to breastfeed.  So far we haven't been able to get her to drink more than 5oz and she refuses solids if she's taken in that much formula but I know that it will be a slow process to get her used to that much food.  Baby steps for Miss Stella.  We will be seen back in 1 month.  Please pray for her and her growth.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stella's First Word!!! Mama!

It is official people...Stella said her first word today and it was mama. As many of you know, I am a telecommuter so I work out of my home office. During my work day, we have a nanny come in and take care of Stella so that I can focus on work but I get to sneak down and give her a little snuggle on breaks and at lunch. Well, today I went downstairs to get some coffee and Stella was laying on her tummy and gave me a HUGE smile when she saw me, which I totally love every time she does that. Anyway, she started making this grunting noise she does when she's excited and I just said, "Can you say mama?" Sure enough, she said, "mama". I looked at our nanny and asked if she heard it and she confirmed that she did. Thinking it was definitely a fluke, I repeated it. "Stella, can you say mama?" Stella repeated, "mama". Her nanny and I both started jumping up and down and let our excited squeals of our own. So much so that it scared Stella and she started to cry. After I was done with work, I kept trying to get her to say it again and she would say it really softly or sometimes not stop with 2x and just keep saying, "mamamamamama". She said it in front of Matt tonight, although he said he didn't really hear it. At 8 months, I was not expecting her to be able to repeat any words but I guess she is choosing to advance in her vocabulary since she still is refusing to crawl :) So...we are going to continue to work on mama and work on dada too. That way she'll be able to call for dada in the middle of the night when she wants attention LOL.

Shopping with Auntie Diane

Saturday was a fun day for Stella! First, she got to go to her very first birthday party. Her friend, Finley, turns 1 on 1/11 (what an awesome birthday) and his party was on Saturday. She had only gotten about an hour nap before the party so we were a little worried that she would be a grumpy girl but she was so good and happy the entire time. She let our friends hold her and stayed jolly throughout it all. She loved watching Finn eat his cake and was introduced to balloons, which she thinks are really cool. Finn was such a stud the whole time and he was so well behaved through the whole party. I kept telling Stella that she should take notes for her party. In addition, I'm also going to hire Finn's mom as my party planner because that party was so amazing and so put together! I am still amazed at all of the time that must have gone into planning that party! SOOOOO FUN! After the party, we went shopping with Auntie Diane. I was thinking she would fall asleep in the car and take, at least, a little nap but nope...no 2nd nap for Stella. At this point, I was really worried that she would be so grumpy the rest of the day since she is used to at least 2x 1.5-2 hour naps per day. We went to DSW, Ulta, Carters and then off to the downtown mall. Stella got to ride in her stroller facing out, like a big girl, rather than in her infant seat clicked into the stroller and boy oh boy...she LOVED it! My daughter, who normally mean mugs strangers, was smiling and cooing at everyone she saw. By the time we got to Nordstrom, she was in rare form (in a good way). She was smiling and squealing all over the store and mall. It was actually a bit embarrassing because she was so loud with her little, joyful squeal. People from all over were coming up and telling me how adorable she was. I, of course, think she is pretty darn cute but it never really gets old hearing it from other people. Finally, 5 hours later, we got ready to get back in the car to go home and finally she let out a fussy cry as I was putting her in her car seat. I gotta say...that was WAY better than I expected and that might have been the happiest I have ever seen her. Let's hope its because we were with Auntie Diane and not because she loves to shop so much or else we could be in trouble if we have a little shopaholic! What a fun weekend! We couldn't have asked for anything better!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Catch Up Time

I had not realized it had been so long since I had last posted.  6 weeks! That is horrible!  So much has happened in the past 6 weeks.  I will try and update you without completely overwhelming you with every detail.

First, my last post was about my grumpy girl.  Well...that phase has come and gone.  She, of course, has her moments but she is a genuinely happy girl these days.  It is just so amazing to watch her develop into more of a little girl and less of a baby.  She is 8 months old now and developing perfectly! 

Her first Christmas was great! We have one spoiled little girl with more toys and clothes than she knows what to do with!  We unpacked the car and wondered where we were going to put everything!  You know the song, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth"?  Well...that really came true for Miss Stella.  On Christmas morning, Auntie Erin felt a top tooth cutting through and sure enough, now we have 2 top teeth sprouting through those little gums.  Needless to say, she is a drooling mess!

Our New Year's was also good.  We opted to stay home with Stella rather than go out with friends and get a sitter.  I know I'm going to have to leave her overnight at some point but I just wasn't ready yet.  Our friend Theresa came over and we played Kinect sports.  It was really low key but fun and I'm proud to say that we were able to stay awake till after midnight!

Here are some pictures from Stella's 6 month pics with the photographer.  We think they are pretty cute!