Reflecting on the last year

If you know me personally or have been a long time reader of this blog, you know that I’m a very optimistic and happy person. That being said, I definitely have hard days (or weeks!) that I don’t really share in this space. I never talked about how my son was born early and the struggles that came with that, but as I reflect on this last year I think I’m ready to share it.

Both of my pregnancies were difficult on my body. I had morning sickness (aka all day sickness) that went into the second trimester. I had a pretty smooth second trimesters, and difficult third trimesters. With my daughter, the sciatic pain was nearly unbearable and at 37 weeks I had a scare and almost had to be induced. Thankfully, rest was the best medicine for that one. With my son, I was sick for the entire third trimester: sinus infection, bronchitis, strep throat and then finally cholestasis. You can read more about cholestasis here.

This is why my son was born 3 weeks early. Short and sweet version is this: I had intermittent and mild signs of cholestasis. I asked for a blood test and it came back positive. I wasn’t surprised when I got the call from my doctor. I just knew something wasn’t right. I was ordered to head to the hospital asap to be induced. I packed my bags, showered, and my husband and I drove to the hospital. Meanwhile, I was completely devastated. Three weeks of preparing and spending time as a family of three was taken away from me. I was terrified and heartbroken. I wanted desperately to have that time with my daughter. I was scared for what would happen when she wasn’t the only child anymore. And I felt like I hadn’t bonded with this baby yet. Not like I did when I was pregnant with my daughter. And I was so worried about the health of my baby.

Meanwhile, my doctor was calling to ask why I wasn’t at the hospital yet. She asked if I could feel the baby moving and I felt a sense of urgency in her voice. We arrived at the hospital and after monitoring, my son was fine, but I was still going to be induced because they don’t risk anything with cholestasis. I am beyond grateful for my family and friends who completely took over — picking my daughter up from daycare, managing things at the house, reassuring me and making me laugh.

On January 31st at 4:27 pm Zachary Philip Gery was born. He was perfect. I had always heard about these mothers bonding instantly with their baby. It’s an incredible feeling when it happens to you. My time in the hospital was much easier than the first. I knew what to expect and my labor was so much easier and quicker that I felt pretty good the next day. My son still had a few hurdles to cross though. When he was born, he didn’t let out a good cry. They were worried about his lungs and heart, but after monitoring they determined he was fine. He didn’t pass his hearing test in his right ear in the hospital, so I had to wait until he was three weeks old to do a more extensive hearing test. Thankfully he passed that one. And worst of all was his jaundice. I was familiar with this because my daughter had it. But my son’s was more severe. His poor little heels were pricked so many times and at only 4 days old we spent a night at CHOC Hospital. I don’t wish that upon anyone. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I saw and heard things that any parent, let alone a 4-day postpartum mom, should ever experience.

When I look back at the year, it wasn’t easy. Figuring out daycare for our son, transitioning our daughter from daycare to a real school, going back to work, battling illnesses including pneumonia (ya, that was a bummer), sleep deprivation, navigating nap schedules…you get the picture.

But here we are, nearly one year later. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Probably a little differently though (like being nicer to myself and not having such high standards). Zach is healthy and thriving and he brings us so much joy. We love watching his little personality develop and his bond with his sister grow. Having children is the best thing I’ve ever experienced. They make me the happiest I’ve ever been, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. And I’ve learned that through some of the struggles, that it’s important to be patient and gracious to myself and to my family. I’m constantly learning and I’m so thankful to have a healthy and happy family.

Phew, that was a long post. If you’re in the trenches with a new baby, then know that you’re not alone. The first year can be the hardest. But as all parents say, it’s also the most rewarding.

 

 

Five hacks to get to bed earlier

I’m sure a lot of us are guilty of staying up later than we should. I’ve definitely regretted burning the midnight oil when my alarm goes off early in the morning. For the most part, I’m really good about getting in bed by 9:30 and lights out by 10. But it’s easy to get into a habit of staying up too late. Here are five hacks to help you get to bed earlier.

Make your bed more inviting

Have you ever walked into Pottery Barn and wanted to crawl directly into their beds on display? They make them so inviting and cozy with lots of pillows and layers. That’s exactly what I do in the early evening. Just take a look at the picture above — the bed is pulled down and the shams are behind the pillows making it easy to crawl in and relax. Also, invest in nice bedding. We bought our bedding from Restoration Hardware and although it was hard to spend the money up front, I have never regretted it. My bed feels luxurious and it’s my sanctuary at the end of the day.

No screen time one hour before bed

I’m the worst at this. A lot of times I’ll look at videos of my kids from earlier in the day and before I know it, I’m looking at the very first video I ever took of my daughter four years ago! What I’ve found to work for me is to set my alarm and then charge my phone in another room. Then when it’s time to go to bed, I move it to my nightstand. If I set my alarm right before bed, that’s usually when I start looking at photos or go onto IG or FB. It’s actually become a really helpful habit and now I rarely look at my phone right before I go to bed.

Set an alarm on your phone

If you have the iPhone, set the “bedtime” alarm on your phone. This is so helpful because it sets a definite end time to your evening. I wasn’t so sure about this, but I’ve found that it really helps me turn everything off and get to bed. Since it also tracks and analyzes my sleep, it’s more motivation to improve my sleep. There’s something about seeing it in a graph form!

Give yourself 30 minutes to get ready

I’ve realized it takes me about 30 minutes for my nightly routine. This includes washing my face, flossing, brushing my teeth, cuddling the dog, sneaking into my kid’s room to check on them and getting a few things ready for the next day (backpacks packed, work stuff organized…etc.). I start this at 9pm so that I can be in bed right after that.

Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier

For at least a week, set your alarm 20 minutes earlier than usual. This will help you get in bed on time because you know you’re getting up a little earlier than usual. This also means you’ll have more time to get ready in the morning. I’m always the first one up in my house during the work week. I love getting ready before anyone else is awake so that I can have some time to myself and then focus on getting the kids ready when they’re up.

What’s your sure fire way to get into bed on time?

 

Kendall’s favorite things

I absolutely love having one on one time with Kendall. She makes me laugh every day and has the sweetest heart. Sometimes I’ll listen in to her playing in her room and hear her little conversations she has with her dolls. It’s the cutest thing! This past weekend we took a trip to the mall to buy her some new pants because she grew out of almost all of hers in what seemed like overnight! We usually rely on Old Navy and Gap for the majority of her clothes. You can’t beat the prices and they have the cutest styles. Kendall was so excited for these purple shoes, they’re her favorite color! We came home and my husband said he’s afraid at how much Kendall loves shoes, ha! What can I say, she’s just like her mom!

 

 

Finding time to workout

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my stories featuring my super early morning runs. I won’t lie, this was not easy in the beginning. In fact, I dreaded it. But after years of doing it I actually kind of like it. I love breaking a sweat first thing in the morning and getting my workout in before anyone else in my family is awake.

Thankfully I don’t have to do this every morning or else I’d probably burn out. A few days a week I run at a normal hour of the day (either 7am, lunch time or Tuesday nights with my track club) and it helps me from feeling burned out. I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I find time to work out when I have kids. I’ve written about it here and here. If you have young kids and you’re looking to get into a fitness routine, my advice is to set up a plan and make sure your spouse is on board because you’ll need them not only as a cheerleader, but also as the one who will take care of the kids! And be kind to yourself — you can’t expect to get in great shape and feel really good right away. Take me for example, our entire family just got over the stomach flu and I haven’t run since Thursday. So today we ventured out and played at the local high school. I consider this a workout since we made up obstacle courses, sprinted around and I did burpees randomly in between chasing my daughter. You can see a video or our shenanigans here!

On a final note, I love that my kids see me do something I love other than being their mom. I think it’s so healthy for my daughter to see that a girl can be strong and healthy and fast. And I hope that one day I can join in on whatever sport they choose!

What are your 2018 fitness goals?

Favorite workout gear…

 

The best baby carrier

Happy new year! 2017 really flew by for me, but I think that’s what a newborn does — makes time go by really fast! I grew so much this year and I feel like my husband and I are really getting into a good rhythm with our family. I learned how to juggle life with two kids while having a full time job, keeping up with my running/racing and growing my blog. There were definitely times when I felt completely overwhelmed, so in the new year I plan to be more patient with myself, to relax more and to slow down. I’m looking forward to a year of good health, fun with family and success in my career, in running, with my blog and in my marriage.

On another note, I borrowed this baby carrier from my good friend for our Christmas vacation. It is absolutely fantastic and I wish I had it from the very beginning. Zach is 25 pounds and not necessarily easy to carry for long periods of time. This carrier is so comfortable because of the back support. If you’re in the market for a carrier, I highly recommend this one. You can wear it 6 different ways!

I hope you all had a great start to your year and I wish you health and happiness!

Life Lately II

I planned on doing a baby update every month, but the last one I did was nearly 5 months ago! You can read it here. As you can imagine, so much has changed since then. Zach is going to be 11 months old at the end of this month — how did that happen? Kendall is 4 years old and still completely infatuated with her brother. It’s amazing to watch their bond grow and to see Zach start to react to her. He lights up when he sees her and kicks his legs and squeals. It’s the sweetest thing! Here’s a recap of life lately…

Sleeping: Zach is still taking 2 naps a day, but I can tell he’s about to transition to one nap a day. I’m looking forward to this because it means more time with him and more opportunity to go out and do things without worrying about nap times. He sleeps from 7pm to 7am but every once in a while there’s the occasional cry for us in the middle of the night. He’s usually fine with a quick “pick up-put down” and pacifier.

Eating: The last time I brought Zach to the pediatrician for his wellness check, his doctor said, “I’m certainly not worried about his nutritional intake.” Zach is a big boy, weighing 25 pounds right now. He loves carbs (just like his mom) and prefers to feed himself rather than me feeding him. He’s currently loving cheerios, nutrigrain bars, bananas, cheese, turkey and the Plums Organic baby food. I’ve been putting a lot of other things on his high chair tray to see if he likes it and just let him eat what he prefers. He’s still on formula but we are so excited he’ll be able to move to whole milk soon!

Favorite things: Zach is crawling around everywhere and just recently went from army crawling to regular crawling. He pulls himself up to a standing position all the time and I feel like he’s going to take off at any moment! He loves to crawl around, go to a sitting position and clap, then crawl some more. And he’s obsessed with the bath. He loves to splash the water (violently!) and sometimes it drives Kendall crazy. “Moooommm! Zach is splashing me!”

Postpartum stuff:

  • I have tons of baby hairs growing back. It makes for some crazy hair do’s lately!
  • I’m back to my postpartum weight and feeling really strong and healthy.
  • I’m running 40+ miles a week and starting to race faster. I’m excited for my next 5k in January — hoping for a sub 18:30.
  • After taking vitamin D3, I feel much more energetic, my mind feels sharp and I’m much less achey. You can read more about my journey here.
  • A lot of people ask me if I’m done having babies. The answer is YES! I’ve always known I wanted two.
  • My husband and I feel like we really have this whole two kids thing down. That’s not to say that it can be incredibly exhausting and constant. I love that they are still so little, but I’ll be happy when I don’t have to plan my entire day around nap schedules!

That’s my life lately. I have so much fun with my kids. They make me laugh all the time and I love spending time with them. When I’m at work I get so excited to see them at the end of the day. It’s fun, it’s exhausting, it requires a lot of patience and there’s days I nearly lose my mind. But it’s also incredibly rewarding and the best thing I’ve ever done.

Hope you’re having a good one and thanks for stopping by!

My go-to mom bag

This weekend was so busy, but so fun. On Saturday I went for a 12 mile run with my teammates, took the kids to a birthday party and hosted a dinner for some friends at our house. Today I spent the majority of the day with my daughter. We went to church, did a little shopping, ran some errands and then decorated the house for Christmas with the rest of the family. Whew, that’s a lot in just two days!

Since we were out and about most of the weekend, I relied heavily on my Lena by Cassandra bag. The bag was thoughtfully designed with plenty of organizational pockets and a super comfortable strap. I stocked it with snacks, water, a coloring book with markers and some of my personal things. If you’re looking for a diaper bag for yourself or trying to find the perfect gift for a new mom, check out Lena by Cassandra. Use code “GLOSSYLEMON” for a 20% discount!

Hope you’re enjoying the last of your weekend and thanks for stopping by!