Monday, July 6

Lucy 10 Months

Dear Lucy,

Or should I say Lulu/chubs?!  You are my big ten month old girl.  It seems as if the days of you being my baby girl are drifting away quicker than I would like.  You are getting bigger every day.  I can't keep up on your closet.  Every time I get all of your old clothes cleaned out, you turn right around and grow out of the new ones, I just got you.  I love putting you into your sister's old clothes.  You look just as cute and it's fun for me to relive some fond memories.
You are still as sweet as can be and are such a good baby.  The only time you are fussy, is if you are hungry or sleepy.  You are still taking two, sometimes three naps a day.  You go with the flow and even when I don't stick to your schedule perfectly, you still smile all day long.  You go to bed around 7 and wake up around 5:30 am for a bottle and then go back down till 7.  
You have finally started to like your baby snacks.  They are a life savor when we go out to eat or if I need to get something done.  You happily sit in your high chair and munch away.  My milk is all dried up, so it's bottles from here on out.  We had a good ride and I'm so happy I got a solid nine months of nursing you.
I love taking you into the gym with me each morning because you are always smiling.  You greet everyone with a smile and have mastered the wave.  It's the cutest thing watching your arms wave up and down.  You aren't talking or crawling just yet, but I think it's only days away.  Just a couple of days ago while we were at nana and grandpa Parker's house, you pulled yourself up onto their fireplace.  I'm thinking we need to have daddy instal our baby gates ASAP.  You are one quick army crawler.  I absolutely love chasing you around the house.  You giggle and try to get away as fast as your chubby legs, will let you.
I took you swimming the other day and you almost army crawled right into the pool.  It's a good thing I had lots of helpers, or you would have gone head first into the pool.  You can't seem to get enough of the water.  You will splash your arms and legs, up and down as fast as they can go.  You get sad every time we have to take you out of the pool.
You have finally graduated from sleeping in your sleep sacks.  I didn't think the day would ever come.  I'm happy you did, only because I worried about the heat of the summer.  You love falling asleep with your Bla Bla kitty cat and your soft blanky.  As soon as you see both of them you smile.  One of my favorite things you do, is sing yourself to sleep.  I need to record it one of these days.  I think we might have a little singer on our hands. 
Lucy you are the most scrumptious baby and we all can't seem to get enough of you.  I can't wait to see what this next month brings!

Love,
Mama and Papa

I'm lucky I got any pictures today.  You are seriously a spaz.  It was hilarious. You almost dove right onto the carpet, were rolling everywhere and were ripping your bow out of your hair.  It was quite the workout.  
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Sunday, June 28

Our Little Fish

Penelope has loved water since I can remember.  I started taking her to a mommy and me swim class when she only one.  She has been my baby Nemo ever since.  This summer I knew it was going to be essential that she learned how to swim.  I was super worried about trying to watch two babies at one time at the pool and not only that, all of my friends seem to have pools.  Lucky for us the Jan Thomas Swim School is conveniently located here in Clovis.  P's teacher had her swimming on her first lesson.  I have only amazing things to say about the swim school.  It is no wonder they have been around for over 50 years.  

I was so sad I had to miss P's first lesson, but Tyson and his mom were able to take her.  They sent me videos the entire lesson.  I was so proud of her from the very first video I saw.  It made me tear up a little.  I thought it was going to be a bit traumatizing for her, but she was so resilient and her teacher showed her so much love.  From there on out, each lesson got better and better.

I loved taking her and watching her kick her tiny legs as fast as she could across the pool.  It was so cute watching her open her eyes under water and look at all of the other kids around her.  She was able to jump off the diving board and even go down the slide.  Being a mama and watching my kids accomplish new things is the best reward out there. 

After each lesson P picked out a popsicle or Airhead and had to get a whale and mermaid stamp.  She was in heaven after each lesson and would cry when it was over.  Every day she begged to see her teacher!  She even woke up from her nap a couple of times yelling, "TEACHER."  I was so sad on the last day knowing she wouldn't see her until next year.  P has such a special place in her heart for her.  
On her third to last lesson they took under water pictures of her.  These have to be some of my favorite pics EVER!
 ^^^ P laughed and pointed every time we walked by this statue. ^^^
 ^^^ On the second to last lesson, they had me get into the pool with her, so that they could teach me the proper techniques to continue her progression.  It was so fun being in the water with her.
 On P's last day she became a Jan Thomas Champion!  She was awarded a blue ribbon and a medal.  You could see her beaming with pride.  Grandma and Grandpa Parker were there, as well as Tyson and her two cousins.  Everyone clapped and cheered for her.  She kept holding up her pointer finger and saying she was number one.  It was too cute!  
It's so fun having a little swimmer on my hands and I couldn't be more proud!
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Friday, June 26

Penelope's First Dance Recital

Sweet P had her very first dance recital on Monday.  You better believe we were all so excited in anticipation for her big debut.  We even flew my mom out here for the performance.  P has been in dance since last November and has begged to go every day since her first class.  It has been so much fun taking her every week and watching her progress.  She is a natural and I can't wait to see where dance takes her.  

Talking with the other mama's and having the camaraderie has been super nice and was much needed.  I got to know a couple of them really well.  We giggled together as we watched our girls twirl, kick, jump and play ring around the rosie.  The song "Let It Go," will forever be embedded into my mind with the image of my little P twirling around the dance room, waving her scarves around, trying to sing at the top of her lungs.  I got emotional  each time I watched her live in the moment.  I am learning a lot from this one.
 When her dance teacher told us that she would like the girls hair half up half down and in ringlets, I couldn't help but laugh.  P has only a few strands of hair and I figured we were lucky enough to have enough hair to clip the bow into.  At the start of the year I was worried we were going to have to attach it to a headband.  Luckily my friend let me borrow her tiny curling iron and told me it would work.  Cara came over and worked her magic on P's hair.  It looked so cute, I about died.  I never imaged her wispy hair in ringlets.  She was so excited that she was going to be able to wear makeup.  She held still perfectly and looked like a real beauty!  Her lashes go for days.  I have no clue where they came from.  Neither Tyson or myself have long lashes.  
 ^^^ Her smile says it all. ^^^
 The dress rehearsal went well and got us all even more excited for her performance.  I wasn't sure how she would react to the bright lights and not being able to see me in the audience.  I tried prepping her as much as I knew how and told her that I would yell really loud for her, "GO PENELOPE."  She smiled when I told her that.
 Daddy brought home a bouquet of flowers for his tiny dancer and we headed out for the big show.
Just as I was about to leave her with her classmates and teacher, I could tell she was a little unsure.  I asked her if she wanted to say a little prayer to help her not be so nervous.  She instantly folder her arms and bowed her head.  I almost started crying right then and there.  We said a quick prayer and I know that helped calm her nerves.  It was a sweet moment I never want to forget.  I went and sat in my seat and had butterflies in my stomach the entire time before she got onto stage.  I had waited for this moment my whole life.  Having my baby dance on a stage was something I could only dream about.  

As soon as I saw her shuffle onto stage I screamed yelled her name as loud as I could.  The lights turned on and it was dead silent.  In the cutest voice ever P yelled out, "Mama Dada."  It was precious. She did such a great job and I couldn't have been more proud.  I am so happy my mom could be there and for the rest of our family and friends that came to support her.  It made her night!  I am already looking forward to next years recital.
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Thursday, June 25

Playing Catch Up

As usual life is crazy busy, but super fun!  Summer has brought lots of ice cream, swimming and many new memories.  Here is a quick catch up of what's been happening around here.
1. Father's Day Sunday, my girls have the best daddy.  2. I got to team instruct to raise money for a group traveling to Haiti, later this year.  3. Some of the other wonderful instructors I got to teach with.  4.We celebrated Tyson's 31st birthday.  My friend Kimmy made the most unbelievable golf themed cake for him!
1. I never tire of seeing pictures with my girls together.  It's a rare occasion that P wants to hold Lucy, so when she does, you better believe I am snapping away.  2. Lately P has loved hanging outside once the sun starts going down.  3. P could play airplane all day long.  Her hair kills me. 4. Lucy Marie in her new romper.  Baby rolls in rompers about does me in every time.
 1. Popsicles have been a must in this heat.  The bigger the better.  I end up eating most of it.  2. Sunday snippet with my happy girl.  3. Tyson's first time on a road bike..... it was mine.  I couldn't stop laughing seeing him on my tiny bike.  4. P is finally at the age where she can go play with friends.  She is obsessed with her friend "Abbey's" house.
 1. Lucy watching her cousin perform at her talent show.  2. This girl and her silly faces.  3. In N' Out is my new addiction.  I tend to go there every other day.  I swear I'm not pregnant, but it sure feels like it with the cravings I have been having.  4. Little Lucy loves the bath and I'm so in love with her squishy belly.
 1. We love meeting daddy for lunch after P's dance class.  2. Thrifty's has the best ice cream.  Such a perfect treat after swim lessons.  3. Selfie's with my mini.  Notice the lipstick on P.  4. The BEST ice cream ever!  Cold Stone (half sweet cream, half chocolate, Reese's, almonds and hot fudge.  I have my friend Jill to thank!
 1. Farmer's Market with my little lady.  2. P loves every other dog besides her own.  3. This girl and pony rides.  4. We found our old groomer.  We are thrilled, including Gigi.
 1. We have been living at the pool every Saturday.  It helps with the mean farmers tan, I am developing from biking.  2. I have a thing for hats these days.  I plan on adding a few more to my collection.  3. P's favorite thing about Target is picking out a juice and munching on some popcorn.  And yes I took her out in public, in her Cinderella costume.  4. My friend Jessica and her daughter T came to visit us.  The girl played so well together.  I wish they lived closer. 
1. Little miss can't get enough of being outside.  2. My amazing mama sent me the most thoughtful and sweetest ray of sunshine package, in the mail.  It more than made my day.  3. My talented friend made me this Home Sweet Home sign and I couldn't love it more.  4. I am finally back to taking family pictures.  I loved this first session back.
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Tuesday, June 23

A Few Tips For Shedding The Pounds

Well after nine months, I am finally back to my pre-baby weight!!!!  This is a huge milestone for me.  I am not one of those lucky girls that bounce back to my old self right away.  Breastfeeding does not help me shed the pounds and I cannot fit into my old jeans for many months after being pregnant.  

I gained about the same amount of weight with both of my girls pregnancies.  I found the biggest difference between the two was the amount that I worked out.  I didn't step foot in the gym, while being pregnant with P and was super swollen and out of shape.  I had a very uncomfortable and painful pregnancy.  I decided to try things a little bit different with my second pregnancy.  With Lucy, I taught Zumba up until almost the day I gave birth.  While it didn't make a difference in my weight gain, it sure made a difference in my swelling and getting back into my jeans.

With this post I would like to put out a disclaimer, that I am by no means a professional when it comes to dieting and exercise.  I have had a couple of questions since posting this picture and hope to help anyone out there that might be interested.

The number thirty is just around the corner for me and my metabolism is just not what it used to be.  I have had to re-train my self how to eat healthy and what a regular workout routine should consist of.  In the past I was able to workout and eat whatever I wanted.  I'm talking cheeseburger, tons of soda, candy like no other and mounds of ice cream.  If I worked out, I seemed to be able to still eat pretty much anything.  Well after having two babies and getting a little older things have definitely shifted.

With P all of the weight fell right off after I was done breastfeeding.  I didn't even really have to workout much.  However, that wasn't until she was ten months old.  I was not about to wait that long again.  I was determined to make a change.  After a few set backs I am here today.

I had to wait until six months post pregnancy, until I felt comfortable taking Lucy to the gym daycare.  It was difficult to wait, but knew it would be worth it.  As soon as that six month arrived, it was game time.  She does great in there now and I can never get P to come out of the play place. That has been a huge help. 

The first thing that worked for me was finding some motivation.  I knew our Florida trip was soon arriving and I was going to have to slip into a swim suit.  I dreaded getting into a swim suit, but knew if I had a new one that I liked, I would work hard to make it fit.  I had Tyson take some before pictures for me and while it was a bit depressing, it helped motivate me that much more.  I set a time frame and went to work.

I had only been working out two times a week prior to wanting to make the change and knew that wasn't enough.  It's like they say, "If you keep doing the same thing, expect the same results."  My sister-in-law Cara and Tyson have been a great support system.  Cara gets me to the gym and has some killer workouts.  She sets all of my weights up for me before one of our classes and only has positive advice. I am also not very motivated on my own.  I have to go to classes!  Having a teacher up front and the support of other classmates, makes a huge difference to me.  I started working out six days a week and it has made all of the difference.  I teach Zumba two times a week, attend my friend Jen's total body class two days a week, lift legs on Friday's and either ride my bike or lift arms on Saturday. 
 
Another huge motivation was buying new workout clothes.  This may sound silly, but it honestly worked for me.  I have a slight Lululemon addiction, but hey it helped get me to the gym.  Tyson encouraged me every day and was willing to give me massages when I could hardly walk from my workouts!  I also love the run channel on Pandora.  There is nothing like good music to get me pumped.

Once I made the changes in my workouts it was time to make a huge change in my eating habits.  I went through my cupboards and threw out every unhealthy item.  I filled up two huge trash bags.  I felt terrible throwing it all away, but it was mostly junk.  I figured if it wasn't in my cupboards I wouldn't be as tempted to eat it.  I had a horrible ritual of eating a treat before bed, almost every night.  I'm sure this was not helping my weight loss.  I stopped eating my feelings and decided to work on things (more on that later).  I went to the grocery store and purchased tons of fresh produce and healthy snacks.  My shopping cart looked completely different, than it ever had in the past.  Like my sister says, "Abs are made in the kitchen."  I cut out diet coke and stopped eating fast food.  A no brainer, I know!

After completely changing my eating and workout habits, I just assumed I would see results instantly.  Sure enough, I was wrong.  I kept asking Tyson every day if he could see a difference.  I know he got sick of me asking.  But I wanted more than anything for my hard work to start paying off.  After a month I took my progress pictures again and was disappointed.  I started becoming really frustrated because after a month, nothing seemed to be changing.  I decided to stick things out until Florida and reevaluate afterwards.

I can say that after two months of being pretty strict, I finally started seeing results.  The only downfall was my milk started drying up.  I was so sad, but was happy that I got Lucy to nine months regardless.  The best part was once the weight finally started coming off the remainder of the weight soon followed.  It started motivating me even more to get to my end result.

I am still a work in progress, but was proud I got to where I am.  Having a baby is so hard on a women's body, especially after a c-section.  I have a new respect for c-section mama's, especially when it comes to ab workouts.  My abs still hurt sometimes, during a hard workout.  I currently don't eat as strict, but still go to the gym six days a week.  It keeps me wanting to eat better and keep the weight off.  

Below are a couple of things that I incorporated into my diet. 

Breakfast
Isagenix Protein Shake with half frozen banana, water, PB2 and a little ice
Overnight Oats (Almond milk, 3/4 cups oats, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, cinnamon to taste, one scoop protein stir together and leave in the fridge overnight)

Snacks
Quest Bars (my FAVORITE! I really like s'mores, mint chocolate chip, cookie dough and cookies and cream
string cheese
Greek yogurt with fruit
edamame
veggies and hummus
hard boiled eggs with sriracha
apple
raw almonds
100 calorie popcorn


Lunch
Lean Cuisine (I hear they are not that healthy for you, but they are quick and easy)
egg whites on toast, wheat tortilla or english muffin

Dinner
Tyson has been amazing and hasn't cared that we have had the same dinner for almost three months now............
Rotisserie chicken from Costco, quinoa and brown rice and a veggie
Talapia and veggies
turkey burger patty with quinoa and veggie
Turkey Taco's
Turkey taco salad

I love cooking a combination of broccoli and cauliflower.  Toss them lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.

Dessert
Yasso Bars I really like the cookie dough and mint chocolate chip

Another thing that really helped was the My Fitness Pal App.  It's a free app that helps you count your calories.  I had no clue how many calories I was consuming each day and this helped me stay on track. If anything it helped me learn how to eat properly.  I only used it for a couple of weeks and since I was eating pretty much the same things every day I stopped using it.  I didn't want to get to consumed in calorie counting. 

This is what worked for me and hopefully it made sense.  I still have a love for food, but am grateful I have learned balance and have a much healthier relationship with food.

Please feel free to ask my any questions and I would LOVE to know what worked for you!
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