Thursday, January 28, 2016

How motherhood taught me to love my body

My body is not my own.

It used to be though. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I could work out once in a while, or even never, and not look terrible for it. I could have more than a few drinks and feel fine, even the next morning. I slowly started to gain weight, but my metabolism hadn't really caught up with me yet. 

Freshman year of college
And then I finished college.

And then I got married.

In a way, my body now belongs to my husband. I vowed myself to him that day, in front of God, our priest, and many of our family and friends. I gave myself entirely to him, body and soul. Our given tasks then on were to love one another and do what is best for one another. That included loving each other enough to force us to live a healthy lifestyle.

And then we found out we were expecting.

20 weeks with baby #1
I was warned about morning sickness (evening sickness for me). I knew it was a miracle to get anything down. I fought off the nausea by constantly snacking on anything. Trail mix, ginger snaps, saltines, granola bars, and oh, the goldfish. The first trimester passed and I welcomed in the wonderful second stage: the not-too-big-to-be-miserable-yet stage and the bring-on-the-fatty-cravings trimester.I used my pregnancy as an excuse to continue to, again, eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. After all, the baby was getting everything from the prenatal vitamins, right? There's tomato and lettuce on burgers, so there are my veggies! Needless to say, I gained a lot of extra cushion. "Just keep up your normal exercise routine" my doctor said. I just thought, "Jokes on you, guy, I just walk back and forth to the fridge." Anything beyond that, I'd pull the "I'm too pregnant for that" excuse.

My daughter was born, and my body got weird.

I leaked everywhere. I constantly needed pads of all sorts and extra clothes just in case. I soaked my sheets every night with sweat. I somehow still functioned on nights of broken 3 hours of sleep. My stretch marks weren't going anywhere and were soon joined by wrinkles in my squishy tummy.

Three months post partum 
And then we found out about our second pregnancy.

"Welp, what's the point? I'm just going to get big again anyways. Ice cream!" ...was more or less my mindset. I nursed as long as I could, but my body couldn't keep up with the changes. I had quite a few minor but painful and untreatable complications, so by the time I figured out that a little activity would help, I was already over it (or in too much pain to try). Again, I was tired and large.

My second daughter was born, and my body was still weird.

I started to shed the baby weight, but not nearly as quickly as I'd hoped. It's four months later and I still feel big, especially when I see myself in pictures. But it recently hit me that my body belongs to my girls too. I carried them, I bore them, I nursed them, I hold them in my arms as long as they let me... but it's more than that now.

Four months post partum, one month ago
My baby depends on me for each and every one of her meals. If I only eat burgers and ice cream, she only eats burgers and ice cream. Her healthy diet depends 100% on my healthy diet.

My toddler mimics everything my husband and I do. She wants to eat the same food we do, but even when we do eat fair food (or whatever) I pick off the fried or oily parts and give her the healthiest bit I can. But then she sees me eating the rest. I give her milk, I drink pop (soda).

If I am not healthy, they will not be healthy. If I don't take care of myself, how can I expect them to take care of themselves? If I look at myself with disappointment or disgust, how can I teach them to love themselves exactly how God made them?

I am not shooting for a number on a scale. Sure, I could easily stand to lose a solid 20 lbs, but that's not the issue. My goal this year is to be happier, holier, and healthier than I was in 2015. I don't need to take up a strict diet, spend hours every day training at a gym, or obsess about how much farther I have to go before I get a thigh gap. But I am going to take care of myself, for my husband, my daughters, and for me. I am going to be the best steward I can be of this body that was given to me.

Because my body is not my own.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monica Jane: 4 Months

Monica mouse,

You are the absolute happiest little baby! You will talk and talk and talk forever and you smile all. the. time. You are pretty ticklish, but we don't have any solid laughs from you yet. I am so excited to hear you belly laugh with Celine!

We just gave you your first haircut. I expected you to scream through the whole thing, but you had a HUGE smile on your face the whole time. It was awesome. Your new hair is already coming in pretty full and it looks like you're going to be blonder like Daddy and me when we were little! You're more of a mini-me than I thought. Girl after my heart!

You are still trying to sit up whenever you can; it will only be a matter of time before you can do it by yourself. You are SO CLOSE to rolling over on your own. Tummy time is your fave now and you rock at it.

You are old enough now to lock eyes on something, grab it, and pull my hair is not grateful). You're playing with toys, finding yourself in the mirror, and reaching for us whenever we're close. It warms my heart to see you calm down when you are touching Daddy or me in one way or another.

Celine is stil your little buddy and you smile big for her whenever she's around. I think Daddy is still your favorite though... it's hard for you to stay focused enough to eat when he's home. You just watch him move around the house, and when he finally looks at you, your mouth bursts into a huge goofy grin and your legs pump like there's no tomorrow. You have started to prefer being with him sometimes, crying when anyone tries to hold or entertain you that's not Daddy. I love that you have bonded with him so much already.

I know this is cliche, but you really are growing faster than I can keep up with you. Nona just picked up some new clothes for you and you're already growing out of them. As I write this you're rolling around on the floor (or at least trying to) and busting out of your 6-9 mo shirt and your 3-6 mo pants are long enough for your legs but only halfway cover your cute little behind. We can't get enough of your little chubby rolls... you are so soft and snuggly and squishy, I could just kiss you forever!! I won't though... but I'll try.

Thank you for lighting up my life, Monnie!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

When you borrow a really sweet camera...

As I mentioned on my Instagram, I dropped my phone and cracked the screen. One crack, right across the center of the camera lens. Now, all of the selfies I took with Celine (usually to stall her when we have only a few minutes to kill) have a weird haze to them. So my mom let me borrow her camera... and naturally we are having WAY too much fun with it. 

Needless to say, a day in the life has never been so well documented.


It's been a week and we're still not over it.

We busted out the Moby wrap so Joel could better multitask with the girls while I took a break to nurse my cold. I'll spare you pictures of my red runny nose. You're welcome.

I'm not sure how we always seem to be in pajamas, either... not saying much for my mom uniform love. I swear I get dressed most days!

I'll be spending a little bit of time catching up on some older posts and updates that I've promised before... so check back soon for more pictures of the house, month-to-month milestones from Monica, and a few more things I have up my sleeve. ;)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dear Celine

You are my greatest adventure.

"Helping" Daddy fix a broken TV
I was going to write another post specifically for you until 18 months, but 17 months will have to be close enough. I have so much to say to you that you can't really understand yet. This is my way of jotting it down so eventually you will find it.

You're not going to like when you find this picture on the internet, but come on. Your face is awesome.
You constantly are making Daddy and me laugh. We were told since the wedding that we would have weird kids because both of us are silly, but you definitely broke the mold. Daily we glance over at you playing by yourself and can't help but ask "What are you DOING?" You growl when you get frustrated, squeal and run when you are happy, and sometimes when you get super excited you bonk your head repeatedly on the floor (or back of your chair). You carry toys around in your mouth, particularly sort your puzzle pieces and legos with some unexplainable system, and you surprise us with your antics all. day. long.

You go to bed like a champ. We just give you a pacifier and a burp cloth and your head drops to our shoulder for some sweet snuggles. You're at the point now that when you want to sit on our laps, you just climb on up and plop your cute little behind down. Your absolute favorite is to sit with Daddy when he's at his desk. I think because he's working during the day, you do your best to soak up every minute with him when he comes home.

You have exceeded my expectations when it comes to loving on Monica. She is only 3 months old, so even though she can't play with you yet, you still coo at her in the morning from your crib, take breaks from playing to wave and tell her "hi," and you kiss her head just as much as we do. You've even started bringing her toys and books when she's on the floor near you. I know it's not likely that you'll always be best friends, but I hope you stay close and always have her back. She lights up when you are around her and she loves to watch you entertain.

It's crazy to think that Daddy and I know you better than anyone else in the world right now. Thank you for tolerating my constant kisses and snuggles and hugs... and thank you for giving them back to me now. I hope you always stay weird, even if it's not cool. You are original, special, and 100% unique. I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us. Stay goofy, sweet girl.

...and you're supposed to be napping right now. Please stop yell-singing in your crib and go to sleep.