2016, the year I became a badass Mother Runner! 

2016 was a very SPECIAL year! 

Zoe was born, August 2015, so by the start of 2016, she was 4 going on 5 months old. By this point, I knew my daughter pretty well. And although, she was constantly changing and growing, my confidence as her mother had grown.

It is a weird thing to say, but in the beginning even the most confident woman in the world, feels, life is a little bit out of control when they become a new mom. But eventually, I discovered a new normal, and created a consistent, but flexible routine, that brought order to our busy household. (Side note: This routine and order also allowed me to train for my fourth full marathon.)

Also by the beginning of 2016, my fitness level had finally started to improve. At this early part of the year, I wouldn’t say my fitness was totally back to the way it was before Zoe, but I was feeling a lot stronger, and my runs were more comfortable and enjoyable. I knew by the time Zoe was 6 months old, I would feel confident running with her in the BOB running stroller. I was so excited for that day!!

2016 MADE me a MOTHER RUNNER!!

Before I became a mother, I always admired the BAMRs on the trail. Effortlessly running, all while pushing a stroller and caring for a tiny human. I only hoped that once I had a child, I too would be out there running those stroller miles. 

In late February 2016, this dream came true, and I was finally able to include Zoe on my runs. We went out for our first stroller run together, and we both loved it! 

I feel so fortunate to be able to work out with my child by my side, instead of having to find a babysitter. It makes it so much easier to just bring her along.  I now have two tiny eyes watching every move I make… so making healthy choices is very important, now more than ever. Living this healthy lifestyle is a priority to me, and I am so glad I can include Zoe at such a young age. 

However, it wasn’t easy at first, it took some time to adjust to running with the stroller, but I got the hang of it. Again, runs became enjoyable, and I felt strong and confident. Nothing feels better than passing another runner on the trail while pushing a stroller. Plus, Zoe loves being out there, taking in all of the sounds and colors of nature, and the fresh air is great for both of us! 

Soon, with Zoe by my side, I began to train for all the races I had lined up for 2016.

Race Recaps
In 2016, I ran six races! Each of them, were VERY special. 

Race 1 – The Cherry Blossom 10 miler was my first postpartum race. It was so cold and windy that day, and I really didn’t know how I would do. It was more of a test race. I decided not to look at my watch and just run by feel. I ended up surprising myself running it faster then I thought I would, finishing in 1:31:12. (Side note: At the Expo, I met Meb, the Olympic marathoner, Boston Marathon winner, and I discovered Mana Threads a new awesome athletic clothing line.) 

Race 2 – The Parkway Classic was my second postpartum race. This was a beautiful run, and again I ran it faster then I though I would. My goal was to finish under 1:30, I reached that goal finishing 1:28:49. 

Race 3 – The Navy Half Marathon was my 3rd postpartum race. This was also my first time running this half marathon. I registered a couple of weeks before because it fell in place with my marathon training plan. A lot of other runners I knew used this race as a training run for marathon training. I ended up racing it and I’m so glad I did. I ran it faster, then I thought I could, I finished in 1:53:54, which made this my 3rd half marathon under 2 hours. Woohoo! 

The summer heat was making me have some long slow training runs. I was getting worried about running the Marine Corps Marathon. Would I be ready? After running the Navy Half, I felt great! It felt amazing running that fast, and it brought my confidence back. My marathon training was paying off, and I was ready to run with the Marines. 

Race 4 – The Marine Corps Marathon was … my fourth full marathon, my fourth MCM, my first full marathon as a mother runner, my first race that I ran a portion with my dad. Overall, this race is my all time favorite, and was the most special I ran this year! I ended up with a new marathon PR, finishing in 4:17:01. I loved this race so much, that I slowed down a bit, just so it wouldn’t end. 

The marathon distance is my favorite distance! And once again, this race reminded me of that. 

I had so much fun at MCM, that I experienced the marathon blues after, and almost signed up for the Richmond marathon which was two weeks later. 

Race 5  – The Operation Turbo 5k was a race that a friend of mine was organizing in order to raise money for her foundation. I signed up a couple of days before hand in order to show my support. I couldn’t remember the last time I raced a 5k.

I was very excited to do it, because it was my first opportunity to race with Zoe. Although, I had done most of my marathon training miles with her, I had yet to race with her. 

It was awesome and we placed second for females. 

Race 6 The Alexandria Turkey Trot was by far the most crowded race I ran. It was my second race with Zoe. It was hard to maneuver the stroller around the crowd for the first two miles. But once we got around the crowd, we started to fly. The best part was hearing Zoe laugh, pointing out the doggies and demanding me to run faster, shouting, “Go, Go, Go mama!”

Some other RUNNING highlights!

2016 was a year of connecting with others.

I’ve always been a solo runner, and now because I am a working mom, sometimes it is hard with my schedule to meet up for runs. However, in 2016, I found ways to connect with other runners and other mothers. 

*I joined two running team/groups in 2016… I joined Mom’s Run this Town, (MRTT) and Oiselle Volee. Both of these teams were inspiring and motivating in different ways. I didn’t get the chance to run with these groups because of my work schedule. However, I did follow along with them through social media. 

Oiselle Volee is a team I run for. I had been wanting to join this team for a while and finally in 2016 I got in. I love what this team stands for… it is all about empowering women. 

It is also nation wide, so I was able to follow most of my fellow Oiselle teammates on instagram. And I was able to meet some birds at races! They had an awesome cheer station at mile 20/21 at MCM. I am hoping in 2017, I will be able to go to more Oiselle runs and events! 

I also joined Mom’s Run this Town. Again I only had the chance to meet up with them once, however I followed the MRTT facebook page, and was very active on it. Again I hope to meet up with these ladies more in the upcoming year.

Even though, I was only involved through social media, these groups inspired me and held me accountable

*I started using a running app in 2016… I also found ways to connect with other runners by using Strava. This running app is awesome. I still wear my Garmin 620, but Strava allows me to follow other runners training, while they follow mine. It also immediately shows me my mile splits! I love Strava and I am so glad I started using it in 2016. Again helps inspire, track, connect, and holds me accountable.

I have a couple of favorites for 2016

*My favorite piece of running gear for 2016… was with out a doubt my BOB REVOLUTION PRO! 

This running stroller allows me to take my daughter with me on my runs! It is the reason why I was able to train for the Marine Corps Marathon and set a new marathon PR. 
*My favorite race of 2016… was the Marine Corps Marathon. 

The marathon is my favorite distance. I trained hard for that race, training in the record breaking heat. All of the hard work paid off and I was happy with a new marathon PR. Plus, I made a very special memory running with my dad. 

*My favorite cookbook of 2016 is Run Fast Eat Slow. 

I am always trying to find new fun recipes, even more so now that Zoe is eating solid foods. 

Also nutrition is huge, especially while training for a marathon. This was my go to cookbook! I love the story behind the book. The authors are inspiring on their own, and each recipe is based on fueling the runner’s body. Every recipe I have made is easy, delicious, and healthy. 

*My favorite place I ran this year… was the Green Belt in Boise, Idaho. 


In the beginning of October, my husband, daughter, and I took a trip out to Idaho to visit family. I brought all of my running stuff, knowing I had to continue marathon training and find some place to get my long run done. 

Turns out I ran almost every day when I was in Boise, even running a 12 miler. I ran on the Green Belt and it was one of the most beautiful refreshing trails. Running in Idaho felt amazing because the cooler temperatures was a great break from the heat wave we were having back east. 

(Side note: I also had the opportunity to run in Martha’s Vineyard which is my favorite place to run. It too was refreshing because of the ocean breeze.)

*My favorite training moment… was all of the stroller miles I did with Zoe.

In 2016, stroller running became my thing! I never knew I would love it so much, but I do.

*My favorite things I saw while running, were not necessarily the gorgeous views, but rather when I randomly came across this amazing piece of street art. 

After seeing one mural, I started to notice them everywhere. I decided to make it my thing. Instead of always focusing on the mileage, I decided to also embrace city running and try to discover more art. 

Then while running in Martha’s Vineyard I randomly came across a huge spider web. I didn’t see any street art because it’s the beach life up there. But after seeing this spider web, I was reminded that nature has its own little artists always creating. 


I later saw a spider web on almost every long run. When you are out there running a 15 or 20 miler you are going to see some interesting stuff. 

*My favorite Running Podcast is… Another Mother Runner. I couldn’t get enough of these BAMRs. 

I never really listened to podcasts in the past. But in early 2016, while taking Zoe on walks, I needed something to listen to. So I came across Another Mother Runner Podcast. These ladies have a couple of books, which I bought and read while I was pregnant with Zoe, but once I found out they had a podcast I was hooked. I tune in every week and I am now a pretty loyal listener. 
*My favorite most inspirational runner of 2016 was Shalene Flanagan. 

Olympic Marathoner Shalene Flanagan was the most inspirational runner for me. And her moment at the Olympic marathon trials with her bestie Amy Hastings was by far the most inspirational moment

There were other inspirational runners as well such as Jen Shelton, the Ultra marathoner from the book, Born to Run. On some of my long runs I would listen to the chapter about her over and over again. 

Speaking of books, I read a couple of running books and reread Born to Run. 

*My favorite new running book I read was… My Year of Running, Dangerously by Tom Foreman. 

I also read a Running a Love Story, by Jen A. Miller. Both of these books were inspiring because they were about mid packed runners. 

Goodbye 2016, you were great! 

So that sums up my Running the Year 2016. For me, 2016 was a year all about my two favorite things: motherhood and running. The highlights were definitely watching my Zoe grow into this incredible, smart toddler. And as for running finishing the Marine Corps Marathon, with a new marathon PR. 

I am very proud that I was able to time manage and fit marathon training in, while also being a new mom. 

This proves to me, that you don’t have to sacrifice the things you use to do, because you have a child. It is possible and important to continue to do the things you love, while also being Mom. 

2016 has been an inspirational year, which built my confidence more than ever before. I became confident and comfortable in my new role as a mother.  I regained my fitness and began to run stronger with more confidence and passion. 

Ultimately, 2016 was a teacher. The most important thing I have learned is… that I don’t have to travel to an exotic place, or hit a huge life milestone, to have an incredible year. The year doesn’t have to be a huge one… It is the small, everyday, ups and downs that are so beautiful. 

And although, running a marathon is a pretty big deal, I ran that marathon in my backyard. My point is … as I watch my daughter grow, she has taught me… you don’t have to go far in search of greatness and growth. This greatness and growth is right in front of your eyes or with in yourself.

Thank you 2016 for making me a BAMR!! 

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

Christmas with Zoe at 16 months. 

Christmas is a magical day, especially when a toddler is involved.

This was Zoe’s second Christmas, and I had plenty of friends tell me, that at 16 months she would still be to young to understand. Well this little lady, understood plenty, and had a blast.

Let me start from the beginning…

Thanksgiving ended, and I was ready to start getting in Christmas mode. My favorite part about Christmas is the Christmas Tree. 

December is for Tree Picking…

I always get a live tree.

I love picking it out, and cutting it down. Cutting down a tree, means it is always fresh.

This year we went to Middleburg Tree Farm to cut our tree down. We went early in the season, so there was an incredible selection. I normally like a Douglas Fir, (yellow green needle), but this year we switched it up and got a Blue Spruce. The Blue Spruce has a blue, gray needle, and our tree was absolutely stunning. 



Once we got the tree set up in the house, Zoe pointed at it, saying, “Tree?” She is use to pointing at the trees on our run, so she was a little confused on why there was a tree in the living room. 

I tested out the Christmas tree lights, while Zoe played with them.

It took me three hours to baby proof the tree. I had to arrange the ornaments in a certain way so that they would be safe for Zoe. But once the tree was completely decorated, I explained each ornament to her. She was very good at just looking, and not pulling off the decorations. Her favorite ornaments were the monkey, and elephant. 


Meeting Santa


We made an appointment at the Tysons Gallaria to see Santa. This worked really well last year, no line. Unfortunately, this year, with no line, and no one else there, which made it really hard to show or explain to Zoe what was going to happen. It is totally normal for children her age to be scared, and that’s exactly what happened. 


After she was finished, two older girls jumped on Santa’s lap and hugged him, naming all of the presents they were wishing for. Zoe watched them, and then looked at me like she wanted a do-over. 

Christmas Cards…

I love to receive Christmas cards. So this year I decided I was definitely going to send one out. So I made one with Zoe on it, and love the finish product. 

Although, I got them out early, I didn’t feel it was early enough. Next year, I want them ready during November, so I don’t have the extra stress of getting them done in time. 
I displayed all of my the cards I received. 


Christmas Eve…

This year I hosted Christmas Eve. Erik and I made lasagna. I made my homemade sauce the night before, so all Erik had to do was assemble the lasagna. I also made a roasted beet and brussel sprouts salad. It was fun having everyone over. 


On Christmas Eve, I stayed up late making my homemade granola. Filled them in mason jars, added a bow and tag, as my homemade gift. 

Christmas Morning…
I woke up early, to make cinnamon rolls from scratch. Once all of my presents were wrapped we headed over to my moms. 


Woah! Santa came!!

It took three hours to open all of the presents. Zoe was really into the whole process. She would open the present, then want to open the box to play with the toy. 


Her favorite presents were her Elmo stuffed animal, her tea set, her giraffe bike, and her play running stroller. 


Nap time…

Everyone was happy, but exhausted. We ended up heading home for afternoon naps. 



While everyone napped I snuck out for a Christmas run! 

The sun was shining, and my run felt very rejuvenating.

Christmas Dinner…

We headed back over to my mom’s house for Christmas dinner. Emily and Ryan made a salad and a rib roast. Everything was tasty. 

Zoe played more with her tea set. She kept asking everyone if they wanted any. She would ask, “Cuppy? Tea?


This holiday season was so special! I am beyond thankful for every card, every gift, delicious food, beautiful decorations, and being able to spend it with my closest family and friends. 

Since note: (Zoe had an early bed time so she missed out on the Christmas Eve family photo, but she made it in the Christmas night photo.)


And of course I am beyond thankful that my 16 month old daughter, Zoe, had a magical Christmas season. 





How was your Holiday? I hope it was warm and joyful! 

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily 


Christmas Gift Guide for Mother Runners

Christmas is right around the corner! And you are still trying to find the perfect gift for the mother runner in your family. Well, do not stress! I have the perfect last minute gift guide list. Let’s go shopping! 



1. BOB Revolution Pro (Find it at REI store.)

$559.99 

If your mother runner has a infant or toddler, but doesn’t have a running stroller yet, or maybe she does, but needs an upgrade… this is the stroller!! 

Here is why…

WHEEL

It has a swivel front wheel that you can adjust to a fixed wheel for running, or swivel for everyday use. 

BREAK

It also has a hand break on the hand bar so you have more control on down hills. 

SEAT

Adjustable seat for comfort for baby. Lay baby/toddler, all the way down for a nap, or prop the seat straight up so baby/toddler can see the world on all your adventures! 

CANOPY

Extra large canopy that shades your baby/toddler from the sun with SPF 50! 

STORAGE

Huge oversized storage compartment, so you can bring whatever you and your child needs.

For more details read my review on my top three running strollers

So your mother runner already has the stroller. Well what about some awesome accessories to make her running experience better and more comfortable.

2. Snack Tray ($29.99) and/or Weather Shield (Find it at REI)

As your baby becomes a toddler the Snack Tray is a must! 

The Weather Shield is a protective shield for bad weather days. That way you don’t have to worry about your child staying dry or warm, and you still can get your run done. 

3. Skip Hop Grab & Go Stroller Organizer $22.99 ( Find it at Nordstrom or Buy Buy Baby)

This item is my favorite stroller organizer. It holds water bottle, and all important items right up front with you. 

4. L.L. Bean : Ultra Plush Snow Bunting $89.95 (Find it at L.L. Bean)

This is a must have for winter running. It is the ultimate piece of gear to keep your child warm and cozy on winter runs. It’s basically a sleeping bag for the stroller. Every mother runner needs it! 

For more details read my review on the Ultra Plush Snow Bunting

5. Another Mother Runner Books (Find them at Barnes and Nobel or online at Amazon.) Download the audio on iTunes.

Run like a Mother, Train like a Mother, and Tales from Another Mother Runner, are must reads for a BAMR. If the mother runner in your family doesn’t have time to read, give her the audio option. This allows her to listen while she runs. 

6. Newton ($120-175)

(These are hard to find. The website might be the only option.)

Newton running came out with the black series. It isn’t a typical neon bright color, but the black is totally badass for a BAMR! It is a limited edition so grab a pair while you can. 

For more information on Newton Running read my review

7. Every Mother Counts at Oiselle 

(Find these at Oiselle)

Every Mother Counts is an organization founded by Christy Turlington Burns, that supports maternal health. There are a lot of great Tshirts and sweatshirts on sale over at oiselle and 40% of the proceeds goes to Every Mother Counts organization. Want to support the organization 100% go to the actual website!

8. Garmin 

The Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire in Rose Gold and White. ($449.99) 

(Find it at your local Running Store)

This watch is absolutely the prettiest fitness tracking watch. Again, I say fitness (not running) because it is a multi sport fitness tracking watch. Although, it does track your runs, you can also track other forms of fitness, including swim. It’s great for the tri athlete as well as the runner in your family. 

I personally own the Garmin 620 and it is great too! 

Below are some quick ideas if you don’t have time to go shopping! 

9. Race Swag
This year at the Marine Corps Marathon Expo I had my 14 month daughter with me. There was so many awesome finisher swag, shirts, jackets, etc. but there was no way I was going to wait in a long line with my little one. So I skipped it and went straight to shopping the other vendors. 

If this same thing happened to the mother runner in your family, then going to the race website and seeing if they still have some finisher swag to purchase would be an awesome Christmas present. 

10. Race Entry Fee

Another great idea is figuring out which race is the next up, and cover the registration fee.

I hope that helps complete your shopping! Your mother runner will be so happy with these gifts!! 

Happy Holidays!!

What is on your wishlist?

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily 

How to keep your baby warm on winter runs.

(Please Note: I am not affiliated with L.L.Bean and this post is based on my opinion and experience. ) 

As runners we either prefer cooler tempts or warmer. But once the temperatures drop, and the cold rolls in, we know exactly what to do. Some that can’t bare the cold, rely on indoor running. While others who despise and dread the treadmill bundle up in the highest quality winter gear and continue to take their runs outside. 

For me, as a runner, I don’t mind cooler temps. I definitely continue to run outside during the colder months, and avoid the treadmill at all costs. And although, I know exactly what winter gear to wear to keep myself warm, my 15 month old is accompanying me on most of my runs. What do I do to keep my her warm? 

I use the Ultra Plush Snow Bunting by L.L. Bean. We received this as a Christmas present last year, and although, I was dying to use it, Zoe was still to little. But this year, at 15 months, she fits perfect, and it is super roomy so she’ll be using this next year too. (The manufacturer says it fits up to a 3 year old child.) 

The Ultra Plus Snow Bunting is basically a sleeping bag for your baby/toddler, to keep her warm, while she is in the stroller. 

I’m mostly using mine to keep my 15 month old toasty warm on fall/winter runs. These cooler months can be tricky. Although, I may find the crisp, chilly air,   refreshing. It definitely is too cold for Zoe. And that is why this Ultra Plush  has the softest fleece lining – the same material used in their famous camp sleeping bags. The outside shell is water resistant.

The zipper opens wide and there are openings to fit the stroller harness so you can buckle your child in safely. 

Final Review

Finding the time to run and work out can be really tough for anybody, but especially a mom. It’s easy to make exscuses. But because I have a running stroller, I am able to take my daughter on runs with me, so there really is NO excuse. Getting your baby out and about is one of the healthiest things you can do for them. They need the fresh air in every season, and so do you!

It’s easy to make the exscuse it’s too cold! But with the Ultra Plush Snow Bunting, it’s never too cold. Honestly, as a mother, it is really hard to find the right things to make a baby both comfortable and warm. Puffy coats are dangerous in car seats, and a pain to get baby in and out of… this is why I’m so happy I have the Ultra Snow Bunting for Zoe! 

My daughter was so cozy and warm she fell right asleep on our run!!


What do you use to keep your baby warm during the winter months

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily 

Zoe’s first Turkey Trot! (Stroller racing.)

Turkey Trots are one of my favorite types of races. It is always a family friendly event, that brings not only the local running community together, during the holidays, but people of all ages and fitness levels.    

Every year, I run a Turkey Trot, in exception to last year because I was 3 months postpartum. 

The Turkey Trot gets me up and active early during the day – my workout is done, so then I really can ENJOY all the PIE. 

This year was Zoe’s first official Turkey Trot. We ran the Alexandria Turkey Trot. It was a five miler in Del Ray.  It was my first year running as a mother, with my daughter, and racing with her in the stroller. 

As you already know, I do all my weekly runs with Zoe and trained for the Marine Corps Marathon pushing her in her stroller. My point is running with a stroller isn’t new to me. Last weekend, I did a small local 5K with Zoe, just to practice. It went well, we even placed 2nd for women. 

However, this Turkey Trot was on a different level. This was my second race with Zoe, and by far the most crowded. Because of the crowds, running with the stroller was a challenge for the first 2 miles. 

Here’s how it went down… 

We arrived 15 minutes early, found parking and headed to the start. There was a different start for strollers and dogs, but I just went to the regular start. I knew it was going to be crowded.


At 9:00, we were off. I was barely moving. It was a Turkey Trot, a fun run, so there was no need to speed, but it was driving me crazy that I couldn’t just run comfortably. There were times in the beginning when I felt like I was going to run over some other runners. Weaving with a stroller is hard work, especially with crowds and potholes. 

Finally, after mile 2, the crowds begin to break up and there was a little more space. It was then that I had more room and could control the stroller better. Zoe kept pointing out all the dogs that were running.

We were running an 8:30 mile and feeling good. Zoe talked the whole way, yelling, “Go! Go! Go!” 

I answered back, “You got it babe!” She kept me running faster and laughing the whole way – until we crossed the finish line! 
Over all, this Turkey Trot was great! It is always a little crowded at first, but once you get passed mile 2 you can really get going. Also the neighborhood crowd support, is awesome! It is also quite fun to have dogs and strollers included. Zoe loves going on runs, and she had a really fun time racing with such a big crowd.


Thankful…

I am so THANKFUL that my sweet little Zoe enjoys her running stroller, and that I am able to share my passion for running & the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, with her. 

This journey called motherhood is so unique and special. I am also so so so thankful for my sweet Zoe!  It is the most amazing thing watching her grow, learn, discover, explore. Always surprising me, she keeps me laughing. And I kiss those cheeks, or she holds my hand … and sometimes, as I look at her, I still can’t believe she’s all mine.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily 

The Race Recap: Marine Corps Marathon 2016

“Run for 20 minutes and you‚Äôll feel better. Run another 20 and you might tire. Add on 3 hours and you‚Äôll hurt, but keep going and you‚Äôll see‚ÄĒand hear and smell and taste‚ÄĒthe world with a vividness that will make your former life pale.”

Scott Jurek

In honor, of the Marine Corps Birthday, (that was on Thursday), and Veterans Day Weekend, I thought it would be a perfect time to post my race recap on running the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon. 

(Warning: This is a long detailed post about my experience, mile by mile.) 

On Sunday, October 30th, 2016, I ran my fourth Marine Corps Marathon. Although, it was my fourth MCM- this marathon was my first full marathon I ran, 14 months after having Zoe, and my fourth postpartum race.

When I registered for this race, I kept it a secret. I was really worried if I would be able to fit in the training,  being such a huge time commitment, new mom, and working mom. Would I be able to juggle everything? Turns out I could and did. Running mamas let me tell you… It is totally possible to train for a full marathon after baby! I did it and you can too. I ran all the miles! (Curious about my training read all about it here.)

Marine Corps Marathon 

THE EXPO

The Expo was held at the Gaylord Resort in National Harbor. At first, I was a little annoyed that they moved the Expo to Maryland instead of having it in DC. There is no metro located on National Harbor, so I feared there would be a lot of traffic and no parking. Turns out it was perfect. Not to much traffic, plenty of parking, and beautiful views of the Potomac river. 

We normally see these view from across the river, from the VA side. 

The Expo was held on both Friday and Saturday. I went on Friday afternoon hoping it wouldn’t be to busy. There were no lines getting in and no lines to get bibs. However, there was a line to the check out to get MCM gear, and because I had my 14 month old with me, there was no way I could wait in it. 

I ended up just getting my bib and skipping the MCM gear area. (I’ll purchase some gear later online. 

I wore my Oiselle sweatshirt to the Expo, talk about flystlye. This sweatshirt is so warm, cozy, and stylish.

Again, I brought my daughter, Zoe, with me to the Expo. The majority of my training was done with her by my side, so I wanted her there with me to experience the excitement of the Expo. It feels great to be a BAMR. (Read about being a BAMR at the Navy Half Expo, here.) 

Some runners hate expos and avoid them if they can. I, on the other hand, love the Expo. The Expo always gets me pumped! Plus, who doesn’t want to shop for more running stuff?!

I ended up shopping around, and purchased a running skirt from Mana Threads. I bought a sports bra and tank top from them at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Expo, and I was excited to see them again. I’ve never run in a skirt before, and honestly, never thought I would. I actually use to “roll my eyes” at runners who wore skirts. But I’m at the point that I’ve been running for 8-10 years now, and it can be difficult to find something new and different. So I’m going to give the skirt a try. Might as well… I might love it. 

I also checked out HOKA shoes. The guy was very knowledgeable. I’m pretty loyal to Newton, but want another type of shoe in my shoe rotation. So in the future I might give HOKA a try. 

NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE

The HEAT

Every long run I ran this summer was in record breaking heat conditions. Just my luck… the weather man was predicting unusually warm summer like conditions on race day. 

In my running groups, everyone was worried about the heat. We even received an email from the Marine Corps Marathon organizers, saying – to slow down race pace, and to hydrate and dress for hot conditions.  

Every time I run MCM the weather is perfect. I checked back on my blog post from a couple of years ago, when I ran my 3rd MCM and it was 30 degrees cooler that day. 

I don’t do well in the heat, and I also was pretty congested because of a cold. However, I trained in a heat wave of a summer in 80-90 degree record breaking weather, so I wasn’t too worried. I also wasn’t going to put my mind in a negative state. Positive vibes only.

I was just going to run my best and see what I could do. I was confident. I put in all the miles during training, and I knew once I got around the energy of the other runners, my excitement would keep me going strong. 

A lot of runners chose to wear their hydration packs on race day. I thought about it, but I really didn’t want the extra load. So my game plan was to rely on water stations, hoping they wouldn’t run out. 

I also planned on starting at 7:55, when the gun went off. Because the metro wasn’t opening early for us, due to safe tracking, MCM organizers were leaving the start open for a full additional hour. This meant late runners could cross the start line as late as 8:55. But this also meant that these late runners would cross the finish line later in the day in hotter conditions. My game plan, get there early, start my race when the gun goes off, run my race during the gorgeous morning, cooler temperature, and finish my race before the afternoon heat. 

NIGHT before RACE RITUAL

Saturday night, I spent some time trying to decide what running outfit to wear on race day. I decided on my oiselle singlet, and I’m so glad I did!

I stayed comfortable and cool up until mile 24. And wearing the oiselle singlet helped my oiselle teammates see me easier. I really love running for oiselle. I joined the team after having Zoe, and the support has been amazing. 


I did my,”Night before Race Ritual,” which is laying out my race day outfit and taking a picture. Above picture is my, “Flat Meg.” 

I also laid out Zoe’s outfit. My sister had a shirt made for her that said, “My mom runs faster than your mom.” 


I also carb-loaded for two days straight with spaghetti and sauce that I made homemade.

I was as ready as I could be. 

So it was time to just try to get a good night sleep. But before shutting my eyes, I checked social media to support other runners and gain some inspiration. 

This is what I found on the Marine Corps Marathon facebook page. 


I laughed when I read it! Because no one sleeps well before a marathon. 

MORNING OF

My alarm went off at 5:20 am. I tiptoed through my dark house and got dressed and ready. Grabbed my iPod shuffle (which I didn’t use, I just had it as a back up) and Garmin.

By 6:00 am, I was off to my mom’s house. Because the metro wasn’t working- I parked my car at my mom’s house, and she dropped me off in Pentagon City. A ton of other runners flooded Pentagon City, so I just followed the crowd walking over to the start, eating my pb&j. 



THE START

Like always, the Marines greeted us, and welcomed us with excited faces. They checked our bags, getting us through security quickly. 

I was there pretty early, and because I had time, I decided to hit up the porta potty, making conversation with the guy in front of me. It was his first time running MCM, so I let him ask me all of his nervous questions.

Unlike years in the past, I wasn’t shivering. It was close to 60 degrees already at 6:30 am. I was in long pants and my long sleeve zip up MCM shirt from the previous year. It was time to strip down into my race clothes and drop my long sleeves at baggage claim. 

(Side note: I saw a lot of people wearing bath robes. Have you seen that before? I’ve seen people wearing trash bags in the past, but never bath robes. I don’t see the point. But to each their own.

When I was at baggage claim the sun began to rise. 

My dad was also running the marathon. I received a text message from my saying he was on Memorial Bridge running to the start. He asked for me to wait for him so we could get a picture together. 

CORRAL AND START LINE

My dad and I walked down to the start line at 7:30ish. We squeezed our way up to the 4:10 and 4:15 corral – standing with a view of the 4:15 pacer. 

The Marine Corps Marathon is The People’s Marathon – which means they do not assign corrals, instead they allow the runners to choose a corral. Because Marine Corps Marathon has 30,000 runners, the first three miles can be crowded and slow, so I always try to stand in the corral ahead of my ideal finishing time. 

Let’s talk about timing… 

My goal finishing time for this race was 4:15. Maybe I could run it faster, because I ran my last half marathon, a month before, in 1:53, and felt good! But I finished my last full marathon in 4:19, (2 years ago) so I would be happy running that, or a faster PR. 

So standing in the 4:10-4:15 corral seemed to be a good place to start. 

The actual start didn’t seem as exciting as years past. It actually didn’t seem crowded at all. But maybe that’s because of the option of starting later. But in the years past, people are normally packed in, clothes going everywhere. One year a beach ball was going above our heads. Everyone cheering! 

The EXCITEMENT 

The real excitement happened when they flew military planes over our heads. 


And then we were off… 

Mile 1-3

We ran down 110, up through Rosslyn, up Lee Highway. My husband, daughter, and Mom were waiting for me at mile 2-3ish on Lee Highway. It was easy to spot them because my little Zoe was on my husband’s shoulders. It was so fun seeing them, especially Zoe!! She was excited seeing her Grandpa aka Poppy. My dad showed everyone his 1989 MCM race shirt. As I looked at my watch, my dad made observation that we climbed that hill pretty fast. We were on our way to Spout Run.

MILES 3-5 

We ran through Spout Run during miles 3-5. This is one of my favorite parts of the marathon because it is by far the prettiest part of the race. Trees shaded us while we ran up and down slight rolling hills, as we approached the Key Bridge. My Dad and I were still running side by side. 

MILES 5-7

Over the Key Bridge we went, leaving Virginia and entering D.C. I love running over the Key Bridge. And Georgetown is usually a very exciting spot during the race because the spectator support is so huge and energized. There is normally a band playing from Georgetown University, and a group from Lululemon cheering while sipping mimosas. However, this year I didn’t see any of that and to my surprise it seemed like a ghost town. But, we continued on, down Wisconsin we went, and up to Rock Creek park we headed. My dad and I were making great timing! 

MILES 8-10

Usually, Rock Creek Park is up one huge hill and then a crowded turn around, then a down hill. But this year they cut it short and it wasn’t crowded at all. My dad and I both looked at each other with a smile, when we realized we didn’t have to run the hill. 

MILE 11 – The BLUE mile


Mile 11 is called the Blue Mile. This mile is lined with photos of fallen soldiers. It was very emotional. Many people stopped in front of their fallen solider to cry, or get a picture. American flags lined the end of the mile to uplift us. 

MILES 12-14

Haines Point is normally the boring part, but we got through it – still feeling really strong and on pace.  

During one of the water startions, my dad grabbed a GU (energy gel) and I lost him. But my cell phone rang, and it was him, and he was coming up on the left hand side. Off we went to the National Mall. Dad shouted we were over half way through. 

MILES 15-18

At mile 15, I told my dad we only had 2 miles until mile 17. Mile 17 is a significant mile in the marathon, because you only have 9 miles left which means you enter single digits. We were both running on pace, but it was then that my dad told me to go on ahead, if I thought I was going to break 4 hours. I didn’t know if I could do that, but I was going to try. So I picked up the pace on the National Mall and headed to the 14th street bridge. 

It was awesome that my dad and I ran 15 miles together. 

MILES 18-20

I left the National Mall and was heading on to the 14th street bridge. The bridge is normally mile 20, but because of the late start, and the eagerness to open DC streets, we had to leave the city on time. So they made the bridge mile 18 instead of the normal mile 20. 

The goal to the bridge is to, “Beat the Bridge.” Many people hit the wall here and begin to walk. It can feel really hot, or super windy. But I actually always love the bridge. And I never walk. 

Once I was on the bridge, still running, I texted my husband to let him know I was on the bridge heading to Crystal City. He was shocked I was calling so early, ahead of schedule. He was on his way to meet me in Crystal City. 

I also knew my Oiselle teammates had a cheer station at mile 21. So I was keeping a look out. Mean while, I was still on pace and feeling strong. 

MILE 21

There they were! My Oiselle teammates cheered the loudest cheers ever at mile 21! So happy I saw them. I was now super pumped and on my way down Crystal Drive to see my husband, baby, and mom. MILE 21 was the longest distance I ran during training. This mile marker is significant for me because during the week I run a 5 mile easy run, and during the marathon when I hit 21, I tell myself, “Its just my 5 mile easy run.” 

MILE 22

I ran through Crystal City, eyes wide, looking for people I knew. Around mile 22, I saw my husband, mom, and baby, again, waiting to cheer me on. Zoe was so cute having fun watching all the runners, smiling big when she saw me. I got some pictures and I told them I was feeling good and making great timing! 

MILE 23-24

After leaving my family, letting them know I would see them at the finish, I kept on pace.  I started looking for the mile markers.  It wasn’t until mile 24, that I started to feel really hot. 

But at mile 24, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It ended up being one of my runner friend, Raj Running Yogi! It was such a fun surprise seeing him. I hope I was friendly! At mile 24, looping around the pentagon, I was just trying to stay focused and look for my street signs, that always helps me get to the finish. 

MILE 25 – 26.2

I could see the finish line in the distance. Then the street signs appeared. I told myself just get to the Memorial Bridge street sign. Next thing I realize, I’m running passed it and seeing the Key Bridge street sign. Passing the Key Bridge sign, I made a left heading to the Iwo Jima memorial, uphill to the finish. Although, the finish line was moved to the right this year, it felt amazing crossing it! 


THE FINISH

This Marine gave me my finishing medal! 


Took a photo near the Iwo Jima memorial.

I met up with my family. And got to show my daughter Zoe my finishing medal. 


All of our hard training paid off! It felt amazing showing my daughter my medal. 

After the race was over, my husband, daughter and I enjoyed bunch at Lyon Hall.  

THE RESULTS

A NEW PR

Although, it was hot running conditions, and  a “difficult” course, I felt great most of the race. 

I ended up finishing in 4:17:01, which was a little over a 2 minute PR. I am very happy with this time, and over all had a very successful marathon. 

The most fun thing about this race was running the first 15 miles with my dad. I am very impressed with how fit he is! 

I’m also most proud of the fact that I trained for this race with my daughter by my side. Yes, my identity has changed now that I am a mother, but it has not changed my passion for running and living a healthy lifestyle. It is very important to me to show and teach my daughter- that with passion, dedication, and hard work, anything is possible. 

WHAT IS NEXT? 

I will be running a Turkey Trot this thanksgiving with Zoe in the stroller. But as of that, I’m still trying to decide which marathon I want to run next. 

In the mean time, I’m hitting the weight room again consistently. Its time to get stronger again.

THANK YOU

Thank you to everyone who inspired and supported me through this marathon training season, and the marathon. This includes MRTT, Oiselle, and everyone that followed along on IG, FB, Strava, and this blog. 

Also I want to give a special thank you to the Marines, race organizers, volunteers, and race spectator support for another amazing Marine Corps Marathon experience.

Thank you!

It’s so amazing to be a part of something this big!! And the running community is incredible! 


Now let’s set new goals, and run all the miles! 

copyright 2016 sweatdaily 

Now that’s a wrap! Marine Corps Marathon 2016 TRAINING recap

It is really bitter sweet that this marathon training season is coming to an end. This will be my fourth Marine Corps Marathon. And although, I have trained and run this race before, MCM training 2016 has been by far the most special training season I have ever had.

Most marathon runners, train with a running group or running buddy. But for me, I have done every weekly run pushing my baby girl in our BOB running stroller, and every long run completely solo.  It truly has been the most fun, most challenging, most special training season because I did it all, while caring for a tiny human, pushing my daughter every mile of the way. 

Regardless of whether I … PR or not, I am most proud of the fact that I was able to manage a beautiful life-balance of wife life, motherhood, marathon training, and working. 

When I signed up for this race, at 6 months postpartum, I was unsure I would be able to manage training for a marathon while being a new working mom/wife, but I did it. Once again, the marathon has taught me, that anything is possible. 

Physically

I am so proud that after 40 weeks of pregnancy and no running, a c-section labor, breastfeeding, sleepless nights, etc. that I was able to physically get my body strong enough to begin to train for a marathon. And then continue prepare for this race during a record breaking hot summer, with an infant/toddler by my side. The female body truly is amazing. 

A lot of people have asked me, how did I do it physically. How did I get strong enough to even start training for a full marathon, after 40 weeks of pregnancy and no running. 

This is what I did… 

At 7 weeks postpartum, I got the okay from my doctor to start working out again. I desperately wanted to start running, but I knew I had lost a lot of muscle. I knew I was weak, so I decided to exclusively weight lift/strength train for 6 weeks. I had to get stronger before I laced up my running shoes. 

At 13 weeks postpartum, on Thanksgiving day, I went for my first postpartum run. It was a three mile run, and it felt amazing. But the next day I woke up with the worst knee and ankle pain.

I later went to my local running shoe store to get my form evaluated and fitted for new shoes. My body had changed, there was a great possibility that my running form was different. 

Turns out my form was perfect and my shoes were a great fit, it was just going to take time for me to strengthen my ankles again.

For the next 3 months, I hit the pavement running a short 2 miles a day. On the weekends, I would try for 3-4 miles. Slowly, I was improving.

At 6 months postpartum, my daughter was ready to run with me in the stroller. She had strong neck control and was sitting up independently for two and half weeks. She was ready, and I was too. I was so glad I took the time before to build up my strength and perfect my running form solo. It made me ready to push that stroller.

At first while pushing the stroller, my stride was different – longer, slower cadence, but over time I found my mojo, and running with Zoe became one of my favorite things. Pushing a stroller and passing people on the trail made me feel strong and empowered. I have become a BAMR!!

Although, I always put my focus on how well my body preforms vs. what it looks like. Another great perk to training for this marathon is that  running totally transformed my body.  I have lost all the stubborn baby weight, and my body is leaner and more athletic.

My advice to any new mom…

Do not rush into it, and expect you will have your pre-baby body back. Actually, the truth is, YOU WILL NEVER HAVE YOUR PRE-BABY BODY BACK, but that doesn’t mean your body can’t be stronger, leaner, or even better than before. Just know that it takes time to get strong again, and embrace the process. And forget about what your body use to be, and start creating an even stronger better body. It is possible. Hello fit beautiful mom-bod!

Mentally

I am most proud of beating the record breaking summer heat mentally and physically. And becoming better with time management. Everyone is on a “flexible” schedule in my house. The demands of marathon training, and the time commmitment was possible because I made it part of our morning routine.

When it came to the heat… 

This summer was the hottest summer I have ever trained for a marathon in. It had record breaking heat, so it was definitely a physical and mental challenge to train in. All of us runners were out there together, chugging along with our hydration packs, giving eachother the thumbs up. There were times the heat got the best of me, and although, I made it through every long run, there were times I questioned, “Should I even run this race?” 

Because of the heat my pace was significantly slower… It made me question, “Can my body run this race at the pace I want?”  But, physically, I knew my body could do it, I just needed to get my mind prepared.

I am so happy I was organized enough. Planning a head is key to having good time manage. Making running part of our morning routine made everything doable. 

Expo Energy

I’m still mentally preparing. However, it will feel more real once I pick up my T-shirt and bib. The energy at the expo is always such an amazing feeling. This year Zoe will be with me. She’s my little side kick and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Mantras

I also mentally prepare by coming up with race day mantas. This year’s training mantra is, “Let’s Run all the Miles.” I’ll use this during the race. I also like to wisper while going up hills, “climb climb climb, and fly down. And when the miles get tough, “keep moving forward.”

Training Highlights

My favorite runs are always the ones I do during the week with Zoe. During this training it was amazing to run when she napped peacefully, or run when she was interactive- pointing at everything, waving at the cyclists. She talks to me, and she absolutely loves going over the wooden plank bridges on the trail. She is always a great help holding my cold water bottle on hot days, that would keep her cool. Then we would stop for a water break, she loves drinking from my water bottle. 

However, I had some really great long runs too. 

My favorite long runs were, my 12 mile runs, my 15 mile runs, my half marathon, my 18 miler and my 20 milers. 

12 Mile Run – One of my first 12 mile runs, I ran with my sister Emily. This run was the only long run I had company for. The weather was overcast, and I felt great the whole run. We ran passed a really cool piece of street art and it made me obsessed with finding more are to run past. 

12 Mile Run- Earlier, this month when my husband, Zoe and I visited Idaho, I went for a 12 miler on the Boise Green Belt. It was perfect running weather, such a refreshing treat compared to the heat wave we were having back home. I found a dirt path to run on, the sun was shining and the view of the Boise River was so gorgeous. So perfect! 

15 Mile Run – In August, while I was in Martha’s Vineyard celebrating my daughter’s first birthday, I ran a 15 miler along the beach. It felt amazing, running along the ocean, with the sun shining and the ocean breeze. 

I also saw a huge spider web, and kept seeing spider webs on every long run after.


15 Mile Run – All of my runs during this summer were done in 80 or 90 degree heat. I had a 15 miler on my schedule, but the weather man was calling for record breaking heat, and advised that everyone stay cool and drink plenty of water. Well, that’s not going to happen, when I am in the middle of marathon training. 

I was dreading this long run. I don’t do well in the heat, but who does? I headed out early and went in the direction on the trail where it was the shadiest. Tree branches canopied over my head and I basically was running through the woods. The shade was good, but the humidity still made it sweltering, plus the shadiest part of the trail ended up being the hilliest. 

I decided to turn my music off and listen to the audiobook, Born to Run. I listened to the chapter that talked about Scott Jurek running the ultra Badwater. It helped me get through the last tough miles. 

I also found the other runners on the trail very motivating. One guy even gave me a thumbs up and hollered , “Nice Job.” This kind gesture, made me remember that even though I ran my long runs solo, I wasn’t ever really alone. There were other runners out there in that very hot day, running high mileage, just like me.

18 Mile Run- I chose to do my 18 miler on a Monday instead of Saturday because the weather was a little cooler. My mom watched my baby as I hit the trail. It turned out being a beautiful run, and I made great timing. 

Half Marathon – My training plan had a half marathon scheduled for the same day that the Navy Half Marathon was scheduled in DC. Because the Army 10 miler is a couple week later (which is very popular) the Navy Half never fills up. So last minute I decided to register for it. Most of the other people I knew running it that were also running MCM were using  it as a training run. I decided to race it and boy am I glad I did. I ended up running an awesome time, 1:53:54, and felt great the whole time. This race brought me my confidence back. 

20 Mile Run – It is just 10 miles down And then 10 miles back. I decided to run this one from my house. It ended up being an awesome run. I came across another mural in Roslyn. 

Then I jumped on the trail to have some gorgeous views of DC. 

I finished in 3:40 so my timing was on point. It was good to get a really nice 20 miler done. 

20+ miler – I normally always do a 21 miler, just because mentally it helps me finish. I run 5 mile easy runs during the week, 21 ends up being my longest run. Then during the race when I hit 21, I tell myself, “Oh good, it’s just my 5 mile easy run.” It works every time. 

This 20+ miler was suppose to be my 21, but I was rushing out the door and didn’t get enough to eat. So around mile 15 my stomach started growling. I was starving. I ended this run at my car around 20.40 miles. I immediately went to Starbucks and grabbed a kind bar and a venti soy chai latte. Besides that, I ran through the sprinklers in Georgetown and hit up all the bridges including the 14th street bridge. 


This training season I tried to be very active in the online running community. I joined two running groups, Oiselle Volee and Mom’s Run this Town. And although, I only went running with them once, I was able to get support from them by posting online. 

I also noticed through Instagram that many runners were setting monthly goals. I decided to do the same.

JULY – AUGUST 


AUGUST – SEPTEMBER 


SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 

Although, there were days that I dreaded running in the heat, and days that I worried if I could fit my runs in my busy schedule… Overall, I really enjoyed this training season. 

You are dear to my heart Marine Corps Marathon. Always teaching me that the possibilies are endless. 

No matter what happens race day, this training season has been unforgettable. And the best part is having Zoe by my side every mile of the way. She is not my EXCUSE… She is my REASON. 


Now let’s run all the miles, with the Marines! 

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

A review on Running Strollers: The Bob, The Burley, Baby Jogger, Mountain Buggy.

Before Zoe was born, even before I was pregnant, I always found the moms and dads on the running trail very impressive.  Some chugging along, while others strongly ran passed. We were all putting in the same serious weekly mileage, but they were doing it while pushing a running stroller, and caring for a tiny human. 

Sweat trickled down their faces, as their child enjoyed the ride, smiling from ear to ear. I only hoped that one day, I would be as badass as they are.  

Guess what… Now I am.

When I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t stop thinking about running. Only a runner would understand. I questioned, whether I should even continue to run while pregnant… is running the right type of exercise for me at this point in my life? Will I find the time, once the baby comes, to run as much as I did before? 

Turns out I didn’t run while pregnant, (read about why… here), but thanks to my running stroller, I am now in the middle of training for my fourth Marine Corps Marathon and my fourth postpartum race, started serious marathon training at 9 months postpartum. 

So the search was on…

I knew purchasing a running stroller was a necessity for me. 

So my research for the ultimate running stroller began. 

There is a lot of baby gear out there, and it can be quite overwhelming. But social media has made it much more easier to connect with other moms and find out what their “must have” baby items are.

When it came to the running stroller I narrowed it down, and closely researched the Bob, the Babyjogger, and the Burley. The Mountain Buggy is one I just recently have seen more mother runners using. 

Important side note about car seats…

Before your baby is big enough for the actual stroller seat (0-6 months), you can still use your stroller for everyday use with the car seat attached to the top. This means you will need to purchase an additional piece, called the car seat attachment. It is important to keep in mind that there are some infant car seats that are compatible with some running strollers and not with others. For example, the Cybex infant car seat, which is known for it’s high ratings in safety, (my friend Mariana has it and loves it) is compatible with the Babyjogger, but not with the Bob or Burley. However, because there are so many highly rated, comfortable safe infant car seats on the market, for me, finding the right running stroller that fit my lifestyle, became one of my top priorities. 

Another big question I have been asked is… Can you run with you baby in the car seat attached to the stroller? I have seen all sorts of moms doing different things. I have seen mother runners running with their very young babies completely layed down flat in their running strollers. I have seen mother runners using props such as towels to support their very young baby’s neck while running. I have seen mother runners run with the car seat attached.

I personally did not rush right back into running. I waited until I got the okay from my doctor to exercise again at 7 weeks postpartum. Then I exclusively weight lifted for 6 weeks to get some strength back. Then I started running at 13 weeks postpartum. I ran slow and only did 2 mile runs, slowly increasing distance. Then at 6 months postpartum I started running with Zoe. From 3-6 months postpartum I ran solo, so I could really focus on getting my fitness level back. Because I did this, I felt more than ready to run while pushing Zoe in the stroller at 6 months postpartum. 

Always do what you feel comfortable, and always refer back to your stroller’s manual when in doubt. 

Most doctors say wait to run with your baby, until he/she can independently sit up and has strong neck control. The Bob stroller does not recommend running with the car seat attached because it can tip over easily on uneven terrain. It becomes top heavy.

What I did with Zoe…

I personally waited until after Zoe was fully evaluated during her 6 month doctor’s appointment, and I got the okay from her pediatrician. At this point she had been independently sitting on her own for 2 weeks and she had very strong neck control. 

Even though my stroller’s manual did not recommend running with her in the car seat, I actually felt more comfortable running with her in the car seat attached to the stroller. We ran this way from 6-9 months. This way I could talk with her, engage with her, and see what she was doing. It was really cool to see her looking up at the beautiful trees, or pointing at everything that interested her.

She also very often would fall asleep in her car seat on the way to the trail, so I did not want to wake her by moving her to the stroller. It was much easier to transfer her car seat to the stroller without waking her. 

When it came to tipping, I have never, not once, felt like the stroller is going to tip, and I always run with her on paved paths. Everything smooth, nothing bumpy.

At around 9-10 months I started doing longer runs with her so I knew it was time to put her in the actual stroller. It was then that I started transferring her to the actual stroller seat. 

She loves looking out, the views are much better, but now that she is facing out she does not nap. I’ve tried getting her to take a nap by tilting the stroller seat at different angles. There has been times when she has almost dosed off, but most times the views are just way too good.

How to start your search for the perfect stroller…

As I said above, social media makes life easier. You can instantly find information.

  1. Connect with other moms on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Ask them which running stroller they use. What do they love about the item? What do they hate about it?
  2. Blogs and Youtube is very helpful.  I began my hunt for the perfect running stroller, by reading some blog posts from other mom runner bloggers, and watching some reviews on youtube.
  3. Go to the store and try them out. Once I narrowed it down between, the Bob, the Babyjogger, and the Burley, I headed to the store to see them in person.

Buy Buy Baby has both the Bob and the Babyjogger. They also have the infant car seats that are compatible with the strollers. REI has the Bob and the Burley. The mountain buggy is a brand that I just recently started seeing different mom runners using so I’m not sure what store has it. 

The Mountain Buggy ($599.00)

Honestly, this stroller is one that I recently started to see some mother runners using. It might be worth looking into.

Babyjogger…($429.99)

At Buy Buy Baby, I looked at the Babyjogger Summit x3. I love the fact that Babyjogger is one of the first companies to bring a running stroller to the market. However, although, it was a really nice stroller, I ended up liking the overall feel of the Bob Revolution Pro better. Sometimes, you just got to go with what is more comfortable. So the Babyjogger got erased from my list.

The Bob ($539.99)
Which Bob is best?

When I was at Buy Buy baby, one of the first things I questioned is, which Bob is best. They had a couple different models, and I was debating between the Ironman and the Revolution. I had heard from another mom, that the Ironman is strictly for running, meaning it has a fixed front wheel, while the Revolution has a swivel wheel that you can lock in place to make it a fixed wheel- bottom line it does both. 

The locked front wheel is necessary for running, and the swivel wheel is great for running errands, when you need to turn corners and maneuver through a busy crowd. My friend who has the Ironman bob stroller, loves it for running, but says because of the fixed wheel, it is painfully annoying when using the stroller for everyday errands. The sales associate at Buy Buy Baby, told me that the only time they have the Ironman Bob in store, is when someone orders it off line and returns it. 

I quickly erased the Ironman Bob from my list. Because, I want to use my running stroller not only for running, but also as my everyday stroller, I knew the Ironman Bob wouldn’t cut it.

The Bob Revolution Pro seemed to be the perfect fit. 

Handle: It has an adjustable handle, depending on your height you can lower it or higher it. This is also good if different people of different heights are going to use the stroller. 

Wheels: The front wheel swivels so you can easily get around corners whether that’s during a run or just running errands. It also locks in place and becomes a fixed wheel, which is the recommended way to use it while running. The point is you have the choice because the stroller does both ways. 

Weight: It weighs a little over 20lbs, which means it is easy to lift when placing in the car or bringing up stairs. However, some airports do not let strollers that way over 20-22 lbs through TSA lines. You may find yourself having to check it at the counter instead of at the gate. If you travel often you may need an additional smaller stroller or just be prepared to check your running stroller. 

Folding it up to store: I leave my stroller in the trunk of my car because I use it for my daily run, but also much more. It takes two hands to fold, but folds up in half with two simple movements.

Comfort: The Bob Revolution Pro is comfortable and light to push, but also really comfortable for baby. It has shock absorbing springs, and these are adjustable depending on baby’s weight. The seat itself is comfortable and can be tilted from a sitting up position to a laying down position.

Weather Protection, Hood Canopy: The hood canopy has two options, a smaller option for mild weather days, or an expanded option for additional protection. The material has SPF so it shields against the sun, but is large enough to shield rain, snow, mosquitos, etc. 

The hood also has a window, that is revealed by pulling up a flap. This flap is closed tightly by the use of velcro, so it does become noisey if baby is sleeping. But the window is a must have, when you need to check on your baby.

Storage: The Bob Revolution Pro has a big storage basket under the seat of the stroller. This is a good size, and can carry Zoe’s diaper bag, or even groceries while at the grocery store or farmers market. However, sometimes I wish it was a tad bigger. 

Breaks: The Bob Revolution Pro is different from the regular Bob Revolution because it has the safty break. This break is just like one you would find on a bike. It is located on the left side of the handle. I find this to be very important and useful when you are running down a huge hill. It keeps you and baby under control.

Review

Pros: The Bob Revolution Pro is an awesome stroller made by a company that focuses and specializes on running. Lightweight and comfortable for both mom/dad and baby. Easy to store, easy to fold. Large hood canopy to shield and protect baby from weather. Window to check on baby. Storage basket under seat. Break on adjustable handle so runner has more control. 

Cons: The Bob Revolution Pro is pretty much perfect. The only thing I would change is the velcro material found on window flap. It’s a little loud and can wake baby. The storage bin is small, it needs to be bigger. 

The Burley Solstice ($399.99)

The Burley Solstice is another great choice. I love the look of this stroller. It has everything the Bob stroller has except the break on the handle. However, it has a much larger hood canopy. It also uses magnets instead of velcro on the window flap, that means no waking baby. Another great detail is the huge storage basket. It is a much bigger storage basket then the Bob.

The Burley brand is known for it’s bike trailers. So this is their first time making a running stroller, unlike Bob who has been making running strollers for years. However, the Burley stroller is European tested. 

Both the Bob stroller and the Burley stroller can be purchased at REI. 

Final Decision…

After all the research my husband and I decided the Bob Revolution Pro was the best stroller for us. It has everything we need and such a great resale value. 

I highly recommend buying one when REI has a sale. We actually got the stroller at REI on sale on Memorial weekend. 

I remember being so happy and surprised when I came home from work on a Sunday, and saw the stroller set up in our living room. It was the first baby item we purchased and by far one of the most used. 

We ended up getting the BOB car seat that is compatible with the stroller. It is called the Bob B Safe Car Seat by Britax. This car seat is ranked high for safety and it is very comfortable. 

My daughter loves this car seat. It is comfortable and she easily falls asleep in it. The only negative thing about it, is that the black color can make baby really hot in summer, and it gets pretty heavy which makes it hard to carry. I wish it was lighter, especially now that my baby is heavier. However, it will be sad when she out grows it. 

Must have accessories 

Of course you need the car seat adapter for the stroller, but my other must have accessory is the skip hop grab and go stroller organizer. This hold my wallet, phone, keys, drink, bottle and much more. 

Running with Zoe has been amazing! It is one of our favorite things to do. It is fun for the both of us. It gets us outside and keeps me fit. 

I’m so thankful for my running stroller because it has given me the opportunity to continue living a healthy lifestyle and continue my running passion. 

Zoe watches everything I do. Hopefully, by her seeing me run, she will grow up knowing the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

LINKS

Bob Revolution  Pro

Bob Ironman

Bob B Safe Infant Car Seat by Britax

Make sure you get the car seat accessories including the adapter. 

Burley Solstice

Baby Jogger Summit X 3

Mountain Buggy

Skip Hop Stroller Organizer

I hope this helps you decide on which running stroller is best for you and your lifestyle. Please contact me or leave a comment with questions.

Now let’s Run all the Miles!!

copyright: 2016 sweat1xdaiky

 

 
 

Zoe’s First Birthday!¬†

My sweet Zoe Annalise turned one on Friday, August 19th, 2016.

In honor of this amazing milestone, we had an unforgettable celebration for her on Martha’s Vineyard with our family and friends. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. The birthday party was absolutely perfect. Everyone, especially Zoe’s Grams and Gramps, went above and beyond.

DECORATIONS

It all starts with a theme.

Every kid’s birthday party needs a theme. Because Zoe is only one, still just a baby, I being her mama, chose the theme for her party. And because we were celebrating at the Vineyard, a¬†mermaid seashell¬†theme fit perfectly.

I didn’t over do the mermaid seashell theme, I mainly included it in the sign I made her.

You can find tons of birthday banners and sign options on Etsy. ¬†However, I thought it would be more special if I made my own sign for Zoe. It wasn’t hard at all. The sign consists of mermaid paper which I found at the Paper Source. The letters to create the word, ONE, I found at Michaels. They were originally white letters, but to add sparkle I wrapped then in gold paper. The gold tassels and twine were also found at Michaels.

Another decoration I made was Zoe’s growth display. This by far was my favorite decoration. It has been absolutely incredible watching Zoe grow mentally, emotionally, and physically. Seeing her evolve has been one of my favorite things about motherhood.

Every month since she was born, I have taken monthly photos to document how much she has grown. By displaying her monthly photos, I was able to share her growth with all of our loved ones.

To make this growth display it was quite simple. I found gold sparkled cardboard numbers at the Paper Source. I hot glued two clothes pins on each number. One clothes pin was later used to attach the number to a twine rope. The other clothes pin was used to hold the monthly photo. Each number was attached to the twine in order, 0 (being newborn) to 12 months.

The color scheme for Zoe’s party was pink, tourquoise, and gold. We purchased balloons in those colors.

The balloons were a big hit for the kids at the party. It was Zoe’s first time seeing balloons. She loved them. All birthday parties need balloons.

PONY and DONKEY ride

One thing about Martha’s Vineyard that not to many people realize is that there are tons of farms.

Grams and Gramps has a good friend who owns a beautiful miniature horse and donkey. So they arranged for the animals to come to Zoe’s birthday party.

When the pony and donkey arrived it was an amazing surprise for Zoe and her 2 year old cousin Stella and 4 year old cousin Fin.

Side note: (Let me explain something quickly. This trip was HUGE for Zoe. Although, she took a short trip to SoBe, Miami, back in February, she was only six months old and most likely doesn’t remember much of it. So this trip was full of a lot of FIRSTS for Zoe. It was a new place, she had never been before, with new people, she was just meeting. At times it was very overwhelming for her, so she wanted my comfort. She actually didn’t really want to be held by anyone else and definitely did not want me leaving her side.)

Sometimes it takes Zoe time to warm up to an idea. Whether that means trying a new type of food, or riding a pony at her birthday party.

So when Zoe first got on the pony she was a little overwhelmed, but then she warmed up to the idea, and actually started to enjoy it.

The pony and donkey were absolutely beautiful and really sweet. They gently trotted around the yard while each child took a turn riding them.

Bubbles

After Zoe took a short pony ride, we set up her bubble machine. Zoe loves bubbles, they are one of her favorite things. Watching bubbles fill the sky definitely put a smile on Zoe’s face.

FOOD
Food is really important to me. I strive for quality, organic, and local. One of my absolutely favorite things about New England is the fresh seafood, so of course that is what we had at Zoe’s birthday party.

The morning of Zoe’s birthday, Erik went clamming with his brother Ian and cousin Frank to catch some fresh wild clams. They also caught some scallops and the mussels (shown in the photo) were store bought, but also wild caught.

We had clams on the half shell. And the combination of clams, mussels, and scallops made for a perfect pile of steamers.

There was no question… We also had to have a lobster bake. My absolute favorite shell fish. Ten lobsters cooked to perfection, smothered with butter, made for a delicious main dish, potatoes and corn as side dishes.

We also had a watermelon, basil, feta salad that my sister prepared. Watermelon the queen fruit of summer is Zoe’s favorite. The salad was refreshing and put a smile on Zoe’s face.

For those guests that do not eat seafood we had other salads and beef tips.

There was definitely too much food, but something to please everyone’s palate.

The next day we enjoyed a homemade seafood stew. (Side note: it’s always good to have leftovers from a lobster/clam bake, that way you can make a seafood stew or lobster/clam chowder.)

CAKE

People say… “A baby’s first taste of cake is her first real taste of sugar.”

Zoe took a short nap during dinner. Which made her refreshed and ready for her first real taste of sugar.

Her Grams made three cakes, a Strawberry Shortcake, a Sheet Cake which said Happy Birthday Zoe, and then Zoe had her own personal smash cake.

Zoe loves fresh fruit and she loves bread, (pita, bagels, pb&j), so my thought was she would dig right into the cake. This was not the case.

She actually loved the candle lit on top of her cake…

But the minute everyone crowded around her and started singing happy birthday she cried.

She actually didn’t even like the cake at first, but once she had a few tastes she started to enjoy it.¬†

PRESENTS

Zoe loved opening her presents. She was actually able to tear the paper and was curious to see what was inside. She got a lot of fun toys, books, and cute clothes. She is one lucky baby.



FIREWORKS 

We ended the celebration with a bang, literally. August 19th, the Vineyard has a firework celebration similar to the 4th of July. Everyone goes to see the fireworks. We were lucky to be able to watch them on a private beach that belong to the local Boat Club, that way we weren’t smushed in between a mosh pit of people.

Because Grams and Gramp live right up the hill from the town and beach it was just a short walk down East Chop to see the fireworks.

Because we weren’t super close the sound didn’t bother Zoe until the finale. It was so cute watching her eyes get wide as she pointed her little finger to the sky, lit up with colors.

Fireworks was definitely the ultimate way to end our first year celebration together.

THANK YOU

This celebration wouldn’t have been nearly as fun, with out our loved ones. I am so thankful to everyone who traveled near and far to be with us at this very special milestone. It was so amazing getting everyone together!

MOTHERHOOD & FATHERHOOD

A friend of mine, congratulated me. She said, “Happy first birthday to Zoe, and to you…happy first year as a mother.” ¬† This reminded me that although, Zoe’s first birthday is an amazing milestone for her, it is also one for Erik and I.

When Zoe was born, I became mama and Erik, daddy. Over this first year, as I took monthly photos to record how Zoe changed, I too have changed, we all have. As Zoe reached each milestone, Erik and I have grown deeper and deeper into parenthood, becoming more and more acquainted with our new roles and identities as mama and daddy.

Motherhood is interesting for sure… but I have never felt more passionate, this confident, this beautiful, this much joy, and I have never felt this much love.

This has been one very special unforgettable year!

Happy Birthday my sweet Zoe!

Cheers!

Copyright : 2016 sweat1xdaily.com

Zoe Turns One, Read her Birth Story! 


On August 19th, 2015, my sweet baby Zoe was born. I can’t believe a whole year has come and gone. 

This first year has been one amazing year, full of the most fun, a little chaos, lots of new memories, so much joy.

It has been truly amazing watching little Zoe grow, explore, discover, with eyes wide…seeing everything for the very first time. 

It has been an incredible year of growth for all of us. As she learns new things, we learn new things about ourselves. As we teach her, she teaches us.

Thank you Zoe, for making my life so complete, and filling it with so much love, beauty, and joy. 

In honor of Zoe’s first birthday, read her cBirth Story!

Stroller miles, Mother RUNNER, Marathon Training

Hey lovelies,

I forgot to tell you, I am registered for the Marine Corps Marathon!

I have just finished week 3 of my marathon training. And, although this will be my 4th time training and running the Marine Corps Marathon, things are very very different this time around.

My running buddy is Zoe, my 10 month old daughter. And because we are inseperatable, we do everything together… It is not all about me anymore. This has made training a little bit more challenging, but also way more fun!

WEEK Day Training with the stroller.

During the week, I have been doing my shorter runs pushing Zoe in the running stroller. Pushing the stroller is definitely harder than running solo. (For those who are interested, I am running with the BOB revolution, pro. I intend on writing a blog post about the product so stay tuned.) Not only do I have the extra load, the stroller itself weighs 25 lbs, plus Zoe, but my running form is different when I run with the stroller.

If you have been following my running journey for a while now, you may already know, that I’m obsessed with proper running form, especially since I run in a natural barefoot running shoe, with a low heel to toe drop. (Newton)

And although, I have gotten faster running while pushing the stroller, it is impossible for me to pick up my cadence. Which means I must be over striding. When I run solo my cadence is a perfect, 180. But when I run with the stroller, it is low 130-140 spm.

I also usually use my right hand to steer/push the stroller. I need to work on switching arms, so both sides of my body are balanced.

The longest run I have done with Zoe, is an 8 miler. My legs didn’t hurt, but my arms did by mile 6.

Weekend running, long run.

The plan is to run my shorter miles during the week with Zoe, but run my longer runs on the weekend solo. Well, of course the first week of training, I told my husband I was going out for my long run, and he told me he had tons of things to do, and he needed me to take Zoe.

Week 1- long run 8 miles

Because according to my training plan my long run for the week was only an 8 miler, I decided it was doable to bring Zoe along. So off we went for an 8 miler. This was the longest run I have done while pushing the stroller.

It was also late afternoon and 80+ degrees. I knew this was a big mistake. I should have gotten out there earlier, but I had to get the miles in. I chose the shadiest part of the MVT, however, the shadiest part is also the hilliest part.

My plan was to just chug along up and down those hills, stopping briefly to check on Zoe every 2 miles.

1-4 miles went really well. Miles 4-6, I mentally broke down. Miles 6-8 I pulled it together and finished strong. So strong that I thought I could have kept going for another mile or two.

Zoe absolutely loves going on runs with me. It is really nice for her to get fresh air. She loves all the views and the trail gives her lots of trees and water to look at. It is also important for her to see me living an active, healthy lifestyle, enjoying nature.

However, with that being said. It takes me between 1 hour and 25 minutes and 1 hour 35 minutes to run 10 miles.

I will take Zoe out for a 10 miler, but I really don’t want to take her out longer than that. I am very lucky, that she loves her stroller, and like I said above there are some amazing, healthy benefits about stroller miles, but I can’t keep her strapped in a stroller for longer than 10 miles.

Now that she is scooting around and pulling herself up, it is important for her to move, and play. It’s my job as her mama to give her that time and opportunity to play and move, to problem solve and discover. She needs her exercise too.

Week 2- long run 9 miles

Again, I didn’t get out there early enough, however I was excited to see what I could do running solo, (with out pushing a 10 month old in a stroller.)

The heat was killer, a lot of runners were falling apart on the trail. But I had my water, and kept chugging along. Over all it was a fine run, mainly slower because of the heat.

Week 3- long run 6 miles

Once again, I will have more success if I get out there earlier when it is cooler. The heat is definitely taking its toll on me. Getting out there around 9:30 am is just way to late.

The more I practice running in the heat, the more my body will get use to it. However, lately it has been a heat wave and it’s just not healthy to run in, because of the high humidity levels.

I had a really slow 6 miler and thought to myself, goodness, maybe I can’t do this marathon training. If I’m feeling bad doing 6 miles, what am I going to do next week when I have to do an 11 miler.

Although, my 6 miler felt bad during, I felt great after.

Later, that night a fellow mother runner, Lina, asked me to do 4 miles with her. It had just stormed which cooled the 90 degree day to 70 degrees and there was a breeze.

This was my chance to test myself. It was only a 4 miler, but I wanted to see how I would do. Turns out I ran just fine and all of my negative thoughts from earlier were erased. It was just the heat and running in cooler weather made all the difference.

It was also great doing a double, running 6 miles in the morning, and 4 miles at night which gave me a total of 10 miles for the day.

Training PLAN and Apps

The training plan I am following is the Hal Higdon Intermidate training plan. I am interested in heart rate training, and considered following the heart rate marathon training plan by another mother runner. However, for this marathon, I am following Higdon’s plan because I have used his plans in the past and I have always found success. So I’m sticking to what I know works, while throwing a baby into the mix.

Although, I love my Garmin, I am also tracking my mileage using Strava! The Strava app is awesome! I love that I can follow other runners and they can follow me. When training for a marathon alone, it is important to check in with other runners and be inspired by their training and give/receive encouragement and support. I will also be reading more running blogs. I read tons of running blogs two years ago when I trained for my marathon and I didn’t feel so alone.

Another feature that I love about Strava is how it breaks down your running stats. It also records your PRs.

So if you are on Strava please follow me! I’m on there under sweat1xdaily. You can also find me on Instagram @sweat1xdaily.

Well that’s all for now!

Run Happy!
Which marathon are you training for?


How to PLAN a 1 year old’s BIRTHDAY PARTY! My baby turns 1 soon.¬†


I can’t hardly believe it!

This year has gone by way to fast, my baby is turning one soon. (We only have two monthly stickers left to use.)

Zoe turns ONE, August 19th, 2016!

Which means her first official birthday is approaching…

I wasn’t going to over do it… (she won’t remember any of it.) However, because my guests are traveling to the Vineyard for her birthday, of course we are going all out. Plus, I love a really good party.

What makes a good party…

  • Theme
  • Invitations
  • Outfit, costume
  • People
  • Venue
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Cake
  • Music
  • Decorations
  • Photography

THEME

Choosing a theme is always fun, but it is also a helpful way to stay on track. 

The theme I chose for Zoe’s birthday is seashell, mermaid. Because we are having her party at the Vineyard, this fits perfectly. It will be fun when she is older (not that I’m wishing for her to get any older, just stay a little baby, Zoe…) to see what birthday party theme she chooses for herself.

INVITATIONS

Choose invitations based on your theme. Also decide whether you want to send snail mail, or an email option. 

I chose an email option. I used paperless post for my wedding save-the-date, and because it was so easy to use, I decided to use it again for Zoe’s birthday party invitation.

This time I used the free app, and designed the cutest invitation. They have some really awesome free templates, so it didn’t cost me anything at all – invitations can be expensive.

I also love that I can tell when someone has opened the email, but hasn’t yet responded. This eliminates the question of whether a guest has received the invitation of not.

Outfit, Costume

What will the guest of honor be wearing?!

There are a lot of options for a one year old’s birthday outfit. Some baby girls wear tutus. Some wear a onesie saying, “One,” “My First Birthday.” Some wear a birthday hat.

I’m still finalizing Zoe’s outfit. I can’t wait to share it with you, but I’m leaving it for a surprise. It will definitely be on the birthday party recap post.

PEOPLE

Who comes to your party makes a difference in what food you choose, what activities you do, etc. For example if you are going to have more babies and children at your party, you may need to consider kid friendly food options, and food allergies.

Over the last 10 months, some of my closest friends have had babies, and Zoe and I are also always open to meeting new mamas and baby friends.

So yes, she does have some baby friends, but because the party is in Martha’s Vineyard, the people coming are mainly family and close family friends.

VENUE

Choosing a venue is ideal. It will set the mood of your party. Again, you will need to consider who your guests are, and how long your party is. 

The original plan was to have a casual party on the beach. But because it is one of the busiest weekends on the Vineyard, Zoe’s grandparents suggested we have the party at their house. This is an awesome idea because now we don’t need to provide transportation to the beach, which is on the other side of the island. Plus, now I can have all the cute decorations I want.

FOOD

When choosing food for your party, consider the venue. What type of food is the area known for, what is locally grown? Also, who are your guests? Do you need to have kid friendly options, and consider food allergies?

Because the guests coming to the party are mainly adults, and Zoe will eat anything, I am not to concerned about food allergies or kid friendly options.

However, I am hoping for a menus full of seafood, such as lobster and clams. We will be on an Island off the coast of the Cape. So lobsters and clams are fresh – it’s a New England thing.

DRINKS

Again specialty drinks can be based on what the area or venue is known for. Also consider your guests and what time your party is at.

We are keeping our drinks simple by having beer, wine, and depending on how many guests we have, we may make watemelon margaritas or sangria. Of course Zoe will eat plenty of watermelon and drinking her milk.

CAKE

When it comes to a one year old birthday party, the cake is one of the most important parts. Traditionally, in the USA, you give your one year old her own personal cake to smash. It’s called cake smashing, and it is suppose to be your baby’s first taste of something sweet.¬†

Zoe’s Grams normally bakes a homemade cake for everyone on their birthday, and it is always delicious. As far as I know, she will be making a cake for Zoe’s birthday. And Zoe has never had cake before so it will be super fun to see her smash in it.

Cake smashing requires a high chair or space for baby to smash into it. I’m hoping I can figure out a high chair for Zoe. It is always cute to decorate the high chair with a banner and balloons. I want Zoe to have her own special chair or space for cake smashing.

MUSIC

Choose music based on your guests. Are people going to be dancing, or do you just need music in the background. 

Zoe loves music and she loves to dance, so we’ll be playing her favorit songs. I’m going to just use my iPhone and speakers.

DECORATIONS

Choose decorations based on venue, theme, and guests. 

Decorations are my favorite part. They can transform a venue. It is the small details that really make an event unique and your own.

Zoe is going to have a bubble machine going at her party. This adds character but is also fun for kids and babies.

The colors are going to be combination of pink, gold, and tourquoise. We are going to have a couple special things for Zoe but that’s a surprise and I’ll update you on this in the post I write about her party. But the picture above is a hint.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Choose whether you will need a professional photographer or whether you will manage to take photos yourself.

I’m planning on taking photos the whole time using my iPhone. Photo are very important to me.

Anyway, I’m excited for this vacation and this party. It is going to be so refreshing to escape this heat and go up North, and be at the beach.¬†

A one year old birthday party is so special. I can’t wait to celebrate Zoe. She has done so many incredible things this year, and deserves the best party ever.¬†

But most of all… She is my little love, who on August 19th, 2015, changed my world, making me a mama, a better person. My heart is full of love.

I hope this helps you plan your own baby’s one year old birthday. Can’t wait to share with you her birthday recap. Look for it on the blog in late August.¬†


Mamas- What was your favorite thing about your one year old’s first birthday party?

 


Zoe’s Baptism¬†

 

On Sunday, June 12, 2016 at 2:15, my sweet Zoe got baptized at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Old Town, Alexandria.

Getting Zoe Baptized was never a question. We were definitely always planning on it. However, I waited until she was 9 months old, the perfect time.

It is such a special ceremony that I wanted to make sure it was celebrated properly. I didn’t want to rush into planning it, until I actually had the time to dedicate towards planning.

The early days of motherhood were the absolute sweetest. It was those days that I had the opportunity to get to know my sweet Zoe and watch her up close as she got to know the world. Sometimes those days and nights were long and overwhelming, but I focused on snuggling Zoe, as I also settled into my new identity as Zoe’s mama.

The last thing I wanted to do was use any of that sweet time towards planning. So I waited to plan her baptism until I was ready to plan.

Turns out, at 9 months old, Zoe is full of playful personality. And June is the best month for a baptism, because the weather is warm enough for baby Zoe to wear a cute white gown.

THE CHURCH

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Old Town, Alexandria, is one of the oldest and most beautiful Catholic Churches.

Although, I was not baptized at St. Mary’s (I was baptized at Our Lady of Lordes) it was special for me that my daughter had the opportunity to be baptized at the same church I went to as a child. The same church that I received the sacraments of reconciliation, holy communion, and confirmation. It was special and tradition.

THE CLASS

In most cases when you receive a sacrament with the Catholic Church there is a mandatory class before. ¬†When I mention – “Oh, at my baptism class…” People always roll their eyes, or gasp…”You had to take a class.”

The classes don’t bother me at all. I actually like them. Sacraments are important and the Church isn’t just going to hand those out to everybody. They want to make sure you understand why you are receiving the sacrament. They also want to prepare you of what will happen that day, and your responsibility for the days to come. The priest teaching the class also will help clear up any questions or concerns you have.

BAPTISM GOWN and ACCESSORIES 

As you all know, fashion is very important to me, so of course Zoe was dressed up in her absolute finest.

I love a unique, hand-made, one of a kind dress. So that is exactly what Zoe wore. I was so thankful that my Aunt Lynda was able to make Zoe her beautiful baptism gown. It was made from the softest summer fabric in the warmest white. She added the sweetest ivory details.

All of the accessories she wore I bought from, One Small Child. The lace bonnet is in the color ivory. It is beyond stunning. The shoes are a soft white/ivory combination, which added a sweet touch.

My daughter’s feet are very petite so it is always a challenge to keep shoes on her. During the baptism, she got so excited she started kicking her feet, so the shoes slipped off. But I’m still glad I had them.

The combination of the bonnet, shoes, dress, and bloomer, really made her look like a doll. This special outfit is definitely one I will keep forever.

THE CEREMONY

The ceremony was very traditional, however, Zoe was the only baby baptized that day. Because of this we were able to go right upfront and crowd around her.

Erik held her the whole time. Father Andrew (the priest) blessed her by placing a cross of oil along her chest. We being her parents, and Jackie, her now God mother, mimicked the prist, rubbing a cross of oil upon her.

Zoe giggled, cooed, and babbled.

Father Andrews lit a candle.

Then we took her over to where the holy water was. The priest poured the water over her head. At first it seemed refreshing and cool, but then it trickled down into her eyes. She cried for a couple seconds, but then was back to giggling, cooing, babbling, wet hair and all.

After the ceremony was over, we spent time in the church taking pictures. Then we headed to the after party!!

THE RECEPTION 

After the ceremony, we all headed over to one of my favorite restaurants in Old Town, Columbia Firehouse.

This restaurant use to be an old fire house. It has a really cool dining room and outdoor seating. The food is also really delicious.

We started with drinks and then ate dinner. Zoe was so exhausted from her baptism, that she actually napped during dinner.

At the end, Zoe’s baptism day was lovely. We received her candel that burned during the ceremony, a small cross quilt, and a certificate from the church. I also gave her a gift – her first pair of white pearl rosary beads.

Happy Baptism Day, Zoe! 

© 2016 sweat1xdaily



8 months with Zoe

On April 19th, my sweet Zoe turned 8 months old.

imageI never knew it was possible to cry and smile at the same time. When they say, “Enjoy every minute, they grow up way to fast,” – they weren’t kidding.

The other day, there were a bunch of newborns in the salon. My co-worker asked me, “Don’t you miss Zoe at this age?”

I do, but I don’t. The newborn stage is so sweet, but once Zoe turned 6 months old she became so playful, and life became the most fun ever.

Now at 8 months she is even more playful… Her personality is shining. I will always miss those unforgettable sweet, tiny, precious newborns snuggles. When Zoe would sleep peacefully on my chest listening to my heartbeat. Snuggled in ¬†her Solly Baby wrap, nothing would wake her.

From day one we have always been learning about eachother and the world around us. And now at 8 months Zoe is more curious than ever. Here is what we have been up to.

EATING with ZOE

January 19th – Zoe at 5 months old, we introduced sweet potatoes to her as her first food. The American Pediatrics says you can start feeding solids to your baby anytime between 4-6 months. However, they highly recommend you wait until 6 months, unless your baby is showing signs they are hungry.

I gave Zoe little bits of food here and there at 5 months, because I wanted to test out feeding her, so if there were any concerns I could get my questions answered at her 6 month check up.

Turns out, that although Zoe was drooling buckets, and eyeballing our dinner plates, she was not ready. So I only gave her little tastes (not every day) and decided to hold off for a regular eating routine until she turned 6 months.

At 7 months, we got Zoe a high chair. This has made meal times so much easier. The high chair has a big tray, so she can really see her food, touch her food, play with her food, smell her food, taste her food. It is important for babies to use all their senses, especially their sense of touch, in order to get use to different textures.

Now at 8 months she is an eating machine. It is my job as her mother, to expose her to as many foods as I can. (We already exposed her to peanut butter.) If she doesn’t seem to like something, I try again and keep offering it to her. I am actually having so much fun making her, her baby food. (I am going to write a separate blog post on the baby food making and recipes.)¬†¬†She loves fruit, however, one of her favorite things to eat is Puffs. She also really enjoys me eating with her. I am very proud of her because she is starting to get use to different textures.

image

SLEEPING ZOE

Zoe has always been a great sleeper. (Knock on wood.) She has always given us cues to tell us she is tired – she rubs her eyes and yawns. She has one morning nap, and one afternoon nap. If for some reason she cat naps through out the day, I put her to bed 30 minutes earlier. She has a regular night time routine, and morning routine. She goes to bed usually at the same time every night and wakes up at the same time every day. She is definitely a morning person.

Mid February, I moved Zoe from her bassinet, in our bedroom, to her crib, in her own nursery. Because she was ready, she had no problem at all transitioning. I literally put her in her crib and she… “did her nights.”

Because the crib is so much bigger than the bassinet, she has a lot more space. She moves around like crazy, and usually ends up horizontal. When she slept in her bassinet as a newborn, she would turn her head in the direction to face me, and fall asleep that way. Now when I see her sleeping in her crib, she normally sleeps on her left side which faces the wall.

She loves her halo sleep sack, being swaddled (arms out), and silk blankets help sooth her. She use to always sleeps on her back, however on March 28th, I went to check on her, and she was sleeping on her side. Ever since then I now see her sleeping comfortably on both her back and her side.

SITTING with ZOE

On February 15th, Zoe sat up strongly and confidently¬†on her own. She had been practicing, weeks leading up to that day, but could only hold it for a second. She loves sitting and playing with her toys. Now at 8 months, she wants to stand. She hasn’t started crawling, but she is rolling, wiggling, and wants to see everything. Around April 15th, she started to cry when I would leave her, and she now always wants me to carry¬†her everywhere I go.

img_4933

ART with Zoe

March 4th, I let Zoe paint. I recently read an article about how the new play room is the new art room. I love this idea- Zoe definitely needs an art room. Because Zoe was confidently sitting, it was the perfect time to introduce paint to her. I stripped her down to a diaper and put a canvas on the floor in front of her. I opened some non toxic kids paint, put her pacifier in her mouth (prevent her from eating paint) and let her go to town. She didn’t know what to do at first, but once I showed her she had tons of fun.

It’s important to let babies get messy, explore, discover, and be creative. ¬†Painting allows her to play with color. Touching the paint and canvas, allows her to discover new textures. It is also great for their motor skills. Putting a canvas horizontal on the floor is a different feeling/vibe, then putting it vertical on the wall. I’m hoping to build confidence through art.

img_5451On March 19th, I took Zoe to the Wonder exhibit at the Renwick Gallery. She absolutely loved it.

img_5865

img_5856

PLAY TIME with Zoe

March 5th, Zoe had a play date with her friend Sabine. She got to jump in the Jolly Jumper.

She loved the Jolly Jumper so much, that she now has a jumper of her very own. (Thanks Lydia and Debbie.) I put music on, and let her dance and jump away.

March 10th, I took Zoe to the playground for the first time. She loves the swings! She also loves people watching!

Zoe also loves to dance. Dancing is her thing. She also loves her ABC song. She loves music. Cold play is her favorite.

img_6230

STORY TIME with Zoe

I have been reading to Zoe since she was born. I am slowly growing her personal library. We are collecting Shel Silverstein books and Dr. Suess books. However, she loves The Pout Pout Fish, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Where the Wild Things Are.

On April 6th, I took¬†Zoe to her first story time. She loved it. After the librarian was finished singing a song or reading a book Zoe would clap. After the class was over, they bring out all the toys so the babies can play, and us mama’s can socialize. It has been really fun for both of us. We love it.¬†img_6477

MILESTONES

Although, Zoe is not crawling and has no teeth yet. (I’m okay with that… We don’t need Zoe growing up to fast.) On March 16th, Zoe started clapping for the first time. Now, we are working on waving hi and bye.

Anyway, that is what we have been up to these days. As you can tell we are super busy, but having fun!

Happy 8 months, Zoe! You have been my greatest adventure, I can’t wait to see what other amazing thing you will do, learn, and discover. I love you, Always.¬†

img_6940

© 2016 sweat1xdaily

 

Traveling with Zoe and Tips for traveling with a baby.

This last weekend I had a work trip to Miami, so I brought Zoe and my husband with me. I had to… Showing Zoe Sobe was a must. Plus, when I went to training, Zoe had daddy/daughter time.

On the 2/19 Zoe turned 6 months old and had a lot of first moments.

It was her first air plane ride.

She did really well on the plane. Once the plane started moving she started to dose off. She slept stretched out on my lap for the first full hour. For the next hour, I kept her entertained by standing her up, playing with toys, singing her favorite songs.

She went to Sobe and took her first ever beach nap. 

 

It was just a short cat nap, but the salty breeze felt so good. I definitely have a beach baby on my hands.

She felt the sand in between her toes for the first time. She loved it. 

 

“Let’s walk the beach.” “Whatever this stuff is, it feels good.”

She saw the ocean, for the first time. 

 

It is a very special thing to see things again for the first time through your baby’s eyes. Zoe looked out at the ocean, all the way to the horizon, so big and mysterious. She felt the wet sand between her toes as salty waves crashed at her feet. I’m hoping she’ll love the water.

She is sitting up better and better. 

  
She slept in a hotel for the first time. 

 

Because we do NOT cosleep with Zoe, I later transferred her to a crib the hotel provided. We have the lotus bassinet¬†by guava family. It is a travel bassinet, however my husband didn’t want to bring it. I was nervous at first that she wouldn’t be comfortable in the hotel crib, but she had no problem at all. She was so busy during the day that once she got in the crib she crashed and slept through the whole night. Zoe is a really good sleeper and can fall asleep anywhere. She is use to using different cribs because my mom has a crib at her house and we have her crib at our house, and she easily sleeps in both. So that may be another reason why she had no problem with the hotel crib.

She went in a swimming pool for the first time. 

 

She was a little unsure about the pool. She never cried though, so I take it as a success. I want to get her in the pool more often so she gets use to it and thinks it is fun. I learned how to swim at a very young age. I actually don’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to swim. I want that for Zoe.


The pool and sun was so relaxing it put sweet Zoe to sleep.

Zoe’s first trip was a successful one. However, there were some things that we learned about traveling with a little one. So if you are traveling for the first time with your baby consider these tips, learn from our mistakes.

1) The airlines may not be consistent from one airport to the next.

We flew with American Airlines. On the way to Miami, we were at DCA, they checked our bag with no additional charge and they let us bring our stroller through security telling us to check it at the gate when entering the plane. We had no problems.

When we left Miami, heading home, the nightmare began. Our bag was 7 lbs over weight which meant we had to pay $150 to check it. Wow, so my bag basically needed a plane ticket. Then when we went to go through security, TSA told us we had to check our stroller at the counter because it was a running stroller and weighed over 20 lbs. We talked to a supervisor and they sided with TSA. So we checked our stroller for free and I baby wore Zoe in her Sakura bloom ring sling, praying and hoping our stroller would make it to our finaldestination in good condition. It also took up a lot of extra time. Thank goodness we arrived at the airport early.

2) Packing: If you are going to check your bags, consider bringing two separate bags or one bag with and additional carry on bag tucked inside to use later in case the bag is over weight. 

I always check my bag, always. I hate lugging around a bag through the airport. I also hate worrying about my hair products, skin care products, and make up being the proper size.

So now that I have a baby, I’m carrying her diaper bag, so there is no way I want additional bags at my side.

However, we brought one big bag that held my stuff, my husband’s stuff, and my baby’s stuff. The thing we didn’t consider was it being over weight on the way back. Next time we are planning to bring a carry on bag tucked inside so that if we are over weight we can remove some items and put it in another bag.

3) Stroller: If you do not have a smaller travel size stroller, be prepared to check your running stroller. And if you check your car seat and don’t have a travel case for it, wrap it in a trash bag to protect it, (it could rain or just be handled poorly.)

So we only have one stroller. We have the BOB running stroller and I absolutely love it. I use it for everything. However, that is my personal opinion. I have friends who have purchased a smaller stroller for everyday errands and only use the Bob for walks, runs, and hikes.

I never knew that American Airlines would make us check our stroller because of its weight and size. And although it is free to check, when checking it you risk the chance of it not getting to the destination or getting damaged. I also was lucky that Zoe is only 6 months and I could easily babywear her, so we didn’t absolutely need the stroller.

4) When traveling with a baby always arrive to the airport earlier than you think you should.

I was very thankful we got to the airport 2 hours earlier. Even though we had a problem getting through TSA with our stroller and had to back track to check it. We never felt rushed and we had plenty of time. Always leave enough time, babies can be unpredictable.

5) Always travel with baby bottle and milk/formula. 

If you are traveling with breastmilk or premixed baby formula, TSA will test the liquid to make sure it is what you say it is. However, the best thing for baby’s ears is swallowing milk at take off and at landing. Zoe uses a pacifier so the constant sucking helped her ears as well.

6) Always bring baby carrier, wrap, or ring sling. 

I am all about baby wearing. I brought my solly baby and my sakurabloom ring sling. It was fun to baby wear Zoe through  out the airport, and whenever Zoe is in her sakura bloom she falls asleep-sleepy dust.

7) Bring you baby bag with all the necessities. Especially- change of clothes, extra diapers and wipe, extra milk/bottle, extra pacifiers, pacifier cleaning wipes, books, toys, favorite blankets. Zoe loves blankets, so we brought her favors ones. Air planes can be very cold, so blankets keeep babies comfortable and cozy warm. Books and toys are important to entertain your baby when they get bored. We used lots of pacifier cleaning wipes because Zoe’s pacifier kept falling on the floor. Always being an extra set of clothes just in case your baby gets wet or dirty.

Anyway, I’m pretty impressed at how well Zoe did on our first trip. I hope what I wrote above will help you when you travel next with your baby. And always remember because of society we have a fear of being the parents with the crying screaming kid, but sometimes we don’t give our babies the credit they deserve and they end up pleasantly surprising us.

My hope is that the more I travel with Zoe the more use to it she’ll be, and it will just get easier for the both of us.



Happy Mama, happy baby, happy travels!

Do you have a fun travel experience involving a baby?

What is your favorite travel tip? 

©  2016 sweat1xdaily

A Recap: My first run post pregnancy. And the raw honest truth about running after having a baby.

I’ve written a little about my postpartum fitness journey. But I have yet to tell you about my experience with starting to run again after pregnancy.

Well I am back at it, running that is. As I said in previous posts the minute I got the okay to workout again I hit the gym, NOT the running trail. I chose to weight lift and try to build my strength back as much as I could before I went to pound the pavement.

image

It is true what they say, if you don’t use it you loose it. I stepped in the gym and belly flopped attempting to complete a single push up – just trying to put in perspective how much strength I lost during my pregnancy. Anyway, it was important for me to put on some muscle gains. I have heard to many times before, woman running hard after pregnancy, ending up injured and in PT. I wanted to avoid this, by getting strong again first.

Anyway after exclusively lifting for 6 weeks at 14 weeks postpartum, I decided I was strong enough to run.

The 2015 holidays approached and I debated on signing up for a family friendly easy 5 mile turkey trot. After much thought I finally decided NO. I didn’t want to be rushing out the door to run a race (even though it was only 5 miles) Thanksgiving morning- the holidays are busy enough. Instead, I would find the time on thanksgiving, on my own schedule to take a short casual run while my baby napped.

This run would be my first postpartum run. This run would be my first real run since the 2014 Turkey Trot. Yep, I hadn’t really ran in a full year. After the 2014 Turkry Trot I found out I was pregnant with Zoe, and from then on and through out my whole pregnancy my fitness goals changed. It was no longer about me pushing hard, taking it physically to my ultimate limit, but rather about us, and making sure I brought a baby girl safely into this world.

So on thanksgiving, I ran my first run post pregnancy. I grabbed my Garmin and laced up my Newton Gravity running shoes. I started my run a little slow, but picked up the pace. I ran my regular 5k loop around the neighborhood – mainly flat- one uphill, one down hill. To my surprise it was pretty easy. I ran the whole way. I felt great. I was running a 9:30 min/mile. Not as fast as I use to be, but not bad I thought.

And then…

I woke up the next morning with the worst knee and ankle pain.

They say the main reason for knee and ankle pain in female runners is usually because of a problem with the hips. During pregnancy everything expands to make room for baby, this is especially true for your hips and rib cage. Hips can even get tilted forward during a vaginal birth because of excess pushing. 

Although I had a c section, I knew my body was different. Could this mean my form changed? Could this mean I needed a different running shoe?

When I woke up with knee/ankle pain I went to my local running store. They put me in a new pair of Newtons and got me on the treadmill to evaluate my form. Turns out (they said) my form is perfect… Which also means, there was no magical shoe to quick fix my problem. I was slow and just needed to keep practicing. It had been a full year since I moved my body like that and I just needed to get those fast twitch muscles moving again and strengthen my weak ankles.

Now at 5 months postpartum I am finally running more like I use to. The knee pain and ankle pain is gone – a fresh new pair of shoes helped. Also because of weight lifting, my lungs and heart are strong – the endurance is there. The endurance is there but the speed is not (and I was not a super fast runner before – I was average, not slow though.) I can keep going long and far on the trail, but my legs just can’t go any faster. So now it is time to strengthen my core and focus on speed work.

But here is the truth:

Any mama that seems to have jumped right back into it after they had a baby, is full of shit. 

The raw honest truth- it may hurt. It is going to take time to feel comfortable finding my stride. It is going to take time to rebuild, speed and endurance again.

But once I do, I’m going to be stronger, faster, better runner than I have ever been before.

And since we are being honest, I am already feeling stronger and faster.

image
Happy Running!

2015 an unforgettable year!

(I posted this to my IG acount earlier this week, but decided to share on my blog.)

image

2015 was the most beautiful, positively challenging, knowledge filled, sweetest year I have ever had.

As my body transformed from fit to pregnant I began to understand the ultimate strength of the female body.

Through my prenatal yoga practice, I learned the physical changes were out of my control, and I began to let go and trust.

I spent the year reading, writing, exploring, learning everything I could on a subject I knew absolutely nothing about – babies. In the process, I not only gained knowledge, but also a “mama” tribe.

And then… after all the preparing, waiting, planning, my sweet little Zoe entered the world in the complete opposite way as I expected, and I became a mama.

It has been busy, wild, beautiful, amazing, exhausting, challenging, fun, unpredictable… but I can’t stop smiling.

image

Cheers!

Mirror Mirror on the wall… Who is the strongest of them all…

Post Pregnancy Work Out -Phase 2 Livefit trainer.
I forgot how much I love phase 2 of the livefit trainer. This phase is the one that I normally repeat and always go back to. I really enjoy lifting heavier weights while doing more sets with lower reps. However, with that being said, do not lift heavy if you have poor form. People who have poor form have no business lifting heavy weights, that is why phase 1 of the livefit trainer is crucial. If your form is not on point repeat phase 1 and focus on perfecting your form.
Now that I am almost finished with Phase 2, I am really excited to see progress. Not necessarily with the appearance of my body, although I do see some muscle definition, but rather with how strong I am becoming. At 4 months postpartum I am finally starting to feel like the athlete I once was, before getting pregnant with Zoe. There is still a lot of work to do – Rome wasn’t built over night, but I am happy that I am finally lifting the weight I use to lift. I am hoping in the near future to start setting some new PRs in the weight room. I remember stepping in the weight room for the first time 8 weeks postpartum and flopping on my belly not even capable of doing one successful push up, now I am doing 4×10 and sometimes 4×15… Now that is progress.
Ladies stop focusing on what your body looks like and start focusing on what your body can do. Stop trying to diet and start fueling your body with clean organic healthy food choices that will help you perform and reach your ultimate goal. 
Whether I am running, lifting, doing yoga… I always focus on setting new PRs. I focus on strength. Once I flipped that switch and started focusing on setting new fitness goals, not weight loss goals, it is then that I became an athlete…
And guess what?
One day, when I looked in the mirror I saw one too.


P.S. I start phase 3 of the Livefit trainer today! Can’t wait!

December Goals, Post Pregnancy Workout Update

 
December is the last month of the year. Because of the holidays, December is always packed full. It is very easy for me to get stressed and wrapped up with all of the gift giving and Christmas decorations. But this year, I am not going to let December sneak on by. I am going to cherish this month and really reflect on 2015. I’m going to use it to crush the last of my 2015 goals – it is my last chance to really end 2015 with a boom, as one of the best years yet. 

Things to Do this December

  • Crush Gym and Running Goals
  • Organize closet, out with the old… Have a fresh clean minimal closet for the new year.
  • Stay clean on diet, cook more, meal prep, bring meals to work.
  • Continue to take Zoe on long walks, enjoy this beautiful weather while we have it – Winter will be coming.
  • Decorate for Christmas and enjoy Christmas holiday festivities with Zoe

Update on Post Pregnancy workouts

Livefit – When it comes to my workout routine I am half way through the livefit trainer. Sometimes I feel like working out is hectic because I don’t have a set time I go to the gym, like I use to. However, following the livefit trainer brings me some organization because I am able to have a set plan each time I go. I’ve been seeing a lot of progress in muscle gains and I am lifting at the weight I use to lift, before I got pregnant.  I also have some gym essencials at my house. This helps when I can’t make it to the gym but still need to squeeze a workout in. 

Running has been a little bit slower progress. I am still waiting on new shoes and I am questioning which shoes I should get. I’m definitely planning on a shoe rotation. 

However, there is a possibility that my body has changed because of pregnancy. Hips are a big issue for female runners, but even more so to those who have been pregnant. It is possible that the hips have changed or shifted. They could be tilted more forward or spread wider because of pregnancy. 

The hips can effect everything and is the reason for most running injuries in women. Really if you have knee pain or foot pain evaluate what is going on with your hips. Normally when you have pain it also means something is tight and you may have inflammation- that is why ice is a runner’s best friend. It is also a sign of muscle weakness. That is why I am spending a lot of time in the gym trying to gain strength. The stronger I am, the better my running form will be.  So at this point I have only run 3-4 miles. I am taking it slow and really focusing on running form and cadence. I am also waiting on new shoes that I ordered through my local running store. When they come in, I will have someone at the shop reevaluate my running form and fit me for shoes. That way I can be sure I am running in a shoe that is right for me, at this time in my life. 

I have seen some amazing progress, but I still have a lot of work to do. I have to keep reminding myself that my workouts were totally different while I was pregnant. 9 plus months is a long break from not running or lifting. I’m trying to be patient, stay positive, and enjoy the process.  

3 months with Zoe

Every day that goes by…

Zoe is getting bigger, stronger, and even more beautiful and more intelligent than the day before.

Week 10-11

She recognizes familiar sites and sounds.

They say at birth a baby will know her mother. This may be true, but I didn’t really recognize this until week 10-11.

When I hand Zoe off to people, she curls her lip to pout and reaches for me – she knows I’m her mama. When Erik picks her up from her babysitter’s house, her whole face lights up with excitement – she knows he’s her daddy.

Now at 3 months when we leave the room, she follows us with her eyes, and even turns her head in our direction to look for us, or wait for us to return. When she sleeps at night, in her bassinet, she turns her head to the side, to face our bed. Because of this we have been changing up her sleeping position by putting her in her bassinet the opposite way, every other night. It is important to do this because her head and face is still forming.

The other thing she is recognizing is her bottle, and the sound of her milk being stirred or shaken.

She uses her senses to explore.

As a newborn, a baby will use their sense of smell, to determine who their mother is because their sight is not yet fully developed.

But at¬†3 months¬†of age, the game has changed…

She uses her eyes too…

When I take Zoe for walks, many times she still doses off to nap. However, there are also many times she is alert looking around. She loves the fall trees, the leaves Рbright and colorful. Zoe can now see full colors. Did you know babies at 14 weeks prefers blue and red?!

She uses her hands…

Zoe loves to feel different textures. She loves all the textures on her play mat. She grabs her blankets to feel the softness. She loves her silk blanket her great Aunt made her, and even tries to eat it. She grabs on to my hair, clothing, even enjoys holding my hand.

Zoe now has discovered her own body parts. She touches her ears and always puts her hands in her mouth. She uses her hands to learn and explore.

When she was a newborn her hands were always in a fist, and I always had to wipe her hands down because they were full of lint. Now she keeps them open and has realized she has fingers. Now I wipe them down because she is always eating then.

At week 13 she really began to hold objects. I see her holding her pacifier and when I hand her her mermaid doll she holds it.

She uses her ears…

Zoe has always loved the sound of music. Early on, I would sing her Christmas songs, such as Silent Night to soothe her and help her fall asleep. At around 10 weeks I made up a cute song that uses our names, to teach her, that she is Zoe and that I am her mama. The music that plays from her swing stimulates her. She kicks her legs as if she is dancing.

When she was in my belly I used the belly buds so she could listen to music. I played for her a ton of Lindsay Stirling. Now at 3 months she is more playful, I want to play more classical and modern classical music, it is good stimulation for babies.

There are a lot of other noises that she loves. Her white noise sound machine is part of her night time routine. She loves the sound of water, and sits in the bathroom quietly while I take a shower. She also loves the sound of the hair dryer. She loves the sound of the bathroom fan. She enjoys the fabric that makes noise on her play mat while she kicks and plays. The dogs’ barking does not even phase her.

Sleeping

Everyone asks how is she sleeping…

Zoe has always been a really great sleeper. She loves her naps. It is my job as her mother, to make sure she is put down for her regular naps. I came up with a good sleep and eating schedule based on her natural sleep and eating pattern. Although we have a good schedule, we are flexible. On a rare occasion she is off schedule, she will cat nap on her own. (Cat naps are not as deep as her regular naps, but at least it is something.)

When Zoe is tired she tells me by rubbing her eyes and yawning. However, a regular routine is good for Zoe. It helps her attention and memory.

I just finished the book, “Bringing up Bebe.” It is a parenting book about how the French parent. In the book, the author claims, that the main question asked in France is, “Does your baby do her nights?”- meaning is your baby sleeping through the night. Well I am very proud to say, Yes! Zoe is sleeping through the night. I truly believe this has a lot to do with giving her a dream feed. I have found that as long as Zoe has a full belly she will sleep peacefully.

Bath time 

Zoe is loving her bath time. She kicks her legs and splashes hard. It is fun to watch her expressions. She use to scream her head off when we took her out of her tub, but now she gets wrapped up in her towel quickly, and once she is dry I give her a baby massage with baby oil. She is using the Earth Mama Angel Baby products. We love them.

Eating and drooling

Zoe is eating 4-5 ounces at each meal. She is definitely spitting up less, but drooling like crazy – she even blows bubbles. Drool is saliva that lines the intestines and neutralizes stomach acid. It contains enzymes that helps digest food. The body is preparing to take in solids. In a couple months she will be ready.

Talking

Zoe is now talking – baby talk. She spits out her pacifier so she can smile and babble. When I ask her a question she answers in baby talk. I still tell her where I’m going and what I am doing. We have conversations all the time.

This Wednesday Zoe will be 15 weeks. The last couple days she has been the best alarm clock ever. She has been laying in her bassinet happily oohing and aahhing, and squealing! She thinks it is fun! I love it. Loudest baby alarm clock ever.

Exercise

Zoe use to hate tummy time. It is crazy how in just a couple days she has turned into a pro on her tummy. It is a lot of work for a 3 month old to do her push ups. But she is now doing them with out crying instantly.

She loves her tummy time mat. It is important to get babies use to tummy time and getting them to associate this time as play time. She is playing and getting stronger.

Play time and Story time

It’s time for more toys and books. I read many books to Zoe. Her favorites are the pout pout fish and Boom Chicka Boom. We are starting to create a library for her.

We are also bringing out more toys for her to play with. She had a mermaid rattle but I think I might introduce Sophie to her soon.

Life with Zoe Annalise…

Every day with Zoe, I think… this is the best day, but then the next day comes, and she surprises me, yet again with something cuter and more fun than the day before.

She is always smiling, and when I smile at her… she smiles back.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

I fit in my Skinny Jeans!

  I have to admit this last week was a little bit exhausting. It was the first week that Zoe went to her babysitter’s house. And although, she is only going two days a week, it was a routine change for the both of us. 
My main priority is Zoe, so this week my work outs were put on the back burner. But with that being said, I’m definitely NOT worried. I’m just going to pick up my training right where I left off, with the mindset that it is going to take time to gain all my strength back. But I’m confident that with time I will get stronger, maybe even stronger than before.
Yesterday, I started week 4 of the livefit trainer when I should have been starting week 5. Anyway, I had a great leg session, however the gym was the busiest I have ever seen it. I need to figure out what time on the weekends the gym is slow, because it drives me crazy waiting and sharing equipment – I can’t stand the crowd- especially when I want to hurry home to spend time with Zoe.
Because I am set back a week in the livefit trainer, I am planning on doing a double on Monday. Today, I had an awesome back and bicep session. Monday will be chest and tricep, but I’ll work in shoulders and abs as well. Then I will end week 4 on Tuesday with a final leg session. And start phase 2. By doing a double I will be caught up. 
It takes time to transform a body. And although, I know I need to be patient I really want to complete the livefit trainer by the New Year. That means staying on track and really pushing it hard in the gym these last two months of 2015. 
I’ve had an amazing 2015- I did the coolest thing – I grew a human! The most beautiful girl baby, might I add. Using these last two months of 2015 to crush my fitness goals will just be the cherry to top off one of my best and favorite years.
As for progress, I definitely already see a difference and feel a difference too. I am lifting the weight amount I use to lift. I can’t wait to start phase 2 and take it up a notch! I am soooo ready.
Another way I have seen progress is in my clothes. I am wearing my skinny jeans today. This is the first time I am able to button them since being pregnant. It is crazy how much your hips spread to make room for a baby. I definitely have lost some inches. Having my favorite jeans fit is so exciting.  
So far I have not supplemented at all. In phase 2 I may start to supplement with protein powder and BCAAs. But as of now nothing. 
I’ve also joined the ATeam with Amber Dodzweit. She has a 7 week intense program that requires minimal equiptment. It is a program that can be done with out a gym, at home.
I need this so that way I have no excuse and on days that it will be impossible to make it to the gym I will still be able to get my workout in. Plus, sometimes I just want to be with my baby as much as I can, instead of leaving her and being at the gym for two hours. 
I also think it will be interesting to see if I can get results with minimal equiptment- I definitely like the challenge. 

Post Pregnancy Training Plan and Goals

Last Tuesday, I got cleared by my doctor to start working out again. This means I am free to lift heavy and run far. I usually have no problem pushing myself and I actually enjoy it, however, because I had a c-section I want to take things slow. My worst nightmare would be to over do it and then have a major set back with an injury.

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you probably already know, but one of my fitness idols is Jamie Eason. It was because of her, and her Livefit trainer, that I fell in love with weight lifting, and got in the best shape of my life.

She had a child two years ago, and she had a c-section as well. It took her three full months to feel good enough to even start working out again. This was really refreshing to hear coming from a fitness model/trainer. So many times you see people in the fitness industry jump right back into shape, but do they really, or are they just posting the good pictures.

Anyway, Jamie Eason has created a post pregnancy work out plan. It is available for free on bodybuilding.com. Her post pregnancy trainer focuses on the core and back muscles. The daily work outs are circuits, which builds endurance. She also has a 15 minute training day, which is great for the days you may not be able to fit in a long work out. My favorite part about the trainer is that she creates a training day  that includes your baby using a carrier or a stroller РI love this idea.  Most exercises are ones that use body weight and can be done anywhere РSo there is no excuse.

My Game Plan

My game plan is to spend the next month building back the muscle I lost, by completing the Livefit trainer again. I saw great results with the Livefit trainer, so I know it works. However, I also want to include some ideas and work outs from the post pregnancy trainer.

Because of hormones from breast-feeding, it may be difficult for me to build muscle. Plus, as long as my baby is taking in breast milk, I am not allowed to use any supplements. So for the next month, I am going to do minimum cardio, only long walks with my baby, and maybe a short run once or twice a week. My main focus is building muscle and strength back, and to much cardio can also deplete some muscle growth.

With my schedule, I should have no problem making it to the gym, however, I am also confident that I will be able to complete the work outs, outside of the gym.

I definitely want to do some yoga as well. And I’ll let you know when I am 100 % back to running again -trust me, I miss running most, and have already began to think of what races I will be doing in the future.

Mommy and Baby classes

I really love being with my baby, and enjoy her being by my side while I work out. I can’t wait to try some Mommy and Baby classes at Mind the Mat. I think it will be really fun for Zoe to be in a yoga studio with other babies. I’ll be going to my first class tomorrow.

So there you have it…

Last weeks work outs consisted of long walks on the trail with the baby, and some free weight exercises along with some walking lunges.12072767_10102786043199146_8981504843243271286_n Then on Saturday I hit the gym for the first time since having the baby. It felt so good being back. I’m really excited to share this next chapter of my fitness journey with you. I can’t wait to start seeing some serious results.¬†12074791_10102789844281746_6007220832008158331_n

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Babywearing – Wear all the babies!

Because it is International Babywearing week, now is the perfect time to share why I love babywearing,  The benefits of wearing your baby, and which wraps and ring slings I like best.

In the beginning…

I always knew I would love wearing my baby. 

11953032_10102735395397746_7407508007698197375_n-1

When I first became pregnant I started my research on babywearing. The only wrap I had heard of was the moby wrap. One of my friends had it and absolutely loved it, but then I heard it had to much fabric and didn’t work well for petite moms. (I’m only 5’1.) It was then that I realized when it comes to wraps one size does not fit all, and it really depends on both mom, baby, and lifestyle.

I found the best way to discover new brands of wraps is through social media – blogs, facebook, instagram, and pinterest. But another awesome way is through other moms at baby showers. I would go to my friends’ baby showers and see what kind of wrap they received as gifts.

And so the research began. I became pretty addicted, searching hashtags on instagram, and following brands on facebook. I found out that along with soft organic cotton, there are also woven wraps, and ring slings. In the end, I became pretty obsessed with finding the most stunning, softest, material. I considered brands such as Pavo, Tula Baby, Kindred, Maya, Sakurabloom, and Solly Baby.

Turns out after much research, I finally decided on the Solly baby wrap, and Sakurabloom ring sling.12115907_10102784977784246_7252069798700310828_n

I have yet to actually try the Sakurabloom because it just arrived in the mail today. However, ever since the birth of my daughter, I have been using the Solly baby wrap every day – and we love it.

Why we love Solly baby…

12009631_10102735404544416_6095702228718681486_n

  • The fabric is extremely soft, made of awesome patterns and lovely colors.
  • This wrap is breathable during the heat of summer, but cozy during the cooler months as well.
  • It is easy to use. Your wrap will come with a user guide explaining the different ways to wrap your baby. But their website also has videos as well.
  • USA made.
  • Comfortable and cozy for both mom and baby. Zoe and I love cuddling all day long, no matter where we are. ¬†And no matter what errands I need to do, Zoe is close to my heart.

There are so many benefits to babywearing.

  • Busy moms get things done, while bonding with baby. I am a really active person, so for me, babywearing allows me to do the things I need to do, with Zoe content and happy while I carry her.¬†
  • When mom wears her baby, baby is content and happy. Babywearing is one of the best ways to soothe a fussy baby.¬†When I wear Zoe she normally falls right asleep. However, when she is awake she is listening to my conversations, hearing my heart beat, and close enough to kiss.
  • Babywearing is a bonding experience for both mom and baby. Zoe and I have been able to bond similar to when we do skin on skin, because she is that close to me, right next to my heart.
  • Babywearing makes it easy to breast-feed.
  • Babywearing helps promote healthy babies. Baby stays in tune with mom’s breathing, walking, and the body temperature of mom helps regulate the body temperature of baby.¬†This is one of my favorite things about babywearing. I love Zoe keeping me warm.
  • Mom and baby become in tuned with each other, similar to when baby was in the womb. Mom becomes familiar with baby’s cues, movements, gestures, and facial expressions. Babywearing has helped me learn Zoe’s cues and facial expressions.¬†

Babywearing has been happening for centuries. ¬†It may seem trendy here in the USA, but it is a part of many other cultures, especially through out Africa and South America. I love wearing my baby, and Zoe loves being worn. If you are a mama who hasn’t tried babywearing yet I highly recommend you do. The mental and emotional health benefits are endless, and it is the best thing in the world, having your baby cuddling close.

In this post, I am wearing the Solly baby wrap. What is your favorite babywearing wrap?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

Six weeks with Zoe

The days go by so fast…

It seems like just yesterday we were leaving the hospital as a new family of three.

I remember the car ride home. Baby Zoe’s first time outside. I thought she would be peacefully sleeping, but nope, her eyes were open wide. At only three days old, she looked out the window,¬†taking in the light from the sun – curious and alert.

zoe new born

It is hard to believe that today Zoe is six weeks old.

It has been quite the roller coaster ride, lots of ups and downs, but nothing less than fabulous.

Here’s what we have been up to for the last six weeks.

Week 1–¬†Everyone trying their best to adjust.

We spent week 1 adjusting. We were quite lucky that Elissa was able to watch our dogs for us. That way, Erik and I didn’t have to worry about their reaction to our new baby girl. Instead we were able to spend the time focusing on our new born – cuddling and loving her. That week, Zoe didn’t sleep in her bassinet, but instead we all slept together on our couch in the living room.

Because my¬†mom had the whole week off from work, she cooked us delicious meals every night. Mrs. W also stopped by with a homemade dinner, and Ali brought us cookies. We definitely didn’t¬†stave, and never had to clean up a dirty kitchen.

Other things that happened this week…

Although, it was hot summer weather, we took our first walks together with the running stroller. While we are inside, Zoe loves her (4 moms) rockaroo chair.

Week 2Still adjusting.

11990682_10102726149691216_3527759158294376444_n

Should I yawn, cry, eat, poop… Zoe didn’t know what to do with herself. At week two, she was still adjusting to¬†this big beautiful world. In addition, we were still getting to know each other. I read tons of baby books and took all the classes. But everything I researched or decided on, the complete opposite happened. The books are great- knowledge never hurts, but when it comes to the care for my daughter, I have come to the conclusion that following my instinct is the best way.

I also have realized I do not know very many lullabies, so I have been singing Christmas carols. Zoe loves Silent Night, and Holy Night.

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe’s belly button healed, so she got promoted from sponge baths. Zoe also got to experience a bottle and pacifier for the first time. She had her newborn photo shoot, and got to meet her, Poppy, Gramps, Grams, and Aunt Jackie.¬†

Jackie came to visit.

Jackie was very helpful and great with the baby. Zoe melts into Jackie’s arm when she holds her. They spent most of the time cuddling, however, we did go out for lunch a couple times and was able to enjoy the last days of summer. Jackie also helped me learn how to use my Solly wrap. I love babywearing Zoe, and she loves being worn snug in her wrap close to her mama.

11953032_10102735395397746_7407508007698197375_n

Week 3 Erik goes back to work, but Gran and Nana came to visit.

I was so happy Erik was able to take off three weeks to be home with Zoe and I. It was important for all of us to share this special time together and adjust as a family. He was also a huge help to me, considering I was recovering from a c-section. He was awesome, treating me like royalty, waiting on Zoe and I.

Once he went back to work and Jackie left, Gran and Nana arrived. They came with tons of gifts – including hand knitted sweaters, hats, and booties, and some vintage pieces that her Gran wore when she was a child. Again we walked with the stroller, and went to lunch in Pentagon Row and Old Town. Zoe loved meeting her Gran and Nana, it was a fun visit.

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe loves splashing in her bath tub. She also loves getting a baby massage and reading books, before bed. Her neck is getting stronger, and she can now hold her head up pretty well.

Week 4 Play dates, schedules, and routine.

This week Zoe turned one month old.

12002886_10102755515571756_2525233515113930417_n

We spent time meeting other babies. (All at different times,) we met up with, Cordy, Piper, Jo Jo, Sheam, and DD. It is fun to have so many friends who have had baby girls this year.

Zoe is also more playful. We put her in her crib at Gam Gam’s house and we introduced her to her peek-a-boo bear. She loved it.

I have also realized that Zoe loves the water sound of the shower, and the hair dryer sound. It is either a form of white noise, or maybe she likes it because it is familiar to her, since I worked in the salon shampooing and blow drying clients up until 2 weeks before she was born. This is great news, because I have absolutely no problem getting ready in the morning.

This week I also¬†worked hard trying to read Zoe’s cues. By learning when she is tired or hungry, I have been able to come up with an eating schedule and sleeping routine. I now know that Zoe likes¬†a¬†nap around 10 or 11 am. She has her fussy time in the early evening. And she likes to start getting ready for bed around 8:00 pm.

12016427_10103420313326480_2109286117_n

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe is now grasping objects with her hands. She loves her car seat, long walks, her Solly wrap. She also loves music, books, bath time, and baby massage.  

Week 5–¬†Zoe hangs out with Aunt Emily.

Meets baby Jasper.

Great” Grandma and “Great” Grandpa came to visit.¬†

Emily took the week off, so we got plenty of days to hang out with her. Emily read Zoe books, we went shopping, and we went on walks.

Mariana came into town with baby Jasper. And although, Zoe was sleeping, it was fun seeing Jasper again. He grew so much since the last time I saw him.

Then “Great” Grandma and “Great” Grandpa arrived. Zoe loved cuddling in Great Grandpa’s lap while he rocked her. Great Grandma gave her tons of gifts including some Boise State attire. It was a very special visit.

12038387_10102769940813456_5792694961628845941_n

 

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe starts to bat objects with her hands. She also is soothed by sounds of our voices and is instantly soothed when I babywear her. She has been sleeping well at night. and loves waking up in the morning by stretching out her legs and arms in her bassinet. 

Week 6–¬†Tummy Time and Smiles

This has been a big week for us. Although, Zoe had some smiles here and there in week 5, this week she is very smiley. She smiles big with her whole face, especially when we talk to her, sing to her, or play with her.

She is also much more talkative. Baby talk and cooing is the cutest thing. She is hearing us and taking everything in like a sponge. It is really fun to sing to her, because she looks at me like I have the most beautiful voice in the world, which is funny because it is quite the opposite.

Up to this point, we have been doing tummy time by putting her on her tummy during baby massage, however, this week I knew it was time to introduce her to a tummy time mat. She got one as a gift at her baby shower, but because she bats things with her hands and loves to kick her legs, I thought it was important to find one that had objects hanging down. This way she can be stimulated on her back as well as her tummy.

After a long debate on which one to get at Buy Buy Baby, I went with the Super Sensory Play Mat. This mat had both black and white and bright colors. The fabric it is made out of has both patterns and textures. There are toys that hang down that rattle when she kicks or bats them. There is also a star that plays music and lights up, along with two mirrors that she looks into. Zoe absolutely loves it. Every time I put her on her mat, she moves her arms and kicks her legs with excitement.

12042625_10102774905938306_3056555017889086621_n

Another toy I introduced to her this week, are her ankle animals. She loves these as well, because they rattle when she kicks her legs.

12108915_10102777640458306_2441717050109473123_nIt is fun as the weeks go on to see how much Zoe changes and what she discovers. I love seeing her evolve into the little person she is and has yet to become.

12115859_10102779017618466_7204678488729228999_n

You are beautiful Zoe Annalise, and you complete our little family.

Love you to the moon and back. 

xo

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

How to create a Birth Plan…

motherhood

 

“We go into labor as one person, but emerge as another.” – Roni Jay

This post was written during the week before my due date, August 15th, 2015. In other words, Zoe was not born yet, and I had not experienced labor and delivery. 

Birth Plan – Is it helpful to have one or not?

I’ve known ladies who have written up their birth plans – which are pages long… I want this, but I do not want that. Then labor happens, and nothing goes as they planned it. All¬†the time and dedication they spent on planning, goes out the window, and afterwards these ladies feel disappointed when things don’t go in the direction they thought or expected.

Because of this, I was hesitant to write out a birth plan. After all, pregnancy has taught me there are things you just can’t control.

Anyway, after a lot of thought, I finally decided to write a short birth plan. And although, my plan is written up and reviewed by my doctor, I know this is just a plan that could change anytime. I will be flexible and opened minded, with the end goal of keeping my baby and myself safe.

When writing up my plan, I thought of my own profession, hair styling.

As a hair stylist my worst nightmare is to have a new client sit in my chair who tells me, “Do whatever you want.” I normally laugh, because they are lying to me. Don’t tell me this when I know there are things you do not like. Because of this idea, I decided a short birth plan would be helpful. I don’t think the nurses at the hospital would want me to be in active labor screaming, “Do whatever you want?”

On another note… As a hairstylist, it is equally hard, to have the client, who maps out exactly what they want, when they do not have the hair texture, face shape, or skin coloring, for the look they are demanding. With that being said, a very demanding mama with a well detailed long birth plan, might be expecting the impossible.

By keeping these two ideas in my mind, while writing up my birth plan, I was able to avoid being to extreme, and stay balanced.

How to create a birth plan?

There are tons of example birth plans online. The two that I used as guidelines were written by The Bump, and Earth Mama Angel Baby.

Start your birth plan with general information. This includes…

  • Name:
  • Partner’s Name:
  • Due Date:
  • Doctor’s Name and phone number:
  • Hospital
  • Pediatrician:
  • Blood Type, including if you received Rhogam and the date received.

Then move on to what you want during labor…

  • What kind of birth is your delivery planned as?
  • Who do you want present before, after, and during labor? Don’t forget to include hospital or birth center staff, doctors, nurses, students, residents, interns, doula, midwife.
  • What do you want when it comes to food or drink during labor?
  • Do you want continuous fetal monitoring? Do you want a portable monitor so you can walk around?

If you need to be induced…

  • What natural methods would you like to try for induction?
  • Are you okay with medical staff breaking your water, if it hasn’t broken yet? This may speed up or jump start labor, but it also gives you a time limit. There is only so much time that a baby can stay inside once your water is broken.
  • Are you okay with receiving Pitocin? Pitocin can speed of labor, however it also can put baby under stress.

Pain relief methods…

  • What natural methods would you like to try for pain relief?
  • Are you okay with receiving an Epidural? Epidural will take away the pain, but it is also known to slow down labor.

During Delivery…

  • Do you want options to request birthing tools, such as birthing ball?
  • Are you okay with forceps usage?
  • Are you okay with vacuum extraction?
  • Do you want to be guided on pushing, or would you rather naturally push depending on how your body feels?
  • Do you want the option to touch your baby’s head as it crowns?
  • Do you want a mirror available to see the birth?
  • Would you like a episiotomy?

If you have to have a C-Section…

  • Who do you want to remain with you in an event of c-section?
  • Do you want the surgery explained to you?
  • Do you want hands free to touch the baby?
  • Do you want skin on skin and to breastfeed as soon as possible?

Cutting of the cord…

  • Do you prefer delayed cord clamping?
  • When do you want the cord cut?
  • Who do you want to cut the cord?
  • What do you want to do with the placenta?
  • Is it okay to give routine pitocin to help the placenta deliver faster and to prevent bleeding?

Immediately after Delivery…

  • How soon after birth do you want to hold your baby?
  • Do you want us to wait to clean the baby until after skin on skin and first feeding?
  • Do you want all newborn procedures delayed until after skin on skin and first feeding?

Family members and other visitors…

  • Who will get unlimited visiting? Husband? Partner?
  • Are you okay with other visitors coming to your room? Who does this include and when?

Lactation Consultant…

  • Is it okay to have a lactation consultant come to your room?

Baby’s Medical Procedures…

  • Are you okay with immunizing your baby according to normal procedures?
  • Do you know what PKU testing is? If not have it explained?

If your baby is not well…

  • Do you want to accompany your baby to the NICU or other facility?
  • Would you like to breastfeed or provide pumped breastmilk?
  • Would you like to hold your baby whenever is possible?

End your birth plan with…

What additional things you would like for your baby? And … What you do¬†NOT want for your baby.

So there you have it… These were all of the main things I included in my Birth Plan. But again, this is just a plan, that gives the hospital staff an idea of which direction I prefer to go in. Things may change, and I will go with the flow.

What ended up happening…

Things changed and I just went with the flow… ¬†Turns out that a lot of stuff that I included in this Birth plan – the exact opposite happened. But at the end, Erik, Zoe, and I are happy and healthy.

“Even though an “ideal” birth isn’t an outcome you can control, if you are prepared, you can come close.” – Alicia Silverston from The Kind Mama

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

C-Section: Pros and Cons

 

I always wanted to push a baby out….

But you don’t always get what you want.

Instead after 36 hours of labor, trying everything to deliver Zoe vaginally, an unplanned C-Section was our last and final option.

There are plenty of things that I don’t like about c-sections.

A c-section is a major surgery. I haven’t really had surgery before so heading into the operating room made me a little nervous.

Right before my c-section, I watched the You Tube video of Ellen interviewing actress Kristen Bell about her c-section. Kristen Bell talked about how she loved the drugs and that the modern hospitals sure know how to take care of you. Although, I agree with the last part, I hated the drugs. They numb you from the nipples down. And let me tell you, it is really weird not to be able to move. The numbness started to wear off, so I was able to hold my baby right after they stitched me up. However, I was unable to walk until the day after my delivery. They put moveable compression tights on my legs to keep circulation flowing. And then the next day, the nurse helped me out of bed to walk. I was a little unstable, but she thought I did great.

Another thing about all the drugs is the fluids they have to give you. I had some swelling during the end of my pregnancy. The swelling started at 35 weeks. Well after the c-section my whole lower body was swollen. My butt, hips, legs, feet… I looked like an elephant. Anyway, the swelling also made it hard to take those first steps. Even though I was super swollen, the swelling went down in a couple days. Everything now is back to normal. I never thought I would be so happy to see veins and bones in my feet.

This really annoys me… I watched two natural child birth documentaries that were pro home birth and natural birth. These documentaries were awesome, but definitely put c-sections in a negative light.  I never thought I would have a c-section so I never read up on it at all. So all I knew about them was what I read and watched on the documentaries. And because they put them in a negative light, my main goal, was to avoid them if possible.

When you are laboring naturally, you trust your body and are only focused on your baby. However, during my c-section I had to put full trust in my doctors and medical team. Although, I only wanted to focus on meeting my baby, because I was having a surgery I never researched or planned for, I not only became concerned about my baby, but also about myself.

If laboring naturally, I wanted to see what was going on. But during my c-section they put up a screen, so you can’t see anything. Because of this, the memory of hearing my baby cry is so vivid and unforgettable.

I wanted to have delayed cord clamping done and have my husband cut the cord once it stopped pulsing. However, because during a c-section they need to work fast to close you up, delayed cord clamping is out of the question. (They can do it for a short bit, but not too the full time.)

I also wanted to have my baby in my arms immediately with all of the fluids on her. But they took her to clean her off first thing. My husband was able to be by her side and watch everything, which was pretty special for him. Mean while my head was turned trying to get a glimpse of her. I was able to see a little. I also wanted to see my husband’s look on his face when he first laid eyes on our daughter. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see his face. He was holding my hand, but was by my side, behind me. Plus everything happened so fast.

Once in the recovery room, my baby latched on and we breast-fed for about 45 minutes. But at first my body was shaking. I kept asking why, they told me it was the hormones. It was annoying, because it was hard to really enjoy that moment when I had uncontrollable shakes. But I held her the best I could. We did skin on skin and it was amazing feeling her warm skin against mine.

Everyone says it is a lot harder to recover from a c-section. This is true. Because of the incision it was hard for me at first to find a comfortable position for both of us to breast-feed. I also am not allowed to lift anything except my baby. So I’m not allowed to lift the car seat or stroller. So I have had my mom, sisters, friends, husband help me.

I went in for my 2 week check up and everything looks good. My next check up is in 4 weeks and we will discuss whether I can start working out again. I am so ready. So far my recovery has been pretty good and smooth. I am no longer on pain meds.

Now for the positive things about a c-section.

During a c-section you can‚Äôt see anything, so your ears are very important. The absolute best thing ever was hearing my baby cry. That cry is and will always be unforgettable. I also loved hearing the medical team scream out her birth weight and length. I remember thinking, ‚ÄúWow, my baby is a big baby!‚ÄĚ

Now, although, my husband wasn’t able to cut the cord, he was able to run over to our daughters side and watch the nurse weigh her and clean her up. He also was the first to hold her, and bring her to me. This was very special for him.

Another very awesome thing about having a c-section, is that because it is a major surgery, you get to stay longer in the hospital. Some people may not consider this a positive thing, but for me it was. I’m a first time mom, who needed to stay at the hospital for the full amount of time so I could learn as much as I could from the nurses. The nurses were awesome and taught me a ton. I never felt rushed and even had time to talk with two different lactation consultants. When it was finally time to be discharged, I felt really comfortable heading home with my little one.

At first, I was pretty annoyed that I had to have a c-section, but now looking back it wasn’t that bad. And regardless of whether you have a vaginal birth or a c-section, both are experiences. I experienced a c-section and maybe with my next child I’ll try for a VBAC.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that Erik, Zoe and I are happy and healthy.


Baby Zoe is 4 weeks old today!

Thank you Erik, for making me a mama! Everyday I am even more in love.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Zoe’s Birth Story

They say it is common for first babies to arrive late.
Well… August 15th came and went.
Baby girl was over due.

I never pictured her being late. I just thought she would come exactly on her due date. Why wouldn’t she?
Anyway, I had been off work for two full weeks, and everything was ready. My breast pump had arrived, my hospital bag packed, my birth plan written, took a tour of the hospital, nursery ready, car seat in the car. Now, my husband and I were just patiently waiting to meet our baby.

At 40 weeks, I was huge, feet swelling, uncomfortable. However, I still managed to go to the pool, grab lunch with friends… I even had one last dinner at Quarterdeck, a local crab house. I tried to keep moving in hopes to get the labor going.

I had an induction date scheduled for August 24th, 2015 at 9:00pm, in hopes she would be born on August 25th. But I was praying she would arrive sooner than that. The longer your baby stays inside, the bigger they grow. I also wanted to spend as much time with her as I could, considering I am heading back to work in late October.
On Monday, August 17th, my husband and I went to the doctor for a final ultrasound. They also checked my contractions, and fluid levels. Everything was good. The doctor predicted she would come in the next day or two.

That night I started to feel labor pains. I didn’t sleep well, and when morning came I started having contractions. I booked an appointment with my doctor so she could check my progress.
My doctor (Amy Porter) told me I was 4 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. My contractions were 5-7 mins apart. She informed me that I was in the early stages of labor and that depending on my comfort level, I could go to the hospital or head back home to labor. I wanted to spend as little time as possible in the hospital so I went home. As I went home, Dr. Porter called over to Labor and Delivery to update them on my status, and let Dr. Paik (the on call doctor) know to expect my arrival later that day. Porter was confident, that I wouldn’t be going to bed that night with out a baby in my arms.

Around 4:00 pm, contractions were way more intense and closer together. So my husband and I decided to head to the hospital. My mom met us there as well.

When I got to the hospital I felt like maybe I should turn home. I wasn’t screaming in pain like they do in the movies. But I also didn’t want to miss the opportunity to have an epidural if I needed one.

The nurse checked my progress and again I was only 4 centimeters. Dr. Paik came in and told me she thought it was best to labor more at home. Although I was having consistent contractions, she thought I was to calm. She told me come back when contractions are so intense that I can barely walk or talk.

At 10:30, my contractions were consistently 2 mins apart. So I headed back to the hospital. At 11:00 pm I was admitted. I was still only 4 centimeters dilated. I was a little annoyed that there wasn’t any change. I was also starting to get pretty tired. I wanted to try to go as long as I could with out drugs. Plus an epidural is known to slow down your labor.

At 1 AM, I got the epidural. I was laboring in my back. But two hours later I realized I was still feeling pain. At 3 AM, I ended up having a second epidural. Finally it worked and I was able to relax.

My husband was with me the whole time. We decided not to call any other family members. There was no point calling them in the middle of tbe night when I wasn’t having any progress.

In the morning, August 19th, Dr. Porter came in to check my progress. She was very confident that we would have a baby while it was still light outside.

However, at this point I was 5 centimeters dilated. A little progress, but not much. She decided to break my water in hopes to get things moving. A couple hours later she checked my progress and there was little change.

The next step was pitocin. I wanted to try to avoid pitocin because in some cases it can lower the baby’s heart rate, putting the baby under stress. Anyway, at this point I was willing to try whatever to get things moving. Pitocin is used to induce labor, and in most cases it makes you dilate really quickly. Not in my case.

Dr. Porter came in to check and there was no progress. She gave me more pitocin to see if that would help, but it didn’t.

It was then that Dr. Porter asked me, “How big is this baby?”

At 36 weeks, I had an ultrasound that measured all of her limbs. They predicted at that point she was 6.5 lbs. in the 58 percentile. I started to freak out because I still had 4 weeks to go. Babies grow the most in the last month. However, I also heard that those predictions are just estimates that aren’t always accurate.

Well turns out their predictions were right on the money.

The therory behind why my labor was not progressing quickly: The baby’s head puts pressure on the cervics to helps with dilation. Turns out my baby is a big baby. Although, her head was low and in the right position, my pelvic area was to narrow for her head to put pressure on the cervix.

So the next step was unplanned C-Section.

I never ever imagined that I would have a C-Section. It just never crossed my mind. I watched all of the natural child birth documentaries. I always thought I would just have a quick natural vaginal labor.

I was a little freaked out, but something had to happen… I had been laboring for over 36 hours. I asked my husband if he was okay with me having a C-Section, and he said whatever the doctor and I thought was best.

Around 3:30, I texted my mom to let her know, that I was being prepared for a C-Section.

My husband was by my side the whole time. I was freaking out and started to cry. He comforted me and I quickly pulled it together. I didn’t want the stress I was feeling make my baby stressed.

I was wheeled to the operating room. The whole medical team introduced themselves. The anesthesiologist numbed me from the nipples down. They put up a screen so I couldn’t see anything. My husband held my hand.

Finally, on August 19th, at 4:19 pm, I heard my baby cry for the very first time. I immediately felt relief, saying to myself, “Oh thank God!” I felt overwhelmed with love.


Then I saw a glimpse of my baby as the nurse went to clean her up. She was all purple, white, a little bloody. My husband left my side to see the baby and he got some great photos too. My head was turned in the direction of my baby. I could see the nurse cleaning her off. I kept trying to see my husbands facial expression. I kept trying to see my baby. Finally my husband brought our baby girl to me, it was only for a second but at least it was something.


Then we were off to the recovery room. It was there that I was given my baby. We did skin on skin and she latched on. We breast fed for probably 45 mins until we were able to be transferred to a mommy and baby room.

Everything happened so fast. But I’m glad because the quicker I could get my hands on my baby the sooner we could start bonding.

Although, a C-Section was not in our plans, there are some positive things about C-section births. ( I will write about this in my next post.)

And at the end of the day, the most important thing is that both me and my newborn are healthy and safe.

It is hard to believe two weeks has gone by.
Our baby girl, Zoe Annalise Leonard was born on August 19, 2015 at 4:19 PM. She weighed in at 8 pounds 15 ounces, 20.8 inches long. She is the sweetest, most snuggley baby ever. So cute she is always making her mommy and daddy laugh.


Happy two weeks baby Zoe!!

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

My Top Pregnancy Q & A

pregnancy q a

My Top Pregnancy Q & A

I explained to you in my previous post, that pregnancy brings on a never ending interrogation.  People ask you a ton of questions. Some of these questions can be quite annoying while others are fun. These are the most common questions I get asked, along with my personal answers.  

 

1) How are you feeling? 

Knock on wood – I don’t want to jinks myself. But as of now, I¬†am feeling good, hopefully, everything will stay that way. The only time I felt really uncomfortable, was the last 3 weeks of work. The uncomfortable feeling began around 35 weeks. It was like I flipped a switch. My feet began to swell. My belly button popped out. I couldn’t get out of bed, I had to roll over. None of the clothes I owned seemed to fit. I was on my feet all week at work, and feeling really heavy. Not very sexy at all. I’m really glad I have had the last two weeks to relax at home before the baby comes. It has made a huge difference in my swelling feet. I feel pretty rested and energized. However, I am still resting up for delivery day. It is going to be a pretty intense workout.

2) Are you having a boy or a girl?

Although, everyone guesses boy, because my baby bump goes straight out. I am not having a boy. Instead, I am having a sweet beautiful baby girl.

3) Have you come up with a name? What name have you chosen?

Names are hard to decide on, but I have had a long list for a while. There are tons of beautiful names out there, but finally my husband and I have narrowed it down to two names. We are going to decide when we meet our baby.

3) Is the baby nursery ready? What is the color scheme or nursery theme?

Yes, please ready my Nursery post, for ideas and inspiration.

4) What foods have you been craving?

I never had weird food cravings. Really the only thing I have craved this whole pregnancy has been FRUIT. At the moment, I eat watermelon, every day. I also make fresh watermelon juice.

5) Did you experience morning sickness? What pregnancy symptoms have you had?

I did not experience morning sickness. In some occasions, when I didn’t have a chance to eat, I would feel a little queasy, but never threw up.¬†However, I did experience other symptoms, such as pregnancy brain, fatigue,¬†nesting, swelling feet.

6) Did you have a maternity photo session?

Yes I did, and it was lovely. Check out the photos. If you are planning to do a maternity photo shoot check out these tips.

7) Have you been running? In what ways have you been staying active? 

No, I have not been running. I never though I would say this… but I don’t enjoy running pregnant at all. I will write a future post in more detail about why I have chosen not to run while pregnant.

However, I have stayed pretty active, and still have fitness goals. I have been doing some light weight, and body weight exercises, walking, and a little swimming. (Swimming is awesome when you have swelling feet.)  But out of everything I fell in love with prenatal yoga. I started at Journey Yoga Studio, but have been alternating every week between  Refresh Yoga Studio, and Mind the Mat Yoga Studio.

8) How much weight have your gained?

I have gained 33 pounds. ¬†At first I was really worried about the weight gain, but my doctors are not. As long as your doctors don’t see a problem, and you are staying active and eating healthy, don’t worry about it. Weight gain is out of your control. It will be interesting to see how much I loose on delivery day, and once I start working out intensely again.

9) Where are you registered?

I am registered at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon. I got pretty overwhelmed with creating a baby registry. If you feel the same read my, How to Create a Baby Registry, blog post for tips.

10) Did you have a baby shower? 

Yes, we had a bumble bee themed baby shower, in celebration of mom and pop to be(e) and Baby Leonard to be(e.)

11) Did you have a baby moon?

Yes, we did have a baby moon. At the end, of April, we escaped the cold and went down to Del Ray Beach, Florida and South Beach Miami. It was amazing. ¬†We also took another beach trip in late June, to Martha’s Vineyard.

12) When is the due date?

My due date is August 15th, 2015. 3 more days to go. Hopefully, she will not come too late.

13) Have you taken a birthing class?

Nope! I’m just going to wing it. I trust my body, and my doctors. Plus, prenatal yoga has helped me with deep hip openers, strengthening the pelvic floor, breathing techniques, and birthing positions. ¬†I am also going to use some of my marathon mental strategies, such as having a Mantra, and listening to music to help me push through.

14) What is your birthing plan? Are you going to be natural? Are you going to have an epidural?

As long as my baby and I are safe, I am going to stay natural/drug free as long as possible. But again, I don’t know how I will feel because this is my first time. I’m not opposed to an epidural. I also wrote a short birthing plan, which focuses on key points that are important to me, for after delivery.

15) Are you having a home birth or hospital birth?

Hospital birth.

16) Are you using a midwife/doula or an OB?

Nurses and OB at the hospital.

17) Are you going to breastfeed?

Breast is best for baby, so if these boobs work, then yes I plan on it. But because this is my first time, I’m just going to see what happens. Plus, every baby and mom are different – it may be easy for some and harder for others.

18) What are you doing for child care?

Still figuring it out. But, again I’m going to try an idea I have and see if it is a good fit.

19) How much time are you taking off for maternity leave?

 

About 10 weeks. I am hoping baby isn’t too late, so I have as much time with her as I can get.

20) When do you return back to work?

I plan to go back to work October 18th.

So there you have it my top pregnancy Q & A – the most common questions I have gotten while pregnant. I hope you enjoyed the answers.

To all the moms out there –¬†What pregnancy question have you been asked?¬†

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Nursery: To do, or NOT to do.

When you are pregnant, you get asked the same questions over and over. One of the repetitive questions asked is – “Do you have the baby’s nursery ready?” Everyone wants to know what color scheme and cute baby theme the nursery will be. And although, coming up with ideas, and putting the nursery together is one of the most fun things to do to prepare for your baby, it isn’t a top priority.¬†

At first the questions about the baby’s room really annoyed me. I always have a long list of more important things to accomplish. For example, finding a pediatrician, and researching delayed cord clamping, although these things are not as fun as interior design, they are much more important.

Plus, your baby doesn’t really know what they are looking at. With that being said, all of the cute nursery accessories are not really for baby, but rather to please mom.

I didn’t worry too much about the baby’s room. And, when it comes to baby stuff, I have tried to stay as minimalist as possible. At this point, I have the essentials, and feel successful with keeping things minimal. But even the essentials need to be put away somewhere.

However, as time went on… suddenly, my mind changed… I had a total change of heart.

Maybe it was the urge to nest. Maybe it was the pile of baby stuff, in the corner of my living room. ¬†Whatever it was… at 8 months pregnant, I found myself eager to start putting the baby’s room together.

In late June, when we got home from Martha’s Vineyard, I had a total freak out. I literally started to cry, sobbing, “There is shit everywhere, and the baby’s room isn’t done.”

My husband came to the rescue! I will never forget his response. He calmly said, “Babe, I got this shit.” Then he ran upstairs and painted the baby’s room and set up the crib.

Now, I’m not the type of person to half ass a job. If I’m going to do something, I give it my all. So now that¬†I have decided to prepare a nursery, I’m going all out. ¬†After that, I was able to organize things. We got a bookcase from Pottery Barn baby. We ordered a rug. Blinds went up. Things were looking good. My baby more than anyone, deserves a beautiful space in our home, to call her own.

I will reveal our baby’s nursery in a later post. But for now, I would like to share with you some baby rooms that inspired me. I used these rooms as a guide to help me create my own.

Our color scheme for our baby’s nursery is Gray walls, White furniture, and accents of Pink. ¬†Our theme is¬†elephants.¬†Elephants are special to my husband and I because we visited an elephant sanctuary when we were in Thailand. We have a special love for elephants. And we plan to frame photos of us riding the elephants we played with in Chang Mai.

1) The picture below goes with our color scheme. I love the pink window treatments, shelves, chandelier, crib, mirror, and dresser with changing pad on top. cafdd8e9466edb60d8020eddd0233c25

2) Again photo below has our color scheme. I like the mirror, the chandelier, the photo gallery, and the dresser with changing pad idea. 2a6221f6c824215cc3799b53ae34bf25

3) Photo below has our color scheme. I love the pink window treatments, with a decorative rug. I also love the chandelier. We are planning on keeping our window treatments simple because we have a pattern on our rug.

ec9dd668cd59d46e95742bf170177031

4) In the photo below, I like the chandelier, the mobile, and the pink elephant toy.31be20d080f5f87553043a83fc9d62c7

5) The photo below has our color scheme. I like the¬†chandelier, and the elephant stuffed animal. I also like the window treatments. This is another option for us, if we can’t find pink black out curtains that we like.¬†3eb175da4aaeaccb08e367f4e1a3a91d

 

6) The room below is my FAVORITE!! I absolutely love this room. The crib in this picture is the exact same one we have for our baby. I love the mirror, the crib skirt, the shelves, and the gold dot decals. I also love the vintage dresser, with changing pad on top.

009ca98875228a0b002edd22f58059737) I LOVE this sitting area – that can be used for nursing or reading. At the moment we do not have a space for a chair because we still have a full size bed and adult dresser in the room. But I absolutely love this. I did get a basket. Baskets can be used in many different ways. I also have a fuzzy pillow in gray. I hope to have a space similar to this in the near future.

3fe44e2511d68bc61127200f6ced18c28) I love all the elephants in this room. If you love elephants and need to create a gender neutral room, this room would be great inspiration for you. d04c63782f5d0220b9a1cfd8933168129) I love this big elephant toy. I also love the shag rug and the black crib, similar style to the one we got for our baby, but in black instead of white.

bf49cf9d556bad849ab2906f10ab364d

10) Below is the exact crib we have, but in black instead of white. I also love the small chandelier in this photo. I love the framed art Рwe are doing white frames and pink frames instead of black. The rug in the picture is similar to the one we have, but in blue instead of pink. 82702546eba93384e7c5555220d23571

 

11) In this last picture I am going to share with you, I love all the elephants, the shelves, and the dresser with the changing pad on top. The rug is very similar to the one we have in our baby’s room, but blue instead of pink.¬†50f32e65bb6c02cc8b858e3bf06569ce12) If you are really into books. This reading corner is a very fun idea. The way to collect a ton of children’s books is to have people bring your books instead of cards for your baby shower.

a9d75d30adb96a08f47b089a4a328a88Anyway, these were all of the photos that most inspired me on setting up the perfect nursery for my baby. I hope they help inspire you as much as they did for me. I promise to share with you in the near future some photos of my baby’s room.

but in the mean time…

I would love to hear from you… please comment below…

Do you think it is a necessity to have a baby’s nursery?

What is your favorite color scheme and theme for a baby nursery?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

Nesting: My favorite Pregnancy Symptom!

“One of the many beautiful things that happens during pregnancy is the urge to nest, or create a snug, peaceful cocoon for your new family member.” ¬†– Alicia Silverstone, The Kindmama

This couldn’t be more true.

I purge on a regular basis, constantly cleaning out, replacing the old with the new. But during this pregnancy, it was on a much deeper level. I let go of things that I had been holding on to for a while. Then my husband and I finally completed the mandatory home projects that we kept making excuses about and putting off.

When we accumulate a lot of stuff, energy stagnates.¬†Each possession carries weight, as do the dust and dirt that can settle in little nooks and crannies” -Alicia Silverstone, The Kindmama

Again true statement.

I have written about our 1945 duplex before, and if you can recall, I have revealed in the past that this 1945 duplex, although charming, is a small place. Because of the size, I have always tried to live as minimalist as possible. However, living minimalist is quite the challenge – over the years things got cluttered. Getting rid of old stuff was crucial to make room for the baby’s essentials. As I got rid of old stuff, and washed away dirt and dust, a weight was lifted. When I replaced the old with the new, the once stale energy shifted to a fresh, light, positive vibe. Even little changes can make a huge difference.

The idea to- “Hold off on large-scale changes to your home,”¬†is suggested in the book The Kindmama.

But what exactly defines a large scale project. You may consider some of the projects I completed, on the large scale size, but I stayed stress free. And completing these projects brought my¬†husband and I both happiness and comfort. So in conclusion, I recommend that you determine the stress level of the project and ask your pregnant self… once this project is completed will I feel more content.

Your home is your sanctuary. It needs to be a place that expresses your identity. It needs to be a space you can enjoy, and feel completely comfortable and relaxed in, especially when bringing a newborn home. Because of this idea, we decided to just do it all.

REPLACED THE WINDOWS

In late March, my husband and I researched different types of windows. Once we determined what would be best for our house, we scheduled for them to be replaced. This wasn’t a cheap project, but it is worth it in the long run, and will cut costs on our bills. Because of how old our house is, it was also checked for lead – thank goodness it is lead free. We don’t want a toxic chemicals like that around our new baby.

The window replacement only took one day to complete. However, our whole house was covered with white dust particles. It needed a major scrub down. And we had to open all the windows to air out the house. Note: “Air rugs and bedding outside in the sun, the original antibacterial purifier.” – The Kindmama

BLINDS

We had cheap, old, dusty blinds, that were there when we bought the house. My min pin loved to stick his nose in between the blinds and bark at neighbors while they walked by. Replacing the blinds was a must. I couldn’t have a barking dog, and crying baby. We now have beautiful white wooden blinds on the first floor, and shades in the bedrooms. The Min Pin can’t look out and bark anymore, and the windows look complete. Window treatments can make or break a room. It is a very little change, that has made a huge difference.

NEW FENCE

We replaced the old fence with a new one. This project was definitely a necessity. Our old fence was a very run down chain linked fence that actually never completely closed, (again there before we bought the house.) We have two small dogs, and because the fence never closed, we always have to supervise the dogs while they are in the yard. Now that the new fence is up, we are able to let the dogs enjoy the yard by themselves, which will help when the baby comes. Plus, the fence looks awesome! In the future we may paint it white, but for the time being we’ll see how the wood ages.

PAINTED BOTH BEDROOMS

When we moved in, we loved the kitchen/dining room wall color. But the rest of the colors in the house had to go. I painted the living room, but never got to the bedrooms. Both bedrooms were a very ugly mauve color. They were definitely in need of a fresh new coat of paint.

We painted our bedroom a Benjamin Moore color called African Violet, it is a gray lavender. This color couldn’t be more perfect. It goes great with our dark framed bed, and the amethyst knobs we have on our white dresser.

Then we painted our guest room, now baby’s room. The color is also a Benjamin Moore color, called Baltic Gray. Gray walls, white furniture, and accents of pink, makes this baby nursery elegant but sweet. Perfect for a baby girl!

BABY’S NURSERY¬†

I’m going to give you a sneak peek of the nursery, and write a detailed post a little later.

baby's room inspo

ORGANIZED BABY ESSENTIALS

After our baby shower, I went through everything, and figured out what else we needed. Then I organized everything and found a proper home for each item.

REPLACED OLD LIVING ROOM RUG

I replaced the old living room rug with a fresh new one. Besides the baby’s room, I am probably most proud of this.

Because I have dogs, I don’t invest in really expensive rugs. Plus, I like fun patterned rugs, that in time, I may get sick of. These are the reasons that I don’t feel bad about throwing out my old rug, when I get bored of it.

Although, finding the new rug was a major hunt. My old rug was three years old, but very run down. There is no way I could put my beautiful baby on it for tummy time. It had to go! Note: Below is a photo of the old rug. Take a look at how the rug influences the color in the sectional and wall color.

old rug

It took several months to find the right rug, but I finally did… WOW… ¬†it transformed the whole room! The room looks bigger! The wall color looks totally different. And it not only goes great with all of the rustic details that are through out my house, but it is clean and soft enough for the baby to enjoy tummy time on.new rug

11250149_10102666424136706_5305776185186122669_n

ART WORK

My husband is picky about art work. He wants to support local artists or some how have the art connected to us personally in some way. Well my mom had a photo from our wedding printed on a huge canvas. The canvas is amazing! It again brings out the wall color, looks great with the rug, and has a rustic vibe.

NESTING

Nesting has become my favorite pregnancy symptom because things that needed to get done, finally did. It is crazy how even the smallest changes make a huge difference. It feels so good to purge the old and replace with new. Because it is human nature to grow and evolve, so should your living space. ¬†Everything is clean and fresh, and we are ready for our baby’s arrival. Can’t wait to meet her!

This post is dedicated to my husband.

Although, I was the pregnant one in need of nesting, I want to thank my husband for all the hard work he did! He is amazing, and worked hard to make our home exactly what we desired.

Erik, Thank you, I love you to the moon and back!

Did you have the urge to nest when you were pregnant? What home projects have you accomplished lately? 

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Our Bumble Bee themed Baby Shower

I love the month of June.

And this year June was busy.

Literally, every weekend was booked.

My two favorite weekends this June were… ¬†the weekend we had our baby shower, and the weekend my husband and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary.

(Because I already wrote a short anniversary post.) Lets talk about the baby shower.

This shower was super special to me, because¬†I never had a bridal shower, so this was my very first shower ever. The shower was planned by my mom and older sister. My younger sister and cousin came down to help with preparations. These ladies went above and beyond. I couldn’t have asked for a more fabulous shower.

It is finally summer and I am having a summer baby.

I also love everything seasonal… so my sister and I came up with a bumble bee theme. This theme was totally appropriate because it celebrates both our baby to be(e) and my husband and I… as mama and papa to be(e).

11407029_10102570932123466_7736887149609009418_n

Everything was yellow.

Yellow flowers…¬†

11235386_10102570975471596_3665407603461285782_n

more flowers…

10424323_10102571046963326_6424111744360407629_nyellow bumble bees…11406636_10102570943011646_3724344667608763612_n

lemons and lemonade screaming summer, summer baby.

10153842_10102570975501536_8484160299939231117_n

We had the most delicious food ever. I’ve been pretty obsessed with watermelon so of course I had to have some.¬†10341974_10102570975546446_3965448181379601562_n

more food…

15514_10102570975516506_5713872732054154519_n

food was everywhere…

11401034_10102570975571396_1914957495128536103_nmoss and bee detail was a nice touch.

1623745_10102570975606326_6064433813379799404_n

My bff Mariana had the most amazing cake made for the shower!¬†535952_10102571049363516_856342138403581851_nBee hive cake with a baby on top…

11425252_10102571049408426_6922033392888679625_n

This cake tasted amazing too!

As I said earlier, my mom, sisters, and cousin went above and beyond.

There were cute decorations all over the place. These small details were so perfect. 

11401010_10102570932148416_5578250314903782501_n

11660_10102570932163386_9023129214374593669_n

10167931_10102570942976716_3073387642637064958_n

549343_10102570943076516_3291713415041197040_n

11402687_10102571047437376_693106086892930831_n

There were two shrines.

A grandma one…1795658_10102570969254056_5629331531719633638_n

and a shrine in honor of my husband and I and our growing family.

11407029_10102570943046576_4456407192958739110_nOne of my favorite things about this shower was that we had both men and woman guests. All girl showers are fun, but not my style. It was important to me to include my husband. So this shower, definitely had more of a summer party vibe. It was great getting everyone together.

My husband and I and the baby to be! 

11401063_10102571072122906_757324409866633240_n

Some of the boys…
11402722_10102571074837466_3359765712500071828_nBFFs Rachel and I…¬†

1480710_10102571064972236_5689474832239360122_n

BFF Mariana and I with her baby Jasper…11393035_10102571064987206_3182942543286090071_n

Me and baby Jasper. One of the cutest baby boys I know. He even wore shorts with bumble bees on them for the occasion. 

10986821_10102571054468286_6049763562757216218_n

Lindsay and I, at the time, both pregnant with baby girls. Her baby Piper was born last month. 

11351165_10102571068390386_3620987603205127943_n-1All of us Dorsey girls…

11026238_10102571081304506_1230775129827237749_n

Another thing that I loved about this shower was that we made it an open house. It started at 4:00, but because it was an open house our guests could come and go as they pleased. This also meant that I didn’t rush through opening baby gifts. Instead I opened them either when the individual was leaving or later on my own time, when I could really take my time enjoying each present as I opened. (Note: If you have the time to hang out at your shower, I highly recommend an open house. That way you can spend the time, but your guest can come and go as the please.)

Everyone showered us with the best gifts. We are so lucky!

These are just a few I got pictures of…

11210501_10102570975486566_6689257381213892643_n

My sisters, the aunts to be, got us this…¬†

11148406_10102571047477296_6265009010668054714_nThe Small’s got Erik a present that he can use with the baby.

11231029_10102571072142866_747886486842760016_n

11401179_10102571072666816_853280056643332771_n

We got some amazing handmade stuff…

including a quilt from Erik’s grandma, and a blanket from my Aunt... (blanket is in the photo.)

11248806_10102571081359396_1377958907931538776_nA beautiful knitted pair of socks and hat, made by Erik’s mom, grandma to be.¬†

11401453_10102571088185716_4543532180058885348_n

We didn’t want the¬†shower to end, so we let it go on pretty late. It was really fun to hang out, later that night on my mom’s back deck.¬†10537020_10102571088594896_177979312647970216_n-1I am so lucky I was able to have such a beautiful shower. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who helped plan and prep this shower – especially, my mom, Sue Small, my sisters, my cousin Colleen, and my BFF Mariana. I also want to thank everyone who came to celebrate with us – you showered us with the most precious baby gifts and it was fun seeing everyone. And to those who couldn’t make it, I am also very thankful, you went out of your way to send baby Leonard beautiful, thoughtful baby gifts – Thank you so much.

thanks bee(Thank you cards made by Sue Small.)

It is hard to believe that our bumble bee themed baby shower was almost two months ago. Now that it is August, it is baby Leonard’s birthday month. Erik and I are beyond excited to meet our baby girl in 2 weeks. As we wait for her arrival, I am spending the rest of this time reading baby books,¬†relaxing and enjoying the bump.

What is your favorite baby shower theme? What is your favorite baby gift to give?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maternity Leave

Leaving work yesterday was bitter sweet, super sweet.

Bitter because…

Yesterday was my last day at the salon until my return in late October.

There hasn’t been a time when I haven’t worked, so it is weird to think I don’t have work tomorrow.

In the past, if I took 2 or 3 weeks off it was because I was (busy) traveling.

Which makes me question… do I even know how to just chill, rest, relax?

Sweet because…

My body needs rest.

Through out this pregnancy, I’ve been pretty comfortable, feeling strong and well, but around 3 weeks ago (35 weeks pregnant) things started to change, and my feet started to swell. My body was telling me… slow down and rest.

A good friend of mine, explained that the last couple weeks are the worst. They are bad, because it is God’s way of getting us over the fear of labor. If there were no bad pregnancy weeks, woman would want to stay pregnant forever.

As a hair stylist, I don’t sit down. This last week was very tiring for me, squeezing in all of my favorite clients, and being on my feet all day.

Super Sweet because…

Today is my first day of Maternity leave.

enjoy

My baby is due to arrive in 2 weeks. I can’t wait to meet her, see what she looks like, and give her a name.

People always ask, “Are you ready?” well… are you really ever ready? I am as ready as I can be. And my body is definitely ready.

 

Mostly, everything is done…

So these next two weeks will be filled with…

Resting.

Relaxing at the pool.

Reading baby books.

Preparing some meals and freezing them.

I need to be as rested as possible for delivery day.

It is going to be the most intense work out ever. 

super woman preg

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

My favorite Maternity clothing brand: Part 2- STORQ

To most woman, Fashion is important, and even more so for a mama to be.

For us, pregnant ladies, we want to have a stylish bump. However, it becomes difficult to find clothing, when every day our bodies change, growing bigger and bigger.

Earlier this week, I introduced you to one of my favorite maternity clothing brands, Ingrid & Isabel. Today, it is all about my other favorite – STORQ!

STORQ is all about the basics.

They only have a couple main pieces, which include Рa skirt, leggings, dress, and tank top. But that is pretty much all you need. On their website, they provide videos showing different ways you can use these four pieces by pairing them with accessories you may already have. All of the products come in only two options, black and white, however this summer the dress came in a couple different colors. Storq

They have bundles, which is a more affordable way to get a couple items, all at once. These bundles also make a great gift, if you have a friend or family member who is newly pregnant.

It has always been a challenge for me, to find clothes that are both stylish and comfortable. Well STORQ does both. This is really important when you are pregnant, because unfortunately pregnancy is not always comfortable.

When it comes to clothing, I first received the white tank top as a gift. I loved it so much that I then purchased both the black tank top and the black leggings. I have been living in these three pieces, pairing them with a denim vest or boots. The leggings are the softest pants I own.

They also have some beauty products.

I fell in love with the lipstick and Belly products.

The lipstick is an organic, bright red/orange color, called Wild Child. It feels good on your lips and brightens up your whole face. Storq lip

When it comes to the belly products, I have both the belly bombe and belly oil. During the winter I made my own body butter, but I like to switch things up, and once I got my hands on this belly combo, I fell in love. It is important to take care of your belly, to avoid stretch marks. So far I haven’t had one stretch mark. The belly balm and belly oil are both soothing and hydrating.¬†Storq belly

Now that my baby is coming in 2 weeks, I am on the hunt for the best nursing bras. Well guess what? STORQ just came out with intimates. Because none of STORQ’s products have ever disappointed me, I went for the bundle. These pieces arrived in a quick 2 days. Again, the fabric they use is so extremely soft.

Storq intimatesThere is one more item, that I have purchased, but because of popularity, I am still waiting for it to arrive. I am waiting for is the Carryall bag, aka baby bag.

Storq carryallI wasn’t going to get a baby bag, I was just going to use my lululemon bag, but when STORQ came out with this bag a month ago, I had to have it. I can’t wait for it to arrive in early August.

STORQ has the softest, most comfortable, basic maternity clothing. If you want a stylish bump, STORQ is the way to go.

Have you tried STORQ? What is your favorite STORQ item?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

My favorite Maternity clothing brands: Part 1- Ingrid & Isabel

Note: I am breaking this post into two parts. This post Part 1, will focus on my favorite maternity pieces from Ingrid & Isabel. Tomorrow, I will post Part 2 which will focus on my favorite maternity pieces from STORQ.

e571fb5294acd30c537578b18b1a7f34

Fashion…

One of my favorite things, but also one of the things I find hardest to deal with during pregnancy.

I have always been a very petite, athletic, woman, who never had to worry much about fitting into clothes. I could wear whatever I wanted, whatever I thought was fashionable, with out worrying if the clothing was flattering. (Bring on the crop tops.)

But now as a pregnant woman, every day, I wake up bigger.¬†Because of my constant changing body, a dress that fit just last week, may not fit today.35529c5dd9a53feca99930f8959eebe3In the early stages of pregnancy, I would always ask myself, “Does this outfit make me look fat, or pregnant?” Now in the later stages, there is no mistaking, doubting, or questioning it… I am pregnant, and this is my baby bump, not a food baby.

So what have I been wearing?

Honestly, I have avoided buying to much maternity clothing because it is expensive, and pregnancy is only for a short time. I have been wearing tons of Free People, my favorite.  Most of the clothing from Free People is loose, flowy, and bohemian.  Even for my maternity photo shoot I wore nothing maternity. The majority of my outfits were from Free People.

I also feel pretty lucky, being my biggest during the summer. It is much easier to wear a maxi dress, then to try to zip up a winter coat over a huge baby bump. Plus winter clothing is always more expensive then summer clothes. Also around 35 weeks, my feet started to swell, and there is no way I can squeeze into winter boots, instead I am barefoot most of the time, but when I wear shoes they are all open… flip flops and birkenstocks.

When it comes to maternity fashion, I will admit, maternity clothes have come a long way since our moms were pregnant, but today something¬†is still¬†missing or lacking. I find myself on a constant search for fashionable maternity clothing that isn’t difficult to wear.

Finally, during this epic search for the perfect maternity clothes, I found two brands that I love, Ingrid & Isabel and STORQ. I have invested in some of their core pieces. This post is part 1 of 2 and will focus on Ingrid & Isabel.

Ingrid & Isabel

I absolutely love the maternity clothing brand Ingrid & Isabel.

1) The first thing I purchased from them was the bellaband in white.home_hero_bellabandThe bellaband allows you to wear any of your regular pants, shorts, or any pieces of clothing that you no longer can zip. This small piece of clothing saved me from having to invest in maternity jeans. What do you do? Simple, leave your pants unzipped and slide the bellaband over the unzipped area. No one will ever know your pants are unzipped, and you can fold the bellaband down (still hiding your zipper), or wear it high above your bump for extra support.

2) Another item by Ingrid & Isabel, that I pretty much live in, is the Active Capri Pant with Crossover Panel in jet black. 1257_00016_2_4I am an athlete, who has a closet full of lululemon. Although, I still wear some of my lululemon comfortably, most of it is too tight. Along with the bellaband, these pants were one of the maternity items I purchased early on (around 3 months.) Now, that I am 9 months pregnant they still fit, and I am still wearing them all the time. They are not only great for when I am active, (wearing them to prenatal yoga), but they are great to just wear whenever. Again, the cross over panel is key, because you can fold it down, or wear it high above your bump for extra support. They also have a long pant option, I went for the capri, because during the winter I wore boots with them, and now during the summer time I am able to wear them as capri with out getting overly hot.

3) This ruffle bikini bottom has saved me at the pool and beach.¬†1131_01_1_4Most of my bikinis are brazilian cut, but the brazilian bikini was NOT going to cut it during pregnancy. Now, I have too many bumps (boobs, booty, baby bump) and if I am going to let the baby bump hang out, all of the other bumps need full coverage. This ruffle bottom gave me the coverage I needed, and it is still cute and flirty. ¬†There I am below wearing the ruffle bottom on the beach, when I was only 22 weeks pregnant. Now that I am 37 weeks pregnant, these bottoms still fit and give me the coverage I need.¬†bump selfie 24) My latest purchase was the Seamless Drop Cup Nursing Bras in black, picture shows white option. 1270_00_1_4Now that I am in the last stages of my pregnancy, the search for maternity clothes has ended, and the search for nursing clothes, including nursing bras and tanks, has started. One thing that is important when purchasing nursing bras is to have a couple different kinds. It is very important to have al least one that does not have underwire. So far this bra is very comfortable. I’ll do a more detailed post on it once I use it when baby arrives. ¬†

So there you have it…

If you are looking for maternity clothes, you will not be disappointed with these items from Ingrid & Isabel.

Have you tried anything from Ingrid & Isabel? What are your favorite Maternity brands?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

All images (except the one of myself) on this page are from the Ingrid & Isabel website.

Tips for Perfecting your Maternity Photo Shoot

Last monday, I published a blog post on my Maternity photo shoot. Thank you so much for all the kind words regarding the beauty of the photos. I’m glad all of you enjoyed them. Because I highly recommend all mothers to be, to have a maternity photo session of their very own, I thought I would share with you a couple tips.

1.¬†Research your photographer. (I am not a photographer, but have worked closely with some. This is what I know.) Although, most photographers use digital, I have heard of some in the DC area who specialize in film. Some photographers may use a flash, while others use natural light. This is important because it will effect the time of day you will do your photo shoot.¬†While most may¬†edit their photos, there are still some photographers who do not. Most photographers have a specialty. Some may be fashion photographers, who shoot mainly in a studio or on set, while others may actually specialize in maternity and birthing photography. Whatever it may be, prioritize what is important to you in a photographer. ¬†At the end of the day, all photographers are artists, who have a unique artistic style. The best way to discover their unique artistic style is by simply examining their portfolio. So look at their website and social media accounts such as instagram… Do you like what you see? Do you like their work? Also on their social media pages you may have the opportunity to read comments and reviews. ¬†If you do not know a photographer, get recommendations from friends. I highly suggest meeting up with your photographer prior to the shoot. That way you two can get to know each other. ¬†This also gives you an opportunity to seek professional advice, ask any questions, and talk about ideas you may have. The closer you know your photographer, the more comfortable your will be.¬†In my eyes, the most important thing is to find a photographer, you feel very comfortable around. Being pregnant can be uncomfortable at times, but you do not want to look uncomfortable in you maternity photos. I was lucky enough to work with Raiza, from Raiza Vega Photography. I not only fell in love with her portfolio on her website, but she is also a good friend. Because of this, I felt totally comfortable during my photo shoot, and it shows in the photos.

2. Determine what vibe you want your photos to have? This was one of the first questions my photographer asked me. 

Below are ideas of some of my favorite vibes. 

Do you want a fashion editorial vibe?

The photos below of Liv Tyler and Gisele Bundchen are examples of maternity photos that have a fashion vibe. These photos were both taken inside and have simple green backgrounds.

Do you want a nature vibe?

The photos below are examples of a nature vibe. All of these photos were taken outside, using natural light. A nature vibe, can also have a bohemian earthy feel. Dresses that flow, flower crowns, and crop tops are all great prop accessories you can wear during your shoot. The background will be the nature found at the location you choose. The timing of your shoot will depend on what kind of sunlight your photographer feels is best to work with.

D0 you want an urban vibe?

Below is an example of an urban vibe photo. While capturing an urban vibe, most photos will be taken outside, with the busy city in the background. Another option is to capture, urban details, such as cobble stone roads or graffiti art. In my photo shoot, we definitely took advantage of the cobble stone road in Old Town.

e83e2a65bde620a2cc42de2cf83b83fe

Do you want a sexy vibe?

Kourtney Kardashian defines sexy. Below are examples of her sexy maternity photo shoot. Because of the nudity all of these photos were taken inside, with a simple background, most likely done by a fashion photographer.

Tips for choosing a vibe.

Keep in mind, that the vibe you choose for your photos, will influence the clothing you will wear, and the location you will choose. So once you and your photographer determine the vibe of your photo shoot, you can choose clothing, location, and time. For my maternity photo shoot, a location that could capture both a nature vibe and urban vibe was important to me. I chose bohemian style clothing. I wore a flower crown in some photos and a hat in others.

3. Determine what your wardrobe will be, and decide on time and location?

I touched on wardrobe, time and location above. However, I have some additional clothing tips. Keep in mind you don’t have to wear only one outfit. Choose a couple different options, and make sure your location has a bathroom or area you can make a wardrobe change. Decide on whether you will expose your baby bump in some photos. Crop tops and robes with a front opening are great options, to expose your bump. Whatever clothing you choose, make sure you are comfortable and feel beautiful. Your clothing does not have to be maternity. I didn’t wear any maternity clothing in my shoot.

4. Decide whether you want to include anyone else in your photos. 

I chose to have my photos of just me and my bump, celebrating motherhood. However, including your significant other or even your other child/children can be a really beautiful touch. Below are some examples.

cb4de4ad5cc161477e2752ba60a8cc95

mom and child 2

5. Determine the best time during your pregnancy to have your photo taken.

Every woman’s body is unique. Every pregnancy is different. Some women show right away, while others don’t have an established baby bump until later in their pregnancy. Because I am petite I began to show right away. ¬†I had my maternity photo shoot when I was 29 weeks pregnant, in other words, 7 months. This way I had an established baby bump, but didn’t feel uncomfortably huge. Remember, you want to celebrate your bump, but you also want to feel comfortable.

6. What props will you use?

Above I mentioned wardrobe “prop” accessories, such as, a hat, flower crown, or crop top. These prop accessories really help enhance or define the vibe you choose for your photo shoot. However, there is also another type of prop you may want to include in some of your photos. These props will represent your baby. It could be a picture of your ultrasound. It could be a pair of baby booties or shoes, or maybe even a full outfit. But bring a couple cute baby items, nothing is sweeter.

7. Find inspiration and examples.

Your photographer will use her artistic eye, and make your photos fabulous. However, sometimes it is helpful to have some inspiration and example ideas to show your photographer. It is always helpful to show both, ideas you love, and some you hate. But ultimately, your photographer will use her professional judgement to determine what will work for you and what will not depending on, location, vibe, clothing, lighting, etc. All of the examples on this post I found on instagram and pinterest. I highly recommend searching both instagram and pinterest to find inspiration. For more inspiration, check out your photographer’s website, or find maternity blog posts. And don’t forget to take a look at my maternity blog post for ideas.

I hope that helps. Now get out there and celebrate your baby bump!

Have you done a maternity photo shoot? How did it go?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily