Reasons to Love Your Postpartum Body

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I really haven’t posted anything on the blog for a long time, but, what can I say? Life is busy!

I’ve also been trying to sketch out (in my mind, anyway) what I want for this blog in general: what it should look like, what direction it should take, and/or what’s the ultimate message of this blog?

Finally, I think I have a concrete idea of what I’ve been trying to say.

This blog is for women – especially postpartum mothers.

It is a place of encouragement and support, no matter where you are in your health journey or how you choose to keep your body happy and healthy.

I started this blog because when I was at my lowest points in my last two postpartum journeys, I wish I could have connected with someone who understood what I was going through.

Social media is very often criticized for mostly being vapid and shallow, but more and more it is a place for real people to connect and inspire each other. I had never seen or met a female powerlifter in “real” life; if it hadn’t been for social media, I never would have thought to start training with “heavy” weights, ever. Period.

So this is where I want to be. I want to be there for the moms who are struggling to love and accept themselves after the baby (or babies!).W I want to be there to say, “Hey Girl, it’s ok – you’re awesome and beautiful RIGHT NOW.” (Ryan Gosling, BE GONE! Shoo! Go away!) “YOU are strong NOW and you can only get STRONGER from here.”

The more I hang out on social media, the more I see that my personal history of struggling with body image and self-confidence isn’t just common, it’s rampant among girls and women all across the board. But there’s also this beautiful movement towards real appreciation and love for what women (and their bodies) can do, and I don’t just want to be a part of this movement, I NEED to be a part in this. For myself, for my daughter, for my sisters, for my family; my friends, and any woman who comes my way!

Ok! With all that said and done, here’s my 12-month postpartum update and why I love my postpartum body:

I started at 185lbs post-delivery last year. I am now sitting at 160lbs.

I am benching 95lbs (I honestly don’t train bench very much currently, but I’m working on it!)

I currently squat and deadline 200lbs.

I also just started some lap-swimming a couple days ago, and I can’t believe I forgot how much I love the water! (Full disclosure: I was out of breath and half-dead after one lap, but let’s focus on the positive, shall we? Moving on…)

I love that with this third pregnancy, I was in a much better place physically and mentally post-delivery because powerlifting taught me to not worry about how much you can do at the beginning, but to accept where you are and work with what you have.

I love that I know that when I set my mind to do something, the little, do-able, everyday actions are what count toward my goals.

In a world where everything is air-brushed and perfectly edited, I love that this is what a woman’s body can look like. It can be stretchy. It can be wrinkly. And that’s ok! I say can because I know everyone’s body is different, and no two will ever be the same. HURRAY! LET’S CELEBRATE THAT!

I love that I can hold my babies and not get too tired. After my first was born, I couldn’t even hold her for five minutes without feeling sore and like my arm was falling off. Not anymore! And I know this sounds silly, but I love that I can reassure my hyper-active postpartum brain that if something bad happens, I can pick up all three of them and run. I know, I know – a little crazy, but whatever, that’s my brain for you!

Most of all (and most cliché ), I love that this body harbored, nourished and effectively evicted three crazy little munchkins I am beyond blessed to call my children. Ok, yes – I know, SO MUCH CHEESINESS. You want cheese??? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE CHEESE!

Just a PSA, but this blog will get a little mushy and sappy at times. You have been warned.

Besides talking cheese, let’s get down to business: Why and how do you love YOUR postpartum body and what helped you to love and appreciate it?

Thank you so much for reading and see you next time!

Maria

First Time Fishing

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One of my favorite things about living in New Mexico is the fact that, despite being known as mostly desert, it is inconspicuously and unexpectedly full of beautiful forests and lakes…

There’s a fish hatchery nearby that allows kids-only fishing, and we’ve been wanting to go for a while; so today we decided to get out there and rough it.

Here’s She-Bear Grylls at the stake-out:

Joined by Little Bear.

I’ve never gone line-fishing in my life – I won’t say how many times I smacked myself in the face attempting to cast the line, but I felt just about as graceful as a bull in a china shop. So things were going great….

After a while, the kids were getting cranky and quickly losing their enthusiasm. But then it happened…

SHE REALLY GOT ONE. Totally out of the blue, when no one was looking at the lines anymore, a fish actually decided to go for the bait. She named it “Floppy.” She wanted to nothing to do with him when it came down to actually touching him (her? who knows?) and handling him, but Little Bear was more willing to get involved.

After that, we didn’t catch anymore. Bummer, I know – apparently catching one fish doesn’t make you pro-staus – but we’re hopeful the next time we (meaning I ) won’t be so noobish and we’ll get enough to make more than a nibble for dinner.

Have you ever gone fishing? We were fishing rainbow trout. Any advice on the best bait and deboning method is greatly appreciated!

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Maria

How to Survive on Eggs for a WEEK

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Well, we did it. We lived on mostly eggs for a week, and we didn’t die.

The first couple days weren’t so bad, but by the end I definitely couldn’t wait for the week to be over. I still enjoy eggs for breakfast, but eating them for every meal was a challenge.

That being said, if there ever comes a day in your life when all you have is eggs in your refrigerator, don’t worry, I GOT YOUR BACK. Here are all my favorite egg recipes I gathered together for the week:


And here are some examples of what we ate in the morning:

(Plain Scrambled)

(Fried)

(My egg bake!)

For breakfast, I stuck with the more traditional, basic egg dishes (hard-boiled, soft-boiled, poached, fried) so I found these recipes on the list to be pretty handy for lunch and dinner. I really enjoyed trying new egg recipes, and I hope maybe you’ll find some of these to be helpful in a pinch!

Do you have a favorite, go-to recipe for eggs? Let me know!

And if you’ve found my little recipe list helpful, I’m including it here as a little .pdf file you can download and print!

Egg recipes

Thanks for reading!

Maria

3 Best Ways to Love your Gut

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Have you ever heard of the Human Microbiome?

AKA a bazillion organisms living on and inside your body that are completely separate than you, and outnumber your human cells 3-1??

If you haven’t yet, check out THIS LINK

And THISone of my favorite articles on this subject.

AND THIS! – for the chocolate lovers.

The human whaaa??? Yep, I know. Crazy stuff! But, it’s REAL science, and it blows my mind! It’s amazing! It’s awesome! IT’S SO AWESOME NEED TO KNOW THIS STUFF!

In recent years, there’s been a ton of amazing research studying the bacteria in our bodies, and it’s slowly been trickling down into the mainstream media. You’ve probably already heard about it a little from various yogurt commercials. If you follow the Paleo diet in any way, shape, or form, you probably already got the basics: the majority of bacteria in our bodies are GREAT things to have because they regulate and fortify our immune system, specifically communicating with and sustaining our white blood cells. Craaaaaaazy!

I love it. I could honestly talk about this allllll day long and not get tired. Which is why I have no friends….

Anyway!

Here are the best three ways you can take care of your beautiful gut bacteria:

  • EAT YOUR VEGETABLES. They’re not for you, they’re for your gut bacteria! The fiber in vegetables is part of the food they need to keep them happy and healthy.
  • CONSUME PROBIOTIC FOODS. We hear a lot about probiotics these days, and for good reason! Foods like kimchi and saurkraut are wonderful things to add to your plate (and pretty much any pickled vegetable!), along with yogurt and keifer that contain live cultures; and drinks like kombucha can be a delicious addition as well! Just watch out for the brands that add a lot of sugar to their kombucha – they add it because their batches are weakly brewed and have no flavor. Plus, you can drink good ol’ apple cider vinegar and water.
  • TAKE YOUR PREBIOTICS! Probiotics contain the bacteria themselves, PREbiotics are the bacteria food, that are commonly found in a form of starch called resistant starch. Resistant starch is not digested or absorbed by our bodies, but is a favorite food for your happy little gut bugs! White rice and white potatoes that have been cooked and fully cooled are full of it! More on that HERE.

There’s so much more information about this amazing subject,and I know this blog post doesn’t go into enough depth or do it justice, but I hope it can serve as a springboard for you to go and learn more!

Thanks for reading!

Maria

Mega Meltdown Mayhem

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Chaos… Destruction…Armageddon…

Your hands are shaking, your heart is pounding, and your eyes are wild as you frantically search for a place to hide; a helping hand – anything to escape this hellish nightmare of death that you’ve suddenly found yourself in…

A thrilling novel?? A horror movie??

Nah, you’re in the grocery store, doing what all loving parents do: buying food for your sweet little Angel Munchkins.

The birds were singing, the flowers were blooming…Where did it all go wrong??

Well, actually, it was me. It’s all my fault. I broke the Golden Parenting Rule, which is,

Thou shalt not present thy children to the public square without nap or food.

I knew better, of course, but we were already out of the house, and going back would mean unpacking, and then repacking, the circus that is my life with children all over again.

And so, I took the risk… everything was going just fine and dandy until we passed the apples…

And it just had to be the apples that were $4.99/lb, too. So when Batman junior (child number 2) asked me for some, ever so sweetly, I said, “No, Honey, not those apples.”

Well, that did it: The screaming -the yelling – the agonized, blood-curdling shrieks. “I WANT APPLES!!!!”

How these sounds can emit from such a tiny body, God only knows. But we still had shopping to do, so we pressed on throughout the store.

One of the workers even pointed out that they had a basket of free fruit for kids, but the resounding “I WANT APPLES, I WANT AAAAPPLES!!” drowned him out and blew him away like dust in the wind….

You know it’s bad when all the employees basically sound the alarm and form a SWAT team to get you out and on your merry way ASAP.

AND I DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING IN MY CART YET.

Despite all this, I do have to say that every employee I encountered (who wasn’t hiding from the crap storm) was very kind and understanding. I am so grateful- It doesn’t always happen that way.

But when the gracious cashier bravely asked if I needed help out to the car, the bag boy shot us both a look of petrified terror and disgust- so I figured we’d done enough damage…

In the end, we made it out alive, all in one piece, and I even had some sanity and self-respect left.

How about you, fellow parents? Do you have any tips or tactics for shopping with kids and it all goes south?

Thanks for reading, and best of luck in all your public shopping endeavors!

Maria

Top 5 Newborn/Baby Essentials

baby, health, life, motherhood, tips and tricks

Taking care of babies can be rough. If you’re a new mom, you’re quickly finding out how exhausting it can be. If you’re blessed with more than child, I salute you: you know the drill. What is this thing called sleep, I ask you??

My baby is nine months old now, and after having three babies, I do believe have experienced enough (read: a crap ton of crap) to learn what actually works for me so far, and what really doesn’t.

It goes without saying that every mom is unique and has different needs, but here’s my top 5 favorite things I really learned to love – and actually use – this time around:

1) A Boppy nursing pillow. Not surprising, but for me it changed my life. With my first two babies, I never had one, and I had a lot of trouble with getting them to latch properly. I was always hunching over even though I knew it was bad, and the bad latch that resulted was just miserable. I think the Boppy pillow has the best amount of filling, therefore the best height, and it doesn’t have an annoying strap like other pillow brands do. If you’re a nursing mom or a bottle-feeding mom, do yourself a favor and get one, YESTERDAY! I got mine from Amazon, and they have a lot of cute prints to choose from.


2) This baby rocker/daybed. I can’t recommend this rocker enough. My son has grown out of it now (meaning, he crawls right out of it I’m 1.2 seconds), but from the time he was born to age six months, it served as the perfect place to put him while I did work around the house or took care of his brother and sister. Five stars. Two thumbs up. Gold medal. You get the idea…

  • 3) These baby onsies. I’ve found them at Target and Amazon, and they’re extremely handy. They’re cheap and cheerful, and they’re perfect for layering for winter or alone during the summer.
  • 4) These baby swaddle pods. Though I do like the popular, more traditional-style muslin swaddle blankets, I think they’re too complicated for those bleary-eyed midnight diaper changes. I love how these zip both ways so their arms are still bundled up while you do your diaper duty. Or should I say DOODY?!? Yes, I did just do that…
  • 5) A nursing cover. If you’re breastfeeding, I think it’s very helpful for nursing in public. I know there are awesome, brave mom’s out there who feed their babies openly…I’m not one of them. I like to keep it between me and the baby. Not all nursing covers are created equal though, and I really appreciate that this one has a little cord that goes around your waist so the baby can’t just lift the cover up and give everyone a show!

    And now for number 6. Yes, that’s right, you get a bonus favorite!

    It’s not too fancy, it’s just plain old coconut oil. My favorite is the Trader Joe’s brand. Whether it’s diaper rash or dry skin, I use it like I use Frank’s Red Hot sauce- I put that s*** on everything!

    A lot of baby items can be gimmicky or trendy, but these items are my tried and true staples for surviving motherhood!

    If you’re a mom, what’s your go-to item for getting through the day? Do you have a special favorite thing for yourself or baby? Let me know! I love to learn what helps other moms – it helps me, too!

    Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. See you next time!

    Note: all product images and credit are from Pinterest.

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    Maria

        Clean Cleaning Spray Review

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        Disclaimer: this post is NOT sponsored in any way. This is an honest review of products I bought myself.

        The bathroom can be a scary place at times. If you’re like me, just looking at that dirty sink and toilet can send shivers down your spine. Don’t even get me started on the hair that accumulates… And it’s my own hair! I gross my own self out.

        I try to keep it fairly decent throughout the week, but I’m definitely not perfect. The postpartum hairloss isn’t doing me any favors either. I gotta keep on top of it to keep myself from gagging every time I go in there. Yes, hair everywhere is very, very disgusting. Did I mention that it grosses me out??? It’s gross, I tell you, GROSS!

        Anyway! Besides being particularly sensitive to the sight of my own mangy mane hanging around, I really can’t stand the smell of the conventional cleaning sprays. Ever since I was pregnant with baby #1, it bugged me. It gives me a headache; I feel nauseated. My husband can attest to my sensitive, whiny self complaning about it when he goes around the house spraying everything in sight.

        Since it makes me feel so crappy, it’s motivated me to seek out alternatives. However, most of the alternative brands can be a bit pricey, especially if you’re on a budget. My solution is to actively seek out the clearance section of my favorite stores, and I think I’ve been pretty successful! The Bargain Bin gods have been good to me recently, and I decided it’s time to do an ultimate show-down, battle-Royale comparison of my favorite cleaning finds.

        First up, the Honest Company multisurface cleaner. I like it very, very much. This has been my go-to spray. It smells just lovely, and the bottle is so pretty. Can’t go wrong there. I actually got this one at full price from Target, at $5.99 because I’m a sucker for it. But it lasts me a couple months, so I feel totally justified. Ha.

        Next, I’ve got the Method AllPurpose cleaning spray. I got this one two months ago, also from Target. Or as I like to say, Tar-ZSAY. Because France and French stuff. And it was on super-duper clearance for $2.50. The smell is ok: I like it, but to me it smells a little on the fake side.

        And then we have the cremé-du-la-cremé, the ever-coveted pinnacle of clean cleanliness, the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day cleaning spray in lemon verbena. I found this baby in the Albertson’s clearance for $2. Yeah, two dollars! This is my first time trying it, so I’m pretty stoked.

        Ok, here we go. Let’s see how they did in my bathroom!

        After wiping my bathroom sink and counter with all three, I tried them on my different glass containers. The Method brand is very watery, the Mrs. Meyer’s is actually very thick and foamy, and the Honest spray is kinda in the middle. Not too watery, not too thick. And really, I liked the way they all cleaned everything, but I was leaning toward the Honest spray for the smell and the Mrs. Meyer’s for the consistency.

        Since I was favoring the other two, I decided to give the Method spray another chance and see how it held up with my gross toothbrush holder because it claims to fight grease and grime. You all know how those things can get: just plain nasty.

        After letting it sit in the bowl for a while and then scrubbing it with a papertowel, I was really surprised and delighted that the Method brand pulled through and cleaned it really easily! And, yes, I cleaned the top of it, too. It wasn’t rusty anymore.

        In the end, I found I like them all for different reasons, kind of like my children. To me, they all work well, and I think it would come down to personal preference in terms of smell and consistency.

        I know this was a long post, so if you made it to the end, congratulations! Thanks for reading, and I hope you found it helpful.

        Folding Laundry and Marie Kondo

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        I admit it: I really don’t like folding laundry. It just always seemed so pointless to me. I spent my whole life resigning myself to the inevitable lumpy, sloppy mess my drawers would become. When it comes to chores, my comfort zone is in the kitchen. I much prefer to be there, standing and moving around – even when the sink is full of used pots and pans, than sit in one place. I’ve been dreaming of creating a special folding station somewhere in the house, but until then, I think I just need to suck it up.

        However, the one thing that has made the monotonous task of folding just a little less mind-numbing and also amazingly efficient has been the Marie Kondo,or KonMari, method. It’s been about six months since I stumbled across her YouTube videos, and I’ve been hooked, line and sinker.

        I love everything about it: the folding technique, the tidiness, and the intention behind the method. Plus, I think the clothes look super cute all packaged up. How can you go wrong? For me, as a recovering sh@%-shover, it’s not only practical, it makes opening my dresser drawers a happy experience. No more panicky, frantic shoveling around for that favorite t shirt – you can see everything you have in the drawer clear as day!

        The essential thing is that you’re folding the shirt into streamlined thirds- you’ll know you got it right if the little bundle can stand on it’s own.

        Here are some pictures of what it basically looks like:

        I just quickly snapped some photos, so this isn’t the greatest example. But you can see how nicely the shirts stack, and I love it!

        It seems like this method is quickly becoming popular, and it’s not hard to see why. For a much better idea of how it works, you can find lots of great tutorials on pinterest, and of course on YouTube, too.

        It may not seem like that big of a deal, but it actually changed my life a lot! Funny how sometimes something so simple can make a huge impact on daily life.
        I hope you enjoyed this post – I actually enjoyed the folding for once!

        Thanks for reading, and see you next time.

        Huevos a la Mexicana

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        “Huevos a la Mexicana” is an amazing version of scrambled eggs made with sautéed onions, red tomatoes, and green chiles. The vibrant colors mimic the green, red, and white of the Mexican flag, hence the name. It basically translates to “Mexican eggs.”

        Before I met my husband, I never ate spicy foods. And life was sad and dull…

        Even though my dad (he’s Italian and French) loves to add spice to his meals, my mom (who’s German and French) was the one who did the most cooking during the week, and she can’t even eat the mildest of mild salsas without crying.

        Very happily (for me, anyway!), my husband and his family introduced me to the wonderful world of Mexican cuisine and the love of spice. And I’ve never looked back. It’s funny because now I can barely eat anything without adding some kind of hot sauce. I like to joke and say I pretty much married my husband for the food; is it a bad thing if it’s partly true??? I’m kidding….Kind of.

        This is one of the first recipe’s my husband and his family showed me. It’s simple, quick, and most of all (and most importantly!), Amazingly delicious.

        Enough blabbing, let’s get to it!

        Huevos a la Mexicana

        1 Serrano Chile (if you’re like my mom and can’t handle spice, leave it out.)

        Eggs – however many you want depending on how much you like, or how many people are eating. We eat a lot of it so I usually make big batches and use 12 eggs!

        1 onion (yellow or white), finely diced or chopped.

        2 tomatoes, also finely chopped.

        Salt and pepper to taste.

        And last of all, Butter – I follow a high fat, low carb eating style, and I eat meat and animal products. And I use a loooot of butter in my cooking. If butter isn’t your jam, olive oil or coconut oil are great, too.

        Instructions:

        • Start by heating up your pan. Add oil/butter and let it sizzle a little.
        • Throw in your chopped onion; when they’re starting to turn gold, add the diced chile and breathe in that beautifil spicy aroma!
        • Add the eggs. You can whisk them first if you like, but I usually just crack them straight into the pan and start scrambling there.
        • If you’re me, add some beautiful butter.
        • Add your tomatoes and some salt and pepper to taste, and BOOM! There you go. You’re done. For the finishing touch, we like to add some crumbled queso fresco. Grab a plate, some fresh, warm tortillas, and dig in!

        Patience & Presence

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        Hey there, fellow parents!
        Do you sometimes wish your childrens’ spirit animals were more sweet, sweet, tiny baby Jesus, and less Tazmanian devil? Yeah, me too….

        Usually, I feel like I can find a pretty good rhythm for keeping the house fairly decent and the kids happy. Then five seconds later I’m somehow drowning in baby toys, cookie crumbs, and tantrums.

        I’m only human, and my kids are only tiny humans. We’re not perfect. Eventually, somethings gonna give and there will always be those times I feel more like a snapping turtle than a happy bunny-type mom. But I’ve also noticed that those days seem to happen after the crazy-long nights when there’s a different child waking every hour, on the hour. We all know those nights: they stink.

        So, culprit #1: no sleep (and if you’re like me, you’re probably really lucky if you can somehow manage to scavange for coffee, so no food either. Also not good for us!).

        I’ve also noticed that I feel the most miserable those days because I start telling myself I’m a loser before I even begin the day. Thoughts like, “Ugh, I’m soooo tired, I’ll never get anything done today!”, or “this is the worst day ever!” are actually completely deceptive downers that don’t help me be productive or cheerful at all!

        The more I think about it, beating myself up with that negative mental talk is just plain nasty – I would never talk to or drag a friend down that way, so why am I doing it to myself??

        If I knew that my best friend had a really rough night with her kids, I would encourage her to slow down, relax, and take some time for herself – not stress about the dishes or the laundry. Can you imagine telling your best friend that she’s a terrible, sloppy mom and she’ll never get anything done? Yeah, right!

        You know that either 1) you would break her heart and make her cry or 2) she would rightfully punch you in the face!

        I can’t even begin to say how many times I’ve cried because I’ve told myself I’m a terrible, no good mom. It never helped me be happier!

        It’s a total waste of precious time for us to be so mean to ourselves, so I tried this instead, and so far it’s helped me a lot:

        When my kid (or all three!) is having a breakdown and nothing is going right, I look him/her in the eyes and tell them how cute they are and that I love them, out loud. I don’t know why, but it kind of helps to calm them down (most of the time) and it definitely helps calm me down. It helps me see how much they need me, not how much they’re getting in the way of what I’m trying to do.

        And as a bonus (ha), I quietly tell myself that I’m doing the best that I can and that eveything and everyone’s going to be ok. Hey, if someone’s saying it out loud, I figure it’s gotta be true!

        Like anything, somedays it works better than others, but it’s always worth a try, right?

        Is there something that you do to help you and your kids in the middle of a crazy, hectic day? Leave a comment, and let me know!