Tuesday, June 30, 2015

3 Months Postpartum

Written June 21st

This month I've felt like I'm starting to catch up on my sleep. Carter, Elise, and I are so in a groove during the day. We go on a play date or outing every morning because it's summer and there's too much going on not to! Then we try to stay home in the afternoon to play, clean, and make dinner. I'm feeling more rested now that Elise is sleeping better which makes a huge difference in my mood. My mood swings have definitely started to curb and I don't randomly feel like crying nearly as often. Not that I cried much before, but I'd be doing something and just all the sudden feel like I needed to cry for no reason at all.
How can you want to cry looking at this cuteness!?!

I'm still 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. My thighs still rub together and my belly still jiggles. Some days I get down about it but then I just drown my sorrows in an ice cream cone so it's counterproductive. I'm definitely holding onto more weight and having a harder time losing it this time. The crazy thing is it's not like I'm overeating. I feel hungry all the time! I will admit I have a dessert every day after dinner, but nothing too crazy typically just an ice cream cone (it's the best way to moderate how much I eat). I know I'll get there so I try not to focus too much on the scale. I came up with a great trick with clothing this month. I can fit into and even zip my jean shorts but I just don't feel good about myself in them. They are tighter than usual and make me feel chubby. Instead of wearing them every day and feeling gross, I've been wearing dresses because no waist band and they're cooler in this crazy heat! I still wear my jeans every now and then because I feel like I need that motivation to keep dropping weight even if it's tortoise style slow!

It's easier to live with the stagnant weight loss, I mean 2 pounds in a month really?!!?, because my running is going really well. Running shape-wise I'm rocking it! I ran a 23:33 5k this month. I've also been rocking some speed work and my long run is up to 7 miles. I feel awesome running and regardless of how I look, feel sleek and strong. I've been focusing on that instead of the numbers on the scale because I need to feel good about myself! I keep meaning to add yoga back into my routine but just haven't done it yet. Hopefully soon! After I dropped yoga I stopped bleeding, finally, so I'm  a little hesitant to add it back in. Every once in a while I'll have light spotting for a day or two. My doctor acted like that's normal but if it's still going on next month I'll call to make sure.
My running buddies!
I had Carter's shield up to block the sun.  He asked where sissy was and I told him beside you.  He said he couldn't see her so I pushed his shield down.  He looked over at her and reached across to hold her hand.  Talk about precious!
I still need a decent amount of recovery time after a hard run such as speed work or long runs. My body still isn't feeling fully healed and needs more rest so I like to give myself at least 2 easy days in between hard efforts. This is what a week of training looks like for me right now:

Monday- 2 miles easy (10-10:30 pace with the stroller)
Tuesday- 3 miles speed work (0.25 mile warm up, 8x0.25 repeats with 0.1 jog between at anywhere from 7:20-7:50 pace with the double stroller, 7:00-7:20 pace without it, 0.25 cool down)
Wednesday- 2 miles easy (again around 10-10:30 pace)
Thursday- 2 miles easy (same pace, some days a little faster)
Friday- Off
Saturday- long run (up to 7 miles now, started at 3 and added a mile a week, continuing to add one mile per week)

One of my goals for this next month is to add in a tempo run during the week. Probably just starting with a mile warm up, one mile at 5k pace and a mile cool down. Then lengthening the run and switching to half marathon pace. I'd also like to work up to a 10-12 mile long run and if my body can handle it fewer recovery days between hard efforts. I'd also like to lengthen my recovery runs to a minimum of 3 miles. Which would bump up my weekly mileage. I used to track my weekly mileage and try to hit certain numbers in college and marathon training, but now I'm more focused on recovering fully and getting those hard work outs in. My thought for what a week might look like:

Monday: easy
Tuesday: speed work
Wednesday: easy
Thursday: tempo
Friday: off/walk
Saturday: long run
Sunday: off/walk

I'll tweak and adjust distances as I feel my body is ready. Obviously I'd like to lose more weight this next month. Ideally I'd like to lose more than 2 pounds but as long as I'm losing I consider it a win. We have a couple of races scheduled for July so I'm looking forward to shaving more time off my 5k as well. I'm looking forward to continuing to improve and feel stronger with my running! 

Originally I thought I'd focus on the half-marathon for the fall and gun for a postpartum PR at that distance. Now that I'm back into training and have had time to run with double stroller, I've changed my mind. I've set my focus on the 5k and will just run the half-marathons in the fall for fun. It's not realistic for me to be able to put the training in that I'd like to in order to PR. When I was training for the half with Carter he was younger and willing to sit in the stroller for longer. Now he's so much more active and doesn't want to be sitting in the stroller while I run for an hour and a half. Since Ty is also training for the half marathons I don't have the luxury of going for a long run every Saturday morning while he stays home. Now we're juggling both trying to get a long run in. It means we're either taking turns running on Saturday or one of us is running Saturday while the other runs Sunday. It eats up a lot of our precious family time and I hate that! So to me it makes more sense to do a long run every other week. It will give us more time together as a family and will allow me to be fully prepared for a half-marathon, just not in fighting shape so to speak!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up

Our weekend started early with Ty taking a half-day off work on Thursday and a full day on Friday. Thursday after lunch we left for Ty's parents house. The big excitement was Ty's brother, Paul, and sister-in-law, Amanda, flying in from Florida Friday morning. It would be their first time meeting Elise and our first time seeing them since Christmas. We could hardly wait!

Friday morning Carter got his first haircut at a shop, going to the same place Ty got his hair cut as a child. Thankfulky Ty decided to go with us at the last minute because Elise woke up hungry and Carter got scared and didn't want to sit in the chair. He's always braver with daddy around so Ty sat down and Carter sat in his lap. After that Carter giggled and enjoyed his haircut until she got out the trimmers for his neck. He looked so handsome and grown up after his hair cut.
Big Al also helped him be brave.
After Carter's haircut he got to help Gma bake a birthday cake for his Papa and then decorate it. After that the rest of our day was spent hanging out and then family came over for dinner and homemade ice cream. Carter enjoyed watching Uncle Paul and Great Uncle Kelly play basketball as well as help add ice to the ice cream machine. We drew with chalk on the sidewalk and Elise was passed around for snuggles. The weather was beautiful and it was the perfect day to sit around outside chatting.
Paul was eating by himself because everyone else was finished and he'd been working on the ice cream. Carter saw him and asked for blueberries. The he pulled his chair over right next to Paul's. Melted my heart!
Napping with Great Aunt Netta.
More naps with Great Grandma.
Playing with Great Grandpa.
Great Grandma with both sweet babies!
Saturday was Carter's Papa's birthday party. We went over to Gigi and Papa's at 10:30 and sat around talking before his birthday lunch at noon. Ty and Kelly had smoked meats the day before and we all enjoyed them along with the sides. Carter and I took a nap together in Papa and Gigi's bed which was wonderful. I woke up to him curled into my side and drooling all down my back as he sucked his thumb in his sleep. Cake and presents were after naps. Carter had gotten Papa his favorite candy bar. When he took it to Papa he asked what it was and Carter said, "candy!" No point in opening it to find out what it was! We asked Carter how old Papa was and he said 100, he's actually 80! Then we just sat around and visited until dinner time. Carter had a blast running and playing with their little dog, Muffin. Elise got to lay on the floor playing with a rattle Ty played with as a baby all while receiving plenty of attention.
Elise enjoyed snuggles with Great Aunt Tina.
Ty took a nap on the recliner while Carter and I napped on the bed!
Sunday was a lazy day. I loved another morning of Carter having jammy time with his Gma and Great Aunt Netta which allowed me to snuggle with Elise and then go back to sleep for a bit after she nursed. We went through Gma's trunk of baby stuff she has saved and found a dress from when she was a baby. We put it on Elise for pictures and she was hilarious, pulling it up and showing off her diaper! Then I wanted to get some pictures of her holding Elise. It was so sweet. She was meant to have a granddaughter! It was another beautiful day and although the temperature reached 90 degrees the breeze made it seem cooler. We sat around outside while Carter played and eventually got sprayed with the hose by his Gma which he thought was hilarious! We were so sad to leave not knowing when we will see Paul and Amanda next. We had such a hard time leaving that we didn't get on the road until 2:30 which put Carter an hour and a half past bedtime but he was a trooper and didn't fuss at all, going right to sleep. We are already missing everyone! After Carter woke up from his nap he asked to go back to Gma and Gpa's, saying he didn't want to go home. Then at bedtime he fussed for his Uncle Paul and Aunt Amanda. If only Florida wasn't so far away!
Showing off her diaper along with Gma's dress and blanket from when she was a baby.
Elise and Carter both love their Auntie Amanda!
Snuggles with Uncle Paul.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Learning Time for Elise: 0-3 Months

So I wasn't sure what to title this post and eventually used the word learning, but at this age I don't really think of it as learning.  I'd say it would be more accurate to call it fostering cognitive development.  A baby at such a young age is naturally going to develop certain abilities most of the time.  I just like to spend time practicing those skills with my baby and watching for them to develop.  Obviously it's always worth working on skills to help develop them, but I feel babies will get there when they are ready with or without intervention most of the time.

When Carter was a baby I started researching different things to do with him to stimulate his mind and foster cognitive development.  My background is in early childhood, but much older, so I didn't have ideas on what to do with him other than talk a lot to immerse him in language.  This time with Elise I have things I did with Carter and have been able to add to that which has been a lot of fun.  Carter wasn't as alert as early on and for as long of periods as Elise was and has been so I've noticed she's more likely to get overstimulated and fuss.  Carter tended to just fall asleep when he'd had too much, so I have to really watch her to make sure I'm not doing too much.

I looked up the baby development stages and found a list of things babies should be starting to do by 3 months here.  Here's what the list looked like:
  • Smile. Early on, just to herself. But within three months, she’ll be smiling in response to your smiles and trying to get you to smile back at her.
  • Raise her head and chest when on her tummy.
  • Track objects with her eyes and gradually decrease eye crossing.
  • Open and shut her hands and bring hands to her mouth.
  • Grip objects in her hands.
  • Take swipes at or reach for dangling objects, though she usually won’t be able to get them yet.
To encourage her to smile I made sure to stay in her line of vision, smile a lot, and talk to her the whole time.  I also liked to make different faces at her and watch her eyes study my face and what I was doing.  Carter saw me do that a few times and then I'd notice him sitting down by her making faces at her.  It was so cute!  I also liked to put a mirror by her so she could see her face.  She wasn't as into her reflection as Carter was at her age.

We did the obvious tummy time to help her with her neck strength, but she also liked to lift her head and look around when in the baby carrier facing my chest.  So I'd pull back part of the carrier so she could do that for a while and then slip it back to help support her head after I felt she'd had enough time to practice.  Much of her tummy time and floor playtime was on her activity gym with toys hanging down.  I'd show her the toys and swing them around.  I also used them to move back and forth in front of her face so she would track them.  We used Carter's finger puppets to do the same thing and he loved helping me with that.

Enjoying some tummy time.
One of my favorite things to do was to put different objects in her hand or rub her hand across them so she could feel them.  I'd let her feel an object and tell her whether it was smooth or rough, soft or hard. Then Carter helped me sort the items she felt into a soft pile and a hard pile which was good practice for him too.  We also ready "That's Not My Bunny" and I rubbed her hand on the different touch parts so she could feel them.  I also liked to take her outside so she could observe nature and I could put different things in her hand to feel.  And let's be honest, because Carter loves to be outside! I'd also pull her hand across Harper's fur so she could pet her.
Napping outside after some outdoor exploration.
Grasping a hard toy.
Carter taking a toy from her to put in either the hard or soft pile.
Holding a toy while looking at our hard and soft piles sorted.

I think the most important thing to do with your infant is talk to him/her.  I was constantly talking to Elise or talking to Carter where she could hear me.  I would do simple stuff like tell her what was going on.  I'd explain what we were doing at each step of a diaper change.  I'd also describe to her what Carter was doing (he loved the play-by-play of his actions).

Since babies only see black and white for the first part of their lives I made sure to pick up board books with mostly just black and white pictures for Elise.  I also already had some I bought for Carter when he was a baby.  Elise loved looking at the pictures while I read the words.  I also pulled back out the high contrast cards I had for Carter and taped them where she spent a decent amount of time: on the side of her swing, on the side of her crib, beside the changing table.  It was amazing to watch her look at and study the pictures.  I found the cards free online here and just printed them.
Checking out a high contrast card while swinging.

Possibly Carter and my favorite activity was using finger puppets to help her track objects.  We would make the finger puppets talk to her while moving them slowly from one side of her head to the other.  Not only would she move her head to see the puppets, she'd also track them with her eyes.

The books we read:
Black and White Ocean by Charles Reasoner
Black on White by Tana Hoban
Checkers and Dot on the Farm by J. Torres and J. Lum
Hello, Animals! by Smriti Prasadam
Hello Baby by Roger Priddy
That's Not My Bunny by Fiona Watt
I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy
What Does Baby See? by Begin Smart Books
Look at the Animals! by Peter Linenthal
Black and White Farm by Charles Reasoner
Baby Loves Sports: A High-contrast Action Book by Duopress
Look Look Outside by Peter Linenthal
Checkers and Dot by J. Lorres and J. Lum
Checkers and Dot at the Beach by J. Lorres and J. Lum
Checkers and Dot at the Zoo by J. Lorres and J. Lum 
I'm hoping she loves to read as much as her brother does!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Father's Day

I've been so impressed with how Ty is as the father of 2. Honestly I feel like he's an even better dad now than he was when we just had Carter to care for. I think part of it is due to me being home all day and more willing to share the kids along with the fact that with 2 kids I need to ask for help more often. Plus he knows the tricks and knows what to do. He jumps in when Elise is crying without me even having to ask. He gets up with Carter in the morning and makes him breakfast. They talk and play while Ty gets ready and even have time to read some days. I love how Ty and Carter's relationship has grown, especially in the last year. One day we were driving in the car and Carter randomly said, "I miss daddy." It melted me. One morning Carter asked for eggs and I went to make them for him only to be informed that daddy makes eggs. I told him I could make them too but he decided on something different for breakfast. The saddest are the days when Carter sleeps late and wakes up after Ty's left for work. It breaks my heart to see his disappointment when he realizes daddy is gone.

I'd like to share a couple things Ty's said lately that made my heart swell with the love I have for him as a daddy before I get into what our day looked like. You know how when babies are really young they cry but don't have tears? Well Elise had just started having tears when she cried. I was with Carter and Ty was juggling Elise while doing something in the kitchen. I asked him a question and he turned to me in exasperation saying, "I have actual tears here!" I could tell it killed him our baby girl was crying and releasing tears. Then one night as we were getting ready for bed Ty pulled a matchbox car out from under the covers and said, "I'm going to miss finding random toys in the bed and pulling them out before going to sleep when the kids are older." That one actually brought tears to my eyes. I have always loved the man Ty is and I love the father he has become. He is so selfless, loving, and fiercely loyal. There are so many times I find myself looking at him and learning from his example. Taking notes on how to be a constant supporter. He never makes me feel worse about something I already feel badly about. I know when I've made a mistake with the kids he won't put me down. He'll look in my eyes, see how terrible I feel and say he knows it won't happen again. I love him for that and so much more.
Bat kisses

Our morning started with a daddy/Cater date which ended with doughnuts for everyone as they brought some back for me. Then we all headed out to do our grocery shopping for the following week. We were in hustle mode as my parents were on their way for the day and we wanted to get shopping in before they made it. At one point we realized we forgot to get something on the other side of the store so I speed walked back to get it while Ty continued on to pet food with the cart. I laughed thinking, isn't that what Father's Day is all about? Grocery shopping by yourself with both kids in the cart.

We quickly unloaded groceries when we got home and headed out to meet my parents for lunch. They let Ty pick and he chose a new sandwich shop near us. My dad was so excited to see his kids and grandkids which was why he chose to drive up and back in one day. He wanted to be with everyone on Father's Day. Thomas was in Florida so we facetimed him when we got home. After Carter's nap we snuck around making a treat for the dads. Then Ty and dad opened presents and Carter served spinach muffins as a snack. I had asked him what treat he wanted to make daddy and he said green muffins. My dad picked dinner which resulted in Five Guys hamburgers and then it was bath and bed for Carter. Once he was down we played a new game my dad received as a present. At one point my dad joked Ty was 2/3 the dad he was which I thought was funny! I told him we could be working on that last third and he was quick to back pedal! My parents left for home around 10:00 and we headed for bed. It was a wonderful day and I felt we were successful in making our dads feel loved!
Ty reading his book from Elise "Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA".
Opa enjoying time with Elise.
Carter loved the peanuts at Five Guys!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

There were some pictures from Wetland Wonders on our good camera I hadn't uploaded yet and found this week.
Carter looking at a turtle.
Carter and Elise with their library medals from the good camera.
She was getting ready to sneeze.

Sissy was crying so Carter rushed to her side and held her hand.
This melts me every time!
Then he wanted to hold her.
And kiss her!
Carter wanted his own umbrella.
Elise playing cars with us.
Elise with her 2 best buddies!
She loves this onesie because she can play with the lace.
And use it as a pacifier!
I crack up every time Ty puts Carter in his jammies because he tucks his pants into his socks!
Some of the pictures Carter took with my phone.
Using his binoculars from Aunt Tina to look out the back window.
Talking with Oma.
Sticking her tongue out at Opa.
Wake up and smell the flowers!
He was upset I wouldn't let him wear these shoes to the park!
He finally let it go when I explained I don't wear them to the park because it's too hard to play.
Enjoying the police car at a library program.
Putting on a puppet show for Elise.
She was a wonderful audience!
The calm after the storm!
Another picture Carter took.  I love that his foot is in it.  I don't love that his foot is so big it's the size of Elise's torso!
Ready for family movie night which we did again this week, Carter picked Dumbo.
Elise was crying so Harper swooped in...
And calmed Elise down.  Elise had her hand wrapped in Harper's fur.
Watching part of Dumbo while I made dinner.  We finished the rest after dinner.