Are you Mommy Strong?

I’m really excited to share with everyone that I’ve started an online community on Facebook called Mommy Strong Fitness. The premise behind the community is to join together like-minded women for support and encouragement on their journey to develop stronger bodies, stronger minds and strong relationships with their families.

Of course, the success of such a community relies on the members of that community to actively participate and share. I hope that you’ll join me on Facebook and help me encourage moms to get Mommy Strong for themselves and their families. And while you’re there, you’ll be uplifted and encouraged too! Sounds like a win-win in my book.

Recap of a mostly vegan week

Last week, I eased into a mostly vegan diet. I found that eating away from home was the most difficult part. From a work lunch that had sandwiches and no vegetarian options to a baby shower with sandwiches and cupcakes, I definitely had some animal products. 

But starting today, I am giving myself three weeks to really, truly eat a vegan diet. I want to see if I feel differently eating this way. Will I have more energy? Will I sleep better? Will my skin look better? I don’t know, but I want to find out. 

Some of the yummy recipes I tried last week include maple baked beans from Oh She Glows, black pepper tofu stir-fry and chili-stuffed peppers from Fat-free Vegan. I also started pinning some vegan recipes on Pinterest. I admit that I kinda don’t get the whole Pinterest thing though. It was pretty easy to pin recipes rather than save bookmarks, so maybe this vegan experiment will be the thing that makes me a Pinterest lover!

I’m looking forward to trying new recipes over the next three weeks. Any recommendations for vegan food blogs or recipe sites?

Way Back Whens…day…one of the defining moments of my mothering life

The incident described in the below post, from February 5, 2009, goes down as one of the defining moments of my mothering life. I laughed. I cried. I freaked out. I pulled it together. But most of all, I realized the depth of my love for my children. 

Enjoy. 

Monday afternoon quickly turned from a typical day to what I affectionately call “hell on earth.” :)

A little before 3:00 pm, I started to make soup for dinner. As I was chopping veggies, Addie started to fuss and whine. That’s pretty common, so I didn’t think much of it. Except she threw up soon after she started fussing. I scooped her and Aidan up and brought them into the family room. I quickly cleaned Addie up, then put on Sesame Street so I could clean up the kitchen. While I was cleaning up the kitchen, she threw up again. At this point, I decided to bring them both upstairs for a quick bath. They were playing in the bath when Addie started fussing. Again, she threw up. I quickly took Aidan out of the bath and dried him off. Then I rinsed off Addie and wrapped her in a towel. While I was doing this, Aidan peed on the floor. I wiped that up, then brought them both into Addie’s room. She was pretty upset, so I held her in the rocking chair and let Aidan play naked. Since he just peed, I figured I had a litte time before I needed to get a diaper on him. I called Nick to tell him what was happening. While I was talking to him, I looked up and saw Aidan pooping on the floor! Nick got a play by play over the phone which went something like this, “Oh my God. Oh my God, he’s pooping. There is poop on the floor! Oh my God, he’s walking and he’s pooping!!!!” (LOL, right!?!) At this point, I am having a mini-breakdown so I hang up on Nick. Then I dealt with the poop.

We went back into the bathroom where I cleaned Aidan up, and got diapers on everyone. I thought I had better call Nick back to let him know I had the situation under control. But when I was telling him this on the phone, Addie puked on me again. This caused me to have another breakdown on the phone. After a pep talk from Nick, I brought them back upstairs and put them in the big tub in our master bath (as there was poop residue in their bath tub). We all got in and got cleaned up quickly. At this point, I called the pediatrician. The nurse said we could come in or wait for the doctor to call us back. I decided to wait for a call because I was worried about Addie puking all over the car and the doctor’s office.

So, we headed back downstairs to the family room. Guess what? She puked again. In a mini-panic, I called Nick and my mom. My mom came over to watch Aidan, and Nick was meeting me at the doctor’s office. We arrived around 4:45 pm. (If you’re keeping track, Addie threw up 5 times in one hour and 45 minutes.) She threw up in the waiting room and again in the exam room. Since she wasn’t interested in drinking any fluids, the doctor decided to admit her to the hospital for IV fluids and a 24 hour observation period.

We went home to pack up some stuff and to pick up Aidan, and we arrived at the hospital around 5:45. Poor Addie threw up a few times at home and while she was getting admitted. Once we were settled in the room, we had to wait and wait and wait. She threw up again. At this point, she was so weak and pale. I felt awful for the poor little thing. We ended up waiting until almost 10:00 pm for the nurse to start her IV! She handled the IV well and was so happy to be able to drink 6 oz of water/juice once it was in. She kept asking for more, but I had to wait 30 minutes before giving her more to ensure she didn’t throw it up. She actually fell asleep about 15 minutes afterwards, and slept pretty well the whole night. I stayed with her and slept on a foldout couch thing. She woke once around 3:30 when I had to change a stinky diaper, and then woke for the day around 6:30.

On Tuesday morning, she ate a saltine cracker and a few grapes and drank some more water. Nick arrived around 10:00 am, and we traded shifts. He stayed at the hospital, and I went home with Aidan. Addie continued to get better throughout the day and was discharged around 6:00 pm on Tuesday.

Now, she’s basically back to normal. Eating, drinking and sleeping are all normal. I bring her in tomorrow morning for a follow-up visit.

It was a rough 24 hours or so, but I am just so thankful that she is better now. Things could have been much worse.

On Forks, Knives, Plants and Animals

I just lost a long post about my recent health research into plant-based diets. Note to bloggers, WordPress doesn’t auto-save drafts. You must actually click Save Draft. :)

Anyhow, over the last year, I’ve been on a mission to live a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life. I mean, really, who doesn’t want that? Along the way, I started running, exercising regularly, lost some weight, began drinking Shakeology, started coaching others on health and wellness, and researching nutrition. My nutrition research has led me to conclude that plant-based whole foods are the healthiest fuel for my body.

Among all the varying voices out there in the diet/health conversation, I don’t think you’ll ever find someone that says eat fewer vegetables. Am I right?

So, starting today, I’m moving toward a plant-based diet. I won’t claim to be vegan or even vegetarian because I know it’s going to be a process to change how I eat. I’m also not doing this for ethical reasons where I’d cringe at the thought of eating animal flesh. I’m coming at this from a health perspective primarily, with a little bit of hippie mama thrown in. (I think it’s environmentally healthier to eat plant-based foods as well.)

I’ll share some of the winners from my recipe explorations here. And I’m really hoping the blogging community will help me figure out how to get my kids to eat a little healthier too. My daughter, in particular, is anti-veggie and pro-dairy. :)

If you’re interested in what I read, watched and saw that helped convince me, here’s a short list of stuff I’d recommend you check out.

Food Inc. 
Forks Over Knives
Crazy Sexy Diet
The China Study
Green Mama 

Secrets for Peaceful Slumber

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Do you struggle with sleep? It seems like most adult women I know have a difficult time getting enough restful sleep. 

Whether it’s waking up every few hours with a baby or toddler, a husband that snores, staying up late to get some precious alone time or time with the husband, anxiety-related insomnia or night-wakings due to pregnancy or menopause…it’s tough for us women to get the recommended 7-8 hours of shuteye every night.

I’ve struggled with this in the past. And I even sought out help from a counselor to deal with it. I found out that my insomnia was stress and anxiety related, even though I didn’t think I felt stressed or anxious. It turns out that you don’t have to have racing thoughts keeping you up for your insomnia to be from stress. I just had a hard time shutting my brain off and getting into a relaxed state. I was constantly thinking, not necessarily worrying about things, just thinking and planning things.

Here’s a few tips that I’ve been using to help me sleep better.

  • Journaling before bed: I take good old-fashioned pen to paper and just write for 15 minutes or so before bed. I have no agenda with journaling. I just write what comes out. It helps me process my day and make a plan for the next day.
  • Avoiding caffeine after lunch: I love my morning coffee, and I don’t think I’ll ever give it up. But I know I can’t have caffeinated drinks after lunch time or else I’ll have a hard time sleeping that night. If I need something tasty, I stick to decaf tea, soda or coffee.
  • Turning off electronics: This is so hard for me to do! My goal is to shut down the computer, put away the smartphone and turn off the TV an hour before bedtime. I’ll admit; it rarely happens. But when it does, I sleep well.
  • Yoga or conscious relaxation: I have short yoga DVD that is designed to relax and prepare the body for rest. It’s awesome, but again, I rarely use it. More often, I do a little deep breathing and conscious relaxation while lying in bed. I close my eyes, breathe deeply and focus on relaxing the major muscle groups of my body. 

It looks like I’m not alone in finding these techniques helpful either. Health.com shares 7 Secrets for the Best Sleep Ever, and they jive closely with my list.

What are your sleep tight secrets?