Friday, April 19, 2013

Project 52: Flowers

     Alright guys, this one has come very late, it was supposed to be done by March 9th or so, but with the extended winter we got here and what seems like a lot of places!! So it wasn't really until this last week that the flowers have really started to come out.

    With the warm weather my walking group also started meeting up to walk also. As I was walking to post, I walked over the foot bridge and saw the prettiest tree ever. The plum tree. It is all in bloom and has the prettiest flowers. I just love how it arches over the path and really is just the prettiest back drop!

   I love this tree:

For complete list of all pictures from my Project 52 follow this link to Resolutions which has links to all of my project 52 blogs.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

First weekend of spring

     Well after what seemed like the longest summer we finally got a weekend here in Germany where it was absolutely beautiful and we spent almost the entire weekend outside!!!

   Saturday we had a pretty fun day it was still a bit chilly and the wind was crazy, but we went down town to walk to through the market and get a Doner for lunch. It was very good as always and than we went to the city park and Kyra got so excited about seeing the ducks!! She was walking quite a bit at this park, but than suddenly stopped and stood still for like 3 mins, and than got distracted and sat down and wouldn't walk anymore...sadly I couldnt find my camera this day so didn't get any pictures I was bummed too cuz there was blue bells all over the place!!  Later we went to get pictures taken with Ashley our photographer!! And they of course turned out great but you will have to wait for those until after we get back her cake smash pictures also!!

We ended with an awesome bbq with our new friends and their boys!! It was so great and I am glad we found another couple with kids to hang out with! Next time we will bring a pack and play and stay and hang out longer hating leaving so early on the weekends!   

   Sunday we got up and went to Mainz we walked around trying to find a store Dustin was looking for to buy his Magic cards, but being as it was Sunday obviously . And than we found this really cool park!! It was on 3 different levels with hills and play ground, and grass and at the top a wind will tower thing you can climb up in. I was being a chicken when I first saw it, but I climbed up in the end (which was a hard climb mind you) and went down the slide!! It was steep and fast but it was really fun!!! Kyra had a lot of fun, she even had a little boy come up and try and get her to hold his hand and walk over to play on the playground with him. She loves kids and they love her but it is so cute to see her get sooo shy! She just stared at the ground the whole time!!
Pretty intimidating!!

Swinging with Daddy!!

Someone loves the park!!

Crazy like her mom!

What to think?

I sit here stunned and so unsure where is even safe to raise my daughter, I fear for her safety and all the crazy stuff going on around the world. I absolutely hate hearing such sad news all the time on the news. I wish our world could just be peaceful and not fight, but since that is clearly an impossible thing as people have been fight since the day man was created.

But as I was looking through the horrifying images, and video tape, I came across an image of Mr Rodgers. And a quote from his mother that sticks with me and made me really think bad to the fact that there is still good in this world. " When you see horrible things in the news, look for the helpers". So I have chosen to do this, when seeing such terrifying news. And it moves me to see the amazing people who seconds after the first explosion turn and run straight toward the damage and do all they can to help those who were injured. The one image that is engraved in my memory is the national guardsmen who instantly start throwing the safety barriers over like they are made of toothpicks, nothing was going to get in their way as they made their way to the middle of the situation.

Prayers go out to all that was involved. And my heart is with those amazing people who did the most selfless thing they could by putting them selfs in harms way in hopes of helping someone who needs it. If it weren't for your acts of heroism I would have no faith in humanity. People like you are what makes everyone feel that there is still some hope that our world will one day get its sanity back and start living more peacefully and for one another!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ooooh new hair!!

     Yay!! So I decided with the upcoming spring...ha if it ever fully gets here. I needed some new color in my hair! I haven't had anything really done with my hair since last July so it needed a little trim also. So I put on my brave girl panties after having a friend get her hair done recently and it turned out amazing. So I got a hold of the girl who did hers, and scheduled an appointment before I could talk myself out of it. I have a hard time spending money on myself so I tend to bail if I think about it too long, I start to feel guilty.

    But I am so amazingly pleased with the results she did such a great job, and was on point with how much I wanted cut. And the color is fantastic!!

Here is a before and After:

And one with make up where I look a lot more pulled together lol:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Diet vs eating right

So I wrote saying I was starting a diet, but in reality I am simply adjusting to eating a 1200 calorie day with healthier food aka no more fast food junk, only lean meat, fresh fruit and veggies, and less carbs. I split it up between five times a day, and have to say I am rarely hungry now. I enjoy feeling full and having my metabolism running constantly! So far my only issue has been wanting sweets but I curb that with either a protein bar from Special K as a snack or tea with honey before bed.

It is going to be a way of eating I plan to keep up with. The best way to track what i am eating that I have found is myfitnesspal app. It tracks both your foods and exercise. I think it is an ideal tool for maintaining weight as it shows you how many calories you should eat at your size. It than adds extra calories to your allotment when you add exercises. So if your trying to loose weight you only wanna eat your original amount or you'll be eating the calories you just burned off.

An example of my meals if you would like to have an idea of where to start, here is what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast was a packet of fruits and cream oatmeal made with hot water.

Snack 2 hours later was a protein meal bar from Special K.

Lunch I had 3 slices of turkey lunch meat on whole wheat bread with a little mustard and a slice of Swiss cheese. With a banana.

Second snack was a slim fast shake.

And dinner was two salmon filets, half cup of rice, and a cup of boiled spinach. Delish!!

And near bedtime I was craving sweets so I had a cup of sleepy time tea with honey to sweeten it.

It really is easy to eat healthy like this most of the thought process is in portions. And eating every 2-3 hours!! Hope your weight loss journey and my own go as well as planned.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Starting Slim in 6 challenge

    If you follow me you see that I really like to workout, just tend to quit when things get hard!! I did complete the Insanity Asylum which was really hard and I was so proud of myself for getting through it. And in the past I have been very successful with diets!! So this time I am starting a program with the support of my friend Dawn and we are going to go the whole 6 weeks with diet and exercise. We have plans to be in shape by summer time. Lots of work to do but if you think you can do it you can!

    I am starting today with eating 3 meals and two snacks every 2 hours and only stuff that is good for my body. It may be hard the first couple days but my body will get used to it and start showing how well its working. The benefit of me going on a healthy diet is my family will also be eating more good stuff also. Kyra already eats only stuff that is good for her, but whether he'll admit it or not Dustin could use a little bit of a healthy streak himself. Not that I can really control what he eats, but when he is home for dinner he will be eating what I do, or fend for himself.

   I am sad to see how far back I have fallen since the last time I posted an update. Taking over a month off from working out show. Specially the way we were eating.

   My measurements are currently:

Weight: 162
Chest (measured at the nipple level): 36 in
Waist (measured at the belly button): 38.25in
Hips (measured at the biggest part of my butt): 43.5in
Right Thigh: 24.75in
Left Thigh: 25 in
Right arm: 11.5in
Left arm: 11.25

This go around I am going to only provide pictures for this starting blog, at 3 weeks and at 6 weeks rather than weekly I want the results to show! I may come back and write about how I am feeling and if I think I am making progress. But I won't be obsessing over the inches and weight like I usually do. More about how I feel and look!

Not pretty I know!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Breastfeeding Adventures Part 1

    I am writing this because although there are tons of sites, groups, and people out there supporting breastfeeding, and they can answer tons of questions. And I am more than certain they can probably provide more factual and educated information. I am not about to go out and do the research and write a paper. If facts, and doctors answers are what you want, than your looking at the wrong blog. I am here simply to tell you MY story, MY experiences, and MY journey. This has been the most amazing thing I have ever done. I have learned so much, and there is nothing quite as fantastic as breastfeeding.

      From second 1, when I heard her breathe her first breath and let out her first cry I was hooked. There was no way that little girl was gonna leave my side, she had me wrapped around her finger from her first breath. Anyone who knows her, and myself today, a year later, can vouch that its rather clear she hasn't ever. As she is still a major mama's girl and if I was willing would be literally in my arms every second of the day.

     Well maybe the love I have for her makes it seem like everything has always been easy. It hasn't we had problems from the very beginning. She was pretty good at latching, but only on one side. And since my birth plan went right out the window with the c-section as did my hopes of everything going smoothly with breastfeeding. Since I had the c-section just as I had heard (although admittedly never really read about/nor cared I was so set in my mind that I was going to have her naturally) my milk supply didn't come in right away. I was heartbroken, she wasn't getting what she needed from me. After 2 days the doctors took her weight again and came to tell us that she had lost weight and they needed us to supplement just 10 ml of formula a day. It made me so sad, I wanted to be the one who provided her milk to her. But I was almost constantly nursing her to try to get the milk to come in. I was very dedicated to breastfeeding and I wasn't going to let it stop me.

     By 4-5 days in the Hospital and Kyra gaining enough back they were no longer concerned she was taken off the formula and we were released. A day after getting home. Probably cuz I was finally able to relax my milk came in and nursing became much less of an issue. Or for a couple days it did. Than there was another issue. Breastfeeding magazines everywhere say that you can feed on demand, and that a baby will never overeat. HAHA so not true. Maybe it was because of her first couple days being so hard, or maybe I had done so much to stimulate my supply that I now had more than she could handle. But either way she didn't know when to stop she would eat and eat and than throw up most of it back on me. It was super gross and for 2 weeks I was really concerned something was wrong with her, plus I constantly smelt like spit up cuz it would litterally soak whatever I was wearing, she was wearing and since I rarely moved from the bed as I was still recovering from surgery it tended to soak our sheets too. It really increased our laundry list, poor hubby was so good about it.

    One morning I was so concerned about her spitting up so much I called LLL. But they weren't able to come over and help out. And she told me to just try different positions and to just make sure I burped her. I tried this before finally deciding it was time to go to Google and see if anyone else had experience what I was going through. And sure enough there were people asking questions about it everywhere, and lots of kind advice. After doing a bit of searching around I decided that we were gonna try only nursing on one side and every 2 hours. It was nice to have some sort of order about how the day went. And it gave us a perfect schedule to make sure she was eating but not too much. Not long after the throwing up started to slow down. I was only getting spit up on every other day or so. I will say even with eating on a schedule she didn't completely stop until about 3 months. But that is alright it was far better than every single time she ate. And although I didn't let her eat on demand, she still was getting plenty and was gaining weight properly.

    I have to say that after we figured out the overeating problem we were smooth sailing until about 11 months. We did occasionally get a blocked duct, and spent many days with either heat packs or ice packs on my boobies to help clear them out!!  They can be painful and very uncomfortable but not something you can't get through with patience. Also growth spurts can be a very scary time too. As it will feel like your supply is dropping and you'll do anything you can to get i back up than suddenly it's over and bam your engorged and just want them to keep eating. But it only happened maybe 3-4 times in a year and it passes before to long. I learned to NOT pump when you feel over full to just suck it up until the next feeding cuz pumping only tells your body to make more. These growth spurts were worse after 9 months when Kyra started sleeping more at night so when I was engorged I had to wait longer to relieve the pain.

   So as I said tho it was pretty much smooth sailing. I think living here in Europe made me more confident about breastfeeding specifically NIPing(nursing in public). Mostly because you got weirder looks when you wore a cover than you would have if you just discreetly sat on a bench and fed your baby. It is so much more of a normal thing here. I think I may have shocked a few people when I went back to visit stateside when I would sit on a bench in the mall and just nurse and never think twice. But I swear I never did it to just cause a scene or for any sort of women's rights type attention. Although mind you if someone was to have something to say about it, I had a whole spiel in my head on telling them off and wouldn't have been afraid to tell my opinion.

   Than it was nearing a year. I had set in my mind that 1 year was the cut off because although nursing is such an amazing bonding experience and I can in some ways see why people don't want to ever quit, and trust me Kyra could probably continue forever, 1 year was long enough for us both. I really wanted a chance to let Dustin and Kyra bond more with out the distraction of wanting mom so she could eat. Also wanted to have my body back for a while before we start thinking about another kid. But saying we were quitting at a year is far easier said than done!! I had no idea where to even start!!

   So I started asking around, friends, family, doctors, and my nutritionist at WIC. They all had different little tricks to the trade but pretty much it came down to doing it slowly there is no rush, just work with eliminating one feeding at a time. But to wait til the timing seems right. Okay that seems easy I thought alright she nurses about 4 times during the day where do we start. So I took a look at her schedule and decided which time was gonna be easiest to distract her or give her a snack to replace the nursing and hold her over til her next nursing. For me it was her mid morning time. She would wake up from her first nap and want to nurse right away, but it was pretty close to lunch at the time so instead I started giving her lunch just a little bit earlier, and to slowly push it back to the normal time as she adjusted. And it worked. That feeding went away so easily it gave me great hope to the whole experience going smoothly.

    Next one to go for us was right before bed. A lot of people say that is the hardest one. But since we feed Kyra at 630, giver her a bath at 7 and she goes straight to bed she was still full from dinner so this wasn't really an issue. It was probably harder on me than her because it was such an attachment thing. I loved our cuddling time, and now it just keeps her more awake, she does better now if we just give her kisses and loves and lay her down and let her get herself to sleep.

    Than we were down to two. They were ones she relys on the most, the afternoon one, after lunch and to make it to dinner. And the one first thing in the morning. I knew this was gonna be hard. So my thought was that if I started her on milk she would start to self wean and would drink it during this time to hold her over. So we gave her, her first cup of milk. And were just gonna wait a couple weeks before eliminating that feeding once she started drinking more milk. But than came our next challenge, her body wasn't ready for milk, and wasn't digesting it well, she would be up at night crying from the gas bubbles it was causing and her butt was bright red when she would poop. So we took her back off until she cleared off. I was so discouraged and confused on what I was going to do next. And instead went back to nursing at around 330 everyday. We went this way until just this last week. When I reintroduced her to milk (we are doing Lactaid for now) and we have stopped having problems and her body seems to be dealing with it better. So just the middle of this week we decided to stop the afternoon feedings. It was hard at first as she was so used to it being part of her schedule. But she seems to be doing fine with out it now with out nursing in the afternoon.

   I have to say that yes we still have on time we nurse everyday, and although I plan to indeed eliminate it also, we are gonna go ahead and just nurse in the mornings until we both feel ready to be completely done. We are past the year mark, and I never thought I would but when the time came around it wasn't as easy as I had expected. You can't just go cold turkey! And you don't want them to feel abandoned either. Breastfeeding can be challenging at times, but most the times it is so completely wonderful. Its such a great bonding time, and the benefits for both you and baby are incredible.

     Stay tuned this weekend as I finish off this Breastfeeding topic with stories from two other incredible mommies and their adventures with breastfeeding!! I plan to touch on other interesting parenting topics pretty soon with plenty of different perspectives!!

For Part 2 click this LINK

For Part 3 click this LINK

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Project 52: Man Made

Okay I guess my complaints about paris are a bit shadowed by the fact it has some beautiful architecture. Beautiful OLD architecture.  That all and all amazes me. These buildings are so intricate, and detailed and well did I mention Beautiful??? So even tho the city itself is kind of dirty and the people can be rude, if you could go into town all alone and look at the pretty stuff Paris would blow your mind!! 

With this subject I found 2 of many many buildings that i just adored. I really wish I had been more careful watching my exposure as I ended up over exposing it and for the sake of this project I am trying to go the entire year with out doing ANY editing so what you see is what I took. But I guess that is part of the learning experience. I will know better for next time. I loved this building so much because of the hearts in the windows...I know you guys probably think I am obsessed with hearts and snowmen but it was just so pretty.


And of course the main thing Paris is known for is the Eiffel Tower. I think the part that amazes me so much about this is it's sheer size. And to know that little tiny men can build such a bewildering structure. Although it was really bright I though this angle was awesome!! Probably is all over the internet like this but I am pleased how it turned out. I feel like this picture turned out how I wanted. And I like that although I didn't capture the entire statue, I managed to show such a wonderful point of view that unless you are able to visit it you wouldn't get the chance to see.

For complete list of all pictures from my Project 52 follow this link to Resolutions which has links to all of my project 52 blogs.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Project 52: Details

I know you are supposed to do just one picture, but when I was in Paris I couldn't help but notice all the details in everything. So I decided there was 2 pictures that I took that deserved some special attention. 1st was the one of the statue. I know I know he is Naked. But you see I can only imagine how much time it took to sculpt something that large and to have every detail to a t!  On a side note this guy has a very nice body, very much like a girl haha!

And the second is the gate, and the details behind it on the Louvre. I love to find hearts in random places. I seem to think a friend of mine took a similar picture when she visited Paris. But it really is too pretty to not have a picture of. I also took this picture cuz I wanted a way to show the detail on the building without just taking a picture of it.

For complete list of all pictures from my Project 52 follow this link to Resolutions which has links to all of my project 52 blogs.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Last days of Family visit

     Ok I suppose I better get around to finishing off the blog series about my families visit!! I'm sure they would love to have it all in one place to look back on.

    Where we last left off was from a fun night in downtown Amsterdam. And I'll tell you it sure was a good time. But morning came fast and we back on the road. The longest trip of all (according to google maps) so we left early so we wouldn't be getting home too late. We booked it out of town and were at least 45 mins down the road before we stopped for breakfast. And it was only at a truck stop and we were back on the road.

     But somehow the trip seemed to be flying by and litterally before we knew it we were crossing the border back into Germany. And right back into snow, figures. But seeing as it was only about 11 and Koln was only about an hour down the road we decided since Shane had never seen the huge cathedral in Koln we were gonna stop and have lunch and take a look. I think we finally impressed him with this one as far as churches are concerned. It is definatly one of my favorite.

    After making our way around it, we headed into the shopping district just to realize was Good Friday. And NOTHING was open, that is except Subway, so Dustin's hopes to have subway were granted.

    On the way back to the car we walked over the Rhine River across the bridge with the locks of love and my dad made sure to take pictures of all the cool original locks! And after this stop we still made it back to post in time to get the mail and settle back in at home before getting something for dinner.

    All worn out and glad to be back, we rolled into bed so we could get up the next morning and enjoy their last day in Germany!!

    We got up late and dillydallied around before heading downtown to do some last min shopping, and grab lunch. We went to the same little restaurant Dustin and I first went to when we moved here and got some pretty good pizza, and pasta for Kyra. After a big lunch Kyra passed out in the car, we took the opportunity to go for a drive up to the Russian Cathedral as it was the last thing to see in Weisbaden and they couldn't leave without having at least done all the tourist things here in town.

    To celebrate their last night we looked up a nice German restaurant that none of us had ever been to and found our way there...after getting a bit lost, and having a nice conversation in all German to get directions. The food was really good, and the environment was so friendly, Dustin still says Brauhaus is better, but I will certainly suggest eating there when people wanna get dinner!! It was called Zum Hirsch.

All and all I would like to say a big thank you to both my dad and brother for the great 2 weeks of fun. It was so great seeing parts of Europe none of us had ever seen together. And we will have so many memories that can never be replaced. Maybe you can come back and visit again before we leave and we can see the UK or go south to Italy!! We will miss you around here.