Working Boobs 

I’ve been pretty open with my breastfeeding journey this time around & get asked for advice fairly frequently. This is actually the first baby I’ve successfully exclusively breastfed. We did introduce formula around 4 months because I haven’t been able to find time to pump enough to give occasional bottles. I commend women who exclusively pump & freely admit that I do not have that kind of dedication and commitment to breastfeeding. 

One of the things that has significantly contributed to my breastfeeding success this time around is learning to nurse while multitasking. For me, that meant learning to nurse while babywearing. We’ve nursed while babywearing…

  • during a Pap smear 
  • and pooping (don’t judge!)
  • and making dinner 
  • and grocery shopping
  • and scorekeeping for softball 
  • and riding Disney rides

Babywearing and nursing has given me my life back and is almost as good as having a second set of hands! 

I made a short video here explaining how we nurse in a SSC (soft structured carrier). For reference, Isaac is 27″ tall and I am a 36G. I get frequent mastitis, so I’ve chosen to only use nursing tanks with built in shelf bras rather than using underwire nursing bras. Wearing a bra without an underwire AND a cami just seems like overkill to me and creates too much boob sweat. Ain’t nobody got time for boob sweat. 

**Disclaimer** there are 2 times where you briefly see nipple, so don’t watch this if that offends you. ☺️​

Not Fathers Day 

Tomorrow is a day set aside to recognize all the amazing fathers in our lives. Today, the kids and I are taking the day to celebrate the best “not” father we know. 

From the very beginning, my brother has been excited about his role as uncle. He takes his job as a role model very seriously. But then he goes above and beyond. 

When we found out Winston was deploying so soon after the first time, James made some big sacrifices and moved from his bachelor life in Alaska to move in with us in Texas. 

When things got tough in Hawaii, he didn’t hesitate to offer us an entire floor in his bachelor pad. 

He coaches softball, helps with math homework, shows up for special events, teaches them to swim, wrestles with them, protects them, and just about anything else a dad would do. And he’s not afraid to look like a fool to make them happy. 🙂 They have tea parties, he lets them paint his toenails, he reads to them and swims with them. He rides the scary roller coasters with them and lets them sit in his lap and pretend to drive. 

While it kills Winston that he can’t be a part of our day to day lives during deployments, I know he appreciates James just as much as I do. James fills a void for the girls that they’ve struggled with during deployments. He’s been a physical presence when their daddy couldn’t be. 


So, James, and all the other “not” fathers who have stepped up… THANK YOU. We notice you and appreciate you. 

Stuffed pepper casserole 

Tonight’s dinner plan was these stuffed peppers I found on Pinterest. But plans are meant to be changed, right?? 

I started by dicing and sautéing an onion, green bell pepper and carrots. I had a bag of shredded carrots, so I just ran a knife over them a few times to make them even smaller. 


the rice cooking in the orange pot in the back

As the veggies cooked and worked on getting some color, I began cutting the tops off the green peppers. Or bottoms… that happened, too. After mutilating that pepper a bit, I finally gave up and tossed it to the side. Then I cut the tops off 2 more peppers to find mold growing in them; so they got thrown away. 

That’s when the plan changed and I decided to make it a casserole. 

I used 4 cups of diced chicken I had already precooked and frozen a few weeks ago. I added the other ingredients from the original recipe, minus the black beans; and into an 9×13 casserole dish it went.


I baked it on 400 for 30 minutes, then topped it with mozzarella cheese and baked it another 10 minutes. 


I topped mine with 0% fat plain Greek yogurt and some jalapeños. 


James said he liked it, but I think I’ll try it again with ground beef or turkey. 

Because this is a low budget operation, I don’t know how to add a nifty “print” button; so here’s the quick rundown you can copy and paste: 
Stuffed Pepper Casserole

1 cup uncooked rice, pre-cook

4 c diced precooked chicken 

2-4 green peppers, diced 

1 onion, diced 

1-2 large carrots, diced 

4 oz can green chiles 

1 can enchilada sauce 

1 c salsa 

1 tsp cumin 

Cayenne pepper to taste 

Mozzarella cheese 
1. Sautée veggies in olive oil. 

2. Add chicken, enchilada sauce, salsa, green chiles, cumin and cayenne. 

3. Mix together and simmer 5 minutes. 

4. Add rice and mix together.

5. Pour into a 9×13 casserole dish and bake for 30 min at 400 degrees. 

6. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake another 10 minutes. 

I’m sorry, but… 

Over the past few weeks the news has had some pretty major stories. 

First there was the kid who jumped in the gorilla moat and is forever known as the kid responsible for this gorilla’s death. Then there was a celebrity shot and murdered in Orlando, and a mass shooting at a nightclub the next day. Now everyone is in an uproar over a toddler who was attacked by a gator at a Disney resort. 

All these stories have a common theme when it comes to social media. Most comments start with “I’m sorry, but…”

“I’m sorry, but why wasn’t that mom watching her son?? Who loses their kid in a gorilla habitat?” 

“I’m sorry, but the mom shouldn’t have been so concerned with her cell phone.” 

“I’m sorry, but if you can’t keep track of all your kids you probably shouldn’t have that many.” 

“I’m sorry, but if your kid doesn’t listen to you, you should probably keep him on a leash or in a stroller.” 

“I’m sorry, but when you live in sin bad things happen.”

“I’m sorry, but I’m a Christian and I don’t support gays.” 

“I’m sorry, but how do you not know there are gators in the lakes in Florida?”

“I’m sorry, but why did they have their kids out after dark? A 2-year-old should be in bed that late!” 

Enough. What happened to “I’m sorry, and what can I do for you?

There is no compassion or sympathy behind your “I don’t mean to be judgemental, but…” 

I’m constantly telling my 8-year-old that if you have to preface what you’re going to say with “No offense, but…” then it’s probably offensive and shouldn’t be said. I feel like the same principal applies here. If you have a “but” to add to your “I’m sorry”, it should probably stay inside your head. 

The Monday morning quarterback-ing has got to stop. 

Instead of “I’m sorry, but…” why can’t we change that to “I’m sorry, and…”? 

…can I bring a meal?

…can I donate toward medical expenses?

…can a pay for a night of their hotel room?

…can I pass out water to the first responders?

…can I donate blood?

…can I start a petition to change the way the signs read? 

…can I be there sitting with you as a friend? 

When nursing and weight loss collide… 

Most of you know I’m a huge advocate of Trim Healthy Mama, the eating plan based on this book. It’s a low glycemic index plan that focuses on separating fats and carbs, but not excluding entire food groups like so many plans do. 

Well last month I decided to join a Diet Bet challenge as a way to stay motivated and lose a little more weight before Winston comes home. What I’m about to share is going to open myself up to all sorts of criticism; but let me explain… 

The expectation of sex after not seeing your significant other for 12 months is an insane stress. It makes you wax and spray tan all the things because everyone knows tan fat looks better. It doesn’t help that for the last 365 days that I’ve been creating human life, giving birth to that human, and sustaining his little life with my own body, Winston has been spending hours a day in the gym. Y’all. He left with a spare tire and is coming home with Bieber abs. “What a lucky girl!” you may be thinking. Well, yeah, but see above comments on stress. 

So now you know where my head has been these last few weeks and why I did what I did. It started with this amazing taco soup recipe that literally has magic powers. It was posted in Women’s World magazine with an article explaining how it makes you feel fuller and the okra holds the magic of unicorn tears when it comes to weight loss. 

Against my better judgement based on my knowledge of nutrition and milk production, I decided to eat this soup once or twice a day last week. I topped it with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, bacon, cheese and cilantro. It’s amazing, y’all, I highly recommend you try it. But. I ate it every time in an S setting and neglected to add the necessary carbs to have an E or Crossover. 


And it worked. I lost almost 6 pounds, it kicked my sugar cravings, and because of the extra heat I was drinking no less than a gallon of water a day. I worked out hard 6 days in a row and ate low carb for almost an entire week. 

Sunday afternoon I started feeling the familiar ache that told me I was getting a clogged duct. I nursed Isaac several times in the night as a precaution, but woke up in pain Monday morning. Again, against my better judgement based on what I know about clogged ducts and mastitis, I powered through and completed not one, but two classes at the gym. By the time I got home I was shaking with exhaustion. 

Isaac refused to nurse, and it just went downhill from there. He started fussing around 1:30 and it turned to full blown screaming by 2:00. Nothing I did worked, and nursing just seemed to frustrate him even more. I managed to get him asleep in a Tula for 30 minutes or so, but then he’d wake up and start screaming again. 


By 9:00 I started to feel concern that he was actually having a cardiac event and I just hadn’t picked up on it yet. I tried to check his heart rate, but between the squirming and screaming I couldn’t get it. I gave him Tylenol, teething tablets and gas drops; and, still, none of it worked. Around 10:00 I decided to call the pediatrician and leave a voicemail. Around 11:00, I made him an 8 oz bottle as a last ditch effort before taking him to the ER for an EKG. He chugged the bottle and fell asleep, really asleep, for the first time all day. 

That’s when it hit me. My baby had been crying for close to 10 hours because he was hungry. 

I felt so guilty. 

But I still went to the gym today. I decided I’d still work out with lighter weights, and just eat carbs with every meal today to try to increase my supply. I had oatmeal for breakfast; and since we needed to eat in the car, I had Chick-Fil-A for lunch. I even had a cookie in the name of milk production. 


This afternoon Isaac had a well baby appointment and vaccinations. All was going well until I placed his naked little body on the scale and saw 18.0 lbs flash on the scale. The nurse looked over his report the cardiologist had sent over and confirmed what I was afraid of… Not only had Isaac not gained, but he’d lost 5 ounces. 


Clearly, he had them to spare; but that’s not the point. I’m quite familiar with “mom guilt”; but this is a whole new level. My selfish choice to throw caution to the wind and basically crash diet is now affecting my baby. 

This week has taught me a very important lesson: my nursing relationship is too precious to ruin over losing body fat. I have literally put my blood, sweat and tears into breastfeeding this baby; and I’m not about to throw that all away. 

So for the next few days, I’m focusing on resting, eating all the carbs, and getting my supply back up so we can continue nursing for another 6 months or more. Dinner tonight was asparagus stuffed chicken, roasted asparagus, and Stovetop stuffing (I had a box lying in the pantry and didn’t have time to make brown rice). 


And as I was writing this post, I had a knock on my door… A neighbor was standing on the other side holding an Edible Arrangement from a sweet friend who knows I’ve been struggling. It had been delivered to her house by mistake, and she very kindly brought it over. Lemme tell ya, if someone accidentally delivers chocolate covered strawberries to my house, them bad boys ain’t makin’ it out.  


So, mommas, please learn from my mistakes. If losing weight is your priority, you should probably be supplementing with formula. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if nursing is important to you, do not ruin it by dieting. Calories and complex carbs are your friends. 

Happy nursing! 

My Husband’s Mistress

Today is a birthday not many celebrate. It is the birthday of my husband’s mistress. Yes, my husband has a mistress; and we have a relationship. 

She demands so much. She calls and demands his presence; and he runs to her side every time. She takes him away for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Births of children, first steps, first words, first days of school, and graduations have all been missed because he’s with her. 

She’s forced me to be alone through miscarriage, friends and family dying, broken bones, surgeries, and more sick kids than I can count. She’s made me lonelier in marriage than I ever was single. 

“Why stay?” you ask. Why would I stay married in that situation? 

She provides amazing things for my family. She provides healthcare and a steady paycheck, housing, education and opportunity. 

She’s introduced us to new people and made us lifelong friends. She’s forced me out of my box and helped me become a person who is able to make friends. 

She’s given my children opportunities to travel the world and learn new cultures. 

She’s given my husband a career, a degree, and tools to provide for our family. 

She is the most hated presence in my marriage, but also a very necessary one. 

Who is this mystery woman? You may have guessed it…. 

Happy 241st birthday to the United States Army! 


    image from militaryinsignia.blogspot.com

When the “Mommy Wars” create casualties… 

photo from evolutionaryparenting.com

A childless friend approached me this week with a tough question. She basically asked me if moms are actually as awful to each other as social media makes them out to be.
Y’all. I was embarrassed to tell her the truth. The truth is that mommy groups can be some of the meanest cliques I’ve ever run into. High school girls have nothing on the Mommy Mafia. 

                 photo from teen.com 

Just a glance at what I’ve seen bashed:

  •  cloth diapers (just ew) 
  • disposable diapers (don’t you care about the chemicals touching Snowflake’s skin?)
  • nursing without a cover (no one wants to see your breasts do what they were intended to do)
  • nursing with a cover (I’m sorry, but it’s my legal right to bare my breasts to nourish my child, and you should all do the same) 
  • formula feeding (I mean, why don’t you just give them poison?)
  • pumping to bottle feed (if you cared about your bond you’d breastfeed for real)
  • bed sharing (you’ll suffocate your baby)
  • using a crib (you might as well have them in one of those orphanages in Russia)
  • gentle parenting (you’re just too lazy to discipline)
  • spanking (that’s abusive)
  • vaccinating (you’re just asking for your baby to end up autistic)
  • not vaccinating (polio, anyone?)
  • babywearing (you elitist snob with your Tula/don’t you know you’re damaging your baby’s hips with your Snugli)
  • strollers (you’re killing brain cells by keeping them from normal social interaction!) 
  • working moms (clearly you care more about money than your child)
  • stay at home moms (the laziest group of leeches on society, next to senior citizens and small children)

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The list goes on an on, and you just can’t win. This friend has seen so much of this online that she’s actually terrified to have a baby.

 

photo from memegenerator.net

Can you blame her? 

In this day and age, we have people just waiting to catch you mess up so they can blog about it or record you with the ever present cell phone and blast you in hopes of becoming a viral YouTube sensation. 

It’s a sad day when the “Mommy Wars” become so viscous that we are actually turning women off from having children altogether. Being a mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s produced four of the coolest people I know. 

So what do you do about these “Mommy Wars”? 

First of all, recognize that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” and other similar slogans don’t apply to parenting. Every child is different. I can assure you that once you think you have this parenting thing mastered, your child WILL yank that rug right out from under you and knock you on your derrière. Just because it worked for your Snowflake, doesn’t mean it will work on Susie’s. 

There are non offensive ways to suggest something to another mom. Just last week I saw a mom put her infant in the front seat and I noticed she had 3 unrestrained small children in the back. I stopped and said “Hey, I noticed you don’t have car seats and I just wanted to know if I could give you some information on places that can give you free car seats that will all fit in your car.” (I won’t tell you how the rest of that story went, but the point is I didn’t berate her for being wrong, even though she was breaking the law in this case.)        

           

photo from someecards.com



Learn when to ignore “advice”. As a mom, you have to develop a thick skin or you’re constantly going to be offended by the asinine advice you get from everyone ranging from the bagged at the grocery store to your best friend. People just assume that moms want to know how they’re failing, so they often just say whatever pops into their cute little heads. Just smile and nod. Or learn to speak sarcasm. I like a healthy mix of the two… Smile and nod, but use sarcasm when someone crosses a line and needs to be put in their place.

  

photo from someecards.com

If your friends are the ones fueling these fires by refusing to recognize that there are other ways to be a good parent… find new friends. Being a mom is hard enough, and you don’t need someone looking over your shoulder just waiting for you to feed your kid a non organic strawberry so they can educate you on pesticides in food. 

Making new mom friends is almost as horrible as dating again, but it can be done! Find moms who support your decisions, whether or not they make the same ones. Diversity is good, y’all. I’ve learned a lot from other moms, and changed how I do some things over the years because I like what I see. 

photo from granolababies.com

Finally, speak up when it just becomes too much. Defend the moms who haven’t found their voice yet, and reach out to let them know they’re doing a good job. It may seem small, but you just don’t know how it could make a difference for another mom.