Be kind, especially to yourself

Our family for Wyatt’s 1st birthday pictures back in 2014

About 4 years ago I was in the trenches of parenting; still struggling to get through my postpartum anxiety from Wyatt and dealing with two young kids two years apart, all while having an older child who was getting sick all.the.time. I was trying to be the best stay at home mom I could be so I was signing my kids up for activities and bringing them to all these fun “mommy & me” classes.

Cousins at gymnastics (did I mention I WANTED extra kids to tote around?!)

I signed my kids up for gymnastics at the YMCA and while there I met a sweet friend with children the exact same ages as mine. We were commiserating on how much harder it was to get back in shape after having 3 kids so we decided to embark on a running program she had great success with before!

Jason shortly after his very first brain surgery (he has an external drain that is relieving the pressure)

Shortly after starting our program, Jason was just beyond sick and we were scheduled to bring him to UNC for an MRI to see what the heck was going on with our sweet boy. Little did I know, that would be the end of our running program and the beginning of the most stressful and scary time of my life. Jason was diagnosed with hydrocephalus just two weeks into our program.

Screenshot of where I left off 4 YEARS AGO!

How do I remember all this you ask? Well, I don’t! I have a TERRIBLE memory. But today I decided to start back on that program as part of the Kayla Itsines “Sweat” challenge. I pulled up that app and felt a whirlwind of emotions all at once – the app somehow managed to show exactly where I had left off FOUR YEARS AGO!

I felt excited because we have reunited with that friend since Madeleine and her daughter now do gymnastics together (and we carpool). I also felt so sad because it brought back all these memories of how scared I was and how sick my sweet Jason was. I thank God every day for his continued health and I pray we never get back to those days of sickness ever again.

Little Oliver and I going on a walk!

I’m motivated to start this year on the right foot. I don’t really love New Years resolutions or making challenges for myself because I feel like something always comes up (as evidenced by my attempt at this running program 4 years ago) but I saw all this hype from my favorite personal trainer, Kayla Itsines, and decided to make a different sort of challenge for myself since I have been doing her BBG program for 18 WEEKS (go me!). For the 12 week challenge, I am challenging myself to do cardio 3x a week (and an optional HIIT day).

Exercising has been more therapeutic than I could have imagined and I know that sounds so cliche but I didn’t realize it until I kept with it for as long as I have! I’ve been so motivated by other fit moms doing BBG and I think that is really what has kept me going. I hope that I inspire you to KEEP MOVING and be kind to yourself – even if something comes up to stop you.

Follow me on instagram, I will be posting updates throughout my challenge! https://www.instagram.com/the.real.blonde.mom/

New Year, Fresh Start

I do love the beginning of the year. What I love is the feeling of a fresh start. For whatever reason, when the clock changes to a new year, it feels like an opportunity to start new. That renewed feeling of success and hope is what inspires me to make a positive change.  New Year’s resolutions are a great way to make a positive change in your life – whether it be giving up something (alcohol, sugar, junk food, screen time, etc) or adding something positive (regular exercise, healthy eating, organization, etc) THIS is the time to change.

My personal New Year’s resolutions began a few months ago when I started regularly exercising. I didn’t want to wait any longer to be healthier and feel better about myself so I just started. You don’t NEED a New Year to make a resolution, you just need the inspiration 🙂

If you are starting a positive change this New Year, I encourage you to take steps to make it sustainable. It doesn’t have to be a HUGE change! If you want to eat healthy, start with ONE meal a day and make it healthy. Sometimes going all in sets you up for failure.

I’m tackling my food choices for me and my family. It is so easy for us to get McDonald’s for the kids on busy nights and order hot lunch during the week (read: MORE fast food… the kids literally get Chick-fil-A for lunch!). Now, I’m not going all crazy… I am starting SMALL and limiting our hot lunch to 3 times a week in January, and hopefully get it down to 1-2 times a week.

The first meal I am tackling is breakfast (mainly because it is just me and the baby most mornings). For Christmas, my mom got me this Instant Pot Duo and so far I LOVE IT! I made steel cut oats with blueberries (took a couple of tries to get it just right) and I made dinner last night (it was a huge family hit, a do-over request from the hubs).

I cannot believe how easy this is! Just pour enough water in the pot, and place the jars on top of the resting rack

I can’t believe how quickly it cooks food, and I love even more how CLEAN it is. You can brown your meat or saute your vegetables in.the.same.pot. MINDBLOWN!! I absolutely despise having to clean up a million dishes after cooking, so the fact this is a one pot miracle machine is a huge win for me! Here is a rough recipe for the steel cut oats I made!

Recipe for steel cut oats with blueberries

  • 1/4 cup of steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries (frozen)
  • 1 tsp of pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of chia seeds
  • a dash of salt
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • a dash of vanilla extract (homemade by my mother in law)
  • 1/2 cup of water (I will increase this to 2/3 cup next time)

Cook for 30 minutes! I found that when I added screw tops to the mason jars, the oats cooked much better! I screwed it just enough to stay on.

I covered the mason jars with foil and added some water. The first trial I added way too much (1 cup in each jar, plus 2 cups in the pot). The second trial was better, but next time I will add about 2/3 a cup per mason jar and 1 cup in the pot.

Final result!

My next meal I am tackling is lunch. Leftovers are always great to have but on days I don’t, I plan to make big batches of soups to freeze and eat! Lunch is another meal I am usually solo for so as I figure this out I will share ideas! I fully intend to use my Instant Pot Duo for more soups!

What are YOUR New Year’s resolutions?? Any suggestions to keep me on track with my healthy eating? I’ve made my workouts a priority and a routine, but the eating is going to take more work!