Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Kaitlyn Child Summary {8 Years Old}



This is a summary for Kaitlyn from 7.75-8 years old. This is a really big birthday for us since it is the age children can be baptized in our church. 

EATING
Eating has been great! She is eating well.

SLEEPING
Sleeping is also going well. 

EXTRA CURRICULAR
Kaitlyn still takes piano lessons and dance. During this period, she also played basketball. At the end of this period, soccer was just starting up. She loves playing sports. 

Kaitlyn also did the Willy Wonka Jr. musical I directed at the elementary school. She was an oompa-loompa. She enjoyed it a lot. Kaitlyn doesn't love having a lot of attention on her, but she doesn't seem to mind being on stage. I don't know how she would feel if she were a soloist at all, but she enjoys ensemble situations.

I really want to find Kaitlyn an art class/teacher I think. I feel bad that there aren't a lot of resources for artists. She did an art camp last summer, but it is two weeks and I would love to have something more regular for her since it is her real passion in life. If I can't find anything, I think I will see if I can find instruction books and see what I can help her learn on her own. I am not an artist at all though!

FRIENDSHIPS
Girls definitely have more issues come up with friendships than boys do--at least I have found that true with my kids. It is also stereotypical, and stereotypes are usually started for a reason. Kaitlyn is a major people pleaser, peacemaker, and she hates contention. She is very friendly and kind and has a lot of friends at school. She is a person who is genuinely very happy for others when they do well--she has always been the type to cheer on a fellow student when the teacher points out something they have done well. She is the first student I have seen do that in helping in classes over the years. Because of these characteristics, I pretty much assumed she wouldn't really be involved in any drama.

Not so.

Kaitlyn has a good friend who gets jealous of her having other friends. She doesn't like Kaitlyn to play with anyone else at recess, even if she isn't out at recess. For a couple of weeks, Kaitlyn stopped going out to recess at all. Since I help in class, I was able to observe this and asked her about it. She had also started up pinching her hand--a nervous habit she does when she is feeling insecure, worried, or stressed. My husband had the thought to ask about a certain friend. She confessed it was because the friend got mad at  her for playing with anyone else, so she found it easiest to just stay in from recess and read. This is her non-confrontational side coming out. 

We talked to her and told her it was okay and even good for her to have lots of friends and that she can play with lots of people. We made sure she wasn't excluding anyone from play and talked about how it can be fun to play with a variety of people. She got some courage up to face the situation. It has been a couple of months and it really isn't resolved fully. There was a time she had some dramatic episode with the friend every single day. Things seem to be cooling off, but I am not sure how this particular friendship will hold up through it all. 

I don't want Kaitlyn being exclusive and playing with just one person. I am okay with having a best friend, but I am not okay with her not being allowed to also have other friendships. I really want to strive for everyone being friends with everyone. It sounds idealistic, but really my graduating class was very much like that. Of course it some people bugged other people and not everyone was super tight with everyone else, but everyone was accepting and friendly toward everyone else for the most part most of the time. It can be done. All it takes is a few people willing to make that happen and people follow suit. Everyone is happier when everyone is friends. Kaitlyn has the talent and disposition to be a person who unifies, but she can't do it if she is only allowed to play with one other person. 

SCHOOL
Kaitlyn is doing very well in school. She enjoys it. 

FAVORITES
Kaitlyn has really gotten into the Little House on the Prairie series lately. She has read them before, but is reading them again and appreciating them more than when she read them last. Brayden is reading Fablehavenwith her. It is his favorite book. She isn't loving it like he does, which does surprise me. I can't quite figure out what her favorite genre is. She loves unicorn and dragon books, so you would think she would love fantasy, but then she doesn't latch on to a book like Fablehaven like you would expect her to. It is hard to buy/rent books for her with confidence. She isn't all that into girly books, but with McKenna getting the Fancy Nancy: Nancy ClancyWhatever After, and The Never Girls books, she has read them all and enjoyed them.

SCHEDULE
Here is her schedule on school days.

7:00--wake up. Eat breakfast. Get Ready, practice piano, chores, then sibling play.
8:45--school
4:00--back home. Snack if needed and homework. Then free play.
5:30--dinner
6:00--Family time
7:30--get ready for bed
8:30--bedtime

GOOD BOOKS

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Surviving Allergies

image source
Allergy season is upon us! I asked you all how you survive allergies on Facebook. I wanted to know everything from food allergies to environmentally caused allergies.

Seasonal Allergies
  • Bath. Take a bath each evening to wash off allergens. One person pointed out that with nightly baths, you are making sure the allergens don't get onto the blankets and pillows you will be breathing all night. 
  • Remove and wash clothes. By the same reasoning, remove clothes and wash them after being outside.
  • Essential oils. Oils like lemonlavenderpeppermint, and RC.
  • Claritin/Zyrtec. Take a Claritin, or some other antihistamine, each morning. You will likely have to rotate brands every few months as your body can build up a tolerance. Allergies are often easier to prevent than to treat. 
  • Benadryl. Take this as needed.
  • Neti Pot. Use a Neti Pot to flush the nasal passages.
  • Nasal spray. Read labels carefully because many can only be used for 3 days before causing issues.
  • Antihistamine eye drops
  • Take shoes off before coming in the house.
  • Keep windows closed. 

Food Allergies
  • Train Child. One mom shared that with her young daughter, she is training her to ask if the allergen is in the food before she eats anything.
  • Stick with Brands and Restaurants You Trust. Once you find those brands and restaurants that you know are safe, stick with those.
Do you have more input? How do you survive any type of allergy?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mozo Shoe Review



Ever since I hurt my ankle last year (see Torn Ligaments and Motherhood for more on that), I have been amending my shoe collection. Before the foot injury, I could basically wear whatever shoe I wanted. Things have changed! I now have two things that are of utmost importance: comfort and support. I need to be able to wear the shoe without my foot getting tired and sore. It has been more than a year, but a bad shoe day can still leave me limping the next day. 

But I love shoes. I am not the type who is  happy to just wear tennis shoes all day every day. I don't think there is anything wrong with being that type, but I am not that type. I like my shoes to be cute. I have shared some shoes I have found that meet this. 

Mozo Shoes shoe company recently contacted me and asked if I would like to review some shoes. Yes! I went right to these, the Maven:


I have been wanting red shoes! These have been comfortable from the first time I put them on. This is important to me at this point in life. I can't spend time breaking in shoes--it hurts my foot too much. It needs to be comfortable while breaking the shoes in. These are very comfortable! They are also true to size. They also have these in a new Picnic Collection line (pictured above). If you are looking for some comfortable and cute shoes, check these out! For a limited time,  a purchase from the Mozo Picnic Collection comes with an e-book filled with recipes and tips from some of the country's most interesting culinary personalities and experts, including Laura Maniec of CorkBuzz, Wendy Weston of Perfect Picnic NYC, Jenn Louis of Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern and Aliya LeeKong of Exotic Table. 

You can find a store near you here: http://www.mozoshoes.com/storelocator

Feed Me Friday: Beef Stew


This stew is simple but when cooked correctly is amazing. It takes a long time for this to cook, so start it right after you eat lunch if you want it for dinner. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound stew meat
  • Oil or butter
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 a head of cabbage--chopped finely
  • Carrots as desired--chopped
  • Potatoes as desired--diced (I like to use Red or Yukon Gold)
  • Onion--diced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Sprinkle meat with salt (I like to do Kosher salt for this).
  2. In a large pot for soup (I use this Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Covered Round Dutch Oven), brown stew meat with oil/butter and the diced onion.
  3. Add a little of the water. Whisk the water as it boils to help deglaze the pan. 
  4. Add remaining water.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Stir every so often.
  7. Add cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. 
  8. Add pepper to taste. Add more salt if needed, to taste.
  9. Cover and simmer for at least 2 hours (yes, again). Stir every so often.
Serve with biscuits or rolls. 

Browning the meat

Adding cabbage, carrots, and potatoes


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Positive Discipline


Discipline doesn't need to be mean, grumpy, or loud to be effective. You can discipline your child in a positive way and still get the teaching point across. Here are some ideas.

Prevention
One of the best ways to have positive disicpline experiences is to exercise a lot of prevention. If you can prevent a situation where your child does something she shouldn't, you prevent the conflict from ever happening. Training in Times of Non-Conflict is key here. Another key is your personal example (see Parent's Example). You set the tone in your home. I have many other tips on prevention:
Encouragement
Encouragement is powerful in helping teach your child the correct way to behave. See my posts Encouragement and Encouragement as Discipline for more on this.

Have Empathy
Whenever  you are disciplining your child, work to have empathy. Try to understand why your child did what he did. Try to understand what will help your child to refrain from repeating the mistake again. Understand what makes your child tic. What makes your child feel loved? What response will help your child improve in this situation?

Speak Quietly
I often find the most effective discipline is when I sit down with the child next to me or on my lap, put my arm around the child, and speak quietly with the child about the situation. This communicates caring and love. This opens the child up to listening to you. Facing your child head on and raising your voice can make the child angry, defensive, and scared. You want your child to listen and learn. If the child knows you care, she will be more likely to listen. 

Redirection
Sometimes a child really just needs a simple reminder that what he is doing is not correct and to be directed to something that is acceptable. Substitution is one great strategy. You can also use Distraction as a Discipline Tool

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Marriage: "Just Hang In There"

Shortly before my grandfather passed away last month, he and my grandmother celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. My grandmother was asked the secret to a successful marriage. My grandmother's words weer simple, "Just hang in there."

I would assume that anyone who is married and has children by this point in time can chuckle and see the wisdom in the simplicity and truth of "Just hang in there." The secret isn't grand. It isn't doing a certain list of items. It isn't finding the perfect person to marry. It is both people hanging in there. Marriage isn't all roses. There are moments of frustration, even moments of anger! There are misunderstandings and miscommunications. It can be hard. You have to hang in there. 

Of course, there are ways you can take the advice of "hang in there" and "flesh it out" as they say in writing. You can brainstorm ways to help yourself "hang in there." I am sure you can sit and think of some things you can do to hang in there. Here are some ideas I had:
  • Recognize and accept differences. Not only are you male and female, and thus very different, but you came from very different upbringings. Even if you grew up in close proximity to each other, there will be many differences in your life experiences. Allow your differences to complete each other as a whole rather than drive a wedge between the two of you. Whatever your differences, you can find ways to allow those to make you an even more awesome unit. If you were the exact same, your strengths as a team would be very limited. 
  • Pray for your spouse.
  • Focus on the positive. Look at the good things about your spouse. Do not spend time dwelling on the negative sides. When you focus on the negative, a cycle starts and just snowballs until you find yourself fuming mad. You know the idea of "you can choose to be happy or you can choose to be right." Sometimes we need to choose happiness over being right. 
  • Speak kindly to each other. Be respectful to your spouse. Speak nicely and kindly about him and to him. Offer compliments even!
  • Forgive and ask to be forgiven.
  • Communicate. Talk to your spouse. Be direct in your communications--do not hint at what you are thinking/feeling/wanting. Just say it. 
Like I said, there are many things you can do to "just hang in there." These are just some starting point ideas. The next time you face a bump in the road in your marriage, remind yourself to just hang in there. 

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Brinley Toddler Summary {32 Months}

Brinley checking out some baby ducks.
This is a summary for Brinley from 31.5-32 Months old.

SLEEPING
Brinley is still napping each day for about 3 hours. She sleeps for about 12 hours at night. I still find a 1:30 nap start time is ideal for her emotional reaction to nap time, but also still have the internal conflict of nap vs. playtime with McKenna. There are only a couple of months left of school, and after that I think it might be easier to start at 1:30 because everyone will have been home all day. 

Something to note, Brinley can definitely handle skipping a nap some days if needed. She is usually fine on that day, but also a little emotional for the next day or two after the skipped nap. 

EATING
Eating is great. We really don't have an issue with her getting down anymore during a meal. She might sometimes, but it isn't multiple times a meal and not even once every meal. We have made a huge improvement there. 

Like most toddlers, she has some meals where she eats a couple of bites and insists she is done eating. It isn't about what we are eating; she does it for foods she normally loves. This is totally normal toddler behavior. You have to kind of judge the moment. Sometimes they are doing it because they really aren't hungry. In that moment, you let them stop eating. In other moments, they are doing it because they have something they really want to do. In those moments, it is okay to require a certain amount of bites be finished before they eat. For example, this morning, Brinley suddenly decided she wanted to play play doh. She declared she was done eating. I told her she could play play doh after she ate her yogurt all gone. She ate it up and moved on to her play doh. 

PLAYTIME
Play time is great. Brinley definitely loves to play.

BIRTH ORDER
According to Leman, the baby of the family loves to be the comedian, and that is true of Brinley (see 
Birth Order: The Youngest Child). She also loves being "little," which I find surprising. I expected her to want to do everything like her siblings. She doesn't complain about them doing things she can't. She isn't upset that they go to school without her. My husband told her the other day that she was getting so big and she told him, "No! I am tiny." She also does not want to move into a big girl bed; she wants to stay, in her "baby bed." I have never had a kid want to stay in the crib before. I had plans to move her this month, but she is loving the crib so we will stay. I have warned her that when she turns 3, she has to move to her big bed. 

FROZEN
The new obsession in her life is Frozen. She was too young to be obsessed a year ago with the rest of the world (and McKenna), so she is doing it now. That is double the obsession time for me! She loves to dress up like Ana. She loves to play with her Frozen mini figures and stuffed animals, and she loves to watch Frozen. 

SCHEDULE
This is her typical daily schedule.

8:45 AM--Wake up/Breakfast
9:15 AM--Get ready
10:00 AM--TV time
10:30 AM--Independent Playtime
11:45 AM--Help get lunch ready/hang out with me doing stuff
12:15 PM--Lunch
12:45 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Sibling play with McKenna
1:30/2:00 PM--Nap
4:30/5:00 PM--Wake up and Free Playtime
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM--Bedtime

HELPFUL BOOKS
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Optimal Internal Temp=Optimal Sleep


To sleep "like a baby," your child needs to have her internal temp at the optimal for her temperature. How your child is dressed at night will have a strong impact on how well your child sleeps at night. If your child is too cold, your child will wake up frequently. If your child is too hot, your child will wake up frequently. Just like Goldilocks with her three bears, there is a "just right." Being too hot or cold can lead to not only poor sleep, but nightmares and night terrors. Your goal as a parent is to find what is just right for each of your children.

Some children like to be warmer than others, just like some adults like to be warmer than others when sleeping. Your child's preferences for how to be dressed for sleep at night can change with the seasons, age, weight, and probably the wind. Here are some key things to pay attention to:
  • Socks: In general, when the weather is colder outside, your child will sleep better with socks on the feet. However, some people just hate sleeping with socks on. I have a sock-hating child. This child hated socks even as a newborn. I got lots of passive-aggressive comments from the older people in her life about her lack of socks (even though it was 80 plus degrees outside). If your child likes to sleep without socks, hold strong and true and ignore the back-seat parenters.

    In warmer weather, your child may or may not need to sleep with socks. I love to sleep with socks, but I have a couple of months a year (the hottest ones) where I need to go no socks. 
  • Sleeve Length: In cooler weather, long sleeves is usually a good idea. In cooler weather, short sleeves is a good idea. If your child does not sleep with blankets, or kicks blankets off, long sleeves might be best even in warmer weather.
  • Pants Length: I am sure you are seeing a trend already. In cooler weather, longer pants. In cooler weather, shorts are great. If your child sleeps with a blanket, shorts might be okay even in cooler weather. If your child does not sleep with a blanket or kicks it off, long pants might be best even in summer.
  • Layers: Your child might need to sleep with layers. In colder weather, I find babies need to sleep in layers unless the room is very warm. My babies sleep with socks, a onesie, and footed pajamas or a sleep sack.
I find the main keys to a warm enough child are:
  • Warm feet.
  • Warm arms.
  • Warm "trunk"--this is your child's belly.
There are other considerations for warmth at night:
  • Blanket Use: Figure if and how many blankets to use for your child. For babies, I don't use blankets. They squirm around too much for the blanket to stay on. That is why I go for the layers as I described above. Sometime as a 2-3 year old, children usually can sleep most if not all of the night with a blanket on if needed. 
  • Number of Blankets: Use your common sense here. If the room is warm, a light blanket or even just a flat sheet might be enough. If the room is cool, your child will need warmer blankets. Our children add blankets to the bed in the winter and remove those extras at some point in the spring. 
  • Location of Bedroom: Different rooms in the house are warmer than others. Basement rooms are cooler than second story rooms. Rooms in older homes are usually closer to the outside temperature, especially rooms that are close to the roof. Rooms that are on the West side of the house are warmer at sunset than rooms on the East side, which are warmer in the mornings. 
  • Temperature of Room: The temperature of the room at night impacts how well you sleep. Sleep experts typically range the "ideal" from about 65-75 degrees. Some take it down to 60-70 degrees. You can use fans to cool things off. You can open windows to cool things off until your child goes to sleep. You can use blinds or curtains to block the sun from making the room too hot. You can use a space heater to warm the room up before your child goes to bed. You can keep your home thermostat set at the ideal for your child. You can open or close heater vents as needed. My children sleep with doors closed for a variety of reasons (including fire safety and sound barrier). One benefit is that the temperature of the room seems to stay more constant. Closets are often cold, so if it is colder in your child's room, keep the closet door shut. 
All of these things can be applied to you and your spouse, also. These things impact sleep of everyone. It is definitely worth taking note of these things in your child and yourself for optimal sleep for everyone. 

See Also:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Napels Soap Company {Giveaway}


I have been using some products from the Napels Soap Company over the last month. The Napels Soap Company offers natural bath and body products. These products are great for those who like to go natural and especially for those with skin issues like eczema or acne. This company was started by a mom whose daughter was born with the same skin issues she had always suffered with (like eczema) and she didn't want her daughter to have to go through that.

One product I have been using is the Unscented Sea Salt Soap. I have loved using it on my face especially. It gets my face super clean--literally squeaky clean. I would highly recommend their sea salt soaps! They do have scented if you would prefer that. 

Another product I am loving is the Unscented Body Butter. I saw major results in dry spots after just a few days of use. No more dry elbows! They also have scented body butter if you want something with a smell. This is my favorite body butter I have ever used.

I have also been using the Unscented Hair Shampoo Bar. I honestly used this with much trepidation. I didn't know how a natural shampoo was going to work out. But I have liked it! My hair is shiny and clean. Again, they do come with scents.

The final product is the Unscented Hair Conditioner Bar. This one has been okay. It wouldn't be able to be my only conditioner I ever used. My hair is super dry and as I used this, my hair got even more dry. So I need to alternate and use my normal conditioner as well. 

The quality of these products is fabulous! I think you will love it. And they have a giveaway for you today! Enter below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Accepting and Loving Your Postpartum Body {Guest Post}

A big thanks to Emily for this wonderful post on getting to a place of accepting your post-baby body. You can see me over at FaithfullyInfertile talking about ages for dropping naps.

by Emily Parker

I recently wrote a post about my personal journey to getting back my body after having my third baby (you can read it here). It was a difficult post for me to write but since writing it I have felt a lot better about myself. So many other moms contacted me saying how they felt less alone in their post-baby bodies after seeing my photos and reading about my experience which helped me feel less alone too!

So often we read these articles about loving our bodies. How they are beautiful because they have given birth. How we should appreciate each curve as a reminder that our body once carried a baby (or several). That all sounds so nice, but in reality? When you look in the mirror you don't say "oh I'm so thankful for that stretch mark, that cellulite, and that flabby belly!" 

It's really, really hard to find a place of peace with a post-baby body. Yes, there are those women who wear their pre-pregnancy jeans home from the hospital. Or the ones who eat whatever they want and drop weight from nursing. Or the ones that barely even looked pregnant to begin with! But me? I am not one of them. And I've come to realize that most of us mamas...we aren't those women. 

Here are some of my lessons learned and advice that I hope helps others to learn to accept, and maybe even love, their post-baby bodies:

Buy Comfy Clothes: Yes, I mentioned some women come home from the hospital in their pre-pregnancy jeans. But let's just go ahead and assume that you won't be one of them. The best purchase you can make for yourself is some clothes for the postpartum time period. Yoga pants are your friend here. Baggy shirts? Tunics? Yup. They are great. Get some cuter tops in a larger size than you normally wear (for me, I went one size up from my pre-pregnancy size). Pair them with some comfy new sweatpants or yoga pants (if the tops are long enough, of course!) and you are good to go. Toss on some cute jewelry and you instantly feel better and look presentable for all the visitors who want to see the baby. Plus you can just take off that jewelry and hop into bed and be comfortable enough for a nap when the baby naps!

Be Your Best Self: You know how I mentioned getting some cute clothes that fit your current size? Also maybe pick up some new makeup! Take the time (when you can get it!) to get ready for the day. I started getting up 20 minutes earlier in the morning to give myself time to fix my hair or apply some makeup or even, sometimes, both! It helped my confidence level in a BIG way. I felt clean, I felt put together, and I felt better about the way I looked. It wasn't about looking good for others. It was about taking time for ME and feeling good about myself. 

DO NOT try on your "regular" clothes: I thought it'd be "fun" to see if any of my old clothes fit me after having my baby. Um. Horrible idea. Trying on your old clothes will only make you feel down about yourself. You don't need that. I'm guilty of not wanting to spend money on larger sized clothes so I try to make my old clothes work. It's a terrible decision. It only results in me trying on a thousand shirts in my closet and wanting to bawl my eyes out because none of it looks the way it used to. I know you've missed your normal clothes. It's been 9 long months since you've been able to wear them! Well, keep waiting. It's worth the wait! 

Be Patient: For some crazy reason I expected to look like myself within days of having my new baby. I was frustrated right from the start and it was my own fault. The saying is true "it took 9 months to gain the weight, it takes 9 months to lose it." I'm not saying it'll take the full 9 months...but patience is key. I don't care how healthy you eat or how little you gained during pregnancy. Your body is different after having a baby. And it takes time to get back to normal. You can FOR SURE help it along by eating right, exercising, drinking lots of water, getting rest, etc but it'll still take time even while doing those things. Recognizing this time period as a period of healing makes it easier to accept. Your body just went through SO MUCH trauma and it needs recovery time! 

Wait to Diet: Again, this goes along with being patient. But don't rush yourself into a diet plan. I thought I could do some dieting at 7 weeks postpartum and that it would magically put me into my goal jeans. I regret trying to diet so early. I really think you should give yourself a solid 3-6 months before being "hardcore" about weight loss. It takes that long to adjust to having the baby as part of your life anyway so why add to that stress by trying to lose weight too? Consider the first 3 months like the 4th trimester of pregnancy :) Eat right and such but don't do anything diet-wise until things are more settled. Your body will naturally shape up during this time period anyway! When I tried dieting at 7 weeks postpartum I did lose a good bit of weight (especially inches) but I was still disappointed in the results because I had too high of expectations. Waiting longer to diet allows the body to be more ready for it and to have better results!

Do Not Compare: Seriously, don't. It will suck you into a vicious cycle and make you feel so down about yourself! Don't compare your body to celebrities. Don't compare it to your best friend's. Don't compare it to people on social media. Don't even compare your body to yourself. Don't look at old pictures of yourself and get discouraged. It's hard to resist but try really, really hard just to focus on pictures of your sweet new baby! Yes, the post-baby body isn't fun, but that beautiful little baby was totally worth it! It's also so important to BE in the pictures with your baby too. While you may not feel like your most confident self right now, when you look back you will be thankful to have photos of you with your new baby. And 20 years from now your child will cherish those photos too...and they won't care that your body wasn't "perfect."

Don't Get TOO Comfortable: With the clothes that fit, a routine to get ready, and avoiding comparing to others...it's easy to get pretty comfortable with your new look. There is such a balance with everything and that includes the post-baby body. Yes, we want to love it and accept it...but we don't want to become it either. While I may not be one of "those women" who drop the baby weight without even trying...I also don't want to be one of "those women" who are still "losing the baby weight" when their child is 27 years old. While the postpartum days should be about the baby, about adjusting to your new role, and about allowing your body to heal...you don't want to completely lose sight of your goals for yourself either. I LIKE my pre-baby body and I want to make sure I see that person again! I think having a supportive spouse is really helpful in this area. My husband compliments me and makes me feel beautiful and special in all the stages my body faces, but he also is great at supporting me when it is the proper time to lose the weight. Usually men have a few pounds to lose too (although don't you hate them for how easily they lose it?!?) and getting your spouse on board with meeting your weight loss goals as a team can be so much more motivating and rewarding! You both have pre-baby bodies you can get back to!

More than anything I believe the key to accepting and loving your post-baby body is to see it for what it is. It is a natural result in giving birth. Carrying and delivering and feeding a baby from your body is an amazing gift and it changes you. It doesn't only change your appearance, but it changes your whole life. Your body is shaped differently. Your eyes see the world differently. Your heart feels a love that it has never felt before. You are changed. Your body will not always stay this way. You will go back to your pre-baby body self. But your heart will never go back, and that love makes every sacrifice we give of ourselves totally worth it. 

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