Friday, October 30, 2015

Trick or Treat?

Happy Halloweekend! Anybody have big, fun plans for Halloween? Halloween party? Trick or treating maybe? We won't be trick or treating this year since Chloe can't walk or even sit up on her own for that matter :) Not to mention, any candy she would get would not be eaten by her. The reality is that I would eat some, JP would eat some and then I would send the rest with him to work or throw it away. I can't have it in my house because I'll want it! This momma has a terrible sweet tooth, and chocolate is my kryptonite. Speaking of candy, let's take a look at the reality of these tasty treats.




I borrowed this image from a fellow downtown Houston personal trainer and nutrition coach, Fit Mom Katy! Here are some ways that you can negate those tasty treats that you sneak from your kids Halloween baskets or from the candy you're handing out at your door! It may seem like a lot because it is! Candy is full of empty calories that don't do much for our bodies except give us a sugar pick me up followed by a candy crash. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't eat it or that I never do! This blog is called A Balancing Act for a reason! Life is all about balance. Indulge in some tasty treats, but make sure you do so in moderation. Portion control. Americans have a hard time with all the options to jumbo your combo, king size your candy or super size that meal. Have a piece or even two every now and then. I do! Just remember what you have to do to work it off and maybe, just maybe you'll be able to limit your candy intake.

Okay enough of the tricks of sugar and candy. Now I'll share with you my sweet little treat! Yesterday, my mom and I took Chloe to her first pumpkin patch! She was all decked out and ready to go.



We went to the pumpkin patch at a church not far from my parents' house. They had photo opp locations set up and wagons to haul your pumpkins around in! We knew that all pumpkin proceeds were going to a great cause, so we didn't mind spending a little extra on Chloe's first pumpkin!

Of course we got TONS of pictures. Chloe needed a nap, but wouldn't go to sleep before we left the house, so we just took her. You can tell she's a little tired in some pictures. Personally, I think they're hilarious and I love her "you've got to be kidding me" or "I'm over this" face. Now let the photo shoot begin.


We got some smiles in this one!



What is this thing you put on me momma?

And now a bigger one?



I couldn't resist adding one of her crying. I love her cry face; it's too cute. Plus her pouty attitude is what led to the beautiful, candid shots that my mom got next!







Chloe's "are we done yet?" face. 







We had to get some of Nonna and Chloe too! I love that Chloe is going to grow up with such great and close relationships with her grandparents. This is something I never had since mine all passed away when I was so young. Not to mention, the grandparents that I did know for a short while lived very far away and were already quite old by the time I was born. I love seeing Chloe interact with my mom and Jody, it's just so special.









That last one is my favorite of them! I'm glad we were able to go to the pumpkin patch with my momma! We're heading to College Station for the weekend to watch the Aggies and spend Halloween with JP's family! There will be Aggie game watching, pumpkin carving, and of course, Chloe will be in her first Halloween costume! What do you think she'll be?!

Happy Halloween y'all! Enjoy yourself, be safe and remember to eat that candy in moderation! :)

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chloe Grace: 3 Months Old




Here we are and another month has come and gone. Time will you please slow down? I need to soak up every moment with my little baby. Even though time is flying, every month with this little angel gets better and better!

Chloe is reaching an age that is so fun! She's much more vocal about everything: both happy and angry. She tells us when we're funny and when she's hungry. If she's hungry, those demands turn into screams followed by cries very quickly. What can she say? She gets the hangries just like her mama.  Luckily, she's usually a very laid back, happy baby. Aside from being hungry, most of her conversations are very animated and happy. We haven't quite cracked her first laugh, but we've gotten a few giggles and a squeal or two. She scared herself the first time she squealed and cried a bit after. Of course, we couldn't help but laugh which quickly changed her demeanor back to happy go lucky.



Not only is she chatty but she is quite the wiggle worm or ChloWorm like we named her in the hospital. As you can see, it's hard to get a picture of her laying still if she's in a moving mood. She recently started throwing her feet in the air, staring at them and kind of reaching for them. We haven't mastered reaching, grabbing or any sort of hand-eye coordination, but she's well on her way! I'm okay with her staying in the stage she's in for now. I love watching her move around and try to figure things out. I can see her think brain working pretty hard in that cute little head of hers.

Besides her feet, her hands and her tongue are some of her other favorite things. She loves sticking her tongue out and chewing on it. But what she loves even more is her thumb! Houston, we have a thumb sucker. She found her thumb a few weeks ago and uses it to self soothe. She mostly sucks on it at night when she's really tired, but she also goes for it during the day if she's getting pretty hungry. I'm hoping it stays like this and she doesn't become too obsessed with it. For now, I'm not worried about her adorable little habit.



On top of discovering her favorite body parts, she has also started drooling and spitting like crazy. We've finally busted out the bibs to keep her from soaking her clothes around her neck! She loves to blow bubbles and spit them out. Yum!

Chloe had even more firsts this month...
  • First trip to the zoo!
  • First Harry Potter Party
  • First Aggie tailgate at Spence Park
  • First wedding activity for Auntie Em {We went to see her wedding dress!}
  • First time to actually suck her thumb
  • First squeal of excitement




My Darling Chloe Grace,

You are growing so big and developing quite the personality! I'm pretty sure that every day you smile a little bigger, wiggle a little more and light up our lives more than you could imagine. You're daddy and I are loving watching you grow and develop.

You love to shove your hand in your mouth and suckle around until you eventually find your thumb. That's actually how you fall asleep these days. You also can't get enough of your tongue! You're constantly chewing on it, sticking it out and wiggling it around. You smile with your tongue out. Ooooh with your tongue out. And even use that tongue to blow and spit out bubbles which has made you quite the drooler lately.

You're doing a great job sleeping through the night! Sometimes, you don't even wake up to eat until Mommy's alarm goes off at 4:30 or 5:00am! I get so proud on those mornings that I brag about you all day at work. I'm hoping that soon those mornings turn into an every morning kind of deal. I know that you'll take your sweet time and get there when you're ready which is just fine with me. Don't grow up too fast little girl. You're going to be my baby forever.

Sometimes I stare at you in awe and just thank God that he made me your mommy. How did I get so lucky? Everything you do makes me a proud momma! Every coo is music to my ears. Every cry pulls at my heartstrings. Every smile melts my heart. Every wiggle fills me with joy. Keep being you baby girl because I love who you're becoming.

I love you forever,
Momma

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One Month Update
Two Month Update

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Getting Back to Running Post Baby



Chloe nailed it. This is pretty much how I felt about the Aggie game this weekend. It was tough to watch and I'm trying to figure out where our offense went. Oh well, I'm not here to talk about my weekend. It wasn't the most exciting weekend in the world. In fact, it didn't stop raining which caused my first race postpartum to be cancelled. Such a bummer! Speaking of running postpartum, that is what I'm here to talk about today!

I was lucky enough to have an easy, vaginal delivery {birth story part 1, part 2} which allowed me to get back into the running game quickly. I was itching to get back out there since my running during pregnancy was cut short due to my ankle injury in my 16th week. So here's how I got back into running post baby.

Take it Slow.
A slow and steady start will help you ease back into the swing of things. Jumping in too fast could potentially cause injury or becoming incredibly discouraging. For me, it all started with walking. As a runner, walking never seems like enough. In fact, it feels like you're not trying hard enough or taking the easy way out. Remember, having a baby is a traumatic experience for your body. You need to let yourself heal completely before doing too much. I started going on walks after about 2 weeks. This time will vary for everyone! After two weeks, I was ready to get out there and take it slow. I mean slow. I couldn't walk with the dogs because they went too fast for me. Eventually, I was able to pick up my walking speed and I even learned how to take the stroller and one dog out together.




Try your first few runs solo.
Once you're ready to try to run, go out solo. You don't have to worry about slowing anyone down. You can take walk breaks when you need to. You only have to worry about how you feel. Make adjustments during your run, and remember it's your first few back in the game, you don't have to be perfect. Going out alone will help get rid of insecurities and you can just be proud of yourself for being out there! I attempted my first run in College Station at about 4 1/2 weeks postpartum. I only did 2 miles, it was probably pretty slow, but I was out there and I did it!





Don't expect to be the same pace you were pre baby yet.
Getting back into running is hard. Not only is your body different, but your endurance is as well. The most discouraging thing about running again is that you cannot pick up where you left off. Your normal pace is no longer normal, it's now your goal. Your previous goal pace is now a stretch goal. Try to remember where you are and be proud of yourself for getting back in the game. Start slow and gradually push yourself as your body becomes stronger. Try going out for your first few runs without a watch. I used a running app to track my mileage. I wouldn't pay attention to it during my run, but I was able to see how far I went.

Chloe will be 3 months old this week and I'm still about 30 seconds per mile slower then I used to be on average!

Train with a jogging stroller.
Jogging strollers are great! You can get your runs in with baby in tow and it's an awesome training tool. You think you're slow without the stroller, wait until you're pushing several pounds while you run. Again, you may be slower and need more walk breaks, but this is amazing for your endurance! Don't get discouraged and keep using it. When you run without the stroller, you'll feel like a rock star.

Here's an important stroller tip, don't assume the tires are completely inflated when you get it all set up. Mine were only about half full and it took me 2 months to realize it. Once my dad pumped those babies up, running with it was so much easier. Magical really!

There are tons of jogging strollers out there and everyone has there own preference. I recommend going to a store and getting a feel for the strollers before purchasing. I have the Graco Relay Performance Jogger {It's on sale at Babies R Us!} and love it! Chloe loves it too. She usually sleeps during our runs together, but sometimes likes to stay awake and watch her momma bound around. Here we are post run when she was awake for once!




You might pee.
This could be TMI, but I wasn't expecting it. I thought this may help some other confused new mom out there. Your bladder is not what it used to be, but it does get better. Here's how to avoid embarrassment: (1) Go to the bathroom right before you start running. Not 10 minutes before, right before. (2) Wear a pad. After a little while you can graduate to a panty liner. (3) Focus on contracting your lower abs. (4) Do lower ab exercise every single day. You'll survive. Push through it. Just know that you'll probably pee yourself some. And it takes a while for it to go away. I still haven't gotten there yet :-/


Enjoy the run.
You're running again because you're a runner and you like running. So enjoy the run! Don't focus on the negatives. Focus on how far you've come and the fact that you're actually doing it again. It takes time to get back to where you were before, but this about how much your body has accomplished. It's pretty amazing really. Now go out there and find something about your run that lights you up. It can be a song on your playlist, a favorite route or even just time alone. Just run!

How did you get back into running post baby?
Do you appreciate running more now?

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Day in the Life: October 2015

Earlier this week, I promised a glimpse into my day now that I'm working and I have my baby girl at home. Not every Monday is exactly like this, but this week was a pretty good depiction of my Monday work day! Here we go...

4:30am
My alarm goes off! Yippie! Getting ready in the morning takes a lot longer now that I have Chloe Grace in my life. I usually hop out of bed and get myself ready in about 20 minutes. Luckily all I wear is Spandex, and I get to throw my hair up in a ponytail or bun with a swipe of mascara and I'm good to go!

4:50-5:30am
I get to spend time with my girl! We go into her room where I nurse her in our rocker and decide what I'm going to do to torture my guys when I get to the gym. Then I stare at her, snuggle her and change her before putting her back to bed.



5:30am
Finish getting everything ready. Is my pump in my backpack? Do I have a change of clothes in case I need it? Are my breakfast and snacks packed? I try to do these the night before, but sometimes forget. Then I make myself a rice cake with peanut butter and some coffee {super important!} before heading out the door.


5:50-6:00am
Go to work.


6:00am
Clock in and get situated at work. Set up for my Wake Up Call group training.






6:30-7:15am
Train my Wake Up Call! Right now I have 3 guys. I recently took it over from CJ who has been doing it for the past 2 years. I'm hoping to spice things up and see if I can add a few new people to the mix. Here's what I had them do this week!


It's a killer workout and totally worth the challenge!

7:15-7:45am
Train one of my runners. Usually I train my runners on Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings, but this week, I changed it up to fit schedules. Today I had him running for speed on the track. I can't think of anyone who has told me they love speed work. It's hard, it kind of sucks and it takes your breath away. On the plus side, it helps your training immensely! So do it!

7:45am
Payroll Monday! Every other Monday, I do payroll. It's pretty easy, just a bit tedious. I like being able to use my math and Excel skills from my former job. It's good for the brain, plus it keeps me on top of things!

8:30am
Locker Room duty! Not the most glamorous or exciting part of my day, but it has to be done. Take out the towels, make sure the showers are clean, wipe down countertops and restock toiletries. It's easy to do and I know the members appreciate a clean locker room!

9:00-9:30am
Time to pump. TMI? Sorry, but I have to do it. I just hole up in the back room and play on my phone or work on class ideas while I get food for Chloe!

9:30am
Clean up the gym floor. At this point, Caitlin and Lauren have already started this process and I come down to help finish while saying, "Y'all could have waited for me!" And then they say they were bored or they might as well just do it.



9:45am
The longest hour and 15 minutes in all the land. We hang out, talk, plan our classes and workouts together, walk around the track, complain about being cold and wish that time would go by faster! I also have my snack during this time: Cheerios and Greek yogurt, trail mix, gold fish, grapes, banana, something healthy and delicious. It's so much easier to eat healthy at the gym.

11:00-11:45am
Cycle Class! I teach cycling and it's awesome. I love my class and I'm so glad they wanted me back after being gone for so long. I stopped teaching at the end of June because of my belly and back. Now I'm back at it and love it.


11:50-12:35pm
Tabata Class! My personal favorite and the most popular class at the gym. Score! I have such a great and encouraging group. It makes new people interested and they just keep coming back!


12:35pm
Wrap up at the gym and head home.




1:00pm
Get home and shower while Auntie Annie is still there to help me with Chloe.

1:30pm
Usually I immediately feed the beast...aka Chloe. She's hungry and ready for attention from Mommy when I come home. This week, I got to eat lunch first because she was still sleeping.

2:00pm
This is when I finally get lunch. But like I said, Chlo and I swapped this Monday. Chloe woke up and really needed some Mama time, so she nursed for 45 minutes.

2:45pm
Relax and snuggle that baby girl.

3:45pm
Get a few things done around the house. Today I put away things in Chloe's room and picked up the living room. Then Chloe and I played and did tummy time on her activity mat.



5:00pm
Daddy comes home! Of course, it's just in time for Chloe to be hungry again, so we just lounge on the couch and talk about our days while Chloe eats to her heart's content.

6:00pm
Dinner time. Yes, we're old and we eat early. I'm usually starving by now. Today we were lazy and ordered pizza because it was half off! Plus I was exhausted and didn't want to cook.

6:30pm
Sit around and do nothing. We take turns getting Chloe snuggles and just relax. I'm exhausted and kind of crabby by this point, so we watch Monday night football while I do my ankle therapy exercises.

8:00pm
Feed Chloe and start winding down our day.

8:45pm
Get ready for bed.

9:00pm
Bed time. I'm down for the count, so Chloe and I go to bed while JP finishes watching the game.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

This Weekend I...

It's Tuesday! No longer Monday, but not quite Wednesday. Poor Tuesday. You know, Tuesdays used to be my least favorite day of the week. Now I don't mind them so much since I get to sleep in and wake up with my sweet baby girl laying in her bed right next to mine. Bliss. Enough about Tuesdays, let's talk about everyone's favorite...weekends. This past weekend was absolutely wonderful!

Friday I...

  • ...woke up early to tackle 7 miles! It's my longest run postpartum and it felt great. I already talked about it and the power of positive thinking while training last Friday. If you're needing a pick me up for your run training take a look!
  • ...packed up and headed off to College Station with my man and my girl! 
  • ...enjoyed spending time and eating delicious food with our family and friends.

Saturday I...
  • ...tailgated for Aggie Football! We actually went out to Spence Park for the first time this football season. Of course, we had to bring Chloe along all decked out in her best Aggie maroon attire. Since we were playing Alabama, the park was crazy and everyone was out and about. It was an awesome atmosphere!
  • ...went to the football game too! That's right, Chloe went back home to her JoJo and they hung out while JP and I went to the game with Kate and Nathan. I was excited to be there and it was pretty loud at the beginning, but as the Aggies threw more interceptions, the excitement died and the stadium quieted...a lot. We had potential to do well, but unfortunately, the Ags were defeated yet again by Alabama. At least it wasn't as bad as last year!



Sunday I...

  • ...enjoyed a gorgeous morning in College Station. JP and I drank our coffee outside in the crisp 58 degree air! That hasn't happened all year! 
  • ...ate an always amazing brunch at the Gougler house then went for a nice walk with JP and Chloe outside to burn off a few calories and shake out my legs before heading back to Houston.
  • ...went to Sugar Land to watch the Packers with my daddy! I also went on a 2 mile run during half time because I had a case of antsy legs. It's a technical term. Science y'all. My legs wanted to go, so I decided to just burn off the energy.
  • ...eventually made it home in time to wind down and call it a night before my early Monday morning wake up call!



About that Monday morning wake up call...I thought I'd share a fun Day in the Life post about days that I go to work and come home to my little princess! I had a great response to my post from last year, so why not do it again with my new, crazy life! Stay tuned to see what my Mondays are like these days.

Until then...happy Tuesday!

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Five on a Friday!

It's Friday! Yippie! Today I'm linking up with some lovely ladies for Friday Five! I have done it in a long while, so today seemed like the perfect day to join in.

1. I ran 7 miles this morning! Longest distance since February and it felt pretty great! I went into my run with a clear head and positive attitude which really helped me push through the mileage. I had a conversation with some of the runners I'm training this week about what a positive attitude can do for a run. It's so easy to get discouraged during training, especially in the Houston heat and humidity which still has yet to subside. I believe that running distance is 75% mental. You have to be in a good place in your mind in order to keep going. Find a place to run that you enjoy the scenery; have an awesome playlist that you want to listen to. It's all about finding something about your run that get's you excited and makes you look forward to those long run days.

This morning I ran along the Houston Buffalo Bayou music free. It was nice to just have quiet time with myself to think about whatever popped into my mind. I had to stop twice for a minute to bring my heart rate down a bit, but other than that the run was smooth. Since having Chloe, my average heart rate is still elevated, so I'm trying to keep an eye on it when it spikes.

If you ever have any running questions, training questions or just need some extra motivation, please reach out to me! I love helping and talking to other runners.



2. Chloe has slept from about 9:00pm to 3:30-4:30am every night this week! Quick mommy brag. I'm so proud of this girl and I appreciate the sleep. Like I said earlier this week, work is kicking my booty, so longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep is amazing. And here is a funny Chloe picture from this morning just because she makes the funniest faces when she wakes up and is so happy.



3. I'm currently obsessed with these foods. 
Amy's is an easy, healthy lunch for me to heat up when I get home from work. I'm usually starving and Chloe is always starving, so I can make it fast after I feed that precious girl.
Bakery on Main Granola is just delicious. I know that granola can be loaded with calories and sugar, but it's great in moderation and this stuff just tastes delicious.
Biscoff spread. It's just amazing. I like it on toast, in my oatmeal, on rice cakes, pretty much most places that I would eat peanut butter. Again, not the best for you, but life is all a balancing act. Eat delicious, less than nutritious things in moderation and you'll be so much happier.
Quest Bars are an easy way for me to get protein in the mornings at work. I can throw one into my lunch box and eat it after my morning clients. There is some controversy on whether these are truly considered "healthy" for you. In my own opinion, they're a great way to get protein with less carbs. As a breastfeeding mother, I need protein for Chloe and this is an easy way for me to get it on a busy day at work!


Amy's Light & Lean Spaghetti Italiano
Bakery on Main Nutty Cranberry Maple
Biscoff Crunch Cookie Spread
Quest Bars

4. Having a baby makes you reconnect with so many people. It's amazing! I have reconnected with friends from high school and college that are in similar places in life. Now being a mom also makes doing things a bit harder, so I haven't met up with a lot of them yet, but it's in our future for sure. It's so special to have people to share this experience with other people who have little ones or are pregnant. You have someone ask questions, have playdates and just talk to/vent/etc.


5. I hope the Aggies BTHO Alabama tomorrow! {That's "Beat the hell outta" for you non-Aggies out there wondering what the heck I'm talking about.} Football season is the best time of year, especially since it encompasses all the holidays too! We're heading off to College Station after lunchtime, and I can't wait to see our family and then tailgate and watch the Ags!

Here are some tailgating pictures from our game exactly a year ago. It's too bad that it's not cool enough to wear boots...or even pant/leggings yet! That just goes to show how hot October has been this year.



Happy Friday y'all! Have a wonderful, safe weekend and I'll be back next week!



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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

Happy Thursday y'all! It's Friday Eve and I'm done working for the week. I was up at the gym bright and early this morning to teach class, but really just didn't feel fantastic. In fact, my head is killing me and I think it's those darn allergies. I was supposed to sub a class at lunchtime, but had to get CJ to sub for me because I just don't know if I'll make it. That being said, I've got a lot of random things on my brain and my girl Rachael (remember her awesome Harry Potter party?) links up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursdays. So today seemed like the perfect day to join in!

  • How is it already the middle of October? This year is flying by. Now, I wanted the month of July to go fast and of course it was the slowest month ever imaginable and I'm pretty sure there were 24 weeks in July alone. I blame that on being 8-9 months pregnant. Ever since Little Miss arrived time is going too fast. She's growing up so fast! But she's just the best. I mean, how did I get so lucky?



  • Speaking of Chloe, does anyone else think that babies are hilarious when they are pitching a fit for no reason at all? Chloe pretty much lost it the other day because I set her down to get situated before nursing her. I mean lost it. Look at this face! Her legs are stretched out, arms are flailing and she is screaming bloody murder. I had to take a picture before actually feeding her.



  • This weekend we're back in College Station and the Aggies are playing Alabama. It's going to be an awesome game as long as the Aggies don't play the same way they did against Alabama last year! JP and I are lucky to have his amazing parents in College Station, so not only do we get to seem them, but Jody is going to watch Chloe so I can go to the game! We're looking forward to tailgating with our friends out at Spence Park for the first time this season. It's crazy to think how much Aggie football games have changed for us this year. Definitely for the best though.

  • Do y'all ever have really hungry days? Like you have a case of the never fulls? I feel like that's me every Monday and Wednesday now that I'm up so early and working so hard! Just regular work on top of working out makes me hungry enough without adding breastfeeing on top of that. I'm looking for some new healthy, filling snack ideas. Anyone have something they absolutely love that isn't the usual hummus and carrots or yogurt and granola?
  • I'm back into running again and officially training for Disney and Houston 1/2 marathons in January. I'm also training other runners at work by creating plans, helping them stick to their plans, providing tips and focusing on speed and hills. This week I did my speed work on my own and I was so proud! I sent a few of my runners a treadmill hill workout that I thought I'd share with y'all. It's a great way to get some hills in without having to run outside in the Houston humidity and 90 degree temps after work!

  • I've got 7 miles planned for tomorrow morning and I'm looking forward to the cooler temps that have been gracing Houston mornings the past few days! 
  • Last but not least, I started physical therapy yesterday to help with my ankle injury from earlier this year when I was pregnant! It was awesome, and I love my therapist. She really wants to focus on getting me back to my prepregnant shape which is including a lot of core and pelvic floor work along with my ankle strengthening. She even wants to have me work with the running specialist, so I'm actually really excited. In fact, I should probably go work on those exercises she prescribed for me! 
Y'all have a wonderful Friday Eve! And remember...



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