Resolutions for 2016

Last year I tracked my resolutions each month to see the progress I was making. I found this to be extremely helpful as it kept me on track. In the past, I quickly forgot my resolutions and by the time February rolled out I had abandoned them. Since it was so helpful last year, I will continue to track my resolutions here and share my successes and failures along the way!

 

In this age of technology, I am quite adept at texting. It is fast and I can do it anytime. My friends without kids often operate on slightly different schedules than I do and so texting has become my fall-back. A phone call seems inconvenient, but it can be more meaningful than a text. So, my goal is to contact a different friend or family member each day. Phone calls will be preferred, but texting will be ok if that is all time permits. I hope this will help maintain and strengthen the relationships around me!

I received a FitBit for Christmas and I am loving it! The watch is set to a goal of 10,000 steps a day. While walking 10,000 steps a day does not feel realistic at this point in time, it is certainly something to work toward. My goal is that I will increase my daily steps. This will require me to collect some more data through January, but I think this is a good goal since I can constantly monitor it through my watch and adjust my day’s activities as needed.

We have now lived in our new home for just over seven months. We left a wonderful support network of family and childhood friends. Thankfully, we’ve been blessed to meet many wonderful people here! In 2016, I want to work toward strengthening those ties. I would like to host one get-together a month at our home. We meet up with others frequently out and about or at other people’s homes, but rarely here. I would like to change that!

I love being a work-at-home mom. I get to hang out with Cupcake and also still remain in the working world. Prior to Cupcake being born, I was a teacher. Since we moved states, I need to transfer my teaching certification to our new state. It is important that I get my teaching certification in Maryland for several reasons. One, it gives me the option if I ever need/want to go back to teaching. It also makes sure that I do not lose any of the paperwork I collected before we left Connecticut. Finally, it makes sure that I get my certification before requirements change and somehow prevent me from getting it!

As I mentioned, working from home is great. It has taken me several months to find the right groove and rhythm to give Cupcake what she needs and also get my work done. I initially found myself relying way too much on electronics to keep her occupied when I was up against a real deadline. A friend of mine also works from home. She mentioned a homeschool preschool curriculum she was doing with her son. As I researched it more, I realized it was exactly what I needed. It helped to give me more focus in my time with Cupcake and it also provided activities to help build up her stamina for “work time.” My goal is to start the homeschool preschool curriculum with Cupcake this year and continue throughout the year!

In 2015, I used a cleaning schedule to keep myself organized through the first part of the year. Once the craziness of us moving hit, it was hard for me to stick to it identically, because there were so many other things to do! I am hoping to return to the FlyLady cleaning schedule this year so that I can have a more organized home. With so many responsibilities, it is often hard for me to keep track of everything. Since she puts together the schedule for cleaning, it is one less thing I have to think about.

Eating healthy and sticking to our food budget are two challenges I have worked on in the past. My goal for this year is to Meal Plan each week. This will help me in several ways. I will be able to plan ahead so there is less temptation to reach for the Mac and Cheese box. It will also require me to look at what we already have in the house so that I can avoid waste.

My goal in 2015 was to breastfeed Cupcake all year long. With her second birthday approaching, I am starting to feel ready to wean for several reasons. We’d like to expand our family at some point in the future and Cupcake’s frequent weaning schedule will make that difficult for us all to manage. So, my goal is to nurse Cupcake to 2 years old unless she chooses to wean earlier. I will take it month by month at that point!

I recently has the opportunity to start volunteering with a local group. This group has been instrumental in helping to get me established in our new state and has introduced me to some women that will become life-long friends. I want others to benefit from this group as much as I did, so my goal is to help increase membership by 25%. This is a highly ambitious goal based on based trends, but I am going for it anyway!

My last major resolution will change from month to month. I realized that although the long-term goals were awesome, there were different things that popped up throughout the year that I wanted to include and short-term goals are important. So this will be a changing goal! In January my goal will revolve around a career decision. I have two opportunities that sort of put me at a crossroad between continuing my education in one area or starting my own business in another. My goal for January is to research both options and come to a decision by the end of the month what I am going to do!

My last goal is to blog about my progress each month. This kept me accountable last year and I am hoping for the same this year!

Happy New Year’s everyone!

 

-Lindsay

 

PS What are you resolutions? Post them below! Also, if you have a FitBit or recently received one, let’s be friends! It is great motivation when I know someone else is looking in on me!

December Reflections

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

I am so happy to have the past year to reflect on. Some goals I achieved. Some I did not, but that is okay. It is all a step in progress and something I will continue to work on in the new year. I highly recommend setting these goals for yourself and checking in each month. It really has helped me to be accountable and achieve more than I would have otherwise.

Now, on to my goals.

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

My goal for December was to stick to our holiday budget and hopefully even come out a little under. We did very well! We came under our gift budget (by $3.61!) and managed to be significantly below budget on all other holiday related expenses such as hosting parties, holiday cards and traveling. Wahoo!

2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

No. My sweetie DID get me a fitbit for Christmas, though, and that has made me feel much better.My first day wearing it, it was a very rainy day, so we just hung out at home. That all being said, at the end of the day, I had walked an estimated 2.6 miles and burned over 1900 calories! I do not have a large house by any means, just a VERY active toddler.

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

I completed a 7:57 mile in April. This goal is complete!

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

I put this on the back burner. It just became too busy to keep up!

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

CHECK! I did night wean her earlier in the month and it was such a good decision. I have been sleeping better, which makes a much happier mommy!

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

For the holidays, we went back north and were able to see her again. Yay!

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

Check!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

I had one can of Coca-Cola. After months of a strong aversion, it tasted good! However, I barely could drink the whole can and my few sips satisfied my desire for soda for quite some time.

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

My goal for December was to manage the holiday craziness and keep the house in order for the many events we have. Check! The house managed to stay relatively clean throughout the holiday.

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

My goal for December was to start researching activities for the cold winter months so we do not rely on TV once winter hits! I found a great resource online that I will be implementing in the new year. It is essentially a homeschool preschool, and right up my alley. It gives me a chance to be more intentional in my time with Cupcake and provides plenty of great activity suggestions. I cannot wait to get started!

11. Post progress each month on the above goals.

CHECK!

Adventures in Nightweaning 

My dear sweet Cupcake has always been an avid nurser. She suffered from reflux and I think this just served to increase her frequency. All throughout the first year of her life, I would rise several times throughout the night to breastfeed my little girl. It was our special quiet time together. 

Sure, I was tired. There were days that I’d get frustrated, but overall it was a great experience. In the dark she’d need me, her mama, and nothing else could soothe her. As she got older she developed the habit of gently rubbing my arm or twirling my hair as she drifted back to sleep. 

Before Cupcake was born, I had no expectations for breastfeeding. I thought I’d try it and take it day by day. Weeks passed into months and then a year quickly arrived. Cupcake was still nursing 3-4x a night. I was exhausted. 

I was too tired to enjoy the nighttime feeds, but also too tired to cope well during the day. I was suffering. This was when we decided it was time to nightwean Cupcake. I researched various methods and decided that Ferber seemed like the best fit for us. 

I channeled my former elementary teacher self and drew a big poster. I included the “rules” and room for us to record what happened. The first few nights were horrible. Cupcake didn’t sleep. We didn’t sleep. She was a mess during the day and was extremely clingy. Her naps got all screwed up. I pushed on. This had worked for so many people and I knew that if I just pushed through, we’d get through this sleep-deprived tunnel. 

After a week, Cupcake still showed no improvement. Things just were getting worse. I had followed the plan perfectly and it had not worked. She was not ready. I returned to nursing her on-demand at night and my happy little girl returned. 

A few months later I was done. We had just moved several states away from all of our family and friends. My husband had started a very demanding job and I felt alone. I was tired and stressed out and again found myself pouring over parenting websites looking for help. 

I learned that it was normal for babies to still wake through the night at this age. I searched some attachment parenting sites, found support, and resumed nursing her through the night with lifted spirits. I was tired, but not alone. 

As Cupcake grew, we had a few nights where she’s sleep for four hours straight, but those were rare. I was starting to really not enjoy nursing Cupcake all night long. So, I again turned to the Internet and found reference to Dr. Jay Gordon and his method for sleep training.

This is the general idea: The parents select a seven-hour window where they will not nurse. He suggests 11p-6a. On nights 1-4, mom will nurse the child anytime before 11p. If the child wakes up between 11-6, mom will nurse, but will put the baby down awake in his/her crib. Mom will hug/cuddle/sing and comfort baby. The baby cannot get more milk unless they fall asleep. If they fall asleep and rise again, mom repeats the process. After 6am, mom resumes breastfeeding as normal. On nights 5-8, mom will NOT nurse baby between 11p and 6a. She should still comfort baby, but not offer milk until 6am. After night 8, mom will continue to NOT breastfed between 11 and 6. Additionally, she will not pick up baby if (s)he wakes up during those times. Mom can still rub baby’s back and continue to talk or soothe baby. Overtime, baby should stop requesting milk and will hopefully stop waking up during that time. 

Here’s what happened in our house:

Night 1- Cupcake woke up at 10pm. I nursed her as normal and she went back to sleep. She woke up at 1:30a. I briefly nursed her and put her down awake. She called out for more milk, but I told her that “milkies” were sleeping. She cried and asked me to hold her hand. It took her about an hour to fall back asleep. She woke at 6:08 and I nursed her as normal. We survived night 1! 

Night 2: Her first night waking wasn’t until 1am. I was scared of this scenario, since now she was going to be going from 7p-6a without milk. But it was only day 2, so I decided to push on. Again, some (a lot of) hand holding did a lot of good and she slept until 6:30am! Wahoo! 

Night 3: She was really hard to put down for bed tonight. She kept screaming for more milk and wouldn’t settle. I prepared myself for a long night. It was also my husband’s first night back home after a week of night shift. Cupcake woke at 10 and I nursed her. She woke at 2:30 and would not go back to sleep. After trying to console her for over 45 minutes, I walked out of her room. I put on my headphones and listed to a nighttime meditation to block her out. She must have fallen back asleep because I didn’t hear anything from her again until 5:15. In my half-wake state, I picked her up and started nursing her. Whoops! She was then up for the day! Yuck! 

Night 4: huh?! She nursed at 10:30 and then slept until 7! This was great! I was a bit bewildered  by the extra sleep! I was happy, but also a little sad because this was the last night we’d be night nursing and she slept  through it! 

Night 5: I was so scared of this night. No night nursing. How were we going to manage that? I decided I’d offer her a sippy cup of water so I didn’t have to worry she was thirsty. She woke up 10:59 and I dashed to her room to fit in one more session. I kissed her little baby face a million times and may have gotten a bit emotional. I knew this was the right choice. I was happier and more well-rested. I needed this, but it was also sad to see that part of her babyhood end since I knew it was me that was pushing for it. She woke at 12:30. I went in with her water and she cried for milk, but after a few minutes settled for cuddles and water. She woke at 5:47 and I rationalized that she couldn’t tell time so I went to go nurse her. I was greeted by a happy little girl saying, “Hi mama!” Success! 

Nights 6-8: I adjusted her times from 11-5a, since she wakes almost every day in the 5 o’clock hour. With a quick nursing, she goes back to sleep for another hour or two! 

Tonight I supposed to be night 9, where I stop picking her up. I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet, so I’m going to continue what we’re doing because it works for us! 

She has been so much happier these days. I think she is benefitting from the extra sleep. I think having a well-rested mommy is also helping! While this method certainly won’t work for everyone- it worked for us! 

  

November Reflections

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

Ugh. I am SO late on this. The holiday craziness has set in and while I am totally loving it, I am definitely having less time these days!

Now, on to my goals.

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

My goal was to set a budget for the two week vacation we had in November.  We did wonderfully! We were able to eat out and with all of the saving we’ve been doing all year, I even managed a great surprise for my hubby’s 30th birthday. We got massages, went out to his favorite upscale restaurant, and then spent a night at a hotel while my sister watched Cupcake. It was HEAVEN!

My goal for December is to stick to our holiday budget and hopefully even come out a little under. I’ve been making many gifts from scratch, so I am excited to see how well we do!

2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

No. Just a big no. It’s cold and I have no motivation. I am my own worst enemy here. I think it was too big of a goal for me with no gym membership or warm weather to go out in!

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

I completed a 7:57 mile in April. This goal is complete!

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

I am putting this officially on the back burner. I hope to return to this in 2016!

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

CHECK! We did spend one night away as mentioned above, but otherwise we’re trucking along just fine!

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

We got to see her in PERSON twice this month, which was awesome! I LOVED it!

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

Check!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

I had no soda in November.

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

My goal for November was to continue to work on my cleaning schedule as we have several visitors coming for a weekend this month and I want to be on top of the situation so there isn’t a mad dash to clean the house. I was successful and had a clean house!

My goal for December is to manage the holiday craziness and keep the house in order for the many events we have.

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

 

My goal for November revolved around trying to find ways to get Cupcake involved in the cooking process on some evenings so that way I can eliminate that TV block! She has become quite a good cook and helps often. I will post a blog about this soon!

My goal for December is to start researching activities for the cold winter months so we do not rely on TV once winter hits!

11. Post progress each month on the above goals.

A few days late, but check!

Elimination Diet – Halfway There!

I recently entered the phase of the diet where I am able to reintroduce potential food triggers. It has been interesting to try out all of these foods. I have become much more aware of my body and how it reacts to foods. These are my impressions thus far.

I have tested out soy, nightshades (tomatoes and peppers specifically), eggs and peanuts. Soy is in so many different things and I was finding it difficult to find replacements for other foods that I am not allowed to have yet. I figured if I could have soy, I would have a much wider availability of certain foods. Soy caused no migraine reaction at all! I know soy can be a major trigger for many people, but it does not seem to be for me. YAY!

I was really missing eggs one morning, and although I had planned on holding off for a little, I decided to change my order up so I could enjoy the nice breakfast my family was having. Eggs gave me no migraines and I felt fine! Another success!

Reading through my past posts, it’s like an ode to peanut butter. I really LOVE that stuff. Throughout these past few weeks, each time my husband made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or ate a peanut butter granola bar, it was like a little dagger to my heart. And I’m not exaggerating. I love that stuff! So I hoped and prayed it would all be okay! Thankfully, no migraine! Unfortunately, it upset my stomach a little. I also had a really hard time sleeping that night. I am not calling it a total loss, but I will definitely be doing another peanut butter trial again in a few weeks to see if it was just a weird coincidence or if I really should be avoiding the most delicious food ever created by humankind peanut butter.

Yesterday was the start of my nightshade trial. I was so excited to get to try it out, but really nervous. The majority of my recipes have a tomato base to them and I was nervous that I would react badly. I had survived the past month on this diet without tomatoes and peppers and anything spicy, but it was hard! Yesterday I lived it up. I had salsa with my vegetables and made my favorite homemade tomato sauce (served over rice pasta). It was amazing. And thankfully, I have had no migraine symptoms! I did have a bit of heartburn last night, but I really went crazy enjoying my tomato sauce- so that is no surprise!

Looking forward, I will soon be introducing dairy. Since I have had issues with dairy in the past, I will be introducing different types of dairy. I will start with those with low lactose levels and move from there over several different trial days. I am also hoping to get in my wheat trial before Thanksgiving! I do think I will allow myself to take a stopping point at Thanksgiving and reintroduce the foods that I have trialed successfully. I plan to spend about two weeks with my newly approved foods

One thing I have noticed is that my body definitely was thriving on the elimination diet. My skin was so incredibly smooth and I had a lot of energy. Over the past few weeks of introduction, I have noticed my skin slowly getting worse. Even when I remove the trial food, it still does not get better. I wonder if this is more hormonally related. Another possibility is that some combination of foods is causing it. I am going to take a few days to return to the strict TED and skip the next trial so that I can try to evaluate this further.

Wish me luck!

October Reflections

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

I am continuing to try and find time over here, since I have recently started two new part-time positions. Along with my new title as a work-at-home-mom, I am finding not enough time to get on here! Balance is hard to come by and I am hoping once I get in the swing of my second job, that I will be able to find my new normal.

Now, on to my goals.

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

My goal for October was to plan out our holiday budget for family members. We came up with a budget and I am hopeful that we will be able to stick to it.  I have a few DIY gifts that I am planning, so I am hoping they do not become extremely time consuming, since I already feel short on time.

My goal for November focuses around the fact that my sweetie gets a two-week vacation this month! In residency, he is assigned vacation time, rather than being able to take it as he wants. We have waited a long time for this vacation to come around and I am over the moon thinking about it. We will be traveling some and eating out and probably spending more money than we typically do. My goal for this month is to set a budget for his vacation time so that way we can still allow ourselves the ability to go out and enjoy, without totally blowing our plans!

2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

I really got back in to running this month. There were several days where I ran four miles WITHOUT stopping! When I set my resolutions in December, I never thought I’d be able to do that. However, I did! I also tried out Bikram yoga for the first time. Such a cool experience that is very unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I even managed to snag a babysitter one week when I hadn’t had enough time to work out. Major win!

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

I completed a 7:57 mile in April. This goal is complete!

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

I am struggling with this resolution. I definitely am trying new recipes every week, but I just have not had the time to blog about it. Realistically, I do not know if this will happen in November, either. I am hoping to find more time to put toward this blog soon, as it is really important to me!

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

CHECK! I am getting frustrated about the nighttime feeding. She had given it up for a glorious week and then got sick. Even after she got better, there were still at least two wake-ups a night. We seem to be moving toward just one wake up most evenings with a very early start to the day. I have told myself that I will not push her nursing habits through the remainder of this year, but 2016 does not have any plans for Cupcake nursing through the night regularly!

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

I pitifully failed this month. October was a hard month all around, and I know I put this too low on the list of priorities.

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

Check!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

I had no soda in October.

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

My goal for October was to go back to the FlyLady methods for laundry so that I can hopefully get on top of the mess that was September. I definitely am moving in the right direction there! I also have been doing a good job keeping a pretty regular cleaning schedule.

My goal for November is to continue to work on my cleaning schedule as we have several visitors coming for a weekend this month and I want to be on top of the situation so there isn’t a mad dash to clean the house.

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

Cupcake is a very early riser (5 am AT THE LATEST). I often will put on the TV first thing so that way I can wake up more slowly, make breakfast, and have my coffee. I experimented with moving in to play time together first thing, which just resulted in me and Cupcake both being extremely cranky. I do not think I am well-rested enough at this point to mentally manage a change like this right now. It is more important to me that I continue to nurse her than moving her away from Sesame Street. I will say that once breakfast starts, I switch the TV to a music station, and she does not ask for it again until the late afternoon. TV is my best ally in cooking dinner, and I think I am okay with that.

My goal for October was to spend the month researching fun and easy alternatives for me to help increase Cupcake’s stamina for independent play so that I did not feel so tempted to put on the TV. I certainly have worked with her on this and I have found that she will play by herself very well, after her AM TV time. The only TV I watched for myself was two episodes of Big Bang Theory the whole month!

My goal for November revolves around trying to find ways to get Cupcake involved in the cooking process on some evenings so that way I can eliminate that TV block!

11. Post progress each month on the above goals.

A few days late, but check!

Elimination Diet: Reintroduction Phase!

Well, folks, I am nearing the end of the most stringent part of my elimination diet! I am both very excited and very nervous. That is because what comes next is the reintroduction phase. Basically, my food-world will be revolving around three day cycles. On Day 1, I will introduce my new food item at breakfast. I will monitor over the next few hours to see what, if any, symptoms appear. If all seems well, I will have the item again at lunch and dinner. On days 2 and 3, I will return to my elimination diet and monitor any adverse symptoms.

Interestingly enough, overly positive symptoms-sudden increase in energy for example- can actually be a sign for an intolerance! There is one test called the pulse test. You take your pulse before and after the offending food item. If your pulse rate increases soon over ingesting the food (and it cannot be attributed to exercise or outside stimulus) it may be an indicator of any issue! I wouldn’t have expected that, but I found it pretty interesting!

I am still not quite sure the exact order in which I will be introducing foods, but we will be starting with the items less likely to cause migraines and less likely for people to general intolerances to.

Major offenders for migraines include all of the following: deli meats, anything with MSG, caffeine, nuts, hard/preserved cheeses, citrus, bananas, beans, avocados, yeast, artificial sweeteners, and chocolate. From past food diaries I have kept, I know nitrates (often found in hot dogs) and artificial sweeteners are major triggers for me! According to the European Food Information Council, the foods most likely to cause an intolerance are lactose (found in milk) and gluten. This will help form the trajectory of the reintroduction phase. I am hoping that by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I will have been able to test twelve different items! I purposefully chose to start this Elimination Diet when I did because so much of the Thanksgiving meal is already elimination-diet friendly! I can eat turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans and pumpkin to my heart’s delight! My goal is that by Christmas, I will be able to go back to a more normal diet, as I will have tested over twenty items and hopefully identified a few triggers along the way.

As I said, I am very excited about this next phase. It will bring some old favorites back into my diet, even if only for a short time. On the other hand, I am nervous. I quite honestly feel great on this eating plan. I am not sure if it is just all the healthier choices I  have been making since I cannot grab for a quick snack or always eating homemade meals or if I have a true intolerance. I do know that I feel awesome. And the reintroduction phase is all about finding the foods that make you feel not-awesome. I am purposeful setting myself up every three days to play Russian Roulette with my system. Am I ready for that?

I guess I better be, because I start tomorrow! Wish me luck!