Assessing 2019 Goals

We still have a few more weeks left in 2019, and I can’t believe it. This year flew by a lot faster than I care to admit. I was on the phone with a friend the other day, and they pointed out how close to the holidays we were. I realized I was in denial, but as much as I would like to think there are more weeks left in 2019, we are nearing the end.

To that end, I am trying to get ahead with my goals for 2020. But before I do that, I have to begin the process of assessing how my 2019 went. Before the commotion of the holidays is upon us, I encourage you also to take a few minutes to determine how your 2019 went. It might surprise you and give you a little extra pep going into the holiday.

My Self-Assessment

I created one primary goal and four minor goals that would work to help me achieve my main goal. I decided to keep it simple this year, as I was doing something I’ve never done before: work to stick to my goals.

For those signed up for the newsletter, what I am about to list out isn’t news. I kept my 2019 goals “private” amongst those who follow the MS Mommy Blog newsletter, but at the end of the year, I have no qualms about sharing them now. My primary goal for 2019: to lose 10 pounds over the year. My four minor goals to help me achieve this:

  1. Meal planning
  2. More cross-training
  3. Run a faster half marathon
  4. Work towards being less stressed overall

Surprisingly(?), I found a measure of success in four of my five goals. My primary goal: on January 5th, I recorded my weight at 141 pounds. As of a few days ago, I recorded my weight at 130 pounds, a weight I’ve held steady for several weeks. I had two reasons for the weight loss goal: one, to get me solidly in the healthy weight range according to the BMI. Two, to help me run faster races to help me achieve personal records.

I believe that the success of this primary goal is due to creating four smaller goals that worked towards it. Each one forced me to be mindful of my eating and exercise habits, and working towards a faster half marathon meant I needed to pull my weight down.

Read More

I Wish I Knew: Before Getting Pregnant

Before getting pregnant, I will admit that I was completely in the dark about a lot of details. I knew what went into getting pregnant, but I didn’t know anything beyond the basic mechanics and my personal expectations were limited to media portrayals of pregnant women.

Sperm and egg meet. Cells divide and grow. Skip the pregnancy test, first sign would be morning sickness. Strangers touching my belly and offering strange prophecies about the child inside. Nine months later my water breaks in the middle of a store. I’d barely make it to the hospital in time. Three pushes and the baby is out. Oh, and the pain was unimaginable.

That’s all there was to it.

As I said in Wednesday’s post, I had a lot to learn about the process and alter my preconceived notions. I read some books, blogs, and message boards about pregnancy but once I was pregnant there were still a lot of gaps in my knowledge. Even now, if I got pregnant again, I am sure I will learn something about the process that I didn’t even know was possible.

Part of the problem was I didn’t know what I didn’t know. What was important information for me to know ahead of time might be common knowledge for another person; and what I might be familiar with may be a gap in another person’s knowledge.

There were things I wish I knew before getting pregnant, but I wouldn’t have known how to ask for that information at the time.

What I Wish I Knew

Cultural stereotypes surrounding pregnancy happens for a reason: there are some universal commonalities about the experience. Most women will experience morning sickness, most women will experience extreme fatigue, most women will have strangers offer unsolicited advice, and most women will be over the pregnancy by month eight.

What get’s missed in these cultural stereotypes is that while there¬†may be some commonalities, each woman’s experience will be unique to her and she will experience her pregnancy differently from the next person.

I wish I had known this ahead of time. I also wish I knew about some of the more minor details about pregnancy that I am sure other women have experienced. Obviously, there is no way to know every little detail about pregnancy that every woman has ever experienced, but I wish the message of “this is perfectly normal even if it doesn’t feel like it” had been driven home.

Note: I am not referring to things that may be medical complications. If something seems wrong always go to your medical professional immediately. I am referring to the minor day-to-day things, like passing a lot of gas or having bad heartburn.

Again, I blame my public school education for the gaps in knowledge, but I also blame a cultural aversion to talking about the finer points of pregnancy. I cannot change the school system, nor can I shift cultural attitudes, but I can write a post about what I wish I had known based off of my experience.

Many of these are unique to my own experience, so please do not take them as universal fact, but these are the things I wish I knew before getting pregnant:

  • It isn’t easy to get pregnant
  • The baby gets everything first, so if you are feeling fine, don’t stress that the baby isn’t getting enough nutrients
  • There’s a chance that you won’t look pregnant through much of the pregnancy (you’ll just look like you’ve gained weight), so people will look at you funny when you use the expectant mother spots in a parking lot
  • Additionally, because you won’t look pregnant for a long time, people won’t clamor to help you like they might with other pregnant women. Don’t get offended by this
  • You are not required to gain weight. In fact, you aren’t eating for two. You really are only eating for one (you) and a half (the baby)
  • For those with MS: pregnancy is addicting considering how good you may feel for the second and third trimesters
  • Regular sleep ends around month five or whenever the baby settles on your bladder. Waking up in the middle of the night will become a permanent issue (even after the baby is born)
  • Sciatic pain is a real thing when trying to sleep at night. You will have to shift a lot to find comfortable positions
  • Never stretch your legs in the middle of the night. No matter how tempting or good you think it will feel. You’ll only end in tears from the Charlie Horse pain and force your partner to massage the cramps out

Because pregnancy is both a universal and deeply unique experience, I didn’t want to restrict this post to my own experience. I reached out to some other mother’s to provide their own experiences and advice.

Read More

Chocolate Power Protein N’ice Cream

Whether you have a picky eater or an under-eater, it is sometimes important for your child to pack on some weight. That’s when we, as parents, turn to supplemental nutritional drinks and foods that are high in calories that will help them gain weight faster.

Jai recently had a nasty cold which suppressed his appetite and caused him to lose about one pound. At his age, this weight loss was less concerning, but he was already on the low end for his age range, thus causing him to be underweight. During the cold, he was only consuming liquids like breastmilk and water, so I wasn’t worried about him being dehydrated, but I wanted to make sure he was getting all the important nutrients he needed and his daily caloric requirements. I also wanted to help him quickly add that pound back on and maybe an extra one for good measure.

I went out and bought a name-brand nutritional drink for toddlers. I looked at the label and was not happy with how much sugar the product contained. He hadn’t had that much sugar up to this point in his life, but I was concerned about his need to gain weight so I bought the stuff.

He seemed to like it at first, but after a few sips, he rejected drinking more. I suspect it was too sweet for him. I couldn’t try it myself, but even Ash was unimpressed with the flavor.

We put him to bed several hours later. I had thought the drink had left his system, but the sugar and chemicals caused him to be a light sleeper and he woke up around 1am and screamed uncontrollably for about an hour (we tried to console him as much as we could). The only thing different about his eating habits that day was this drink.

We vowed never to do that again.

That didn’t solve my concern regarding his weight and need for nutrients and calories. I decided to experiment with what I had in the house.

I came up with a dense ice “cream” that uses fruit and maple syrup to sweeten it but has avocados and peanut butter as a means to heft up the calories and protein.

Because it doesn’t contain any dairy, this will be okay for your little one while they have a cold, the frozen nature of the treat will soothe throats but not increase mucus production. It is also a tasty snack, so it shouldn’t be hard to get them to eat it if you have a picky eater. You can find the recipe after the cut.

Read More