Why I Love His Boots

Most days when my husband comes home I usually say something about him leaving his huge, bulky, stinky, sweaty boots in the middle of the floor. Those boots walk many miles everyday. They are worn every single day, from before the sun rise40fb985e13b2471591ffe59ec7507ee4s and until it goes down. The boots are a part of his life and ironically, they are also a part of my life. When the boots are in the middle of the room, he’s home. And when there are no boots to be found, he’s gone. Yes, I often get frustrated when he walks all around the house with his boots on, especially since they travel everywhere. Yes, I get annoyed when I fall over the bulky things. But on Tuesday night I stared at those boots and my heart ached. Those boots were leaving. In less than twelve hours they would be gone and on their way to a very, very far place. I realized I wouldn’t see those black dusty boots for the rest of the year. I totally have a love hate relationship with those boots. But when the boots are gone, it’s just another reminder that the man who wears them on a day to day basis is also gone. 2a0f52173d05438fa16a0d418c15651d

That’s when I look at those boots and tell myself, I love those boots. I love having them around. I love falling over them. I love all the dirt they track in. But more importantly, I love the man who wears them and comes home at the end of a long day.

This is deployment. It will not kill me. I will kick it in the butt because there is always an end of the day and a tomorrow. And I will win. I will not be overthrown. I will spend every single holiday alone, anniversary, and birthday, but by the end of the day, I am one day closer.

I didn’t see the boots last night. I didn’t see them this morning and I won’t see them for the next many, many days. He took his boots with him and the ship took my man.

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Why Staying Fit Helps

I had the opportunity to write a guest post for Kim over at Always a New Day Blog! It was so much fun writing out my post and actually seeing why I love to work out and also why I do it. I have plenty of reasons but I think my post really narrowed down the “real” reasons. Kim is doing a series on The Healthy Mama and the posts are so encouraging and motivating. Head on over to her blog to get all her updates! 🙂 And below is my post!

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I’m a mama. Most of you reading this are probably mamas or mamas to be. Let’s be real for a second. Mama life is wonderful AND challenging, but mainly wonderful and sweet, with exceptions to those really rough days that make you forget you can totally do this beautiful job you were called to do. Because there are many days as a mom that you can barely go the bathroom, and who has time to style their hair? I’ve been a mom for eleven sweet months. There have been many up and down days, more up days though! But even though I’m a mama and I take care of my son 24/7 and rarely have downtime, there is one thing I try and make sure I always have time for. And even if that means waking up half an hour earlier, I do it.

Guest Blog Post CollageSo what do I make time for? Exercise. You know why? Because when I get a quick work out in every single day (or at least 5 times a week), I feel empowered, strengthened, and energized. I need that. I need those 20-30 minutes of just Vanessa time. I want to be a fit mom so I can keep up with my son. But that’s not my only reason.

I definitely don’t have that child who has slept through the night from six weeks on. In fact, he’s eleven months now and still wakes up at least once throughout the night. And let’s be honest right now. Sleepless nights suck. LIKE BIG TIME. It’s so easy to lose your focus on whom you really are and become super depressed and frustrated because lack of sleep will totally do that to you. There have been countless nights where I slept on the sofa or paced the living in circles trying to get a baby to sleep. But you know something I’ve always tried to do? Work out. That is something for ME. And the second I finish an intense kick butt work out, I feel as if anything can come against me today.

Some mornings I manage to finish my workout before Eli wakes up. Other mornings I’m jumping around him, lunging next to him, using him as a weight, and working on my workout while also trying to occupy him. Those mornings are challenging but just like anything else, I don’t give up because I love to see the results my body has made. It is incredible to watch the progress your body goes through. Seriously, you can do anything with your body as long as you keep up with it. The hardest thing for me is consistency because being a mommy definitely means your little routine you had before babies goes out of the window and everything changes. I’m a control freak so I’ve hMyMorning Routine*ad to learn to accept the changes that come with every single day. So now I wake up at 5:30am every day just to get a work out in before the little one wakes up. I want to be a strong mommy. I want to show my son that health and fitness are important.

Most of the times I just finish my workout, sweaty and all, and I hear Eli in the bedroom, awake. So I put my mommy smile on, open the door, and greet my sweet baby. Truth is I don’t really have a lot of time to fit my workouts in. I have a baby that needs mama. I have housework that needs to get done. I’m married to a Navy man so I’m mainly alone and parent solo. But I do what I can, when I can. And that makes me feel worth it. My baby comes first, BUT mama also needs to look after herself. And for me, working out feels good for my body and also does wonders for my mind!

Do something for you every day. You are worth it!

My Confession

So yesterday afternoon hubby took me on a date. Understand that a date is a HUGE thing
for us these days because it rarely happens. We both live 1,000 miles away from any family so we don’t have the privilege of having “free” babysitters. Also, he’s in the Navy so our time together is ALWAYS limited. And whenever we do get a chance to get out alone, we try and fit everything in about three hours before picking up the kiddo again. Well, yesterday we decided to do pretty much nothing and head to the beach. Because the beach is free entertainment, beautiful, relaxing, and why not tan while lounging around. Even though the beach wasn’t super packed, I realized something about myself.

I have low self-esteem. There, I said it.

I did not have the nerve to take my tank top and shorts off and swim in my swimsuit. I couldn’t do it. Even though the beach was practically empty, I felt way too insecure. I work out. I consider myself fit. And when I see other moms on the beach with stretch marks I want to cheer them on. I want to tell them “Good job mama! You are beautiful, gorgeous, perfect, and worth it!” But instead I tell myself my tummy is gross, wrinkly, and totally unattractive. I allow my mind to play all these lies and give in to every self-criticizing thought ABOUT ME!

YMy Confession (BLOG POST PIN)esterday evening I talked to a good friend of mine and she made the same comment. She can’t even get herself to make a trip to the beach/pool in anything less than sweat pants and an oversized shirt. I laughed at that statement but then thought about it for some time. Why are we ashamed? Why do we have to feel embarrassed? Now, I’m not all about ignoring weight issues. No. If you are unhappy with yourself because of weight problems and this is something you CAN control, get yourself into a work out routine. I’m talking about moms who are in great shape and feel fit but still feel embarrassed. We freaking carried babies. Our bodies were homes to another human being for nine months. STRETCH MARKS ARE OKAY! And hey, I’m definitely speaking to myself here on this one. I think everyone will look at me and judge me and then talk about me behind my back. But honestly, I don’t know that and that’s most likely not the case.

Moms, don’t be ashamed of your body. You are beautiful. You can put your mind to anything and can change your body. Pregnancy is a wonderful miracle, but let’s be real, it changes your body in so many different crazy scary ways. But it’s okay. We’re in this together. I admire you mamas who wear a bikini and actually rock it and feel like a freaking rockstar. Yay for you. I’m working on that and don’t know if I’ll ever get there. Maybe I need some inspiration and encouragement from you! 😉 Because the reality is I’m fit. I feel incredible. I look ten times better than I did before pregnancy. But those handful of silvery lines on my lower tummy freak me out.

My final point is DON’T hide yourself and make up all those lies about what you’re not. And remember, you can do anything with your mind as long as the mind is in the same place. And your babies need to see mama loves herself and is proud of the body she has!

You are worth it. ❤

Gluten free, Sugar free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

img_20160520_122912554.jpgWho doesn’t like some yummy banana bread with chocolate chips and walnuts? Oh my word, I LOVE IT. I can’t have banana bread unless it has chocolate chips and then with an added crunch from the nuts? Mmm, so yummy!

I had a ton of ripe bananas a few days ago and already froze a bag full and still had a few more to get rid of. So I decided to make a loaf of banana bread while waiting for my husband to get back work a couple of nights ago. The baby was long in bed and hubby was still gone. I debated with myself if I should go to bed or wait up for Sam. But because I decided to wait for him to get home, I had to stay occupied in order to stay awake and so I baked. Samuel walked inside and immediately went to the kitchen and had the biggest smile on his face when he saw a freshly baked loaf of banana bread. It’s for sure a favorite around this place. Besides, who doesn’t like the idea of eating something so incredibly yummy without refined sugar?

4 Ripe Bananas

1/3 C. Maple Syrup (or honey)

1/2 C. Melted Coconut oil (or butter, but I wanted the vegan version of this!)

2 Eggs (or flax eggs if you want to go entirely vegan!)

1/4 C. Coconut or Almond Milk

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1 3/4 C. Gluten free flour blend (found at any grocery store)

Mix everything together in a mixing bowl and preheat the oven to 325 and bake for 55-60 minutes or until it’s golden brown on top. I added chocolate chips and walnuts (as I mentioned above) or you can go for a fruitier taste and add dried fruit.

Super yummy and Eli loved it for breakfast along with almond butter. Yum!

 

To My Unborn Child

May 18th, 2014.

The morning started perfect. The sun was out on a chilly Michigan morning. I started my morning with my favorite pregnancy craving at the time: peanut butter on a warm toast and banana slices. I got ready for church and daddy and I drove to the morning service. Halfway through the worship service I had a weird feeling and ran to the bathroom, but it was a false alarm and just another pregnancy moment. I went back in the sanctuary and grabbed daddy’s hand and gave him a squeeze. He was such a proud daddy already, smiling and excited to tell everyone about your arrival in the winter. Well, pregnancy bladder yelled at me to go to the bathroom, again. But this time I didn’t come out with a smile. I froze as I sat on the toilet and saw blood.

I tried to keep calm and quietly walked back to the sanctuary and grabbed daddy and he knew from the look on my face that something was wrong. So we stood there, unsure what to do, scared, worried, confused, alarmed, and hurt. Did we have to say goodbye to you already? But the news that you were coming felt so new. It didn’t seem right to say goodbye yet. Daddy put me in the car and sped to the emergency room. My stomach felt empty. My heart was breaking. I tried to hold on and tell myself that everything would be okay but something inside of me said otherwise.

The doctor did all the exams. And then we waited. And waited. And did some more waiting. The waiting felt like an eternity. But when that door finally swung open, the tears started to well up in my eyes. I knew. I knew today was the day I had to say goodbye to you. It hurt. I lost a piece of my heart and I know I will never get it back again. I sat in the hospital room begging you to please hold on. I wanted to see your heart beat. I wanted to believe it wasn’t real. I wanted you to stay. But Jesus loved you so much and he needed you in heaven more than I needed you here on earth. You are special, my angel.

I knew you for nine short weeks. Those weeks will always be treasured in my heart. I never got to see your face, feel your hands on my chest, know your name, hear your heartbeat, or feel you kick. But I know someday I will meet you and my heart will be repaired again. I will get to rock you and cradle you and give you sweet mama kisses. And thank you so much for sending your brother so I can love on him. My love for you has grown so much and until I get to meet you, just know I love you so much and I am so thankful I had at least nine weeks with you.

Mama loves you.

But I love it so much

img_20160401_085620814.jpgI’ve been a young girl. I’ve been a teenager. I’ve been a high schooler. I’ve been a college student. I’ve been an employee. I’ve been an intern. I’ve been an engaged woman. I’ve been a newlywed. I’ve been a college grad.

Now I’m a mom. I’ve gone through all those roles and have walked through each of those seasons of life. But you know what? I didn’t enjoy any of them nearly as much as I enjoy being a mom. I’m a mother.

I change diapers. I wipe boogies. My body was home to another human being for 39 weeks. I feed another human being from my body. I skip sleep and stay up rocking a teething baby at two in the morning. I read the same story over and over just because it keeps the tears at bay. I listen to the same lullabies ten times a day. I eat last. I kiss boo-boos. I’ve been peed on. I’ve been pooped on. I sleep on the edge of the bed just so baby can sleep peacefully. My arm has fallen asleep while holding a cranky, uncomfortable baby. I’ve been drooled on.

I don’t go to the bathroom alone. I don’t shower alone. I don’t sleep much. I hardly ever style my hair. I wear a dirty shirt by the end of the day. I barely have five minutes to myself. I experienced postpartum hair loss. I have stretch marks. Sometimes I breastfeed around the clock. I always share my food. I share the bed. My feet hurt by the end of the day from all the rocking and bouncing up and down just to get baby to sleep.

But I’m a mom. And I absolutely love it. This is the one role I wanted to be all my life and now I live it. There are days when I take a shower at 2pm. There are days I want to pull my hair out (but I realized that happened without me even trying). There are days I wonder what it’s like to be a college student and suntan on the beach. But I love my life. I love my role. I love being a mom to Eli. I love all the tears, the smiles, the laughter, the sticky hands, the poopy diapers, the snuggles, the boogies, the drool, the sweat from holding baby in 90 degree weather, and the crumbs on my clean clothes.

And because of my son, I have become a much more patient, loving, kind person.

Thank you Eli for making my job as a mom the best thing in the whole wide world.

15-30 Workout

Summer is here! Well, at least in Florida it is. I had a beach date with my 10 month old this morning and oh my gosh, the weather was perfect. It has been perfect all week long and funny, but when that sun shines and when the temperatures rise well into the 90s, my spirit is happy and I don’t have a hard time keeping a bright smile on. But with summer comes swimsuits and tiny shorts. And I don’t know about you, but just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean I can’t wear little shorts. Heck, if I have the butt why not.

Grab your water bottle, your tennis shoes, and a bad attitude to do this kick butt work out.

30 side lunges with leg raise (go into a side lunch and lift your leg for extra leg shaping muscles!)

15 step-ups with dumbbell/ea. leg

30 wide squats (I always squat!)

15 pile squats

30 squat jumps

15 fire hydrants ea. leg (google this one. It’s a killer!)

Do this workout a minimum of four times, six is better. Let me know how you did in the comments and how many rounds you worked your way up to.

Keep pushing mamas. Embrace the sweat and the burn. I love a good sweat because I know I’m pushing myself.

Refuel your body afterwards with a high protein meal! You earned it.