Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Charlotte Walk to End Alzheimer's

I have a touch of emotional writer's block this year when it comes to Alzheimer's. I wrote a wonderful post you can read here last year.

The truth of the matter is that Mom has progressed. She has progressed to the point that we have had friends tell us they can now notice changes from just July. We welcome these comments because they validate and acknowledge what we already know and feel...that we are losing her. For awhile most people would be polite and say she seems fine, maybe a tad spacey. But it is so much more than that. The things my father goes through on a daily basis would blow your mind. I have always been close to my Dad. We are the same person. We like schedules, traditions, order, good times and everything to always be the way it was.

Things are not the way they were and are quickly declining. Watching this happen to my father is harder than watching it happen to my mother. I don't know how to articulate that, it just is. I am two hours away but very pregnant and I wish I could do more. My Dad is my best friend and he is utilizing all caregiver resources possible and it is still not enough. He has always done the lion's share of running a household but my mother made it all more beautiful. Holidays were grand with amazing food because of Dad but our house looked and smelled gorgeous because of Mom.

I don't have any rosy words about Alzheimer's today. I joined a group on Facebook called Memory People and I might have to hide it from my feed until after baby girl is here. Sometimes it is just TOO MUCH.

There are wonderful days. Silly moments like her eye cream incident I posted awhile back or moments when she is singing every word to Fleetwood Mac at the top of her lungs at our buddy's J.Sam's Bar. She is still my mother, but ever so slightly.

As I prepare to bring a baby girl into this world the parallels of me being a mother to a little girl are not lost on me. I am scared to death of inheriting this disease. I am scared I won't be able to understand what is happening when my children have children. I envy my brother's kids because they got to know BB well before Alzheimer's inhabited her brain.

I've said it before but it is the one piece of advice that has stuck with me. I feel guilty for this sadness. I feel guilty for wishing she was different and for not accepting who she is now. My Doctor here in Charlotte told me that every time I see my Mom it will be like mourning her all over again. I will still expect her to be the mother that always showed up at my door with hugs and flowers and stories, but it will always be somebody else...and that sadness I experience is not selfish or guilty, it is grief.

If you have read this today I thank you. If you have donated I thank you. And if you would like to come out and walk with my parents and I we will be at Symphony Park at 9:45 am near the right side of the stage. It should be a beautiful and joyous occasion as the walk is to celebrate and raise money to End ALZ. I promise to be light-hearted and silly (and possibly might  take a short-cut through the route). Here is the link to my walk page.

I will leave you with what I said last year:
Lauren Miller (Seth Rogen's wife) put it best. She said that we are at the point in life where most women become best friends with our mothers. We ask them for parenting advice, we swap stories of marriage, breastfeeding, daycare, being a working mother. If you are currently in this stage with your mother love it and cherish it. Take her out to lunch. Take her out for a pedicure. Soak up every ounce of wisdom and love she is giving you. 

A Daughter, a Mother, and a Caregiver

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weekend Report and the First of Many Checklists

Oops, no posts in a week. Ford actually ended up being home with us all week until Friday so needless to say not much happened past work and taking care of my little guy AND getting my back cracked.

Quick Weekend Recap:
Soccer, Dinner with Friends, Church, Waffle House (yep), Tennis, Dinner with Friends. I am definitely a homebody but not when I've been cooped up for 3 days with a toddler in the house while trying to getting out and about this weekend to see some friends was so so so nice. 

Feeding the Ducks. Always a good way to end a golf cart ride.

My post Church Date

Tennis Boys

I'll dedicate a full post to this but CHIROPRACTORS WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!! I apologize for being a naysayer and nonbeliever but I can walk and have been walking without a limp since Saturday. Shocking. I apparently have SI joint dysfunction (beach fall?) that is aggravating my sciatica and have been having a really hard time getting around.

This list is pretty spot on for what has been in my head. Expect a post about Hospital bag, back-up plans for kids, and the "hot" items that apparently weren't around 3 years ago!

1. Mani/Pedi
Thank you to my friend Margaret for giving me a giftcard for a pedicure! Will be doing that this week. 

3. Go on a Date or 6 
We NEED to do this. I usually work Friday nights but I think the next few Saturdays we should just go to dinner. Nothing crazy, just get out the two of us before baby comes. 

4. Upgrade your phone storage
This is already on my radar. On my mega to-do list is to backup all photos off my laptops/dropbox/iphone album and make room for a gazillion newborn pics! I still miss Kodak Gallery and HATE Shutterfly. This is why if you are a friend of mine I upload everything to Facebook. Sorry.

6. Ask for a Foot rub 
HA. I ask for this every night.

8. Invest in a nice new Yoga Outfit
Old Navy $20
I'm on the hunt for comfy pajamas/maternity yoga pants for this fall. I only have 1 pair from Motherhood Maternity and can't fit in my fancy lululemon's I got last year. I'll have to wait until December to get those bad boys on.

11. Prepare for the Postman
I desperately need new stationery. One of my Aunts used to send me a box every Christmas from embossed graphics. That was the BEST present but stopped in the late 90's. An Aunt on the other side of the family will send packs of notecards too but I have blown through all of those!! I don't have any with my current monogram and correct return address. 
(Toto we're not in Florida anymore!)
Actually I think I need a return address stamp so I can save $$ on baby announcements, Christmas cards...etc. The one pictured above is just one of thousands on Etsy. The problem is I go on there and find so many I like and never pull the trigger. New stationery has been on my list too but I'm using up the old initials KFB as long as I can. 

12. Tinker
My BFF already had a rock'n Newborn Napper and I heard this item was a go-to for so many people. We need to set that bad boy up as well as test the batteries in all swings/bouncers/noise makers.

13. Stock up on Staples
We are running low on Wines-that-I'm-allowed-to-drink. (Under $12 since I drink so much. oops.) I have maybe been having 2 or 3 glasses a week and I'm cutting into the Mr's nice stash. I think we need 2 handles of Jim Beam and about 5 bottles of red. Or 2 boxes of my Pinot Evil. Mama's ready. Oh wait, they probably meant food. OOPS.

17. Help
We have several babysitters we love but I'm nervous if they can handle a toddler + a newborn. Need to possibly recruit one or two more that are comfortable with babies. My mother in law returns from Switzerland in mid October and has offered to stay until the baby arrives. I might take her up on this. I can barely give Ford a bath with this belly much less if my back is acting up. And if you know my family's situation you know that my mom cannot assist. That has been a hard one to swallow this go-round and that's all I have to say about that right now.

18. Use a vacation day
HAHAHAHHAHAHA. I wish I could do this. I need a day in my house without my son around to finish switching all these closets, organize some drawers and just do house stuff. But I have to save every single PTO day I have left to hopefully get me to the end of the year.

19. Sleep
I need to stop staying up and watching movies I've seen before and football games I have no emotional interest in and just GO.TO.BED. I have been averaging 10:30 and I should get sleep while I can.

So did you like this list? I've got more coming. I have a huge to-do before baby list hanging over my head!

I got 99 things on my to-do list and exercise ain't 1.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Weekend Report

2/3 sick in the house and Mama is a gimp.

I finally got my husband back but he is sick from his trip. And Ford came home last night and before bed had a fever of 103. He woke up at midnight with that barking cough and I went into major worry mode. I've had a Whooping Cough shot so I felt safe there but what about that scary Enterovirus that is all over the news? Max slept in bed with him with Vick's all over the both of them and it turns out it is just Croup. WHEW. Croup is the smeagol-esque scratchy voice and barking cough. Our 4th time with it so I should know better by now. Dr said the 2nd night is worse so let's hope he is on the mend soon! I know I will have sleepless nights soon but 1,2,3,4,5 and 6am were pretty brutal.
I won't go into detail of my sciatica pain, I'll do that on Thursday. I think I look like this when I walk though:
Let's just say I never ever thought I would go to to a Chiropractor and I've been twice this week.

People make fun of soccer moms but let me tell you something, I have been WAITING until my Saturday mornings are consumed by Sports. I'm sure the day will come when I change my mind and just want to go get mimosa drunk with my girlfriends but right now I love it. Ford had his first game this weekend and while it wasn't the World Cup those little kids had so much fun. We even took the team to Krispy Kreme afterwards to celebrate their effort! 
(I ate 3 donuts. I stole from children)

2 Sundays in a row! My goal is to get to Church twice a month. This past Sunday was the first day of Sunday school and although we had a few tears to start I think he liked it! I was very active in church as a kid, both in the choir and as an acolyte so I would love to add some religion to Ford's life. His daycare is not Church based.

(East Coast Natalie's 30 day Challenge to not buy new clothes)
I haven't bought any new clothes because let's face it...who likes to buy maternity clothes?! But I'm going to need some new undergarments as this ass has doubled in size. Remember that scene from Road Trip? Did you kill a Cheetah?! 

(I'm following along with the same rules as Chasing Pink Fireflies)
Menu via Etsy
We have done pretty well with this except for the several consignment sales I have been to and things we needed for the boys (and little girl). I mean come on....$2.
We just HAVE to stop eating out. I need a good weekly meal calendar. Ideas? There was one on Instagram once that doughmestichousewife posted and I tracked down but alas I didn't keep that info. I could possibly buy the one above and laminate it to re-use every week?

And then this...

Hand sanitizer K

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Find the Boobs-Breastfeeding in Winter

I had my son in March and while it was still a tad chilly I got by most days with wrap dresses for work and button down shirts. Just like this:

With a due date in November now I'm wondering how in the hell my daughter will get to her dairy farm if I'm wearing 10 layers. I'm asauming nursing tanks and cardigans? Please let me know your favorite nursing tanks! I wore the Target ones and probably need a refresher.

I love open cardigans because you can toss them over dresses, other sweaters, tanks, etc and instantly have a fall outfit. I have a black one from Banana that has holes in it from being worn too much. Last year I finally found a camel colored one at...shocker...Banana again. I really wanted the Lilly Pulitzer camel one but it was $200+ cashmere and my Banana one has been great.

I also have a navy Lilly one and a hot pink J.Crew one I scored at the Asheville bin sale for $5. So while I'm not lacking my goal would to be to add maybe 2 or 3 more for this fall. I'm assuming my uniform is going to be black leggings, nursing tank, cardigan. Right? See, here's me in 2 months; freshly showered, clear skin, skinny legs. HA.

And moms...what were your favorite leggings post baby? I think Natalie said Spanxx are the best and I'm going to need that extra suckage from this diastasis.
**One thing to remember, make sure there is enough material to cover in front. I bought one last year that just doesn't pull all the way closed. Nursing tanks don't exactly hold their shape and I want to be able to cover up...ya know what I mean?

Here are a few I've had my eye on:

My girl Nat over at East Coast Chic and I have the exact same taste. Same maternity clothes, same curtains, and she also has a post about awesome open cardigans. She posted this one and although it's #nospendseptember and I'm joining her in #ecn30dayclosetremix I might have to order this. Carolina blue for the win during football season!

A bit pricey but I have a maternity cardigan from them and they are so so so soft. 

Looks a tad cheap but could brighten up my morning after 3 hours of sleep and spit up in my hair right?

I've never owned Zella gear but it might make me feel like exercising? Or at least washing my pump parts.

Again, trying not to spend this month but this is a steal. And the pockets would be great for tissues, wipes, nipple shields...all that sexy stuff. I think I'd order a size up to allow enough coverage. 

This cardigan was posted on Pink Peonies 
so it sold out like hotcakes and while this whole tribal aztec thing isn't normally my go-to I love the pink accents and again..maybe it will wake me up.

Is this cute? Or too Chico's looking?

I haven't set foot in Target (part of a #nospendseptember goal) but if I had seen this it would already be in my closet. Hmmm....I am out of cereal. Oh the torture. 

Gorgeous but I'd be scared of spit-up on that much money. Lilly, your models are looking a tad cheesy these days. Not her, just the styling.

I ordered these two things already in August during a sale and they are both fantastic. Remember, I also work from home so all these tops and hopefully some leggings will be my uniform M-F once I start working again. You know, after my super long maternity leave. (Insert sarcasm)

This is GONE from their site! If they made this in more colors I would have bought a ton. It has thick construction and the flaps move to the side for boob slots. This top looks almost a tad dressy so you could pair with jeans and boots/flats and some earrings and not feel like a slug. I am SHOCKED it is gone. Total bummer. Glad I snagged 1. And now I sound so pathetic and desperate over a nursing top. 

And speaking of Nursing Tops, Gap has these
But FFF (For Fucks' sake) this model looks like the damn walking dead and has a super creepy smile. Maybe they were trying to be realistic as to what us nursing moms will look like with a newborn but fix that chicks hair and make her look appealing! DAMN. If I was a stylist for a catalog I would show The Today Show on in the background, Starbucks in her hand and her surfing Instagram on the couch. I'd buy that shit in a heartbeat.

So you winter baby Moms. Any tricks on easy boob access with layers? (This post is going to be read by more men then women. Especially if I add the labels and keywords boob access)

Tits McGehee

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

An Open and Honest Confession about Food

I hate vegetables. There are very few I will eat and no matter how you saute them, fry them, bake them, dress them up with salt and spank them...I still won't eat them. Kale? FORGET IT. And no, sprinkling with olive oil and seasoning still tastes like a seasoned YARD. Fruits...yeah. Vegetables? Boo.

Miranda Lambert (quote below) and Drew Barrymore (2nd below) feel the same.


I know I am not alone in my plight. But with the health revolution and people like Food Babe publicly criticizing every morsel we put down our throats I'm pretty sure I'm a quiet quiet minority. I am 100% aware that sugar is bad for you and the cause of so many of today's illnesses; but a 0% sugar lifestyle will not work for me.

I fully understand that processed foods aren't great for us. But I don't live on a farm, I don't cook, and I don't have tons of money (Whole Foods) or tons of time (shopping for each meal) to follow insanely strict regimens that some of the food fear mongerers are trying to sell me.

On that note I also have a son, and in the summers two sons. And soon...three kids. There are times in every mom's life she needs to bust out the Easy Mac or McDonalds' or Pizza night because she just NEEDS to. I don't want to feel like I'm burning in hell for handing my child a slice of Pizza Hut. And I tried Auntie Anne's Mac and Cheese .....not even close y'all.

A little bit about me:

I LOVE fast food. I will still go order a double cheeseburger meal at McDonald's with a Large Diet Coke. Yep, I'm THAT girl. I eat Taco Bell, Wendy's, Chick-fil-a, Pizza name it I've driven through and swallowed it. 
My favorites. Chick Fil A nugget meal, Bojangles Chicken Supremes, Wendy's Spicy Chicken Combo, McDonalds Double Cheeseburger meal with a diet Coke.

I also LOVE the processed over sugared GMO'd to death  useless items in the middle of the grocery store. You know what I'm talking about. Little Debbie Cakes, Chips, Cookies, Combos (Pizza/Pretzel is the only way to go) know...Gas station specialties.

Is this an addiction? Maybe a tad. But I just haven't found enough things that I do like that are sugar-free. Well except Cheese. Pour some sugar cheese on me.

And farm to table? Super. I can still go into any restaurant and order a meal...I'm not picky, I just don't like radishes. STOP TRYING TO MAKE BEETS AND RADISHES HAPPEN. 

All that being said before I got pregnant I did try to eat remotely healthy. That to me was a protein shake in the morning, a turkey sandwich or black bean burger for lunch, and usually a grilled meat and veggie for dinner. My husband is an amazing cook so when we had lots of free time (pre-kids and pre-jobs that had us working late hours) he would whip up healthy and fabulous meals. I saved, and still try to save*, my sugar laden treats and fast food stops for the weekend. *pregnancy is wreaking havoc on trying to eat healthy.
But anyone could nit-pick what I was doing and call out each item. The Protein shakes = from Sams, and not all natural ingredients. The Turkey sandwich = processed deli meat, WhiteWheat bread  = carbs which are the enemy and no bread is safe....or I have to eat one so nutty it ruins the sandwich. The black bean burgers = dipped in sugar laden Ketchup. And dinner = I put spray butter on my broccoli...i'm sure that's a no-no.

But these diets worked well for me. Eating remotely healthy with grapes/carrots/nuts as snacks and 30 minutes of cardio or barre four times a week and I was down to the weight I think is okay for me. Wedding weight was LOW so I'm hoping to hover around 112 or 110 as my "goal weight". (I'm 5'2" on a good day) I've already gained 25+ pounds this pregnancy and while I'm trying to slow down (My Instagram followers are dying of laughter) it is the last possible time in my life I won't be counting calories. I mean think about it. As women we count calories and try to workout ALWAYS. We kick it up a notch for weddings or beach season but aren't we always dieting?

And alcohol?
I'm not going to give up my red wine during the week, or my bourbon on the weekends. And yes...I mix my bourbon with diet coke. GASP...COKE WILL KILL YOU! So freaking what. I never this is my thing.

The two driving forces that are making me want to be healthier than my basic plan are 1. My kids and 2. Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is being called the 4th diabetes due to the links between plaque and sugars and if I can do anything to prevent getting this disease you better believe I'm trying to do it. I also want to set healthier examples for my kids. My stepson and my son both have pretty bad eating habits and we don't do much to correct it in the summer with McDonald's trips and Pizza nights. We need to incorporate a little bit of healthier eating around here so that baby girl doesn't follow the same route. Or at least we can begin all this when I am not pregnant anymore.

My plan began with contacting a friend from college Carolyn at The Whole Tulip. I was her Patient X; definitely her worst case in Charlotte. We talked for an hour over what I do like and don't like and her first move was to start me on Juice Plus as a first defense to not getting enough healthy foods.

Read about Juice Plus here.

Carolyn and her sister Adri run the Whole Tulip to help people like me eat healthier.

They work one on one with people, offer group clean eating programs, and grocery store tours. Have you been in a Whole Foods by yourself? Downright scary and intimidating. The reason I love them is they are both real moms. They understand that sometimes you gotta drive through Chick-fil-a and won't judge you for sneaking a twinkie once in a while. It isn't a cult that chastises members for the incorrect whole grain bread. These women understand what real life is like and know that someone like me won't be eating tofu by November.

Phase 2 involves making some of their yummy shakes in the morning that include real protein (not from Sams) and slowly adding some spinach, chia seeds and other ingredients that aren't from cans and actually from the ground. This is doable for me and is already happening at least two mornings a week. Here is one of her breakfast shake recipes. (Except the kale)

Once this 2nd baby is at daycare I will start Phase 3 by revamping what I eat for lunch and adding back in exercise. I have been trying to walk 30 minutes a day pregnant but this back pain is unreal this time and I am barely getting in 30 minutes of waddle with a limp at a 2.7 on the treadmill.

I will post about my results and how incorporating healthy food into our lives is working for us. I will not "FIND JESUS" in kale or quinoa so don't expect any life altering breakthroughs like that. That is mainly why I paired with Carolyn. She has kids and understands that not everyone likes tofu or eating grass and she is okay with my restrictions as long as I show her progress on trying new things. Remember, the goal here is to be healthier, not hate yourself for what you eat or to get overwhelmed buying groceries.

I have been on the Juice Plus for three months and do really see a difference in energy. It could be the changes with trimesters but Ford (knock on wood) hasn't gotten sick once. He takes the gummies and I take the capsules. Contact Carolyn here to learn about Juice Plus.

*And a note about Food Babe. She lives here in Charlotte and is friends with lots of mutual friends. What she is doing to take bad chemicals out of our meals at Subway, Kraft..etc. is groundbreaking and I have nothing but respect for her cause. But I just find articles with claims like "Your deodorant can lead to Alzheimer's" and "Sabotaged at Starbucks" stress out some readers more than help. I spent almost a day on her Facebook page and became a fan from her letters to Kraft but then the other articles started to give me food anxiety and I had to stop following.  I don't want my food choices to be another source of anxiety in life...we already have too much of that! Maybe once I slowly get on the healthy eating train I can understand more of her mission on cooking/clean eating but for now she is WAY over my head. It's like the preview to just told me my entire life is disgusting and unhealthy and I can't go from that to kale chips in a week.

I mean, look what she did to everyone's beloved PSL:

I guess the bottom line is there needs to be an easier process to go from Easy Mac to Spaghetti Squash. One with care and concern and not judgement and guilt. The Whole Tulip is going to help me on this process and hopefully they can help you too!

Grew up eating Banquet Frozen TV Dinners along with Dad's famous cooking