Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mommy Get That Body Back: 1 Month Post Partum

I am incredibly passionate about health and fitness. I love to work out and I work hard to keep my body tight and right.  Despite having to slam on the breaks due to needing to be cautions during my pregnancy, I still lifted weights, walked and swam as much as possible. I kept eating healthy while staying active, I still gained 75 pounds in total when carrying my twin boys. I went from a fit 150 to cool 225...whoa. I was never really concerned with getting my body back since I was one of those rare creatures that looked forward to a post pregnancy sprint down the street like it was Christmas morning.

My belly at maximum capacity....just days before I went into labor
As soon as I popped those babies out, I was hitting the hospital halls like a mad woman. I was doing my laps (increasing how far I went each time around), heck I even threw in some punches to get my arms going too! But my favorite exercise of all that I never stopped doing before, during or right after pregnancy...engaging my core.  Now, I know my stomach was pretty good before, but even I was surprised how quickly my uterus was shrinking down and my tummy was looking more normal each day. My TH did a great job making sure we got out of the house and walked each day knowing that would only assist in a speedy recovery. Once a day, we loaded up the babies and hit the neighborhood always going a little farther from home. I loved being able to tie my running shoes again and was thrilled to not have to worry about pushing myself and getting a little sweaty. Granted, I wasn't getting crazy as I was well aware I needed to be careful, I mean I did have a C-section a week ago, but it was still nice to be moving and not be pregnant for once.

1 week after giving birth...tummy is already way down!
As I neared the two week mark, I noticed that all that nasty swelling had finally left my body. I woke up one morning, looked down and couldn't beleive my legs were back, bony ankles and all!  Once I hit the two week mark, I decided it was time to weigh myself, I was down 45 pounds! WHOO HOOOOOO!!!  I kept up my daily walks and between my nursing sessions I found time to set down a sleeping baby and bustle around the house. But since I wasn't cleared by my doctor to kick up my sweat sessions yet, I just kept sucking in my gut, standing up straight and moving as much as I could.

2 weeks after my boys came into the world...
To celebrate my boys being four weeks old I asked my Thriving Mommy to take me on her favorite Laguna Beach walk. I was ready to kick it up a bit and was thrilled to take in miles of gorgeous ocean views and salt air. For their one-month-day, I gave myself a little present...a run around my neighborhood.  As soon as my feet hit the pavement I felt more alive than ever.  Ten long months was far too long for me to be separated from my dear sweet cardio.  As I sprinted down the street I felt tears start to fall down my cheeks. The sun warmed my face, wind blew through my hair while my lungs and heart worked hard to fuel my muscles. It was simply amazing!

4 weeks after babies

With 50 pounds down that leaves the last (and hardest) 25 to go.  Next up, adding in a daily weight lifting regiment to strengthen my legs and arms.  In addition to my daily mommy runs I also have enlisted my TH to help me set up my boxing bag in the backyard so I can start doing some at home kick boxing classes. That mixed with some serious ab work and I think I will be back to my pre baby body just in time for my 30th birthday in December.

Stay tuned for more post-pregnancy mommy workouts!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Make Your Mondays - September 15th

Em had a typical baby filled weekend beating the heat in her air conditioned home with her TH. She did make time for her first post pregnancy run in TEN LONG MONTHS and loved every second of it! Nic kept busy Saturday getting family photos taken (by one of her fave photogs) and attending a friend's 1st birthday party. She managed to run some errands Sunday before hiding indoors from the wicked heat!

Forget everything else, just focus on one thing and one thing only, feeling good. Don't worry about what happened  just worry about feeling good and living in the moment. Who cares what people say, who cares what people do.  Focus only on feeling good and living happily.  Let's start today.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hip Hip Hydrangeas!

Ahhhhhhh, hydrangeas; my all time, favorite flowers.  Those big balls of colorful petals and lush green leaves just always make me smile.  Since my entire wedding was based around hydrangeas, I have an even deeper love of these gorgeous blooms.  Lucky for me, my Thriving Mommy saved many of the hydrangeas we used on my special day so that I could plant them and let them take over the front of my home.  With two large flower boxes and a few additional planters full, I get to enjoy these beauties every day. 

Hydrangeas, typical to  most plants require tender love and care to truly thrive.  In the winter, they retreat to sticks.  They need to be cut back (never cut the wood however), and just let them hibernate...they will come back, I assure you.

When spring hits, you will start to see little green leaves popping up here and there...get excited, they are coming back to life!

Soon the leaves start to multiply, becoming more lush with each day, leaves and more leaves come shooting out of those thought to be dead sticks showing you these guys are just getting started.

Then, one day you will spot the beginning of a bloom.  It appears to be almost nothing, but as time goes on it will get larger and larger, waiting to showcase the color it has in store for the season.

Just when you couldn't stand the excitement any longer, you come out one morning and see those petals have POPPED!!! Each season can bring a different color (it all depends on the pH of your soil) but I can assure you, they will be full of life and gorgeous no matter what color.

This year, my blooms were all about pink!  Since they had been planted at the end of last summer, this was the first season that I really got to watch the entire cycle take place right in front of my home.

Soon I had more blooms than I knew what to do with!  Even by only cutting a few, I was still  able to share them with friends and co-workers as well as always keep fresh flowers in my home.   

Hydrangeas don't require much, but in order to truly thrive, you want to make sure you plant them in the correct spot.  Hydrangeas aren't crazy about too much sun, so make sure that they have afternoon shade or at least shade for part of their day.  They also love water and you will see when they are thirsty.  Their leaves will droop and their blooms will lose some of their "bounce".  Not to fear, as with all things that are dehydrated, once they get a boost of water they perk right up!

So, next time you get a potted hydrangea as a gift, get excited to plant that baby and watch it grow from late spring all the way through autumn!  Have you planted hydrangeas before?  What are some of your favorite flowers?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Recipe Rave Review: Lemon-Berry Icebox Cake

"Wow, this is good!". Never has my TH uttered that phrase, let alone with such passion after just one one bite of one of my recipes.  Since he is not a die hard lemon fan like myself, I knew I was on to something with this yummy Food Network Magazine recipe rave review. When I stumbled upon this tasty treat while flipping through the mag, I was immediately drawn in by the lemon component. Once I read through the ingredients and process to make the cake, I decided to give it a try. I went to the store to purchase any ingredients I didn't already have at home. 

  • 3 cups chopped organic strawberries (1 pound)
  • 4 cups organic mixed berries (of your choice, I went with blueberries.  You'll need about 3, 1/2 pint containers)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest and juice of two lemons
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 6 oz packages lemon cookies

Once I had all I needed, it was time to get started.  First things first, toss 1 cup of strawberries and "other" berries in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and the juice of 1/2 a lemon, set aside to macerate, 3o minutes.

While macerating, puree 1 cup of the "other" berries in a blender until smooth.  Refrigerate the remaining 2 cups of strawberries as well as left over "other" berries for topping.

With the puree done, set aside while you beat the cream cheese, confections sugar, vanilla and zest of both lemons and the juice of 1 lemon in  a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy; about 4 minutes.

Add the heavy cream and beat for another 2 minutes.

Take half of that delicious lemon zested whipped cream and transfer it into a separate bowl.  Use the other half and fold in the pureed berries.

With the toppings whipped, it was time to build this lasagna-esque icebox cake.  Before you layer, start by lining a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting it hang over on all sides.

With the plastic in place, start by spreading 1 cup of the plain whipped cream mixture in the bottom of the pan (refrigerate the rest for later).

 Then cover that topping layer with a layer of lemon wafer cookies.

Spread one cup of the berry puree whipped cream over the cookies.

Then top with half the macerated berries.

Top those fresh berries with yet another 1 cup of berry whipped cream.

Repeat with another layer of cookies, berry whipped cream, remaining macerated berries and the rest of the berry whipped cream.  End with one last layer of cookies, don't worry if you have some left can always snack on them like I did. Once you have the final layer in place, cover with more plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, (I went with overnight).

When you area ready to eat, repeat that first step and toss remaining 2 cups each strawberries and "other" berries with the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and juice of 1/2 lemon in a large bowl, set aside to macerate 30 minutes.

Then it is time to uncover this beautiful cake.  Grab a platter, and flip your loaf pan upside down on top of the platter. Remove plastic (gotta love the clean loaf pan you are left with) and see the gorgeous hunk of heaven you created.

Next up, cover with remaining plain whipped cream you've been saving.

Once the cake is fully covered, take the berries you stored in the fridge and put o the top and sides of the cake.  Feel free to use more when you plate and serve...I did!

Not only did I find this icebox cake to be absolutely amazing, but so did all who tasted it...even the hardest critic I know, my Thriving Mommy.  You can BET I am not only going to make this again soon, but also store it away as a perfect 4th of July recipe, I mean look at those patriotic colors!

Are you a lemon lover too? What are some of your favorite recipes?

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