Being a mom and taking care of yourself

Before I got pregnant with #1 at the ripe old age of 29, I feared what having a baby would do to my body.  I watched a few of my cousins blossom from smallish sizes to plus sizes in the span of a few years upon having children.  I didn’t want that to happen to me.

My metabolism has always been fairly good, though I must say that I have never been an over-eater.  I’ve been moderate in my consumption of food, snacked rarely and was never addicted to cola of any sort.  I do have a weakness for chocolate but that has been an occassional treat.  When my weight started to climb, I was usually able to reduce my food, up my exercise and take care of it within a few months.

Pregnancy scared me, though.  Over the course of 9 months, a lot happens to your body.  In my case, I gained 40 lbs and that was after throwing up all food-stuffs in the first 3-4 months.  I can only imagine what would have happened if I had felt well!

After the doctor gave me an okay to exercise I started in with the elliptical and bowflex.  Nursing my kids helped me shed the pounds, too.  By the time each of my kids were 4 months old I was fitting back into my wardrobe.  Perhaps not the smallest of my jeans at that time, but by the time I weaned the kids (6 months and 9 months) I was wearing my smallest jeans.  It was a bit of work and self control, but it made me feel like my old self.

Now in my daily life with a 5 and 6 year old, it is easier than when they were toddlers.  I don’t have to do everything for them, and they can actually dress themselves (most days!) and brush their own teeth (most days!).  This allows me to get ready in the morning. 

I have pared down my beauty routine.  I don’t do as intricate hairstyles like I used to do before I had them.  However, I do think as you get older you get faster at getting ready.  I can usually get ready in a half hour, from shower to putting on my shoes.  In between, I am bugging the little ones to get up, brush their teeth, combing their hair, etc.  Multi-tasking is a Mom’s greatest ability.

Being able to walk out the door in the morning, looking good and feeling good about it, is a great gift I can give to myself.  I feel better and more confident when I greet the world looking my best.

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As a side note, nothing will make you want to take care of yourself more than perusing the pictures at The People of Walmart.    Wow…just, wow.

The weight struggle

My aunt:  You sure look good!  You did a great job at losing the weight after you had kids.  How do you do it?

Me:  Lots and lots of salads.

My aunt: Oh.

There is no magic metabolism pill once you reach a certain age.  It is work.  It sucks that you can’t eat like you did when you were younger, but it is what it is.

My diet:

Breakfast: Coffee with a sugared creamer (I can’t do non-fat with aspartame…can’t stand the taste of it) and occassionally I will have yogurt with granola.

Lunch: Salad

Snack: Dark Chocolate – the only thing worth the calories

Dinner:  Semi-healthy, cooked as close to the source as possible food.

Generally, I don’t snack in between meals or after dinner.  My biggest crave is red wine and good cheese, and that is the only thing that makes it into the late night snacking.  I also need to watch my portion sizes related to dinner.  I love to cook GOOD food using wild caught fish, Angus beef from my friend’s farm, organic veggies, and fresh herbs.  And a little bit of cream…and a little bit of cheese.  Lots of garlic and olive oil.  So…I try to be healthy in cooking, but I have my weak spots. 😉

Last week’s CSA haul

It’s a struggle, but I don’t want to gain anymore weight.  The older you get, the harder it becomes.  After seeing a picture of myself last October where I was a good 10 lbs heavier, I remember how bad my body image was.  I also remember how good it felt to pull up those size 4 jeans I hadn’t worn in over 2 years.

Now I just need to firm up a bit.  I really, really need to get back into exercising.  Unfortunately, right now my back is killing me.  Back to the chiropractor. 🙁

GNO duds

This outfit was for a girl’s night out in a casual Italian eatery.  I tend to overdress, but I rarely get to dress up fun anymore.  I’m fine with the looks of “Why is she wearing THAT here??”.  It’s the only time I get to have a little self expression with fun dressing.  There is only so much I can while at work.

The wrap cardigan I got about 5 years ago, the tights I purchased from We Love Colors (so many different color options!), and I made the white sleeveless top and the skirt. 

Hair – I put it up when it is wet and then use lots of pins.  Takes me about 5-10 minutes.  Twist, pin, pin, twist, pin, pin.

I made the jewelry awhile back with Swarovski crystals. 

This is one from the archives.  I felt really good wearing it that night. 🙂

Skinny jeans

I finally took the plunge and bought a pair of skinny jeans.  Luckily I think I possess a body that lends itself well to skinny jeans.  I have skinny legs and no butt, so I don’t look too out of proportion in them.  They will also look awesome with my edgier shoes now and boots in the winter. 

The pair I got was some designer denim (ouch!) by Hudson.  They are really comfortable and have a decent amount of stretch to them.  I went down a size to make sure they wouldn’t get too baggy on me and they fit perfectly.

Not sure I will wear these to work on casual Fridays.  I think having skin tight denim is a bit much for work and I walk the edge often enough that I’m not sure I want to go there.

Can we talk fashion for a sec?

Hey girls.  Girls of the 80’s to be specific.  Are we still “girls”??  Well, whatever.  Have you noticed all the 80’s crap…errr “fashion” that is coming out again.  Are you not APPALLED?  Wasn’t once enough for that decade??  Let’s see if we can tick off the horrendousness, shall we:

  • Gold lamé stirrup pants
  • Parachute/Harem Pants
  • Crop tops
  • Neon
  • Leg warmers
  • Bleach dyed pants
  • Supersized shoulder pants

Wasn’t once enough dear Fashion Designers??  Can you not come up with something original, instead of digging in to the decade that really didn’t need to be seen again?  I see the young-uns’ walking around the mall in stuff I used to wear, and it is just not pretty.

Not pretty at all.

The end of Kindergarten

Hard to believe, but the first year of school is done today, which seems pretty late.  It is due to all those random days off they take during the year.  I KNOW we didn’t have all those days off and we were usually out a few days after Memorial Day.

Kailan has really seemed to enjoy this year.  They have taken the kids on a few field trips, which is always fun for them.  The teacher has had a reading program, where they brought home books a few times a week to read.  Kai did pretty well with that, and now we just need to keep him reading over the summer so he doesn’t forget everything.  We have been really happy with his teacher this year, and hopefully Anya will get her, too.

He had peanut butter sandwiches from home just about everyday during school.  After we discovered that was pretty much all he was eating with his $4 lunches in those scant 15 minutes he is allowed, we decided to save a little moola.  Brian makes him a sandwich while he makes coffee in the morning, and he takes it in his little car lunch bag.

Next year will be first grade and the before/after school care at the elementary school.  They have one more summer at the daycare with their little friends, and then it will be goodbye to that familiar place.  I have really loved their teachers they have had over the years and care they have given our little urchins.  We have started using another one of their teachers as a sitter now, too. 

Life is going by so fast.  I know I say that often, but really…it is.  The first 6 years of Kai’s life has just flown by, and it worries me how fast these next years are going to come and go.  Our lives are so busy these days.  Right now Kailan has t-ball two days a week, both have swimming one day, Anya had dance on Saturdays (but now we are DONE…YAY!!), and next week I will started a bocce ball league with a friend on another day.  A bit too much on our plates right now, so hopefully summer doesn’t just fly by too fast.

Here are the gifts I made for Kailan’s teacher and assistant teacher.  Unfortunately, he informed me on Tuesday night that there were 2 assistant teachers, so I just didn’t get another one done.  No gift for the assistant teachers this year.  I feel guilty, but time just ran out on me.

It’s a luggage tag, a hot/cold neck wrap and a matching gift bag.

Here you can see the plastic layer over the top to hold a business card size.

Hopefully they like them!  Hopefully Kailan’s last day is fun, too. 🙂

New cushions due to [child error]

[child error] is the excuse of so many mishaps in the house, isn’t it?

In our three season porch we have a “wicker” couch and chair set that we bought at The Home Depot.  It is wicker looking (i.e. a woven plastic of some sort) and the cushions were a nice plain utilitarian beige.  Unfortunately, when we were moving stuff off our deck in preparation for the painting, I had put a old citronella candle on the table next to the couch.  It had been occassionally melted and occassionally rained on with a few leaves in for good measure…and was an absolute mess.  I should have just thrown it out.  Hind sight being 20/20, of course.

Someone small, blonde and cute tipped the candle bucket onto the bottom couch cushion.  Big yucky stain full of citronella goo.  I tried to wash it, to no avail.  The giant waxy stain was not going away.

I discovered this a few days before our big BBQ we were hosting (of course), and I figured it wasn’t something I could hide.  We needed all the chairs we had.  I purchased some $5/yd duck cloth from my go-to fabric shop and recovered that cushion.

Of course having just one cushion redone seemed a bit obvious, so then I proceeded to redo the bottom cushions on the chairs the day before the party.  I need to get a bit more fabric and then I can redo the cushions on the foot rests, too. 

It’s a bit of a wild pattern, so I am going to leave the top cushions beige.  The pillows came with the set and seem to match nicely.

In order to make them, I ripped apart the old cushions and reused the zippers.  Once I had the pieces all apart, I used them as patterns to cut the fabric.  I did it a little different than the original cushions, and didn’t use piping.  I was working on a limited time schedule.  It didn’t take me too long to make them, though.

They are less than perfect in construction, but I’m sure I’m one of the few that will notice the imperfections.  And I’m okay with that. 🙂

I did get the teachers’ gifts done for Kailan’s class on Sunday.  I will get them up soonish.  I’m sure everyone else has had them done already because our kids are so late in getting out of school.  I’m hoping they like them when Kai gives them out on Thursday.

Schizophrenic birthday dress

One day Anya came with me to the fabric store, whereupon she demanded wanted another dress be made for her highness.  Being the complicet and compliant mommy that loves to make pretty dresses, I agreed.  She picked out pink tulle, and I asked her if perhaps she would like another color.  There were blues and greens and yellows…she chose red.

*sigh*

Okay, then we needed to get a fabric to go with the tulle.  I had none at home.  She chose this very pretty fabric with red and pink and creams in it.  I even had another pink fabric at home that matched.  Afterwards her dress appears to be more for Valentine’s Day than her Birthday, but at least we have next year covered. 😉

The top is the typical shirred-back-rounded-top-front that I have made up time and again.  The skirt is a circle skirt, cut in layers with gathered tulle and fabric in between the layers.  It is a twirly pink and red confection for our little princess.  It took 2 yards of fabric and 4 yards of red tulle, and I used just about every bit of each.  The top has some organza ribbon and a red satin ribbon on it for some oomph! and where I sewed the ruffle layer onto the bottom circle skirt part, I sewed the red satin ribbon over it to enclose the seam. 

The reason for the schizophrenic part is due to how I was putting it together.  I felt like I was constantly changing course with it, but in the end it is cute.  That is what counts, right?  The tulle won’t stick out so much after it is washed, too.  It gets much softer and more pliable so it won’t looks so crazy full afterwards.

When she put it on she said it wasn’t twirly.  Methinks she was mistaken. 😉

 

A bit too much fluff

Generally, I’m not afraid of fluffy, ruffley concoctions.  Generally, I am making them for Anya, though. 

I attempted to make myself a ruffley skirt, and it ended up being a bit too much.  I started out with a rough idea of what I wanted to make, and had the fabrics all laid out.  I wasn’t sure how much the fabric would really ruffle on a big person, though.  I ended up doing ruffled tiers and having three tiers.  As you can see from the picture below, it only has two tiers.  While you may come to the conclusion that it is over the top as it is right now, just imagine what it looked like with another tier.  Crazzzzzy.

 

BUT…Check out the back!  Awesome, right??  This is my first attempt at putting in grommets.  I can’t say that the underside looks particularly fabulous, but you can’t see that part, so I don’t think we need to say it matters, right?  Right!  I actually don’t need to lace this up at all upon wearing, as the fabric is a rather stretchy twill with lycra in it.  The waist is just a simple elastic.  If it hadn’t been so stretchy I would have made a proper waistband, but it didn’t seem worth it.

I made a matching shirt (of course!).  It started out as a pretty simple peasant top, but I did do some pintucking on the sleeves.  Then I tried it on and knew it needed a bit more work.  It is a woven fabric and it just was a bit too boxy, and I knew it would ride up and not lay very well.  Hindsight being 20/20, of course.

Version 1

I added a sash that is sewed on in the center front.  First I gathered about 6 inches of fabric, and then sewed the sash over the gathers.  I made it two widths of the fabric, which has some stretch in it.

I love how the colors go together…

Next we have another of my cross front tops, but with more RUFFLES.  Yes, I am the Crazzzzy Ruffler.  Doesn’t it look cute all dressed up, though?  I was going out for dinner with the girlfriends.  We go out for dinner once every few months, and it is so nice to have a chance to talk and catch up with them all.  I made an explanation/tutorial of sorts for how to put this bad boy together.  I use the serger a lot in it, so just be warned if you don’t have one.

Here is a shot of my hair.  It is all wet here, since when I do all of those twists it is easier when it is wet.  This took me about 5-10 minutes and a bunch of pins.  It isn’t too hard once you get the hang of it.  I also made my jewelry…many, many moons ago when I was actively making jewelry all the time. 

Oh, and at the dinner with the girls, one is a bit pregnant right now and found out she is having a girl!  I got most of this little newborn hat done during Anya’s dance class that morning, and just finished up the seam and added the pompoms when we got home.  You can never have too much fluff when it comes to cute little newborn hats.  Such a quick project, with so much return on the cuteness factor.  I’m going to show the girls how to do loom knitting in a few weeks, which will hopefully keep the number of knit hats they all want me to do down to a minimum. 😉

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Now these blogs are mostly grown-up woman dressing inspiration, and not sewing inspiration.  I love how these ladies have their own sense of style and aren’t afraid to show it. 🙂

Sal of Already Pretty

Audi of Fashion for Nerds

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I’m hoping to get some stuff cut out for Kai this week and some outfits started for him.  Poor kid has been so neglected.  Of course, this is the last week of Sunday School, so I think I need to do something for their teachers.  Anya has two high school girls, so that should be pretty easy (some bags, I’m thinking), but Kai has a husband and wife team about our ages, maybe a bit older.  I have no clue what to get them, so any help would be appreciated!!