Whole30 June: Week 2

I’m a couple of days late for the end of week 2, but we’re officially more than halfway through our first round of Whole30. I think, and my husband would agree, I probably went a little overboard on the meals last week. For this week, week 3, we’re keeping things pretty simple.

Some take-aways from week 2

The cravings. I had more cravings during week 2 than I did in week 1. I just wanted little pieces of chocolate here or there, or just out of habit I’d reach for something non-compliant. However, toward the end of week 2 those cravings subsided.

Late night snacking. My husband and I have done a really good job of not having any snacks after dinner. We’re trying to eat more at dinner so that we’re less hungry before bed. We both agree this is something we’re going to keep post-Whole30. We’re less active in the evenings, especially after 8 or 9, so we don’t need to be eating then.

The time. Food prep takes forever. I’m not a fan of that. We decided to plan easier meals this week, and I’m glad. I’ve spent less time in the kitchen and more time with my family doing other fun “summer” things. I never want food prep to be an obsession or take over my life, and for the majority of weeks 1 and 2, that’s kind of what it felt like. So we’re figuring out that balance.

Physical positives. Last night, we headed to Springfield for an impromptu family outing, and I just threw on some clothes last minute. I told Paul as we left that I do like being able to go into the closet and not worry about clothes not fitting. All my clothes fit. Paul said he feels the same way. So I guess you could say that’s a non-scale victory? Maybe.

Food victories. In the course of two days, I’ve turned down two baskets full of butter-smothered rolls, with additional containers of what I can only imagine were honey butter and/or cinnamon butter. For anyone who knows me well, giving up bread and butter is a huge deal. Telling a waiter we’ll do without the rolls is a HUGE DEAL. But we did it. And today, I stared down a pile of chocolate at a teacher meeting and didn’t give in. I do like that about Whole30. By sharing with others what we’re doing and by knowing it’s only 30 days, I’m more accountable to staying on track.

We also went to the lake last Saturday and stayed compliant on that day. We brought our food, snacks, and just did our thing. I was proud of us. And it made me realize how much I probably would have snacked if we hadn’t been doing Whole30, just because the snacks were there, which isn’t a good reason. (See chocolate stare-down above.)

Overall, we’re feeling good physically. I feel light and have more motivation and energy to be physically active. One of Paul’s positive victories is that his blood sugar has been consistently lower than usual for the past two weeks, which is great for him, as he is a type 2 diabetic.

We still have two weeks to go, but it hasn’t been as bad as I first thought it might be. I’m learning the difference between eating because I’m hungry and eating because I’m bored or upset or fill in the blank.

We’ll have more to share at the end of week 3. Thanks for reading and happy eating!

Whole30 June: Week 1

In my last blog post, I gave some insight into why we are delving into the world of Whole30. So far, even though it’s only been a week, we’re doing pretty good. I’m going to try to break this post down into some kind of organizational pattern. We’ll start with recipes.

Recipes

Since I knew we were going to start a Whole30 before school ended, I spent some of my last days of school (when all my other work was done), scrolling through pins on Pinterest, finding scads of recipes. I’ve also followed several awesome people on Instagram who provide recipes as well. First, though, I want to share some of our favorite recipes from the past week.

Breakfast: Sausage Pizza Egg Muffins

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I’m not a newbie to egg muffins. We had made these before, although with cheese, so we left out the cheese and just followed this recipe, adding the (compliant) sun-dried tomatoes and the extra spices, which I hadn’t added before. We also had half a red pepper in the crisper, so I diced that up and threw that into the mix as well.

What I love about this recipe is that we used it for breakfast for at least three days, and I think we might have even had leftovers on a fourth day. That’s crazy. These are so filling and go great with fresh fruit as well. Credit for this recipe goes to The Paleo Running Momma. If you are currently on a Whole30 and haven’t visited her website, don’t hesitate. Many of my favorites have come from her site.

Lunch: BBQ Chicken Salad and Taco Salad

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So my husband and I each have two favorites for the best lunch recipe. First, the BBQ chicken salad. I wasn’t sure how this would taste, but once we made it, WOW! The recipe says you can use romaine lettuce to substitute as a wrap, but honestly, I really liked the romaine lettuce chopped up in the salad. I also added cubed avocado and halved cherry tomatoes to mine every day, and I never got tired of it. I think we had at least two days worth of lunch from this recipe.

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The other lunch recipe we really like is this taco salad. When I first saw the pin for a Whole30 taco salad, I thought, Yeah right. No shell, no cheese, no beans? That’s not a taco salad. Well, we made this salad today, and y’all, it’s awesome. The freshness of the cilantro and the lime make this salad. Don’t skip out on the fresh limes either. I had cooked a whole chicken last week, and we needed to eat the leftovers before they went bad, so we added probably about a cup of cooked, shredded chicken to the deer meat that we used. We’ll be eating leftovers of this tomorrow as well.

Dinner: Loaded Chili Sweet Potato Fries

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This recipe also comes from The Paleo Running Momma. (She’s a goddess when it comes to these recipes.) We made this recipe today, and again, we both agreed this would be a recipe we’d keep post-Whole30. I’ve always loved sweet potatoes, and I think since we’ve been together, my husband has grown to like them more. That made this recipe a no-brainer.

I’ve made sweet potato fries loads of times, (get it? ha ha).  But of course I’d never thought of adding chili, ranch, avocado, and a fried egg on top of them. But we did. And it was amazing. We also kind of adapted this recipe a bit: added more of the leftover chicken, didn’t use bacon because finding compliant bacon in a small town is hard, and made a hard egg for my husband who doesn’t love soft eggs. We also doubled the meat recipe, and I’m glad because, yep, we’ll have leftovers tomorrow.

One last point for this recipe: when we started making the chili meat, it looked a little dry so we added 1/3 cup of tomato sauce. This made the chili look and taste more like chili. 

Planning, prepping, and foods we miss

I knew if we decided to do a Whole30 that planning and prepping would take up the most time. This past week has proven that true and then some. However, I think now that we’ve completed the first week, we will be braver in making some of our recipes based on what foods we know work together well.

A planning tool I use are simple printed off calendars for the month of June. I printed off three, one for each meal, and then I just pencil in a meal every other day or two, depending on what we make and how much food I think we’ll have leftover. This has worked fairly well so far. This method also helps with planning the grocery lists. I have a lot of recipes printed off, so I can easily flip through those to find ingredients we’ll need for the week.

I have found that taking the time to actually chop vegetables and other ingredients pays off in the long run. I don’t always do it, but when I do, it saves so much time. Prepping for every meal isn’t always conducive with a 13-month-old running around, but we do what we can.

Today was the first day I have really missed anything starchy. Like a cracker. It’s sad; it’s just a cracker with no nutritional value, but for some reason, my taste buds just wanted something salty with a crunch. So I gave them cashews instead. My husband really misses milk. He’s always been a milk drinker, and for him to forgo milk is huge. He’s told me he may try almond milk. We’ll see.

Other random thoughts

Throughout the week, I’ve had several thoughts about this program and the foods we’ve eaten. I don’t know how to organize them, so here they are:

  • I love zucchini. I’ve always loved zucchini, but this past week has reaffirmed my love of zucchini.
  • So I bought a spiralizer and made zucchini noodles (zoodles). If you haven’t, you should.
  • Frank’s Hot Sauce is the bomb. I don’t usually love hot/spicy foods, but Frank’s adds so much depth and flavor to various foods.
  • Healthy food is expensive.
  • Amazon is my friend in ordering some ingredients that are hard to find in a small town.
  • Make your own mayo. It’s healthy, and I think it tastes better than the store-bought.
  • Sweet potatoes are a staple for Whole30. Thank goodness we like them.
  • I miss chocolate.
  • Sometimes cashiers give us mean looks when we come through the line with a lot of produce. Sorry? Not sorry.
  • I think we’ve ran the dishwasher four times in one week. That’s a record.
  • We’ve also taken out the trash . . . a lot.
  • I have a new appreciation for strawberries. I’ve always liked them, but you know, with a little sugar sprinkled on top. I’m now learning to like for what they are, no sugar added.
  • My husband and I have both commented several times how good some of these meals would taste with cheese added. So we just imagine. Ha!
  • We took some homemade ranch to a restaurant last night, and it wasn’t all that weird. No one looked at us like we were crazy. So there’s that.
  • We both weighed ourselves before our Whole30 started, and after that, I put the scale in the closet. It’s funny how often, just out of habit, I’ve gone to weigh myself. While we are interested to see how much weight we’ll lose, I’m coming to understand more how numbers on a scale shouldn’t define me.
  • I’m thankful for eggs. When I first heard that Whole30 didn’t allow dairy, I was scared that included eggs. Thank goodness it doesn’t. And I love that I can eat three eggs and not feel bad about it.
  • Bring on those peppers. My taste buds have definitely changed so much since my younger years. I never would eat peppers or onions, but I’ve learned to love them.

Thanks for reading our thoughts about our first Whole30 week. Next week, I’ll share more thoughts on how we’re feeling physically. I’m hoping to blog at the end of each week, so stay tuned for further updates. Happy eating!

 

 

Whole30: June

Starting June 1, my husband, my mom, and I will start a Whole30. To see that sentence written so plainly shocks me. I first heard of this diet two summers ago. One of my professors for my summer college class was following this diet, and I scoffed at the rules. No dairy, legumes, or grains? No sugar? Yeah, right, I thought. Since that summer, I’ve heard of many people sticking to this diet for 30 days and coming out with great results. I just never thought I would be one to try it.

Growing up to early college

My relationship with food has never been truly healthy-and I hate to admit that. My family always ate wholesome, traditional meals. I did have issues with portions sometimes, but my greatest battle was with snacking. I love my sweets! I love my chocolate, my ice cream, and any kind of baked good. I also struggled with snacking in secret. Anytime I was left at home or in a situation where I was alone and food was involved, I snacked, eating way more than I should have. Looking back now, I think I liked the picture of snacking, what it looked like and felt like to curl up with a bowl of ice cream and watch a movie.

When I got to college, my weight ballooned. I struggled with anxiety my first two years of college, and I ate my feelings. I remember seeing the scale at 199 lbs and seeing my jean size at a 15/16. I wondered what had happened. I saw a counselor the whole of my sophomore year of college, and she helped me see how to love my body the way it was. Which was good, but it didn’t solve the underlying problem: my unhealthy relationship with food.

As I entered my junior year of college, my mentality became, “I look good regardless of my size,” and I proceeded to eat whatever I wanted. I was good with this mentality, for a while.

The summer after my junior year, I worked for Fuge, a youth camp birthed from LifeWay.  I continued to struggle with my weight and eating. One night during camp, another staff member and I were talking about guys and getting married. I was still under the impression that a guy should like me regardless of my size, which is true. Size should not matter, except I was not happy with my size. This fellow staffer told me that it’s okay to want to look good. It’s okay to want to attract a member of the opposite sex. I had never thought of it this way before. (*As a caveat, I don’t always believe this is true. I still believe that a woman’s body is attractive at any size, but for me, I wasn’t happy with how my body looked, and I wasn’t healthy. And I had to figure out how to get happy with my appearance, even though I didn’t realize at this point that being healthy was so much more important than how I looked.)

This changed my mindset. When I returned to college for my senior year, I took up Zumba. Our fitness center had offered Zumba in years prior, but I never knew how FUN it was. I started going, a lot. And the weight soon began to drop. Little by little. And I began to run, well jog, to be exact. But I started moving. I started liking my body more. My relationship with food continued to get better, but I saw what exercise can do for my body and I felt good doing it.

Meeting Paul

Halfway through my senior year, I began student teaching. The man I would end up marrying was a teacher at this school, and we began dating in April of the spring semester. I never really had a serious boyfriend before Paul, so all the newness of dating hit me hard. And made me really nervous, so nervous I couldn’t eat. So I lost weight from this as well. Not from a healthy reason though.

The following summer I worked camp again at a different location. We had steeper hills to walk, and the food was terrible, so I lost more weight at camp.

When I returned home, Paul and I got engaged, so then, I was getting in shape for the wedding.

(Do you see a pattern here? Losing weight, but not trying to be healthy.)

When Paul and I got married, we did a good job of eating healthy and working out. We were able to work out two to three times a week, and we took a lot of walks. I also tried to prep healthy meals, especially since Paul is a diabetic. I love to bake, though, so I would make brownies, cookies, and other sweets just to have around the house as snacks. From this point on, I thought I was doing good. I kept my weight at a “good” number. Then, we found out we were going to have a baby.

Baby

Before I got pregnant, I had always feared the worst about gaining weight during pregnancy. I had fears of gaining so much weight, especially in my legs and butt, and then not being able to lose the weight. So I took this into account when we learned I was pregnant.

About four weeks into my pregnancy, Paul and I decided we would go work out. We got to the gym, and as I began lifting, I felt dizzy and nauseous. I couldn’t do it; I just didn’t have the energy. The problem: I didn’t try to lift again, at all, during my pregnancy. That was it. We went on a lot of walks, but that was the extent of my physical activity, (except for running stairs at 40 weeks and 3 days, trying to get baby to come). Some might say, “Oh, you don’t have to worry about exercise during pregnancy.” Well, I wish I would have spend a little more time worrying about it. I lost what little muscle tone I had and simply got out of the habit of exercising. I will say, though, that I did eat decently healthy during my pregnancy. My mindset was never, “I’m eating for two.” I gained about 19 lbs during my pregnancy, and at least 9 lbs 7 oz of that was my daughter.

Then, we had the baby. Sweet, sweet baby. And I began breastfeeding. A week after we had Sophie I weighed three pounds more than my pre-pregnancy weight, and within a month, I was down below my pre-pregnancy weight, by 10 lbs, smaller than I had been since high school. I couldn’t believe the powers of breastfeeding. I also figured out that I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted since I was either nursing/pumping all day. That brings us to March of this year.

Lent

My husband and I decided we would give up sweets for Lent. All sweets. Candy, chocolate, baked goods, ice cream. It was hard. I love my sweets so much, and this was hard. The downfall of this was that I replaced my sweets with a lot of starchy, salty snacks. Still not healthy. At the end of Lent was our daughter’s first birthday party, so of course we had cake and other sweets. We also had a good deal of leftover cake that we kept. And we ate it. Granted, not all in one day, but we ate it over the course of the next week. Since then, I’ve just been eating sweets and snacking, making up for lost time, if you will.

Until about a week ago.

Now

I wandered into the kitchen one night, looking for a snack. It was around 9. No one needs to be eating a snack that late at night, and I knew that, but I wanted one anyway. For some reason, though, I stopped and asked myself if I was really hungry. I wasn’t. This phrase popped into my head, “You can be healthy. You can make the choice to feel good and be healthy.” That resonated so deeply with me. I can make the choice. It’s my choice.

This changed something in me, my mindset about how I view food and my motivation to do something about it. By nature, I wanted to write about it. I had to write down my thoughts about how I was feeling. As I did I came up with these ten “health goals” as I call them.

  1. I want to move more.
  2. I want to make healthy eating choices.
  3. I want to enjoy things I want to eat in moderation (like sweets or other less healthy options).
  4. I want to take care of my body.
  5. I want to keep up with Sophie and future kiddos.
  6. I want to set a healthy example for my family.
  7. I want to plan healthy meals for my family.
  8. I want to talk positively about my body for Sophie and future kiddos.
  9. I want to look and feel good.
  10. I want to honor God with my body.

I realize now more than ever that I only have one body. This is the body God has given me to be a wife, to be a mom, to be a teacher, and I want to keep it in the best shape I can for as long as I can. I want to play on the floor with my daughter. I want to run around the backyard with her. I want to be able to walk and walk and walk and not get tired. (I will probably never be a runner. I hate running. But I will walk. I will always walk.) I want to get back into the habit of lifting and building muscle tone. I want to have a healthy relationship with food.

I will be honest and say part of this motivation comes from the fact that I’ve been able to maintain my post-pregnancy weight for the past year. But I also know if I continue my current eating habits once I stop breastfeeding, I will probably gain weight. And I don’t want to. I like how I look. So yes, whether that’s a good motivator or not, it is one.

As I began looking for healthier recipes, many of them I found were “Whole30” recipes. I told my husband I probably wouldn’t do the Whole30, but I just wanted to use the recipes because they were healthy. But then I really began reading about Whole30. I read through their website, and I loved what I saw. I love that they claim it’s a way of resetting your body. They also give various resources and recipes to help you through the 30 days. One thing that I most like is when Melissa Hartwig writes, “This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. . .  It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.”

Yes! This hit home with me. I can do this. I’ve never been so excited to do something. Will it be hard? Yes. Will meal planning be a pain sometimes? Yes. Will family and friends think I’m weird when I explain what I’m doing? Maybe, but who cares. I’m doing this for me. I’m doing this for my husband and our baby. I’m doing this, in hopes, that after 30 days my mindset about food is different. That at the end of 30 days, I have more respect for what I put in my body and how I treat my body.

The other day Paul asked me when we’d get to eat pasta again. I told him after the 30 days. I told him I’d make him zoodles (zucchini noodles) during the Whole30, and he didn’t seem impressed. But maybe it’s changes like this, little changes, that have a bigger impact on our health than we think.

As precursor to this journey, I’ve been trying out some Whole30 recipes and getting my feet wet when it comes to prepping and planning. To be honest, some of the recipes are even easier without all the extra ingredients that aren’t good for us. And all of the recipes I’ve tried so far have been so yummy. It’s amazing how good whole food actually is.

I will use Instagram to document this food journey. To follow along, follow me @jana_parrigon. This once skeptic is taking the plunge. Will you join me?

 

 

So I am Loved

I know I married a wonderful man, and now that we have a baby and I get to see him as a husband and a dad, I notice how wonderful he is more and more.

This week, my school made up our snow day from a couple of weeks ago on a Monday (as our schedule is the 4-day school week), so by Wednesday, I was pooped. Paul finished basketball practice early that night, and when he got home commenced to make dinner: pork chops, butter noodles, and green beans. My man can cook.

We ate, him letting me get seconds before he did, because we were hungry, and then after dinner, he cleaned up. I told him I would clean up, but he said no. So while he cleaned up, I nursed Sophie. This was about 6:30. We both kind of fell asleep while I nursed her, but she woke up when we were done. I, however, did not. At 7 o’clock, I cashed out on the couch, until 8. Then, at 8, Paul gently woke me up, asking if I was okay, and he took Sophie back to her room to let her play, and me sleep, until 8:30. You know those nights where you can’t do anything because every fiber of your being is exhausted beyond words? Yeah, it was one of those nights.

I finally woke up at 8:30 with enough stamina to give Sophie a bath, nurse her, and lay her down. I promptly fell asleep after that at 9:25. And the child slept all night. Praise God.

Back to why my husband is amazing.

Throughout all of this, the cooking, the eating, the cleaning, the taking care of Sophie, he didn’t complain, he didn’t ask me to do anything, and he didn’t judge me for being tired. He put me first. I profusely thanked him later that night for all he’d done, and he acted like it was nothing. He said he liked doing it, and while I know that’s true, I also know that not having help in any of those activities could be frustrating or annoying. But he never showed those emotions.

Instead, he showed love.

“4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

img_0757Paul was patient, understanding my exhaustion; Paul was not rude, giving off an
attitude of “woe is me”; Paul was not resentful that I completely abandoned him on the couch, leaving him to take care of everything else. Paul showed me love.

And while I know that taking care of our baby is part of our role as parents, when we’re both at home, we try to share that role, giving the other a break just to be, if we need it. Don’t hear me say we don’t love our baby; we do. Sometimes we just need a break. Paul didn’t get a break that night; I took mine under an afghan on the couch.

Throughout our marriage, Paul shows me Christ’s love. Ephesians 5:25 says, “25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . ” Obviously, Paul is not Christ. But I see a glimpse of Christ’s love through Paul. Paul did what he did Wednesday night because he loves me. Not because he was seeking some kind of award or trophy. Not because he was trying to get me to write a blog post about him. He did it because Christ first loved us, and then we show that love to others. And as Christ loved the Church, so I am loved.

Christ does the same thing for us. He paid the ultimate sacrifice by laying down his life for us on the cross. I didn’t deserve it. Nothing in my wheelhouse says I deserved his sacrifice. But he did it anyway. All he desires of me is that I know him and cultivate a relationship with him.

I feel this huge, overwhelming desire to do something to repay Paul for what he did, which I will just because he’s so great. But even if I didn’t, even if I didn’t bake him cookies or write him a note, it wouldn’t stop his love for me. The same principle applies with Christ. I can’t repay Christ for what he’s done for me. Nothing ever could. But I accept the gift of eternal life he offers, digging deeper into my relationship with him.

So gifts or no gifts, I will do the same with Paul, realizing this is what marriage is. Being there for the other when we’re too tired to move. Pitching in all night if we have to. Thank you, babe, for being the most amazing husband a girl could have. Thank you for serving me and blessing me daily.

Thank you for loving me as Christ does.

 

An Open Letter to the New Momma Returning to Work

Dear Momma,

You just had a baby, either six weeks ago or a few months ago, and now you’re headed back to work. It’s a scary, uncertain time. You’ve nurtured this sweet baby, rocked him, nursed her, and answered his every cry. But now, you know you have to return to work. It sucks. I know. I had to return to school after four months at home with my baby, and while you may think, “But you had four months at home, that’s a long time” you’re definitely right. But after being with your little one for four months, 24/7, it’s hard to give that up. I can’t imagine what it may feel like for you, if it’s six or eight weeks. Let’s just agree it’s hard no matter what.

I want to share some things that were helpful for me when I began teaching again. And, Momma, you do what works for you, but this is what worked for me.

  1. Sleep

You’re going to be tired, your significant other will be tired, and your baby will be tired. So sleep. Sleep in, go to bed when the baby does, and rest, rest, rest. If something can wait until tomorrow, let it. Those first couple of weeks are rough in the evenings. Snuggle that baby, hug your husband, and enjoy being home. But more importantly, get your rest so you can do what you need to. Happy dreams!

2.  Freezer Meals

So because you’re going to be dog tired, you’re not going to want to cook. Take a Saturday, find a bunch of crock pot/freezer meals on Pinterest, and make them. Freeze them. They will be a lifesaver. Use them for lunch or dinner. My husband and I use freezer meals when we know a busy time is going to hit, and this year, we knew the beginning of the school year would be so busy and we’d be so tired. So get to cookin’, just not on week nights.

3.  Build a Milk Stash

This applies to those mommas who are nursing. And if you’re not, good for you. You’re still providing for that little one. (And you probably have more time during your work day, but that’s for a different post.) One thing I wish I had done before I returned to school was build a bigger freezer stash of breast milk. While I had a small stash, it wasn’t enough to prevent me from worrying during the school day if I was keeping up with my baby girl. Eventually, I read enough information that explained pumping in the morning will help you get ahead for the day. However, I wished that I had pumped in the mornings more regularly before I returned to school. Building that milk stash allows you some grace days, especially if it’s a stressful day and you don’t produce as much as you’d like. It’s like insurance, only free.

4.  Know that the first couple of weeks will be tough

You’re leaving your tiny, precious, beloved baby with someone you may, or may not, know. For us, we didn’t know our babysitter. Now we do, and we love her, but at first we didn’t. It’s a scary feeling to leave your baby with someone who’s not you. That person doesn’t know the little ins and outs of your baby. That person doesn’t know that your baby likes her cheek stroked as she falls asleep. But eventually that person will figure those things out, and your baby will adjust, as will you. But yeah, leaving the house those first few weeks sucked, and sometimes they still do. And I know that in a few months, when I’ve left many mornings, I will still hate leaving. But like so many people have told me, it’s not easy, but it gets easier.

5.  You need Jesus

A lot, a lot, of Jesus. Leaving your baby is difficult. This Momma business is hard work. And the only way you can survive is through his grace. His grace is sufficient, always. When you miss your baby all day at work, his grace is sufficient. When you come home and you’re too tired to move, except to hold your baby, or maybe not even to hold your baby, his grace is sufficient. When you’re at work and look at her picture and tears form in your eyes, his grace is sufficient. Finding that time with the Lord will be hard because you’re so busy and tired, but make sure you take it. He wants that time with you, and you need it with Him. This one is hard to make happen. But if you ask Him, he will help you.

New Momma, I’m not an expert in any way, shape, or form. But these steps have helped me through these first six weeks back to work, and if they help you too, then great. If not, share what does help you. We can’t be mommas alone. We have to stick together. I wish you well. And remember, you can do it.

Sincerely,

Jana

This Parenting Business . . .

. . . is not for the faint of heart. Our baby girl will turn three months tomorrow. Three months! In the back of my mind, I still expect to see this tiny newborn we brought home from the hospital, but when I look at her, I see this full-faced, grinning, noise-making, growing girl. Definitely not a newborn anymore.

When we first brought her home, the onslaught of emotions hit me head on. Just the newness of everything. And of course I knew the emotions wouldn’t stop, but I guess what didn’t register fully was how much fuller the wave of my emotions would get.

Example: for the first 11 weeks of this sweet girl’s life, she’s slept in momma and daddy’s room, in plain view, a quick eye’s glance away. But last week, we moved her into the crib, in her room. And sleep escaped me. Not because she didn’t sleep; no, she slept fine. Because I couldn’t sleep. Yes, we had a monitor, and yes, she’s only a few extra steps across the hall in her room, but she wasn’t in our room. And I missed her. And oh the tears. So many tears. The first night, the second night, the fourth night. Those were some very late nights for this momma.

Finally, on about the third or fourth night, I felt the Lord telling me, “She’s okay. She’s safe. Nothing is going to happen to her just a few more feet away. You have to trust me and get some sleep.” I knew this, but trusting the Lord with my little one, only a few more feet away, has been the hardest thing I’ve done so far. (Let’s not talk about me going back to work. That will be its own blog post.)

But about those emotions. Yes, those emotions that have swelled up and crashed over me, never before have I had to trust the Lord so much with my emotions. But as small as this seems right now, because all-in-all I know it’s not that big of a step, it’s still a step. I know more steps will come, steps that will be so much harder and gut-wrenching than this one, but the Lord is calling me to trust him now. And some moments last week, I felt like I had to turn over every minute, every second to him.

As always, his word comforts me. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For he has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound mind.” This process of relying second-by-second on the Lord is very humbling. I feel very vulnerable and exposed. I’m supposed to be a strong momma, but the Lord asks me to rest in him, to cast my cares and worries on him.

His word continues to remind me I have to look at things one day at a time. If you know me at all, you know I tend to worry and plan way into the future, so taking things one day, or one second, at a time, is difficult for me. But the Lord is faithful. Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Tomorrow is not here yet. Going back to work and taking our sweet girl to the sitter’s is not here yet. And when those days do get here, I know they will be hard, harder than anything I’ve ever done. But I know the Lord will walk with me, second-by-second, pushing me through those hard days.

So, yeah, this parenting thing is not for the faint of heart. It stirs up emotions I never thought possible. But it’s also brought more joy than my heart can hold. Joy that comes when I rock our sweet girl to sleep and she looks up at me and smiles and coos. Joy that comes when my husband gets up with her in the morning and I see them playing and snuggling on the couch. Joy that comes when this girl melts into me and falls asleep after she’s nursed. Yes, so much joy.

P.S. I have to give a shout-out to my amazing husband. He is without-doubt the most selfless person I know. He always puts baby girl and me first; he takes care of things around the house without me asking, and he loves us so deeply it kills me. So thank you, babe, for the being the best husband and father I know!

Time Stands Still

What an adventure this past month has been. My husband and I welcomed our baby girl into the world on April 14, and we are beyond-words-blessed to have her in our lives.

As I thought about what to say in this post, a plethora of ideas come to mind. All the emotions of being a new mom, all the things I wished I had known before she came, all the anxiety that comes with simply thinking about leaving the house with this very fragile, tiny human. But what continues to come back to me is something I hear moms say and see them post . . . a lot: they want time to stand still.

Almost every morning since we’ve brought our sweet girl home from the hospital, she’s fallen asleep on my chest after I nurse her. When my mom left and my husband went back to work, I marveled at the sweetness of those moments. This precious child had been inside of me, and now I’m holding her.

This morning, she fell asleep on me at 8:10. I looked at the clock, wishing it could be 8:10 forever and that this one-month-old wouldn’t get any bigger. I look back at all the pictures I’ve taken in the past month, and tears fall down my face at how much she’s changed already. And now, every time she falls asleep on me and rests those cheeks against my skin, I try to make time stand still. I know I can’t, but I simply rest in those moments with her, knowing that before long, I’ll blink and she’ll be running around the house, too busy and active to snuggle with momma.

Looking at this past month, the love I have for my daughter is so fresh and new, and on a similar note, the love I have for husband has increased in ways I didn’t think possible. He’s an amazing Dad. Such a natural. The way he looks at baby girl melts my heart. I don’t know what I would do without him.

So yes, sentimental post. But I can’t help it. We had a baby. It’s a big deal.