I’ve FINALLY found my focus!

As many of you have probably noticed, I haven’t updated this blog since the birth of our seventh child, a beautiful little girl: Ivy Jean (aka Miss Little Lamb). Be still my heart, she is the sweetest little surprise gift from God EVER!!! Difficult pregnancy, difficult labor and delivery, difficult start to breastfeeding, difficult getting her to sleep through the night…

BUT, I freakin’ wouldn’t change it for the world!!! She is AMAZING!!! You could offer me a trillion dollars for her and I’d never take it, I’d never let her go! I thank the Lord almighty above every day that I have her! What a blessed gift!

Even her brothers and sisters adore her. Since they’re all older now, they finally have the privilege of enjoying having a little baby in the home. We all, together: laugh with her, take turns holding her, change her diapers, give her baths, take pics and videos of her, make her smile and giggle, rejoice over her developmental milestones, burp her, rock her to sleep, cuddle with her, breathe in her sweetness… She’s precious and everyone is absolutely in love!

She was four months old, as of November 1st. *sigh*
Four months already?! Unbelievable! Going too fast!

Time, please slow down!!!

Many a time I’ve wanted to post here on the blog. But every time I would sit down to write, there was nothing there. My mind went blank. What should I say? What should I write about?

Blank-ness. (Is that a word?)

Fast-forward to just yesterday. I had a revelation in the shower. (Why is it that deep thoughts seem to happen in the bathroom. *snicker*) No but seriously, I had a line of thought run through my head absolutely out of nowhere:

Living on a dime with a part of nine!

Living on a dime with a party of nine? Hmmm… like, write about how we (a large family) live and thrive on a modest income? How we make the dollar stretch? How we save and scrimp? How we make food and possessions last? How we are frugal?

I have like a bazillion tricks up my sleeve (beyond just coupon usage and Amazon deals) on how we make things last over here. That’s something I’m very knowledgeable about, something I’ve learned very well these past 14 years, something I’m still learning, something that I could probably endlessly talk about.

When people come to me for help and advice, oftentimes it’s about how we do “it”, that is, survive life, survive in this economy, with 9 people and actually make it work.

So, I believe the Lord is leading me to make this the focus of my blog. I think my readers could benefit from taking a peek into the ins and outs of how we do things over here. Perhaps there’s something we do that would benefit someone else.

I certainly haven’t arrived. Nor am I (or will I) be the best blogger on the block about this topic. But I do believe I have something to share with people that might help them in their own lives. Maybe there’s other large (or small/medium) families out there that are struggling to make ends meet and could benefit from some of my tips? Maybe if someone could see how we do it, it would spur them on to stretch money? Maybe there’s other mom’s out there that don’t have the time to pick up a part time job to help ends meet, but they could do a thing or two to tighten the purse strings, things they’ve never thought of, that would help stretch their husband’s income?

We all bring something unique to the table. I think this is a knowledge that I’ve been blessed to learn. I believe it’s something I could bless others with.

So, if you’d like to learn how a family of nine lives on a dime (and thrives), stay tuned!!!

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Staying Motivated to Work Out During Pregnancy

I follow several fitness pages & people on Facebook. Here are my FAVS (in no particular preferential order):
Roller Derby Athletics
Derby Fit San DiegoHeath, Wellness, and Roller Derby
Treble Maker909
Fit Pregnancy
Knocked-Up Fitness
Diary of a Fit Mommy
Yoga With Kassandra
Yogadevotion
Yoga With Adriene
Holy Yoga
Spartan Race Training
Spartan Race
Natalie Hodson

In one of the pregnancy fitness pages, a young lady was asking for motivation to work out. If I remember right, she was about 6 months along.

The first thing that popped into MY mind was: find a goal!
There’s something about having a goal or an image or an aspiration to cling to. It REALLY helps get you off the couch and moving.

An upcoming vacation? A sport you want to try? A race you’d like to run? A class at the Y you’d like to try out? An old swim suit or pair of jeans that you’d LOVE to get back into? Getting off medications for blood pressure or diabetes? Just want to be able to play and keep up with your kids or grandkids? etc.

For me, I have several motivations:
1) I want labor & delivery *and* post-partum recovery to run smoothly and quickly and easily.
2) I have a gnarly varicose vein on my right leg that I *know* will flare up if I eat poorly or gain too much weight. Personally, I want that bad boy managed. I do NOT want to be miserable the rest of this pregnancy. Or worse yet, be couch-bound because I have to keep it elevated all the time.
3) I want and *need* the energy to keep up with my soon-to-be (7) children, homeschool, house duties, and whatever else I’m involved in with hubby/friends/family/church/& community. I do NOT want to always be tired or to have to say “no” to things cuz I can’t keep up.
4) I’m in a fitness & clean eating Facebook group where we have to report in daily with what we did exercise/food-wise. ❤❤ my ladies!!! ❤❤ the accountability!!!
5) I use a social media app called YouFood that connects me with people across the world. In this app I post my daily food intake and exercise… I can also share my food/fitness journey, post my groceries, share tips, or start a discussion. It’s SO useful. People can “like” what I post and also make comments. It’s a great tool, esp if you’re like me and can’t stand calorie counting. And I can get food/exercise ideas and inspiration from others. Both iPhones & Androids can use it.
6) I want to join roller derby after this baby is born. And that is a highly demanding physical activity. One in which I do NOT want to be starting out with cold turkey. If I can maintain fitness throughout my pregnancy, that will help drastically in getting in shape post-partum for derby.

Having these goals at the forefront of my mind really, truly helps me get off my hiney and onto my exercise mat each day!

So what motivates YOU? What gets you moving even if you don’t “feel” like it?

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Weight Loss Progress

Ok… so I have carried 7 full term pregnancies within the span of 12 years. It’s taken it’s toll. BUT I refuse to give up and give in. I choose to fight and work HARD to stay healthy… for myself, my husband, my children, and my future. God has plans for me to accomplish here on earth and I want to make sure that I am healthy and strong to face them and get them done! It’s been a long hard path. SO MUCH hard work.

Not sure about everyone else, but I definitely noticed a metabolism shift after I hit 30 (I’m now 35). I started having babies when I was 22 and back then (in my 20’s) it was a *breeze* to lose the baby weight. By 6 months post partum I was always donning my pre-preggo clothes. Boy, was I blessed with a great metabolism!

But then came a cocktail of things in my early 30’s. A definite shift in my metabolism, for sure. But in 2010, I had a stillbirth at 37 weeks. 3 months later, I conceived and carried to term our youngest son. And then 15 months later conceived and carried our youngest daughter to term. Boom. Boom. Boom. My body went through a *lot* in a very short amount of time and it has been SUPER hard to lose the baby weight.

Our youngest is now just shy of 21 months of age and I am FINALLY comfortably wearing pre-pregnancy clothes.

So here are some before pics (taken in summer of ’13) and after pics (taken this winter):

Before:

big me

After:

little me 2 little me 3 little me

I’m *comfortable* where I am weight-wise.
Just wanting to firm up and get strong/muscled.
I’d like to see what I could accomplish fitness wise.

Right now, I’m really focusing on upper body strength. My hubby and I are participating in a Spartan Race this spring and SO many of the obstacles require incredible upper body strength. My legs are very strong and I can run, but my arms are weak (hence the desire to do Potty Push-Ups—> see last post). I also got for Christmas a chin up bar that fits in a door frame. I’ve been trying my hand at that too but can only do 2 push ups max, LOL. Got a ways to go in order to be able to kick booty for the Spartan Race. Upper body strength and comfortably being able to do burpees is key for a Spartan Race!

Gonna give it a try

So with having 7 full term pregnancies, my tummy just ain’t the same. I (very thankfully) do not have any stretch marks. But I do have some loose skin. I’ve never tried firming creams before, but now I’m willing to give it a go. This product had great reviews. Let’s see if it works! *fingers crossed*

Have any of you tried skin firming creams before? Have they worked? Or is it hooey?

Firming Butter