Thursday, October 4, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!

Hey, all!
I'm so sorry that I haven't updated in over a month! My life has gotten so crazy with the "mobilization" of my son.

He crawls, he pulls up, he climbs stairs. Yes... stairs.

In fact, I wanted to write an incredible, thought-provoking post, but he wants, right this moment, to pull up on my legs. And I can't say no to this little sucker!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


2 million children are believed to be exploited through the commercial sex trade.
Our post today comes from Heather Huffman. I met her through the 31 day challenge and she kindly offered to write a guest post for me. She has such a heart for the people being exploited through human trafficking and I have no doubt that once you read what she has to say, you will agree. On top of all that, she is absolutely a fantastic writer. 
 Two million children are believed to be exploited through the commercial sex trade. That’s a stomach-turning statistic if there ever was one. But when I began to learn about the faces and atrocities behind the numbers, it became a number I couldn’t turn away from.

I was in my thirties, wondering how the heck the path of my life had ended up where it had, when I decided to pick up my pen and write again. After years of silence, I’d committed to honing my craft and finally realizing my dream to publish a novel.

I finished my first novel, Tumbleweed, over the course of the next year, but when I hit a wall with editing it, I set it aside and started work on what would become the book that changed my life: Throwaway. It was inspired by a dream I had about a prostitute and a police officer. The dream was just one conversation between these two star-crossed lovers, but I became obsessed with them. I thought about them constantly and how they got to where they were.

When I look back over that period in my life, it’s almost eerie how everything came together. Research I did for the novel Throwaway opened my eyes to an entire world I’d never known existed – modern day slavery. Once I knew it existed, I knew I somehow had to become involved in the fight. Something in the back of my mind kept repeating that my books should be a voice for the voiceless, but I had no idea how to accomplish that.

It just so happened that while I was trying to figure out what to do, I was invited to a symposium on human trafficking. It was a daylong event that armed me with facts and clarified how I could best use my talents to make a dent in this enormous problem. I decided that day to give away indie versions of my books to raise awareness.

Many of those around me thought I was nuts. But those books were downloaded more than 50,000 times over the next months, and I began to hear from readers around the world. One even asked if she could translate my work into Russian. From that one crazy act sprang a much larger movement. As people—former foster children, rescued slaves, survivors of abuse—reached out to me with their stories, I knew I’d made the right decision.

It was also through my readers that I first learned of the groups Project Liberty and The Covering House, and have since committed to helping them in the fight against human trafficking. Project Liberty is a group out of Lansing, Michigan that’s committed to rescuing children from trafficking. They’ve also been wonderful about educating me on the reality of this crime. The Covering House is a group out of Missouri that offers shelter and restoration to victims under the age of 18 after they’ve been rescued.

A funny thing happened because of the momentum the books had built up back in those indie days – I was contacted by a publisher out of Seattle called Booktrope. They were pioneering a new publishing model that could survive and thrive in the changing book market. Several talks and emails later, I’d signed a contract with them to republish the first four books, as well as my fifth book, which had yet to be released.

Not only are the first four now proudly sporting the Booktrope imprint, my seventh book, Devil in Disguise, was released this summer. In terms of shedding a light on human trafficking, this is the book the others were leading up to. In it, the main character’s younger sister is taken by human traffickers. Through the course of the novel, I’m able to show readers some of what I’ve learned over the past few years. The trafficking element is woven into the story, and it’s intentionally not heavy-handed. It’s a book with as much laughter as there are tears.

Though my publisher now charges for the books, my reach has grown exponentially. I recently learned that my books have been downloaded approximately 500,000 times. I can’t even wrap my brain around that number. In addition to a having a greater reach, I’ve also dedicated to give a portion of my book royalties to the organizations I work with.

My publisher also helped me line up Leave your Mark Graffiti Parties in Missouri and Georgia, with more to come in 2013. More than a book signing, graffiti parties also serve to raise awareness for human trafficking and help inform others how they can get involved. Often, these events are held in cooperation with one of the non-profits I partner with as fundraising opportunities. I now also speak in schools, churches and women’s groups, raising awareness for the fight against trafficking and the groups I work with.

Looking back, it’s surreal how far I’ve come on this journey. I know there’s a lot of work left to do, but it’s a start. If we all start somewhere, then we can change that number. Two million children can be children, not a statistic.

Keep up with author Heather Huffman on Heather Huffman’s Facebook Author Page.  Visit her book website or contact her on Twitter @Heathers_Mark.
I have an e-copy of Heather's newest book, "Devil in Disguise" to give away!

All you have to do is link to this blog on your facebook or twitter accounts and then leave a comment here letting me know that you have done so! I will announce the winner on Friday!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Goals and Orphans

There are 121 million children out of education worldwide.

Lest my original readers think I have forgotten about my 12 Goals for 2012, I have not. Will I accomplish them all? Most certainly not. But they have definitely grown me as a person, nonetheless.

I think that everyone should set goals for themselves that are hard/nearly impossible to attain. I truly believe that's how we achieve really great things. The trick is to not let it rule your life or stress you out. I struggle with that a lot. Things that should have been fun and educational, like reading 100 books in one year, become some kind of deadline to meet or else people will be disappointed in me.

That's a ridiculous thought. As if anyone really really cares whether or not I meet these goals. I'm sure that people are cheering me on, but if I don't meet them, I'm not going to devastate anyone's world.

Set your goals high for yourself. No one else. The world does not hinge on your accomplishments.
147 Million Children

"We are two moms who love orphans! We met eight years ago as we were both going through our first adoptions (one domestic and one international) … Thirteen kids and seven adoptions later, we are bound together through faith and mission. We love “doing life together” and accepting the call to speak up for orphans everywhere. We want to help as many people as possible to see the 147 million orphans as scripture calls them, “…those who have no voice.”   We want you to see YOUR PART in helping change the life of an orphan. Could it be adoption, sponsoring a child, volunteering for orphan care ministry, rocking babies at an orphanage, financially supporting someone adopting, or buying these products?"
I love these moms. I love their mission. I love their hearts. And I love everything about their ministry.
They offer so many ways to get involved, and they even offer fundraising opportunities for those who would love to adopt, but just can't financially. 
By the way, if anyone wants to give me a Christmas present, click here. Thank you in advance.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hello Somebody and Confessions

1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.

Confession: I am failing at this $2.00 a day challenge. 

I have tried to think of good reasons that I am failing: I am busy. My body isn't used to that little food. I need to be at the top of my game all the time as a mom.

But the simple fact is that I love food and it's hard for me not to partake with friends. And I love food.

It's unbelievable to me that I can eat so much that I love food and don't think of it as a necessity for survival, but a luxury to enjoy.

Lord, help me to understand how blessed I am. Give me self control. Make me frugal. Help me to be a good steward of everything You give me so that others might come to know You!

Hello Somebody
This organization might get my vote for the trendiest.

Hello Somebody was begun as a result of a mission trip to Honduras. The founder encountered children there who preferred food over toys. His initial goal was to provide one million meals that year.
Now they work in several areas through other organizations to better the world, including stopping sex trafficking, getting water to Guatemala and livestock to Rwanda, and rebuilding after tornadoes ravaged parts of the United States. If you choose to donate directly to Hello Somebody, you will be ensuring that children receive food, education, and personal development.

As an added bonus, Hello Somebody has a store with some rockin’ merchandise. Seriously, I would buy everything in their store if I could. It ranges from CD’s to clothes to fragrance and all of it is great quality and superbly artistic.
 Please continue to consider sponsoring a child this month! Specifically children that have been waiting for a sponsor for over 6 months. You could help give them a future!

Real Post Forthcoming

I am so exhausted I don't know what to do with myself, but I promise that we are going to get back on track today. I have life updates as well as a few confessions to make.

Friday, August 3, 2012

America vs. the World

An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, with 3 million deaths in 2004. Every year there are 350–500 million cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities: Africa accounts for 90 percent of malarial deaths and African children account for over 80 percent of malaria victims worldwide.

 I have been asked several times by several people how I can give money overseas when there are people in my own country that need help? I thought I would take time at the beginning of these 31 days to explain a few reasons I do what I do. 

1. The need in Africa is great and there are few resources.

We talk about the cycle of poverty being hard to break in the U.S. It is. Especially if you have medical problems. But the cycle of poverty in Africa is almost impossible to break. In America if you are hungry you can go to a food bank. In Africa there isn't any food to give to a food bank. In American if your house blows over on you, you will receive medical care, insurance or not. In Uganda, if your house blows over on you and you have no way to pay, you will be left on a gurney to die.

2. Christians don't really belong to a nation except the Kingdom of God.

Don't get me wrong, I pledge allegiance to my flag and I appreciate the fact that I live in a free country. I routinely thank service men and women for fighting for me. But I am not only responsible for the poor in my country. I am responsible for the poor everywhere. And if you're a Christian, you should want to see people saved from the intense poverty seen in other countries. If you think Americans suffer, you haven't done enough research.

3. Third world countries are open to hope.

It is so difficult to witness to others in the U.S. I'm not saying that we should give up or that it's impossible that others will come to know Christ, but Christians need to go where people are desperate for Someone to save them. Keep witnessing to your neighbors here, but don't forget that while Americans tend to routinely reject the Gospel there are people all over the world who would accept if only they knew who this Jesus was. 

That was probably a lot more harsh than what I intended it to be. I don't want anyone to think that I don't care about my neighbors here in the U.S. I want everyone to have health care and to have enough to eat and have a job. I want all to come to know the peace that I found in Jesus. But at some point we have to quit being so inward centered and start realizing that the church is world wide. 
Hands in Service

Based out of the Christian Fellowship in Nashville, TN, Hands in Service is, indeed, a jack-of-all-trades organization. They have developed eight different ministries in Uganda ranging from metal workshops to schools to farms. But as different as these seem, they all have one thing in common: their help is a hand up to the people of Soroti, Uganda instead of a hand-out.

Hands in Service support local small businesses in a variety of ways, which is so important in sustaining change in developing countries.

One impressive part of Hands in Service is their commitment to working across denominational boundaries and to promote unity in the body of Christ. We all like to say that we’re all for unity, but their mission statement was like a sip of cool water for me!
 I accidentally ruined my bowl of oatmeal this morning so I had to make a new one. It was such a strange feeling to do that... knowing that at the end of the month I would probably go without breakfast. How odd to have to be so careful how I cook, because if it burns or just doesn't turn out edible I don't eat. 

Today, pray for our country and the people who live that reality here. Then take some time to pray for those overseas that are not different from us, just in even more need.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Food List, Education, and Slavery

Based on enrollment data, about 72 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not in school in 2005; 57 per cent of them were girls.

Once again, a statistic that just makes me sad.

Education is something that we, in general, take for granted. I know I did. I didn't realize that having an education made me less likely to be the victim of domestic abuse or sexual exploitation. 

The sad thing is that these girls know it... they just can't do anything about it.

Pray for these children. Pray that they are given a chance to do something better with their lives for the glory of God. Pray that they would be given the same opportunities that we possess here in the U.S. 

Yesterday was hard. Really hard. I didn't realize how much I loved food, and I have to admit, I have caved in and drank coffee. I decided that if it meant I could be coherent all day then it was worth it.

My food was pretty devoid of color, but here it is anyway.

Oatmeal with bananas

Peanut butter sandwich, rice, and milk
This is basically my menu, at least for the next week. I also had spaghetti at dinner, which I took a picture of, but apparently my phone cord has walked away so no picture for you. It was spaghetti, I promise.

Food is so much cheaper here. I still get to eat 3 meals a day with my $2.00. I am so blessed.

Love146? What does that name even mean?

In 2002 the founders of Love146 took a mission trip to brothels in Southeast Asia. While I would love to tell this story, it’s probably best being heard from their perspectives:

And if you are anything like me, while watching that video you felt a little bit like you were suffocating from the inability to save those girls immediately.

Love 146 spends 50% of its money on the prevention of trafficking, which is, I believe, the most excellent way to spend their money. They use some of their funds to pay organizations already in the countries who know the language and the culture but simply lack the money to be effective.

While the organization was founded by Christians, it is not a religious organization, so their employees cover a vast array of humanity and enables all to be a part of fighting this heinous crime.
 Don't forget to look into Compassion. I found a little girl that I'm just dying to get sponsored. You can check her out on my Facebook page, or you can ask me for the link to find her.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Compassion International

According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die daily due to poverty.

This statistic just echos in my head every time I read it.
22,000 Children? I have to admit, it makes me a little angry. At myself first, because I am sitting here in my $150,000 house watching my $500 TV and typing on my $1,000 laptop. I know, I know, I need a house. And in the kind of culture we live in, it's hard to know what's going on without a TV and almost impossible to work without a laptop. But when you add up just those three things you could sponsor 20 children through Compassion International for their entire lives


What would happen if we would all pitch in? What would happen if everyone who read this blog said that $38 a month is not that much (by the way, it's not) and sponsored a child? It's really time for us to stop making excuses. 

It was not my intention to ask people to give money throughout this month, but I really believe that this is too important. 

I assume if you're reading this you were interested at some point in my child. So here's a picture:

My child is so precious to me. But every time I look at him now I am reminded that there are 22,000 Noah's that are dying today. It makes me weep.

Get involved. It's important.

I challenge you tonight to look through your bank account statement and see how much you spend every month on eating out. I did, and that's when I realized we just weren't as poor as we thought. And that's the night I contacted Compassion to sponsor Yanci.

I want to set a goal for this blog. I would like to see 31 children sponsored through Compassion this month. If you sponsor a child, either shoot me an email (, comment on this blog, or comment on my Facebook page. If you'll send me a picture I will try to make a collage of them and post them in September.

 Compassion International
I sponsored my first child through Compassion International the summer after my senior year in high school. Her name was Chinaika and she was from Haiti and I fell in love with her in a real and devoted way. Unfortunately I only sponsored her for two years when I realized that I could not financially make the commitment anymore. I called the Compassion office and told them, in tears, that I was a college student and could not support Chinaika anymore. The representative was kind and understanding, but I still regret giving her up.

I’m so glad that God blessed me enough to get involved again with this spectacular ministry. Compassion works through $38 a month sponsorships to feed, clothe, and educate children in 26 different countries. $38 is the average amount I used to easily spend on just a couple meals a week eating out.

Compassion works on a one-to-one system, meaning that my $38 goes directly to Yanci, my new sponsored child instead of being dispersed throughout the community. There are several reasons for this (just as there are several reasons to disperse the money as well), but to quote directly from Compassion’s website, “We've discovered that changed circumstances rarely change people's lives, while changed people inevitably change their circumstances.” They focus on building a child up from the inside out. Because of this and the fact that I, alone, am sponsoring Yanci, my letters, encouragement, and prayers are needed and sought after. I am important to Yanci, just like she is indescribably important to me.

There are several other reasons that I love Compassion: the Child Survival Program, the Student Leader Sponsorship program, and the ability to meet my sponsored child through Compassion-organized trips just to name a few. Please visit Compassion’s website for more information.
  In case you are curious, I did begin today. I will post pictures of my meals tomorrow, but I thought I would let you all know that I bought all of this:
For $27 and some change yesterday.

If you still want to get in on this action, let me know and I will share my meal plans with you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Back on the Air

So sorry for the dead air the last week. Getting back from two vacations has really put me behind in life in general.

I will be starting the blogging series One mom. $2.00 per day. 31 days. on Wednesday. The groceries have been bought, menus have been planned, and prayers have been said. I would covet the prayers of anyone reading this blog who is a Christian. Since I announced that I would be doing this series there have been several events in my life that have just made me want to give up. I won't, though. This is obviously way too important.

On a completely unrelated note, is it stupid that every time they show parents when an Olympian wins, I cry? I mean, full on tears.

Also, am I the only person who really dislikes Ryan Lochte's attitude? I really dislike it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guest Blogging

Hey readers! I'm officially a guest blogger.

You can find today's post at Heather Huffman's site. She is an author on a mission to end sex trafficking and we've been talking quite a bit since my decision to launch the $2.00 a day mission. I encourage you to explore her site, get to know her and her passion.

She will be doing a guest post on MH@24 in the month of August, and I'm so excited to be doing the same for her. Visit, leave a comment, be inspired!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why on a Motherhood Blog?

I have been asking myself this question a lot. In fact, I have been wondering if it might be better to create a new blog for this "challenge." But I decided against that for a few reasons.
  • When I became a mom, I felt like I had lost my ability to dream big for anyone besides my children. This ridiculous feeling is one that I really believe is universal, based on my experiences with well-meaning people telling me that my life was not my own anymore and that I wouldn't be Kasey anymore, but instead "Noah's mom." I hated those well-intentioned comments. But now I realize that, as a Christian, my life was never my own. I was bought with a price. My dreams should be God's glory, whether that means with my children or with my own life.
  • Moms need purpose outside their children. I know, I can hear the negative outcry now. Hear me out, though. Your kids? They're going to grow up and move away. They're going to disappoint you at some point. And, most importantly, their lives don't revolve around you. I think that if our only purpose is raising our children we start to have some really unrealistic expectations for them. 
  • My readership extends beyond moms. Yes, this blog is a mom-blog. But many of my readers are still single or just got married or are planning for kids or anywhere in between those things. It's really turned into a blog for women. And I really believe that women are catalysts for change in the world. We can see need where others can't and have the kind of empathy that says, "Something has to be done here." In fact, many of the charitable organizations I'm going to feature were begun by women. And I totally didn't realize it until just now.
So there you have it. I wish I could write more, but my word, I have had one needy baby the past couple of days.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

$2.00 a Day. 31 Days.

It's about to get serious up in here, y'all.

I spent about four hours last night delving into all the possibilities for this 31 day challenge and I believe I am getting it squared away.

So, without further ado, here are:

The Rules

  1. I will eat on only $2.00 a day (or $62) for the entire month of August. 
  2. If I find myself in a situation where I have to be away from my house during meal times, I will either eat off of what little money I have and suffer the consequences for the rest of the month, or I will go without.
  3. I will post a blog by 8 P.M. (Central Standard) daily with a factoid about world poverty and an endorsement of an organization that is working towards ending human suffering.
  4. I will spend one hour per day studying scripture and praying for the needs of the world.
  5. I will find a way to personally support at least ten of the organizations featured on the blog.
I think that many of you will find this series to be interesting, if not informative and challenging. Please consider supporting one of the organizations featured in August. Volunteer, give monetarily, spread awareness. Be a world changer and not a world watcher.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Epiphany about Self Worth

I went on vacation to Florida last week. It should have been filled with joy and great memories of my baby's first trip to Florida, Disney World, and the beach. Instead I was filled with almost constant anxiety over my weight.

On the last day of the trip I finally said, "No more."

I am so glad that I did the 30 Day Shred. I am glad because I felt healthy and strong. I am glad because I was teased in high school because I wasn't athletic enough to be considered for even just-for-fun games between friends and this proved to me that I can darn well do whatever I please and don't tell me that I can't thankyouverymuch. I am glad because now I know that I have will power and self control.

Now it's time to move on.

I can't think about my weight anymore. I want to be healthy and I will still work out and try to watch what I eat to a certain extent. But I am done weighing myself even weekly. I simply cannot do it anymore and I am certain that it is not where God wants me at all.

I would like to find another 30 day goal. I've been listening to David Platt's sermons on materialism, and I've been playing with the idea of a $2.00 a day fast.

Did you know that 2.6 billion people live on less than $2.00 a day? That's how much I spend on a soda.

I have basically decided to make the commitment to eat on $2.00 a day for the month of August. I'm still trying to figure out the logistics of that, and I know that $2.00 a day would cover food, shelter, and clothing for those in poverty, but I have set expenses that would make that impossible. So this is what I can do. Spend a total of $62 for groceries/toiletries for myself during the month of August and pray for those in physical suffering while I try to live on the bare minimum.

I want to live Radically. I want people to ask me about the hope that I found and I want to live like I have hope that has nothing to do with this world. I want to look for ways to be Jesus to people.

This may seem simplistic, but I'm working on changing my mindset.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Next Baby Wish-list

Because of the utter shock of my last pregnancy, I didn't do a lot of really awesome things that I wish I would have done. Therefore, since I love making lists, I will make a wish-list of things I want to do during my next pregnancy/childbirth/baby.

  1. Tell Jordan in a special way (a.k.a. not waiting for him to come up the stairs looking like someone died)
  2. Do a pregnancy shoot (no bare belly pictures, though. I don't like them)
  3. Send out pregnancy announcements.
  4. Take my vitamins/folic acids very regularly. Morning sickness or not.
  5. Use a midwife service
  6. Go on a shopping spree at Cotton Babies. I LOVE this store. I mean, seriously. I wish I would have went into it before I had Noah. It would have completely changed my life and the entire way I ran my pregnancy/birth/infant.
  7. Take birthing classes
  8. Invest in pretty maternity clothes. Even though they're expensive.
  9. Eat well and mindfully
  10. Buy a birthing gown
  11. Try for a drug-free birth
  12. At least ask to not be monitored throughout my entire labor
  13. Spend at least half a day with only me, Jordan, and the baby
  14. Only allow family and a few select people at the hospital. I loved knowing that so many people loved us and our child, but we had over/around 50 people visiting us those three days, and it was just too much for me.
  15. Take care of myself post-birth a little better. Get rest.
  16. Buy a moby wrap
  17. Work a little harder on breast feeding. This includes being a lot more assertive about telling people that they need to leave and/or give me privacy. I understand that nursing is nothing to be ashamed about, but I prefer for it to be private. 
  18. Cloth diaper
  19. Send real birth announcements
  20. In general be more assertive about what I want. Mostly during birth, but a little bit after too.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The End of the Shred

Wow. Here it is. The dreaded progress picture day. I was completely certain that I would be disappointed. I really slacked off the last 10 days. I ate kind of poorly and phoned in a few of my workouts. But now, seeing the pictures, I wish I would have worked a little harder!

I'm sure most of you realize this, but remember that a baby belly is incredibly hard to lose and my skin has not regained all of its elasticity (but I think it's definitely getting there). I only mention this because there are many people out there who are now participating in the 30 Day Shred and I don't want them to be discouraged because I don't have a six-pack! You might get one! I think I can feel mine under my skin even though I cannot see it just yet.

Sorry, I know that one is bigger than the other... but, still! Awesome!

I can dig this! My shoulders look a lot better!
I started at 150 and I ended at 150, but who cares? Did you see those pictures? Also, I lost 1 inch from my waist, so I'll take it!

Overall, I loved the shred. I think it's a phenomenal workout for beginners who want to get serious. A few people have asked me if it's hard on your knees, and I hate to say that if you have knee problems you would not be able to get past level one, more than likely. Level one is on YouTube, so try it out!

I would also suggest that while you should always give it your all, you should NOT give up if you cannot get through each level without stopping. I only had one workout in which I did not have to take a break. Jillian wants to push you by telling you to not stop, and that is a great goal to have, but don't feel like you have to quit the workout just because you can't do everything she asks of you just yet. You will eventually!

I started my new ab workout today, and it's definitely a killer. I think it's going to really pay off, though! Also, I re-started training for that 5k and I'm ahead of where I was when I left off! Such a great feeling!

I decided to try to clean up my eating too, so I decided to try Bob Harper's "Skinny Rules." I am going to add one each week, starting today with Rule #1: Drink a large glass of water before every meal. I'll weigh in every Saturday (or Friday or Sunday... since I'll be on vacation next week). Just wondering how effective the skinny rules will be with a normal exercise program.

Weight: 150
Waist: 36"
Hips: 40 1/4"
Thigh: 23"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pictures and Numbers

Breaking news: I am considering my mom arms officially gone! It makes me want to cry and jump for joy. But I have company over and Jillian's level 3 makes jumping very nearly impossible once I'm done.

In other news, we had 6 month pictures of Noah taken yesterday. Before Jordan's aunt got there to take them I have to admit that I had a minor (major) meltdown regarding pants. And I cried. A lot. But then I found my super special size 8 jeans that magically fit me (even though no other size 8 jeans fit) and all ways right and the pictures are going to be spectacular.

Noah totally face planted on our hardwood floor during the shoot yesterday. I suppose it would make me a bad mom if I admitted that I after I saw that he was ok, I laughed? And I continued to laugh a good portion of the time he was crying. Mostly because after a while he had no idea what he was crying about.

My favorite picture so far? This pretty candid.
I feel so much more healthy than I used to and I think that it shows. Extra motivation: being more energetic with my child.

I stopped counting calories the other day. I was realizing that my body just did not want to run on 1200 calories a day. Ever since I starting eating (correctly for the most part) when I'm hungry, I've had the motivation to start/finish my workouts and they don't seem like such a drag. Calorie counting has been a great exercise for me to learn what I'm putting into my body, but it's not something that I can (read: want to) maintain forever. If I did, I would develop a very unhealthy fixation on my eating. I also haven't stepped on the scale in a couple days. I'm going to work hard and try my best not to overeat (which is actually a struggle for me) and see what happens. I don't want to obsess over the scale. Will I check it? Yes. I do eventually want to be down to a certain weight. But if I look freaking awesome and I'm not at that weight? I'll deal.

Monday, June 18, 2012

30 Days after Jillian

I feel like I'm constantly thinking of these awesome ideas for blogs and then they fly right out of my head when I sit down to write. This is what we affectionately refer to as the "mommy-brain."

The Shred is... going. I'm not losing the way that I really wanted to and, yes, I understand that I'm gaining muscle, and, yes, I look more toned than ever before. But I've just got to tell you all that I'm feeling rather impatient. And really really tired of counting calories. Especially when I go over 1200 calories and I gain 4 pounds. Every. Freaking. Time.

Jordan basically thinks that I should toss the scale in the trash can, but I really can't. If it weren't for weighing myself I wouldn't understand that what I'm eating really makes a difference. Yes, it also makes a difference in how I feel, but sometimes how I feel is directly related to what I weigh. As in, I feel much healthier and fitter now that I'm 148 instead of 160.

I planned out my next 30 days of working out (actually, I've planned out the next year, but we'll just take it as it comes). It looks a little something like this:

  • 5k training. I'm getting back into running with a vengeance. If I could have my way in a perfect world, next July I will be running a marathon. My running training will be continuous, so you will be seeing this (or 10k training or half training, etc.) for the next year or so.
  • 300/30 Ab Challenge. I didn't want to just run and forget about everything that I've worked so hard for during the shred, so this is the new 30 day goal. The workout looks like this (25 reps of each move):
          • In-N-Outs
          • Bicycles
          • Reverse Bicycles
          • Crunchy Frog (I know, weird names)
          • Cross leg/Wide leg sit ups
          • Scissors
          • Hit butt ups
          • Heels to the heavens
          • Roll-up V-ups
          • Leg climbers
          • Kayakers
  • Tank Top Arms. I found this on Pinterest and it just seemed like a good way to keep from losing everything that I've worked for with the shred. I'm not incredibly hopeful that it will make my arms any more toned than what they already are, but maybe it'll keep them from shrinking.
          • 10 push-ups
          • 24 bicep burners
          • 15 shoulder presses
          • 10 push-ups
          • 15 tricep dips
          • 15 back rows
          • 15 lateral raises
          • 10 push-ups
          • 15 tricep kick backs with 20 tricep pull backs
What does all this mean? It means I will be putting a lot more time than 30 minutes into my work out. It will probably run more like an hour now. I just have to keep telling myself that it's worth it. Especially running. I miss it and I really do love it. Now to just get down to business and do it!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dear First Time Moms

I think I have been in denial about how hard it is to be a mom.

Let me explain.

I always wanted to work outside of the home. Since I am now on a temporary hiatus from full-time work and am at home a majority of the time, I assume that I need to constantly be moving from the moment I get up until the moment that my head hits the pillow. When I don't accomplish that, I feel defeated and useless. After all, my husband has a full time job and is getting his masters degree. What could I possibly be doing that is harder than that?

I don't think that people truly understand what stay-at-home moms do. I don't think that it really sinks into their mind that when you pay someone to watch your child, that's all that person does all day. They don't clean your house or cook your meals. They only watch your child.

I know that this has been said and will be said a thousand times more eloquently than I could ever say it, but here is the bare minimum of what I do every day with a six-month-old:

  • Feed him a bottle 4-5 times a day (takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour)
  • Change his diaper at least 10 times
  • Spoon feed him twice daily
  • Give him a bath (sometimes, kind of daily... maybe)
  • Do laundry
  • Do dishes (although I have recently recruited my husband to help me with this)
  • In general, make sure that the baby is not screaming.
That might now seem like a lot. Especially if you've never taken care of a little human being before. But let me tell you, I've been busy in my life. I mean, 20 hours of sleep in the week of finals busy. And yet I have still never been so tired in my life.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you are not weak for not vacuuming your floors every day. Or if your dishes haven't been done in three days. Or if the only underwear you have left is the fake jeans underwear that you bought as a joke.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What's Next

I was going to do a cop out post that was just full of little fun motherhood facts. But we had a fun day today and I decided to talk about that instead.
I did level 2 for the second time today and my elbow is killing me. If there is anyone out there who knows how I might remedy that, I would surely appreciate it. If I wasn't on a tight schedule, I would quit the DVD for a few days to heal, but I leave for Florida almost as soon as I'm done with this workout and, also, I've made a commitment to myself that I will not skip a day. Because, usually, when I skip a day I'm done for good.
I'm getting more and more motivated because I'm watching people join this journey with me. My husband even tried it tonight. I told him he didn't have to keep doing it, but I just wanted the respect I deserved. He said, "Oh. Oh I respect you." I love him.
I finished up my academic vita today. It was so exciting to see everything I've done in that sort of format. I'm really looking forward to the fall and everything that will come with it. I will be teaching a course at MBU, taking classes at Fontbonne, substitute teaching, and teaching piano/voice lessons. It will be a busy year, to be sure, but it will all pay off in the end.
I've been trying to decide what my next fitness goals will be after the end of the 30 Day Shred. Part of my next segment of time will be in Florida, so it needs to be something relatively low-maintenance. I believe that I will start training with my couch to 5k app, but I don't want to lose my muscle definition. So, any ideas on an easy strength programs that run about 3-4 days a week would be appreciated. I wanted to try P90X next, but I really miss running and since I get such bad shin splints, I can't do that kind of intense workout and run at the same time. In the next 3 years I want to work my way up to a marathon, and that will only happen if I start training in earnest very soon.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

30 Days to Fitness

I am, literally, in awe over the reception I've gotten regarding the 30 Day Shred. I've had six other people join me on this awesome journey. We're all at different stages, but we all have something in common. And it's not that we want to kick Jillian in the teeth. We're on our way to becoming fit and healthy.
It's not that it won't be hard. It's totally hard. I was reminded today that sometimes I will hit a wall and just not be able to do the entire routine. This comes as a hard blow today since I am moving up to level two tomorrow. Makes level two seem really scary. My right knee hurts, I can't quite shake the shin splints, and my back is spasming for some reason.
I have really down days, too. Days when I just can't stop myself from eating that Chick Fil A or that Twix bar and the next thing I know I'm up three pounds. Also days when I take a really hard look at my stomach and realize that it looks exactly the same because, well, a child was in there a few months ago and it just needs some time to adapt. Those are the days that I just want to quit.
Luckily for me (and all you other moms out there) I have my own personal alarm clock every morning who gets me up and going. He eats, I get dressed, and we head downstairs. Let me tell you, there is not a whole lot more motivating than a little guy in a bouncy chair hopping along with you. I am beginning to understand that I am going to leave a legacy of fitness for him and my other children. There is a family that I just think is astounding that lives a little bit away from us. The mom and dad run 5k's and some half marathons and both of their older children have been running 5k's with them. What a special moment for them. What a great moment of pride for the kids. There are doing something that most adults will never do in their lifetime.
I know that for those of you doing the shred with no kids, this is a little bit different. But I know most of you, and I know that most of you want kids. You're doing the right thing for them now. For those of you who do not want kids/cannot have kids, I challenge you to take a look at the difference a few Facebook posts have made. All I have done is announced that I've completed a day and not only is there a tremendous outpouring of support, but there are people joining me. You can make a difference in other people's lives by being fit. Who knows but that someone who would have had a heart attack 30 years from now, won't? All because you started living a healthier lifestyle and they followed suit.

And now for the pictures.

I debated for a long time about putting these up because there isn't a major difference yet and I don't want to discourage anyone. But then I remembered that my blog is all about no spin on mommyhood and I want to make sure that all the moms know that getting that stomach back is a process for many (read: most) of us.

Day 1: 155 pounds

Day 10: 148 pounds

Just look at where that baby used to be... he could probably still fit.
My inches are about the same, but I feel like it's starting to redistribute. And look at my legs! Getting there!
Ugh. There is not a whole lot that I hate more than back fat.
I can see a little bit of a difference here. Can't wait to see what the next ten days brings.
This is me flexing. I know. Flexing what?
This is me flexing today! Yowser! That's a big difference!
I hope you all are encouraged and not discouraged. I'm just an average person doing average things. This isn't supposed to prove that I can get fit incredibly fast. But this is something that anyone can do. Even new moms.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Late Night Rambles

I thought about composing some kind of grand blog post tonight, but I am just so tired, I don't know if I can find words to make something grand. So you might just have to deal with my disjointed thoughts.

One of my favorite things in the world is watching Jordan and Noah cuddle. We are all sitting downstairs watching 24 and winding down from a long day of traveling and hanging out with Nana and Grandpa. Noah is gently cooing at Jordan and we are all snuggled up in blankets, just chilling out.

I love baby sleepers. I remarked to Jordan that I wished that I had footie pj's, but pretty quickly retracted that statement. But seriously, there is not much that looks more comfortable than a baby in a sleeper.

It's really hard to wind down to go to sleep while watching 24. There's a nuclear bomb? It might go off? Are you going to disarm it? How many more people will Jack Bauer have to manually dismember?

That will probably have to be all for tonight. I'm finding that my eyes are literally shutting on their own and I'm starting to hear my bed calling my name.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Weight Loss

If you've been following me on Facebook/Twitter, you'll know that I've started a major weight loss campaign that includes 30 straight days of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. The journey started with a status of mine that read:

Sometimes I think that the only way to lose weight at an accelerated pace is to finally just get mad enough to do it.

I decided that this statement could use a little clarification and back-story. So here it is.

I come from a small family. I mean, when you weight 135 pounds you start to stick out in all the wrong directions kind of family. I have always been a little bit bigger boned, 135 looked pretty ok on me and I tended to stay in that range. I hit my lowest adult weight in college, 130. I was feeling good, eating all I wanted, and basically ruining my health. I, literally, ate a Big Mac meal with a Coke 3 times a week. But because my weight didn't go up I assumed I was fine.

Jordan and I got engaged and I was ecstatic.

But then my body said, "NO MORE MCDONALDS!" And at my wedding I weighed the heaviest I had ever been at 150 lbs.

I know, I know, 150 lbs is small potatoes to many people. I know people whose goal weight is 150 lbs. But because of my small frame, 150 lbs looks morel like 200 lbs (give or take). A healthy weight for my height is anywhere between 115 and 144 lbs.

I worked hard and eventually got down to about 135, then got pregnant.

At the end of my pregnancy I weighed 180 lbs (very normal) and when labor was all said and done and I had lost all that I was going to lose without working at it, I was at 160 lbs. Slowly (very very slowly) I trimmed off 10 lbs. I was feeling pretty happy with that change.

Then came what I will refer to as "The Wedding Dress Incident."

My sister is an aspiring model, and she asked me if she could use my wedding dress for a photo shoot. I said, "Sure!" and thought nothing else about it. Until the pictures showed up on Facebook.

Oh my word. My sister looks better in my wedding dress than I ever did. At first, I burst into tears. And then I got mad. Oh man. Did I get mad.

And so it began.

I have been doing the 30 Day Shred and taking Jillian's Fat Burning pills for the last 5 days. I track my calorie intake almost obsessively and drinking water and green tea like it is my job. I have lost 4 pounds in 6 days and I can already feel my body getting stronger.

I want to lose 1-2 pounds a week. That is the safest way, of course. I hope to be down to 125 sometime in mid-September. When I reach my goal (which may or may not change depending on how I feel about my body) I will be doing a trash the dress session with one of my favorite photographers of all time.

I am excited for many reasons. Not the least of which is the healthy example I have began setting for Noah. It's never too early, in my opinion, to start exercising in front of/with your child.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Photo Dump

He started to figure out how to put his feet together and that was our new favorite thing for about a month and a half. It was adorable.

This is right before his four month check up. I had been fighting with him about tummy time since birth. He just laid face down and screamed. And then, one day, this happened. So much joy for me!

This was the saddest and most uncomfortable thing I have ever seen. And so, of course, I took a picture.

At his four month well child visit he decided he would roll over. Probably to save mommy from having to explain his severe lack of tummy time. What a good kid.

First time eating solids. He looks a lot happier here than he ended up being at the end. He was not please with me or the bumbo chair.

This picture is hilarious. He fell asleep with his bottle half in his mouth and half naked. He looks like a total drunk.

This is the Roberts family. There are nine kiddos altogether, but here are six of them. They were watching Noah and took him out for a family jam session in the driveway. They are all so adorable. Definitely one of my favorite families of all time.

My very first Mother's Day. We almost forgot to take this picture. That would have been a shame, because I love it a lot.

This is simply hilarious. That's the only reason it's here.

Jordan's last day at Jackson High School. New adventures beginning at Cape in August!

This was Grammy's last day of school ever! She retired at the end of this year. This isn't Grammy pictured, but it is another wonderful lady from the school. We surprised her with balloons and party hats and noise makers. I will tell you one thing: The next time someone tells me that teachers have it easy or get paid too much, I'm going to set their hair on fire. Then they will understand how teachers feel every day.

This is our friend, Tim. He and his wife, Ashley (who was in my wedding) live in KC and were in St. Louis for a wedding so we met up with them for lunch and a science center date. This is Tim feeding Noah to the robotic T-Rex.

The same visit we got to meet sweet baby Addy and Noah and she hit it off immediately. I love his face. He's a boss.

We went to the Cheesecake Factory for our two-year anniversary. Noah wanted to help me pick out a cheesecake. He is deep in thought.

And then he wanted to help me eat the cheesecake. Immediately following this picture he burst into tears because he couldn't have any.

5 month picture! He is way too big.

This is our first outing to the pool. Grammy got him the turtle vest... but it was obviously very awkward. So we ended up taking it off and just holding him.

After swimming!

May 29th- Our actual two year anniversary. We had really good conversation that night. I miss that sometimes!

Look at those eyes! Do you see them? Do you??

Too cute for words.

This was at our good good friend Nathaniel's wedding. Jordan was a groomsman and, can I just say, he was looking mighty fine in his tuxedo? Even if he is making a duck face.

Love the sanctuary. It is so classy.

This is the beautiful bride. I love her face. They were so excited to see one another. I don't know if I have ever been to a more perfect wedding in terms of romance.

Candy bar at the reception. I may have eaten a whole cup of gummy bears. The bears on the edge are hugging. Don't judge the gummy bears.