RIP Black Mamba: August 23, 1978- January 26, 2020

The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win.– Kobe Bryant

One week ago the world lost a legend. On Sunday January 26, 2020 Kobe Bryant died at the age of 41. This past week has not only been a tough week for the world of sports, it has been a tough week for millions of people around the world. It has been a week of sadness and grief. A week of mourning for a life that will never be forgotten.

I never personally knew Kobe Bryant and I probably never would have actually known him, but my heart remains heavy over his death. When I heard the news last Sunday that Kobe, his daughter Gianna, and seven other lives had perished in a helicopter crash I was in absolute disbelief and shock. My heart sank. I felt like a friend died. It is strange how we experience feelings of grief over celebrities that we have never met, yet we feel like they are a big part of our lives. Kobe Bryant touched the lives of many, and people all over the world, many who have never met him, are heart broken over his death. As I watched the Lakers tribute to Kobe, Gianna, and the seven others who lost their lives on Friday night, my heart heart all over again. The overwhelming sadness of death brought NBA teams and players together as they held each other up. A moment in time that was needed and will always be remembered.

The world lost a legend. Not just a basketball legend, a man who was so much more than a sport, a man who had a purpose to spread ideals of greatness all over the world. A man who was beginning his next chapter of life off the court. A man who had so much more to offer the world. Gone too soon. My heart is heavy.

I probably feel so shaken by his death because I have memories of Kobe going all the way back to when I was in high school. From having a teenage crush, he was my boyfriend in my head, to being angry that he married a woman who wasn’t me, to being happy to see the amount of love that he gave to his wife and daughters. Kobe was a man who was imperfect yes, he was human, but the way he worked on his imperfections in an attempt to be a better man, made him the man who was loved by millions of people, and the reason why millions of people are mourning over his sudden loss of life.

Feelings of grief can be difficult to comprehend, especially when we are not sure how to fully process feelings. Each stage of grief can feel like you are starting the grieving process all over again. I feel like I grew up with Kobe, over the past 20 years I watched him become one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and grow into being a husband and father. I remember the night he was drafted to the NBA, I remember when he went to the prom with Brandy, I remember him winning the NBA all star slam dunk contest, and I remember watching his first and last games in the NBA. Maybe Kobe was really a friend in my head, and when you have any friend that you grow up with over the past 20 years, for that friend to suddenly leave this earth feels all too real. It hurts. It’s a feeling that life is never promised, and life is short. It’s a feeling that makes me want to hug my family even tighter and cherish every moment with them because you never know when it will be the last. Life is a blessing, live everyday knowing that you are blessed.

My heart hurts for Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. To lose a husband, father, daughter, sister, is an unimaginable pain that no human should have to feel. Life is never promised, show love always, cherish each moment.

Kobe was a man who had a strong work ethic, he never settled for just good, he was determined to be great. He practiced, had confidence, and when life kicked him down, he got up and just kept going. He never gave up on him. Determination, motivation, and the will to win made him successful, it also made him hated by some. But he didn’t care. He had a goal, kept his eye on it and stayed relentless. Focus on what matters, the rest of it is just noise. He had a passion for the game, and love for his family. That is what mattered. That is why we mourn. He was an icon, of the few, and one that will never be replaced.

It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So don’t take it lightly.– Kobe Bryant

RIP Black Mamba

Sunday Nutrition: Challenge Week 2

Ok first off, I know today is Monday. Sunday went by way too quick for me. However, since today is the holiday to celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and I actually did not have to go to work, I spent the extra day to meal prep. I was so glad to have a 3 day weekend. We need more of these.

Surprisingly, the first week of my nutrition challenge went well. I wasn’t starving, and I did not have tortuous sugar cravings. I only had minor cravings for cupcakes but I was able to get over it. I stuck to meal plan and actually ate the food I prepared, and I liked it. I’m not new to clean eating, so that helps. I really like just have fresh, real food available. It makes me feel so much better.

My postpartum workouts are also going pretty good. I still feel like crap, but the good kind. I am slowly working to rebuild strength and endurance, and the good part is that I actually feel coming along. I am continuing to trust the process. My big challenge will be will I actually decide to go for my first run. It will come soon, I promise.

So I am kicking off week 2 of the challenge by meal planning, and setting a goal to get to yoga at least 2 days this week. I really need to work on mobility.

The good part, my scale says I am down 4 pounds since last week, so something is working! Just keep swimming.

So what’s on deck for this week:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with half a banana, and 1 tbsp of peanut butter, egg muffins

Lunch: Spaghetti squash with veggies, chicken meatballs, tomato basil sauce or Spinach mushroom turkey burger with brown rice, and sauteed veggies

Dinner: Grilled chicken or salmon, or mahi mahi, with quinoa and sauteed veggies.

Snacks: Greek Yogurt, blueberries, rice cakes with peanut butter, turkey with avocado, or carrots and hummus

Today was a very good day, lets keep it going!

Family Vacation Coming Soon

Lately I have been thinking that we really need a vacation. Our first full family vacation. I’m open to ideas on great vacation spots that would be fun with an infant.

I want to go back to Disney or Universal Studios but I think Nico is too young right now to enjoy those places. The over stimulation may make him angry. Honestly, I really want to go back to Hawaii. I need sun, the beach, rest, and really good food.

My favorite island is and will always be Maui. I just love Maui. My dream vacation would be going to the Four Seasons Resort Maui or Grand Wailea Maui. Staying at one of these resorts would be my absolute dream vacation, and they are kid friendly!

Sea Turtles on the beach

My mom and I went to Maui a few years ago while I was living on Oahu. That was my favorite part about living in Hawaii, the flight to Maui was only 30 minutes. The island is beautiful, the beaches are beyond amazing, and it is a romantic paradise. The only downside is the flight from Maryland is 10 hours, which is way too long to fly with a screaming infant.

Eventually we all get to Hawaii, and we will go to Maui as a family. I’m not sure when though, life changes quick, and a lot seems to happen. Luckily hubby and I did get to go to Hawaii in 2017, we went to Oahu and Kauai, which is also amazing. I think he even loved Hawaii as much as I did. I even made him hike up koko head crater (ok he hated me for that), but it was so much fun!

That one time we went to Hawaii

Yeah we need a vacation. I am in search of kid friendly family vacation ideas! If you have any please drop and comment and let me know. Thanks!

Parenting Lessons: I just realized this when I became a parent

My little screamer

There are so many things about being a parent that I never realized until I actually became one. First, this is a real tough job. Ummm, why did’t someone tell me this. Ok, maybe my own mother may have told me how hard it was a time or two, but I was never listening. I didn’t believe her. I figured I was pretty easy, and my siblings looked like they were pretty easy. So being a parent must be a walk in the park. No this is really hard work.

The things you don’t realize or even think about until you have a child are the ones that are the most shocking. Who knew that within a year our lives would be so different. I know there is so much more that we need to realize because we are just starting, but here is my list of shell shocking factors that only parents actually pay attention to:

Child Care

Why does it cost so much? Monthly day care for you child should not be the equivalent of a mortgage payment. AND, was I supposed to know that you are supposed to be looking for a daycare before you are even pregnant? When I became pregnant the hubby and I started searching for child care since we knew I would be a working and he would be working. Well most places for infants the wait list was over a year out, like 18 months out. Are you kidding me? It takes 9 months for a baby to develop, who is putting their child on a wait list before the child is conceived! I guess it’s a thing. Now I know in case we have baby number 2.

Diapers and wipes disappear quick

We use a lot of diapers and wipes, every time I turn around they are gone. I would use cloth diapers, but that seems like a lot of work.

I missed good opportunities to sleep

Why do people say sleep when the baby sleeps? That does not work at all. When my baby is sleep I am usually driving the car. So unless I am pulling over to the side of the road and taking a nap on the shoulder, I am not sleeping when Nico sleeps. You know when I should have slept? Before the baby was born! I wish out bodies came with a build in sleep reserve so I could store sleep. I really miss those days of having uninterrupted sleep. Will those days ever return?

As working parents, time is limited with baby

Tonight after Nico had his bath and was getting ready for bed, I looked at him and thought, wow he looks so much older. I think he grew up over the course of a day. Between work and commuting I am away from him for 10 hours out of the day. He really does spend most of his day at day care with the kids and teachers. When we get home we eat, bath time, story time, then bed time. I see my kid for two hours of awake time, and even then he is falling asleep. Time is precious, it goes by fast, I wish I could hit the pause button.

Kids have a lot of stuff

I am getting used to the fact that it takes twice as long to leave the house, and I have twice as much stuff. For being such a little guy he always has a lot of stuff that we have to take when we leave the house. A whole book bag with stuff. I have to do a mental check list to make sure that I have everything, and most times I always remember, but I really can’t wait until he gets to the age when he can carry his own stuff. Mama is tired.

Everyday as a mom is an adventure, one that is filled with joy, laughter, and lessons learned. It’s crazy that I am learning to parent while on the job, but when I mess it up, Nico just smiles and we keep it moving. Life is good, I could get used to this.

Remember everyday is a new day, stay positive and enjoy the ride

Body Positive: Postpartum Edition

Love yourself first, you deserve it

I never anticipated how much pregnancy and postpartum life would mess with me physically and mentally. The struggle toward my own postpartum body acceptance has been very real. Now add to that uncontrollable hormonal changes, and some days I have been a walking crazy person.

A few weeks after giving birth, I needed to leave the house. So I packed up baby and we went to the mall. While I the mall I walked into Victoria’s Secret, I usually love going shopping at Victoria’s Secret. As I walked in the sales guy asked if I needed help, and then said,”I see you just had a baby, the girls in dressing room can measure your bra size and help you out.” It was a harmless statement and he was just being helpful. Yet, that harmless statement brought me close to the point of a panic attack.

Of course I knew I just had a baby, but the reality hit that my body is now different. I didn’t even know my own body anymore, I was a whole new bra size. Of course my bra size was different, my boobs were now ginormous and filled with milk. I didn’t think about. Everything that I had known about my body had changed. As I walked though Victoria’s Secret I did not feel sexy.

5 weeks with baby Nico

The female body is amazing. Growing a human for nine months, and being able to supply it daily with nutrients from your own body is quite a process. My husband always reminds me of how wonderful and amazing I am. I appreciate that. However, while growing that human for nine months, and even when that human is living outside of the body, there is so many changes that women experience. Nothing really prepared me for that. In my mind I would have a baby and then go back to normal. You know the weight would drop, I would go right back into crossfit, I would run with no problem and I would be able to go full beast mode within 6 weeks. Yeah no, that did not happen. Sure my doctor cleared me to return to all my physical activity at my 6 week appointment, yet I was and still am no where near ready to go all full on beast mode. That reality was a reality that I was not ready for. I had take like 100 steps back, and retrain my body.

For me, the struggle is real when comes to accepting my postpartum self. Everything I once knew about my body is different. And it will always be different because I gave birth to a human. It was the first time my body did that, and my body will forever be changed by that experience. Different is not a bad thing, it’s a good different, but with different comes the task of redefining my body, and my own sense of sexy.

Prior to pregnancy I would workout twice a day most days, my weight and muscle mass were at a place that I really loved. I had worked hard for years to get it there. During pregnancy I gained about 46 pounds, but that was fine for me because baby and I were both healthy.

While I was pregnant, lots of moms would ask if I was planning on breast feeding. I would say yes. They would then say good that’s how you lose all the baby weight and you will “snap back”. Well as it turns out, I did not magically lose all this baby weight while breast feeding, and there is no quick “snap back”. I wish our culture would stop using the term snap back. It puts unnecessary pressure on postpartum women. Your body moved everything around and gave birth to another person, it doesn’t just snap back. Your body is not a rubber band.

Since giving birth I have lost about 20 pounds, so I still have close to 30 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-preganancy weight. I used to get frustrated with myself because my body was not “snapping back” quick enough. I breast feed, they told me if I breast feed the weight would fall right off. Yeah, that didn’t happen. But you know what, I’m fine with that. I realize my body is doing what it needs to do to keep myself and Nico happy and healthy.

10th day as a mom

My next goal for 2020 is to trust the process. That’s what all my coaches and my chiropractor say, so I guess I will listen. I will trust that I will have a healthy postpartum body. I can get back to my pre-pregnancy self again and be even stronger, faster, and leaner. But I don’t have to rush. I used to compare myself to Beyonce and Serena Williams (yeah that was dumb), who were crazy bad ass postpartum. Also, Allison Felix was breaking records 10 months after giving birth. That’s amazing. But then I read somewhere that Serena said that she would never go right to training like she did right after having a baby. I’m also not getting paid millions of dollars to get my body into a certain shape for work, so I guess I can take it easy. I can allow myself to enjoy my postpartum self and feel sexy. I will love who I am because my body did the ultimate, most amazing job of creating a human. My body is different, I am different, and I can love this version of different.

I am running my first half marathon of the year in May, I had signed up last year but deferred. I do want to be in shape to run and need to start training. My current crossfit workouts are helping me build endurance and muscle and soon I will start running. For some reason I am having anxiety about running again. I need to just do it. With the right amount of training and nutrition I can do this race with no problem.

Staying positive about myself, my body, and all of life’s changes are part of the process. I can’t rush the process, I just have to live it. One day at a time, one step at a time, and I will give myself permission to fully love me.

Another Monday…

Today was my second full week back to work, and yeah it is getting busy. I am missing my days of maternity leave right now. Even though I really don’t remember what happened, it seemed so long ago.

Life still happens quick. And as I get older time goes by so much faster.

You ever wish you just had the power to slow down time?

Since I can’t really manipulate time, I am working to enjoy each day and those precious family moments. Life changes, breathe and enjoy the moments.

Today was also my first full day of the nutrition challenge. I will write about some of the positives and negatives of this process over the next month to keep you updated. Today was a pretty good day, I didn’t get hungry.

Since we are working with a registered dietitian, she calculated my calorie intake and gave me the go ahead to eat 2200 calories per day. I thought sweet! That’s a lot of food. Awesome, I don’t have to be hungry. That’s also a lot of food, so I have no idea if I will eat that many calories per day. Today I ate close to 1800 calories. My win for today…I logged my food in My Fitness Pal! I hope logging food gets easier the more I do it. I will really try to do it early so I can get it out the way.

The RD also said that I should be drinking 100 ounces of water since I am breast feeding and want to keep my supply up. The first thing I thought about was the frequent trips to the bathroom. That is a whole lot of water. Today I managed a little more than 64 ounces, and yes I am actually still thirsty.

I felt bummed that I didn’t get to the gym today, today was a hectic day. But in 2020 I am not beating myself up when I miss a gym day. I am letting it go, and looking forward to tomorrow. That is another win!

I am actually looking forward to tomorrow, meals are prepped, and I should have extra time for the gym and writing.

I am so glad that this Monday is over. Now time to see what is in store for tomorrow! Hopefully I will be well rested.