2.0 Round 2 Day 11: Baby Bumps and Best Friends

Uhg! I’m sorry, I know I told you I’m shooting for 3 posts a week and here it’s been 6 days since the last one. It has been a busy week for me. I had 2 photography clients and lots of computer work to go through the photos. Since I generally use my 5 am to 6:20 am time to work on the computer or blog or whatever, (you know, so I can concentrate without the kids needing me for a million things and so I can get my morning coffee in ) I had to put the blog writing aside to work on photos. However, I’m glad to be able to report I have yet to miss a day’s workout and I’m already seeing changes that I’m really hoping the scale will reflect this time around. We shall see on day 15, right?

The air has turned positively balmy here as my favorite season moves in for it’s short stay. If I had it my way, it would be Fall forever! I got to put on my boots and 3/4 sleeves to shoot a maternity session for a special lady, she was my first client back in the day, before I was even interested in being a photographer. 3 years ago she saw something in my snap shots of my kids that even I didn’t see at the time and asked me if I would take maternity pictures of her first pregnancy. Now, with a much better camera and a lot more experience, I was able to help her capture her third pregnancy and got to see how her sweet family has grown.

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My other client this week was my best friend, visiting me on her way to a business meeting from out of state. We both hated it when I moved away and were so glad to have a little sleep over the other night after not seeing each other in person for a year. Maria is extra special because she is actually the one who first told me about Bikini Body Mommy and would have recruited me for an accountability partner if I hadn’t been pregnant with my 3rd. She did an amazing job and transformed her body doing the challenge and was the biggest inspiration, planting the seeds to get me ready to start for real back in January. Of course, she would be my accountability partner now if not for her own 3rd pregnancy. She is due in November which gives her enough time, hopefully, to get in on 3.0 and we will finally be doing the challenges together.

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I can’t think of anything more spectacular than getting outside into the fall air to photograph gorgeous baby bumps. I definitely have a great job. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay active, my friends. Keep pushing it. Don’t let busy schedules or life get in the way of your 20 minutes. Speaking from experience, I know it’s tough, last week I was out all day Saturday and had to take my rest day and do day 6. You can do it! ย I believe in you. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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What is Bikini Body Mommy?

Bikini Body Mommy, a movement led by Briana Christine, and you can find out more at http://www.bikinibodymommy.com

Looking to find some inspiration on Pinterest? You can follow me there too.

To get my new posts as I continue to reach for my goals, delivered right to your inbox, hit the subscribe button at the top left of this page, right under my profile picture.

And finally, has this post delighted, inspired, or amused you? Feel free to share it with your friends.

2.0 Round 2 Day 1: Measurements and getting back on the wagon

Hello friends! Are you as excited as I am? I’m pretty excited to be starting a new challenge. For me, there is something about the energy of being part of a big movement. Maybe it’s the daily posts, the words of encouragement on the Bikini Body Mommy page, or maybe it’s just a mental thing, but this last month between school starting and that learning curve coupled with every day busy life and my art starting back up, I kind of fell off the wagon both with exercise and nutrition. I got some exercise in, but definitely not every day. But you know what? Here I am, and this round will be bringing big changes! I’m determined to peel off weight this round. I am committed to keeping my meals small and frequent and doing each day’s exercise. Failure isn’t an option for me! I have goals and I have seen amazing changes in the last 9 months, now I’m ready to fit into a smaller jean size this Christmas.

I’m going to try to keep these short blog posts coming through this round of the journey too. They may not happen every day, but I’m shooting for at least 3 a week. I have been so inspired by all the love and support thrown my way and I will aim to love and support as many of you as I can too. I really feel that makes all the difference in success.

Despite having dropped off dramatically in between this challenge and the last, I was pleasantly surprised to see my measurements (except that pesky weight, of course) hadn’t changed for the most part, and where they did it wasn’t dramatic. It goes to show that 1) this is a lifestyle that builds healthy habits that stick with you even when you “cheat”, and 2) you can’t stop, you have to keep going and it is more than a challenge, it is a journey.

So in the spirit of short and sweet, here are my day one measurements, my first stepping stone into another adventure.

rnd 2 day 1

 

NOTE: I am doing a 15 point measurement this round, which is more than what Briana suggests, but these are the areas I want to watch change.

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Want to see where I began blogging through this journey? It starts here!

https://natasiachampion.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/my-newest-project-an-overview/

Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button if you want to get these posts right in your inbox and help me stay motivated by helping you stay motivated. ๐Ÿ™‚

My BBM Journey: Day 85

Holy moly. Here we are, the last week of this challenge.

I actually took 3 days off last week, my hubby and I got an opportunity we haven’t had in forever, definitely not since my little guy was born 19 months ago. A whole weekend to ourselves, no kids, thanks to my awesome mom in law. She even kept my “adopted” daughter and they all had fun shopping and going to an all day Bible school and all that, happy sleep over at Meme’s house. What did me and hubs do? Absolutely nothing.

We had thought we might go on a long hike at Land Between the Lakes which is easier to do without little legs getting tired, but we ended up laying on the couch and watching back to back Netflix episodes the whole weekend while eating on carry out pizza. It was deliciously lazy, but after 2 days I have to say, I was ready for my babies and my routine, and definitely ready to get back into exercise. The inactivity was great for about 24 hours, then it got old.

Just before this micro staycation, however, I had worked my muscles almost to death and my back and obliques were so sore all weekend, like laying-on-the-couch-hurts-so-bad kind of sore. I had done the BBM workouts as well as subbed out my run for some paper plate exercises, which were killer on the core. I placed paper plates under my feet to make them able to glide over the carpet and then proceeded to do a HIIT type workout using mountain climber, squat thrust, and scissor slide plank motions. It took very little to get my heart rate up and let me know there were still muscles I didn’t know I had.

This week is crazy for me. My hubby has been doing a lot of work from home which throws my schedule off, but in addition to that I have been getting my girls ready to start school. My little girl is going to kindergarten and my sister is in high school but this is a new school for her. I never knew how many appointments and orientations and preliminary things went on before and how much a mom had to keep track of! That’s why I have gone 9 days since my last blog post. Sorry about that! I want you all to know I’m still going, still pushing, and I will be even more proud to have finished this challenge than I was when I finished the first one since I have hardly missed any days for this one and have doubled up the workouts almost every day. I’m really looking forward to repeating 2.0 and the Sunday Skinnys coming back and doing 3.0 in January. I will have a whole lot more on my plate with school starting and afternoon homework to help with and lunches to pack and my poor little guy is going to miss the girls terribly through the day I’m sure, but all that makes Bikini Body Mommy even more important to me. I will need all the motivation and support I can gather.

So, I plan to keep posting but also realize I may have gaps between posts at times. That’s why the subscribe button is awesome, if you enjoy following this blog you can make sure you see when I post new entries and keep from missing any posts. I’d really like to post school lunch ideas with pictures and the Fall activities we stay busy with. Everyone who reads and the comments I get really help me stay motivated, thank you all for taking the time to be part of my journey! ๐Ÿ™‚

My crazy crew!

My crazy crew!

 

 

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What is BBM?

Bikini Body Mommy, a movement led by Briana Christine, and you can find out more at http://www.bikinibodymommy.com

Did you miss my first post outlining my goals? Find it here.

https://natasiachampion.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/my-newest-project-an-overview/

Looking to find some inspiration on Pinterest? You can follow me there too.

To get my daily posts through the ย 90 day challenge in your inbox, hit the subscribe button at the top left of this page, right under my profile picture.

And finally, has this post delighted, inspired, or amused you? Feel free to share it with your friends.

My BBM Journey: Day 54

We are flying through this challenge, people! The days are going by so fast. I am staying very busy because I have more energy and motivation than I have in a long time, I love it! We are fast approaching another weigh in and remeasure day and I am DETERMINED to see some change on the scale for the better. I don’t care if it’s a few ounces, I am ready to see that needle drop a little. I see definite changes in my body, it is more muscular and my love handles and tummy are finally getting tighter, and the most change has been to my skin itself, it is very smooth, especially on my legs where the cellulite likes to gather, but on my tummy and arms and over my ribs, the skin just appears very toned and smooth. I’m sure the great hydration is playing a huge part in my skin’s appearance, especially the plump, youthful quality to the skin surface on my face. All these little things add up to progress, don’t make the mistake of assuming the scale is the only place you can benefit from this routine.

So, how about another recipe? Everyone likes fresh ideas for meals, right? And this one is a crockpot meal that is very easy to throw together on a busy day.

Crockpot Italian Sausage and Sweet Potatoes

6-8 small sweet potatoes or 3-4 large ones, peeled and chopped into half inch cubes

4 Italian sausage links

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 – 2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

olive oil

Place the sausages on the bottom of the crock pot, then add the onions and sweet potatoes on top, followed by the salt and spices. Pour the chicken broth evenly over the top, turn the cooker on high, and cover. Let cook until the sweet potatoes are tender. (Approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on each individual cooker.) Fish the sausages out and brown them evenly in a skillet with a little olive oil. Let them rest for five minutes and then slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices and return them to the crock pot. Stir everything together gently, taste for adequate seasoning, ย and serve with a dollop of plain greek yogurt if you like.

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Serves: 6

Calories per serving: approx. 227

Prep time: approx. 15 minutes

Cook time: approx. 1 hour 20 minutes

Recipe cost: approx. $6.50

 

NOTES: The family loved this. It was very easy to throw together and let it cook while I was busy with house chores, and it was filling. I can buy a 3lb. bag of sweet potatoes at Aldi for $1.99 in my area, so I like to keep them handy and this was a refreshing way to prepare something we eat a lot of.

I hope you guys enjoy this one, let me know what you think! And I’d love to hear your easy and creative crock pot meals if you have any.

 

___________________________________________________________________________________

What is BBM?

Bikini Body Mommy, a movement led by Briana Christine, and you can find out more at http://www.bikinibodymommy.com

Did you miss my first post outlining my goals? Find it here.

https://natasiachampion.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/my-newest-project-an-overview/

Looking to find some inspiration on Pinterest? You can follow me there too.

To get my daily posts through the ย 90 day challenge in your inbox, hit the subscribe button at the top left of this page, right under my profile picture.

And finally, has this post delighted, inspired, or amused you? Feel free to share it with your friends.

Memories in Time

I was thinking about something this morning. People who really know me know that I’m all about taking pictures. I mean, not just during the Holidays or special occasions, I take pictures almost every day. I take pictures of random, ordinary moments, sometimes just a quick snap shot, sometimes taking it to the picture editor and embellishing it a little. I post many to Facebook, but there are some that just sit on my computer for a while until I finally decide I’m ok with deleting them or I move them to a named folder to keep for good. My friends and family have varying degrees of the opinion that I’m “picture crazy”, and others who are more of an acquaintance might think I’m silly, annoying, or even a little self-absorbed.

Well, you have to understand my history to understand my pictures.

I was born in the 80’s, into a world of Polaroids, long before the digital age. It wasn’t nearly as easy or as cheap to take and keep pictures around as it is today. You had to keep the photos in album books if they were going to stay nice, and film and books cost money and you had to keep buying them. To get a good portrait shot, you had to pay a photographer and pay for copies of those photos, and then you had to buy frames and all that. This, of course evolved a little, but pretty much was the norm until the very late 90’s, early 2000. Needless to say, my parents having 3 kids at that time, and 8 by the time it was all said and done, had better things to spend money on.

In addition, when I was 9, my family moved from a big, normal house into a tiny 31 foot travel trailer to travel west and begin a new life of adventure and pioneering. (Long story for a different day.) We had to down size to the very barest of minimals to fit us all in. After giving precious items to friends and family, many things just had to be pitched, including a lot of photos. It sounds harsh, but my mom did what she had to do and a drawer full of pictures and Polaroids that had never made it into albums had to be thrown away. I remember she cried while those memories went into the trash. Baby pictures, birthdays, family snap shots – all gone. To this day, I have no pictures of myself as a baby except for the few that my aunt has shared from the ones she kept. Sometimes, and Facebook has been a great thing in this respect, a long-lost memory surfaces as a very old picture is scanned and shared by family or friends that my mom reconnected with in the past few years. It is rare, though.

Between that time and the years we lived in Colorado and then Kentucky, disposable cameras were cheap and made it much easier to take pictures, but developing still cost money, and after moving so much, we learned to travel light and we didn’t take many pictures that have survived. There is a small handful that each of my sisters and my mom have, pictures my dad hand-picked before he died of the cabin he built and the years in Colorado.

Then, in 2005, I moved out on my own and was introduced to a world of rapidly evolving digital cameras and camera phones. I was young and single, so I had very little incentive to take pictures for a little while, but then I got married, a year later we were pregnant with the first grandchild on Hubby’s side and moving a thousand miles away to Colorado to open our first restaurant. My mom in law bought me my very first, very own digital camera. Suddenly, pictures were so easy to take, and storing them on our new laptop was incredibly easy too. No more developing charges, bulky photo albums, and any “bad shots” could easily be deleted. It was life changing.

But the biggest piece of this puzzle fell into place later that year, the reason why I like to capture so many ordinary moments.

Many who have read this blog and followed it even a little know that in 2008 we lost our first baby girl to a surprise and mystery condition she was born with. She lived 17 days, all of them in a NICU unit, and while I took pictures and a few videos, I did not realize she would die and how many memories I would not make. I didn’t take nearly enough pictures, and even if I had, there would be none of the ordinary moments we take for granted. There were no pictures of her first bath, her first time getting dressed up for church, her first steps, her first birthday, her first day of school, and there certainly weren’t any every day moments to remember and smile over. What’s worse is that the time I did spend with her is missing huge chunks in my memory. I have blocked out most of the traumatic days of her in the NICU laying in pain, unable to be held by us, a blur of doctors and medicine and sterilization. Those are the only memories she is part of and many of them are lost.

We were blessed, by surprise no less, the following year with our rainbow baby Faith. From about half way through that pregnancy (the point where I begin to remember life again, the months directly after Skye died are almost completely gone, I vaguely remember very little, clips here and there) I had decided that no matter the outcome, I was not going to wait to spend time with her. I was going to make memories and make the most of her time with me, whether that was days or years. I talked to her all the time, just as you would a friend, when she was in my belly. I told her what I was doing, how things looked, my hopes, my fears, why I was doing a certain chore and how. Someone watching me would have pegged me as insane, walking around the house talking to “nobody” about needing to do the dishes and why one brand of soap was better than another.

I took pictures of my pregnant belly, but I really began taking pictures when Faith was born and I just never stopped. Over the past 3 years the picture-taking has really evolved as I found fabulous free picture editing sites to fix flaws and enhance the mood of the shot, add frames, etc. and Facebook has been invaluable for storing my pictures in albums. In fact, after my first computer crashed, I learned a valuable lesson. I lost even more of the few precious memories I had, pictures of Skye, on my old laptop, and would have been utterly devastated if I had not put pictures on Facebook and videos on YouTube. So yeah, I post A LOT of pictures on Facebook and my friends may or may not think I’m a little obsessed, but I don’t care. I know that several times I have needed to download them back off the web to have them.

Memories friends, you can’t buy those. They are priceless.

Just a Fall day at the park with my girl.

 

Every time I snap a picture of this little girl loving life, I think of another little girl who is not here. She never got the chance to go down the slide.

 

Another every day memory. One day she’ll be grown up and this picture will be all I have. I don’t take it for granted.

 

 

Capture Your Grief Day 31: Sunset

I am posting this a day late as last night I was busy making memories with family and friends. I have to say, it was perhaps the most appropriate way I could have ended this tender month.

When I started this project, I had the great desire to post every single day, using every subject. However, this month has been very busy, especially the weekends, and I had to skip a few days as they got away from me.

I have taken so much away from this project. I have cried and cleaned out my soul, remembered, mourned, rejoiced, freed myself of inhibitions, made friends, reflected, found strength, discovered things inside of me I had not even known were there. Not being lost on me is the irony that as I cried for my first child, I am pregnant with my last, and the cycle of living life fully while continually grieving has been an epic journey. I suspect it will not be over until I reach the distant shore of eternity. I’m ok with that.

Last night, as I spent a carefree evening with my husband and daughter and some dear friends, I kept in the back of my mind that I needed to snap a picture of the sunset. Since we were walking outside Trick or Treating, I figured it would be easy to capture a perfect picture. The evening sky was clear with just a few clouds that added to the aesthetic value and I was once again envisioning an epic photo much like the one I had envisioned at the beginning of the project. However, when the moment came to take the picture, I realized we were on the eastern side of a hill and could not see the setting sun horizon because of houses and power lines, etc. So I did the best I could, snapping a shot of the evening sky. At the moment, it did not seem very epic at all, but I wasn’t bothered as much as I had been with my sunrise shot at the beginning of this project. In that moment, I felt happy and carefree, I had the people who mattered most spending time with me and making precious memories. Perhaps the deep cleaning done to my soul has helped me more than I realize, all I know is something really is different at the end of this month compared to when October started.

Letting yourself grieve is a good thing, friends. Don’t be afraid of the memories and the tears they bring. Let yourself feel the pain, allow yourself to be hurt, admit that you have wounds. You have them anyway, acknowledging them is just the first step in the direction of healing. Denying your wounded state just keeps the wounds festering. Don’t kid yourself, they are there whether you cry or not, whether or not you acknowledge them, and most of all, they are there whether or not others acknowledge them. Grief is not to be feared, use it as a tool for healing your soul and getting stronger.

I hope each person reading this finds peace, where ever they are in their healing process, whether beginning, mid way, well into the thick of it, or maybe even having yet to encounter deep grief in your life. My hope is that you always have blessed memories being made along the way, and that you are never afraid to pull them out from time to time, even the painful ones. Every memory is precious.

Day 31: Sunset
Mt Pleasant, Tennessee, USA, about 6 pm October 31st, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 26: Their Age

Oh, how little time we had, in retrospect. At the time it seemed endless, every day seemed like it would never end, like the time we had with her could stretch on and on if we just hoped enough and prayed enough. We were so tired and weary with the not knowing, with the endless cycle of different doctors projecting a possible diagnosis that always came up empty, giving everyone more questions than answers. We wondered if we would have to make hard decisions her whole life, if she would ever have a chance to be “a normal kid” or would it be test after test after procedure for the next few years. We couldn’t know we would not even have a month with her. If we could have known how little time we had, we would have done everything differently – and yet there isn’t one thing I think I would change, except I would have held her. I would have brushed my caution aside and held her every minute I could, I would have savored every second.

At the time I cried over her skin, I cried over whether or not her hair might ever grow with the deep damage to her scalp. I wondered if she would ever be normal or if kids would tease her. I spent so much time pumping milk, away from her, pumping milk that she never got to drink. In the end, nobody ever got to use that love I pumped so fervently, somebody in the NICU threw it away even as I was trying to make arrangements to donate it to a bank. (That was yet another loss I had to mourn in the face of losing my daughter, somebody carelessly throwing away my love, my nurturing, my tears and sleeplessness and broken dreams from breasts that would never hold my baby close to them, tender mommy moments that would never be. That alone was so devastating for me when the nurse called me, tears in her own voice, to tell me what had happened.)

All of it seems so unimportant now in the face of what I know. I had only 17 days with my daughter in this world outside the womb, and I will not get one day back to do over.

A whole lifetime in 17 short days.