2.0 Round 2 Day 33: First Trimester Fatigue and Listening To Your Body

Well, it happened. Yesterday I just couldn’t find the get up and go to do the workout. I didn’t do it first thing in the morning because I knew I had to walk to the bank and the store and was trying to conserve my energy. It was just a very draining day, which I guess I had coming to me because the first 2 days this week were filled with productivity and energy and rainbows and unicorns. And then Wednesday I felt the tired creeping in,and by yesterday I could barely crawl out of bed and found myself back in for a long nap. Needless to say I will be glad when this stage of pregnancy is past. I am a morning person and I like to get stuff done and stay busy. Sleeping so Β much just makes me feel incredibly lazy, which I know I need it a little extra these days, but it still makes me feel lazy.

The kids have also been sick, which I guess it’s good that it’s Fall break, at least my girl doesn’t have to miss school, but I’ve been up more through the nights checking on them and treating fevers and losing sleep. So yeah, not trying to make excuses,but this is my life right now and I’m trying to listen to my body and not over do it. I am highly sensitive to stress while pregnant, my body has physically manifested everything from dramatic weight loss to strange skin rashes even as my mind is telling me everything is ok, so I have learned to ignore feelings of laziness and just get the extra sleep. I stay healthier. In fact, I tell new moms all the time who are over tired but still wanting to workout and get their bodies back, if you have to choose between a workout or getting some sleep for those first 6 months, take the sleep. Your body heals and repairs when you are sleeping and all the workouts in the world will not help if your body is over stressed and still healing, in fact it can actually do the opposite, retain fat due to the stress. So of course this rule also applies to growing another human being inside you.

All that being said, I plan to do today’s workout as usual, but where I have doubled up before to make up missed days, I think the best thing is going to be just do the days I can and if one gets missed, so be it. I doubled up the other day and had to end up skipping several exercises. It was a bit much. Since my hubby Is out on the road all week and the only day I really get the car for grocery shopping and such is Saturday, I believe I will just be striving for 5 days a week instead of six. I run around enough on Saturday it can at least count as a half workout. So there you have it, in the spirit of honesty and accountability. I am just figuring this out as I go, keep that in mind, and every one is different. The key is knowing yourself and knowing when to push and when you have hit your limit.

Hey, on another note, I finally drank the smart phone Koolaide. (I know, I know, I’m super late to this game.) So, you can follow me on Instagram if you like, @natasiachampion85. That is the main reason I switched to a smart phone, having a camera handy for all the everyday moments. My DSLR isn’t exactly the most handy thing for when the kids are being candid or when I’m out and about. So, if you are into that, feel free to follow me there. πŸ™‚



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2.0 Round 2 Day 29: Regaining the Queendom

I got up this morning at 4:45 as usual, even though it’s the first day of Fall Break. I like to stay on schedule and this week I have big plans to be really productive. My hubby had been working from home since July, and while I LOVED having him around, it greatly interfered with my daily schedule. Now that he is out on the road a lot and I have my queendom back, I want to get back to my list making and organized house keeping and meal planning and healthy grocery list making. (Turns out men like steak and potatoes much more than zuccini boats and salad, at least my man does.) Hopefully I will have more recipe posts coming your way soon, I have seen some delicious spaghetti squash meal ideas and sweet potato and butternut squash yummies I want to try.

Tomorrow is also the day 30 check in. I’m still excited, despite my pregnancy news. I still feel there has been change. I certainly have generally more energy at this stage in pregnancy than all my past experiences, I mean, I still hit that exhaustion wall by about 2 pm and need a nap, but the rest of the time I’m energetic and feel great. My focus from this point is going to be on my nutrition rather than the scale and the tape measure, I really need to eat smaller more frequent portions, that is the place I struggle the most, but I find the very best results when I stick to that.

I’m proud to say I have not yet missed a day on this challenge. It was a great moment this morning when my man wrapped his arms around me to give me a big hug and looked at me and said out of the blue, “You know, you feel much more slender when I hug you, I can tell when I wrap my arms around you.” It was like medicine to my soul! Especially since I have felt so poochy lately and keep thinking about the impending moment not far in the future when I will need to don maternity gear. It’s the little things, people. I just don’t want my crazy hard work for the last 10 months to be for nothing, and honestly, lately, I have felt just a touch discouraged at the prospect of losing momentum with another pregnancy. Still 2 steps forward and five steps back is still closer to my goal than 10 steps back. Keep going, ladies, life is not as stubborn as you are, you are going to make it sooner or later.

I shall see you all tomorrow for the check in!


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2.0 Round 2 Day 27: Oh Baby!

Well, I know it has been a while, sorry for the lack of posts. Sometimes I’m just incredibly busy, and sometimes I just feel like my posts are a bit redundant, you know, there’s only so many pictures to post of me and little man getting our workout on each week without it becoming mundane. Things are pretty routine here.

Wait, did I say they’re routine? What I meant was up until this past Monday they HAVE BEEN pretty routine.


Wait for it…… wait for it…….. YES! That is a fourth pumpkin and yes, it says “Baby 2015” on it.

Pregnant. Talk about life getting in the way! But in a good way. πŸ™‚ We were very surprised, to say the least, but babies are a blessing in our book, so only happiness over here.

I never thought I’d be a mom to 4, but then I never thought I would lose my first child and in so many ways that changed everything, including our family size and how we planned it. I had always thought 2 was the perfect number, but after we had Faith, it didn’t seem right to stop there even though she was our second. So I surpassed my first expectation and became mom of 3. And now, even though it’s only 3 living children, I will always be mom to 4.

So, how does this affect my bikini body mommy routine, my blogging through the challenge, etc.? Well, it doesn’t, for now anyway. Since a healthy diet and regular exercise are recommended for low risk pregnancies, and since I have been working at this every day for almost 10 months and my body is used to this level of physical activity, I plan to keep going, listening to my body, modifying as needed, staying healthy, staying hydrated, and hope to have the healthiest, strongest, most stress reduced pregnancy yet.

Baby’s estimated debut is May 27, 2015, which puts me 6-7 weeks along. There is still time for morning sickness to set in, but I had only mild nausea with my other babies, so I am not surprised to find I feel great at this point other than that early pregnancy fatigue and needing a daily nap like you need to pee. Fight it all you want, it’s gonna happen.

I plan to keep blogging, keep doing the weigh ins and check ins. Obviously my measurements and weight will be going up, but I am really striving to gain at a healthy rate and not go into the excessive. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I have never been at a healthier point during any of my other pregnancies, certainly not with nutrition and hydration, so I’m excited to see how staying fit through pregnancy impacts me in a positive way. Any of you moms out there wondering how these workouts fit into a pregnant daily scenario? Now is the time to hit the subscribe button and follow along with my journey as it heads down this new path. I’m committed. I found out Monday about our new addition and have been doing the BBMC workouts every day as well as walking to run errands most days as well, pulling my little guy in the wagon. In fact, it was probably a comical sight, seeing all the pumpkins yesterday loaded into the wagon along with my little guy and my trusty 32 oz. big cup of water, walking the mile back from Fred’s, my girl skipping along beside me after school.

I’m looking forward to the good, the bad, and the awkward that pregnancy brings. I’m keeping up my positive energy forcefield. My goals are still in sight, some of them are just going to take a little longer to achieve and new ones are on the horizon. I’m excited!

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.





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.





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. πŸ™‚

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! Β I believe in you. πŸ™‚



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

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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 30: My Grief – What I Want The World To Know

There are so many things I could say here, but one resounds stronger than any in my heart. Up until this year, I was very quiet, even apologetic about my grief. If someone asked a question that inevitably led to me mentioning Skye, I felt almost ashamed that I had to answer in a way that made them uncomfortable. In turn, that left me in pain, ashamed of my own feelings, saddened that I didn’t do my daughter’s memory the justice that it deserved. For most of 3 years I was a silent sufferer, afraid to shadow an oblivious world with the fact of my grief.

Then, as I began speaking about her, a beautiful thing happened. I began meeting moms I had never suspected that had suffered a similar loss. I met dads and grandmothers who I had known for several years, but I met the grieving side of them for the first time. Like me, they felt obligated by our society to be silent about the fact that their child had died.

We are “allowed” to speak about a friend who passes, a mother, father, grandparent, public official Β  – any well-known person that many people have met and remember. However, if the lost loved one happens to be an unborn baby or a baby that never took a breath at birth, or even a tiny baby that lived its entire life in the NICU, so many people squirm. They don’t know what to say, so for some reason they say things like, “At least you didn’t have time to get attached,” or “You can have more children, healthy children this time,” or worst of all, they say nothing. The more you speak about your child, the more withdrawn your circle of “friends” get, so you learn to be silent.

You don’t forget though. You never forget the tiny person who touched your life so deeply. No matter how small they were, they were your’s and you loved them with your entire heart. It is a shame that our modern society makes us feel bad for loving, caring, remembering our children.

If there is one thing I want the world to know about my grief it’s that my daughter was and is a person. I refuse to feel shame for speaking about her as often as I feel the need. I now know there are so many people just like me, moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters. You don’t realize it, but you know at least one, right now, who has been deeply affected by the loss of a young child. You know them personally. She is your friend at work, your child’s teacher, a lady in your church, the gas station clerk you chat with every morning. When you find her, don’t feel bad or uncomfortable. Just let her break the silence and offer her the same sympathy you would to someone who lost their parent or spouse. Don’t change the subject quickly and make her feel like she is a terrible person for mentioning what is probably the most precious thing she has ever had.