i dunno guys...i just don't feel "it" yet. 35? even with all these bills that come to the house every week. lol. adulting and parenting is hard....but not impossible. i had no idea where i was going with this 35th birthday post but i'm going to go with my gut and list 35 things i've learned in this life so far below...Read More
priorities ;) ! after teaching my early morning Barbell Strength class, i sped over to Whole Foods Market and picked up a birthday cake for Sonny!
eeeerrrrrmygash! it was a gorgeous, layered vanilla cake on the inside. italian cream icing. almonds. sugar infused strawberries.
happy birthday, papa!!! from your little minions <3 i found the boy's shirts @ Target.
i told Sonny to get up and get dressed, pack an overnight bag, and to make it snappy. a kid-free trip is what i had planned, but after my sitters and backup sitters fell through we ended up bringing the boys!
1st thing on my agenda-- FOOD. we headed to lunch and i totally did my research on this place beforehand. Sonny wanted to stay as close to his meal plan as possible but enjoy his special day, and boy did we! Jerry Built takes pride in their all natural, organic, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, grass-fed chicken and beef, they don't use trans fat or hydrogenated oils, and the produce is organic and/or local.
they get brownie points from me for presenting the food just like it's displayed on the menu and online! Sonny got the super tasty Saint Arnold burger on a baked, toasted, whole wheat bun, and swapped out the french fries for a caesar salad.
i ordered this beauty-- Jerry's Cobb. the cashier asked me immediately, 'and would you like to add grilled chicken?' which is what i planned to do. i guess that is a popular menu combo there. yall, the flavors in this thing were POPPIN'!
Chiso was very happy with his nitrate-free, angus beef hotdog, fries, and chocolate milk.
there was a giant, kid friendly chalk board towards the front of the room that Chiso wanted to leave his mark on. way cool!
neeeeext, we hit the road.
40 minutes later we arrived on Galveston Island, but not before stopping by Kroger to get baby Dego some baby Ambesol! about halfway to G-town, he let out a cry both Sonny & i had never heard before. he was in so much pain from teething and i am honestly glad the kids were with us at that point.
after some Abesol, a diaper change, and some nursing, he did a complete 180. whew.
this pic is hilarious to me because my face looked like the minion's face on the drive there, haha!
after he finished, we hit the beach. but not before grabbing something to eat downstairs at Grotto. i had plans for a nice dinner later that evening but no way we could have waited that long to eat. hunger attitudes kill good vibes every time.
Chiso was beyond excited for his first time at the beach!
i cannot WAIT to see his reaction when we go to Disney World, then!
he told me his favorite part of the day was this moment right here...making sand castles with papa.
we took a dip in the hotel pool on the way back to our room.
afterwards, we changed and got ready for dinner. we traveled about 12 minutes away from our hotel to Rudy & Paco. it was an excellent suggestion by my sister-in-law Kara! birthday boy got steak and spinach, i got the salmon & sautéed sugar-snap peas, and from the 'off the menu' kids menu, Chiso requested a grilled cheese sammich and fries.
the owner was extremely warm, welcoming, and stopped by to chat with us and to wish Sonny a happy birthday.
back to z hotel! 12 minutes away and everybody was asleep when i pulled up to the valet. we're familiar with co-sleeping at home now and then, so 4 in 1 bed was nothing new. we got up the next morning, checked out, and headed to breakfast at IHOP.
this boy ate good the entire trip, right!?
sampler platter for Sonny,
and i stuck to IHOP's Simple & Fit selections which were all under 600 calories. how can you make healthier choices while dining at IHOP? here are some of my tips:
- read the entire menu. there are sometimes specialty diet sections (gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, etc.) or sections with healthier/lighter options. All meals in IHOP's Simple & Fit section are 600 calories or less, and contain lower sodium options as well.
- peruse the kids menu. the portion sizes are sometimes perfect for adults. at IHOP, all the Just For Kids options are 600 calories or less. they are usually smaller versions of the adult plates, so you still get a bit of everything without going overboard.
- switch your syrup. IHOP uses Carey's sugar-free syrup, but you have to ask for it! most likely the syrups already out on your table are 110 calories (or higher) and 28g sugar per 1/4 cup. and who uses 1/4 cup of syrup on their pancakes!? also, nix the butter.
- use your swaps. my meal actually came with potatoes but i swapped them for fruit. you can also swap turkey bacon for pork bacon. fresh fruit is now the default side for the lunch and dinner meals instead of french fries.
- Stevia to the rescue. bring your own all natural, zero calorie Stevia to sweeten your coffee and tea with. the artificial packets already on the table will never compare nor will they do your body any good: Splenda - yellow, Equal - blue, Sweet N' Low - pink.
- IHOP's nutritional stats are finally listed online and are updated frequently (they were one of the last restaurant chains to release this info), so take a peek ahead of time or while you're waiting to order your food. utilize your resources; the info is right there for you!
- chiiiiiiiill. don't stress or get apprehensive about dining out. chances are there is something on the menu for you! even if the menu is set, you can simply ask for your dish to be made your way.
best picks: 600 cals or less (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
- Simple & Fit Spinach, Mushroom & Tomato Omelette w/ fresh fruit (330 cals, 12g fat, 690mg sodium)
- Simple & Fit Veggie Omelette w/ fresh fruit (310 cals, 12g fat, 750mg sodium)
- Simple & Fit Banana & Brown Sugar Bowl (260 cals, 5g fat, 35mg sodium, 5g fiber, 20g sugar, 7g protein)
- Simple & Fit Fresh Fruit & Yogurt Bowl (320 cals, 3g fat, 45mg sodium, 73g carbs, 7g fiber, 19g sugar, 25g protein)
- Simple & Fit Fruit Bowl (130 cals, 0g fat)
- Simple & Fit Blueberry Harbest Grain 'N Nut Combo (560 cals, 23g fat, 1040mg sodium, 64g carbs, 8g fiber, 21g sugar, 25g protein)
- Simple & Fit Turkey Bacon Omelette (420 cals, 20g fat, 720mg sodium, 25g carbs, 2g fiber, 17g sugar, 38g protein)
- Simple & Fit Whole Wheat French Toast Combo (490 cals, 15g fat, 930mg sodium, 56 carbs, 5g fiber, 23g sugar, 33g protein)
- Simple & Fit Two-Egg Breakfast (350 cals, 9g fat, 44g carbs, 25g protein)
- Simple & Fit Two X Two X Two (400 cals, 12g fat, 1450mg sodium, 48 carbs, 3g fiber, 10g sugar, 25g protein)
- Simple & Fit Grilled Balsamic-Glazed Chicken (440 cals, 22g fat, 940mg sodium, 25g carbs, 8g fiber, 13g sugar, 39g protein)
- Simple & Fit Grilled Tilapia (489 cals, 23g fat, 1270mg sodium, 27g carbs, 8g fiber, 14g sugar, 49g protein)
- Simple & Fit Take Two Combo w. Half Turkey Sandwich & Fresh Fruit (290 cals, 18g fat (nix the mayo!!!)
- Simple & Fit Mixed Greens House Salad w/ Reduced Fat Italian (40 cals, 1.5g fat, 120 mg sodium, 6g carbs, 2g fiber)
if you didn't katch our Periscope vid explaining some of the above info, watch it here.
thanks for reading and HAAAY MONDAY!
Q: have you ever ordered from the Simple & Fit section @ IHOP?
baby Dego wakes up so happy! his mood is crazy contagious and always reminds me of this quote:
'Children are happy because they don't have a file in their minds called, 'Everything That Could Go Wrong.'
well i do and it's FULL and needs to be deleted. lol.
he started clapping (or trying to) a few days ago and has not stopped since.
well this happens every weekend, right on schedule.
decisions, decisions! i start craving those weekend foods... pizza, french fries, subway cookies, etc. i guess that's where my passion for making healthier versions of classic comfort foods came from though. i want to satisfy that craving (more often) without sacrificing my health or gym progress. fair enough!? i'm so glad we have tons of healthier alternatives to work with and swap out these days! anyway, i have been having some stiffness in my neck, so i hit the gym for cardio only and stretching for my saturday workout. will be taking it easy so i can hit it hard again on tuesday for my HIIT class.
i stopped by Sprouts after the gym and picked up some protein: 99% lean ground chicken breast and Applegate organic chicken and apple sausage for breakfast next week. i cracked open the sausage as soon as i got home though and had a filling post-workout meal of whole wheat toast, egg white/veggie/sausage scramble, and kiwi (low sugar ketchup & cheddar almond cheese on the side). delish!!!!
oh, i got some pears too! they were next in line to try for Dego's homemade baby food. i just diced up 1 anjou pear, threw it in a small sauce pan with 2 tbsp water and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, covered it, and cooked it on med-low until tender. after less than 10 min, i poured it all into my Ninja and pureed the mixture until it was super smooth. pears = thumbs up!
then, we turned UP!!!!
with letter puzzles on the floor,
Food Network mag, and i killed the last of that coconut Arctic Zero pint with some fat-free cool whip and sprinkles on top. party, party! hope you had a relaxing saturday yourself!! after your workout of course ;)
Q: have you tried the Applegate Turkey or Good Morning bacon yet!?
what's your fave Applegate product?
aaaahhh!! so many pictures! well thank God for pic collage apps or this blog post would be 2 miles worth of scrolling. we had a low-key, relaxing time in Lakeway (right outside of Austin) at the Lakeway Resort & Spa this past weekend for our 7th wedding anni. time for a new mattress.
this sweaty selfie was taken after my last workout before our anni weekend began. i had only managed to unbraid half of the what seemed like 1 million braids in my head at that point, so i threw on a head scarf and got some upper body and cardio done regardless.
not gonna lie, i worked out with the anticipation of some good food in my near future! intensity is everything and i turned it UP. here's my stair slaver workout: (video coming soon)
after i posted this pic of my go-to traveling snacks on Instagram i remembered it would tip Sonny off about our trip, whoops. it's my year to plan and i hadn't told him a thing about leaving to go anywhere. oh wells.
i hardly ever leave for trips without:
- fresh fruit (nectarines this time)
- bottled water
- turkey jerky (high protein snack)
- Quest Bars ( i like Double Chocolate Chunk and Sonny likes Cookies & Cream the best)
- gum to combat mindless munching! that gets me in so much trouble
- roasted, unsalted nuts
- granulated stevia (for my coffee, tea, and oatmeal when eating at restaurants still operating in the stone age)
- Beats headphones + Spotify
- fitness or foodie mags
off we went! breakfast, snacks, and breast pump in tow. i actually sat in the passenger seat first but soon as my butt hit that seat Sonny reminded me that it was my year to host. yeah, yeah. i actually had another stop planned along the way, but the weather ruined it! i did NOT even check nor consider the weather when i was planning everything, seriously. i just knew it would be clear, hot, and sunny as usual. no. so i'll save that stop for a later date.
we're here! however, our room wasn't ready since we arrived earlier than expected. we were hungry again though so we hit up the resort's breakfast buffet per the front desk attendant's suggestion. boy was he right! everything, and i mean everything was as delicious as it looked. so.many.options. we love a good omelette bar and both got egg white omelets loaded with veggies. no surprise there. Sonny is prepping for a few upcoming shows and did his best to stick to his meal plan.
bacon, sausage, pancakes, french toast, migas, fruit... sensory OVERLOAD.
next, a couples massage i have been anticipating since i booked the appointment. we were already full and lethargic from breakfast and the massage was the icing on the cake for Sonny. at one point he was over there drooling.
the view overlooking the pool from the spa. the gym was right across from the spa and you knoooow we checked that out next.
impressive! you can get an excellent full body workout done in there, oh yeah. hotel gyms are high on our amenity list and this one gets 5 stars from us. they had my beloved arc trainer, treadmills, a full rack of dumbbells, and a bunch of machines including a Smith machine. lovely.
our room was ready by this time so we headed to check it out and take the most incredible, uninterrupted nap, EVER. boooo to the weather though.
it didn't start clearing up until the day we left, but we will certainly be back with the kiddos so they can have the time of their lives out there on that slide!
next up, an early dinner before the big Mayweather fight. so this was my first time seeing my hair straightened (my beautician wrapped it at my appointment friday and i kept it that way) and i was blown away.
may not seem like much to anybody else but man my hair has come a long way as far as length and texture! i decided not to get another perm but i knew that as soon as the tiniest drop of moisture hit my head, it would never be the same! after wearing my braids for a year (shout out to my gorgeous, mobile (yes, she will come to you), braid lady, Ogechi) with 3 short breaks in between, they really are the best fit for my sweaty, on the move lifestyle. they'll be back very soon, but i enjoyed being girly and flipping my hair around town all weekend, lol.
one of my regular Lifetime class members, Sally, lives in Austin and really hooked me up with the scoop on where to go in ATX. she suggested we stay downtown close to 6th street with the youngins' but after i told her how Sonny just wants to actually relax on his vacations she said to stick with the hill country, (i.e., Lakeway). we hit up Oasis and saw a little bit of the sunset. through the fog.
then, we stopped by the landmark Whole Foods Market in downtown Austin for snacks and gelato! so many nostalgic memories here for me. you can read about one of them in the IG post i made that day <3
gosh i love this store.
especially this aisle.
unpictured are the plantain chips and chocolate covered raisins i killed before the fight even started.
was it just me or was the Mayweather fight...boring?? anyway, the next morning we were both up super early as usual and headed to the gym before breakfast. who forgot their workout shoes? :'( so unlike me! i went anyway but i don't advise working out in flip-flops around weights, guys. in addition to the shoe fiasco, i had one of THE dumbest workouts ever. complete waste of time. i was so worried about my hair puffing up i didn't want to move. and i love to move. i think i did the arc trainer for like 8 minutes super slow, then some dumbbell curls, lunges, and squats holding the dumbbells. didn't sweat a drop. ridiculous. i love my hair like this so much but unless i flat-iron it every single morning (and i definitely won't) then i just can't rock the straight look with my lifestyle. THE struggle.
we got cleaned up, explored the resort a little more, then headed to hit up the omelette bar again.
7 years in the marriage game! hard to believe i've known this dude for almost 14 years. we had plans to go out on the lake that fell through, so we hit the Lakeway Galleria Outlet Mall to look around and get some lunch and fro-yo.
found a new fave flavor i've never had before-- taro. yum! i discovered it at Red Mango back in houston too.
pistachio & taro fro-yo randomness. worth every bit of dairy bloat.
while walking through the galleria, i did a double-take after seeing the word Chiso! close enough. what a rare sighting. from there we went back to the room to pack up because #Texans. yeah, they were apart of last years Miami trip too. so was the Mayweather fight now that i think about it!
i requested a fridge to our room to freeze and store the milk i was pumping. gotta get it out, and gotta get it done. we headed to watch the Texans game at Sally's beautiful home in the hill country before heading home to our boys.
our actual anni this year is on monday, september 15th, and instead of going out to dinner, we went to the gym and sipped on anniversary protein shakes.
wouldn't have had it any other way.
happy 7th anni, Mr. Egwuatu!
thanks for reading:)
WELL! a lot has happened since Fathers' Day.
i know a good handful of current mommies-to-be and the real life story you're about to read is just one of bajillions. moms, i just want to encourage you to learn from my journey, but don't let it make you even the slightest bit apprehensive about your own. your L & D story will have its own twists and turns too...or not! even with the longest, most detailed birth plan ever, we just never know how these things will play out...
at 2 cms dilated, we finally got our hospital tour done on thursday, June 12th, my expected due date.
we asked questions, made jokes, reminisced about Chiso's birth, talked and walked around, met a few L & D nurses (who are all awesome and heaven-sent), and made a family date out of it with big brother Chiso.
i was convinced Odego would make his way into this world on Fathers' Day (wishful thinking on Sonny's behalf ), so i finished packing our bags (for the last time) that night and started prepping to celebrate the weekend in the hospital.
happy Fathers' Day, Papa!!! sunday morning came and there were still no surefire signs of labor to be found whatsoever though. before we headed to church, Chiso, Dego, and i presented Sonny with a few gifts at home, unlike i planned. then, we dined at Fish City Grill, per Sonny's request, and met up with my parents before heading home to finally relax.
9pm sunday night, i began spotting.
i won't say the spotting and excess fluid was surprising at all as we had been trying a few natural remedies to get this thing going, but the unexpected sight of blood always makes me do a double-take.
could this be it? would Sonny really get the best Fathers' Day gift ever? we still had 3 hours left according to him. i was having super light contractions and some spotting, but i was still smiling. and taking pics. lol. the on-call Dr. told us not to play with amniotic fluid, so we were told to head to the hospital to be checked. i know the front desk nurses had to be like 'ummm, clearly she is not in labor.' LOL.
soooo we did the walk of shame right on home 3 hours later.
definitely not in labor yet.
papsmears are nightmares for me, so just being checked for dilation was enough to rev up my light contractions to the next level from that point forward. monday morning, Dr. A told me to come straight to her office after the previous night's fiasco, so we did. i finally began to keep record and contracted 3 random times during the 15 minute drive to her office. i was still at 2 cms according to her, and she wrapped up my appointment by presenting us with an option to mull over for the next couple of hours. i could come in to be induced at 530am the following day, tuesday the 17th, or, we could just keep waiting... she then explained that she would be out of the office on thursday and friday. THAT little nugget of info helped me make my decision right then and there. Dr. A. was out having her twins at the time Chiso was born and i was not missing her again this round, nope. Sonny was ready to meet Odego on Fathers' Day so he was all for option 1. we prayed about it and agreed to go for it. that same night, the contractions were even stronger, but bearable enough for me to take a walk to the park with Chiso. during 1 hour, i counted about 6 or 7 contractions.
once home, i loaded up most of our things in the car and because i was required to fast from food and liquid after midnight, i cooked and ate my last meal around 10pm. i also baked every fillet of tilapia in the freezer per Sonny's request as he is prepping for a Musclemiania competition at the end of this month. couldn't leave him out in the cold! afterwards, i did my best to lay down and get some rest with Chiso, but that didn't really happen. i got in the bed around 1, but each contraction woke me up. Sonny started his timer and laid his phone down right next to me. every time a contraction hit, i'd press the 'lap' button to record the time between each of them. by 4am, i was up pacing and breathing through each contraction. of course to me they FELT like they were coming 2-3 minutes apart, but it was more like every 5-10. this boy was definitely on his way.
so we headed out to the hospital,
(now that looks more like a labor-face)
valated the car, signed in, and waited a few moments for our room.
Sonny knew i would want these pics later... so he snapped away while i contracted away and did his best to keep Chiso busy.
however, Chiso was generally concerned for his mama and every time i got up, he got up and paced with me. it wasn't funny at the time but he kept asking, 'mama happy? mama happy now?'
last #usies as a family of 3.
the staff directed us to our room and i immediately changed into my gown, used the restroom, stood up to my feet, look down, and 'watched' my water break! no induction needed. and it wasn't a ginormous tidal wave like the movies either :D
i waddled out of the restroom and immediately called out to alert Sonny when i should have been telling my nurse, nurse Judy. i mean we were in the hospital and all. force of habit! thank God for L& D nurses. He provided us with a fabulous one. she encouraged me, told me i was strong, kept me informed, and did her job like she was born to do it. i laid down on the bed to be checked: 4-5 cms! i was ELATED to be halfway there and also to know i'd be kissing Odego's sweet face sooner than later.
so about those contractions! well, they got stronger as expected after my water broke and i labored to about 6-7 cms or so before calling for an epidural around 9am. in less than 15 minutes the anesthesiologist was literally behind me and ready to go.
finally... peace, ice chips,
and electronics for the boys as we waited.
around 12:15pm, i randomly started to feel moderate cramping again. i was told if i needed more meds to push a Jeopardy like button connected to my IV and placed on the bed right next to me. i was reeeeally hoping i wouldn't have to even use that thing, but because the pain kept getting stronger, everybody in the room could tell when each contraction hit cause the button made an electronic dinging noise when pressed. unfortunately, no matter how many times i hit that button the pain didn't let up and only increased. a 2nd anesthesiologist came in and 'added' more meds... but i felt no difference. eventually, the nurse checked me again- 9cms! it was music to my ears but the thought of laboring through those contractions until i hit the big 10 discouraged me. how much longer?!?! my dad held my hand and prayed over me through each painful wave.. something i will never, ever forget. watching your child suffer is no easy task. i understand now.
alright, 10cms, FINALLY! Dr. A appears out of nowhere again, instantly calms the room, puts on her cape & gloves, and nurse Judy prepares me for delivery. my dad takes Chiso and heads to the waiting area, and my mom and Sonny take their places on either side of me. let's GO. with each contraction came a strong urge to push... and i must admit that since my lower body was no longer numb from the epidural, i had total control of my pelvic muscles, floor, and core. because the epi was in full swing during my 1st delivery, i pushed with everything i had and it felt like absolutely nothing was happening. less than 8 minutes and 5 or 6 pushes later, my mom was crying and overjoyed with emotion, Sonny was cutting the umbilical cord, and Dego's warm body was laying on my chest.
in an instant...all the pain was gone and completely forgotten. by me anyway. my dad? not so much! Odego was worth it all. i couldn't help but think of the women who birthed babies with no medication whatsoever. past, present, whether it was their choice, and those who had no choice at all. amazing.
Chiso could barely contain his excitement! it was finally time to meet his little brother after all this waiting! heck, he talked to Dego more than i did while he was in my tummy. i can't wait to show both boys this picture when they are older.
i'd also like to note that Odego weighed in at 7 lbs & 9 oz, but i carried smaller vs my first pregnancy (Chiso was 6 lbs 11 oz). i was also in better shape and made way better food choices this round. take note, moms! that's just another reason comparing bumps is really silly and never a fair baby weight predictor.
FOOD. after fasting since midnight, nurse Judy read my mind and put the menu and the room phone right next to me. i LOVE her. that was my post-delivery lunch: grilled chicken burger with sweet potato fries, a side salad, and vegetable soup. yall know when i get hungry i get scatterbrained and just want everything. i read the 3 page menu 50 bajillion times before Sonny was like, 'Leah we will be here til thursday, PICK SOMETHING.'
i don't go there often, but i hear hospital food has changed! i ordered eggs, oatmeal, and fruit for every breakfast, and either grilled chicken or tilapia for lunch and/or dinner. i made sure to have veggies and a salad with every meal, but i wanted fries so i ordered those sometimes too.
Dr. A approved me to get up and move around, so i threw on my Nikes and did just that wednesday morning after breakfast. just a few slow laps around the postpartum wing, that's it. later that night, Sonny pushed Odego in his nursey cart and walked with me.
heading home the next day! but not before ordering lunch one last time, haha.
i missed that fresh new baby smell, skin, and newborn cry... to finally hold and kiss the face of someone you already love so deeply after months of waiting is... indescribable! a blessing. a miracle.
but with that comes the smell and sting of Dermoplast spray, recovering down there, sitting down super slowly, swollen, engorged breasts & nipples so sore the brush of a t-shirt or bra feels like hell's fire, nocturnal newborn schedules and feedings, i.e., good ol' MOTHERHOOD!