Postpartum Shape Up – Before

Follow along with my post-partum fitness progress (and setbacks). Come share your healthy goals and let’s get in shape together!

The other day, my sister Nancy and I were talking about losing weight and how to hold ourselves accountable while we work on getting in shape.  Nancy had recently posted a “before” pic on Instagram and mentioned how she was working on accepting her body where it is right now, while simultaneously making better food and exercise choices.

She also said how easy it is to post embarrassing “before” pictures of oneself once you’re already looking like the amazingly hot “after” picture. It got me thinking about how hard we women are on ourselves, even while we’re trying our best to make progress. We’re constantly inundated with pictures of perfection: perfect crafts, decor, outfits, hair, parties, makeup, bodies; and when we look in the mirror every day, it can be a struggle to not feel inferior.

So, I decided that I’d invite the whole of the interwebs to follow me on my very imperfect journey of shaping up and losing the baby weight this time around. I’ve gained and lost so much weight over the past 12 years of bearing children, that I’m a lot more at peace with my postpartum body now than I was after the first couple kids.  I know that my body won’t be like this forever and so most of the time I just try my best to implement healthy habits and then not dwell too much on the rest.

But I fully acknowledge that having a healthy mindset about one’s body isn’t easy.  It can be frustrating and exhausting to try to lose weight and see little progress. For example, my body never gets entirely back to normal until after I’m done nursing my babies…which means every time it’s taken close to (if not longer than) a full YEAR to lose all the baby weight!  It’s a slow, sometimes agonizing process but as long as I’m doing my best, I try not to beat myself up.

Today I’m showing you my current “before” status via pictures, weight and body measurements. Once a month after this, I’ll be posting updated pictures and stats, as well as any successes and setbacks.  I hope that any progress I have will be inspiring to other moms trying to make healthy changes, but mostly, I hope to offer some comradery to those of you who struggle with postpartum body image issues or frustrations because you don’t look like your favorite fashion blogger just minutes after giving birth.

Lastly, I wanted to mention that I’m not generally a fan of showing this much skin in public (let alone on the internet!) even when I’m in good shape 🙂 but I felt it was important that other women see what a postpartum body often looks like (and yes, I have stretch marks and loose, flabby skin under those swim bottoms!).  You may be starting a lot closer to your goals than I am or a lot farther away, but the important part is that we accept where we are, make a plan to improve and then just START!

April 17, 2017: 8 weeks postpartum

Current weight: 162
Goal weight: 140-ish

Current measurements:
Bust 40.5″  –  Waist 32.5″  –  Hip: 42″
Goal measurements:
Bust 37″  –  Waist 29″  –  Hip: 39″

Successes: I joined a local gym and had some great workouts there doing mostly body weight strength training.  I also got back into running since having the baby.  I’m not fast, but I did do 2 miles without stopping recently!

Setbacks: Sugar and refined carbs are my kryptonite when nursing a new baby. I did lots of baking this month and ate a lot of garbage.  I’m working on really listening to my body and feeding it fuel when I’m hungry instead of junk.

This month’s goals: Do strength training 4x/week and run or do other cardio 2-3x/week.  Limit sugary treats to once a week.

Now it’s your turn!  Please share any goals, progress or frustrations you’re facing on your fitness journey in the comments.  Let’s support each other in our quest to get healthy!

And if you’re looking for more ideas to help you get in shape, check out the fitness challenge I posted after my last baby.

Denim on Denim

Wondering if you can pull off wearing denim on denim?  You can!  Here are some fun tips to try…

Chambray top – Loft similar || Denim – Joe’s || Sandals – Sole Society ||
Earrings – J. Crew (my color sold out but I really want this one too!) || Clutch – Similar here and here

One 90’s throwback trend it took me a little while to hop on is pairing denim with more denim.  Something about memories of those awkward junior high outfits  had me hesitating.  But I’m over it now!

The trick for this trend is to keep it simple and change up the denim tones.  I love the idea of layering white and black denim or just two shades of blue like I did here.  And when your outfit is all neutrals, you get to have lots of fun with accessories.  These gigantic embroidered earrings are my latest obsession.  I wear them with everything!

So, what do you think about mixing and matching denim??

(Photos by Let Me See You Sparkle)

Alice’s Blessing 

We loved being able to share baby Alice’s blessing day with friends and family!  Here are some highlights…

So glad we got pictures of both sets of grandparents!  These are Luke’s parents…

And my parents!

My dress – Asos (it’s been hard to find something flattering lately but I LOVE this dress!) ||
My shoes – Sold out but these are similar and I love these || Alice’s dress – similar and other gorgeous special occasion dresses!

This last Sunday we invited our extended family to church with us to watch Luke give Alice a father’s blessing!

It’s common in the LDS church for fathers to publicly bless their new babies with gifts and talents they feel would help their child live life to the fullest. It’s one of my favorite things to witness.

Luke blessed Alice that she would be able to tell right from wrong and make good choices, that she would have a healthy body  and that her beautiful voice would help others feel God’s spirit.  He also blessed her to be able to love unconditionally and to find joy in serving others.

It was a beautiful day and a great celebration of this new sweet baby who has joined our family!

Easter Pinafore Pattern Hack

Another simple yet adorable Infinite A-line pattern hack – just in time for Easter!

I was really hesitant to commit to sewing everyone Easter dresses this year. After all, I have a newborn and five girls to sew for.  Some people might call that crazy.

But crazy has always held a certain appeal for me.

When designing this dress, I was really inspired by all the gingham popping up everywhere lately; it just screams spring to me! I also really wanted to make another pinafore style like this one I did last year.

This is another Infinite A-line pattern hack, although I decided to keep the back bodice piece on this one instead of just using straps.

To create this style, I followed the Infinite A-line dress instructions for View D and just discarded the side bodice pieces instead of sewing them to the center & ruffles.

Then I loosely followed these instructions to create a waistband and facing.  After you’ve cut them out, you’ll sew the short ends of each piece together, to create 2 loops.  Place 4 pins in the band and facing, all equidistance apart (one pin will be in the seam you just sewed).  Pin the band and facing to the front and back of bodice (as shown in the other tutorial), matching 2 of the pins in band/facing with the centers of the bodices.  Be sure the seam you just sewed is on the side of the dress so it won’t be as visible.  Then sew the bands to the bodices and continue following the other tutorial to attach the skirt.

It’s really a very simple and straightforward dress… the only problem I had was accidentally serging a big HOLE in the center of the waistband after thisone was almost complete! It was also after midnight at the time and I admit, I cried a little bit.

But all’s well that ends well! And now I just have six days to sew four more dresses. I can do it right??

Pray for me.

Get your own copy of the pattern HERE and let me know what you’re making for Easter this year!

(You can find the tutorial for this woven Easter basket HERE – the bottom zips off so that it stores flat!
And be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get all the latest sewing tutorials.

Summer Uniform

Get warm weather ready with a T-shirt dress and pops of color!

Dress – Anthropologie (I sized up to a large for length)||
Wedges – sold out but I also love these and these || Earrings: J.Crew similar and here

The weather’s heating up over here already and I’m on the hunt for great, cool dresses I can throw on and go (bonus if they’re easy to nurse a baby in!) This dress from Anthropologie is SO soft, comfy and flattering plus stretchy enough to pull the neckline down. I almost bought every color.  It’s on sale now but going super quick!

And if I’m headed out the door in a neutral outfit, you can believe I’m throwing on a pop (or two) of color to liven things up.  I’ve been looking for bright yellow wedges forever for this very reason…they make any outfit so happy!  I linked to a couple other pairs above.

What’s your favorite warm-weather momiform??

(Photos by Let Me See You Sparkle)

Postpartum Survival: 5 Things No One Tells You About

The newborn phase is a wonderful time of life, but it helps to be prepared by knowing what to expect, good and bad!

Nesting Days Baby Carrier  (Use code WHISKEM for an extra $5 off!)

 

The postpartum period can make a new mom feel happy, exhausted, overwhelmed, grateful, frustrated, and back to happy again, sometimes all within an hour!  It’s an emotional rollercoaster, one for which many women are completely unprepared.  Despite what anyone else goes through or tells you, it can be a wonderful, joyful period of life…if you know what to expect!

In all honesty, the 4th trimester with my first two kids was pretty rough.  Both births weren’t what I’d expected and everything was all still so new to me, that I’ll admit I certainly didn’t enjoy it very much.

Fast forward 6 more kids and if there’s one thing I’ve learned after all these births, it’s how to love the newborn phase.  It’s not that it’s become all that much easier (although my body has become more efficient at some things) but rather that I know what’s coming and I’m prepared for it.  Once the fear and anxiety factors are gone, it becomes so much more enjoyable!

Without further adieu, here’s my list of 5 things no one adequately prepares you to experience during the postpartum period:

 1.There will be bleeding, and lots of it.  Think the worst day of your period, every day for a week and sometimes longer.  I bled for less than two weeks with my easiest recovery and for close to 6 weeks after my c-section.  It totally varies, but just know that it will happen and it will be a LOT!  A good excuse to take it really easy those first few weeks and rest with the babe.

 2. You’ll have random aches and pains that you’ve never had before: really tender nipples, aching uterus, sore girly parts, and sometimes more! I knew I would be sore, but my biggest surprise after my first birth was how bad the “afterbirth” pains would be (think intense period cramps).  Your uterus continues to contract for days after birth, especially while breastfeeding and even after a c-section, and while it’s necessary to stop the bleeding and get your uterus back to normal, it’s not always a walk in the park!  You doctor can suggest something to take if the pain gets to be too much.

 3.You’ll ride a rollercoaster of emotions and will probably feel a little depressed for a few days.  I have experienced “baby blues” after every single pregnancy; usually after about day 2 or 3 when the initial wave of visitors is over, I get kind of overwhelmed with a new baby and a transitional body and start feeling really lonely.  After the first 3 births it kind of threw me for a loop, but now I expect it, recognize it for what it is and remind myself that it won’t last forever.  Invite a friend over, get out of the house if possible (even just for a walk around the block) and you should be back to normal in no time! 

(Note: if you’re still feeling depressed after a week or so, are having trouble bonding with your baby or having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, call your doctor right away! Postpartum depression, although not as common, does affect many women and can be treated. Don’t let yourself suffer unnecessarily.)

 4. Your baby might have a hard time transitioning to life outside the womb.  Some of my kids were great eaters and sleepers right away, and others seemed a little distressed after birth.  I think it’s just a harder adjustment for some babies and the best thing for these little munchkins is to be in their mama’s arms.  Being held skin to skin is especially beneficial for a baby in distress, and I love using the Nesting Days baby carrier pictured here.  It’s like a wrap carrier (without all the wrapping) designed to be worn with just a nursing bra, so you and your baby can be skin to skin and you can still use your arms!  I wear it around the house just like this, or throw a cardigan over it to go for a walk.  I haven’t had a baby yet who didn’t settle right down after being worn up against me.

 

If you’re pregnant, you can preorder the carrier for $10 off the retail price and use code WHISKEM to get an extra $5 off!

 5. The first few weeks will be over before you know it; let the housework, meals and worry go and just enjoy resting with your new baby. As a certified addict to “getting things done”, resting is a very hard thing for me to do.  But after each baby I’ve realized more and more how rare it is to have a few weeks where no one expects anything of us moms; we might as well enjoy it.  Don’t leave the house (unless you need it for sanity), don’t make food, don’t clean, don’t go to church; take a cue from your baby and just eat, sleep and poop! 

 

Having a baby is a crazy, amazing and eye-opening experience, but it’s what we women were made to do!  Don’t let the unknown scare you; it’s one of the most awesome things your body will ever do for you.  If you’re prepared for the not-so-fun stuff, you’ll be able to cuddle and enjoy your baby all the more.

 

Good luck, mamas!

 
Photography by Let Me See You Sparkle

Chubby Thighs and handmade shorts

An easy refresh for any kid’s summer wardrobe: shorts!

It’s been quite a while since I sewed something super simple for my kids; I’m always full of ideas for new pattern hacks and designs so it’s refreshing to go back to the basics!

Our sweet Mimi is a total chunk of a baby and after pulling out summer clothes recently, I realized that she can’t fit into a single pair of shorts her sisters wore before her!  I decided to pull out the Kid Shorts pattern from Made Everyday to whip her up a couple pairs.

GUYS, she’s not even 2 years old yet (her birthday’s in a few weeks) but I ended up making her a size FOUR!  Her little thighs and belly are hilariously chubby.  In fact, her waist measurement is a whopping 1/2″ smaller than Kira’s, who is almost 6…haha!

I love all three of these pairs; I made the shorter racer shorts with bias trim for two of them because they are THE easiest ever!  Seriously, after cutting out fabric, I think they each took me about 20 minutes to sew.  A great way to amp up a kid’s wardrobe in just one afternoon.

I think the cute animal print pair are my favorite…which do you like best??

Stepping Out

Mommy & me matching plus the case for buying quality kids’ shoes…

I officially have too many kids to all dress up cute every day (or even more than once a year!) but every now and again I put some effort into one or two of the little stinkers, and today we got to match!  Marilyn’s chubby thighs looked so cute in this romper that I just couldn’t pass it up…and I won the nursing-mom lottery by finding a shirt dress that is actually long enough!

These rose gold moccs from Freshly Picked just kill me though.  Rose gold is everywhere right now and I can’t get enough!  The stripes on my sneaks are the same color and seriously the most comfortable shoes I own.

Similar shirtdress – here and here on sale! || My jacket – Old Navy || My sneakers – Anthropologie || Earrings – Nickel & Suede
Mimi’s jacket – BabyGap || Mimi’s romper – Similar || Mimi’s moccs – c/o Freshly Picked  || Hairbow – Little Poppy Co

You guys know I’ve recently learned how important it is to invest in a few quality wardrobe pieces (like great fitting jeans and swimsuits) but kids’ shoes are just as important.  It’s tempting to buy them cheap because they grow out of them so fast (and let’s be honest, my 11 year old just wears flip flops all year round) but for the little ones quality really does matter!

These moccasins fit both long, skinny feet and short chubby ones (I’ll give you one guess as to what type Mimi has) and they DO NOT come off!  I got this pair a tad big for her to grow into and she can’t even pull them off herself.  Which means no more lost shoes in the grocery store!  I anticipate them lasting a lot longer than her other shoes and I’m in love.  I also anticipate more embarrassing matching with this munchkin in the future.  Maybe until she’s 12…

DON’T MISS Freshly Picked’s Customer Appreciate Sale going on TODAY!

Just 24 hours: 10am MST March 30- March 31st.  Get 25% off specific styles!

Photography by Chrissy of Let Me See You Sparkle

Almond oatmeal chocolate Cookies (my favorite!)

I fully realize that I probably shouldn’t be posting about a decadent cookie recipe when I have 20 postpartum pounds to lose…but I just couldn’t keep these from you any longer!  These Almond Oatmeal Chocolate cookies are hands down my most very favorite cookie of ALL time.

Where do I even begin?? They are everything I’m always looking for in in a cookie: chewy, crunchy and chocolatey.  And the best part of all? They pair perfectly with a bowl of ice cream, or even made into ice cream sandwiches! You can thank me later.

NOTE: If you have a WinCo near you, check out their bulk section for roasted chopped almonds – they’re perfect for this recipe!  They also sell the bittersweet chocolate discs you see in the pictures, which I melt down for the chocolate topping.   If you’re impatient like me, you’ll be happy to know that I often don’t chill these and they turn out fine.  But if you’ve got the time to stick them in the fridge for a couple hours, I think it really improves the texture (you can also roll dough into balls before chilling to speed things up a bit).

Almond Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies
Yields: 24 small cookies

Cookies:

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. Vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup rolled oats
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ toasted almonds, chopped

Chocolate topping:
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
2 Tbs butter

Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or hand mixer) cream butter and sugar until creamy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and mix until blended.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Stir or beat into butter mixture, then mix in almonds.

Chill dough in the refrigerator for several hours.

Roll into 1” balls and place on a cookie sheet (I always use Silpat liners on mine; parchment paper also works well). Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes and then cool completely before removing.

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over low heat (you can also do this in the microwave very carefully! Heat chocolate for 5-10 second intervals and stir between intervals).

Once cookies are cooled, spread chocolate on tops of cookies and chill until chocolate is set.

 

(Recipe slightly adapted from an old book I tore the page out of years ago.)

Pajama-like street style

Similar Joggers – nicer option: here and here; casual options: here and here || T-shirt – Topshop ||
Slip on sneakers – SO MANY cute options!|| Baseball cap – Collection XIIX || Watch – Arvo || Sunglasses – Diamond Candy

Whether or not you enjoy getting dressed up for work or pleasure, we pretty much all enjoy spending some time in our lounge wear (i.e. pj’s).  I’m convinced that this “active wear” trend we keep seeing is simply women’s excuse to hang out in really comfy leggings and sneakers all day.  I dig it!

It’s nice to have a couple pieces that feel like you’re wearing pajamas, but wouldn’t make you feel embarrassed if you ran into a friend (or an old boyfriend – eeek!) out in public.  This is one of my favorite combos for running errands and leaving the house without the fear of ridicule that comes with wearing actual pajamas and no bra to the grocery store.  Not like I’ve ever done THAT…

What’s your default momiform style??