Life A.D.–5 Months

5 months isn’t sexy. It isn’t flashy. It doesn’t get a lot of attention like it’s friends 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. But it’s actually fairly important.

There is a lot that happens between months 4-6 of a babies development yet you really don’t hear much about that middle number 5.

We have seen a big difference in Cora in the last 30 days.

She’s showing her personality more every day (here she is getting angry when she couldn’t figure out how to roll over).

She’s a bit like her mama this way…

But she soon figured it out…

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She can hold her head up very steadily all on her own and she’s sitting up, with some assistance.

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She can do little baby “V-ups” (where she lifts her head, neck, shoulders and feet off the ground).

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She’s having fun sticking her tongue out.

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She’s even  grown enough to start wearing size 6 month clothes.

She’s very attentive, watching everything we do. And she wants to be included. If we’re at the table eating dinner and she’s in her swing, she will squawk until we bring her over to join us. If we have her on the floor of the playroom for exercise time while we play, she will crane her neck to see what we are doing at all times.

I find that I can’t get enough of Cora. I stare at her and think how beautiful she is. I snuggle and kiss her all the time. Making her smile is endlessly fun. I remember this phase with Isabella when she was that age too. I want Cora to progress but I don’t want her to grow up. I wish she could stay this sweet and happy forever.

Isabella has made some strides of her own in the last month. She’s now a pre-schooler!

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My biggest little one is in school now and it seems somewhat surreal. I didn’t cry when I dropped her off on the first day, and she didn’t either. She was excited and ready. But the moment was  not lost on me. Watching her standing in front of the school, waiting with the other kids to go inside, I was struck by how small she is.

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Not in terms of size but in terms of years. She seems so old to me most of the time because she’s the big kid in the house  that I forget she’s a tiny little person. She’s only 3 (she turns 4 in a couple weeks) and has a her whole life in front of her.

I have been extremely lucky to have the peace of mind knowing that my babies are in the trusted hands of CJ every day.

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Now one of those babies has been handed off to someone else. I completely trust our pre-school teachers and Isabella loves going there. Still, it can be a challenge to let go.

As for me, I’ve lost a total of 14 pounds so far and am pretty darn close to my pre-pregnancy size. I am able to get back in to many of my old clothes, and therefore give away some of the bigger sized ones. Let me tell you, that feels great.

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I didn’t get a chance to take a selfie and this is the most recent pic I have. Yes, that’s an astronaut.

I have 11 more pounds before I reach my goal weight. I originally set my goal at my pre-pregnancy weight but have since decided to shoot for losing a few pounds beyond that. Hey, why not? Losing with Weight Watchers has been surprisingly easy so it seems feasible now for me to get there.

Life for the Team Trader is good these days. Really good.  I am extremely grateful for what I have and don’t want to take a moment of it for granted. Ever.

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Catch up on more Team Trader action!

Life A.D. – 4 months | Little Things | Fat Talk

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Fat Talk

When I got married, I wore a size 6. I was 5’7″ and 125 pounds.

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I thought I was fat. 

Well, ok, maybe not truly “fat” but I certainly wasn’t happy with my body.

I look back at old pictures of myself and shake my head.

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What would young Sarah have thought of me today, wearing a size 12-14 (depending on the item), a size Large and weighing in at 154 pounds?

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I throw all these numbers out there to show that as women we are almost never happy with our appearance. I admit that I am not thrilled with how I look today. I would like to shed about 14 lbs. to get back to the 140 that I was pre-Cora. If I could shed even more, that would be a bonus. I recognize that I will never be a size 6 and 125 lbs. again. After having 2 babies my body just can’t bounce back to that.

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And it’s ok.

Society wants us to think that we have to be a certain size/shape to be pretty. Admittedly I have bought in to that over the years, thinking I was not worthy because I had a muffin top or extra junk in the trunk. I have looked at myself in the mirror and been disgusted with what I saw, thinking horrible things about myself.

That kind of negative self-talk has got to stop.

Would I say those things to a friend? Absolutely not. I look around at the women in my life and think of those who strike me as beautiful. They are not all a size 2 with 6 pack abs and perfectly defined arms and legs. They are beautiful because of who they are on the inside – their personalities. That in turn makes their outsides beautiful too.

Why don’t I look at myself the same way?

I have always been careful about what I say in front of Isabella. I make a point to not only complement her looks but also her intelligence, sense of humor and loving heart. In front of her I have never used the word “fat” to describe myself or anyone else, nor have I berated how I look. Believe me, that is hard on some days, especially right after Cora was born and I was a bit down with how I was looking and feeling. I know she will reach a point in her life where she starts to put herself down, or heaven forbid someone else does it, but I don’t want to be an influencer of that.

In that vein, I think it’s high time that women everywhere stop putting ourselves down and instead embrace who we are and how we look. No more fat talk!

Let me begin…

I love my eyes.

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One thing that people always notice about my girls is that they have big beautiful blue eyes.

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They get the rich color from their dad but the shape from me. I hadn’t realized that until someone pointed it out to me recently. My eyes are beautiful too!

I have always had nice legs. I remember as a kid that my dad would complement my  mom’s legs a lot, saying how shapely they were. That led me to pay attention to my own gams and have been confident in showing them off. They are long, lean and strong, which I love.

Brunettes are where it’s at! They say blondes have more fun but I love being a natural brunette. I have never wanted to be anything else. Sure I’ve played with highlights over the years but have always kept a dark rich base. I think it’s exotic and lovely.

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My sense of humor. I love to make people laugh. I like to think I’m fairly witty about it too.

My ability to accept all people. I avoid talking religion and politics on this blog, or in general conversation, because as we all know, they are touchy subjects. But I will say this: one of my main  problems with certain religions and political parties is when they don’t accept anyone and everyone as being equal. I have always been inclusive of everyone (from the grade school playground to buying black Cabbage Patch dolls to go along with my other white dolls). To this day I have friends who are gay/straight/African American/Caucasian/Asian/Muslim/religious/atheist/etc.  I love all kinds of people and am proud of my ability to do that.

My pledge is to stop saying bad things about how I look and stop comparing myself to others. I am a work in progress and I will love where I am and how I look at any given moment. I encourage every woman out there to do the same. We are all beautiful, inside and out! Let’s proclaim it to the world!

Read more….

Eating Disorders Awareness | Little Things

I Am A Warrior!

CJ and I did the Warrior Dash on Saturday.

I am not kidding when I say that I had the Lita Ford song “The Warrior” stuck in my head the whole time.

I had signed us up for this race months ago – like back in March. A few couples that we know were doing it so I thought, hey, why not? CJ and I are active and in pretty good shape. We can totally do that too.

Then as the months approached I started to have worries and doubts.

For one, I am not a runner. I work out a lot but for some reason do not have a body built for running. I’ve tried and tried over the years and it’s just not my thing. I ran a 5k race a couple years ago and hated every minute of it.

Two, I am not a water person. I can’t swim and get terrified if I’m in any body of water that goes up past my waist. In looking at the course map, 2 of the obstacles involved water.

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But I was bound and determined to do the dash and complete all the obstacles. We weren’t focused on the race aspect or doing it superfast. We just wanted to finish.

And finish we did!

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It turned out to be super fun, albeit tiring. Ironically enough, the obstacles were the easiest part of the whole thing.

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What really got me was the walk/run in between because it was so hilly and the hills were steep. As luck would have it, I came down with a sinus infection 2 days before the race. I tried my hardest to rest and get rid of it before Saturday but no luck. So the fact that I couldn’t breathe real well hampered me a bit. I could definitely feel it in my head and lungs as I was climbing up the hills.

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We both finished in about an hour.

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I think I could have done it faster if I hadn’t been sick. That’s what I tell myself anyway. Next time I’ll shoot for 45 minutes.

Here’s my advice for anyone interested in doing Warrior Dash or something similar in the future:

1. Try to get as early a time as possible when you register. We were in the 2nd heat of the day (8:30 am) which was good because a) it was the coolest part of the day and b) the course wasn’t too badly torn up. Also, we were able to get good parking.

2. Hydrate as much as possible the day before. Again, because it was a hot and humid day, you sweat a lot. It doesn’t do you any good to chug water right before either because then you get water logged. Do your drinking the day before and you should be good.

3. Train for endurance. I made the mistake of concentrating most of my training on building upper body strength. I should have put more time in to running/walking up hills and getting my legs ready for that. The upper body training did help though as I didn’t have any problems there and my arms weren’t sore at all afterwards. Next time I’ll make sure to put more time in to training my legs too.

4. If you do it in a group, make sure at least one other person is willing to go the same pace as you or else you’ll do the whole thing alone, which isn’t a bad thing it’s just good to have clear expectations going in. CJ and I agreed ahead of time to stay together which made it all the more fun.

5. Rinse off immediately after you finish, before the mud has a chance to dry. We waited a bit too long and it was hard to get all the mud off later.

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Most of all – have fun!!

That about covers it! The most important thing for me was the experience and the fact that I got to share it with my husband. CJ probably could have gone on ahead of me and finished faster since I was hampered by the sinus infection but he didn’t. We stayed together and made it an experience we’ll never forget!

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Isabella even got in on the action!

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She calls it her moose hat. CJ says they remind him of the Flintstone’s “Order of the Water Buffalo” hat.

Go Warriors!

January Check-In

It’s the end of the month and that means it’s time to check in on how I’m doing with my resolutions for the year. Let’s just say I’m totally kicking butt so far. January has been very productive and while there were a few setbacks and frustrations, overall, I’m really proud of my progress.

Now let’s get specific.

Family and Home:

1.  Do at least one family outing a month. We slam dunked this one. We went to Sesame Street live…

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a movie, a neighborhood pot luck, a trip to the playground and the zoo.

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We really had a fun month as a family and I’m stoked to see what things we can come up with to do in February!

2.  Tackle the following home projects this year:

  • Buy and hang curtains on all the windows. We got a good start on this one. We started with Isabella’s room because we wanted ones that would block out the night, particularly during the day.

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We also put up some in the front room, on the window between the dining room and play room.

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Pretend the play area is totally neat and organized….still working on a better solution for that. I do think the panel curtains really help separate the 2 rooms more visually. Also adds some much needed color.

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It’s amazing how much curtains can add to a room. Such an easy way to add punch and visual interest.

We also got some pictures and a mirror hung on the back wall of the dining room which was a big accomplishment for me. That blank wall has been sticking in my craw for months so it feels great to have it filled. Took a while to find stuff we liked. We knew we wanted a mirror but aside from that, we weren’t sure. I was going on feel and 2 criteria: it had to be blue and bold. As soon as I saw those 2 flower prints at the store I knew they were perfect!

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Samson likes them too.

  • Unpack the remaining boxes in the basement. Did nothing on this one. The problem is that most of the stuff left in boxes is awaiting another project to be done. For example, the built ins. Once those are done, we can empty a whole slew of them!
  • Do something with the front room. I’m getting close on this one. I haven’t purchased anything yet but have more ideas and may even act on one of them tomorrow! Squee!
  • Create a sitting room within the master bedroom. Nothing yet. This probably won’t happen until later in the year.
  • Add built in shelves to the living room by the end of the year. Again, this is a project that most likely won’t be started until summer.

3.  Break Isabella of the “oobie” habit once and for all. Done! Though she still asks for one on occasion and often dreams of them, for the most part I would call this a success. It wasn’t without a lot of crying, hand wringing and alcohol prayer, but we did it. She can sleep without them so long as she has her blankets and stuffed animals. I imagine the reliance on those will go away too in time so this one can officially be crossed off! Boo-yah!

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4.  Move Isabella to a toddler bed. Not yet. Wanted to wait for her to get through the “oobie” withdrawal. And I’m in no hurry so it’ll happen sometime this year, just not right away.

5.  Have Isabella potty trained by her 3rd birthday (September 30). We bought her a potty book and talk about it but no formal transition plan yet. Not sure she’s totally ready for that. She seems to view pooping as an ailment. Whenever she poops, and believe me, we can tell when that is, I’ll ask her about it and she says, “No I’m not pooping, I’m fine” through gritted teeth. She’s gonna be quite a catch for some lucky young man!

6.  Research pre-schools and enroll Isabella in one to start in the fall of 2012. No. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

Financial and career:

7.  Attend one career professional event a month. I attended one event in January and already have one on my calendar for February and March. Look at me being such an overachiever!

8.  Spend less money – save 5% of each paycheck in a nest egg AND apply 5% of each paycheck toward paying off our credit card balance. This one didn’t go as neatly as planned. With the first paycheck there wasn’t enough left to put money in savings and pay towards the credit card so I chose to forgo the saving. But with the second paycheck, I was able to do both. Money in general stresses me out because it seems that no matter how careful we are, we always end up counting down to the next payday. I’m working on figuring out better ways or not letting it get to me. It’s a process. Fortunately I get paid a bonus every quarter so that fills in some of the gaps.

9.  Save money for Isabella. This part has been easy. I just drop my loose change in a jar every day when I get home. I don’t even miss it!

Spiritual and ethical:

10. Find a church that we all like and attend regularly (at least twice a month). I was all gung ho to get going on this the first week of the month but our weekends tend to be really busy and we haven’t had time to look in to any churches, much less attend a service. Maybe next month.

11. Get back to daily prayers/talks with my Higher Power. I can’t say I did this on a daily basis but I was more regular about it. Maybe once or twice a week. I’ll keep at it.

Physical and health:

12. Adopt one new healthy habit each month. January – Add a fruit and/or vegetable (preferably both!) to each meal. I’ve actually done really well at this one. There were times if I was in a hurry I would be tempted to skip the veggies but most of the time I made myself do it.

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I think I only had 2 meals all month that didn’t have at least one fruit or veggie. Most of them had both. I found that overall, this helped me eat better throughout the day and I’ve noticed a difference in my skin and nails.

Social and cultural:

13. Attend at least 4 cultural events this year (e.g. Broadway shows, concerts, museum exhibitions).This month CJ and I went to see Blue Man Group with a bunch of friends and had a blast! I forgot how much I miss going to shows.

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Particularly ones with big balls.

14. Regularly participate in events put on by the social clubs I belong to (speaker’s events, parties, happy hours, etc). We did this too! Not only did we go to a neighborhood function but we also attended a Chinese New Year celebration put on by one of the members of our volleyball club.

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Both events exposed us to new friends and helped get reacquainted with old ones. Smashing success!

15.  Go on a date night with CJ once a month. Blue Man Group and the Chinese New Year outings were both date nights so we did 2 this month! We already have a couple scheduled for February too. Go us!

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Overall, I’m really happy with what I’ve been able to do this month – both for myself and with the family. February is already getting booked with play dates, social events, date nights and cultural experiences so there should be plenty of great stuff to share – and cross off the list!

How are you doing on your resolutions?

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Gym Rats

I’ve been going to the gym now for about 2 weeks. Before that it had been over 4 years. I had forgotten how much of a subculture there is. Someone should seriously come up with a new sitcom that takes place at a gym. I’ve been studying this little underworld and certain “characters” in particular. Here are the different groups I’ve identified, as well as some specific examples from my gym.

Muscle heads. We all know about these guys. The ones who spend hours in the weight room lifting the heaviest possible weights they can manage. They grunt and make noises so that everyone knows how hard they’re working. Then they drop the weights with a dramatic thud. Most of them wear cut off t-shirts to show off their bulging biceps. They can often be spotted with a Gatorade or protein drink in hand. Some of them truly are cut and buff. Others are wannabes who just like hanging with the big guys.

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Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. These 2 are either brothers or best friends. They’re both short and stocky. One has a shaved head and one has longish hair pulled in to a ponytail. They are both covered with tattoos.  Every day they follow each other from machine to machine, taking turns doing reps. I’m pretty sure they read up on this stuff too because they’re very enthusiastic and always talk about new moves to try. Neither one is super cut so they fall more in the wannabe group.

Geriatrics. These are the retired set that come in to socialize more than sweat. The guys gather together to talk about the latest news. The women gossip. In general they move slowly on the cardio machines and lift lighter weights, but at least they’re moving.

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The Godfather. This is a guy that seems to be the unspoken mayor of the group. He is probably in his late early 60’s and has black hair (most likely dyed). It’s long and he keeps it slicked back in a ponytail (what’s with guys and ponytails at my gym?). He’s darker complected, Italian looking, and short to average height. Despite being at the gym every day, has a gut. He always wears a black t-shirt with black sweatpants. His routine is to start out lifting weights, in particular the pulley machine. Then he moves to the recumbent bike where he “holds court” as I call it. Literally, he sits on the bike and watches the rest of the room. All the older gentlemen there stop by and visit him, either on their way in or out. He seems to be dispensing advice to them. Or else collecting payment.

Aerobics-aholics. These are the women who come strictly for the classes. Whether it be step aerobics, spinning, or Pilates, all they care about is group fitness. They wouldn’t dare use solo cardio equipment or weights, most likely because they find them boring.

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The Jans. There are 2 ladies who I call Jan and Jan. I don’t know their real names but they look like “Jans”. They are in class every day on time and always leave just a few minutes early, I imagine because they have to get off to work. The teachers all know them. They both have short dark hair. One is tall and skinny, the other is short and has a few  pounds to lose. They work hard too. I’ve never seen them quit a set of reps early or ease off the cardio. They want to work.

Iron (wo)men. These are the people in tip top shape that are serious about working out because they are probably training for something. They wear the latest in high tech microfiber sweat wicking clothes and shoes. They are not there to socialize, they’re there to get the job done.

Marathoners. There is a man and women who actually run to the gym every morning and then run some more once they get there. After their time on the treadmill, they go over and lift weights. They’re both thin in a fit, not a skinny way but not super buff either. I have no idea if they are married or just friends but they are together every day.

Routine Warriors. This group of people has a set thing that they do every single day without exception. They never vary their workout because they know what works for them. You can set your watch by these people

The Scowler. I don’t think this lady is really mad I think she’s just so in to her routine that she has her “don’t mess with me” face on all the time. Here is her routine: she starts off on the elliptical machine and does that for 30 minutes at a fast pace. Then she moves to the weight machines and systematically works her way through them. She’s in and out of there in 55 minutes flat every single day and never utters a word to anyone.

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There are also some people who don’t really fall in to any one category, but they’re interesting to watch. There is the married couple that come and do their routine together. I’m pretty sure it was his idea to go so early in the morning because he’s always full of energy while she just looks pissed off. She always quits earlier than him and seems to be half-assing everything. He gets annoyed by it too. One day she stopped, went in to the locker room for her stuff and walked out to the car – all while he was still pedaling away on the bike. He just rolled his eyes and kept going. I guess he figured he would make her sit and wait for him.

Then there is the flirt lady. I think she wants to be a body builder because I see her lifting a lot and hanging with that crowd. Her body doesn’t quite reflect it though. She flirts all the time too. One day she was talking to one of the guys and batting her eyelashes at him. The whole time he was staring at her hot blonde friend. I felt kind of bad for her.

Then there’s the Man in Black. This is a guy about my age who falls in the Routine Warriors category except that he’s not quite as regimented. Everyday he wears a black t-shirt and black running pants (maybe he takes fashion tips from The Godfather). He starts out with a 10 min. warmup on the treadmill and then lifts weights. He always looks super tired though, like he’s one rep away from a nap.

And then there’s me. I’m not sure what category I fall in. I do some classes but also do my own thing. I try to vary my routine every day to challenge my body but yet I’m not as hard core as some. Who knows. Maybe I’m in a whole other category I don’t know about because I’m in the middle of it.

I tell ya, if you like to people watch, join a gym. There is no shortage of people and personalities!