about my body

Earlier this week I decided it was about time to really focus on losing this weight. As summer approaches so do shorts, skirts, tank tank tops and *winch* swimming suits. I'd like to wear these things this summer without the mama jiggle. As women, even if we lose weight and think it'll help us not focus on our bodies so much, we know we will always focus on them. If you are self conscious about something now, when you are 10 lbs lighter you will still focus on that same thing. Losing weight will not change that. 

For me, this area of focus has been my stomach. And now that this stomach has been stretched out to the max, cut open and finally healed, it's not quite what it used to be. I'll always have a big butt, I'll always have thighs. I'm always going to have cellulite and jiggle. And my husband loves this jelly so I'm ok with it. I'm not saying I want flabby legs, because I'm definitely trying to lose inches and tone it all up so I can fit into my old jeans...but I know they're always going to be the biggest part of my body and I'm content with that. 

The jeans I'm trying to fit back into. I love those jeans.

My stomach needs some work. I can lose all the weight I want but those abs need a work out. Hopefully by gaining more muscle under there and losing some of the fat, things will tighten a little. And maybe the skin won't be quite as loose. I do have a little fear that when I reach my weight loss goal that my skin will be saggy. But we'll see when we get there. Skin can only bounce back so much. I'm ok with the stretch marks. I know they'll always be there. I'm going to have to learn to live with the skin if it doesn't tighten. 

Ok. I'm rambling. Anyways...yesterday afternoon I laid out on my patio in a two piece swimming suit. That was the first time my torso has seen the light of day since late 2009 when my pregnant belly was still cute with a suit. How did I feel? I felt a little like my old self. I realized that wearing a two piece confidently in public wasn't really that far away. It felt good to not be so covered up. Granted I was on my secluded patio where nobody could see me, but being comfortable with myself is a big step.

One of my last times in a 2 piece, I was only about 4 weeks pregnant here. (And hadn't told anyone!)

And here I am only a few days into my weight loss journey (the part of the journey where I get serious). This week I've lost 3.6 lbs, I haven't starved myself, I've exercised, I ate things with fat in them, I'm stuffed after every meal, I haven't counted a single calorie. Each day I get further into my journey I gain more confidence and motivation to keep going. Especially when I see lower and lower numbers on the scale and when I put on a 2 piece suit for the first time in a couple years. 

Click below to see what I've been eating:

I'm a picky eater. Some of it might seem boring or weird to you but I'm doing what works for me. If you have any questions let me know!

video of my kids...being themselves.

My children rock socks.
In case you need a play by play:
  • Yes, Julian is wearing an elastic headband. His hair was crazy this morning and he was pulling on it during breakfast, this helped keep it back.
  • Where it looks like Julian waves to the camera, it's actually how he points.
  • While I'm singing Itsy Bitsy Spider, Isaiah is actually trying to do the motions. He also semi-claps which is probably only the 2nd or 3rd time he's done this.
  • At the end Isaiah is trying to tap his mouth and make noise, which he is slowly figuring out and thinks is hilarious when he actually does it.

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how about a vote for all the new skills they've been learning? 

noodle legs

So we took a walk yesterday for the first time on a really sunny day. I sprayed the boys up with sunscreen, made the 80 trips up and down our stairs and we were off. 

They may look cute but they are heavy as hell. 

For the first time I turned right out of our complex to go up the rest of our hill and take on the BIG one. I completely underestimated how hard it would be. Walking down the hill wasn't so bad but I noticed how steep it was and was dreading the walk back up. I tried to ignore the fact that I faced certain death by taking pictures of the pretty spring stuffs.

This might look pretty but it's full of bees.

And it KILLED. My legs were burning. I was a huffin' and a puffin'. And then Julian glanced up at me:
Yes I took a picture even when I thought I was about to die. I feel like his little look was telling me "you can do it Mama!"

And then I made it to the top.
And it's kind of hard to tell here but you can see forever. Across the street is a huge ravine/canyon. It's kind of a nice reward once you get up there. 

And you even get a little view of the mountains off to the side, too. I love mountains.

I love them so much I walked back down the hill and up the next to the grocery store after this...and then had to once again go down the hill and back up to get home. And let's not forget all the trips back up the stairs it takes to unload groceries, 2 boys and a stroller. 

My legs were like noodles. 

what mama eats

I was inspired by (and encouraged by) Jess from IROCKSOWHAT  to start a photo food diary. She just started one (which you can see HERE) to both keep herself accountable for the things she eats and to maybe help others find some healthy choices as she tries to lose weight.

I'm trying to lose weight. Correction, I'm LOSING weight. I'm ready to get this baby flab OFF of my body and have set a pretty lofty goal for myself to lose 25lbs. I'm about 11-12 lbs above where I was when I got pregnant but for those of you who've had babies...not everything is the same or in the same place after you have kids. Plus, as a taller girl I have to lose more weight for it to be noticeable because I have a lot more space for it to go. So I'm going to need to lose more to fit into those size 10 Express jeans I was telling you guys about a few weeks ago. 

I may post once a week with an update of my workouts or how things have been going. However, I will be posting in the flickr album every day about what I'm eating. And try to include some information as to WHY I'm eating it, and why it's good for me. 

I'm a pretty picky eater, and I hate it. I'm not very good at trying new foods. A lot of foods that are good for me, I don't like. I wish it wasn't that way. I literally GAG at some things. So my food diary may be a little boring for some of you...but I'm going to prove you CAN lose weight even when you don't like a lot of the things that are best for you.

Click below to check it out.
(this link will be on the top right side bar as well)


wordless[ish] wednesday: boys room

Right now, the boys room is probably the most put together and decorated room in our place. I was trying to think of a general "theme" to stick with, but let's face it. I'm a random person. I like my house to be filled with things I like and most of it has nothing to do with anything else. The boys room will probably be the same. 

  • Yes, we have the bumpers once again. They don't match anything and I don't particularly like them but they help keep the paci in the bed. And protect little heads from bonks. 
  • The banner above their beds was made by our friend Sarah, who made it for the surprise baby shower they threw me and I like it so much we've kept it up! 
  • The metal shelves aren't my favorite but I thought they'd transition into boy-hood well. Plus they were only $16 at Target. We're not made of money, people. I keep books on those shelves with paper pages and we haven't had anyone try to climb it yet.

  • The milk crates I have their books in I stole from the halls behind food service in college. I used to have a ton of them as shelves. They're so much better than the ones you buy at like Target. 
  • The curtains, Chikezie had when I moved here. I think they're from World Market. 
  • And don't ask me about the liscense plate. Chikezie got it, we just put it on their door. I'm thinking of finding some more for in there. 

  • I got that green bucket for toys at Target, too. $5. And we can easily just pick it up and carry it into the living room or on the patio to play.
  • And of course I had to put up some fun white Christmas lights. They provide some soft lighting at night when the boys want to crawl in and out of the room and I don't need a big light on. 
And here are some things I am LOVING and really want for their room:
this lion print from berkley illustration

this mustache poster from pumpkin and butterfly

this classic toy van print from erin reynolds photography

this faux taxidermy dinosaur from anatomically incorrect creatures

Link up your wordless[ish] wednesday, folks.

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we are perfect

At first, I thought these photos were a total wash. And then I thought about it a little. 

Sometimes in life, and especially as a mom, you try to get things perfect...or as close to perfect as you can. You want it to appear as if you are the epitome of a cute little family. Like you've successfully raised perfectly behaved children who smile at the right moments, look cute when they need to and a husband who plays the part and smiles for pictures when you ask. You want to look happy. Like this family with minimal problems who always looks good in a photo. A family who has date nights and game nights and read every night to their children and feed them all the right things. You want to appear like you have it all together.

But sometimes the most imperfect and accidental things turn out the best. You realize that your family and your life is just as it is supposed to be, silly quirks and imperfections and all. 

Some people may not understand you. Some people may disapprove that you had children before you were married. Some people may disapprove that you didn't get married in a church. Some people may disapprove of your tattoos. Some people may disapprove that you don't go to church every Sunday, or any Sunday for that matter. Some people may disapprove of your interracial marriage and mixed children. Some people may think your kids just need a haircut. Or shouldn't suck on pacifiers. Or should know to do this and that by a certain age. Or need to be baptized the second they are born to avoid horrible consequences. Some people think your kids shouldn't watch Spongebob or eat sugar.  

We do things our own way. We are a family filled with LOVE. Love for each other, respect for each other. We are friends. We laugh. And although many people may not understand our choices, we do what works for us. And as long as this keeps working, I don't care what anyone thinks. 

Silly faces and all.

missing snuggles

Look at these two little snuggle bunnies.
(Julian back, Isaiah front)
They used to do so well sleeping next to each other in the co sleeper. Sometimes I miss them sleeping right next to me. 

And now look at them:

They both alternate from side to stomach sleeping (I sleep on my stomach, too). Isaiah has his bear, Julian with his paci. They're so big. I just can't believe how much they've grown in one year. I definitely miss the snuggles.

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please and thank you :)


Thank you to EVERYONE who donated, tweeted, blogged, emailed and spread the word about the Mandey Hearts Mapleton fundraiser. 
The running total of funds earned so far (with more on it's way)


How AWESOME!!! I can't thank all of you generous people enough. And contrary to some statements, people DO care about little old Mapleton. And people DO care about causes that don't make world news. 

Here are the winners of all the fabulous prizes, chosen through a random number generator at Random.org.

A coin purse of your choice from Mama Mandolin.
Emily Catacchio

A print of your choice from A Happy Exchange.
Answer E.

A custom blog banner/button from IROCKSOWHAT
Bob and Christy

A pair of Falling Leaves earrings from Pretty Things by Meg
Stephanie T.

A bandana bib from hi, baby
Stacey Ball

A robot plushie from Lauren Smash Toys.

2 glass vintage milk jugs from Holly Days

Your choice of 1 new print from the Paper Mama Shop.

A felt ruffle wreath from Sassy Silly Spunky Designs.
Katrina Adams

A $10 gift card to Love Stitched

A spot in the May (or July) SLR photography e-class hosted by Simplicity

A pocket watch from hello, friend
Michele Lee

A fabric diaper/wipes holder from the Crosbie Crew

I will be emailing all of you winners today! 

Thanks again to everyone for your contributions.

Cloth Diaper Adventure

I've been working on this post for a while, trying to put it all together without making it too confusing. This is all about our experience with cloth diapers for the past couple months. It's really been a great adventure at our house and I'm so glad we took the plunge.

We switched to cloth diapers shortly after the New Year, when we got our tax return and had the money to invest. With twins, purchasing cloth diapers is a little more of an investment than with just one baby but it pays off sooner. With the advice of my friend Tina, who's been cloth diapering since her dude was born (he's one month younger than the boys) I went to Diapers Etc. to search for what would work best. 

So for two boys, I got the following:
One Bummis cover 

I hadn't heard much about these so I only got one. I love this cover for my prefolds. It's not quite as soft as the Thirsties covers but the velcro is so much more "sturdy" and I find we have a lot less leaks with this one. I'm thinking of getting a couple more of these. These (and the Thirsties below) are covers that hold the cloth. When the cloth is dirty you simply replace the cover with a new cloth unless it's dirty. I find about 50% of the time I just need to just wash it all.

My friend Tina suggested these, that she really likes them with her son. I like the softness. I've heard so many good things about them but for some reason I don't think the velcro is as good on these as on the Bummis. 

Basic prefolds. They work great. I just do a basic tri-fold for all diaper changes and sometimes if they boys haven't pooped yet and I expect it to happen after I change this diaper I'll fold the back flaps out to create a "poop pocket" hoping to avoid getting the cover too dirty.
I bought these for when we're out or for Chikezie in case he didn't want to bother with the prefolds. But I ended up just using them in my regular diaper rotation every day. They are the best of the best of diapers. So I really have no complaints. These diapers have a pocket that you stuff an absorbent insert in. You wash all of it after each diaper change.

I also got a small wet bag for when we're out and a bucket for all the dirties. All together I spent a little over $200 total for this investment. I figured all together these would start to pay themselves off after 4 months.

How it all works:
Having cloth diapers is really not THAT much more work than using disposable diapers. And after you get the hang of it, it just becomes part of your normal routine and it doesn't feel like extra "work". I change the boys when they wake up in the mornings and from naps and depending on how much they're drinking during the day, before a nap or before we go somewhere. 

I get my diapers ready before I change them, and afterward I put the dirty cloths in a bucket in our bathroom. I try to wash bucket of dirty diapers in mornings so that I can put them out on a drying rack on our patio in the afternoon, when we get full sun. The sun helps bleach the cloths that may have stains on them. Plus it's cheaper than using the dryer each time. To wash them, I first run them through a pre-wash of hot water to get everything off. Then I wash them on "heavy" cycle with hot water and just a basic detergent. 

Things I like about cloth diapering:
  • I really enjoy cloth diapering. I used to feel a little twinge of guilt taking out our trash every day full of nasty diapers that I knew would just sit in a landfill somewhere forever. It's nice now knowing that if they poop right after I change their diaper, that diaper isn't "wasted" because I can just wash and reuse it. 
  • We don't have a stinky garbage can anymore. Even the diaper garbage can stunk. Now I just have one stinky bucket that holds the smell in. And it doesn't smell quite as bad because there isn't poop in the poopy diapers since it's flushed.
  • The cloth seems so much more comfortable on the boys' skin. 
  • We don't have to worry about running out of diapers. Especially with two boys, we were buying diapers all. the. time.
Things I don't like about cloth diapering:
  • Poopy diapers can be nasty sometimes. Most of the time it's solid and comes off easily but it sucks dunking the nasty diapers in the toilet. I have a designated set of rubber gloves I keep next to the toilet for those occasions. I just hold my breath and do it quickly.
  • Isaiah knows how to undo the velcro so I pretty much have to have shorts on him all the time or his diaper is off. For the most part, Julian leaves his alone.
  • This isn't something I really dislike, but they're a little bulkier than regular diapers so you have to buy pants a little bigger to fit over the big squishy butts.
Verdict: I'm so glad we switched. Chikezie has fully embraced cloth diapering and knows how to do it all and hasn't once complained about using them. For the initial investment, it really has paid off both financially and in other ways as well. I really would encourage everyone to give it a try. It may seem intimidating at first with all the choices there out there but if you find someone who knows a little bit about it to give you some advice when you're picking out what you want, you'll eventually find out what works best for your family.

I'm open to asking any questions you guys have on cloth diapering in general, cloth diapering twins, or if you have any tips you've learned while cloth diapering your own kiddos!

buns of steel

I've had tight hamstrings for the past week, folks. Our last apartment had a set of stairs but it was completely out of the way of our apartment so we always used the elevator. Plus, going on walks with the boys kind of required an elevator. There are very few places here with elevators and so now we have stairs.

I took this picture from the top of our stairs by the front door. This door goes to the patio, and we have another door to the actual apartment. 

When I take the boys for a walk, it's a work out just to get on the road. I'll get everything ready and put it on the patio and bring the boys outside. Next, I carry the 50lb stroller down the stairs and set it up. I'll go back up and grab one boy (shutting him in on the patio because I don't trust them around stairs). I go up again and grab the other boy and take him down to the stroller. Sometimes when I'm feeling extra strong I'll save a trip and carry both boys down the stairs at the same time. That's 25lbs on each arm.  Finally, after both boys are strapped in I'm back up the stairs to grab everything we need off of the patio and lock the doors. 

It's about 4 trips up and down the stairs just to get out of the door. Then I have to do it all again when we get back. And if I got something at the grocery store, it requires more trips. 

My hamstrings have felt so tight for the past week. We have stairs in the apartment to get up to our bedroom/bathroom as well so I don't know how many trips I take up those stairs a day. I'm going to have BUNS OF STEEL.

And check out this hill we have to climb on our walks:

This is walking back to our place from the store. You have to go down this hill and then partially up the next to get to our house. If we walk the other direction from our house we have to go to the top of our hill and then down another even bigger hill to get to another shopping center about a mile away. 

So, as I'm breaking a sweat just getting the boys in the stroller, my legs are burning on the last (and steepest) part of the hill by our house, pushing over 100lbs in front of me, carrying boys and strollers and groceries and whatever else up the stairs I just remember, "buns of steel, Mandey. Buns. Of.....Steel."

in which I post a million pictures of our weekend

So...here's a bunch of randoms from our Easter weekend.

Saturday Chikezie went to take a nap at 4 and didn't get up until 8:30. I fed the boys while making this pizza (from scratch) with turkey pepperoni. Nomz. 

The EB dropped off some goodies for the boys.  A book about bugs and a new Yo Gabba Gabba DVD. They love it. Eggs filled with bunny grams. 

We got dressed up to go eat on Sunday.
Chikezie attempted to take a picture of my outfit. 
Worst lighting evaaa. 
Dress: F21 ...yes a DRESS. 
I don't think their "dresses" are made for tall girls with a booty. I have to wear something underneath or my business is all out.
Belt: Target
Scarf: Vintage thirfted
Jeans: Old Navy
Sandals: Target

And we snapped some pics before we left:
Boys' shirts I got at Goodwill for like $2. 
Jeans: Target
Onesies: Carters

And attempted family pics with a timer...and Chikezie never makes a normal smiling face. So I didn't edit any of these.

And then I snapped some of my dudes:

We attempted a Mama and Daddy photo...

And then we finally went out.

And we went to World Market to find some treasures.

And then everyone passed out on the drive home. 

Hope you all had a HOPPY Easter :)

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