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Our Corner

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Call it nesting, call it DE cluttering but whatever you call it, I promise your mind and home will thank you!!! I just want to start out by saying that I am not a minimalist (I would like to be and I am trying to get there) and I am not a professional by any means. I am just a Mom of a toddler boy and a little girl on the way, who can’t STAND the CLUTTER anymore!!!

There are so many benefits both mentally/physically and financially that I wanted to tell all my friends and fellow Mama’s about it!! And that is why I decided to come up with the “Clean up Life’s little Messes DE clutter Challenge”. This is an easy 6 day challenge that will relieve you of the messes that are all around your house. Check out some of the benefits below to see if you want to join in this week!!!

#1 Less Anxiety – I don’t know about you but a giant mess and clutter gives me some serious anxiety. I quickly realized that my feeling of frustration/defeat was coming from all the “stuff” around me. The first time I chose to DE clutter it was as if a weight was lifted off my chest that I didn’t even realize was there. There was such a sense of accomplishment after I removed the things I didn’t need in my life anymore.

#2 Financial benefit – With all the website selling walls, garage sales, craigslist posts etc that are readily available to us, it is easy to find items around your house that you no longer need, and make a little extra money from it!!! Who wouldn’t love that?? The last time I went through my house and got rid of furniture and things I didn’t need I was able to make well over $400!!! Just because I couldn’t use certain items, didn’t mean someone else couldn’t!! So whether its Facebook selling wall, a garage sale or a girlfriends swap (clothing/baby items) it’s a great way to De Clutter AND make some fun money to make memories!!!

#3 More Time to Focus on What is Important- I can’t tell you how many times a day I needed to dust/clean/organize the “stuff” around my house. I would put off play time with my son because once again, Mommy needed to clean. What kind of life is that??? My goal as a Mom is to enjoy every sweet moment I have while my kid(s) are little and around!! I quickly realized that this was one of the most important reasons I decided to just get rid of items we didn’t need anymore. I’m able to be more present and in the moment with him a lot more than I was before.

#4 Enjoy Life- I realized that I don’t need to fill my house with the latest and greatest. My goal is to fill my home with necessities, the occasional luxury and lots and lots of memories. No one is going to remember that thing they once bought, but we will remember the experience we had, the reaction on our kids faces when we take them to the park or on vacation, and the feeling we get when Mom & Dad get to go on a carefree date night! Those are the things I want to look back on and not what IPHONE is out and how many cute cases I can get and store in my house.

If you've been dreaming of a slow and intentional life, you can start living that life today! Pursuing the DE Clutter Challenge changes things both mentally and physically and change can be scary, so I'm here to help & you can follow my organization tips/DE cluttering each day on our IG stories.

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Her flat stomach, perfectly perky breasts, and tiny bikini had me staring from across the pool with envy. She had multiple kids and a swimsuit model body. I started to play my favorite self-deprecating voice over and over in my head as I watched her.

I don’t deserve to be in a swimsuit.

I’m lumpy, laden with stretch marks and saggy breasts.

My legs are hairy.

I haven’t lost the baby weight.

I forgot to shave my bikini line.

I don’t belong.

I don’t look good.

Over and over, I let these body shaming remarks absorb until I start to feel uneasy. I reach for my towel. I forget why I was at the pool or beach. I cover up and watch from the sidelines.

While I focused on my own inadequacies, the bikini lady focused on her kids—playing, splashing, soaking up moments that would never happen again the same way.

At the beginning of last summer, I realized I was wasting precious energy putting myself down and worrying about not losing the baby weight. So I wrote about my feelings about not losing the baby weight, and I pledged to have a great summer. I knew I would miss out if I let my negative comments consume me.

I decided I needed to change.

I didn’t go on a stringent diet or work out to the point of exhaustion until I fit into a bikini.

Instead, I put on my damn swimsuit.

All summer and at every opportunity, I wore my swimsuit.

I swam with my kids, went to the beach, scooted down water slides and, against my better judgment, went down a pool zip line—multiple times.

I’ve wasted too much energy in my life putting down my body and myself. The change I needed to make was to start to love my body—to really love it, see it, accept it. And that meant recognizing the power, strength, and gifts my body has provided. I haven’t lost the baby weight, maybe I never will, and that’s OK. I belong in a swimsuit, and if I don’t put on my swimsuit because I’m concerned my body isn’t good enough, I will without a doubt miss out on fun memories and experiences.

My kids will never say, “My mom was such a good mom; she fit into size 10 jeans.” Instead, they will talk about how I was confident, how I loved swimming, and how I loved both them and myself fiercely.

Starting the journey to loving myself and putting on a swimsuit didn’t happen overnight. It takes constant effort to counter self-deprecating thoughts. I’ve played those thoughts in my head over and over for almost 40 years, so it’s going to take some time to heal.

I needed to teach myself how to love and appreciate my mom bod. I needed to give myself grace. I had to come to the loving conclusion that I’m doing my best both with my body and motherhood.

I had to reevaluate what I valued about my body. I had to ask myself what I want my kids to value about their bodies. I had to treat my body with love, talk to it like I would talk to my children and friends. I found strength in running, being active with my kids, and finding value in clothes that fit and made me feel good, not in the size tags attached.

You have to constantly feed yourself supportive comments and thoughts about your body in order to combat the inevitable internal destructive comments that will surface. Don’t feed into the cycle of self-doubt.

Recently my husband and I went on a beach vacation. He was in the other room of the hotel, and I was looking at myself in the mirror in my swimsuit. I noticed as I moved that the sun would reflect the purple stretch marks that ran up and down my belly. I honestly, for a moment, asked myself why I was so confident with this body. I felt strong. I was happy. I really loved myself and felt good. The destructive comments still crept up, but I must not believe them.

A couple hours later, my husband and I were on our paddle boards and my husband cruised by my board and said, “Gosh, I love that swimsuit.” Yep, the same one that exposed my purple stretch marks. But more important, it was the one that made me feel confident, strong, and fun. And I reflected that energy.

I’m done missing out. I’m done staring at other women and trying to measure up, because I’m really great the way I am and my body is strong and has done really amazing things.

Life is short. Time with my kids and husband is precious, and I don’t want to miss out. I’m going to swim and proudly wear my swimsuit this summer.

So put on your damn swimsuit. Bikini, skirt, swim shirt—it doesn’t matter—just put on your damn swimsuit. Swim this summer, make memories, stop comparing, and start the process toward accepting and loving your body.

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When I was pregnant with my first child, I had many preconceived notions about “postpartum life.”

I had a vague idea about how life would change. But I intended to work the baby into MY life.

I knew I’d be tired, but there was no way I could even begin to comprehend what exactly I was in store for. I knew my body would probably be a little different. But if you work hard enough, I thought, your body didn’t have to change just because you were a mom.

Secretly, somewhat smugly, I judged moms that I saw juggling screaming, misbehaved children. MY kids would be well-behaved little adults...They wouldn’t eat junk food. They wouldn’t watch tv! I knew a bit about postpartum depression. I knew breastfeeding was hard for some. But these seemed like distant impossibilities. I was a happy, sound-minded person - I wouldn’t be sad! Especially not with a cute, fun little baby to play with! I was going to breastfeed.

No question about it!

Looking back now, almost two years later, pregnant with my second child, I realize how naive I was…how my world was about to be rocked in a way I never expected. The truth is this: having a baby is really and truly the most incredible, beautiful, wonderful, happiest thing in the world. I feel so blessed to have my son, to have been able to birth him, and to be able to raise him. But here is another truth: having a baby changes everything…

EVERYTHING.

In amazing, good, hard, scary, challenging ways.

Things you assume before having a child will be flipped, whirled, and turned upside down.

You will look back on what you thought postpartum life was going to be like and you will laugh. But then again, how could you have known? We all have the very best of intentions.

The truth about life after having a baby is that you won't sleep for longer than two or three hours at a time for weeks on end. Maybe even months. In fact, sometimes getting two consecutive hours of sleep will feel like the most precious gift.

You will experience a level of exhaustion that you didn’t know was possible.

Your body will change more than you think and in ways that you didn’t even consider. It’s not all a matter of how hard you work to “get your body back”…some things just never go back to the way they were before you grew and birthed a human being.

And that’s ok. It is SO SO very ok.

You may have stretch marks (I do!), and loose skin, at least in the beginning. You may never feel comfortable in a bikini again…that’s fine! You’ll still look six months pregnant for a week or so after giving birth until things go back where they should be. You’ll be sore after giving birth. Your boobs will leak. And speaking of boobs, breastfeeding IS hard. In fact, I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t producing enough milk for my son and after two months we had to switch entirely over to formula. I was devastated by this. But you know what? He’s fine!

You’ll feel sad at times…yes, even despite having a cute, fun little baby to play with. You’ll feel sad, lost, and scared even when you know you shouldn’t. Trust me; every mama does at some point.

And that doesn’t necessarily mean you have postpartum depression, but if you DO, that’s ok. It’s ok to need help. It’s ok to not feel ok, and it’s ok to talk to people about how you’re feeling.

You’ll be so absolutely consumed by and in love with your baby that it will feel like the air has been knocked from your lungs time and time again. It’s a love you’ve never felt before. You’ll worry about that child with an intensity and a ferocity that will stun you, and you’ll experience anxiety that will never fully go away. Your life will change to accommodate that child. And yes, you’ll find ways to fit the baby into your world…but more likely you’ll find yourself navigating this strange new terrain for the first time WITH your baby. You will create a new world together.

Postpartum life is hard. It’s so hard. But you know what else it is? It’s full of a love that is so overwhelming and beautiful that you will not be able to remember how you ever existed before it. It’s full of late nights, rocking your baby and forming a bond that can never be broken. It’s about going through a transformation…becoming a new person…a MOTHER. It’s going through an incredible, wonderful metamorphosis, and looking back a year later and thinking, THIS is who I was meant to be. It’s about learning so much about yourself and about what really matters in life.

It’s about feeling the utmost pride in your accomplishments, no matter how small; whether it’s cooking a meal, or doing a load of laundry, or sucking boogers out of your baby’s nose with one of those hose things. It’s bursting at the seams every time YOUR little human hits a new milestone…every laugh, every new tooth, the first steps, the first word… the joy you get from your little one’s accomplishments will outweigh any joy you have ever felt before. It’s discovering that the newborn days are hard and you will be in a fog and you will feel overwhelmed at times. But that the fog will clear before you know it and that, in fact, the time is fleeting. Your baby will grow more and more independent by the day, and soon you will be sleeping through the night again.

You can do this, Mama. You are not alone, and you are embarking on the absolute GREATEST journey…motherhood. Embrace it, cherish the littlest moments. Time is going to pick up speed and you won't want to miss a thing.

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Join me on my road to abs. ABS as in, A Better Stomach. If actual abs come out of the deal, fantastic! However, my focus will be on creating a healthier lifestyle overall and combating my diastasis recti if that’s even possible. Those that know me know that I’ve always been active but it’s time to get intentional. I have very specific body goals (which I’ll keep to myself to avoid the snubs). Petite doesn’t = perfect regardless of what society tells us. My @teyanataylor body and @ec_fitness.lifestyle meal prep goals are important now more than ever not just because I’ve had a baby but because I’m getting older, my metabolism has changed, I need to look good naked for the hubby and frankly I love @krispykreme and we don’t plan on breaking up any time soon. I’m seeking the best formula for Chanel to #eatbetter #lookbetter and ultimately #feelbetter. Special thanks to my @fit4mom_columbus_east village for the support in this journey. The encouragement to stay physically fit has been great but the community of moms has been even better!

Motherhood is being your best you...for you.

For more info on DR, Check out: http://blog.fit4mom.com/friday-fitness-with-farel-what-is-diastasis-recti

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During pregnancy, it's no secret a woman's body changes in SO many ways; some are glamorous, like super-model hair growth, glowing skin, and thick, strong fingernails, to name a few. And some changes, are less than glamorous, like heartburn, stretch marks, weight-changes, and fluctuating hormones creating up and down mood swings.

While we grow and carry sweet babe(s), experiencing all of those changes (and more), most women can't help but fear childbirth in one way or another, and what it will do to our bodies, specifically, our pelvic floor.

"Just like it is important to strengthen the major muscles in our bodies, your pelvic floor is a set of muscles that need the same attention," says FIT4MOM Director of Pre/Postnatal Fitness, Farel Hruska.

Many moms tend to think that this attention is best made after baby is born; however, it's actually best to start that strengthening mentality during pregnancy and then, for the rest of your life!

We know that if we don’t use our muscles, we lose them. The most common symptom of a weakened pelvic floor after childbirth is "leaking small amounts of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or running" (Better Health, 2018), but here is a full list of symptoms and also a few other causes of a weakened pelvic floor besides pregnancy via Better Health Channel:

Symptoms of a weak pelvic floor include

  • Leaking small amounts of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or running
  • Failing to reach the toilet in time
  • Uncontrollably breaking wind from either the anus or vagina when bending over or lifting
  • Reduced sensation in the vagina
  • Tampons that dislodge or fall out
  • A distinct bulge at the vaginal opening
  • A sensation of heaviness in the vagina

Causes of a weak pelvic floor

  • Supporting the weight of the uterus during pregnancy
  • Vaginal childbirth, which may overstretch the muscles
  • The pressure of obesity
  • Chronic constipation and associated straining to pass stool
  • Constant coughing
  • Some forms of surgery that require cutting the muscles (including prostate cancer treatment in males)
  • Lower levels of oestrogen after menopause.

So what’s the best way to train these muscles to work for you? "Kegels", says Farel.

Hruska explains kegels and more in this pelvic floor Q&A -

Q: What does a kegel feel like?

A: Imagine stopping the flow of urine. That’s it!

Q: How do I know if I am doing them correctly?

A: Just like in a bicep curl, where you bend at the elbow and then extend back to starting position, you tighten your pelvic floor and then release that contraction. Both the contraction and the relaxation are critical in the strengthening process.

Q: How often should I kegel?

A: Whenever you think about it. Maybe create a game, like kegel at a red light when you are hitting Target (again!). Or kegel during the commercials of the show you are currently binge-watching!

Q: Thinking ahead here...what else can I do to strengthen my core postpartum, since that's also important to me?

A: You can try these 5 moves

"A strong pelvic floor during pregnancy will be the key to a lifetime of pelvic floor health!"

- FIT4MOM Director of Pre/Postnatal Fitness, Farel Hruska.

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This post is guest written by Peggy Keefe-Lopez, owner of Yippitee, a new, Austin-based children's birthday shirt company.

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We’ve got parks from Georgetown to Circle C and mamas from even farther. That being said, we’ve got a whoooole lot of fun packed on that map! We’ve pulled some of our favorite pumpkin patches from all around the Austin area for your pickin’.

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