Friday, August 30, 2013

Losing the Baby Weight

The beginning, me 6 days before labor!
As I sit here eating my last piece of chocolate birthday cake, I am also contemplating how to get rid of this last 30 lbs of baby weight.  I began my journey into motherhood at 135 lbs.  No, I wasn't a skinny waif, but at 5'7" I was fit and healthy, my ass was where it should be, and my boobs were as perky as when I was in my 20s.

Every woman gains weight during her pregnancy, well at least 99.99% of us do.  My weight gained started before I was actually pregnant, however.  Due to the fertility meds I was on, I gained 20 lbs before I actually found out I was pregnant.  This was due to excessive water weight gain mixed with a constant feeling of hunger, both of which are side effects of Clomid.  So, by the time I found out I was actually preggers, I was already weighing in at 155 lbs.  I have never been over 135.  Normally, with a lot of going to the gym I'll hover between 125-130.  135 is where I typically tend to stay if I'm not on a strict diet and exercise regimen, it is just my typical, healthy weight, and this is the weight I want to be again someday.

Throughout my pregnancy I ate pretty healthy.  Don't get me wrong, I wasn't a saint about it.  I did enjoy ice cream in bed late at night and I occasionally threw in some fast food for convenience.  The first trimester I was uber strict with what I ate, and then after that I ate healthy but let myself enjoy other foods as well. Regardless of my eating habits, I managed to pack on an additional 50 lbs by the time I went into labor. Besides actual baby weight, the majority of the weight was due to excess water.  I had a nasty case of edema that set in before I really even began show all that much.  As a matter of fact, it actually worsened after Piper was born and hung around till at least a month or so post pregnancy.

After giving birth, I dropped 40 lbs relatively easy.  Basically, that means I didn't do a damn thing but breastfeed and not eat like a total pig.  However, I have been stuck at 165 lbs for a couple of months now. No matter what I eat, the weight doesn't go up or down, it just stays the same.  It's been so steady I've considered that my scale might be broken, but alas that's just a lie I tell myself when it doesn't go down!  at first I didn't worry myself over that last 30 lbs, after all I did just have a baby.  Now, however, I'm honestly getting really sick of looking at the extra flab and am anxious for it to go away.  My end goal is to be back to 135 lbs, so how do I go about getting there?

I've decided that the best way to motivate myself to lose the weight is to put it out there on my blog!  If I tell all my readers of my intentions, then I am more likely to stick to them.  If I had not bothered writing about my 52 random acts of kindness, I might have decided to let it all slide by the time I got to week two. Basically, I'm going to make you all my weight-loss sponsors.  Just as alcoholics have someone they can call up when they are feeling weak and tempted to have a drink, I am going to post when I'm feeling unmotivated or wanting to binge on sweet treats.  Now mind you, I am not about to go all P90X on you all.  I am still breastfeeding so my diet and exercise routine cannot interfere with the needs of Piper.  What I have to be is sensible, without torturing myself.  I need to eat healthier, exercise a little more, and maybe cut out that extra glass of wine here and there.  Notice I said "extra" glass of wine.  I will NOT bet teetotaling it to save on calories!  I enjoy my wine and do not drink to excess, but I do occasionally like to have an extra glass on the weekends after Piper has gone to bed.  I figured I could do without that particular glass here and there, but not all the time, sometime you just need an extra glass of wine!  If I do indulge, I will throw in some extra exercise to make up for it, however.

To help myself get started, I've decided to make a list of my limitations as far as diet and exercise are concerned, and also label these items as either true obstacles or just flat out excuses.  It's sort of like making a pros and cons list of reasons to stay or not stay in a relationship.  If I write it all out it will help me focus on what I can and should do, and what I need to avoid...while also making it impossible for me to use something as an excuse later on.  Does that make sense?

Okay, here goes:

Limitations on diet:

1) I cannot reduce my intake of calories too low as I am still breastfeeding- this mean no fad diets of any sort regardless of how "healthy" they sound.
2) I must not use any dietary supplements such as those touted by Dr. Oz as miracle pills...they don't work anyway!
3) I cannot use special creams advertised as cellulite shrinkers or any other sort of hoodoo bullshit of the same nature.  These absorb into the milk supply and could possibly have adverse side effects.

Limitations on exercise:

1)  Due to loosened ligaments from the protein Relaxin that is released during pregnancy, there is greater risk of injury due to weakened joint stability.  For example, the ligament in my left ankle that keeps rolling and snapping and has already brought me down once (yeah, no more heels for now either), that ligament could very well cause a nasty fall and that isn't something I care to risk.  Relaxin continues to be produced until up to six weeks AFTER one quits breastfeeding.  As Piper is still very much on the boob, I have to particularly cautious regarding any weight training and/or other exercises that put strain on my joints, especially those in the ankles and hips. Additionally, as per my doc regarding my knee issues, I'm never supposed to jog or run on uneven or concreted surfaces such as roads.  Walking is fine. Jogging on a treadmill is also fine once my ligaments tighten back up and I have time once again to hit the gym.

2)  I am not allowed to run or jog for the time being.  As per my doc regarding my knee issues, I'm never supposed to jog or run on uneven or concreted surfaces such as roads.  Walking is fine. Jogging on a treadmill is also fine once my ligaments tighten back up and I have time once again to hit the gym.

3) I'm not sure if I have any other current limitations.  All other exercise issues are more excuses than anything else.  And on that note...

Excuses that must be avoided:

1)  It's too hot outside
2)  It's been a long day and I'm tired
3)  It's too cold outside
4)  There isn't enough space in the house to do _______.  (insert exercise)
5)  I have no exercise clothes to wear
6)  I have no exercise buddy
7)  Wine tastes better than sweat
8)  I'll make up tomorrow that which I slacked on today

I'm sure I'll come up with more later, so stay tuned!

Excuses that I may actually use as excuses:

1)  Piper is particularly fussy and I have no one at the moment to take her off my hands.  Remember, she is teething right now and she always comes first.  I will not put my ass size before her needs.  If I have to miss a workout to take care of her, so be it.  She comes first, period!  However, if I can incorporate her into a workout, then I will and must.

2) Mondays are non-workout days.  Mondays suck, we're short handed at the office, and I refuse to make matters worse by exercising when I get home.  However, if I skip a Sunday then I must suffer and exercise on Monday.  So in my best interest, I best not skip out on Sundays.

3)  I have family social events which prevent me from working out.  These do come up here and there, but not that often.  Usually it is the case of having my nieces over for a night.  However, if I can get them to join in the fun, then I should.

4)  No working out on major holidays.  Also, no watching my calorie intake on major holidays.  These include Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter (if a basket is involved), my birthday week (yes, I said week!), and Piper's birthday.  There may be other holidays requiring joyous festivities and a celebratory eating fest, I will makes excuses for them if and when they arise.

Well then, I think that about covers the bases for right now.  An additional note on my diet, however, is that I will not deprive myself of cravings.  My goal is to watch what I eat but mainly stick with portion control rather than deprivation.  I like pizza and ice cream and pasta and candy and all other yummy goodies.  I am allowed all of these things in moderation.  I am even allowed fast food when necessary as long as I choose healthier items such as salads or grilled chicken.  I am going to try my best to cook more rather than eat fast or frozen foods, but hey, I ain't perfect nor do I want to be.  I'm not going to lie about that.  I will make healthier decisions, however, and report all unhealthy choices I make as a sort of walk of shame.

As for the exercise portion of this weight loss goal, I am going to start slow and work my way up.  I have been out of a routine since I got pregnant, so I need to ease back into the more strenuous routines I used to put myself through.  Plus, I have some nagging pains I want to keep from getting worse. Many of these can be cured with exercise and weight loss, the key is to not make them worse in the process of making them better.  I'm pretty good at knowing when not to push it and when to give a bit extra, so it won't be any big deal to manage the pains while strengthening enough to eliminate the pains.

Alrighty, I think I have a pretty good plan in place and a pretty good outline of where I stand at this moment. My initial goal is to lose 10 lbs.  I would say my goal is to lose 30 lbs, which it ultimately is, but I want to set something very reasonable and realistic to begin with.  Once I lose 10, then I can focus and reorganize for the next 10.  If I stick to my guns, I'm thinking I can have this 10 lbs off in 3 months.  If I could vigorously diet and exercise right now I could have it off in less than 1, but that is not realistic based on everything I've just written.  Plus, I want to keep it off and I know it must come off slowly if it is to remain off.

Tonight my goal is to get the old measuring tape out and see where I stand inch-wise to go along with the poundage.  I will keep track of inches lost along with actual weight loss, for this is even more an indicator of gaining my body back.  I don't really like scales all that much, but the mirror never lies!  Inches will show more in the mirror than on the scale, especially since muscle weighs more than fat, and I plan on exchanging one for the other as well as toning it all up.  Tomorrow will be my first official start date with light exercise and healthy eating as part of my daily goal.  I guess that means I better get in that extra glass of wine tonight, then! ;)

One final note about this whole process:

I will not be posting before and after pics as I am not willing to subject myself to that sort of uncomfortable personal imagery.  I will post other pics, but never will you see a pic of my tummy, thighs, or butt during this process!  I will, however, post my measurements along the way.  I don't mind sharing where I stand inch-wise.  I can handle the written truth, but the visual I will keep for to myself.  Also, all posts relating to this process will be under the Losing the Baby Weight heading.  So if you miss one, you can always look there for updates!

Alrighty then, I'm off to finish up the work day!  Looking forward to getting all this started tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper Review

A view from above the co-sleeper
I've decided it's once again time for another product review.  I know you all have been waiting with baited breath for this moment, and I so do not want you all to suffer anymore.  But seriously, I figured it's about high time I brag about the co-sleeper Piper's been snoozing in since almost day one.  I honestly have to say, of all the baby products I registered for or purchased myself, this is by far the best baby related item I own.

Watching nursery rhymes on my laptop from the co-sleeper!
I know a lot of people do not believe in co-sleeping with their babies, and that's all fine and dandy.  We all have our own styles and parent in ways which work best for ourselves and fit best withing our own individual household situations.  As a single mom who doesn't have any relationship prospects on the table, co-sleeping with Piper is not an inconvenience when it comes to needed bedroom privacy and space.  For us, co-sleeping is a natural extension of our extremely close bond with one another.  I find it to be a very symbiotic nighttime existence in many ways.

Co-sleeping at 11 weeks
I love having Piper right by my side at night.  Since I breastfeed, co-sleeping allows me to simply pull her over to my bed whenever she needs to nurse.  Wait, I need to back up a step and explain what our version of co-sleeping means.

By co-sleeping, I mean she sleeps in a co-sleeper crib which is a small type of crib which attaches directly to my bed via long straps.  These straps are attached to the sleeper and run under my mattress and out the other side where they are held in place by a round disc, which keeps them in place and not sliding around or creeping back underneath the mattress.  Some people use the term co-sleep to mean they are actually sharing a bed.  While we do oftentimes nap together in bed, when it comes to nighttime sleeping, Piper is always in the co-sleeper crib.  I feel much safer with her in her own space for the time being.  I tend to be a wiggle worm in my sleep, a habit which Piper has inherited, so for both her safety and my ability to actually relax enough to sleep, I always make sure that if we're going down for a long slumber, she is separated enough from me that I won't crush her or she keep me awake by wiggling about in her sleep...which she does, a lot!  Now back to where I was...

She sleeps so soundly in the sleeper
The co-sleeper is very convenient for the nursing mom.  While I didn't need it that much for late night feedings, since Piper has been sleeping through the night since she was just three weeks old, I do enjoy not having to get up and out of bed for her first early morning feeding, usually at 7am.  I am not a morning person, so anything to make waking up early easier is a blessing!  Besides being nursing friendly, there is something so soothing about having Piper lying next to me all night.  I can hear her breathe, smell her baby smells, I am alerted with ease whenever she needs something, whether it be she is restless and needs a back rub to calm back down or wakes frightened and needs to be soothed.  With her being right beside me, there are never any false alarms with me jumping up and running to the nursery to check on every single movement and sound she makes.  I am not as high-strung and worried about all that could go wrong now that I've been doing this mothering thing for awhile, but when she was just a newborn I was admittedly like all other first-time moms in regards to worrying.  The co-sleeper helped ease those worries, which in turn provided us both with much needed extra sleep every night as we adjusted to our new lives together.

A month old and snoring away!

The best thing about the co-sleeper, by far and above all else mentioned, it allows me to fall asleep holding my little girl's hand every night, or sometimes I like to simply lay my hand across her back.  I like that human contact between us, it's nourishing and bonds us closer than I ever expected.  I have a feeling, if studied, one would find that this connection causes us to develop the same breathing patterns and heart rates.  In a way, it's like we mesh into one being while sleeping.  I know to some this may seem like a bizarre statement, but to me it seems so perfectly natural to have that connection with my child.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  I imagine when she gets older that we will maintain that connection, and she may end up snoozing with me in my actual bed sometimes.  I do not plan to have her always sleeping in my room, she has a fabulous nursery and a very expensive special order crib that she will be using when she gets older.  She uses it now for naps and such.  But I also do not plan to one day just up and kick her out of my bedroom once she outgrows the sleeper.  Some parents are probably, at this point, rolling their eyes and thinking I have created a permanent bed leech.  I think not, however, as Piper has no problem sleeping away from me when she has to.  If anything, I think I may have the harder time letting her sleep in her own room rather than the other way around.  I think I have the attachment issues, lol.

It's nice to roll over and see this face!
Okay, enough about why I love the co-sleeper from the usefulness factor.  Now let's move onto the technical aspects of the particular sleeper I am using.

I chose the Arm's Reach Clearvue Co-Sleeper in Cocoa and Fern for it's aesthetic value.  While there are other co-sleepers out there which have some more useful features, such as larger storage areas or that turn into a mini play yard, I liked the color scheme on this particular model.

Here is the basic view of the co-sleeper

I also chose this model because I really like the fact it has viewable sides and a nice set of wheels.  The sides fold down so that when next to your bed there isn't a wall up blocking you from immediately getting to your wee one, or you can leave them up and use the sleeper as a free-standing bassinet.  This was another important feature to me.  And in regards to those wheels and the free-standing mode, at one point I thought I might use it outdoors on our deck, so Piper could nap while we hung out, but since she doesn't hardly ever nap, I've never really used it in this manner...although I could have.  The wheels make it very portable, so it would have been easy to maneuver into other areas, such as the outdoor deck.

Close-up of the folding side.
This model also comes with some very convenient storage features.  It has mesh pockets on either side up top, and underneath there is large storage bin.  I used the upper pockets to hold diapers and wipes for nighttime diaper changes.  I never used the underneath storage area as it was not all the easy to get to while lying in bed.  Had I needed the extra room for blankets and such, it would have been a great feature.  I just really had no need for it, which is good because my jealous cat ended up peeing in it a few months after Piper's arrival and I ended up throwing it away.  Yes, you can use the crib minus the under storage area, which is nice if you happen to have ornery cats or damage it in some way.

A view of the under storage.
Another plus regarding this sleeper is that it comes with a mattress and sheet.  I looked at several models and some you have to purchase the mattress and/or sheets separately.  The sheet is awesome in that it velcros to the underside of the mattress, which is a huge plus when you have a wiggle babe like I do.  If you need, you can purchase additional sheets and/or mattress.  I have only the one sheet and have never needed to purchase an additional one.  Probably helps that I have an uber soft terry cloth sheet saver in mine that I can remove and wash easily.  I use the savers in both Piper's regular crib and in the sleeper, I also recommend them as they are so comfy for Piper to rest her little head, much softer than the plain sheet.

Okay, now for the measurements and stuff:

The co-sleeper measures 34" x 20" x 31".  It's relatively small and doesn't take up a pile of space in my room.  I have a standard height bed with a pillow top mattress, and the height is perfect where my bed and the co-sleeper meet.  The legs on the sleeper have extensions, so you can adjust the height if you happen to have a taller bed.  The legs adjust from 24" to 30" at 2" increments. They say the sleeper should only be used for an infant up to five months old or when they start to push up on their hands and knees.  Piper has been pushing up for quite some time now, and she is now only 4 1/2 months old.  I have yet to have any issues with her safety of going over the edge or anything, as the sides are still high enough to keep her in.  I'm hoping to get to use this sleeper for at least another month.  It's going to kill me to have to move her to her nursery at night, I don't think I'm ready for such a change as of yet.  And I'm not ready for her to sleep in my bed, either.  I'm so going to have to come up with a plan soon!

See how well it fits with my bed!
Well, that about covers everything that I think is important about this co-sleeper.  I absolutely love it and am so glad I chose this sleeping arrangement with Piper.  I know for non-single parents this might not be the best idea, but if you are going to have your little one sleeping in your room for any length of time, definitely look into getting a co-sleeper regardless of which model you choose.  Fair warning, though, once you get used to having your wee one at your side, you may never want to be separated again!

Who could resist waking up to this every morning?

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Would You Like Cheese With That Whine? And Other Reflections On Turning 39.

I'm ridiculously happy!
Yesterday I turned 39, so I decided I should reflect on this past year and share with all of you what knowledge I have gained about life.  Yeah, this should get interesting!

First off, although I just turned 39, I still feel like I'm 27.  Well, except for the bad knees, tweaked left ankle, bursitis ridden left shoulder, painful hip sockets, and of course the gimpy, arthritic right hand that will never be the same since the injury of '08 that was due to the meningoencephalitis that tried to kill me at the beginning of '09.  Besides all that, I feel great! Seriously, that was all supposed to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, although not a bit of it is a lie.  I do find getting older humourous most of the time, which I think is necessary to live a long and happy life.  If you can't laugh at it all, you're going to end up old before your time and in a serious state of mental least that is my opinion on it.

And this is why!
So, on that note, what have I learned about life this past year?  

I've learned why it is young people are supposed to be the ones whipping out children.  I am thoroughly convinced childbirth is really not meant for people older than 30.  I think because of my age and subsequent wisdom, that I am turning out to be a much better mother than I would have any earlier in life, but the bearing of children totally kicks the body's ass!  I had many old dance injuries left over from my ballet career that get a wee bit worse every year.  Throw an extra unexpected 70 lbs of baby weight on top of those, push an 8 lb watermelon out the old hoo-ha, and then struggle to lose that last 30 lbs of extra weight while having to tote around not only a growing human but all the equipment necessary not to kill it, or if your glass if half full, keep it alive, well then you've got a party going on in all the achy spots and you're the guest of honor!

Oatmeal face!
Besides all the enhanced aches and pains, the 38 year old (now 39 year old) body doesn't bounce back from childbearing like a 22 year old body does.  I'll be the first to admit that my tummy has not gained back it's lovely flatness, my ass is no longer as high and tight as it was before (hence the cheese portion of the title), and it was a great ass, and my arms are beginning to get that floppy thing underneath when I wave too vigorously at people.  I know that most of this can be fixed with several rounds at the gym every week. However, where the hell does anyone find the time for that with a four-month-old baby who needs constant attention and has a serious boob addiction?  I know of no gym that would allow me to strap her on while running the treadmill, or else I might try it.  And outdoor activities for exercise?  Did I mention that I live in the deep South and have an extra 30 lbs still on my ass? Do you think that is conducive to running in 100 degree heat with a relative humidity no less than 60% most days?  Oh hell no!  Not unless I'm being chased by zombies!  Then I still might decide to say fuck it and actually become a zombie instead!  

We'll be happy zombies together!
I will say that I think 10 lbs of that extra weight is all boob, yay!  That is definitely a plus right now.  At this point, my boobs are still rockin' and are quite the full set of twins.  I've got no complaints in that department, although I hear that will only last as long as I'm still being milked like an old cow.  I hope Piper is not embarrassed that I'm still trying to breastfeed her when she's 18, for I really want to keep these girls perky. No seriously, I jest!  Or do I?  

You'll be doing what?
Even with all the body changes and new and improved aches and pains, none of those things matters now that Piper is here.  I'm very okay with all my physical changes, for every single one of them was completely worth it.  Plus, I am no longer at the stage in life where I'm hitting the bars every night trying to find Mr. Right.  I'm not really concerned about finding a man to share my life with right now, therefore not as hung up on my ass size for the time being.  Right now I have absolutely everything I want and need, and that is a pretty amazing feeling.  I might not have my skinny thighs and rock hard buttocks, but I do have an amazing daughter.  I should announce here that even though my body is not the same as it was, my hoo-ha did go back to normal, yay!!!  God knows if it stayed looking like it did at 8 months pregnant I might be a basket case at this point.  I can forgive all other changes as long as that one wasn't permanent, which it wasn't!

Your hoo-ha looked like what?
Now to backtrack to my earlier statement about being a better mother now than I would have in my 20s. This statement is in no way meant to insult younger mothers, it is simply a reflection on my own youth.  I was a bit of a party girl in my young 20s, and it would have been a disaster had I had children at that point.  Being younger and single usually comes with the desire to be more social, too.  I loved going out all the time even just a couple of years ago.  It wasn't until after 35 that I really began becoming a homebody.  Don't get me wrong, I still loved to party and get my drink on, but I much preferred people coming over to my house rather than battling the bar crowds.  That might also have been because all those damn 20-somethings at the bar became annoying as shit!  I mean seriously, grow up already!  At some point we all get to the "kids these days" point and younger people become obnoxious twits and nothing like we were at that age, of course.

Those dumb twits!
The younger people who like the bar scene and going out a lot most likely would not, in a lot of cases, be as attentive parents or have as much patience as us older folks.  While a 20-something mom may still want a social life outside her family life, an almost 40-year-old is more likely to revolve her world around her long awaited children.  Once again, I'm not speaking of all people, everyone is different, I'm basically speaking to the kind of person whom I was and am now.  My world is Piper right now because I waited so long to have her.  I do not feel like I'm losing who I am or my life is being stripped away by the responsibility of parenthood.  Instead, I love spending every waking moment with her and am happy to do nothing more than be at her beck and call.  I know I still have the new mother glow, much like the new relationship glow when everything is sunshine and rainbows before the imperfections set in.  I'm hoping to keep this everything-is-perfect stage going forever, although I know that's a total Utopian outlook on parenting.  I'll cherish the glow for now, however, and try and remember it when times get tough and my patience as a parent gets tested.

How could anyone be impatient with this face?
With all that has happened over this last year, from going through pregnancy to giving birth to the most awesome little girl in the world, all of it has taught me the true meaning of what it means to love someone unconditionally.  I've always loved my immediate family that way, but nothing holds a candle to the love a mother feels for her child.  It all makes sense now, all the times my mom cried when I got hurt, or when I said hateful things to her, or when I got my heart broken.  Now I understand why she had such strong reactions to those things.  It's all because of that bond that occurs between mother and child, that starts in the womb and only grows stronger once that little one is in your arms.  Wow, there is nothing quite like it.  I mentioned before how I felt sorry for men since they could not experience what it was like to be pregnant and grow life inside them.  I feel even more for them now knowing they can never experience the kind of love that happens between a mother and her child.  They probably don't think twice about it because they have no idea what they are missing, just as I have no idea how it feels to be a dad and what that relationship is like, but man are they missing out!  It is a love that is quite overwhelming and indescribable.  I would give up an entire lifetime for just a fleeting feeling like this one if I had no other choice.  It would be totally worth it, it is that amazing.

Totally amazing!
With that said, I will forever look upon relationships differently.  No more will there be a me that settles for anything less than love, which should make my romantic life completely different than before.  No more will I be nonchalant about who I go out with, no more will I make excuses for whom I date.  If I don't feel even a smidgen of what I feel towards Piper, then no longer will I drag the inevitable crash and burn relationship along until it meets it's fiery death months or years down the road.  In those oh so infamous words, ain't nobody got time for that!

I'll no longer fall without a purpose!

To wrap it all up, this last year has taught me about love and what it truly means to be in love, how to accept who I am both inside and out, and how to be ultimately happy with the life I have without feeling the need to seek out one that is meant for someone else.  I've found where it is that I belong, what my purpose is on this planet, and where my strengths and weaknesses lay.  I also discovered I can handle more than I thought I could, and that I don't need to be a better me to deserve love.  I've earned my place in this life, and I've earned the right to be happy with who I am and who I'm going to be.  I've also learned that I'm an excellent mother and Piper has made me a better, more forgiving, more joyous, more accepting, more honest, and more loving person that I ever knew I could be.  I've also learned that I am more of a sap than I thought possible, hahahahaha!  Geez, I'm just too dang happy these days!  I fart sunshine and butterflies and unicorns and candy sprinkles, and it annoys people!  But mostly this past year I have learned that life totally rocks and nothing gets better than the life I have right in front of me.  I'm a damned lucky woman, that is for sure.

Love makes me even goofier than before!
And eating avocados is more fun than it should be!

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Life totally rocks!

Friday, August 23, 2013

52 Acts of Random Kindness, Week 4

What he said!
For this weeks random act of kindness, I chose to send a gift to a stranger from their baby registry at Babies R' Us.  Luckily you can search registries at their site by last name, for that is how I picked the recipient.  But how did I ultimately choose who to send the gift to?  Well that is the fun part.

For any of you that follow me on Facebook, you are probably aware that last night I asked for you to throw out a random last name via a comment.  I had earlier in the week tried picking one myself, but I felt that wasn't random enough for some reason.  I went with the first last name thrown out there which was Nielsen, which was provided by Kristen Tucker.  Once I had the last name, I went over to the Babies 'R' Us baby registry page and searched using that last name.  Altogether, there were 0 registries with Nielsen, however there were 51 registries with Nielson that popped up.  I always like the universe to play some role in the random acts, so I went with the alternate spelling for I took it as a sign.

My first task was to scroll through the list of names to see who was a good candidate, mind you not all registries are current so it was imperative to find a woman whose baby due date had yet to arrive.  Another criteria I was looking to cover was that the recipient be another single mom, or at least had no spouse listed as a co-registrant.  I know not having a spouse listed doesn't necessarily mean the future mom from the registry would be single like me, but it was the best indicator I could use.  Well low and behold, I found not only a soon-to-be mom that seemed to be single, but also had her own name listed as the co-registrant, which I considered even more of a sign of possible singlehood.  Now don't get me wrong here, I don't want anyone to think I was discriminating against couples, lol.  I chose to go the single mom route solely on the fact that I was also a single mom, and single moms often have less of a support network than having someone there who is your partner in crime.  Anyway, I'm sure you all get what I'm trying to say, so I won't try to hash out all my reasonings.

Once I had the possibly single mom whose due date had not yet arrived picked out, another sign flew at me fromt the universe...this mom was having a little boy whose due date was on my birthday, which is this coming Tuesday on the 27th of August!  How coincidental is that?  And I love the idea that my gift would possibly arrive around the same time as her little boy, how cool!

The next part in my little fun adventure was picking out the gift.  The woman I chose didn't have a ton of items on her registry, but my goal was to not go overboard, just a simple gift, and one that I could purchase using the gift card I received from buying diapers at Babies 'R' Us this past week.  That narrowed my max spending limit to $10 before shipping and tax.  I know there's not a whole lot of baby things one can get for $10, but she had registered for a boys cap and sock set which was $9.99. Since none had been purchased yet, the item was the perfect pick!

I thought these were too cute!
As you can see, the items is adorable and a simple little gift that fit my budgetary needs.  Yes, I'm trying to keep my acts of kindness on a reasonable budget.  Last week was a bit on the pricier side, but I knew it would be.  However, once my wheels were spinning, I couldn't make them stop!  So this week I knew I had to stick to my guns, for kindness shouldn't cost a fortune, if anything at all.  So far all my acts have contained a slight monetary side, but that's not the intention.  I just have yet to come up with creative free ways of performing these acts.  I thought about baking cookies for people, but we're no longer in the 1950s and unfortunately people get suspicious of homemade edible goods.  I'm working on coming up with freebies-to-me ideas, I have 48 weeks left to do so, so surely my brain will come up with something in that time.  I do have some ideas along those lines, but with balancing work and a new baby, time constraints also come into play.  Right now I've been taking the easy route, but I'll make myself step up my game before it's all said and done.  Man, I'm getting off track, lol, back to the point!

With my gift I also added the free gift note.  I was limited to a small number of characters, so I simply let A. Nielson know that I was doing these random acts, that she had been chosen this week, and gave her my blog address in case she wanted to know more about how and why she was chosen.  I hope she doesn't think it is all creepy and freak out.  I really would hate anyone taking such a nice thing and being wary about it.  The fact I worry about this is pretty sad.  People don't trust people the way they used to, and it's a shame.  If she does jump on here and read this, I'd like to say the following to her:

Although I cannot use your first name because I respect your privacy, congratulations A. Nielson on your new little boy!  I'm not a creepy baby registry stalker, just a woman who is trying to pay forward a random kindness that was done for me.  I also hope my new daughter, when she is old enough to read her life story through this blog mostly dedicated to her, will see these posts and it will somehow encourage her to be a better person, to decide to always be nice to people (even strangers), and to do her part to make the world a better place, even if it is something small that is on the individual level rather than on a global scale.  If everyone would work on making the world a better place on the individual level, then the world would be a better place.  Yes, a Utopian idea but still a nice thought that doesn't hurt to be thunk (I just love that wrong word so much!).  And Ms. Nielson, I do not expect you or anyone else to turn around and pay this act forward.  I'm not expecting a thanks, a mention, praise, recognition, or anything of that nature.  What I hope is that it made your day a little brighter and put a smile on your face.  Smiles are contagious, so if anything pass that along.  I hope your little boy is the light of your life as my little girl is the light of mine.  Enjoy him and your time together, and tell him you love him every day.  Sincerely, Ashley.

Yes, I'm the sappy kind!
So there you all have it, random act week 4 accomplished!  Now on to contemplate what I'm going to do next.  It really does come as a surprise to me every week, too.  By the way, if anyone has any suggestions for ideas, or has performed acts of kindness of their own, I would love to hear about them.  Feel free to leave them in a comment or come visit my Facebook page and tell me all about them there.  Or drop me an email at  It really has been an enjoyable process so far. Although I will admit I go through a bit of a panic stage every week thinking I won't come up with anything new to do.  I know, only week 4 and I'm already overthinking it!  Got to love that personality trait of mine!  On that note, I'm going to quit over thinking how to wrap this entry up and just move ahead with my usual ending about Top Baby Blogs and my social sites info.  I'm holding steady at #29 on Top Baby Blogs thanks to all your votes!  Don't forget you can vote every 24 hours, so if you have voted before, go vote again!  I'm so excited for the day when I will break into the top 25.  I know it will happen, and I'm proud that I've made it as far up as I have on the list.  Help me to continue to move up by clicking the button below!  Then come join me on my other sites, especially my Facebook where all the daily action occurs!

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Here is a random picture of Piper, because she is my inspiration!

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