The lost art of todo lists

I often get told that I’m balancing a lot and I certainly am, but so are lots of other people.  And there’s nothing quite like having a baby to put everything into perspective, and force you to get organized.

Here are the major things I have going on, in no particular order of importance:

  • I am a mom
  • I am a wife
  • I am a dog owner
  • I run a CrossFit affiliate
  • I run a non-profit working on getting girls into working out
  • I am a sister
  • I am a daughter
  • I am a life/accountability/personal coach

I’m sure there are roles I play that I’m forgetting, but in the 3 seconds I thought about it, those are the ones that came to mind.

How do I keep it all straight?  Lots of times I don’t, but when I do it’s because I have a notebook, yes an old school notebook.  I sit down daily and hand write a todo list for that day of my bare minimum to get done.  If I finish those 3-5 tasks the day is a success and anything over that makes me a super hero. 

I have ONE notebook for it all with tabs for different sections.  From my master notebook I make my daily todo in a separate notebook that includes tasks, appointments and more importantly my NAP!

I tried every app under the sun with zero success, it wasnt until i dusted off the old notebook that life made sense again



the action or process through which something is changed so much that it appears to be entirely new.

As I take a look at my life and all that I have been thru in the last decade it is easy to see that I am completely reinventing myself, in what way?  Basically everything and nothing at the same time.

As i sit with a 10 week old that’s thriving, a 7 year old dog that’s slowing down, nearing in on the 2 year anniversary of the death of my daughter, quickly approaching my 2 year wedding anniversary and my first business being 8 1/2 years old ……. i am NOT the same person I was 10 years ago.

Part of what I have struggled with recently is that I am not the person I used to be and trying to feel like I’m holding onto what I was vs celebrating what I am.

Thanks to some local resources and an awesome support network I am realizing that I am coming out of my cocoon and becoming a beautiful FALWED butterfly.

  • I am almost 36 years old
  • I am over weight from growing a human being
  • I created life and am sustaining life
  • I am strong (even if not as strong as I was)
  • I will grow from all I have been through and I will help others grow too

I have officially ‘milked’ myself

Being just shy of 6 weeks postpartum I am quickly realizing how little I actually knew about being a mom and the human body…. well female body.

We said all along that our plan was to breast feed and we’ve been fortunate enough to have had a baby that had zero issues latching and with a little help from a pump in the beginning my milk came in and has stayed in.

Of course I will have to go back to work soon (going back at 8 weeks) and my husband will be left to care for our son.  that means that I have about 2 more weeks to build up a milk supply so he can bottle feed Luke breast milk while I’m away.

As if pumping isn’t strange enough…..I have also learned to self express aka….. milk myself.  Every drop you can get of breast milk is pure gold, so you want to get the most of out each session.  How do you do that?  At the end of each session you literally grab your own boob and work milk out.

Just when I thought I knew it all about motherhood I was quickly humbled by learning how to milk myself.


Pregnancy and body image

We see pregnant women all the time and we often think…. what a cute bump…. shes looks so cute pregnant…..

But what happens when its you? One thing you think you prepare for is the mind games that will happen with your changing body in the 9….really 10 months…. you’re pregnant.

I can say I thought I was ready, but man o man was I not.  I understand I’m not ‘fat’ I’m growing a baby.  it doesnt make me feel any less like a hippo on a daily basis lol. My big shirts are crop tops now – i’m out of breath getting out of bed – god forbid I have to pick something up off the floor.

The crazy part to me is that I still have over 3 months to go.  I am pretty sure I’m going to just start falling over because my belly just keeps coming straight out.  I am certainly thankful that I’m really all belly vs gaining weight everywhere out of control.

One of the more frustrating part that I have found is that extreme fatigue I feel and of course still getting sick.  I used to workout to feel better and of course build muscle and everyday I crash hard and skip a workout because I’m just not feeling good I feel even more like a blob.

End of day Luke is worth it, but man can the day to day play games with your head sometimes.


Pregnancy PTSD is Real

I had the best intentions to blog through my whole pregnancy, but I had not planned on being nearly as sick as I have been leaving little to no energy to sit down and write.

Now that I’m about 2 weeks into an anti-nausea med I am finding functioning as a normal human being much easier than before.

One of the biggest things I have found through the last 21 weeks is the sheer anxiety, stress and PTSD that come with a pregnancy after a loss.  Every day that passed all I wanted to do is get to 22 weeks,and every day I get closer my anxiety gets a little worse.

Every kick, non-kick, sickness, non-sickness, tired, energized feeling I have is terrifying.  It’s hard to not feel fear everyday that ‘what if today is the day? (as in something going wrong)”

We have gotten ultrasounds every two weeks, and we’re on a weekly progesterone shot and basically in a doctors office every week.  While I am beyond stressed, being constantly reassured that everything is going smoothly with no concerns is reassuring.

It is annoying that I can’t just be happy like most women that make it through 21 weeks, but I also am learning a lot about myself and managing extreme moments of stress.

My new goal is to get to 26 weeks where baby spinner will be able to go into a NICU should he decide to come early.


Pregnancy is terrifying

We are officially 17 weeks and 6 days into our third pregnancy with hopes this one will end with our son in our arms happy and healthy. 

What no on can prepare you for is the pregnancy after you’ve lost 2.  Everyday we get closer to the 22 week mark, the week we lost baby Hope, the more excited and terrified we become.

Excited because statistically the farther you get the less likely it is that it will end in tragedy.

Terrified because we quickly learned that there is no safe time in a pregnancy.

We are comforted with bi-weekly ultra sounds and weekly progestrone shots.  Knowing that we are in a doctors office every week makes us feel comforted in knowing that we are litterally doing everything we can to protect this child.

My real count down is to 26 weeks……. why?  Because then he should be able to survive even if in a NICU his odds go up.  Until then every day I make it is a good day and one that I am grateful for while I’ll be biting my nails the next day.


Caution….. baby in progress….

One of the first things that i thought upon finding out i was pregnant was ‘wheres the bubble wrap!’  Why?

Because after two losses in the last year I am so anxious and excited about making this work.  I know that 9 months of bed rest is unrealistic and incredibly unhealthy.  I also know that continuing to workout and lift the way I have been is also unrealistic.

Stress is directly linked to miscarriages and with the amount of stress I have on a day to day basis being a wife, step mom in a crazy arrangement, business owner, non-profit owner already…… working out is one more stressor that gets layered in. Our bodies don’t know the difference between good stress (working out) and bad stress (paying bills) so it reacts the same way.

So I have actively made the choice to back off in the gym because having a child in 9 months is more important than risking another miscarriage for a max deadlift today.  It is not the choice for everyone, but for me, and knowing my history, its the best choice for me.  Sacrifice today to benefit later.


Why we didn’t wait to tell

My husband and I found out a week ago that we were expecting……. and with that came a HUGE bag of emotions, the biggest one being excitement.

Over the last year my husband and I have lost two pregnancies, one at 22 weeks and one at 7 weeks.  With both we waited until it was socially safe to talk about it.  Both ended in the same way…….. without a baby. With both the only thing that got me through was with the support of our loved ones keeping our pieces together.  

It’s an insanely crazy situation that pregnant women and couples get put into.  Be super excited your expecting…..but be afraid somethings going to go wrong….. keep it secret so others don’t have to feel your pain or loss.

The craziest part…… 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage for a wide variety of reasons.  Can you imagine how many women that leaves carrying this burden of disappointment alone or with a small few?  All because society said ‘wait until its safe to talk’

I say FUCK THAT!  I want to talk openly about pregnancy and with that all the risks, excitements, joys, fears and anxieties that come with it.  And you know what could happen…… we could lose this pregnancy….. and I’ll talk about that too!


There is NOTHING to prove and NOTHING to protect

After sharing my ‘messy marriage’ blog I had a very eye opening conversation with someone that is very familiar with the situation I am in.  Both from being a lawyer that advocates for children, but also knows both biological parents from way back when.

They gave me a new perspective on my need to seek out validation for all that I do for my daughter (technically step-daughter but we’ll NEVER use that term).  It is often difficult being a step parent in that you do ALL the things that a parent would do and get none of the credit……. you often seek out validation….. you’re often left standing without it.

Their biggest piece of advice was really looking inward and being able to self validate that you ARE her mother because you Love her unconditionally and you do that by choice.  A mothers love isnt in the DNA…..it’s in the day to day…..it’s in the raising a strong, thoughtful, helpful, respectful woman that feels good in her own skin exactly as she is.

I can’t control what she learns in her other home/from the world around her about insecurity, lacking self confidence or worrying what other people think of her.  What I can do is try to love her and show her all the power and strength she posses within.  And that no matter what she wears, what her body looks like, how messy her hair is she Lena and if anyone has anything to say about that they can go pound salt!

By being brought back down to earth about looking inward I was quickly reminded that I was looking outward for that validation……. and the ONLY really validation we need in this world is contained within.  Now to remember that always, and teach my daughter to do the same!


Messy marriage moments…..

One of the hardest things I have had to learn to do is say the hard things out loud.  The things you know may hurt someone you love or complicate everything.  For those that don’t know I married a man with a 2 1/2 year old now 3 1/2 year old a year ago.  Blending families is a difficult thing when things are good between biological parents.  And to say ‘things are good’ between my daughters parents would be a gross over statement.  Layer in my husband and I losing our daughter at 22 weeks a year ago and stir it up and it gets real emotional and messy FAST!

We are approaching the one year of losing our daughter and it is bringing all sorts of emotions to the surface I hadn’t planned on surfacing like……

  • when do we get to raise our own children?
  • why are we struggling to get pregnant again?
  • will i have to forever just raise someone elses kid?
  • how do I control looking at his daughter and just wanting to cry because we should have our own daughter?
  • how do I mange my pain without it taking down every part of my life?
  • how can i shield my husband and her from my pain with out making them feel rejected?
  • how do I take care of ME without abandoning my family?

It was a talk my husband and I has yesterday and its just so messy.  I had a fear of saying any of those things out load because what does that say about me that Im struggling to have this child around me right now? Not because I don’t love her or him, but because where I’m at thinking about Hope its just painful to see a daughter and know we should have our own and don’t.

What must that make my husband feel to hear?

The beautiful part is that he is so understanding and patient and willing to go to counseling WITH me so that we can be better for ourselves and our marriage.  Neither of us have had to deal with the death of a child before so we don’t poses the skills to get through this on our own.

Marriage can sometimes get super messy and I have a lot of guilt and shame that I carry from losing Hope and now for the way it’s effecting me a year later.  But if there’s one thing I have learned it’s saying it out loud forces me to deal with it.  If I say it out load and you know then I cant hide it like a dirty little secret.

My marriage is messy right now…….but it wont always be this way because we’re too committed to cleaning it up.