Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest Post: Balancing Fitness and Motherhood

Please enjoy a great guest post from Meghan! She is a fantastic blogger in Chicago, a new mom and teacher! Check out her blog, her adorable little girl, and follow her journey toward running her first marathon in Chicago!!!

Hi everyone!  I'm Meghan from The Perfect Compilation Tape.  While Kristin is off snuggling her adorable little man, she asked if I would share some thoughts with you about my new role as a "running mama".  I thought it was a fantastic idea, and I am happy to share my experiences as a new mom and runner.

A little backstory:  I don't remember when/how I started reading "Mrs. Miller's Miles", but I remember thinking how much Kristin and I had in common.  We are both teachers, we both run, and she happens to live in a city I am obsessed with!  And luckily, because I visit NYC so often, we were able to meet up a few summers back!


Anywho, I am currently a new mama to my adorable 7 month old, Layla.  And as a working mama who loves to run, it has definitely taken me a few months to find my footing (pun intended) when it comes to balancing running and motherhood.  A few things I've learned?

It was my slowest half ever - but I did it! And, I had the best support team in Mike & Layla:) 
(Layla and I, post half-marathon.  I ran my first half when Layla was 6 months old.)

 * Make it convenient.  Since I work full-time, and I knew that I wanted to train for a half-marathon (after getting the "all clear" from my doctor), I figured my workouts would have to be convenient - at home, while the baby was napping.  I did most of my running outside, in my neighborhood - this way, I was close to home.  However, when I found out that a co-worker was looking to get rid of a gently used treadmill for a very reasonable price, I jumped at the chance!  Now, it's SO nice to be able to just head down the basement to squeeze in my runs.

* Be flexible.  Babies are the most unpredictable little creatures in the world.  Early on, when we were still trying to figure out Layla's sleep patterns, I tried to fit in my running when I could.  If I woke up in the morning and she was still sleeping, I ran.  If I returned from work and she was still napping, I ran.  I basically fit my workouts in around her schedule.  I didn't want to miss out on opportunities to spend time with her while she is awake.

* Bring baby along!  On the weekends, I love to take Layla out in the BOB (I have the Revolution model) for runs - and now that she's older, she loves it too!  Personally, I cannot stand more than 4 miles pushing a stroller, so figure out what works best for you.

* Get plenty of support:)  As a new mom who also breast feeds, I had to make sure I had proper support, which was never a problem before.  So, invest in some nice sports bras.  I have recently become a fan of Moving Comfort myself.

* Share your training schedule with your spouse.  Mike and I decided that Sundays were the best days for my long runs - he doesn't have to work, and while I am out for my run, he takes Layla out to breakfast.   It's what works for us, and I am lucky he is so supportive of helping me reach my goals.

Anyway, I hope some of those tips help!  Regardless of how often I get to run, how fast, how long - I am just really proud of the fact that I am doing this for not only myself, but my daughter as well.  Thanks for reading!

Thank you, Meghan, for these amazing tips!!! I'm so glad we found each others blogs!!!

How about you? Do you have any tips for first time moms? What is your comeback go to motivation? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Maternity Photos

Better late than never, right?! A college friend and AMAZING photographer was visiting NYC the week Henry was born, and offered to take some maternity photos in Central Park. We took the photos on Tuesday, and Henry was born on Friday! although it was the HOTTEST and most humid day of the week, Nick captured us beautifully. If you are looking for a photographer in the Rochester/Buffalo area, Nick Dantonio is INCREDIBLE. He also travels to NYC, so I'll update if he will be in the area in the future!

Thank you, Nick, for these beautiful photos. We loved every single one of them!

How about you? Did you take maternity photos? Any secrets for hot weather photos? How is running in the humidity lately? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I get by with a little help from my friends!

Hello readers! Thank you all for your kind words and well wishes on Henry's birth story. Of course it was an emotional experience writing it, but I'm glad I did. We've begun our first week home alone, as Mr. Miller has returned to work. Can I tell you how wonderful our friends are?! We have literally not cooked. Mr. Miller made me breakfast everyday (Because he's amazing and wanted to give me all the yummy food), but other than that, our friends have provided us with meal upon meal upon meal! I can't begin to say how grateful I am for their love and support. Henry is truly blessed to have them in his life! And now, obligatory photos of the cutest baby in the world:

 I've got my eye on you! His blue eyes are slowly lightening.

 We are big USA soccer fans over here. He watched it with daddy while mommy conked out on the couch. Whoops!

He is a lanky long skinny mini! I think my prayers will be answered that he will get Mr. Miller's height (I'm 5'2" he's 6'2"!)

I will also be having some fantastic guest posts. Since this is *technically* a blog about running, I figured some valuable content should still be present! There will be some great guest posts coming up so stay tuned!

Here are some of my favorite products! Although they are not "friends" as the post title implies, I can't speak enough about these products! As many of you know, I became a Rodan and Fields Independent Consultant back in April. This company is PHENOMENAL and their products WORK. If you are interested in loving the skin you're in, getting something special for a new mom, or joining a company that empowers women (and men!), please let me know! To learn more about the products, follow this link .

 These products have helped me feel human again, "pampered" even! It may be small, but taking care of myself with these items make me feel human.

How about you? Have you been on the receiving end of some help lately? What's your go to pampering item? Have you tried an exfoliating product lately? Tell me about it!!! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Henry's Birth Story

Spoiler alert: I had the baby! Henry Joseph Miller joined our family on Friday, June 6, 2014 at 11:19PM weighing 6lbs 5oz and measuring 20 inches long.

The journey to his birth was slightly unexpected. Henry was due June 16, and while it's not unusual for a baby to be born ten days early, it became a necessity for our little guy to arrive early. Here is the story.

Thursday night: I started experiencing signs of early labor. This caused a minor panic attack in me, but excitement that things were moving along. However, these signs could mean labor could still be days away. We went about our business, had a delicious cheeseburger dinner, and I went through bouts of crying and examining every little change or feeling I had. I started feeling very uncomfortable, and the fear of labor was slowly creeping back. I ended up feeling sick all night with stomach issues, barely sleeping.

Friday morning: I told Mr. Miller things didn't feel right. Part of me thought it was because of my disruptive night of sleep, and part of me thought it was because my body was getting ready a bit quicker than I thought. I ended up napping for two hours that morning and counting down the minutes to my (scheduled) 3:30 doctor's appointment. I thought surely he will tell me I've made significant progress etc. As the day wore on, I felt worse. I could only lay on my side, I was having inconsistent Braxton Hicks contractions, but I felt OFF.

Friday afternoon: We went to the doctor appointment together. Mr. Miller was nervous based on my descriptions of how I was feeling, so he ran around work tying up loose ends and met me at the appointment. My doctor immediately noticed I didn't look like myself. I told him my symptoms, he checked me out, and my progress wasn't advanced like I had hoped. The reason I was upset was because I was uncomfortable; he hadn't dropped, so the top of my stomach was extremely tight, but I was getting extreme pressure like he had dropped. My doctor silently made some notes. Then I said the magic words that no doctor wants to hear "I don't think I have felt the baby move today." I didn't even realize it was true until I said it out loud. He had run out of space, so he only moved when I was sitting upright, and since it was so uncomfortable to do that I hadn't felt him as I laid on my side. That was the last straw. My doctor recommended we go to the hospital for monitoring and fluids since I had not been well the night before.

Friday evening: going to the hospital in rush hour. Our hospital is 35 minutes away without traffic, and my fear all along had been going on a Friday in rush hour. Well, my fear came true! Thankfully it was only an hour of being super uncomfortable in the car. Since I was going to get fluids and be monitored, I ate a sandwich on the way and a donut because, well, it was national donut day! When we got there we got hooked up in their labor and delivery ward for monitoring. This is where things went south. At first they had a hard time hooking me up to the monitor to hear his heartbeat. Finally all was well and I lay uncomfortably as the machines recorded all the stats. About ten minutes in I shifted my weight because of my discomfort, and Henry's heart decelled (baby's heart rate slowed and signaled machines). I attributed it to my movement and the machine not being in the right place. When the nurse came in to find the heart rate again, it took a minute, but all was well again. At this point they told me it was most likely that I would stay overnight for monitoring. After another twenty minutes I really needed to use the bathroom. They helped me go quickly and return to be hooked back up. This is when things got real. They couldn't find the heart beat, and started twisting me around, throwing oxygen on me, and seriously ignoring me in order to simply find a heart beat. After the longest three minutes of my life, they found it. The nurse practitioner came in to tell me that my doctor was on his way, and I was most likely going to be induced after a bit more monitoring. Cue panic. I knew what that meant and it wasn't going to be fun. After more tears, and another hour, I begged to use the bathroom one last time. I went quickly (They hadn't taken my water rights yet!) and again the heart rate issue ensued, and it took a team of people to get me positioned just right. At this point I knew what was coming. Everyone left, I cried and held on to my husband's hand. He is truly a saint and the strongest person I know. A few minutes later the NP came in again and I started sobbing because I knew what she was going to tell me: I needed a C-Section. Henry was not safe and needed to come out ASAP. My doctor would arrive shortly and we would have him soon. I have never been so scared in my life. My birth plan was simple: I wanted to birth a healthy baby no matter the method. After the initial shock wore off I calmed down and focused on my birth plan, my amazing husband, said prayers together for me and for the baby.

If you ever wondered who the most amazing person in the world is, it's this guy.

Having our baby: the best moments in life are unplanned. My doctor arrived and things started moving. He was so caring, but was serious about the need to get Henry out. We went through the steps, I separated from Mr. Miller (The worst part), and began the process of pre-op. It was a scary moment, and I can't thank the nurses enough for being the special kind of people who will hold your hand, and encourage you when your support system is waiting outside (And the largest needle in life is going into your back). Once the surgery was underway, I got the shakes that never ended. I was freezing and praying and focused on the fact that my little son would be with us soon. The procedure was uncomfortable, and because I am always queasy about medical stuff, it made my coping worse. Finally he came out to meet us. I can't explain how surreal it was to know he was coming out, to hear his cry, and to hear my doctor say he was healthy and beautiful. Mr. Miller waited to meet him with me, and it is a moment that will stay with me as long as I live.

 My worlds collide.

My very first kiss with my little lion man.

In the end, my doctor was absolutely accurate in sending me to the hospital. The cord was wrapped around Henry's neck twice, preventing him from dropping. He had meconium because of his distress, and his head wasn't positioned correctly due to the cord, creating immense discomfort in me. I went into this "birthing process" proudly stating that I would do whatever it took to have my baby safely, and though it was hard to rapidly have conditions change, I would not change a thing. I'm grateful for my doctor who was ready to listen to me, a first time mom, and believe me when I said things didn't feel right. I'm thankful for my husband who is my rock. I'm thankful for my family and friends who rallied around us, prayed for us and cheered with us in the wee hours of the morning (You'd be surprised who responds to 2am texts!!!).

Welcome to the world Henry. We've been waiting for you.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The plan: Introducing our dog to the baby

I am already a puppy mom. As I quickly approach being a human mom (T minus 11 days until due date, but who is counting?!), there has been a lot of thought about how our pup will adapt to the baby. Although Lambeau looks sweet and innocent, he has his quirks. Here are some of them:

- Lambeau loves to play. We could go for a long walk or a 3 mile hike, and when we get home he will go get his toy and (loudly) bark at us to throw it. He usually passes out shortly thereafter, but he is like the cranky kid who doesn't want to take the nap despite being over tired and stimulated. We've been working on our commands like "get your toy" and "come" and "no bark" when playing. The last thing I want is for him to bark, since it's pretty loud, and scare the baby. It's been a work in progress.

Lambeau on said 3 mile hike. Four weeks pregnant here. Memories....

- Lambeau loves to snuggle and be CLOSE. He is always sitting on or by our legs, or behind us on the couch. This could get awkward when feeding etc.

I would pay serious money to know what he's thinking here...

Lambeau loves treats. He will do every trick he knows to get one treat. This quirk will be used to our advantage.

We give him Nutro treats: all natural, low calorie and they don't smell like nasty meat!

The introduction plan. I read several articles, and these two were the most helpful: The ASPCA and Cesar Milan's guides to introducing the dog to the baby. Between the two articles, these steps seem right for us:

- Send Mr. Miller in with the baby's blanket before we come home. He will probably do this a day before we come home.

- Make sure Lambeau is walked before meeting the baby. By being walked and settling in back home, he (hopefully) won't be overly excited when I come in with Henry.

- Talk softly and calmly to him when I enter. As the articles said, he will (amazingly) already know the scent, so the baby simply entering the home will trigger the familiarity.
- Mr. Miller will be in charge of handling Lambeau when I sit down on the couch with the baby. I'm not sure a leash is needed, but showing Lambeau that he has to wait will hopefully create boundaries. 

- Mr. Miller will allow Lambeau to come on the couch to investigate the baby. We will affirm him with treats and soft tones. Lambeau has a serious love affair with Mr. Miller and listens to him so much better, so he is in charge of allowing him to do things.

- Lambeau will receive a new toy to distract him while we settle in. I looked at food puzzle suggestions in this article, and decided that the Omega Paw Treat Ball will work best for him. I don't want to give him peanut butter multiple times a day, because skinny pup will become porky pup! This treat ball allows me to put in dry treats mixed with kibble and will stimulate him while I'm feeding, bath time, etc.

I will let you know how it goes! This may seem like a very detailed plan (In fact, I felt like I was writing a lesson plan!), but Lambeau is very important to us. He brings us tons of joy and companionship, and we want to make sure the transition is smooth. 
Circa 2012

How about you? Have you ever introduced an animal to a new human (Whether baby or adult)? Any other pieces of advice? Any ideas of what NOT to do? Tell me about it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Week 38 Update

Maternity leave pregnant is so much better than working pregnant! I didn't realize how tired I was after work. Although I'm still swelling (Thank you warmer weather), it's nice that I can prop up my feet any time I want! (And pee any time I want...because it has become desperate times in THAT department!) The key is to relax and not stress. My doctor was concerned about my stress levels, hence my going on maternity leave two weeks before my due date. If you want to catch up, I added a Pregnancy tab on my menu, check out past updates and posts from the past 38 (AH!) weeks!

Energy level: The more I move, the more tired I am (Duh!). I have to move to keep up my circulation/proceed toward labor, so it's a double edged sword. I'm not exhausted first trimester style, but I've definitely fallen asleep on the couch this week...though, it was after 9:30 pm, which is my normal bedtime! The weather has been absolutely beautiful, but the heat seems to take a lot out of me.

Loving bringing Lambeau Puppy to the park! It gets me out and he is EXHAUSTED (Note his tongue hanging out!)

Exercise: We are walking!!! I have officially taken over Lambeau's morning walk duties, and we make it longer than his normal 10 minute jaunt. We're averaging 20-30 minutes in the morning before it gets hot, just in time to catch up on the Today Show with a cup of coffee.

Another park photo! The Nike shirt says "Just Kickin' It". Despite rapidly losing space, Henry is still doing just that!

Cravings: COOKIES. Shoot I love them. I must resist...especially since Entemanns were on sale for $2.99 at my can't eat just one of those little chocolate chip cookies! Thankfully I'm still on the smoothies. Balance, right?

Weight gain: I don't want to talk about it. UGH. I gained *4lbs* in a week according to my doctor's scale, but I had forgotten to weigh myself on my own scale, so I'll just say I was really swelled up? Sigh. I know it's temporary but SHEESH I know Henry didn't gain 4lbs! (Note: cookies not helping)

Mental status: Things are finally "ready"! We have some little things to do, like put the car seat in the car, but otherwise we are looking pretty good. I think I have finally passed over the threshold of "I'm scared out of my mind of labor" to the greater feeling of "I want to meet him"! It also helps that FOUR of my friends have had babies within the past week. Baby envy in full effect! Here is a peak of our nursery nook! We are sharing our bedroom with Henry, so we had to be practical with how much we put in for him!

 My friend made me the prints. I wanted the song from Sharon Lois and Bram's Elephant Show on the print which reads "I love you in the morning in and in the afternoon/I love you in the evening underneath the moon". The letters were created by Joan, I believe she got plain letters from Michael's and decorated them herself! The platypus was created by my friend Rachel, and it is SO cool! It's is antibacterial (cool inside the body), soft but makes crunching noises, and has lavender in the bill as a soothing mechanism! I love that so many parts of the nursery were created by friends! The crib is Hudson by Babyletto.

 Our old Ikea dresser was converted into a changing table! It is the perfect height and width. All his clothes are inside so it's perfect! The shelves and (left) canvas are from Target, the NYC skyline blocks are from the MOMA, and the elephant canvas on the right was created by my niece! 

A closer look at the shelves. I never said I was a skilled photographer!!!

Best Advice: I have two additions today! First, I plan on giving my medical team small gifts at the hospital. I was told today that they are not supposed to accept gift cards! So, I will be looking for some yummy snacks along with some Rodan and Fields samples so they can pamper themselves a bit! Here is the other piece of advice, submitted in a card from one of my 5th graders:

I'll work on the cute baby thing. Suddenly I'm not so scared of labor! ;-)

How about you? Have you been spending time outside? Are you allowed to receive gift cards at your job (I'm not)? Had any yummy desserts lately? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

*End of* Pregnancy Favorite Things

Hello, maternity leave! Friday was my last day of work. I am taking the next school year off for child care leave, so it was bitter sweet to say good bye to my amazing colleagues, my students (especially the 4th graders who realized they won't see me next year), and to my 5th graders who I have taught since 1st grade. I have two weeks left until my due date, and things are getting REAL. I am extremely thankful for this pregnancy, the vast majority of which I can honestly say was without complaint. However, now that the weather is heating up, things are getting difficult. I have a few life saving items that have been helping me carry on lately, check them out!

Pro Compression Socks. I own a few pairs for running, but they are INVALUABLE to pregnant swelling! Although getting my size smalls on over my swelled feet and legs is like an awkward full body workout, they make such a difference.

Lambeau Puppy remembering the good old days of post long run snuggles. He's part of the compression work!

Oiselle Long Rogas. I bought these last year and liked them; however, they still did the old ride up on my legs and chaffing was always a danger. They were safe for winter/spring running as long as it was cool. Now? They fit PERFECTLY. I wear them all the time and really should invest in another pair. 

On a beach? In a park? Relaxing on a couch? These shorts do it all.

Rodan and Fields Micro-Dermabrasion Paste. This stuff is INCREDIBLE! Since I'm predominantly in flip flops, my feet have been super dry. Despite getting a pedicure every other week, I've still had rough dry spots on my heels. After using this paste, which smells incredible, I've noticed an incredible change for the better! This little bit of pampering always brightens my day!

Babies R Us Maternity Pillow. This thing has been a LIFESAVER! Although Mr. Miller has ALSO found it to be extremely comfortable, I always win the battle in the end ;-). The best part about it is that it doubles as a boppy (nursing pillow and back support for Henry when he's older!). AKA I didn't need to buy two separate products to do three jobs. I also love the neutral colors and that I can take the cover off to wash.

Someone was super scared of this pillow when it first arrive. Now he wants EVERYTHING to do with it. 

Blizzards, OBVIOUSLY. Did you hear?! NYC got a DAIRY QUEEN! I grew up with one a mile from my house, so whenever I go home I get a blizzard! Now it's possible to take the train to snag a delicious frozen treat. Like Saturday night, for instance, when we drove in at 9pmenjoyed one...then got a $60 ticket because meters were in effect until 10pm (?!), then we sat in over an hour of traffic on the Queensboro Bridge and witnessed a lady peeing on it. See? Blizzards create magical moments.

I got the "Big Apple", my companions got oreo cheesecake and s'more. All delicious. Unlike the ticket and traffic.

How about you? What are some of your favorite things lately? What is your favorite summer treat? Tried any good beauty products lately? TELL ME ABOUT IT!