Tuesday, July 8, 2014

……the me I want to be…...

…..I share so much about the children on this blog…..after all, this space was intended and designed for them…..certainly, it has been an outlet for me to write and journal life with young children……it has been a creative space for me, a virtual slate of white paper, a journal, an inspiration board to attach all of my favorite pictures of the ones I love……it has also been the place I come to for my mind to be set on grace and blessings…….it allows me to step away from the minutia of the day to day and rise above the life I am living….from the aerial view I am able to see a wider and more splendid picture……it is the place I come to for reflection and gratitude……

…..very rarely have I blogged about anything other than the children and I have toyed around with the idea of posting this essay simply because I want to keep the blog pure of child focus…..but eight months ago today, I had my fourth baby in under 6 years and there have been some really, really hard days……I prayed for a fourth child, I wept for a fourth child and I would have a fifth baby if I was younger…..truly….we are beyond blessed with our family of six, but the months following Mae's birth were emotional…...I did not swing back after Mae was born like I did with the others……

…..if you know our family well or have been reading this blog, you are fully aware that our family likes to get out and experience life emphatically…..so it wasn't surprising that we decided to drive an hour away to pick and chop down our own Christmas tree three weeks after having a baby…..the entire excursion ended up taking several hours since Mae was still eating every 2 hours, the kids needed to be bundled from the gusty wind that day and that we would have to take breaks to change the passengers in the red wagon that I pulled…….all while shielding Mae from the wind, coaching the remaining child on foot who cried the entire time that the walk was too far and they were too cold as Stefan dragged our 6 foot beauty in from the forest……once the tree was tied to the top of the suburban and all 4 babes were warm and full bellied, we laughed at the quest we took on that day…..I definitely remember feeling exhausted, but with that kind of adventure, plus the physical excursion and a newborn; it was to be expected…...


…..Christmas rolled around a few weeks later and my Dad came to visit for two weeks…..his birthday is Dec. 27, so it seemed like a great year for him to spend the holiday with us, meet baby Mae and celebrate his birthday……we visited, we prepped for Christmas, we ate and ate and ate and then celebrated some more…..I still felt exhausted, but that is to be expected with a 6 week old, Christmas plus three other kids running around, right?…….

…..for the record, I may be the only nursing woman on the planet who GAINS weight post baby…..


…..we always do some sort of special feast for New Years……to ring in 2014, our theme was surf and turf…..we dined on crab legs, lobster and filet and it was decadent……my Dad was there to assist Stefan in pulling the meal together because I remember thinking in between the nursing and the other 3 kids, how am I ever going to have time to cook dinner again?…..I ran around with the four kids from mid afternoon until dinnertime and didn't have a second to even throw salt in the boiling water on the stove…..


…..we did make it til midnight, but again I remember feeling so, so, so tired…..


……January called for a special trip to see my Aunt Allison……Mae and I flew to St. Louis and spent the weekend visiting with family…….I got to see an old friend, too but I still did not have any energy……I am half asleep in this picture and it wasn't even dinnertime yet…..plus I only had Mae to take care of……that should have been a slam dunk….


…..Stefan's birthday rolled around late winter and by this time, Mae was only waking up 1-2 times per night…..I can usually handle that kind of schedule for a few months because at least I can plan to get two 4 hour chunks of sleep if I time it right……Stefan wanted to ski for his birthday, so the whole family went to Vermont to grant his wish…..we had a ball….I arranged for a sitter from one of the local churches to come to the hotel room to watch the kids so Stefan and I could ski alone…..I was physically unable to do more than a few hours and I required a lot of rest in between runs…..Mae was 4 months at this point and as much as I had intended on getting to the gym to start to get back into shape, it just hadn't happened…..


…..at Callie's 5th birthday party two of these little girls asked me if there was another baby in my belly….oh boy….


…..so I deleted every picture that showed me from the waist down after those two innocent questions……



……days after Callie's birthday, I was standing in front of our kitchen sink post lunch time……I had been up a few times the night before feeding Mae, stayed in bed as long as Mae would allow me to the next morning, and then slammed some coffee as I was packing lunches and getting the kids ready for school…….I nursed Mae as I got Elsie on the bus, took the other two kids to nursery school, and then drank some more coffee…….I took Mae to a well check, ran into the grocery store for some staples, drank more coffee, nursed the baby again in a parking lot, picked the two nursery school kids up, drove home, made their lunch and then nursed again…..more coffee…..got Mae down for a nap and put the other two in their rooms with books so I could have some quiet time…..

….at the kitchen sink as I was scanning the snow filled front yard, I saw my reflection in our kitchen window……I was inhaling a cake pop and it was 2pm……not eating it…..I was inhaling it, leaning over the sink and jamming the sweet into my mouth furiously because it was the first time I had eaten all day…..it was a pivotal moment for me because in that instant, I knew I had to make a change…..

….sure the exhaustion was from a newborn and three other young children in the house, but it was also because my body was not getting what it needed……I needed to eat clean, I needed to move my body and get my heart rate up, I needed more energy in order to be the best version of myself…..the exhaustion was taking a toll and I was not only the tired one all the time, but I was cranky with my kids and my husband…..I was supposed to be relishing in the fact this would be our last newborn but I was constantly walking around in this lethargic fog snapping at my kids or pouring coffee to make it through the next household or parental chore……I was also carrying around an extra 18 pounds that my body needed to shed…...this wasn't the way I had envisioned it…..

…..I called my friends Kelly and Allison who had been doing Team Beachbody workout programs……they had also been drinking these nutritional and protein filled shakes called Shakeology and raved about the energy it gave them…….it was time for me to put my excuses away……

….I have a 5 month old who is still waking up 1-3 times per night, I never have time alone to do a workout, I won't respond well to an at home DVD workout program, I need the energy of a gym, I need to be in a fitness class with other people for motivation, I make my own protein shakes, I can get healthy with cutting portions, I can't justify the additional cost to my gym membership, I don't need a program, I don't need to be in any sort of group on Facebook for support and motivation, I am not working out in my basement every day……..no, no, no…..no way……

…..but something had to change…..

……so I pushed the excuses aside this past April, five months after having my fourth baby; and I made the leap…..I committed to drink Shakeology every day and also committed to Focus T25 workouts……T25 is only 25 minutes a day and who can't carve out 25 minutes?……surely I could find less than a half of an hour…..


…..I took my before pictures…..reluctantly and with the expectation that I would never show another soul the photos……I also measured all the parts of me that were about to get movin'…….I couldn't believe the work I had ahead of me…..


…..I wasn't necessarily fat or over weight, but I certainly wasn't in good shape or good health……I was soft and mushy……I was sleep walking most of the time, going through the motions of life…….my family deserved the best of me and I was wasting time not giving them the version of me that I like best……


……I started to push play…..I would truck on down to the basement, bring my water bottle, half dread it, but got it done……and slowly, slowly, slowly I felt like the cloud was lifting……I was cranking out my 25 minutes before the kids woke, so I could run through my day feeling so good that my work out was done…..


…..my energy came back almost instantly after drinking shakeology…..I stopped craving the sugar after my meals…..Stefan brought home a box of chocolates from Germany a few days after I started T25 and my shakes……the old Tracy would have eaten the entire box in a few seatings, munching on the chocolate throughout the day, even as early as breakfast……the Tracy who was in the process of being transformed did not even bat an eye at the chocolate……in fact, the thought of sweets turned my stomach…..instead I was craving fruits, salads, and crisp veggies……

…..with my energy back, I was the old me…..open to adventure, more patient with my family, emotionally available and not in a fog…..


…..my children watch me push play 6 days per week and know I am taking care of my body from the inside out……they love to see me sweat, try to join in if they are awake for my workouts and drink shakeology too…...we have good discussions about health…...they are learning what clean eating is because we are eliminating the stuff that got me in my funk in the first place…….


……the physical transformation has been a bonus…..I can fit in my pre baby clothes again…..when I look in the mirror, I can focus on the changes in my body that I do like instead of the negative talk in my head about the areas of my body that I didn't like……but the best benefit for me has been the change from the inside……the confidence of knowing I am taking good care of myself so I can be the best for the ones I love…...


….shortly after starting T25 and Shakeology, I also made the commitment to be a Team Beachbody coach…..my past career was managing people and building teams with a common goal…..when the products started to change me, close friends and family started to notice change and asked questions…..without much effort, five of my closest friends and family members started drinking shakeology and doing a Beachbody workout program…...they were ecstatic about their results and I got to share their excitement with them.…..not only was my life being transformed, but the lives of others who I love were also being positively impacted too…..weight was coming off, cravings were being diminished, inner lights were shining bright just because we were now a team trying to make good, wise, healthy choices together……It was as if my past career experience had collided with the passion I was feeling about adapting a healthier lifestyle……combing the two not only has helped other people, but it has provided me with something to focus on outside of motherhood……tapping into those past skills has felt really good and it has been a lot of fun…..

….I have taken it day by day, prayed for God's will to be revealed and organically, the team has been growing…..we are The Balderach Babes and lives are changing, people are getting healthy and I am trying to show my children that setting aside excuses and taking responsibility for change is a choice…..

……it is work in progress, but I am getting stronger every day……


……when I make healthy choices, I can truly enjoy my blessings because I am fully present……there is no more fog, there is no more chronic exhaustion, and there is no more hiding behind clothes…...


….I am open for the adventures that have given our family so many fun memories…..I am a better listener, I don't get agitated as easily, I can be more gentle, patient, compassionate and loving because I am treating my body well and fueling it with what it needs…..


…..I want to live a long and healthy life serving my family and seeking God's will……I want to help other people do the same……I want to surround myself with joy seekers, life lovers and people who want to be happy on purpose…..


…..and as a result, these little loves will get the best version of the me I want to be…...

…..if you are someone who has found yourself in a funk and want to live a healthier life, email me at thebalderachs@aol.com…..I would love to help you……

Xx

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

…..the update.....

…..I am not really sure how so much time goes by in between my blog posts…..we are livin', we are busy, we are chasin' one another down around our house…….and at the end of the night when mama used to sit down to blog; I am opting for sleep instead……but as I have always written in years past, one of the best things about this blog is the fact that I can reflect on my children, my family, my circumstances and humbly become more grateful……this is my place that I come to in order to slow the pace down and reflect……and I love it more each time I come back……

…….here is a conglomeration of my favorite pics over the last few months and a a snippet of who is doing what right now……..

 …..Brody...….he's growing…..not just in size, but emotionally……he is needing me less, running off without holding my hand more frequently and at times forgetting to say goodbye when he gets to a friend's house and is off for a play date…….growth is a good thing……we want our children to grow and thrive and we want to see them flourish……we NEED to see them become independent after many long days caring for our young……but it is still bitter sweet…..












……right now he still loves Olaf and the Frozen soundtrack, loves to be with friends of the same sex, is the loudest talker in our home, has boundless energy, dislikes walking into crowded rooms, could eat hummus every meal of the day, enjoys imaginary play with Callie, is ending his love affair with Spiderman and moving on to Batman, loves to discuss lions, sharks and dinosaurs, loves to color, color, color and color some more and strongly detests haircuts……he is quick tempered and can get angry at the drop of a hat…...



…..but he gets over it quickly…..he has a gentle spirit, but also has a fire within that can be channeled to fuel is life's passions…..


…..Callie is on the brink of Kindergarten…...


……she loved her 4s class……she had two amazing teachers and made great friends…..she came home with great adventures under her belt, beautiful art that she created and friendships that were so enjoyable to see flourish this past school year…...




…..she was so proud and excited on graduation day…..my shy little one who thrives in smaller groups and dislikes large crowds shined on her special day…...




…..she was sad to say goodbye, but she is awfully excited to jump on that yellow bus next year with Elsa…...










……right now, she has about 8 stuffed animals surrounding her in bed…..she has a name for each one and spends time throughout her day talking and playing with them……she loves to collect things outside, put them in a bucket and make "potions"; she is still deciding if she wants to be a magician or a scientist since both jobs require potion making……she is affectionate, funny, witty, sensitive and charming…..she loves her scooter, loves art, loves to sing, loves doting on baby Mae and only wears dresses…...


….Elsie now prefers to go by Elsa thanks to Disney's hit movie, Frozen and the star of the movie who happens to share her name…...


…..Elsa has taken joy in losing two teeth over the last few months and spends a lot of time wiggling the remaining teeth to determine which one might be next…….


…..her maturity and growth amazed me this year……she learned how to read over night, writes beautiful and educational stories in her free time, made sweet new friendships, had a few setbacks but learned how to over come them and really enjoyed spending time as a family since it was an adjustment to all of us with her being gone so many hours during the week……






…..our girl is fiercely competitive……she is good at bowling, just finished tennis and golf lessons and is learning how to play the Frozen soundtrack on the piano……Field Day at school last week was right up her ally…….






…..right now Elsa loves to swim, she loves to read and write stories, and she also loves to dote on baby Mae…...she is extremely helpful around the house, loves to imagine, takes her time in everything she does, is a night owl, loves to give big hugs, is a good friend, has become very social, is a helper to all and a curious and inquisitive deep thinker…..


…..I snapped a few photos of my favorite notes that I have collected around the house…..I love to find her writing samples and get a further glimpse into her little stream of consciousness……









….baby Mae is a dream baby…..




….from the first few weeks, she was extremely popular around here and it has only intensified now that she is interacting more with her siblings…..




….i have had her attached to me for 7 months now and have loved every minute of holding her…….this was a terribly cold winter, but it made for great indoor time with our new babe…..



….she has been so patient sleeping on the go, adjusting to the schedules of the other three kids, she's been trucked in and out of the car several times a day and never gives us any grief…...




…..she has been my sweet, little side kick and there isn't one day that has gone by that I haven't prayed a prayer thanking God that she has completed our family…..



……right now she loves to eat solid food, still loves to nurse, loves to be at the dinner table for every meal with her siblings, lights up when any one in the family walks into the room, coos and oohs and laughs whole heartedly……has sparkling blue eyes, two bottom teeth that gave her a lot of pain when they popped out simultaneously, falls asleep anywhere and everywhere if she is tired enough, loves to be held and reinforces to us that she is just as happy to be a part of our family as we are to have her complete it……. 




…..school is out tomorrow……summer will officially start and there will be good tales to tell…….adventures to write about pictures to share……and many summer nights that will beckon me to sit, reflect and be thankful…...
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