Miami, Florida


¡Bienvenidos a Miami!

Last weekend our family drove down the coast of Florida and ended up in the Miami area for teachers' conference. Some of our best friends from college who live in the area offered up their guest bedroom for the weekend, and we gladly took them up on it. Besides the 3 babes running around, it felt just like we were back in college.

I love to pack light. Once, on a mission trip to Mexico in high school, a group of us (including our responsible chaperon - hi Plugs!) had a contest to see who could pack the smallest amount for a 10 day trip. We wore only the clothes on our backs, and each had but a small satchel containing the essentials. One of my favorite sections in the Bible is when Jesus sends the disciples out to do mission work with nothing but the cloaks on their backs and the sandals on their feet. It feels so good to not be weighed down by possessions.

This trip was not like that.

Diapers + wipes, back up onesies for various baby fluids, more spit up towels than I care to admit, nursing accessories, toddler eating + sleeping essentials, our nutritional system, and oh yeah - clothes for me. It felt like we were moving all of our worldly possessions. Traveling with an infant is no joke!

Anyway, our time in Miami was short but sweet. Our friends showed us some of their favorite spots, parks, and restaurants, which I loved! It's so eye-opening to step into a friend's life for a few days, to get a better idea of what their daily routine looks like.

Once the conference started, I stayed behind with our two little ones, only slightly nervous about being away from home court advantage. It was tempting to just put on the iPad and entertain ourselves around the house all day until everyone else came back. After all, everyone would understand that I had 2 very small children in an unfamiliar and expensive city with lots of traffic.

Then one morning the rain just so happened to ruin our plans to visit the community pool near our friends' house, and we did an early lunch and nap. Once both the kids were napping, it hit me that I was going to have to entertain them for at least 3 more hours once they woke up. In someone else's house. So in a rash moment of determination, I opened my laptop and searched for free things to do with children in Miami. One destination caught my eye - Little Havana. The culture, language, music, food, and colors all seemed like a perfect opportunity to experience the "real" Miami, learn a little bit myself, and show Pippa why I speak Spanish to her.

I dressed Teddy in his best "old man in Florida" outfit, we hopped in the van, and I prayed I would be able to find a parking spot that didn't cost $20. 30 minutes and countless tolls later (thank you Sun Pass!) we found a quiet street to park the van for FREE, and began our leisurely stroll down the famous Calle Ocho. I was hoping to catching a glimpse of Pit Bull, but no such luck. We watched the old men play dominoes in the park, inhaled the intoxicating scent of Cafe Cubano, licked some authentic Cuban ice cream at Azúcar, and took pictures with the giant colorful chickens. I would love to come back sometime with other adults to indulge in a mojito or two!

Other highlights of the trip include:

* seeing our Lutheran school - Divine Savior Academy
* Amelia Earhart park, complete with a petting zoo!
* mojitos at Bayside Harbour
* building sandcastles at South Beach
* wandering the trendy Art Deco beachside neighborhoods in South Beach
* cooking meals and sipping wine with old friends

I can't wait to head back to Miami and discover more of this incredible city. Plus we had the BEST Cafe Cubano on the way home, and I really need to find that tiny gas station where we bought it and get another one...


friday favorites #3

I might be about to jinx myself, but I think I'm starting to settle into this "being a mom of 2" thing. By no means am I doing it perfectly, or even with grace, but our days are starting to have a routine to them, I'm not packing up the entire house every time we leave, and I no longer feel like everyday tasks are on the emergency level of fire breathing termites with a stockpile of weaponry taking over the world.

Theodore is sleeping through the night. What's that sound? Oh! It's a chorus of angels singing their heavenly tune. We put him to bed at 7, wake him for a 10 p.m. feeding, and then he sleeps until about 6:30 every morning. Feels good to be human again.

So, yeah. Life is still busy (wait, we have banned that word from society, so...) our days are still very full. But, BUT, we're figuring it out. Doing the bulk of our lesson planning and correcting on the weekend even when we don't feel like it, because it makes our weeks that much smoother. We're writing things on the calendar like "going to the gym" or "budget meeting," because if they're on the calendar, then they are an actual appointment we can't break.

Anyway! That's our life. Probably 95% of the western world can relate. So instead of waxing on about the minutiae of our days, let me share some of my favorite things from this week!

The Spanish Children's Books section at the library

Pippa has so many books. Too many books (is there such a thing?). So I really don't want to go out and buy more for her. But it's still nice to throw new books into the rotation from time to time. Enter the library. She's finally old enough to actually choose books she wants to read. I always lead her to the Spanish section, more to motivate me to keep speaking Spanish to her than anything else. Anyway, they have a great little selection of books. Here are a few from this week:

Chris Brown's True Stewardship Podcast

After some prayer and time meditating on the Word and the goals for my business, it became clear to me that unless I was managing God's money properly, there was no reason for him to entrust me with more. We had a very wishy-washy budget, but I knew it was time to get serious of kicking those student loans in the teeth. After listening to a few hours of the Dave Ramsey podcast, I stumbled upon this one. It takes a Biblical look at what stewardship really is, and how it applies to our lives.

The thing I like most about this podcast, is that it keeps my financial goals in front of me constantly. That's the problem with most goals - if we don't keep our WHY, or the final outcome in front of us, we lose steam when things get hard. With this podcast it's like I've got a huge support system of people striving for the same thing as me!

Toddler Talks

This kid is killing me. Her language is exploding and I love it! I marvel at the sentences that come out of her mouth on a daily basis. I'm going to have to do a separate post on all the things she's been saying lately, but let's just say phrases like, "Oh Mommy. You so pretty with makeup." and "What lizard dooo-ing? She finding food." have come out of her mouth.
Someone got into Mommy's makeup

Yesterday we had this conversation:
Me: "Did you know Daddy is a teacher?"
Pip: "Daddy teaching kids!"
Me: "That's right! Did you know Mommy is a teacher, too? Mommy teaches the kids Spanish."
Pip: "Oh! Pippa speak Spanish too!"
Me: "That's true, too! Pippa does speak Spanish!"
Pip: "Yeah...."
excuse the dog hair
Also, she set her people up like this (above) and goes:
"Mommy, look at all the friends! Just look, don't touch!"

She's just this little person with so many thoughts and feelings.

Morning Walks

It is by no means "autumn weather" here in Florida, but the mornings are at least somewhat less humid these days with a slight breeze. It feels good to not be a sweaty mess after an 8 a.m. walk.

These Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Speaking of budgets, this meal is very budget-friendly. We like to incorporate a few meatless meals into our week, and this one is easy, delicious, and makes plenty of leftovers.

Old Navy Workout Tanks

Found for $8 on their website. Perfect for Florida weather, not too tight for that postpartum tummy situation, and cute!

What's got you smiling this week?


post baby body (2 months out)

Ah yes. The post baby body. This is such a sensitive subject for many women, fraught with emotional land mines and myriad ways to give offense.

On one had, we see celebrities and "fitspo" inspirational women on social media who are 20 lbs below pre-baby weight at 2 months postpartum, with six pack abs and catch phrases like "no excuses!"

On the other hand, we have the mamas who are offended by any suggestion that a woman might want to regain her figure after birthing a child. "The culture is trying to get rid of any evidence that we had babies! You're perfect just the way you are! Your saggy belly is a battle scar - you should be proud!"

I hereby proclaim permission to fall somewhere in the middle of those two equally unappealing extremes.

So without further ado...

Reasons to Take Care of my Health after Baby

Vanity (or the quest to find flattering clothes)

I am truly happy for women who have naturally lean bodies who can look so toned after having baby. They will most likely attribute it to eating clean and staying fit throughout pregnancy. Those things are so important, and a huge accomplishment, because carrying a child in your womb is seriously tough. But for those of us who eat healthy and stay fit, but still look 4 months pregnant for weeks on end postpartum, it's a hard message to hear. Every person's body is different. We have different genetics, metabolisms, body types (short torso...ugh), and situations.

But let me be clear. I don't like the sagging postpartum midsection. First of all, the words "sag," "sagging," and "saggy," just sound unappealing. Kind of like the words "moist," and "puberty." But I digress.

I don't like it because I find it impossible to dress. When you're pregnant, the goal is to show off that bump. And many maternity clothes are designed to do just that. When I'm postpartum, I want to disguise the bump. I don't love explaining to 4th graders and men who apparently don't know anything about the post baby process why I still look like I have a baby in my belly. It's just a weird conversation. So I tend to stay away from many of my maternity clothes.
that's a lot of belly to shrink

8 weeks post baby...progress
At the same time, I'm not yet fitting into my fitted and sleek pre-baby clothes. So I'm stuck with a limited wardrobe of stretchy and kind of unappealing in-between clothes. I want to get back to my normal size if for no other reason than I hate clothes shopping and I'm kind of frugal.


Working out makes me happy. I forgot about that! Taking 2 months off from working out besides the occasional walk around the block felt like heaven. I wasn't allowed to work out for awhile, so there was no obligation and no guilt. I loved not having to plan my shower around a sweaty workout.

But then I reached a point in my postpartum journey where I was cleared to resume fitness activities, and my weight loss hit a plateau. It was time to join a gym! I'm a huge advocate for living room workouts and no equipment body weight workouts, but I knew that with 2 small children, a small home, and limited free time, I would always have an excuse not to workout. I figured joining a gym (for the first time in 4 years!) would force me to get out of the house if for no other reason than for fear of wasting my money.

After my first workout, I was seriously on a high of endorphins. I felt a surge of energy I hadn't felt since before pregnancy. (Even though I worked out during pregnancy, it wasn't the heart-pounding, go-all-out type of workout). It was 9 p.m., but I felt like I could do anything! Grade a stack of papers! Do a budget! Fold all the laundry!

not cute...but sweaty + happy
When I didn't feel like working out the other night, I had a come-to-Jesus talk with myself in the form of chatting with baby Teddy. "Mommy doesn't want to workout right now, but a fit mama is a happy mama. A fat mama is a sad mama. So Mommy is going to the gym whether she likes it or not!"

Strong for my tasks

"She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks."
Proverbs 31:17

Ah, yes. The Proverbs 31 woman is always a source of inspiration. A mother of small children has TASKS to do! Lifting carseats, laundry baskets, and a 30+ lb toddler requires strength! Lugging Teddy's swing to and from school everyday requires strength. Keeping up with a 2 year old requires endurance. Running on less (a good amount for having a 2 month old, but still less) sleep requires more energy. Vacuuming, running a household and a business, teaching, parenting - they all require energy, endurance, and strength. Those things are enhanced by activity and good health. I take care of my health to be a good wife, mother, teacher, business owner, and steward of God's gifts in my life.

Tools to Take Care of my Health after Baby
10 weeks post baby

+ Pinterest - an amazing source for gym workouts, home workouts, no equipment workouts, and workouts with baby
+ workout gear - loving my new Old Navy workout tanks
+ these fat burning and nutrient-dense shakes (while still nursing, I use them in addition to healthy balanced meals)
+ Bible studies + devotions to keep my mind sharp and motivated to serve God to the best of my ability
+ the Bedtime Belly Buster!

+ podcasts, audiobooks, and good music to listen to while working out

What are your favorite tools, workouts, meal plans for fitness after baby?

P.S. My thoughts on getting back into shape after baby #1