Honey I fired the sleep trainer

Sleep has been our constant struggle, as I’ve shared over and over again. There are so many times I’ve reached the end of my rope with sleep deprivation, so many mornings when I was sure I could not keep going like this.

Each time, I’ve bounced back, always through the help of my husband or my mom or my village, all of whom are so gracious in taking a night or two and forgiving whatever nasty things I say when I’m at my sleepy craziest.

The last time I hit my edge, I finally called a number that I’d saved several breaking points ago: the number for a sleep coach that several of my mom friends had recommended to me, promising that she was a baby whisperer, and that there was virtually no crying involved in her bag of tricks.

It’s at those desperate moments that the yearning for a magic bullet overpowers your judgment and your critical thinking. There’s no choice but to just dial the number, and groggily ask the questions you’ve been formulating in the small dark hours of the night, night after night.

What is your method.

How much crying do you allow.

What are your success rates.

In which category of the baby product industrial complex should we purchase two of everything to adequately prepare for this process?

Can you come today.

This time, the answers to those questions didn’t turn me off, as they had with previous phone calls I’d made. Most notably: 2 minutes crying max. And, specifically, only the fussing kind of crying, not the hysterical, soul-shredding crying that I am biologically incompatible with.

Two weeks and too much cautious optimism later, my would-be savior showed up, and she took charge of the night shift.

Nathan installed himself in front of his phone so he could monitor the proceedings, with every intention of staying up all night.

I hid in my room and pretended like nothing was happening, except that I anxiously scrolled Facebook and drank a beer and couldn’t fall asleep.

Nathan came in a couple hours into it, and said, I know you don’t want to see this, but I think you should see this. This has been going on for over an hour.

And there, on the video monitor, was my toddler, hysterically screaming bloody murder while frantically trying to open the door to her room.

The coach came in, laid Mac back down in her bed, then left, and immediately, Mac was scrambling out of bed, face and body contorted with rage, twisting and tripping over her sleep sack as she charged the door again.

I marched upstairs and ended it.

Over the next hour, her breathing finally slowed back to its normal rhythm, and she spent the full night sleeping on my chest, like she was brand new to this world. My sweaty barnacle didn’t even want to nurse. She just wanted full body contact.

I realize I am on perhaps the extreme end of the sensitive spectrum when it comes to my baby crying. Maybe with the second one I’ll have developed better coping mechanisms. But I would so much rather drink a lot of coffee and pull in backup support (husbands & grandmas FTW!) than have my child experience that kind of emotional intensity in the service of my convenience.

Sleep training for us lasted less than three hours, all said and done. If anything, our brief flirtation with it set us back, sleep-wise. And I’ve said it before, but I really mean it this time: I’m done with treating this like a problem to be solved.

There’s no magic bullet. And that’s something I just need to keep remembering, every time I think I’ve hit rock bottom.

PSA: Hopefully this is redundant, but it bears repeating since sleep is such a polarizing topic: I have ZERO judgment for—and have zero place to judge—however you are parenting, sleep related or otherwise. This is where I’m at. End of story. 

 

 

Why you should be jealous of me

In the last few months, I’ve basically stopped wearing makeup. It was a gradual decline into naked face; first I’d just skip the mascara because omg taking off mascara after a long day is the worst possible chore (yes, I’m super lazy. So what?), then I realized skipping eyeliner was a really good idea and then it was just some blush and foundation and now … maybe concealer, maybe on the worst of the worst mornings after the worst of the worst nights.

My progression into the natural look has unfortunately resulted in some serious self-side-eye on particular mornings. Sometimes it’s WOAH, haggard, up in here. You can tell I have a baby who doesn’t sleep and that self care is way, way down the priority list, right behind cleaning crusted spaghetti puree off the parts of my upper arms I can’t see and scavenging stray Cheerios for my own dinner.

This is my hyperlocal source for crusted spaghetti.

Jealous yet?

Let me give you some more fodder: my ace in the hole.

I have family on Maui. 

BOOM. There it is. I see your jealousy.

Pretty cool, right? Also, there’s a family reunion every summer that is TOTALLY REQUIRED.

Every year my husband makes some noise about how far away it is and how that flight with a baby will be really tough and I convince him we should really, actually, 100% go. You know, FOR THE FAMILY. (Hi, family, I love you. XOXO).

So, now that you’re seething in jealousy, let me get back to my story about my non-glamorous no-makeup look.  I had a little come to jesus moment about skincare, partly due to some blunt comments from an aesthetician and partly due to the escalating puffiness I have to witness in my bathroom mirror every single day. 

Ahhhhh. Why did nobody tell me that “having it all” included so many dark circles and bloodshot corneas?

So, I took matters into my own hands. Or, rather, someone reached out at just the right moment when I was READY. Ready to make a change.

Specifically, the founder of FRÉ Skincare, a line for women who sweat, reached out, and (disclosure, they are now a Fit Approach client, but that does not change this story one bit), and I said, YES, please send me all the things that will save my skin, it needs all the help it can get. But not if it’s too complicated, because half the time I wash my hair I put conditioner on first because I can’t tell the bottles apart. #TrueStory.

So, they kindly agreed to help a sister out and sent me the whole kit and caboodle, and I diligently set aside my lazy tendencies and put the product to the test.

In Maui (see, it’s all coming together. I promise). Well, I actually started using it here in Austin, and put it through the wringer with suffocating swamp humidity during the Athlete Inside challenge, which made me do more burpees than any human should ever have to do. (Thank you, Ben Zorn, I love to hate burpees).

Then I took it to Maui and tested the sweat- and water-resistant properties in the pool, ocean, and sun. (full story, plus tropical photos, here).

I’ve been using it for a month now, and the bottom line: I have way fewer reasons to side-eye myself in the mornings now. I am actually comfortable going out makeup-free, and not just because I’m lazy, but because my skin actually looks nicer on its own than it does with makeup. There is a legitimate, empirical reduction in redness and dryness and puffiness. It was also serious sun protection (it was the only SPF I used on my face in Hawaii, and look, ma, no sunburn!).

I feel like a whole new woman. I do not catch glimpses of myself in mirrors out in public and shudder or think, ugh, you really should work on *that*.

So, now, you can be jealous of me for not feeling like a train wreck when I leave the house every morning.

Also, and probably more relevant to you, dear reader, is that the line is anti-aging, sweat- and water-resistant, and doesn’t drip into your eyes and viciously burn them while you’re innocently running or laying on the beach. It’s good. It’s real good.

Lastly, if you want to give it a go yourself, FRÉ was kind enough to share a discount code for you. Use code SUMMERSWEAT for 15% off. You’re welcome.

Disclosure: Like I said, FRÉ is a Fit Approach client. The ranting, opinions, and jealousy-inspiring traits in this post are 100% mine. 🙂 

Oh, and, speaking of discount codes that expire on Friday, join us for the EMPOWER Race & Yoga weekend, won’t you? SWEAT gets you 40% off. Yes, FORTY PERCENT. There’s a virtual option, too.

 

 

Skip the hassle, eat more sushi

I try to lead a pretty healthy lifestyle: to eat well, exercise, all the good stuff. But one area where I typically fall short is in seeing the doctor. I try to avoid it as much as possible, entirely because of all the hoops you have to jump through in order to spend 5 minutes with her: parking, waiting rooms, sitting on hold to make the appointment in the first place … I mean, what a drag.

So you can bet my on-demand, delivery-loving self was 100% on board with trying out Everlywell, which basically eliminates all the rigamarole associated with getting labs done. No scheduling a doctor’s appointment to get a lab order. No finding a lab close to you. No traveling however far and finding and paying for parking and waiting in some drab waiting room for 30 seconds of action. No waiting to hear from your doctor about your results. No traffic or parking or waiting rooms or online scheduling or clipboards full of cramped forms to fill out. YESSS.

I tried out the DHA test for breastfeeding mothers, because Mac’s brain development is (shocker) really important to me. So is eating sushi, so I could only see getting good news from this test: I was either giving Mac enough DHA for optimal brain development, or I needed to eat more sushi. (Or both, I mean, why not?)

The test shows up so perfectly packaged, with super simple, clear instructions. I took this test in my pajamas, without having to load the whole kit & caboodle & toddler into the car.

The breastmilk test requires just a few drops of milk. I had packed away my pump over two months ago, and I wasn’t about to bring it back out—I’m retired—but luckily a simple manual expression did the trick. I waited till Mac got the pipes flowing, then expressed a few drops into the smallest glass I had, which happened to be a wineglass. #partytime

What I didn’t anticipate was just how upset Mac would get by those few drops getting rerouted from her belly. She let me know just how unhappy about it she was. But after I’d used the pipette to drop my milk onto the little sample card, I gave it to her to play with and there was once again peace in the kingdom.

She also got to play with the cute little bandaid container included. Since my test required no blood, those went straight into the diaper bag for future emergencies. (Thanks, Everlywell!).

From there, you just pack up in the included envelope, slap on the included shipping label, and drop it in the mailbox. It literally couldn’t be easier.

Five days later, my results were in my inbox. I loved getting to see easy-to-understand charts instead of a cursory phone call from the doctor’s office with a bare bones “everything was normal” summary of results.

Unfortunately, everything was not normal… my DHA levels are below recommended.  🙁

I guess that means more sushi… or, since I’m currently in Hawaii, more poke.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Besides guzzling more fish, I’m taking my results to my next doctor’s appointment so I can make an action plan and make sure I am fueling Mac’s brain every way I can.

Want to be the boss of your health, from home, in pajamas? Cool. You can try this DHA test for 15% off with the code ALYSE15.

Or, if you’re not breastfeeding, Everlywell has a whole other suite of at-home tests, including food sensitivity, metabolism, sleep, fertility, and so much more. You can save 10%  on any (or all!) of those with the code FitApp10.

At-home testing is the way to go, for real. Who doesn’t love delivery??

This post was sponsored by Everlywell via the Sweat Pink community. All opinions are my own, and I so appreciate your support of the brands who support me and Sweat Pink?

Let’s do bikini season a different way

If you’re alive and above the age of 5, you’re probably aware that it’s swimsuit season, with all the good (picnics, sunshine!) and also the bad (insecurity, fad diets!). If you’re alive and on the internet, you’ve probably also seen the #IMOMSOHARD video that skewers women’s swimsuit fashion as it deserves to be skewered.

Go ahead, watch it again.

I Swimsuit Season So Hard

When I'm at the beach, I'm there to lifeguard, build sandcastles, supply treats, re-stand the umbrella every dang time it blows over, spray sunscreen, drink a beer, look for seashells, warm-up wet kiddos, force people to eat sandwiches and drink juice, blow up water-wings, and keep my son from publicly urinating. Basically, I've got a really fun job to do and I don't have time to let a piece of lycra throw me off my game. #imomsohard #baywatch #swimsuit #cutouts #doubledecker #brave #moat #onelife #liveit #momlife #reallife #mombod #beach

Posted by imomsohard on Thursday, May 18, 2017

All laughing aside, this bikini season bullshit is a real problem, y’all. What if we focused our energies on what our bodies could do, instead of how they look in miniscule, oddly cut pieces of fabric? (Full disclosure: I love me a strangely cut swimsuit. Give me all the straps and cutouts and what have you. But don’t make me feel like I have to punish myself to earn the right to wear it).

sweat pink trucker hat
Wearing my all-time favorite swimsuit from prAna.

In a season full of fad diets and confidence-robbing workout programs, I’m hitching my wagon to a different kind of challenge. Because it’s not enough to just ignore the bikini bullshit; we’ve got to actively work toward something else, something better, something that honors us as people and as athletes and pushes us to do more and do it stronger.

So, in an act of defiance (I know, I’m SUCH a bold and daring rebel) but also because the summer gives us glorious opportunities to be outside and use our bodies on land and in water (in water! My favorite thing!), I’m joining the #AthleteInside challenge hosted by Designer Protein and Ben Zorn (yes, THAT Ben Zorn. Go ahead, google him if you need to).

Okay, confession time, I had to Google him … But still, cool, right?

I’ll take your bikini and raise you a wetsuit.

Anyway. The point of this challenge is to push ourselves to find the athlete inside and push our training to new heights, by incorporating new workouts and new recipes. Designer Protein will be sharing free workouts and recipes for the month of June, and the prizes aren’t bad, either. 🙂

The challenge launches TODAY (whee!) and the great thing is, you don’t need any equipment for the workouts. They’re pure body weight. So no excuses, folks.

To win prizes, make sure you check in on Instagram or Facebook as you do the workouts or follow nutrition plans. The tags are:

Instagram:

[email protected]_fitness @designerprotein @vitaminshoppe #designerprotein #sweatpink

Facebook:

#AthleteInside, Zorn Fitness, Designer Protein, Vitamin Shoppe

Ready, set, smoothie!

 

 

 

Is your refrigerator running?

You know what’s super fun to come home to after a week away? A dead refrigerator.

You know what ups the fun factor even more? You have to wait 5 days for the repair person to even show up.

And then … everyone’s just a little sniffly and hoarse. My baby sounds like she’s spent her entire life on two packs a day. We could all use a little TLC and a lot of Vitamin C.

We stocked our cooler with a few essentials (milk, beer) and are otherwise making it work with takeout, non-perishables, and the (occasionally mysterious) contents of our freezer, which, praise be, is still functioning.

It turned out this was the perfect time to really commit to a new, not mysterious section of my freezer: my Daily Harvest meals. We’d received them shortly before we left town, and I tetris-ed them into the freezer and quickly got distracted by downloading every Daniel Tiger episode I could find, in the misguided hopes it would keep my tiny adventurer occupied on the flight.

The smoothies are the perfect complement (alternative?) to takeout pizza and breakfast tacos, because, hello, nutrition. I gravitated first to the Mango + Camu smoothie (immunity! That’s exactly what we need!), and whipped it up so we could all try and partake.

It’s so easy. SO, so easy. I’m a big fan of the easy part. Also, tons of ingredients that I would either buy a big thing of and then only use once and lose at the back of my pantry and have to toss years later when I rediscovered them, or that I didn’t know existed (I’m looking at you, camu).

Look how pretty – green confetti!

You either dump the smoothie back into the cup, which has an integrated straw hole (genius, I’m telling you, genius) or pour it into a wine glass because everything tastes better in a stemless.

I liked it. Mac liked it.

My husband drank most of it. That’s a big fat endorsement from someone who is still convinced that french fries are vegetables.

Another crowd pleaser was the Pumpkin Overnight Oats, and by crowd, I mean Mac: she destroyed that bowl of oatmeal.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t my thing, but I am chronically boring when it comes to oatmeal. I like it with some almond butter and nothing else. Maybe some hemp hearts if I’m feeling wild that morning. But, objectively, the pumpkin overnight oats were really good. If you are a normal human and enjoy healthy, delicious flavors in your oatmeal, you will like these.

My favorite smoothie so far is the Blueberry + Hemp one. What can I say, I’m a berry kind of gal.

 

Also, they manage to incorporate kale + spinach without it tasting yucky. That’s a good recipe right there!

Want to try Daily Harvest for yourself? They were kind enough to give me a code to share with y’all: FitApproach will get you THREE free cups!

It’s good, y’all. A great way to (easily!!) spice up your meals, even if your refrigerator needs chasing. 😉

I got to try Daily Harvest for free! #ILoveMyJob . All opinions are my own. If you try it for yourself, I hope you’ll let me know your opinions, too. 🙂