How to Survive the First Three Months with a New Baby.

Hello from beautiful Lake Placid, NY! We are on vacation this week (and my little mind is percolating on multiple blog posts, including putt-putt golf form and Ironman spectating. Be thrilled.), but I am guest posting for Katie over at View From the Fridge! I've offered my five best (?) tips for surviving the first three months with a new baby. 

I draw from the insanity that was the newborn experience around these parts with so many toddlers involved. Utter craziness. Five tips. You can surive. 

Maybe.

So get 'em while the gettins' good! 

Guest Post on View From The Fridge

Free School Supplies, Anyone? It's almost BACK-TO-SCHOOL!

Ok, don't run away at that title! If you're much like me you haven't gotten NEARLY enough fun and sun this summer, so the phrase "back-to-school" is likely to send cold shivers from the tippy top of your sunglasses down to your flip-flopped toes.

Me too, friend, me too!

But, we are only about a month out from the start of a brand new school year with all it's promise and excitement, and I know many of you will head back to school even sooner.

For my teacher friends, that means getting your classrooms together, making those amazing name tags (I mean, when did they teach you to write so nicely? I must have missed that course somewhere), decorating bulletin boards, writing lesson plans, and collecting all the things you'll need to be successful for the year.

And by collecting I mean "buying things out of your own pocket."

Not quite as fun as collecting, is it? For those of us who aren't teachers, did you guys know that each year a teacher can spend up to $1000 of their OWN money on school supplies?

Ouch.

And I'll personally have THREE kiddos in some version of school this year mooching off the teacher for new glue sticks and sharp pencils and food at snack time when their mom forgets to send food (wait, what?).

So with that in mind, I thought I'd share a pretty awesome opportunity for us to help a mother out...and help a teacher out...and help a kid out.

Helps all around!

That's right, Great Clips is teaming up with Adopt a Classroom.org to provide much needed funding to our teachers so they can get supplies without digging into their own wallets. The second best part of this scenario is that YOU can win up to $100 worth of school supplies delivered to your home, and they pick a new winner every day until September 5, 2014!

Just imagine with me, won't you? 

You've gone to the Great Clips site and entered to win the #GreatList contest by uploading your school supply list. 

Then you relax by the pool while someone brings you fruity drinks served in coconuts. All the while someone else is fighting the back-to-school shopping traffic in your minivan, and digging through bins for the write (get it, write?) sized pencil, and waiting in that long line to check-out whilst entertaining your climbing toddlers, and driving your four screaming children home with the loot. Breathe deep. Enjoy your "me" time.

And no, you cannot borrow my husband to shop for you. Or bring you fruity drinks. But you COULD win those supplies and save yourself the hassle and last minute rush.

I've already entered (check my nifty screen shot!).


So what are you waiting for?  Head over to the site, where you can upload your list, download a free Great Clips app to your phone (we've used it for several years and LOVE it for skipping out on the wait. Especially the hubby, who really hates to wait for haircuts with squirming toddlers!), and get your $2 coupon for that back-to-school hair cut too! 

There's a great video on the site showing real teachers getting real classroom makeovers (dare you not to cry). 

AND for each downloaded app, Great Clips donates money to Adopt a Classroom.org.  Every day a new individual winner is picked for those free, shipped-to-your-house-whilst-you-bask-supplies, and then errrrrrrbody wins, y'all. Errbody.

So click here to get started! 

Also, do any of my teacher friends mind to share your stories of collecting resources and supplies for your classroom? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

{A special thanks to Great Clips for this AWESOME program, for supporting our teachers, and for sponsoring this post. You guys rock in so many ways!}

My One-Year Weight Loss Journey: Part 1

If you guys have been around these parts for a while, well, really from the beginning since I've only been at this gig a mere eight months, you'll know that I've been working hard to get healthy again since packing on some serious poundage after baby #4 (Mr. M) and #5 (my dissertation, which should really count as twins...or quads).

Here are some fun (?) phrases that describe how I felt about myself last year, illustrated by hideous pictures. Just scroll on down (like I will) if you can't handle the ugly truth. 

I felt...

...miserable...

...unattractive (even though my husband told me otherwise)...

...frustrated with my wardrobe and how clothing fit me, especially in the mid-section...

...like the camera was my enemy and I had to hide from it...

...unable to enjoy important moments because I was so self-conscious... 

...DONE with hating myself and my strong, capable, baby-producing body.

I started this journey exactly one year ago this month by meeting with a trainer (much love Ms. K!) and getting to work on my fitness level and diet. My first post on the subject showed off those killer not-abs I had going.

Not my finest physical moment in life to date, but I've made some progress since then.

It's been a long year.

I say that because I've gone through quite a few ups and downs in this process. I made some really great progress going into the holiday season, but then the full on winter hibernation mode set in (plus cookies, and cakes and pies, oh my!) and I lost some ground and then went completely scale stagnate. 

Come May I was frustrated--I was stronger than ever but stuck with the weight loss process. Fortunately June brought some happy changes including a new group fitness program (lead by the same trainer and including some great new friends) and I was feeling motivated and excited. Then that whole gluten-free challenge thing went down and really helped me focus on my diet and eating healthfully.

Which brings me to the present, specifically a wedding we attended last weekend (remember those flights?) in which I wore a dress I haven't been in since 2006--and that was the only time I ever wore it because it was really already too tight. 

Wanna see the blurry iPhone pic?

Side note: We packed the good camera to take pics, and I had hoped to get a shot of me to share with you guys, but we literally never took the camera out of the bag a single time on the trip. I blame my four little muses for that one.

Year-long story short, I dropped about 40 pounds this year. That's one Puddins! And let me tell you, that boy is heavy! A three-year-old, people.

I lost a three-year-old!

No, no I didn't lose him, just his body weight. Off my own body.

And more importantly for me, I dropped enough dress sizes to clothe a couple of models--4 dress sizes gone! And half my closet full of clothing. And 3/4 of the clothes in my dresser. I wear only workout clothes now because very few of my other pieces fit. Yes, that's the only reason I look like a slob on the daily. Is it time to go shopping yet?

Ok, I know what you're thinking (perhaps)--"that's all well and good but how did you do it?" So here's the skinny on getting, well, skinnier: 1) Stop putting junk in your face all day everyday, 2) Lift weights and feed your muscles some protein so they'll make little baby muscles, 3) Have cheat meals so you don't lose your ever-loving mind with all the clean eating, 4) Stop making excuses. Like right now, if you have goals to lose weight, then make up your mind and do it.

Cause only you can stop forest fires, or melt fat off your body, or some such. You get the gist.

But that's just part one of my journey. Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon to a screen near you! Or don't, but I kind of like you so, maybe come back?

...Hello?
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