Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Joys of Motherhood & Pumpkin Cookie Recipe

Everyone said being a mom would be amazing, and that it would be hard.  Or maybe they said it would be amazingly hard.  I can’t recall.  I’m too sleep deprived.  Kidding (sort of!).  Either way, they were definitely right. 

Emma is a little over two months old, and she’s smiling with an adorable toothless grin that makes me feel a little like I’ve won the lottery.  The first two weeks were tough and things have gotten progressively easier on many levels.

Emma's First Boat Ride with Mom and Dad (it was obviously way too bright for her out there!)

Long before I had Emma, I was dead set in favor of breastfeeding.  Once again, everyone told me that it would be very difficult.  They were also correct!  It was painful, seemed to extend right from one session to the next and made me question my decision multiple times.  With plenty of support from Kyle, family and friends, Emma and I stuck it out and we’ve managed to find our groove.  It’s still not easy, but it certainly is easier than it was those first 3-4 weeks.  The biggest issue continues to be time.  Emma is not a fast eater.  While this will be great later on to make sure she takes her time and enjoys food, right now, it’s tough for a new mother who is working two jobs and finishing graduate school.  The type of work I do (teaching at our local university, Clarion, and coaching/nutrition counseling with my business Fuel Your Passion), required a quick transition.  Although I would have liked to have a little more time without the additional stresses that come with those other commitments, it was not to be!  I spent months before Emma was born preparing for teaching and working ahead with coaching, so that I didn’t lose my mind completely in August.  With that said, I’ve still had to become the queen of efficiency this fall, and it certainly hasn’t been without a few breakdowns, tears and lost sleep!  Thank heavens for understanding husbands!!  I’ve learned to breastfeed while doing other things so that the 5,452 minutes I spent breastfeeding in August (yes, that is how many actual minutes, I have an app to track my times) would be wonderful bonding time, but also semi-productive. 

Things I have done while breastfeeding (not a comprehensive list):
-         Folded laundry
-          Typed emails (one handed – I apologize for all those who have suffered through my lower case, non-grammatically correct messes)
-          Eaten a hamburger
-          Read my graduate school books
-          Prepared for teaching
-          Talked to athletes on the phone
-          Listened to webinars
-          Graded papers
-          Assessed athlete workouts

I’ve spent plenty of time just purely hanging with her, reading to her and rubbing her back softly.  I love our time together and as hard as some of it has been, I’ll actually miss it (a little) when I reach my breastfeeding goal of six months.

One Month Photos.  I entitle this "What everyone THINKS motherhood should look like"

What motherhood actually looks like!
In the meantime, I was able to start exercising (and I use that term loosely) around the six-week mark and it has made me feel more like my old self!  I was walking short distances prior to that point, so that made it easier to start back into a walk-run program where I run for two minutes and walk for one.  Then I gradually kept increasing the run to walk time until I was finally able to run for twenty continuous minutes – SUCCESS!   I jumped into a 10k, which probably wasn’t one of my smartest ideas, about a week after getting clearance when I had yet to run more than 2 miles continuously.  I convinced myself I was going to “run for fun,” but the moment I got to two miles, I started pushing myself since it’s been over a year since I got to unleash my competitive gene.  There might have been a little too much stored up in there to really be trusted that I was going to just run to finish.  I ended up feeling a little like I might keel over in the final miles and wishing that I had made a different decision.  When I was barely able to walk the next day, I might have given myself a little talking to about going beyond my abilities!  I’m a coach, I should know better!  Either way, it was so fun to have my Aunt Carol there to watch Emma and hang out with both of them at the finish line. 

We’ve also been doing some fall baking when we have time and I’ve been thankful to be able to include Ultragrain® to make sure we are getting some whole grains in our diet.  It’s fun to see recipes that are favorites transformed into something a little better for you by adding fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (big word for good-for-you stuff). 

Here’s a little video and recipe for my Pumpkin Cookies that you will definitely want to try this fall if you’ve been loving everything pumpkin!   Make sure you let me know if you make them and what you think. 

Pumpkin Cookies
1 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
2 cups Ultragrain® White Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
Cream shortening, sugar and pumpkin. Add eggs, mixing well.  Add dry ingredients.  Spoon onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
4 Tbsp. milk
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar*
¾ tsp. vanilla
*for more spreadable frosting, add more powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency
Cook butter, milk and brown sugar until dissolved.  Cool and add powdered sugar and vanilla. 

Disclaimer:  I am sponsored by Ultragrain by Ardent Mills and receive free product and compensation.  The opinions in this blog are my own.  Thank you for supporting the great companies that support athletes/dietitians/moms like me! 

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