#MotivationMonday : My 9 Week Postpartum Progress



#MotivationMonday

It's time for a progress update & a healthy little self shout out!

Here I am, two & a half weeks into my current program, and I'm celebrating FEELING more like myself..

I'm feeling stronger, less fluffy & a bit more confident in my skin.

Here's the deal 
👇🏻
I'm not doing anything fancy or grueling.

I'm simply sticking to my commitment, doing my best & using tools that work when I do.

Would you believe I've only lost 1 pound & 2 inches between these two photos??

.. the transformation that's happening in my body now is fat loss + muscle gain.

To heck with numbers dictating our progress.

As far as I'm concerned, THIS is progress I'm proud of ðŸ™ŒðŸ»ðŸ™ŒðŸ»

((Current customers >> SEE why I tell you to snap progress photos!?))

So what's my routine?

1. I do a 25 minute program that requires no equipment, minimal space & can be streamed anywhere.

2. I eat balanced. I don't throw in the towel on the weekends. I FILL myself up with legit, tasty food. No calorie counting. No food skimping.

3. I drink something called shakeology every.single.day. It improves my gut health, decreases cravings & is a super convenient//healthy meal

4. I use an app that allows me to track my physical progress & log my daily activity.. it even reminds me when I haven't posted my workout or shake!

That's all.
It's challenging, yet super simple.

I modify often.
I treat myself occasionally.
I have accountability.
I'm getting results the healthy way ðŸ’ƒðŸ»

I might be flexing my core in that second photo on the right, BUT I'm SO encouraged to see definition coming in & muscle mass building.. yall. I HAVE a core to flex again ðŸ’ªðŸ»ðŸ™ŒðŸ»ðŸ˜­

#PostpartumMiracles

Want to know more about how you can get started too?
Email me at lindseykollar@yahoo.com or apply HERE for more info!


Zucchini Lasagna Boat Recipe


I saw a recipe recently, well it was actually just a photo with the recipe title on pinterest, for "Spaghetti Squash Lasagna" & thought I HAD to try it!

But when I went to the store to grab the ingredients, they were out of spaghetti squash. That's where the idea to roll with zucchini came from!

So I never actually read the original recipe...

Often times, I'll see a photo of something & just guess on how I can recreate it.
OR I'll read part of the recipe & decide how to make my own version.
You could say that even a quick parooze on pinterest might just inspire my entire weekly meal plan.

(I'm pretty sure I get that food-creativity from my momma!! She taught me while I was growing up to use what you've got & improvise when you can! She also taught me how to look for great sales & stretch your meals.. super valuable lessons!)

That's actually EXACTLY what happened last week.

I pulled up pinterest - saw photos of the spaghetti squash, stuffed peppers, greek salad & a kale, sweet potato, chicken crock pot recipe - jotted down a rough list & ran to the store within an hour!

Okay, so back to the "recipe."
Since I didn't measure anything, we all have to get a bit creative.

Let's all just agree up front to use our imaginations a bit so you can cater this to your taste/what's in your fridge + be willing to go with your gut to decide when it looks about "right."

Deal?

Zucchini Lasagna Boats

Ingredients:

Zucchini
(grab the largest or widest pieces you can find)
Cottage Cheese
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Egg
Seasonings
(I used Himalayan Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes & Dried Parsley)
A marinara or sauce of your choice

So how many veggies do you buy..

I would say to plan for at least one zucchini for each person.
We each had a half when we were eating it as a "side" with some grilled chicken, but could have eaten more & definitely would have if it was our primary entree.

When I made this "recipe," I was only cooking for the two of us. So keep in mind that my LOOSE directions are for two zucchinis/people.

Directions:

1. Wash the zucchini, cut in half (long ways) & scoop out the middle part to create your "boats"


When I scooped out the seeds, it still wasn't quite wide enough. So I used my knife to widen it up a bit, then followed with a spoon to clean it up.

Not going to lie, it about killed me not to have a purpose for the scooped-out pieces. If you're a SUPER creative person, maybe you can come up with some ideas. Maybe buy a little more zucchini & use the left over parts with it for zucchini bread?? I don't know.. but if you're a #FrugalFelicia too, let me know what you decide to try!

Then, I seasoned my veggies with some himalayan salt + pepper & placed in a dish.
(I sprayed my dish with a little coconut oil)

2. Create your FILLING

This is where you're going to have to eye-ball//go with your gut.

Because I'm totally spit-balling here as I estimate what I used.



First, I grabbed my cottage cheese. Let's say I used a cup & a half to two cups for the two of us. However, I had some extra filling I ended up scooping on top.

Next, I cracked one egg into the cottage cheese.

Then, I sprinkled a palm full of shredded mozzarella in.. I saved a a little for the tops too!

Finally, I seasoned the mixture with himalayan salt, pepper & dried parsley.

Stir this until it's completely mixed together.

3. Fill your boats!


Like I said, I ended up being PRETTY generous with how much I put in mine!! I definitely could have stretched it to share with a third zucchini.

4. Top with a marinara or sauce of your choice & sprinkle with a little more shredded mozzarella cheese


I personally used a DELICIOUS mushroom marina that I got one sale (BOGO at publix!). You could use anything though, depending on your tastes. Something plain, spicy, with meat, etc!

5. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 30 minutes.
Then, for uncovered for another 30 minutes OR until zucchini is fork tender & the top is golden brown!


Seriously, it's THAT easy!!
And gosh - it tastes great, is inexpensive to make, is healthy & can be tailored to your tastes!

You could totally prep several of these for extra meals during the week OR this would be an easy meal to prepare if you have several guests coming over!

I already have a few variations in mind to try with this "recipe" in the future:

1. I'd love to add some sautéed spinach and/or mushrooms to the cottage cheese mixture!
2. I'd love to try mixing in either a browned meat (turkey or grass-fed beef) OR some chopped veggies (like onion, grape tomatoes or mushrooms) into the marinara on top!

I have no doubt that this SAME concussion could easily fill yellow squash, large tomatoes, spaghetti squash, portobello mushrooms OR be a tasty topping with egg plant! You could even slice any of those veggies in a way that would allow you to make more of a traditional, layered veggie lasagna!

Be sure to let me know if you try any variations of this recipe that turn out extra tasty.

Bon Appetite!
{be sure to SHARE this recipe with your friends!}



Motherhood is straight Gangster


When I took this photo & wrote this post, I was four weeks into postpartum life with a newborn.. I hope it speaks to someone who is in this season! You're not alone, sweet momma!!

"Attempt #5 this week at my to-do list ðŸ–ðŸ»

Please continue to be patient and give me grace y'all as I learn to balance life with my business + social media ðŸ’•

Okay...now I'm going to be super honest for a minute.

You know I can't help but keep it real and I feel like I owe it to all my friends who are soon to be moms or those who have recently had babes not to hold back in parenting.

I'm pretty new in this mom world, so I'm NOT going to try to act like I have it all figured out or that I understand all of the pains of motherhood.
While this is the most >>incredible<< love that I could have ever ever imagined, this is by far the hardest season of my life.

So many pieces of being a mother are natural -- because I really believe God created us to do this. 
That's the whole reason I was so passionate about a healthy pregnancy, natural delivery & breastfeeding. I KNOW God made me for this.

But sooooo much of it is also learned through failure, frustration, endless googling & countless tears.

Before Raegan Grace was born..
I anticipated a challenge.
I anticipated some tears.
I anticipated having to eventually ask for help.
And I anticipated life adjusting for this sweet baby.


I honestly wasn't prepared though for exactly how hard, draining and lonely even this can be.

People unfortunately don't share all of the dark and dirty corners of raising a newborn.

Part of that is probably because everyone's story and journey is different, but I wonder if another part of it comes from a place of feeling *guilty* to admit their feelings. Especially when you have a "difficult" baby.

There have been so many moments I've had to put this sweet girl down and walk away with my face in my hands feeling so frustrated.. having to let her scream in her crib.

These moments are followed about 30 seconds to 5 minutes later with me walking back to her with open arms & in tears, feeling absolutely terrible for how I could get upset with this precious bundle.

Then it's back to endless kisses, stares & snuggles.

What a WHIRLWIND!

How could I be SO frustrated & so in love and HAPPY at all once!?

Am I a bad mom?
Is something wrong with me??


I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no.

I've told many friends this before, but taking your own advice is hard sometimes right!?

So are things going to change.
Eh, I'm guessing no.


I see this journey evolving into a different version of THESE feelings as RG grows & goes through different stages of life - and therefore, different hardships//learning curves.

That could be hopeless if we let it be. But heres what I'm holding onto..

I think.. no, I KNOW I'll learn how to lean on the Lord more. How to continually find joy. Learning I let things go. When to give myself grace. How to exercise patience. Keeping myself a priority for my family. And knowing when I need to fill back up each day.

Motherhood is straight gangster.
But I'd choose it over & over again.


Sweet girl.
How about we give each other grace.
And keep learning together.
You are more precious to me than gold.
I love you to the moon & back, RaeRae!!!"






Our {natural} Birth Story: Part Two




Our Birth Story: Part Two


(This part is LONG, because I didn't want to leave anything out!)


... When we arrived around 9:15pm, we signed in (doing paperwork sure was interesting that far into labor) & went to triage so I could be checked to see how far I had progressed at home.


At that point, I was 5 centimeters dilated & 80%. I remember thinking, "only 5?" & feeling bummed because I have friends who stayed stuck at that point for a LONG time. I got over it quickly though & refocused on breathing through my surges & letting gravity work with my body.

They moved us to a room where I saw the midwife, got a hep-lock put in (no fluids though, just a port for safety) & they checked baby girl's heart rate. I shared my birth plan with the nurse & they decided to basically let us do our own thing, checking back periodically.

The midwife had decided, when she heard my timeline, that I must be progressing about a centimeter an hour & recommended we move to a room with a tub so I could labor more comfortably for the next, what she thought would be, several hours.

Once we moved rooms, I posted up on the bed.


We adjusted the back of the bed completely upright and I got onto my knees & held onto the side rails. From here, I would sink down onto my heels or rest my head on the back in between surges; and then I would sit back up on my knees during each surge. I was having some serious back & leg labor!!

Nate began filling up the tub & I decided to stand by the sink for a while, rocking back & forth. I drank water & apple juice to keep my energy up because the pressure was getting SO intense as she moved down that it felt like my legs would give out during surges. At this point, I also started having to fight the urge to puke - I knew from my reading that this was a sign of transition. The end was near.. I decided to be encouraged & somehow strengthened by it!
(PLUG to be educated on how your body works during labor so you know what to expect!!
SO SO helpful!)

About an hour & a half after my initial check/assessment, I told the nurse she should check me again because I was convinced I was progressing quickly. Sure enough, I was 8 centimeters. And they, the nurse & midwife, decided this was going to be a much quicker process than they anticipated!

I decided at that point to go ahead and try getting in the tub.


I labored there on my knees for a very short period of time. For some reason, the water made the pressure I was feeling MUCH more intense instead of easing things like the midwife thought it would. I got out & asked to be checked again because the pressure was feeling unbearable during the peaks of my surges - I was 9 centimeters & 90% thinned.

Back on the bed & on my knees, the nurse checked baby girl's heart rate. She noticed that it was dropping to a concerning level & the midwife suggested I try another position to see if it helped. She had me lay on my side, which helped with the heart rate issue, but was SO much less comfortable for me. I literally have no clue how women labor and birth laying down/on their backs! I told her the pressure was INTENSE and starting to change. I felt like I needed to start pushing. She said to do my thing & work with my surges to work her head down a little more. My midwife literally sat back in her chair with her arms crossed and watched me work. She completely trusted my body & let Nate continue to coach me.

After about 15 minutes of pushing, she said it was GO time & that the head was crowning. She had the nurse give me oxygen to maximize my surges & I gave it my ALL. Breathing & pushing like my life depended on it. Chin down, jaw open, grunting like a cave woman & fully giving into my body.

Nate kept saying how close I was & that our girl was about to be here. He was so encouraging!! About 15 minutes later, I gave a final push & she was HERE.

The midwife caught her & handed her to me right away. I'll never forget the utter disbelief of her being OURS. Seeing her the first time & feeling connected in a WHOLE new way!

Unfortunately, she wasn't responding like they needed her to with her breathing - she was born with the cord wrapped around her neck and body. This explained her heart rate dropped as she descended while I labored upright. They had Nate quickly cut the cord & took her to start stimulating her.

Before I knew it, the NICU team was in the room getting ready to transfer her, while the original nursing staff finished her APGAR testing.

They told me they would have to take her for the next several hours - no bonding, no skin to skin, no immediate nursing, no delayed cord clamping. Delivery had gone SO wonderfully, all of my wishes followed. But sadly, our immediate bonding time just couldn't happen, which was a little heart breaking. But in that moment, ALL I cared about though was making sure she was okay. So I sent Nate with her & started prepping to deliver the placenta.

My mom came back to keep me company while Nate was gone & I filled her in on the details of baby girl. Within minutes we got news that she was coming back! They regulated her breathing without the help of a machine so no additional monitoring was needed. PRAISE THE LORD. She was going to be in my arms again soon!

The midwife then informed me that the placenta wasn't budging - I wasn't contracting enough, probably in part because we hadn't been able to nurse yet. She gave me the option of a procedure to remove it or a pitocin drip. Although I did NOT want meds during my delivery, I opted for the drip so I could knock out the afterbirth process. Within a short time, it was out & baby girl arrived back in the room!!

They laid her on my chest for skin to skin & she latched onto my breast right away! Feeling her against my skin.. looking at her face.. watching her breathe.. gosh, that took my breath away.




I had a daughter.
She was safe in my arms.
Nate & I were parents.
My world was complete.

Thank you, Jesus!!
__________________________________

I want to wrap this up by saying how GRATEFUL I am that we were able to stick to our natural birth plan - it was the most incredible, HARD, empowering & rewarding experience of my life.

Even moreso, I want to offer HUGE praise to the Lord, who had his hands of protection over our sweet girl. Although we weren't able to have immediate skin to skin/nursing or delayed cord clamping, it was still perfect. Baby girl's birth was the experience of a lifetime & our sweet baby had arrived safely!!

Tuesday night, the 13th, into Wednesday morning, the 14th, was the hardest but most empowering experience I've EVER had. I'm so proud to have had the opportunity to go through every moment with Nate. He was my rock!!! Literally breathing with me, coaching me through each phase of labor, trusting my body & reminding me to stay focused on the end goal.

I could talk now about what helped me throughout the process & share some tips with some of my expecting friends, but I'm saving that for another time & another blog post (COMING SOON).

So thank you to everyone who prayed for us. Prayer is POWERFUL & I believe they truly made a difference in our delivery!


Our {natural} Birth Story: Part One


Remember this photo from my Week 40 BUMP DATE?

 This moment is what started our journey to baby Rae's arrival!

For those of you who don't follow me on social media, our sweet girl was named Reagan Grace! Feel free to friend me here!

Our Birth Story: Part One

Tuesday morning, June 13th, I went in for my 40 week + 2 day appointment.

I checked in.
Left a urine sample.
Then went back for an NST.

Nate had to sit outside the door because two other gals were also sitting in the divided room on heart rate//contraction monitors next to me.

I sat there for 25-30 minutes on my phone while I watched my braxton hicks on the monitor. I remember thinking that baby girl must be sleeping because she didn't seem to be moving as much as normal.

My midwife popped in about halfway through the test to say that things looked great & that I was having regular contractions! I told her they weren't painful & the frequency was probably because I needed to drink more water & pee again 
(little did I know). She said that she would see me in an exam room in a few minutes.

A nurse popped in to unhook me, wipe my belly off & walk me back to see my midwife. As I stood up to pull my shirt down, I felt a H U G E gush in my pants of warm pee.. or was it?

Hahaha, I bet the look on my face was priceless!

I shockingly looked up to tell the nurse I either peed my pants or that.. *another gush* my water just broke.

Yep.
I instantly knew it.

MY WATER BROKE.
My heart started beating fast with SO much excitement!!
I immediately walked out the door to Nate sitting against the wall with huge eyes because he was able to overhear the conversation between the nurse & I behind the cracked door.

I flash him a surprised smile & waddled quickly in my soaked pants to the closest bathroom.

The flow didn't stop - there was NO doubt in my mind what had happened - but the nurse said to come on back so they could make sure.

As I sat on the table, where I snapped this photo, with water flowing down my legs, I looked at Nate in silent disbelief & we laughed.

I wanted SO badly my whole pregnancy to experience my water breaking, but knew that doesn't happen for most people until they're in labor, and often it's done for them.

Gosh, I felt so blessed already in my labor experience!
It all truly felt like a gift..
Sure enough, the midwife confirmed before she even gave me a formal exam. She asked if I wanted to be checked, which I had opted out of completely thus far, & I said sure!

(people say it's PAINFUL to be checked, but if you go in very relaxed or excited in my case & don't dread it, it's not bad at all! I only decided to get checked ONLY since my water broke in the office. I truly feel like it's un-necessary since those numbers in NO way dictate a timeline of labor.)

I was 1 centimeter dilated & 70% at 9:45am.

She mentioned I'd probably be in active labor within 12-24 hours. I told her I planned to go home & labor until my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, as we had discussed previously from my birth plan, & she sent us on our way!

I came home & decided to workout, incase it could speed things up.




So I did a 45 minute strength training workout, but my braxton hicks still didn't change in frequency or pain.

I took a shower.
Walked a little.
Helped Nate put together the pack n play.
Then we went for a quick lunch.



The whole time, we kept saying how crazy it was to literally know that our girl was on the way!!

After lunch we came home from lunch & I mentioned that we should try for a quick nap to be rested up. I slept for about 30 minutes & woke up to some LEGIT contractions.

The contractions quickly went from painless braxton hicks to full fledged labor, about 5 minutes apart. We're still trying to decide if my body went from 0-60 or if I have a high pain tolerance & never fully felt that early stage of labor.

I used the breathing techniques from my Hypnobirthing book (HIGHLY recommended read for my natural mommas!) & labored on my hands and knees in our bedroom or walking the main living area of our house for a few hours.

Nate had detailed notes from his reading for each stage of labor, helping remind me of what was to come & giving several massages when my surges came on. I remember him saying, "I think we're way further along & totally skipped the first page of my notes!"

My mom came to the house & we decided shortly after, around 8:45pm, to head to the hospital when my contractions were averaging 2 minutes & 15 seconds apart with lots of pressure.

We hopped in the car & I sat on my knees in the floor of the back seat area, continuing to breathe through each contraction.

Then we arrived at the hospital...

Ready for part two?
#BabyRaeGhoens



Growing Ghoens: Week 40 Bump Date


We made it to FORTY WEEKS!!

(although clearly I'm writing this AFTER you were born.. but I'll take everyone up to our finallllllll day of you in my belly & THEN I'll share your beautiful birth story!!)

How does it feel like SO long ago, but just yesterday that you were the size of a blueberry in my belly??

Pregnancy, growing a HUMAN, is seriously the most incredible thing I've ever done.. well, besides birthing you!

I've said it so many times, but I'll say it again.
I'm going to miss this experience.
Feeling you grow & develop inside of me has been the greatest gift!
Thank you, Lord for this!!


Sunday, June 11th, was your due date.
___________________________________

We got up, got ready & went to church. Our small group prayed over us & wished us "luck" heading into the week, hoping that the next time they heard from us that we'd be a family of three.

Monday, June 12th, we were 40 + 2.
___________________________________

Your Aunt Tecia was in town for a family beach trip, so I met her & your MiMi for brunch & then went to sit on the beach for a few hours. After that, I came home to workout!!




Tuesday, June 13th, we were 40 + 3.
___________________________________

This was the day of my 40 week appointment with the midwife. I went in for an NST, which is a non-stress test. Basically, the midwife wanted to check on you & I in a very non-invasive way.

They sat me in a recliner for 25 minutes to monitor your heart rate, any movements & potential contractions.

Let's just say your activity was more than I thought.

And when I STOOD up after it was over..

What a SURPRISE!!

My water broke..


Coming SOON!!

Our birth story.





Growing Ghoens: Week 39 Bump Date



39 Weeks.. I keep thinking, "could this be the week?!"

My belly is the size of a watermelon, baby girl.
What size does that mean YOU are??
Hopefully smaller than that!! HA

We are PRAYING praying for a healthy arrival very soon!! I don't think I've ever been more ready for something in my entire life!!

___________________________________

Mommy's accountability partners, who have been praying for you so fervently, especially can't wait to meet you. They coordinated a little gift card shower for us from our the small group at church! So so thoughtful + helpful!!


Thank you, Hollen & Taylor.
We love you!


Mommy had a little sign happen like week that means you might REALLY be making your appearance anytime now. So your dad & I have gotten creative with things to try to see if it'll help you come see us asap!!

Just to name a couple (& keep it PG.. HA), we tried:

Thai Food
A a 9 mile bike ride at your Mimi & Papa's house
Even a pedicure.. shucks right?? :P
(I heard they sometimes hit labor inducing pressure points!!)



 I keep snapping photos of my belly every day to see if it & YOU are dropping!

#BellyTracking

Your movements are so fun & so BIG.
I think I can feel you getting into position to come see us.

Gosh, I'm going to MISS having you close to me in this way..


Your dad has been SO helpful.. making sure I'm fed, trying to keep me distracted from obsessing over when you're coming & helping me practice breathing/stretches for your birth! I'm beyond blessed to have him.. & so are you!

You still seem to share my DEEP love for breakfast food.. because we seem to somehow be eating it even MORE now!!

You might just come out of the womb asking for protein pancakes, turkey bacon & yogurt bowls :)

We're alssssooooooo experiencing a slightly less healthy hankering for Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Let's hope you don't have my sweet tooth!!


So what does the week before your due date look like?

Well.. it looks like lots of healthy food, lots of exercise & lots of rest.

I've been a bit LOW on energy during workouts, partially from OBSESSIVELY cleaning & because moving this belly around ain't easy anymore, so I started drinking a little natural, plant-based energy booster (aka "energize") to help me out. 

I have a feeling this stuff will be GOLD when we're in the sleep trenches of figuring you out & not getting any sleep :)


 Our sweet neighbors invited us to relax by their pool, so mama took them up on it finally!!

Putting on a bathing suit at 39 weeks pregnant sure was an adventure.


I wonder if your fur sisters know you're coming soon!!
Tannyn, the spotted one, has been extra snuggly with you & I lately.



I ordered them some fresh flowers for their collars before you meet them - they want to be spiffy for their baby sister's homecoming!!

Speaking of that, our plan is to bring home some of your hospital blankets for them to smell & sleep with before they officially meet you.

I wonder what that will be like!?!

We're all ready, baby girl!



 I just can't stop thinking about your arrival, peanut.

We pray for you multiple times a day.
We imagine seeing you the first time.
Holding you & kissing you.
What will you look like?
(besides your dad's twin, I'm sure)
What will your NAME finally be?
So many questions!!


Come soon, sweet thing.. mama's ready!