Tough Decision

Posted: August 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I have recently come to a tough decision. I hesitated to blog about because it’s a personal matter that I honestly anticipated receiving judgment over. Probably because any remotely attacking negative comment I have received on this blog has related to my mothering. Talk about a dagger to the heart.

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I don’t know why I receive more negative comments about my parenting – how quickly I went back to blogging after Braedon, sharing pictures of my kids, “undeniably giving M an eating disorder when she grows up”, etc. I faced uncertainty posting this decision because I didn’t want to to be told in a round about way I had given up too easily or could have done more for my child.

While not all of you may relate, I know some can and that in itself warrants me stepping out on the limb. For the past month, I have officially been weaning Baby B from breastfeeding and plan to fully stop within the next month. I know I don’t have to “justify” myself, but I still want to express the why in case any of the many future mommies (or current mommies) who read this blog have faced or will face the same.

Why I’m Deciding To Stop Nursing

  • I couldn’t keep up! The hungry boy needed more than my body could give him and I found myself having to supplement at least 50% of his feedings with formula all the time. It gets old to nurse, then prep a bottle, then feed again, etc. with another child to care for a as well.
  • Milk stimulation wasn’t working. I took Fenugreek like it was my job, drank more water than my bladder could handle, pumped more, and many other tips. Nothing worked. Around the same time after Makenzie my supply decreased suddenly and dramatically. I spent 6 weeks fighting it without results. Now facing the same situation, I refuse to stress myself out like that again.
  • Braedon wouldn’t nurse. As he gets older, he becomes more interested in exploring rather than nursing. He simply will not stay on the boob to eat! Then, when he would eat he would attack me with biting, kicking, clawing and pulling on the nips. Not so fun. Or effective. So I turned to pumping and giving him bottles…but that just decreased my supply even more.

It’s hard to give up that special bond and know that I would personally prefer him to drink solely breast milk, but it just isn’t happening anymore. I am NOT asking for tips. I know 99% of them. I have tried 100% of those. I did not take this decision lightly and being told “oh, you should have tried this” will leave me feeling like I didn’t do enough. I adored every moment I had with my little B in this way, but I also promised myself I would not stress if I encountered the same things as I did with Makenzie and had to stop before a year again.

I embrace this change because I know it suits me and my family. I have bags of frozen peas on standby to ice sore, weaning tatas should I find the need. Although, honestly, my supply has gotten that bad that even after dropping another feeding yesterday I felt nothing. So…I guess say goodbye to the milk jugs and hello to the itty bitty titty committee. I hope I get a warm welcome. Winking smile 

  • Do you receive negative feedback or judgment (on the blog or in everyday life) more readily in a particular area? What?
  • What type of unsolicited advice do you hate to receive? I hate getting unsolicited parenting advice. I do what works for my family and if I need help, guidance, or support – let me ask!

***Look for an announcement with the Love Grown Giveaway winner tonight!!!***

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148 Comments to “Tough Decision”
  1. Wow. I’m taken aback that anyone would say that! I haven’t really gotten any negative feedback yet, but I know it’s coming. I’m sorry any comments have upset you. At least you know deep down that they’re trivial and just plain rude. Try to shake ’em as best you can!

  2. I am not a mother yet so this was a very helpful post! When the time comes, I won’t stress either knowing I’m not alone. I’m already stressing to think about how I’ll have to leave my desk an go pump in the “milking room” at work on another floor. I was a bottle baby and I’m happy and healthy!

  3. Breastfeeding is NOT EASY and I wish more people would come out and talk about how hard it is, like you are. My mother apparently had serious issues breastfeeding me but was so isolated because nobody would talk about the negative side, only all the benefits. So thank you for talking about this because I hope other women will read this and realize they aren’t alone in their troubles.

    If anybody gives you )&*(%^*$ about this, tell them that it’s a bit rude to tell a woman what to do with her breasts.

    I get judged all the time…try telling people you aren’t planning on having kids. They always, always tell me that I’ll change my mind. Thanks, folks.

    • Tina says:

      What is it with people thinking they can judge decisions around kids – having them, what to do with them, etc… Ugh.

      thanks for the support, Victoria!! 🙂

  4. Sorry to hear you get negative comments about your parenting Tina — I don’t have kids and I know next to nothing about breastfeeding so I don’t really know where you’re coming from. I’m glad you’ve explored different ways of increasing your milk supply, but you need to do what is best for you and your family.

    Ever since Jason lost his job in April I have gotten more and more people telling us what we need to do — where to look for jobs, what he should be doing each day, etc. He is doing what he can and it is more than enough. I recognize people are coming from a good place and are trying to help, but instead they are doing the opposite of what they are trying to accomplish.

  5. Holly says:

    I really admire your honesty, especially when you’ve been criticized before! Of course only you and your family will know what’s best for you guys and if something isn’t working out, it’s ridiculous to keep trying to make it work. I’ve never had kids so I can’t personally relate, but I know that I never even think twice about someone using formula over breast milk. None of my concern or anyone else’s for that matter. Formula is there for a reason. When my niece was born, she wouldn’t even drink breast milk, she only liked formula so needless to say breast feeding didn’t last very long for her!

  6. I am not a mother, but I don’t understand why people would feel the need to criticize your parenting or try to give you advice. You’re clearly not asking for criticism or advice. But I guess that’s what happens when you put yourself out there. Just stay strong and positive, you are a great mommy!

  7. Holly says:

    I am sorry that people have been negative of your mothering. Unfortunately those who should be helping each other are often the first to judge. I have not been immune to judging either, but I am more away and try to stop now. Both of my girls and my nipples never got the hang of nursing and I never had a good supply. They each got a months worth of my milk/formula and than it was full formula. They are 4.5 and 2.5 and are smart and have very strong immune systems.

    PLEASE DON’T LISTEN TO NEGATIVE PEOPLE!! You are doing what is best for the 2 of you and that is all that matters. Maybe those that judge are just offering advice but they don’t know how to say it without being hurtful.

    Good luck, I got an abscess and that was worse than giving birth!! (Totally not trying to scare you)

    • Tina says:

      That is true. Sometimes its advice that just comes across in not the best way. And also so true that a kid can be formula fed and be just as healthy as one that is breastfed. Every mother and family has to do what works for them! 🙂

  8. Carly says:

    People can criticize all they way, but you do what’s best for YOU and YOUR son! I know mom’s who quit after 4 months because their kids wouldn’t take it any more. As always, your honesty is appreciated 🙂 I plan to breast feed when I have children, but who knows what obstacles I may face????

  9. It sounds like to me you made the right decision for both you and Baby B. If it was a struggle for both of you, it seems to me that the time was right. I’m proud of you for having the courage to make such a tough decision and for being able to make what sounds like absolutely the right one for you and your baby boy. Team Tina! We <3 u. Boo on haters!

  10. Susan says:

    Ha, I was JUST thinking about this topic today (not breastfeeding, but advice/feedback on decisions). Ever since my diagnosis, I have people telling me aaaalllll the time that I need to try certain therapies, foods, exercises, etc. I know they come from a good place, but some people are so blinded by themselves, they forget that others have their own individual paths they need to take. There is no #1 way to do ANYTHING in the world. From breastfeeding to losing weight to overcoming cancer. I will always be open to suggestions and learning new things, but at the same time, when my mind is made up, it’s made up. That includes ignoring advice that acupuncture will diminish my pain more than painkillers, and that drinking juice everyday will make the cancer go away. Only you know your situation and only you can make the decisions that are best for you and your family 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Oy. I can’t even begin to imagine all the “tips” you get all the time. My head would spin and I would spend half my days biting my tongue I bet.

  11. Chelsea says:

    That makes me sick that people have the nerve to attack your mothering skills or post anything negative for that matter!

    You out-nursed so many out there and nursed through the critical points in his life, and if it’s not working anymore, it’s not working anymore. The fact that he is exploring probably simply means that he is maturing faster than average and is ready to start eating regular foods sooner than normal.

    You don’t have to justify your decision! It’s between you and Baby B! Obviously you know what is best for you and your son!

    You are a fabulous mother and shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Only God determines your competence…don’t let yourself or anyone else do it. Your children are so blessed!

  12. I can’t believe that most of the negative comments you receive is about being a Mom. That’s the biggest joke I’ve ever heard! I’m not going to even stand up and tell you why your such a great Mom, because you already know that 🙂 I think people really need to mind their own business and ONLY give advice if it’s ASKED! Keep doing what your doing, cause it’s working for you and your amazing family! Stay Strong Tina! I’m still keeping your Mom in my prayer, I hope she’s doing well!

  13. Diane says:

    I had to give up nursing Drew earlier than I wanted for similar reasons. Keeping up a supply was difficult. It had become incredibly stressful and Drew was just NOT interested, making keeping up the supply that much harder. I also felt horribly guilty about “quitting” (as I viewed it) and like I needed to justify my decision, but in the end I realized that “mom knows best”. It was the right time because we decided it was the right time. What was initially one of the things I truly loved had become horribly stressful, for BOTH of us. Giving up that stress was so much better for our lives than trying to make something work that just wasn’t. I still miss those intimate moments, and I’d love to think Drew got breast milk for a full year, but I know he got it for the majority of that year and that by making things easier we have time for other intimate, FUN moments!

    • Tina says:

      That is such a great point, Diane. About it becoming stressful over intimate and being able to have better bonding in other ways when it turns that way. Thanks, friend! 🙂

  14. Runblondie26 says:

    Oh girl, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Breastfeeding is hard, hard work.

    I exclusively pumped for the first 3 months since we had latching issues. That was all I could take. Honestly I don’t even know if I’ll try the next time around. It was so stressful, and I felt like I *had* to make it work.

    You’ve done a great job making it so far.

  15. Amy Lauren says:

    Sorry about all those negative comments people are giving you. I’ve gotten a few comments (obviously I’m not a mom, so they haven’t been about that), and it made me moderate comments on my blog. Now, once a person has an approved comment theirs automatically post, but it keeps out the spam and the rude stuff.

    I admire your honesty… and really, people just need to keep their mouths shut about your parenting (and anyone else’s parenting unless the child is in actual danger, etc). They’re not in your shoes raising your kids- you are. And you’re their mom and know what’s best for them, you, and your family.

    On a happy note, I love that picture at the top :).

  16. Kara says:

    Hi Tina,

    I faced a lot of the same challenges as you described in your post which led me to wean my babe far before I intended. I’m really glad you did blog about it though, I’m sure many Mom’s can relate!

  17. Rebecca says:

    You’re a great mom! Why anyone would criticize you is beyond me. You have to do what works for you. If B and your body are no longer cooperating, then you go right ahead and stop nursing. I’m not a parent (don’t plan to be for a while), but from what I know about nursing, it can get difficult. You’re totally fine to stop if it’s not working out as well anymore!

    I doubt my mom breast fed me just because I was so small and needed to stay in the hospital so much. Not sure about my sister. We might both have been bottle-babies! And we’ve turned out okay… Heh.

  18. Brooke says:

    Sounds like you are making the right decision for both you and your little man. BOO haters!

  19. I give you a lot of credit for talking about this! When I posted about breastfeeding I got a lot of back lash and people took my words in a completely other direction..where I was not going. Such a sensitive topic! You are so brave.

    It’s YOUR baby and YOU know what’s best for you and him. I don’t doubt that in an ideal world B would get 100% breast milk. It is so hard. I have had some struggles with it, that I decided not to share for the same reason as you. Luckily, lately, the pumping after I feed trick built up my supply. I have been WAITING to finally get E on food because she is so hungry. It is so much to keep up and pump and so on. I am happy that I am still doing it but there were a few weeks that, lets just say, I couldn’t keep up and had to go for other options.

    Lots of love to you. Hopefully you can brush off any back lash…but hope you don’t get any. It’s your space! You life! your family! xxoo

  20. Coco says:

    I admire you for addressing this and am sure that there are people who will think that you should try harder/better/longer, but it is not their body, their baby, or their decision. I mean seriously, what could be a more personal issue??

    I was lucky to be able to breast feed both my kids for a long too (maybe “too long” for my daugther, since she wasn’t fully weaned until she was a toddler) but I have friends who only managed fora few weeks or even not at all. I can tell you that 20 years later you can’t tell the difference! 😉

    (((hugs))) and enjoy reclaiming your boobies — although I bet your husband already is looking forward to his turn. 😉

  21. Cindy says:

    I say kudos to you for nursing as long as you have! For as much as I love the online community…sometimes it goes a bit far. People need to mind their business. I was not able to nurse at ALL, and did got some online flak about it. I’m proud of you for doing what’s right for you AND your family. <3

  22. Kara says:

    Silver lining is that I noticed a HUGE energy boost after I stopped nursing and my running got a lot faster. Maybe the same will happen to you?

    No one should give you crap for stopping breastfeeding, but if someone from MD does, I will personally drive to their house and flick them in the nose for being a horrible person. 🙂

  23. Lisa says:

    OMG. I cannot beleive some of those comments you’ve been receiving! That is absolutely terrible and unfortunate.

    The one regarding your daughter developing an eating disorder–are you kidding me? Your daughter will most likely have the most normal relationship with food, because you know how to have one and how to stop those negative thoughts! That is absolutely ridiculous! You are a wonderful mother and your children are so so lucky! Anyone out there who says such negative things should really evalulate who they are!

  24. I’m not a mother and don’t plan to be for some time, so I don’t have any experience in this realm, but I do believe parenting is a very individualistic experience.

    You have to do whatever is best for and your child, regardless of what others might think. Those people who leave negative comments don’t know anything about you or your child’s needs. Your kids are so precious and seem very happy, so you do whatever is best for you and your family because haters are going to hate no matter what.

  25. You are an amazing mother, and you are so right to listen to your body and make a dexision that’s best for you and baby B.

    I hate getting unsolicited advice that’s given mainly because of my age. I am younger than most people I know or hang out with (I was young in school and graduated college early), and when I get the condescending advice because obviously I am too young to get it, it makes me crazy.

  26. Khushboo says:

    I am not a mother but I do know how it irritating it can be to received unsolicited “advice”! I HATE when people comment on what I’m eating- I enjoy it, I don’t criticise your hydrogenated fat-filled foods so lay off mine…please and thank you very much! GRRR

  27. Syl says:

    opinions on breastfeeding are one of my biggest pet peeves. People tend to judge and give their opinion out of their own experiences and tend to not even think for a moment that their experience is completely different from someone elses.

    Even though people make out breastfeeding to be such a “natural” thing it certainly is not. It doesn’t always go as planned and there are things that are out of our control.

    I tried, it didn’t work I moved on…and by my second I learned that other peoples opinions do not matter on the subject because they most certainly don’t know the background to it.

    I commend you for doing what is right for not only your family but yourself.

    I also have a “crazy” method for you to try when your milk starts drying up and it gets painful, you’re gonna think I’m nuts but it works ;-).

    Buy a head of cabbage and put it in the fridge. Apply to leaves to breasts as needed..I use to just put the cabbage in my bra. It works wonders and provides relief…really ;-).

    Love your blog and love your honesty.

  28. Maria says:

    All I have to say to this is: you are a wonderful mother and don’t let anyone else make you feel otherwise. I know when the time comes to have my own little ones, I will be flooding your inbox with questions!

    Oh and that photos of the kiddos – darling!

  29. I completely understand… I had to make the same decision about a month ago and I don’t think people realize how hard it is. The emotions and feelings are overwhelming. I appreciate you sharing this so others can relate and possibly understand more!

  30. We met this weekend at HLS and I just asked you if you were still nursing. Mainly because I personally know how difficult it was for me to travel without my kids and keep up my milk supply.
    I applaud you for sharing such a personal decision (and beautiful photo of you nursing) with your blog readers. I fully support the fact that each mother reserves the right to make her own decision about what is best for her own kids, and I know you did not come to this decision easily or without heartache.
    So BOO on unsolicited parenting advice!

  31. Erica says:

    I seriously dont get negative commenters, what is the point?? You do what is right for you and the little man! My hope is to make it to six months!!

  32. I applaud you for sticking to your guns and doing what you feel is right for you and Baby B! There is no one out there that even has the right to argue any point you made or judge you for your decision. I am not a mother yet, so I cannot relate to breastfeeding, but I am a human being and I can totally relate to understanding that everyone is different and no one has any right to say anything negative to you about your choice.

    You are an awesome mom! 🙂

  33. Gosh, Tina. I’m sorry you get such judgement from people. I don’t think it’s fair for someone to judge anyone about the we they choose to do things. That’s just it – it’s THEIR choice. And I think you are obviously making the right one! I have never once questioned your parenting abilities because I happen to look up to you as a mom. I take everything you say in and if I don’t agree with it, fine. I don’t have to tell you that (that very rarely ever happens). Some people are able to nurse longer than others – my mom was only able to nurse my brother and I for 5 or 6 WEEKS each. I am praying my body works a little better than hers and can nurse for at least 6 months, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

    Thank you for sharing! I hope you don’t receive any negative comments – but I think you could take them! ;o)

  34. I just heard on the radio yesterday that mothers are the most likely to judge other mothers. I’m not a mother but I do know that I judge others on their parenting skills, and I have to constantly remind myself that I’m not in their shoes.
    You are a great mom! I haven’t been reading very long but I can already see that. Think of all the benefits you’ve already given Baby B! If it’s not working anymore you should stress, you need to do what’s right for you. And don’t listen to all the haters!
    I haven’t gotten any negative comments yet but my blog is still small, I’m sure it’ll send me for a loop if I do get one.

  35. erin says:

    As a full time working mom I totally get where you are coming from.I nursed my son for 6 months and then I was done. I couldn’t handle another minute of pumping and he could have cared less either way. Once I was mentally not into it anymore my supply tanked. I never once had any pain or uncomfortableness from stopping.

    I get the breast feeding is great and may have some benefits (I say may because honestly a lot of the data on benefits is debatable and funded by La Leche), but I also think that it has been pushed to the point where mothers are made to feel guilty if they can’t nurse, decide to stop before a year or just decided from day 1 that it’s not for them. My son didn’t grow a third arm , get every illness in the book or suddenly drop a few IQ points when I stopped. I was happier, had more time to relax instead of staying up late to get an extra pumping in and in the end I was a better mother for it. Loving your child is more important than how you feed your child. Breastfeeding does not make someone a better or more responsible mother. Just as giving your child formula doesn’t make someone a bad or irresponsible parent.

    Now I don’t mean to sound anti-breastfeeding. I am totally not. I wrote papers on it in graduate school. I loved nursing my son and that bonding time. I think all mothers should give it a try. I just hate what it has become. I hate that it has been pushed to the point of making mothers feel guilty. I hate how some mothers judge other based on whether they do it or for how long. Don’t we already have enough to feel guilty about?

    I am pregnant with my second and know it will be more challenging to nurse with 2 kids to care for. Unlike the first time around I won’t let myself stress about it. I refuse to feel guilty if I stop after my 3 months maternity leave. I won’t take the herb supplement to boost my supply. They made me smell so bad I couldn’t even stand myself. I will do it as long as I can and for as long as I am happy doing so. I look forward to that experience again, but when it is time to stop I will without an ounce of guilt.

    BTW this is a great article on breastfeeding. Totally took away my guilt.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/04/the-case-against-breast-feeding/7311/

  36. I’m so sorry to hear that you received some negative comments…especially about something so personal! I’m just commenting to say that your kids know your a good mother, your man knows that you’re a good mother, and you know that you’re a good mother. And those are the only opinions that count. 🙂

  37. allison says:

    What jerks would say mean things to you!?!?!? I WISH i had the free time those losers apparently have since i have a million more productive things to do rather then be mean!

    And its your body so why should anyone even consider commenting about you needing to continue nursing even though its becoming physically impossible?!?!?!

    I seriously wonder about the blogging community sometimes…not you though cause your awesome:)

  38. Bobbi S. says:

    I’ll tell you what all my Mommy friends have told me…Mommy’s sanity comes first, and for the nay-sayers, screw them. They aren’t you and don’t have to live your life. 🙂

    You are doing what’s right for you and your family and that’s all that matters. Congrats on making it nursing this far Mama.

  39. I’m shocked by all the negative comments! I am always so impressed with your mothering skills and how well you seem to balance it with your other obligations in life!

  40. I can’t believe people have given you negative comments about your parenting!

    And I applaud you for being so open with your decision so other moms out there have someone to relate with!!

    But you did nurse for a long so that counts for a lot!!! And it sounds like to me he was trying to wean himself so thats the time to do anyways!

    I felt judged by some when I only nursed my son for 3 months and then I felt judged by others when I nursed my daughter till she was 14.5 months. Its really sad how mean some people can be!

  41. I cannot believe that people think it’s their place to tell you how to parent and would think their way is the best way. Infuriating! I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with that negativity, because you surely don’t deserve it.
    I know that as a stepmom, I struggle with the “advice” I hear out there on how to parent. But you know what? When I follow my own instincts on being a mommy to D, I get the best results out of him and I feel good about my decision in the end.
    I plan to breastfeed someday and I’m sure I’ll struggle with a lot of the issues that you are going through. I hope that I can handle the unsolicited advice and critiscm as gracefully.

  42. Brenda says:

    It completely grieves my heart to hear of the negative comments you receive. Tina, you are a remarkable person, let alone wife and mom and daughter and friend and blogger and…

    My niece is going through the same thing with her 5 month old and I told her what a great mom she is for feeding her child! Whether it’s one way or another way doesn’t matter. The goal is to properly nourish your child!

    You are a wonderful mom. Go kiss those kids and never mind the critical spirits out there.

    • Tina says:

      Yes! The goal is to nourish the child. Love that perspective. Thanks. 🙂 And thanks as well for all the other supportive words.

  43. you ARE a GREAT mom!! We all have choices in life and this is what you want to do! You go girl!

  44. I fully support your decision and have always thought of you as an example of an amazing mother! I think it is only the mother’s choice as to how long she wants to bf. I plan on breast feeding, but have never thought about breast feeding for a year. I was thinking more like 6 months. Hopefully all negative commenters stay away as this is your choice and yours alone. You are a great mother and shouldn’t even have to justify why you are stopping! You are an excellent mother!

  45. donna says:

    The same thing happened with me. I was not able to produce all that my kids needed. I think it happens to a lot of people, but you never hear about it bc mamas dont links to admit they were not able to produce enough milk to feed their little ones. Thank you for putting it out there so others will know they are not alone.

  46. Mellissa says:

    You know your body and your kids. And only YOU know what they need and how to provide that. What works for someone else doesn’t work for you. I never understand when people criticize a decision! Just because you wouldn’t do xyz doesn’t mean that that wouldn’t work for someone else.

    It’s your life, live it how you best see fit!

  47. Jessica says:

    if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being pregnant – so far – is to do what’s best for you and turn the other cheek to anyone telling you otherwise.

    It’s your body, your child, your life. You know what’s best – no one else.

  48. Meg says:

    Oh Tina, that makes me so frustrated that people think they have the right to rip on how you raise your children. You are such a role model to so many women, mothers or not. Despite your concerns you put yourself out there for other women who may be dealing with the same stress. *loves*

    I dislike unsolicited advice for how I deal with my health, whether it’s what I should do when I’m sick, to reasons I’ve gained weight. Every body is so different and I just find it so irritating!

    p.s. welcome back to the IBTC!!

  49. ginger says:

    first of all, you have done a GREAT JOB nursing him, so it’s absolutely crazy that anyone would say anything mean about this.

    second, you seem so nice that it’s crazy that anyone would say anything mean to you about ANYTHING 🙂

    That’s all. k thx bai

  50. You seem to be such a great mom, don’t listen to any of the negativity coming towards you. If anything, these people are jealous of the lifestyle you have, and only wish they could have half the beauty you and your family have. I know the breastfeeding decision must be difficult, it was for my mom when she had me. I actually developed jaundice from my mom’s breast milk and although the doctor said I should never get sick from it again, my mom decided not to chance it. It took her a while to get used to the fact that she wouldn’t have that bond with me, but in the end, it was healthiest for both of us.

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