DIYing some not so “cliche” baby artwork

Having a baby around changes everything…instead of having my apartment clean and impeccable 95% of the time there is now a baby swing that lives in my kitchen, a vibrating baby chair in my bathroom, Ergo babies and Maya wraps strewn about, not to mention all of the burb cloths, baby wipes, and baby blankets  that seem to float around from room to room. I was so determined before having a baby that I didn’t want his “stuff” to take over our house…and while I really do try to keep it to a minimum there are just certain things that make life easier and end up being worth the eye sore. So when it came time to do the classic baby footprint artwork, I thought there had to be a way to make it cool and modern and not so…baby. No offense to all you babies.

So here is what I ended up with. An abstracted painting where you barely notice the baby footprint, but it’s still there to preserve the memory and be adorable. So a couple months back before Phoenix got here I bought two of these 16×20 canvases at the Hobs (Hobby Lobby) they were on sale $7  for both of them (um. score!). I wanted to get the artwork portion done before the little guy got here to simplify things. So to create my abstract artwork I just picked out some colors that I love (I originally thought these might go in our bedroom so I wanted something that was masculine enough for Kris to handle), I found a couple of inspiration pictures online and just went to town. I think the important part of creating abstract art is to layer, there have been several times when I have started a piece, worked on it for awhile and stopped…only to realize a few days later that the reason it didn’t look quite right was because it wasn’t “done” and just needed several more layers. More layers equals more texture which equals more interest. So after finishing my two canvases (that I wanted to go together, but not be identical), I had these guys to work with.

All done and ready for cute little baby footprints. I used Ceramcoat in Sea Foam for the footprint. I did a bit of research before using this, checking their website to make sure that it was non-toxic and water based. Most acrylic paints are but you can never be too careful when it comes to a baby.

We used a make-up sponge to apply the paint, Kris dabbed a light layer onto Phoenix’s foot- if it’s too globby you won’t get good definition. The make-up sponge worked really well to get just the right amount of paint on his foot. We made sure to get every last adorable little toe too!

Then we gently pressed his foot into the corner of my painting. Phoenix didn’t seem to mind the paint or the foot pressing action.

We were left with the cutest little footprint! We thought we would do his hand too and kind of overlap the two, but Phoenix wasn’t having it. He’s a fist clencher  and he was not interested in un-fisting his hands for us… he is quite strangely strong. I think that boy has some superhero in him or something. I like it better with just the footprint anyway, much simpler.

And there you have it…baby artwork that isn’t going to make your living room look like a nursery. I originally thought Kris and I would hang these in our bedroom one on each side, but the scale is all wrong and they are way too small.

So I put this little vignette together for photos, but we will find a permanent place eventually. Don’t you love my little owl? He makes me smile.

Has anyone else been cooking up any baby artwork? How do you keep your house looking like it hasn’t been overrun by a baby? Any ideas for those monstrous swings?

The lazy girl’s guide to losing the baby weight

I want to warn you upfront…this is not a workout/exercise plan or a boot camp. Maybe you could tell that from the title, but in case you couldn’t…I’ll make it crystal clear. No workout tips here people! Technically, I believe you’re supposed to wait six weeks postpartum to exercise anyway…so consider this part one.  Maybe once I hit a road block and need to work out to get off the last ten pounds I’ll start implementing some exercise and come back with a part two…but for now this is what is currently working for ME (although I hope it works for you too!) and it doesn’t include sweating of any kind (unless you count walking from my front door to the car in 100+ degree Houston weather). Now granted I did try running a couple of times a few weeks ago, but I lost absolutely NO weight that week…so I ditched it. For now anyway.

So before we dive in let me just tell you…I gained quite a bit of weight during my pregnancy. Everyone told me “oh you look so cute” and “it’s all baby”…well they were dead wrong. I did NOT look cute and it was NOT all baby. I think maybe people just didn’t notice that my thighs doubled in size because there was a gigantic belly blocking their view. And just in the spirit of baring all (why not right?) I gained 48 pounds…in case you didn’t know most health professionals recommend you gain 25-30 pounds. Which is a totally reasonable amount of weight considering the baby you are carrying probably only weighs about 7 or 8 pounds. Now your body does need some fat stores that it will use while breastfeeding, but 40+ pounds worth of fat stores…I don’t think so.

So let’s go back to my wedding day…which just so happens to be the day the little guy was conceived. I can’t be too sure, but I believe I weighed about 125 on that day. Then for the next week Kris and I were on our honeymoon and ate loads of delicious Mexican food…so I probably gained five pounds that week alone…which I do not count. I had no idea I was pregnant. So my math entails my starting, pre-pregnancy weight at 130 and my ending weight at 178 when they weighed me at the hospital (Oh yes that’s right I had been laboring for 45 hours at home and when I get to the hospital the first thing they do is weigh me… ”pardon this contraction I’m having nurse…oh yes I’m finished let me hop on your scale…so sorry to inconvenience you”). So we end up at 48 pounds. Not. Cute. At. All.

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These pictures totally don’t do justice to how large I looked or felt. These are actually the only half decent pregnancy pictures that exist. Friends kept asking me if I was going to take pregnancy portraits…but the truth is that I just felt too gross. I was very adamant that no I was not taking any pictures. And no I did not want to document this. I kept the documenting to myself for the most part…and most of them are way more embarrassing than these. And yes. All are incredibly poorly taken Iphone mirror pics. Sorry.

So then fast forward about a week and a half later to when little guy came. He weighed 7lbs 9oz. (which is about the most average size a baby can be) and my placenta weighed I dunno maybe another 5 pounds (sorry to say gross words like placenta)…so that’s a (rough) total of 12 ½ pounds. So 178-12.5=165.5

Sadly enough this is probably exactly what I weighed the day after giving birth. Granted I didn’t weigh myself that day- I was way too scared to get on a scale, probably because I still looked five months pregnant (water weight I suppose??) but when I finally did gather enough courage to step on our scale, maybe two weeks postpartum, I weighed 163…not exactly the number I was looking for. I kept hoping that 10 more pounds were just going to magically disappear and be like “oops sorry we’re in the wrong place…time to go torment the next pregnant gal”…but as you may have already guessed that didn’t happen. So I was looking at 163…33 pounds to lose to get back to a happy weight…38 pounds to get back to my ideal wedding weight. Le sigh.

So today I am exactly six weeks postpartum and have dropped 10 pounds from where I was on that ominous day I had the guts to get on the scale. So in case math is just not your forte- I’m currently at 153. At this rate it will be another few months before I’m in a happy place…but I’m ok with that. Losing weight at a rate of about 2 pounds per week is really pretty quick and I can’t do any crazy lo-cal diets since I’ve got a newborn that is depending on me for all of his nutrition. Plus…I have to say that Phoenix was totally worth every. single. pound.

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So after giving you more information about my weight that you probably ever wanted to know…let’s do this:

  1. breastfeed- obviously. This burns up loads of calories! I know some people have trouble and just can’t make it work, (if you are currently struggling please go to a LLI meeting or at least check out their website for some help, or read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding) but if you can this is definitely going to speed things up!
  2. don’t buy fat clothes- ok so this one is really hard. I currently only have a couple pairs of shorts, a few “cute” shirts, and my smeedium baggy t-shirts that fit…it’s not much of a wardrobe. I did manage to squeeze into my skinny jeans (they’re stretchy) but by the time I get them buttoned the muffin top is looking more like an inner tube…so they are definitely not an option… unless I wanted to wear a parka or baggy cosby sweater on top to hide it all…which in this Houston weather could be a death sentence. So my goal is two-fold. First of all by not heading out to Target and buying clothes that would fit for just the next two months I am saving some moola. And secondly what is better motivation for losing weight than knowing there is an entire closet FULL of cute clothes just waiting to reward me when I get to the finish line? So sweat pant cut-offs and baggy t-shirts it is for now…so I can look super cute later.
  3. eat healthy- I know this sounds like a drag…but seriously. Don’t bring junk into the house, if it’s there you will eat it. But don’t deprive yourself either- if eating one oreo now will keep you from eating the entire box later then go ahead and let yourself have an oreo. Also, try your best to cut out the fast food, (this is a lot easier if you keep your house stocked with groceries and don’t have an excuse to run out every other night to jack-in-the-box) you know you will just feel like crap after eating it anyway. Now I’m not saying that healthy food tastes bad. It absolutely doesn’t. Its delicious, and there is something about eating a sandwhich with flax seed bread and organic hormone free turkey that doesn’t tempt you to eat three of them. Same with the snacks…organic strawberries compared to chips ahoy…well I might just eat the entire box of strawberries but I’m not going to be kicking myself for the next three days about it. Plus, if you are able to breastfeed eating healthy just goes hand-in-hand.
  4. get help- This isn’t as bad as it sounds. I’m not suggesting you go to therapy or anything. But my friend Ashley started a weight loss competition with a couple of our friends on facebook and this so serendipitously happened to start a couple weeks after I gave birth. Every Sunday we take a picture of our feet on our our scales and post it to the group’s page. It’s incredibly motivating to know that everyone is going to see my progress at the end of the week! You could totally do this with a couple of your girlfriends as long as they know you don’t think they need to lose weight you’re just inviting them along for the fun of it. We made ours three months with a celebration dinner at the end…I’ll definitely keep you updated!
  5. wear your baby- Ok, I promise I didn’t trick you. This is not a workout. It actually just makes having a baby a lot easier, especially if you have a baby that wants to be held all day. Why carry them when you can wrap them to your chest and get back to business? It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do you’ll wonder how you ever lived any other way. Not to mention that you can take your baby shopping, out to eat, or to the movies without the hassle of a big car seat PLUS it makes discreet breastfeeding that much easier…and did I mention it keeps away those pesky people that are way too nosey and want to touch and pet your baby (I’m all for healthy bacteria, but not stranger danger germs). Oh and that whole point of me saying to wear your baby in the first place is that it’s going to burn some extra calories. Do you need another reason? Go strap your baby to your chest right this second.

So that’s what has been working for me and keeping me motivated to get back to my skinny self. Isn’t is funny that I never even thought I was that skinny pre-pregnancy…I could always find flaws or somewhere else that needed work. Isn’t that how it always is? Do any of you have any post-pregnancy weight loss tips? Or healthy weight loss advice in general? I’d love to know!