Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Ease of Just One - Week 3

"Enjoy the Ease of Just One"

I heard that all the time when I let the cat out of the bag that we were expecting number two. 

Hearing this over and over got old really quick. But I can tell you, I GET IT now.

I will say this. Going from no kids to one was 1000 times harder on me than going from one to two. No question about it. 

Everyone is different though because all the moms I ran into at the parks kept telling me I was in for a treat. I had no idea what was coming. Two was extremely hard (yet, one for them was a breeze. Not here!). This scared the crap out of me. Could it really get harder??

I totally understand now what all these moms meant by the "ease of one". There's more behind that phrase.

What? There's another one to take care of too??

My brain is a bit on the mushy side. I can't read books out loud to Jackson without taking a second to re-read words and sentences because my brain can't keep up and I create my own words somehow. I have fallen asleep during prayers with Jackson. My husband swears he told me something that I have no recollection of at all. And when I walk into the kitchen, I don't even know why I'm in there, but am clearly on a mission. I can't remember anything. 

You might even notice more grammatical errors in my blog posts. Sorry. Plus, I only get about 2 minutes to write now.
Tractor Man! Costume made by daddy!
Me and Nathan

Dad and his buddies

Trick or Treating at Jackson's old daycare

Trick or Treat with daddy

Our lil pumpkin

My boys!

The pace picks up tremendously with two. Yesterday was especially hard because I had both boys home. I was all by myself. Karl started to come down with something and Nathan decided to cluster feed at midnight. Now that was a long night. I went against all rules and let him sleep on me - skin to skin - just so I could get SOME sleep.

I was then bound to our couch all day. ALL DAY. I don't remember this happening with Jackson. I think when a growth spurt hit, he was eating every 2 hours instead of his usual 5, but Nathan was every 30 minutes. If I wasn't feeding him, he was screaming. So just as I finished, I'd burp him and try to set him down so I could play with Jackson and Nate was ready for more. It was crazy.

Jackson clearly needs to eat too. I need to eat. And we don't have a butler or maid here to make us anything. Darn. It's all on me. The house was loud yesterday.

Jackson needed to use the bathroom. He needed his butt wiped. He wanted me to be in his playroom. He wanted me to carry his tractor when my hands were full. So yesterday became nuts. Then Jackson started to get upset because all my attention was on Nate and so the tantrums started. I knew I needed to take care of myself too so I would produce enough milk, but it was nearly impossible. At the same time I didn't have time to think. I never do anymore. And that seems to be the biggest difference for me. I just do whatever feels right. And we seem to survive.

Then came today. Karl decided he needed to get to a doctor right away. Me - alone with the boys again. AND off to a chiropractor appointment and Costco. Could I do it? There was no thinking. Only doing.

It took me 9 months to get Jackson in a shopping cart after he was born. Yeah. You read that right. Nine months. Nate has been everywhere since he was three days old.

Not only did we take him all the way back to my parent's house (4.5 hours away...which, by the way is more like 6.5 hours with a toddler and a newborn. P.S. Jackson pooped in a garbage can at some random park and I nursed in the front seat. I'll spare you the details of where I peed.) 

But we drove 2.5 more hours (after surviving 6.5 hours) to get to my grandma's funeral and then 4 hours back to Minnesota from there. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster and letting go. I had no time to worry. I just had to do.

The drive always helps when you stop for ice cream

Let me tell you, nursing in a Catholic church with family members walking by and your grandma's open casket facing you takes on a new meaning. Tears streaming, snot running into Nate's hair and my brain Jackson knocking down candles? When do I have to bring up the communion? What if Nate cries? What if Jackson throws a tantrum? Why does my sweater keep riding up?
My sweet grandpa after my grandma's funeral

So what did I do? I cried. I did everything I told myself I didn't want to. I walked straight up to my grandpa and held him. We bawled. I hate crying in front of people. I like to look strong. But my heart can't stop what it feels anymore. And I just let it all out. 

My grandpa is so hearttbroken right now. He kept asking me what he should do. And all I could say is "it's going to be OK". Because for some reason, I felt like that's what my grandma wanted me to say to him. 

I love my grandma too much to pretend everything is OK but I really felt like everything would be OK. I don't know how but it's what came out. Will it be???

I turned around and looked into my grandma's coffin. She looked like she always did to me. And that seemed weird. What was she doing in there? This wasn't really happening was it?? All I could picture was her sweet voice. Her dimples. The way she walked into my middle school classroom for EVERY SINGLE Grandparent's Day with Double Mint Gum in her mouth and her dimples popping everywhere.

A proud grandma. And my grandpa made sure he told me when he was holding me. "Your grandma loved you so much."

That got me.

The whole day felt like I was in some kind of bubble. My family is known for celebrating. We drink. We dance. We laugh. We love. We have fun. This was a whole new setting for me.

The priest shared a great homily. And while he was speaking, the crappy cloudy day turned. The sun BLAZED through the stainglass window behind the body of Jesus on the cross when he mentioned my grandma's name and rainbows surrounded her coffin. It was quite beautiful. 

I had a half eaten sucker in one hand. A matchbox car in the other. Snot dripping into my mouth and a box of Kleenex jammed into my thigh. None of that mattered. The light mattered. I stopped to remember that moment. Was she saying hi? Was God telling us everything WILL be OK?

Back to today... Karl was sent to the ER. Doctors thought he had an abscess tonsil. I was at the chiropractor with Nate and Jackson while Jackson was doing pullups on the office fish tank. 

Soon we were all adjusted. Somehow. I learned from the last time, that Nate poops rather quickly after. So I changed his poopy diaper. 

A side note: Just when you think you're ahead of the game.... well. You're not. 

The three of us headed to Costco and the screams began. I told Jackson that we'd have to hang tight in the parking lot once we got there until I fed Nathan. He said Nathan's crying hurt his stomach and I needed to make it stop. We hit every red light.

Then Jackson joined in on the loud screams and demanded a sucker. I did not have any suckers. I quickly got Nate on my boob. All the shoppers got a show. Too bad. Jackson won my cell phone so he could watch videos. Whew. Problem solved. Until the blowout hit. 

I didn't freeze though. I kept going. Who is this mom??? I changed Nate's diaper while he was on top of me in the passenger side of the car. Fed him more. Blow out number two. You HAVE to be kidding me. I changed him on top of me again. Done. We ran into the store. Nate cried the entire time. Ufdah. I got everything we needed and headed home.

Both boys happy.

I felt like I had climbed the world's largest mountain after that. I did it.

Every day feels like this incredible adventure with very little downtime right now. It's pretty wild. But I seem to run into enough people who remind me that it's not going to be like this forever. And after my grandma's funeral, I FEEL it too. 

The circle of life. The many phases. The many blessings we're given every single day. How fast the years go but how slow some days can seem.

Two is NOT easy. One isn't either. But at the same time, I want all of us to hang on super tight to these moments. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Body After Baby #2, Maternity Leave Health and Fitnesss Challenge

Who wants to join in the fun?

For those of you who know me, you know that I'm a bit of a health and fitness nut. I love it. Instead of minoring in advertising or marketing like most people with a speech communications degree, I minored in health. I received a lot of furrowed brows for that decision, but I knew that is where my heart was. Best choice ever because those classes NEVER felt like classes or homework or extra stress to me. I loved them.
Post baby body - Entering Week 2

Granted, I'm now a Marketing and Communications Manager for a company that distributes compressed air systems and pneumatic components (say what?) but I get to be a health coach on the side and have fallen madly in love.

With that said, I just had our second son (who I'm also madly in love with and enjoying every cuddle and snuggle and yes, even those LATE night cries just because I *think* this is our last). Don't read into that too much. We're only on week 2 here! Still on my adrenaline high.

During my pregnancy I stayed VERY active. I ate VERY clean. And had the best labor ever. If I could have that labor and delivery every time, I'm sure I'd have those 5 kids our pastor talked about during our wedding sermon.

I have learned the kinder I am to my body, the kinder it is to me. And so I plan to continue this way of life.

I know bad things can happen to even the healthiest of people. But most illnesses are 85% preventable just by taking care of ourselves. This is so important to me because my family's heart history and history of strokes. I want to be around for a very long time and FEEL my best always.

Sometimes the cost of gym memberships or health programs can be a little pricey upfront, but in the end, we end up seeing the doctor less, we take less prescriptions, we spend more time ENJOYING life. There is no price tag to be put on good health.

I want to help others like you to TAKE CARE of YOURSELF by encouraging and motivating and inspiring you to work out, eat better and be more grateful for even the smallest things in your life. Being grateful helps eliminate the toxicity and stress in our lives and helps us focus on the GOOD.

Starting November 3 I will be holding a CLOSED Health and Fitness accountability group on Facebook for all of you looking to GET HEALTHY and FIT with me! I'm going to need YOU and YOUR support and much as you will need mine!

The purpose of showing you my photos isn't to throw my body in your face.  I know that EVERY single person has their own story and nobody's body type is the same. It's to say...hey, I had a baby. My body isn't perfect. But I took care of it and had a really great pregnancy. Now, I want to continue having this new-found energy and get myself to a place where I can feel (and look) great in my clothes, where I can be THE BEST mom and simply feel AWESOME.

My goal was to only gain 35 pounds with my second pregnancy. I gained 45 pounds. I'm OK with this BECAUSE I felt really great once I hit second trimester. My energy levels were through the roof. I was able to work all the way up until our son came. I was able to move us into a new home. I was able to sleep great. I was able to do PiYo up until week 38. I rode a bike until week 36. I did stair climber all the way until two days before I delivered. Like I said, be kind to your body and it'll be kind back to you. LISTEN to what it's telling you.

Before Pregnancy
I started at 145 pounds

Once I found out I was pregnant
143 pounds (didn't feel the best)

Right before I gave birth 
190 pounds

The week after I had Nathan
168 pounds

168 pounds (you like that mouth guard? I know you're peeking at all the stuff on our counter top!)

The week of the November 3 Challenge Group (TBD!)
______ Pounds
______ Right Arm
______ Left Arm
______ Right Thigh
______ Left Thigh
______ Waist
______ Hips
______ Chest

My #1 GOAL by the end of January 2015

I'm a busy mom. Just because I had a baby, my world is not going to slow down or stop. I know a few of you are thinking...REST, WOMAN!!! Trust, me. I am doing the best I can, especially during all those nursing sessions. I stare and stare and stare at Nathan. How on earth are these adorable little boys mine???

But let's talk reality. Just because I had a baby doesn't mean I get to nap all day. I still have to feed my family. I still have to do laundry. I still have to clean our house and play trains and trucks and scoop up all the leaves with a front end loader and drop each leaf in a dump truck one by one. I still have to manage nursing while wiping my 2.5 year old's butt. I have to remain calm during a full on tantrum. I have to pay bills. I have to manage my time VERY wisely. This is a life of a mom. Instead of crawling through every hour and thinking about how badly I need my bed or just going through the motions and making poor choices, I want to be energized, alert and ENJOY every one of them.

And I feel this way when I get enough sleep (work-in-progress right now!), drink enough water, get a 30-minute workout in, eat really healthy (every 2-3 hours), get my healthy dose of vitamins (superfood), meal prep and know that I'm doing my best and giving the best of me to my family. They deserve this! I DESERVE THIS.

Numbers don't reflect EVERYTHING. But I do want to drop the last 20 pounds by the end of my January challenge group. That gives me THREE whole months. A healthy weight loss should be about 1-2 pounds a week (where it won't come back). I don't necessarily want to focus TOO much on weight but more on inches and how I'm feeling. I'm nursing right now and the last thing I want is to mess with my milk production. Consuming lots of oats and avocados and water over here! The minute it goes down, is the minute I figure out what's going on in my diet and life.

If you notice my pictures, I need to TONE up in some areas. So if I can slip into my work pants (and some shirts) by the time I go back to working full-time, I will be one happy mama! But I also know it took my body 9/10 months to create sweet Nathan, so if it takes that long to bounce back, so be it. I'm listening to what my body is telling me. Again, I want to FEEL my best. Numbers don't always reflect that!


  • A 30-minute walk 5-days a week until I know my body is ready for more. Or 25 minutes on the elliptical (depending on weather). My doctor gave me the OK to work out like I normally would after week 2 since I've been so active throughout. It's NEEDED for my mental health.
  • Introduce PiYo again and follow the workout plan that came with my challenge pack. PiYo is a mixture of pilates, yoga and sculpt with a TON of sweating. Think squats and lunges and push ups, sit ups, tricep dips, BURPEES etc. No jumping. (It's pretty much awesome)
  • I put my gym membership on freeze because I can't take my baby in with me until he's 3 months old. So I'm not about to pay the monthly fee. All it took was a note from the doctor and they totally freeze the invoices. 
  • Check in every day to my closed challenge group and let them know what I'm doing and find out what others are doing! Keep things FRESH and FUN.


  • PiYo and Les Mills Pump (this is a light weight lifting program done 3x a week in the comfort of my own home!)
  • Elliptical 
  • Check in every day to my closed challenge group and let them know what I'm doing and find out what others are doing! Keep things FRESH and FUN!


  • Will pick another Beachbody workout program (probably T25 since Karl is doing that now and wants to see how coordinated I am) and it's a quick 25 minutes and can be done in our house! 
  • Check in every day to my closed challenge group and let them know what I'm doing and find out what others are doing! Keep things FRESH and FUN!

I don't know about you but I get the best results when I pair nutrition with fitness.

  • I plan to run a 5-day Clean Eating Group every month. We try to eat clean for the most part so this isn't extra work for me. 
  • I plan to meal plan every Sunday so I'm ready for the week and can only make healthy smart choices (I will be encouraging all my challengers to meal prep for the week as well!) I've noticed it's MUCH harder to eat healthier while at home than work. I pack what I need when I'm at work. At home, snacks are much more available. I have to meal prep, so this isn't extra work for me either. If I want us eating right throughout the week, meal prep is THE ONLY WAY.

So now that I've put my body out there, as well as my goals, you get to hold me accountable. Zoiks. I know you'll be watching and wondering how I'm doing. I'm READY though!!!

What about YOU though? Why don't you join me?? I can promise it'll be a TON of fun and you'll be THRILLED with the results. It's time to feel YOUR BEST, don't you think? NO MORE EXCUSES!!!! November 3 is GO TIME!!!

Let's DO THIS!!!!!!

Contact me in my Facebook comments or PM me or via email or like my Health Coach page on Facebook!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Life at Home with Two - WEEK ONE

Well, we made it! We are home. The four of us!
My lil Naters!

Jackson meeting Nate for the first time
My boys! My heart is SO full!

We were released from the hospital over lunch on Monday (Oct. 20) after Nate had his lovely circumcision (hate that part). And then Nate spit up everywhere in his car seat. Then pooped. Then pooped again. And spit up. And pooped again (this is normal with a fast delivery we found out.)

Let me just tell you this. I spent months worrying and worrying that I would go into hibernation again like I did after Jackson was born. That I would be a walking zombie. That I would have a lot of the same struggles I did with Jackson. That I would lose myself. That I wouldn't be able to do it.
Worked out the Tuesday before Nate came

Spent a LOT of extra time with this lil brown-eyed guy before Nate's arrival

Gpa and Gma Koester have been working on his winking skills

The Wednesday before!

My last workout - Thursday! Stair Climber level 7 for 15 minutes

One big wagon ride around the neighborhood with my lil guy the Thursday before

Last supper. CLEAN EATING goodness all week long!

Walked a couple miles to the park. Next day Nate came!

Worrying is SUCH wasted time!!! The older I get I have realized I need to give myself some serious LOVE and credit over here.

7 pounds 5 ounces 20 inches long

I'm telling you, this time around has been SO DIFFERENT. Yes, we're only into week one and I've had help. Which has been WONDERFUL. So reality hasn't set in JUST yet. But sometimes I just want to scream from the rooftops - I LOVE BEING A MOM. My heart is so full right now. It's nuts.

So weird because after I had Jackson I wanted to hide at Kohl's because it was SO much change at once. I didn't think I could do it. I wasn't sure I had the energy or the skill.

It's amazing what happens when you believe in yourself.
Go figure but the last day of Jackson's daycare was the Thursday before Nate came! They made us this book. I BAWLED MY EYES OUT. 

DAY of NATE - we did Zumbini as a family that morning

Contractions started and this guy was busy!

I'd go from inside to outside to distract myself. 

Pretty sure this was taken during a crazy contraction

I just couldn't stop playing with him! I knew what was coming...

On our way to the hospital - Saturday, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. 54 degrees out.

Survived the first night!

Nurse. Nurse. Nurse. Nurse. 

Jackson is having a little tough time. He wrapped his lion up like a baby and gave him to Nate

Still adjusting to being a big brother. Has peed himself a few times... Threw a couple tantrums. But he will come over and kiss Nathan and pray for him at night. 

Nurse. Nurse. Nurse. Nurse. 

I think it might be the expectation part of it all. As much as I TRIED to prepare myself for Jackson, I couldn't. That was one HECK of a CHANGE to our system and life. Obviously, a GREAT change, but when you're going through it for the first time, it's like...WHOA. What the heck did we just do?!? I missed my sleep. I missed my husband. I missed my life. I missed routine. I missed it all. But why wouldn't I? It's all I ever knew. I didn't know babies or how to change a diaper. 

Karl and I watched some videos of when Jackson was born. It took me about 5 minutes to change ONE diaper. We laughed. Look at those two clueless people. Look how far we've come.

I know that everything is a phase and now I find myself wanting to HANG ON to every little thing because I know how incredibly FAST this goes. I know my body will bounce back and soon the aches, pains, massive boobs, bloody nipples (yep, got those again) and leaking from every part of me will stop. I know that we'll get into a schedule eventually and everything will be JUST FINE.

This attitude of mine could be the reason Nathan is SO very chill. He's a sweetheart and a cuddler. He barely squawks. We just brought him back from his first week appointment. He is 7 pounds 8 ounces. So he has gained his birth weight back and then some. (Thank you, GOD!) This was MUSIC to my EARS since I had SUCH a difficult time nursing with Jackson. This time around I'm also not keeping track of wet diapers or a feeding schedule. I'm just going with it. Where was this person the first time around?

Now...let's talk sleep at night. Ufdah. Jackson came home and did 5-hour stretches right off the bat. I thought that was bad. Hello. I didn't realize how AWESOME that was until we brought Nate home and he gave us an hour or two stretch of sleep. Yowza! But, he's also SMALLER than Jackson was and requires more feedings. We MIGHT be getting there now that he's up in weight! He did give us a five-hour stretch early yesterday morning. But fussed a little bit before bed. 

I'm trying to get him into his bassinet next to our bed so he's already laying flat but he doesn't always seem to like that. Each night gets a LITTLE better. But man, once midnight comes around and I still haven't closed my eyes, I'm thinking...tomorrow could be rough.

But then I wake up and it's not so bad. Yes, I'm tired, but I can function. I'm also STILL on my adrenaline high too.

I also experienced killer headaches for about four days in a row. The home care nurse thought this was from the intrathecal in my back and wanted me to call my OBGYN, but I continued to drink TONS of water and made my way outside to get some fresh air. That did the trick.

Nate is pretty much right where Jackson is when he goes in for his check ups - in the upper 70th percentile for height and lower 30th percentile for weight. Tall and skinny! Now don't think I'll be comparing them forever because I'm not. They are both their own perfect individuals in my eyes.

We went on our first walk and that felt AMAZING and just came back from our second walk. So wonderful to get out and enjoy this beautiful fall weather and just for me to get out walking. I was a little sore after but it was nice to breathe it all in and soak up some sunshine.

So yeah...still floating away here on cloud nine. Soaking it all up!