A Tale of Two (Piece) Bathing Suits

There are only two weeks left of summer (Boo Hoo. Woo Hoo!), and last week, my family finally made it to the beach for a few days. We lounged by the pool, and watched the girls show off their newly-acquired swimming skills. Little dude took his first step into the ocean. We grilled burgers and roasted marshmallows. J and I even went for a run on the beach. And I wore a bikini for the first time since the dude was born.

Before this spring, I couldn’t tell you the last time I wore a one piece bathing suit. I’m pear-shaped, with short legs and a long torso, and a one-piece just isn’t flattering. From the time my parents allowed a bikini, that’s what I wore.

Even during my pregnancies, I rocked a two-piece.

Then this guy arrived in December. I was up forty pounds by delivery, and had lost twenty by January. Then I stopped dropping weight. I was eating healthy. (Mostly.) I had begun to exercise. I was nursing all hours. And nada. Zero pounds lost. Zilch.

Nothing in my closet fit. I was too small for maternity clothes- not that I wanted to wear those any more in the first place- and too big for anything else I owned. I was happy enough to shop for new clothes. I love shopping. I love fashion. And honestly, I had just had a baby, so I wasn’t expecting anything to fit. YET.

When April arrived and the kids began to gaze longingly at the pool, I started to panic. I wasn’t ready for a bathing suit. Hell, I wasn’t even ready to wear shorts.

I did some window shopping online (Modcloth and Anthro, natch), and let the idea of a vintage-style one-piece marinate. I settled on a navy blue suit that had many glowing reviews- “sexy”, “sleek”, “chic”, “hides my lady-who-just-had-a-baby body”.

Really though, why all the freaking fuss? Why was I so afraid to just grin and, literally, bare it? I have three children- five, four, and almost eight months- and honestly, I look pretty darn good. I’ve outgrown a lot of my body hang-ups as I’ve gotten older (Turning thirty is good for something, amirite?) and especially once I became a mother.

My breasts aren’t as perky as they used to be, but they’ve nourished three children for a combined 42 months, and counting. It’s amazing to go to the pediatrician when your baby is only nursing, and see how they’re growing, all because of you.

My belly isn’t as flat as it was in my early twenties, but I’ve carried three babies. I have a nice layer of squish for little dude to jump on, because babies like to do that.

My butt and thighs…well, those are my “problem” areas. No amount of working out or dieting is going to change that. I inherited my mother’s pear shape. She’s built just like my grandmother. And while I hope that my girls are long and lean like my mother-in-law, I know that the pear shape isn’t a bad one to have. With all the junk in my trunk, my waist looks pretty tiny.

I’ve also realized that most of the women I know have complaints or anxiety about their bodies. One of my close friends is petite and has a cute, lean and sporty figure. She’s also self-conscious of her thighs. Another is tall and thin; probably a size two. She hates her stomach. Our babysitter, and good friend of mine, is capital H-O-T and very athletic (the first time I dragged her to yoga with me, she popped right into crow. Crow!), and yet, she always seems to want to drop a few inches here or there.

Come on, ladies! You are fabulous. Yes, you. Every single inch. Hindsight is 20/20, and I can tell you, ten years from now, you’ll wish you’d appreciated how gorgeous you looked in the summer of 2013.

Still, it took me most of the summer to get back in the saddle, so to speak. Eh. I’m only human. Maybe when I’m forty, I just won’t give a damn.

Let’s talk about our problem areas! No, just kidding. Tell me about your best bits. I think you’re cute.

So Hot in Herre

It’s been an exciting week at our house; Little Dude is learning how to crawl! I guess my new cardio is going to be running the vacuum, and chasing after him.

A baby’s first year is filled with so many milestones; first smile, rolling over, crawling, first word. For the mother, there are almost as many firsts. Since he is baby number three, there weren’t as many “parenting” milestones (that he can pee on me when he’s WEARING a diaper was a new one though), but I still celebrated my first run, my first outing with three kids, our first date night, and last Saturday, my first hot yoga session.

We have an amazing yoga studio nearby; Orlando Power Yoga, where they practice the style of power vinyasa yoga. The classes are fast-paced and performed in a room heated to about 90 degrees. I took classes before I got pregnant, so I was eager to get back to it.

Sara and I arrived early enough to get a good spot in the middle of the room, and once the door closed, I was in my own little world.

This type of yoga is the first with which I’ve really connected. It’s quick enough that I feel like I’m getting a good workout; and between the heat, the sweat and having to concentrate on my breathing to hold the postures, my mind really does clear. In other yoga classes, I would think about my grocery list, or what I wanted to do later. I felt like all that ommmmming and sighing was pretty silly. Not so for this class! I have to focus on my breathing. The sighing? Amazing. It truly feels as though I’m releasing toxins and stress and finding inner peace.

I could tell that my work with Trainer Jen is paying off. Postures that require more upper body strength were easier for me than they’ve been in the past. I actually held crow for about 2 seconds, which has never happened before! I can’t wait to go back.

Hot mess mamas after yoga.

Hot mess mamas after yoga.

My other first this week was an early morning run. Like, before 6am early. Dude doesn’t sleep through the night yet, and my middle girl is an early riser, so I am usually up at 6. With coffee, the news (Facebook), and my couch, that is. Getting up an hour earlier to exercise was a bit of a challenge, but it felt terrific to sit down for coffee at 8am and realize that my run was done.

Sara wrote about her first hot yoga experience and offered some yoga etiquette tips on her blog, The Classy Crafter. Check it out!

Any firsts for you this week? Where do you like to stand for group fitness classes? The front, middle or back? Have you tried power yoga? Are you are early morning runner? Any tips for me?

edited to add (by Mer):


BOB’s Your Stroller

Actually, BOB’s my stroller now. Or it will be once it makes its way from Chick Meri’s house in New Jersey to mine in California. What started as a conversation with me whining about the cost of jogging strollers and how much I wanted one but dude, expensive, turned into Meri shining up her much-loved but no-longer-used BOB Revolution jogging stroller.

That’s right, people, this beauty is about to become mine all mine for the cost of FREE (plus shipping).


Do you know how stoked I am about this stroller?  I am designer-handbag-on-super-sale stoked! I can’t wait to get this bad boy in my greedy little hands and take it for its first spin on the West (Best?) Coast.

As I’ve blogged about ad nauseam, I’ve yet to really get back into the swing of running. Part of it is that I’m tired and out of shape and kind of lazy and someone is stealing all of the hours in my days. But the other part of it is that I’ve got a kiddo at home who I don’t get to see a ton during the week. And with our weekends often filled with laundry and errands and family and tummy time – his and mine – I just haven’t been able to fit running into the picture.

But now that I’ve got a jogging stroller, all of that is about to change. Because now I can take the kiddo with me. Now I can take Mister Jess with me! The couple who runs together actually runs, I’ve found. I know that I’m more motivated to get out there when I have someone poking me in the arm about it. Mister Jess is a great arm-poker. 

All of this means I’m officially out of excuses. I have to run now. And I’m super excited about that (who am I?). In fact, I’m already planning some of our dates. We’ll go to Crissy Field:



Maybe run along the Embarcadero (stopping at Gotts Roadside for breakfast sandwiches, of course):


We’ll just generally explore the streets of San Francisco:



Er. Maybe not all the streets.

Regardless, I can’t wait for my new (to me) jogging stroller to get here. It’s had a great life in New Jersey and I hope it’ll have a great one here, too.

Hey, BOB? I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Any stroller aficionados out there want to give me tips on how to get started? I’d love advice, even if it’s just “Strap Bug in and GO, Jess!” 

How to Exercise When Your Kids Are With You

Summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.

Or get up at 6am every day because, “Hey mama, it’s light outside! Can I have breakfast now? What are we doing today?” We’re two weeks into summer vacation here, and so far it’s going well, even with the early mornings. We’re hanging out with friends, working on our sight words, reading new books, swimming, and I’m even getting to the gym. With the kids! Some workouts are better than others, but you know I’m all about making it work, no matter what. Even twenty minutes is better than sitting on the couch. Or by the pool, if you’re the Fresh Prince.

Parents, I’m going to tell you my tricks for working out with your kids in tow. Usually, I’m at the gym, but these work for a jogging stroller too. (It’s just crazy hot unless I go at 6am. Maybe that’s why my youngest girl wakes me up…)

Taking my little alarm clock on an early morning run

Taking my little alarm clock on an early morning run.

1. Bring a bag of toys. Now, my gym has a playroom that works great for my 3 and 5 year olds. However, if I’m on the treadmill, I can’t see the room or hear them, because of the gym layout. I’m not too comfortable with that, so when I run, they sit next to me. That’s where the bag of toys comes in handy. We have a bag packed at all times for doctor’s waiting rooms, restaurants, church, etc., and it has saved me many times!

I rotate the contents, but it’s usually coloring pages and crayons, stickers, a card game (my girls LOVE the Eeboo Go Fish cards) and magnetic paper dolls. I usually bring the ipad too, just in case they get tired of coloring (that always happens when I have ten minutes left to go, you know?)

Little dude gets his own toy bag, and I give him one toy at a time. He’s only 6 months old, so he needs a new toy every five minutes to stay happy. Ten if I give him the package of wipes, which he LOVES. (The simplest, non-toys are always the most entertaining, aren’t they?) I bring a lot of toys for him and just keep trading while he sits in his stroller. If all else fails and I’m almost finished, we play peek-a-boo. I think of it as an extra cardio blast.

Sometimes they even sit next to me when I do the elliptical. We're all very attached.

Sometimes they even sit next to me when I do the elliptical. We’re all very attached.

2. Bring snacks. This may seem obvious, but I’m telling you anyway, because I always need more snacks than I bring. Snacks are super important.

3. Make it a playdate! I like to invite a friend and their kid(s) to meet us at the gym because it’s a win-win for everyone. I’m more likely to go in the first place, because I’m meeting someone there (and hello, adult conversation), and my kids are happy because they get to play with someone else. And hopefully, that kid’s toys too.

4. Let your kids be a part of things.
When I lift weights at home, I ask the kids to count my reps. When I stretch, they stretch with me. They love yoga, so we do that together. It helps to keep them entertained, and they see that being active is important.

Post-run stretch with my girl.

Post-run stretch with my girl.

5. Be flexible and realistic. I know my kids won’t want to stay more than 30-40 minutes, so I don’t push it. With the baby, sometimes he’s done after twenty. I don’t get mad; I just try to do something during naptime or make it up another day.

Starting him early (or mama has one set left).

Starting him early (or mama has one set left).

Parents, do you ever bring your kids to the gym? What’s your favorite quiet, stay-busy toy?

Everyone, what’s your favorite way to relax and unwind during the summer?  Mine is definitely reading a book by the pool or at the beach. Bliss.

Let’s talk about sleep, baby

Everybody does it. Some of us get more than others. And if you’re getting a lot of it, well, I’m giving you the stink eye.

That’s right, people, I’m talking about sleep.

I like to think of myself as a sleep expert, in that I love it and I did it a lot. I took copious naps on the weekend. Mister Jess and I slept in until 9, sometimes 10 in the morning. Sleep was something that fell from a proverbial sleep tree into my lap.

(For those who are wondering, sleep trees are like money trees, only great sleep falls from them instead of hundred dollar bills. Also, they are fictional, but bear with me.)

I am sad to say that my sleep tree has withered away. The leaves are dying, the bark is looking rather sallow…and I’m out of metaphors. Suffice it to say, I don’t even know what sleeping in is anymore. It definitely isn’t 5:30 AM, which is when my beautiful little angel of a baby decides it’s time to get up and party. And when people ask if he’s sleeping through the night, which he largely is, I want to shake them and say, “forget about him sleeping through the night, what about ME?”

Hey, I am nothing if not selfless.

I’m obsessed with sleep and the fact that I’m not getting it for good reason. Besides being completely awesome, sleep is an important part of our overall health. There have been dozens of studies about sleep deprivation and its negative effects on the human body and mind, but let’s focus on the good stuff, shall well? As The National Institutes of Health points out, a good night’s sleep every night boosts your memory, improves your ability to learn new skills, and makes you an overall happier you.

I’m about 18 years away from sleeping through the night, if my calculations are correct, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Those who cannot do, teach. So, I looked up some tips and my good friend The Mayo Clinic has some great ones to get you started on the road to sleep success.

1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends and days off. It’s all about consistency where your bod is concerned!

2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Don’t stuff your face right before bed, but don’t go to sleep starving either. It’s also best not to drink a huge glass of water before bedtime either. It’s safe to say that alcohol, caffeine and nicotine will also interrupt a great night’s sleep.

3. Create a bedtime ritual. This is a great tip for babies and adults alike. Bug gets a warm bath, a nightcap, and sometimes a song before he hits the hay. Relaxing activities help your mind switch into sleepy-time gear.

4. Get comfortable. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and the right temperature. A comfy mattress and pillows are important, too.

5. Limit daytime naps (I cannot recommend this personally, but I guess Mayo Clinic is pretty legit). Long daytime naps can mess up your sleep for later. If you do decide to nap, try to limit it to 10-3o minutes. Good luck with that.

6. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity helps you sleep better, longer, and deeper. Scoot your doots, people!

7. Manage stress. Our lives are crazy, and sometimes when you lay your head on your pillow at night, your brain decides it’s a great time to think about all of the things you have to do the next day, or the things you should’ve done today. Write it all down and then set it aside so you can get some shut eye. It will be waiting for you in the morning. Trust me.

8. Have your newborn go live with Grandma and Grandpa for the first year.

One of those is mine. I’ll let you guess.

How much sleep are you getting at night? Do you have a nighttime ritual? Do you love sleep and naps as much as I do? Let’s talk about it in the comments. Parents of babies, we can cry together there. 

Stocking The Milk Bar

Happy Wednesday, runners! So, I guess it’s (unofficially) boob week for the Scoot chicks. Today, I’m going to talk about breastfeeding. If you aren’t a nursing mama, or planning to be a nursing mama, this might not be very interesting to you. Just giving you a heads up!

Also, I am neither a lactation consultant nor a doctor. All advice is based on my own experience. If you have any nursing issues, please see a lactation consultant or a doctor.

Before I had my first baby, I set a goal to nurse for one year. We made it there- and beyond- and I was lucky, it was pretty easy. (Not a lot of sleep, but the breastfeeding part? Easy peasy.)

With my second girl, my goal was to nurse for as long as I had for the first- 17 months. I know it’s silly, but I wanted them to be equal. It was trickier at first (hello, latch issues), but nothing would stop me. Even though my pump broke on a cruise, which sent my supply on a downward spiral, we still did it.

With this little dude, my goal is the same; 17 months, at least. And to find all the adorable nursing-friendly clothing that Anthro has to offer. (Which is a lot! Strapless maxi dresses, friends. They’ve all found a home in my closet.)

I love breastfeeding. It’s an awesome way to bond with your babe. It’s amazing to see them grow and know that you are responsible for nourishing that development. It makes you feel good and for some (me, at least with the first two babies), it helps you drop all pregnancy weight and then some.

Nursing plus exercise, though? That was something I wasn’t sure about doing. I’d always heard that exercise could affect one’s milk supply, so with the Little Miss (my oldest), I proceeded with caution. I didn’t begin exercising until she was about seven months old, because my supply was well-established by that time. Turns out, my fear was unfounded. I’m sure there are mothers who see a supply dip when working out, but research shows that breastfeeding and exercise can mix with no ill effects to one’s supply. YAY!

Still, I have a few strategies for maintaining a healthy milk supply while working on my fitness.

Eat a healthy diet. I’m not talking about dieting. I’m talking about eating well-balanced, healthy meals and snacks. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, protein. I try to start my day with oatmeal because some say it can boost milk supply. It definitely doesn’t hurt it. (And I love oatmeal.)


Triple berry oatmeal. My favorite breakfast!

Drink a lot of water. Not a problem, because nursing makes me thirsty ALL. THE. TIME. I carry my water bottle with me everywhere.


The back of this bottle reads “Because I really really really like dessert.” YEP.

Nurse before and after workouts. I nurse on-demand, and all the kids were/are frequent nursers (snackers, ha) so this is an easy one for me. I also think it helps to prevent clogged milk ducts, that might start to form from my compression sports bra.

Yep, this happened. I'm a multi-tasker. (Or I forgot to do my wall sit before I started nursing.)

Yep, this happened. I’m a multi-tasker. (Or I forgot to do my wall sit before I started nursing.)

Let’s all enjoy this magical, sleep-deprived time. Drink your water, get your run on, and trust me, get to Anthropologie.

Sources: Kelly Mom and La Leche League

Any nursing mamas out there? What helps you maintain your milk supply while staying active? Where have you found cute dresses for Spring (nursing-friendly or otherwise)?

Back to Life, Back to Reality

I’ve been living in a cocoon for the past three and a half months. A cozy little world with me and Bug and sometimes Mister Jess, if we let him in (we usually do). All of that will be changing come Monday, however. I’ll be breaking out of my self-imposed swaddle* and getting back into the swing of things.

Namely, work. Real life. The grind, if you will.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this day, but in those first few weeks, April 1st seemed like a lifetime away. I was knee-deep in onesies, pacifiers, and diapers, with a newborn barnacled to my boob. I wasn’t thinking about work or “real life.” I definitely wasn’t thinking about running or any kind of me time. I was thinking about surviving. I was thinking about that elusive thing called sleep. I was thinking, “this shit is hard!”

The past few weeks I’ve been mentally preparing myself to get back to it all, though. I’m thinking about how on Monday, I’ll have to give Bug to his caregiver and walk away from him. How I’ll have to go to work and start critically thinking again and conversing with adults. A novel concept, considering I’ve been either talking to my baby or talking about my baby since he was born in December. What are these multi-syllabic words? 

I’ve also been thinking about how easy it is to settle into a new routine, and how hard it is to break away from it, especially when that “routine” is a living, breathing human who is growing and getting more fascinating by the day. I’ve been struggling with how to feel about getting back to “real life,” because this part of my life, the little cocoon, has been very, very real.

But when I found myself staring wistfully at runners as they passed us by during a trip to Crissy Field this week, I realized that running is a part of that real life. And that all of it – working, running, being a person independent of my son – is something I need to get back to. Running clears my mind. It lets me focus on becoming stronger, better. That time is mine alone, and if you have kids, you know how important that time is. You savor it. I know that it will be even more important to me now than it was before. Like Brooke said in her last post, if mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.

Part of me is sad maternity leave is ending. Part of me is scared. And part of me is excited to get back to some of the other things that fulfill me and make me a healthy, well-rounded chick.

And so although I’ve willingly – gladly – given up a piece of myself to my son (and basically my entire heart. Sorry, Mister Jess), I’m looking forward to taking back a piece for me. It’s time to get back on the road.

Hit the road, Jess.

Hit the road, Jess.

Working parents, how do you find a balance between kid time and healthy-you time? Give me some tips in the comments! 

*All credit for this sentence goes to Meri, who came up with the brilliant phrase “breaking out of your swaddle.” Baby jokes, haha!

Making It Work (Out)

I had grand plans for prenatal exercise. I had a good running base. I’d done my research, talked to my doctor and read some blogs about running during pregnancy. I didn’t need to run a marathon on the day I gave birth or anything; I just wanted to maintain some level of running fitness. It should’ve been easy.


You know what’s easier? Sitting around and having your husband bring you ice cream. Because you are fat and hot and tired and nauseated and taking care of two pre-schoolers all day.

I started out fine- not my typical mileage but still doing something. I even ran a 5k. But then, first trimester exhaustion arrived, along with her friends, nausea and bloat. So I walked when I felt like it and figured I’d get back to running in the second trimester. By then summer had arrived, and between the heat and the flurry of pool dates, zoo trips, picnics, and whatever else I could think of to entertain the girls, I was just too tired to work out. I resigned myself to the fact that my pregnancy running plans were a complete fail. (And I was mostly okay with that. I mean, I still had ice cream.)


Nursing while I warm-up! Moms know
how to multitask.

I’m three months post-pregnancy, and I’m finally getting back to running on a regular schedule. It feels SO GOOD. But also? Running is hard! I’m challenged by speeds that would’ve been slow for me before, and distances that were a piece of cake. And finding the time? Very tricky.

I used to run after the kids were in bed. That doesn’t work right now. Nor does early morning because little dude’s feedings aren’t consistent. Both girls are in school during the latter half of the week, so after I drop them off, I head to the gym.

My goal right now is to run three days a week. So far, I’ve only made this happen once. But I’m still exercising! Here’s how I’m making it work, as I adjust to being a mom of three:

  • Go to the gym when wee precious babe is asleep: Little dude is an easy baby. I nurse him, put him in the stroller and hop on the treadmill. After we smile and make some silly faces, he usually gets bored with watching me run and shuts his eyes.
  • Meet a friend to work out: If I plan to meet a friend for a workout, I’m obligated to be there. No excuses. As a bonus, there’s an extra person around to entertain the baby, if needed. Also? I get to converse with an adult.
  • Hire a trainer: I’m working out once a week with Trainer Jen! When we started, I said I needed her to help me avoid a tummy tuck. We do lots of ab exercises, among other things.
  • Walk, walk, walk: If I haven’t made it to the gym, I take the kids out for a stroller or bicycle walk.
  • Find something to do at home: Sometimes I only have twenty minutes. I can totally do some abs and arm work with free weights in that amount of time.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself: There are times when I’m too tired. There are times when the baby won’t let me put him down. There are times when I don’t want to put him down, because one day, he won’t fall asleep in my arms. And that’s okay. The treadmill will be there tomorrow.

Moms, did you run during your pregnancy? Any tips for finding time to workout with kids? Let me know in the comments.