YOU ASKED FOR IT 3 WEEK UPDATE [VIDEO]

I feel like I can accomplish anything now that I have conquered being split in two. For anyone considering abdominoplasty, this is not a weight loss solution. This is war on your stomach!

Recovery is a road of ups and downs and curves that keep you from seeing what’s in store. You lose your independence more ways than you ever expected. I never thought I’d be so proud to wipe my own rear. I know my husband is grateful for this as well.

I MISS working out. It’s my therapy and what keeps me on track with my nutrition. I am still about 3-6 weeks from being cleared to get sweaty so the hubs and I decided we are going to do a 21 day cleanse. Don’t worry…with this cleanse…we get to eat like a king and queen. I’ve been asked for more video updates so I will be posting more on my youtube page, but also sharing some of our recipes along the way.

Here’s my 3-week post-op update video, and please ask your questions below in the comment section. I’ll be sure to answer them there or in my one month update next week. One month already? wow…

For now, I leave you with my 21 day recovery video update!

Continue Reading

My Friendsgiving Flaws

Have you ever sat around a table with you all eyes on you? What about a situation where all eyes are on you and you have nothing to say? That’s what happened last Thursday at my “Friendsgiving.” If you have no clue what that is, let me explain.

Ready? It’s a Thanksgiving celebration with friends. Genius right?!

I love this holiday. It has my favorites things. Food, family, and food. Our family tradition involves each person sharing one thing from past year they are extremely grateful for. Friendsgiving did not disappoint.

12274470_10153816462368623_173124918441850657_nMy sister in law made guilt-free eggs cups with a side of yogurt and berries. The table was set beautifully with turkey shaped candles! We did what we’re best at…WE TALKED. My sil(sis in law) started with a bible verse and then posed questions for the group.

The questions prompted some silly responses. “Chocolate and peanut butter. Yup! Those are foods I am thankful for.” Here are a few in case you want to pick up our tradition and spark some convo around your table this week:

  • What are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life?
  • What challenging experience has ended up changing your life for the better?
  • What place do you feel most grateful for? Why?
  • What act of kindness has made the greatest difference in your life?
  • What, from this year, do you feel most grateful for?

AND THEN….the question that stumped me and caused me to sit quiet at the table.

Is there a personal limitation or flaw that you’ve come to appreciate?

Woah, hold up! Are you really asking that? Pull out the therapy couch and start the timer. “I am not sure you want to open that can today Jen.”

You might have read that question and immediately had a response. If you are like me, personal limitations can be painfully obvious. But if I answered out loud I was admitting to something everyone else already saw in me and would probably confirm. That would have been hard. I know these things about myself but it will hurt if they know them too. I actually thought of several limitations, but I wasn’t sure I had accepted them yet. I sat silent, and took a pass.

I left Friendsgiving needing to reflect. I turned the radio off as I drove home and thought, “Why do I have such a hard time accepting my flaws?”

My mind immediately went back to my childhood. HEAR ME: I had a beautiful life. My parents both loved God and loved me and my sister unconditionally.  Life was good. But I’ve learned that every childhood comes with some sort of adult baggage.

We had more good days than bad. But the bad days involved a lot of screaming. That screaming affected me more than I realized. I am not a yeller. I do not like disorder or chaos. When the screaming between my sister and mom began, I retreated to my bedroom to hide. I cleaned and organized my room. I stared into my fish tank. I did whatever I could do to escape the craziness on the other side of the door. I couldn’t fix it, so I mentally and physically hid from it. When our family was attempting to work through it, I refused to share my feelings.  I chose to ignore those moments hoping that meant they never happened.

Some of those screaming matches would occur on the way to church. It was amazing how inside the 4 doors of our Ford Taurus it was a war zone and yet the minute we stepped out and walked into church our faces were all smiles. An outsider would look at our family and wish for what they thought we were. I knew the secret. We were not perfect.

11225433_1197269116965318_978465610005279814_n

I learned something at a young age I carried with me into adulthood.  It’s okay to be imperfect.  Just don’t let anyone know. What they don’t know, wont hurt. Our family actually worked out those issues together. Years of counseling did help. But I clung to the need to hide my problems. I remember leaving a local therapist at 9 years old and hiding under my sweatshirt so no one would recognize me. I was ashamed of my family’s dysfunction. If no one knew, it never existed. DING FREAKING DING.

That 20 minute drive from my SIL’s house allowed for this aha moment and I was finally able to answer the question I passed on earlier. My flaw? I’m a hider. I run from conflict and I have a really hard time embracing my imperfections. BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new- 2 Corinthians 5:17

I have hope because I can grow from my sin, accept my flaws and become a new, better, version of me. Did he say perfect? No! I can release the expectation of perfection and walk with imperfect confidence. How have I learned to accept this flaw?

I decided a few years ago that I would live my life out loud and on line. I’m learning the “social media me,” is a few steps ahead of the “face to face me.” I have the opposite problem that most folks complain of when they talk about social media posting.  I share the good, the bad, and a lot of what I find is ugly in me. I’m all about sharing and showing my imperfections ( I do believe in great filters and apps that help smooth some of my pimples and wrinkles.-hey, I am a work in progress). But as I learned at Friendsgiving, my face-to-face me isn’t willing to share it all with those closest to me.

So it’s time for me to catch up with me. Running and hiding from the things that are imperfect can no longer be a part of my character.

What about you? Are you aware of your flaws and limitations? I think you are. Are you hiding like I have been? DON’T.  It holds you back from becoming the perfectly imperfect you. We are unique and beautiful, flaws and all.

Continue Reading

Why I Have No Friends

Okay I do have a lot of great friends.  But read on and see if you relate…

Do you have your ride or die girls? As of a few years ago, my answer was no. My sister-in-law is an author, talented speaker and one of my favorite bloggers (JEN JONES DIRECT).

My SIL and me matching on vacation. Yup, we planned it.
My SIL and me matching on vacation. Yup, we planned it.

About seven years ago, I sat in a room packed full of pink carpets, leopard decor and women all looking to connect with other women. I don’t remember a lot about that night but I do remember Jen taking off her dangly earrings because they were clinking on the hands free mic AND talking on how she couldn’t to be without her “Go-To Girls.”

The truth about me: I am a homebody. No I didn’t say “Homeboy” although I love a good gangster flick. I prefer coffee and a movie in my sweats to tight jeans and an uncomfortable night out on the town. I do much of that with my hubby and boys. However,  if I was asked if I had good girlfriends I would reply “Sure I do!” Just look at my Facebook and all the fun adventures I’ve had with different groups of ladies over the years.  Proof is always in the posts. Right? #sarcasm

The question we all have to answer: When you hit rock bottom and you feel like your world is crumbling around you, do you have your “go-to girls” who surround you, listen to you,  and, most important, pray for you?  When tragedy strikes your home, are your girlfriends the first to show up with meals and flowers asking what they can do for you and your family?  When good things happen, are your girls the first to celebrate with you?  When it’s decision time, do you have listening ears and pots of coffee?

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I sat in a girlfriend slump and wondered, “If my husband died tragically and I was stripped of my world here on earth, who would my go-to girls be?” I was slapped in the face with a harsh reality. I didn’t have any real ride or die girls of my own.

When our oldest started school, he struggled to have friends.  My husband would say something to him every morning as they walked to first grade.

If you want good friends you have to be a good friend.

That has been my problem I haven’t done my part to be a good friend.  I listened to Jeremy repeat this mantra every day and I never realized the same applied to me. What took me so long?

Stubbornness and selfishness. There. I admitted it. These two win a lot of battles in my heart and mind. I want people to come to me but I don’t want them to take up my family’s time or my own. What? Who says that out loud on a blog? This girl. I am aware of these qualities I have and realized they were getting me nowhere in the friendship department fast!

Yesterday morning, I got a BIG FAT SIGN. I subscribe to email devotionals and yesterday’s asked if I had an accountability partner. My first response was “Yes!” I have my #fitfam ladies who won’t let me be caught with a milkshake unless we burned 1000 calories before hand. However, fitness accountability wasn’t the point here. Do I have a woman I share my failures, my weakness, my successes and deep longings with? Not really.

In the private fitness groups I organize each month, I partner women up with each other for accountability. They need someone to call them out if they don’t share that sweaty selfie or miss the daily check-in. We are just more likely to succeed together. We need someone who we will lift up and who we don’t want to let down. These women start and finish stronger together. How could I be so ignorant to think that I didn’t also need that in my social and spiritual life?

I decided to pray for a spiritual accountability partner. A woman who will love me for me and is willing to call “BS” when she see’s it. Someone who is pursuing her relationship with Jesus with passion like I want to. Someone with wisdom or who will at least pray for it with me when I’m faced with decisions. Someone I’ll commit to doing the same for. I need my go to girl.

I have incredible ladies in my life. I have a circle of women who would drop anything to be at my side if I was standing in quick sand. I’m grateful for all of them. But God’s given me a desire for deeper friendships. And I’m willing to do my part.

God gave us women incredible gifts. We can empower one another. Friendship is a two way street. We (starting with me) need to put down the insecurities, the stubbornness, and the selfishness that so often infects “girl friend” circles and take the advice Cameron’s dad gave him in first grade.  We need to be good friends and we will make good friends. That’s my commitment.

Here’s my favorite girl quote:

Girls compete with each other. Women empower one another.

 

 

Continue Reading

YOU ASKED FOR IT: MY TUMMY TUCK UPDATE [Part 3]

FREEDOM!

Just like I found my #fitfam on Instagram, I have also found the TTC(tummy tuck community). It is so nice to be in the recovery trenches with these folks. We celebrate the little things.  Things I’ve taken for granted since I was TWO!

  • Walking to the bathroom without assistance
  • Wiping your own rear post potty time!
  • Standing up a little taller everyday
  • Weaning (off the pain meds that is)
  • The sensation of touch (The feeling around my stomach has been gone for a week)
  • and this one is what I am praising Jesus for…The tubectomy:  Removal of drainage tubes!

I cannot tell you how amazing it is to “drop my drawers” and pull them on up without having to manouver them around the drains. My hubby says he hasn’t seen me that excited about taking my pants off for almost 14 years. These are the Jr.High boy moments I get out of the nearly 40 year old child living in my house who I refer to as my husband. Wouldn’t trade him for the world.

I had my one week post operative appointment. The tape over my incision was removed and I got to see my hip to hip wound. I say wound, because it is not yet a scar. It is healing very well. The moment of truth really for me was the belly button stitch removal. Since full feeling hasn’t come back to my midsection, it didn’t hurt one bit. I told my Jeremy it was the perfect opportunity for a belly piercing. He gently reminded me that I am 35. He’s good at bringing me back to the real world. Ha.

Ok back to my appointment. I am excited about my belly button. I actually haven’t seen my button really since I was  pregnant with son #2 almost 10 years ago. This might be an odd thing to be excited about, but I really love it. Some of you asked it was actually my belly button or do they “make a new one.” It’s all me baby!

During surgery they actually cut my button away from the skin, pull new skin down and cut a new hole. The belly button is brought up through the hole and stitched into place. Dr. Edween went the extra mile. My original belly button had a hole from a piercing I had in it during my twenties. She showed me today a spot down at the incision and said, “There is that hole from your piercing I fixed. It should heal up just fine.” Do you know how strange it is to look that far down south and see the place where my button used to lie?

Many of you also asked how many pounds of skin was removed. Missed the pics? You can check this past post:Recovery pictures

Dr. Edween said she would find out in the records for me and get back on that one. I sure am curious myself! The most she could ever remember was about 8 pounds!

I am still VERY swollen. I feel like “guy #4” in those evolution of man posters. Dr. Edween reassured me it was normal because she pulled extra tight for me. Im not willing to split my stiches, so I will walk bent over for as long as it takes. Plus she told my hubby to massage my back for me. I am liking her more and more. He’s not.

Next appointment? Next month. Jeremy and I were warned not to jump back into working out just yet. can workout whenever he wants but he’s supporting me in my progression back.  That’s what he says.  I call it an excuse.  Honestly though, we have our plan of attack. We are focusing our energy on our nutrition and everything we are putting into our bodies. I cannot wait! If you missed the info on our healthy for the holidays, you can check it out here —>HEALTHY HOLIDAY

I’ll continue to keep you updated on the recovery, the appearance, and all the rest!

Continue Reading

YOU ASKED FOR IT – MY TUMMY TUCK UPDATE [PART 2]

I am so thankful for all of the encouraging messages, texts and emails I’ve been getting here and throughout all of social media.  Thank you so much.  As you know, I love touchy feely things.  So today I thought I’d do 2 things:

First some FAQs.  I want to answer all your questions so let’s start there:

1 THE PAIN – There is definitely pain.  I wouldn’t describe it as child birth pain but it hurts.  It’s more of an internal ache or burn.  The doctor did a great job of numbing the rest of me.  And of course it’s a chore to make it to the bathroom or get back into bed. I can’t stand up straight for about two weeks and I have to sleep in a “v” position.

2 RECOVERY TIME – The complete recovery will take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months.  I’ll get my drainage tubes pulled next Wednesday and can start standing up straight a week later.  I should get to lay this bed down straight within the month!

3 MY DOCTOR – So many of you have asked who I went to see.  Dr. Edween is amazing!  I felt safe, secure, and cared for.  She’s been featured on E entertainment in a number of shows.  She’s one of the best in the biz!  I was so grateful my good friend recommended her to me.  If you’re considering this for you, you need to check her out.

4 WHAT AM I GOING TO DO DURING RECOVERY? – You all know me so well.  So many of you have asked “How will you make it without your workouts?”  I’m actually really excited about this next several weeks.  The holidays are coming and they are historically difficult for people.  So I’m going to use my time to focus on helping other people.

As you know, I only did this after getting my nutrition on track.  I was so excited when Dr. Edween told me no liposuction would be needed because she could tell I was in great physical shape!  I want that for women EVERYWHERE!

So here’s my plan:

I’m going to spend my next 6-8 weeks helping other women with the most important things that led to this perk. The first was my self-confidence.  The second was my health and nutrition.  I need a little time to get back on my feet but I’m launching a special holiday nutrition group for small group of women looking to commit to getting healthier and feeling more confident BEFORE the year’s end.

If that type of group speaks to you, I would love to chat and see if what I’m planning is a fit for you!

Healthy Holdiay (1)

THE PHOTOS: Okay here you go.

The photos below are from the last couple of days. You’ll notice to drainage tubes, gauze stuffed into the belly.  Most of these were taken on day two post op.  In the near future, you’ll get some of my tubeless updates.  Please don’t hesitate to ask me anything!

Continue Reading

YOU ASKED FOR IT – MY TUMMY TUCK UPDATE [PART 1]

I did it! Well technically the doctor did it.  But I laid there so that’s something right!?

I had a few moments just before they injected the final dose of “lights out” meds when I asked myself, “What if I just didn’t go through with it? Is that an option?” Fear does crazy things to your mind. But fear wasn’t about to stop my belly from its well deserved fresh start.

What kept me from backing out and running out of the operating room? I have trained myself to go toe to toe with fear. It’s like a bully. When you stand up to a bully, most of the time the bully backs down.  My natural instinct, when faced with fear is to choose flight over fight.  But I’ve learned that when it comes to that bully, fighting is the better option.

That’s exactly what I did. I fought off fear. The past few years, I worked my butt off to lose weight. I owned my health and fitness and was in the best shape of my life. I became a #Girlboss. I earned the title of Elite Coach in my organization and finished 2014 as # 50 out of 300,000 peers.  John Acuff said something in his book Start:Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters that really spoke to me:

You will work harder at something you love than at something you like. You will work harder than you have ever worked when you start chasing a dream. You will hustle and grind and sweat and push and pull. You will get up earlier and go to bed later. But that’s okay.”

I am proud of the work I put in. I discovered a new love for me, a healthy confidence and I am insanely driven to continue to pursue my passion for people and health. The hustle was worth it.  Because of God’s blessing and the hard work, I was able to swipe my debit card at a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills without a feeling of guilt or worry. I earned this. I was worthy of this change. Regardless of what others may think or say, fear of judgement was knocked out by the truth of who I am know. And with that, and some really good anesthetic, I dozed off to la la land and the surgery began.

THE OPERATION

I don’t have a ton of pics of surgery day but we’ll start here:

I checked in for surgery at this well known medical facility and thought for sure I would see a celebrity or two. The room was quiet. Just me and my mom. The nurse took me back and left me to take one more pregnancy test and change into my surgery outfit.

Dr Edween office

She should have never left me alone, cause I took the moment for a few snapshots. As you can see, I was in the bathroom. If you know me, you know bathroom selfies are a favorite this girl.

Untitled design (1) Untitled design (2)

I tucked myself into my warm bed and the process began. Blood pressure, temp, and a chat with my anesthesiologist were all followed by the pre-op markup (sorry no pics allowed). Dr. Edween and I laughed a lot as she drew purple lines all over my stomach. I felt like the chalk board for a pre-school drawing project. When the doodle was complete it was nighty night time.

And what happened next?  Well that’s my next post.  For today let me encourage you to fight for your dream.  No, a tummy tuck wasn’t the goal.  But it was a perk for chasing the other dreams in my life.  What are you chasing?  Will you fight off fear or will you run from it and leave your dreams in the dust too.

 

Continue Reading

I’VE GOT A GUT FEELING

I am terrified. There. I said it. After wanting this for so long, and after stalking so many Youtube.com abdominoplasty (fancy word for tum-tum-tuck) recovery videos, I am finally here.  It’s my mommymakeover-eve. The day before I go under the knife. Here’s the deal.  I’m scared.  That fear in my gut isn’t of the operation though. I’m not worried about making it through the surgery alive.  But I’m scared.

Yesterday, after church, I sat my boys down separately to explain why I’m going to Los Angeles today. My oldest thinks it’s hilarious that I am coming home with a new belly button. My youngest is such my “cuddle bear.” He just wants me to come home as soon as possible.  Then there was the real heart to heart talk with the hubby. We spent time chatting about the type of woman I would want him to marry (you know, if this is what will end it all). You might think I’m crazy.  You probably think I’m dramatic.  He sure does.  But he loves me just the way I am.  But I was serious. I didn’t leave anything undone or unsaid.  We found ourselves laughing uncontrollably. It was probably because even I knew I was being kinda corny.

Want to know the difference between guys and girls?  There I was sharing my heart AND giving him permission to remarry if the somebody cut the wrong cord and his response was, “I’ll definitely have to find someone to marry or at least watch the kids while I’m at work.”  This is my life.  My heart exposed to the world and his mind on the constant hunt for the next joke. I love every minute.

My mom flew in from Washington to help me during recovery yesterday. That was Jeremy’s idea because he recognizes he has no bedside manner. We shopped and stocked our fridge full of food. I snuggled my boys to death and I think I am ready. Today I’ll be at my pre-opp appointment and then out on the town in Beverly Hills with my mom.

So what am I afraid of? I’m not afraid of taking my last breathe on earth.   what is it that I have been so anxious about for the past week? I trust my doctor, she is incredible. I trust my anesthesiologist and Lord knows I could use the rest so that part will be great. It’s not the important things that fill me with fear. I worry about the silly things. How will I get from the car to my hotel room tomorrow after surgery? Will I be able to sleep? How bad will the pain actually be? Will I act like those crazy people who get their wisdom teeth pulled and are so high on drugs? Will Jeremy get a hold of the video and post it?

I AM A BABY.

On a scale of 1-10, the typical flu gets me to about 8.  I have birthed two children via C-section so abdominal surgery isn’t new to me. I’ve been kicked and cut in the gut twice before.  The difference is I won’t be hooked up to morphine for days and won’t have nurses to care for me in a hospital room. Not to mention, I chose this pain.  So I’m also fearful, once again of others’ judgements.

I’m scared but excited. I am Anxious but hopeful. I am Curious and concerned about the outcome. I”m Completely freaked by the unknown. I’m terrified for the recovery. More than my stomach is being stretched here.  My bravery is being put to the test.  BUT…

I’ve got a gut feeling about this (get it).  So tomorrow I’ll put fear aside and look at my doctor straight in her eyes.  And as that milky white sleeping drug enters my vein I’ll make sure she knows I’m confident.  I’ll do my best  to stay awake long enough for her to hear me ask . . .

“Can you snap a selfie for me during the surgery and maybe one or two post op since I’ll be asleep.”

Hey, you have not if you ask not. I also told my mom to snap pics of my recovery hours to document and share with you all. So I guess Ill see you on the flip side? Please say a prayer for me tomorrow morning if you think about it. I could use all I can get! PEACE OUT

Continue Reading

Tuck and Roll. It’s game time.

I have started and deleted paragraphs for the last hour. Am I sharing too much? Too little? Will they understand WHY I am opting to dive into surgery? I decided to stop fretting and start writing.

This is for me. This is a diary to share my emotions. This is my mommywonderand. A place to record my thoughts.  A place to reflect.  A place to look back and see where my mind was at during moments like these.

How do I even begin to describe this choice without going on and on and on? Why do I feel I need to justify what’s about to happen to me in one week?  In my heart I know I don’t.  My social media family, although often opinionated, has proven to me over the past four years that they support me.  And yet, today I want to make sure you really understand.

I’ll start with the “post-baby-body” I was left with after child #2. I was 26 when my last baby was born.  Oh how I remember that fine age.  My metabolism was working hard for me back then. Oh the good ol’ days when I could still eat cheeseburgers and fries, workout the next day and drop 5 pounds. And then I turned 27. Even though it didn’t happen that fast, I noticed my metabolism was slowing and my body didn’t recover from late night ice-cream runs like it once did.  I decided to put down the burgers, and pick up the spinach. It was time to make consistent healthy food choices.

I worked hard.  I made good choices.  I stayed focused and on point because “abs are built in the kitchen right?” The work brought results. I lost my baby weight, but NO WAY did my body look the way it did before kids. If you follow me on instagram you’ve seen my journey.  I’ve lost pounds, I’ve lost inches, and I’ve lost most of my “pooch.”  But what remained was my war-torn belly of mommy scars…stretch marks.bellypic

Don’t get me wrong. I love what each line represented.  I love my boys.  I’m proud to be a mom.  It was a dream come true for me and raising them is my greatest joy.  But that didn’t change how I felt in a bikini.  The pride I have in being a mommy was often masked by the shame I felt when my belly was exposed.  I battled in my mind for years over my insecurity.  Was this just vanity? Was I wrong for not embracing these “war scars” as blessings?

Inside I recognized my mind was just battling fear.  Fear of what friends would think.  Fear of what Facebook would think.  Fear of family.  Fear of what you would think.  I had to do what I learned from so many personal development books I’ve read have taught me to do.  I had to punch fear in the face!  I had to embrace the truth I know about me.

THE TRUTH:

I never stopped working on me. I’m committed to health because I love feeling healthy.Yes, I have moments of cheeseburger weaknesses, but I fight for health every single day.

This is not about you.  No offense but it doesn’t really matter what you think. It matters how I feel in the body God gave me.

I’m not doing this to like myself more.  I’m good with me.  Five years ago that was not the case.  Had you met me then you’d know me liking me has been a process.  But I do like me. Scratch that.  I love me.  I’m confident in me.  This won’t make me a better woman.  It won’t change who I am.  And thanks to God and a whole lot of small group time with the ladies at church, I’m really glad about that!

So there it is.  Next Tuesday, November 3, I’m doing it.  I’m going under the knife. I will share each moment with you. Even the post-op pics.  You’ve learned by now, my life is an open book. I hope you’ll keep reading.

Continue Reading

HELLO WORLD…again

 

4 score and 7 years ago…Just kidding. I once was a blogger. I had some incredible followers, met some incredible women in this little corner of the internet. The blog community is an interesting world and I sat at the “cool kids” lunch table. After a few years of spilling my embarrassing mommy moments and failed attempts of a fitness journey, I quit. Just closed down my blogspot and lost all those sweet love notes I had written with years of memories for my boys to relive. (moms of boys, who was I kidding? They were never gonna read those) (right? Tell me Im right)

Fast forward to this past week. I was sipping my coffee, overlooking the gorgeous Coronado, California view when a beauty came up to me and said “I was one of your loyal blog followers years and years ago.” I know my BIG eyes probably creeped her out, but I was shocked that I was actually meeting someone who read my stuff. ME? She asked me to start blogging again which for me was just the confirmation I needed.

I am NOT the best writer, but I do love to write. This wont be edited by anyone. I might ramble. I might make you laugh and cry at times. I need an outlet to share about my life. The good, bad + ugly.

So cheers (holds up coffee mug) to new adventures. I hope you stick around.

Continue Reading