Hello and welcome back for another round of 5 Things! Things in our house somehow simultaneously feel like nothing ever changes and also like every two weeks our world is flipped upside down by some new (and often not-so-fun) phase with one of the kids. It has been a long time since our last round of 5 Things so a family update on the blog is long overdue. I have plenty to catch you up on, so keep scrolling to catch up on the latest happenings with our family.
This post contains affiliate links. We earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of our links, which helps to support the blog.
Summer is finally here
Summer weather has officially arrived and it looks like it just might be here to stay! Hot, sunny weather always makes our days at home easier. Dessa can be an absolute bear to get out the door when it’s cold. Every step of the dressing process is a slow, drawn-out battle. Pants and shirts aren’t too tricky; but the task of putting on socks, shoes, and a jacket is far too much for her stubborn little personality to accomplish independently and I refuse to do those things for her. I have been dreaming of these days where socks and shoes don’t matter for outdoor fun and I’m happy to report that those days have finally arrived! My kids eat breakfast, get dressed, slap on a little sunscreen, and are out the door for some barefoot backyard fun. We are frequently outside from 9 am to dinnertime, except for lunch and naps, and it has been heavenly. Bring on the lazy days of summer with plenty of popsicles, trips to the park, and water fun with our new splash pad.
Now that Dessa and I have taken a break from our daily battle of shoes, socks and jackets, it’s a lot less painful to slip into some comfortable shoes and leave the house on an adventure. It’s usually just me and the kids, but Rob has also joined us on a few weekend adventures. We’ve recently visited the zoo, made regular trips to the library, stopped by a farm, helped plant flowers at our church, made a family trip to our neighborhood ice cream stand and even walked downtown to see our town’s Memorial Day Parade. Have I mentioned how much I love summer?!?!
We started potty training Harvey training in mid-February and it has been quite the adventure. Honestly, potty training wasn’t even on our radar with Harvey, but he showed so much interest in Dessa’s little toilet, that we let him try using it a few times and he peed almost every time I took his diaper off and sat him down. I spent a few weeks reading up on the process with our Oh Crap! Potty Training book, while I debated whether to officially start the potty training process. In the end, I decided to go for it. Harvey was clearly interested and we spend the first few weeks stuck at home with the toilet in easy reach. Since it was already nearly impossible to get Dessa out the door during the winter months, it seemed like a great time to seize the opportunity so we could start enjoying fun things outside once the weather warmed up.
Here we are, three months later, and Harvey only wears a diaper for naps and nighttime sleep. The process has proven to be much longer and more drawn out than it was for Dessa and there is far more pee in pants and on the floor than I would have hoped at this point. But he completely understands the concept. It’s usually just communication that’s the issue (teething, over-tiredness, and a distracted mom often play a big role as well). But, we are slowly getting there. I’m so proud of the good work Harvey is doing, and I can’t say I miss spending so much money on diapers every month.
Saying Goodbye to Our Nanny
We recently had a major change in our family schedule when we said goodbye to our nanny, Jenn. We hired Jenn in November of 2019 while she was still in school and knew that the arrangement wouldn’t last forever. Jenn has been a huge blessing for our family and the kids absolutely adore her. She was also incredibly flexible and helped me work behind the scenes on the blog during the first few months of the pandemic while we were all in quarantine and confined to our own households.
Rob and I might look into getting a new nanny later this year, but for now, we have decided to comb through our daily schedule to see if we could try to carve out some time for me to work without the extra help. We thought we figured out a great new routine, but then a teething, overtired Harvey sent the whole thing through a loop. I’ll be sure to let you know if/when we finally figure out a new schedule that works.
Regardless of the schedule, once the kids are tucked into bed at night we typically finish cleaning the kitchen, run a load of laundry, shower, try to get to bed at a decent time, and get ready to do it all over again. It’s not easy and it feels like our time is crunched significantly more than it was before, but it has potential to work for the long-term. It’s also nice to have some extra money in our budget now that we’re no longer paying for childcare, which we are happy to put toward paying down the mortgage and some of our longer-term savings.
If all of this sounds a little familiar to you, I’m not surprised. We had been in this exact same position right around Dessa’s first birthday when I decided to leave the classroom and we said goodbye to our first nanny. The new system without any childcare worked for a while until Harvey came along and I was desperate for help while I tried to squeeze in a little work with a newborn and a toddler. Thankfully, both kids are growing more independent, we have just started a new system that we are hopeful will work despite Harvey’s shifting schedule, and Dessa will attend preschool a few mornings each week in the fall. My fingers are crossed and I’m hoping we can make this work for the long haul.
Back to the Office
Saying goodbye to our nanny wasn’t the only significant change in our household routine. After several long months of working at home in our front foyer, Rob returned to work at his office. Until two weeks ago, Michigan workplace guidelines required any work that could be done remotely needed to be done from home. But, as new COVID cases in our state drop and the immunization rate is on the rise, the work from home guideline was lifted. Workers can now return the office as long as health and safety practices remain in place. The change is good news and a step in the right direction as we inch closer to what our lives were like before the pandemic. We seem to be fully back in the swing of our new routine, which begins with Rob helping get the kids fed, dressed, and ready for the day. Then the kids race to our dining window so they can watch Rob wave goodbye and honk the car horn on his way to work.
Dessa, meanwhile, can’t wait for the day when we can all visit Daddy at work. She wants to visit with the coworkers he often mentions at home and especially wants to see the fountains in his office atrium. We took this photo last summer and will probably recreate it one day soon.
Losing Weight and Getting in Shape
You probably already know that I jumpstarted my lifestyle with exercise and healthy nutrition when I joined Burn Fat and Feast in early December. Six months later, I’m still in awe of the progress I have made. I lost 20 pounds and several inches from my body and feel like a much younger version of myself. For the first 5 months, I diligently followed every aspect of the Burn Fat and Feast nutrition guidelines and worked out for 30 minutes, 6 days a week. At first, my goal was simply to get back to my pre-Harvey weight. After I met that goal, I set a new goal of getting back to my pre-Dessa weight. I kept setting new goals until I finally landed at my current weight. Now that my weight is just under 120 pounds, I am happy with the progress I’ve made and am in maintenance mode with a new goal. I’m still following all the Burn Fat and Feast nutrition (and loving every moment of my weekly feast days), but I’ve shifted my daily workouts with lighter exercise through Every Mother while I attempt to resolve my diastasis recti. If you’re curious about Burn Fat and Feast, you can sign up for the next FREE 5-Day Training and save $10 on your first month of the program with code MGAVIN10.
I mention my progress and goals on the blog often, but you might not know that Rob has also been embracing a healthier lifestyle. I signed up for Burn Fat and Feast in early December on my own and dove head-first into all the nutrition, exercise, and information presented in the course. At the time, Rob had also been watching his weight climb on the scale and wasn’t really loving how he felt. Since I was embracing healthier habits, Rob decided to track his calorie intake each day. It wasn’t really a diet. Just eating a reasonable amount of food for his body, rather than overindulging and grazing all day. He didn’t exercise, carb cycle, fast, or do anything fancy. He simply started tracking his calories (and indulging on Feast day right along with me) and he’s closing in on 40 pounds lost. At first it was more than a little frustrating that Rob was able to lose the weight so easily while I was working so hard to lose less weight at a slower pace, but I’m proud of the changes he has made and it has been exciting to embrace a healthier lifestyle at the same time. My current body feels familiar to me like I reunited with a friend that I lost touch with, but Rob hasn’t been this slim since he was in high school and I think he’s blown away by that fact on a regular basis.
The weight loss has been exciting for both of us and certainly a change in our household for the better. The only problem is that we both desperately need a lot of new clothes because we are swimming in the clothes that fit our bodies well last year. At this point, Rob has purchased a few new button-down shirts and khakis, along with a pair of khaki shorts and a swimsuit. I bought a few new t-shirts, some jeans and a pair of shorts; but there is still a lot to fill in. Even my underwear is all too big and Rob needs a new belt because he now uses the tightest notch on his current belt. The fact that underwear and a belt are on our shopping list because of all the weight we lost is truly astounding to me. The money for all those new clothes has to come from somewhere. Fortunately, we have plenty of extra money that had been budgeted for childcare last month. Our plan is to earmark that savings for new clothes, and use any savings this month and beyond toward our financial goals.
And now that I’m back to talking about life without a nanny, I think we’ve come full circle and can officially sign off on the latest round of 5 Things. I’ll try my best to check in again soon with another round of five new things for our family. Stay cool everyone and enjoy the weekend!
Great work both of you! After gyms closing and being pregnant our household is taking a similar focus. Main goal is to feel like ourselves again and get strong.
Maria Gavin says
Thank you – it has been a change for the better in our house. With the exception of Feast Day, this is the longest stretch that either of us have maintained a healthy lifestyle.
So proud of your healthier lifestyles. I started Keto and fasting last summer and dropped 15 lbs. Still working on losing some more, but agree Maria, that I feel like I found my old body and love it. I had clothes to fit into so have not needed much but so nice to like how I look and buy smaller sizes. I love consignment and thrift so utilize that a lot. Yes, needing bras always gets me as so not inexpensive!!! How tall are you? I don’t think I will see the 120’s again, but that’s ok. I’m in the menopause stage and did not like the belly fat gain. I am glad you are able to be out and enjoy the weather. Yes, in MN we wait many months for the freedom from socks and coats!!
Maria Gavin says
Isn’t it the best feeling? It has been really fun fitting into some of my old pants and tops that I thought would NEVER fit again. I just bought a pair of shorts on Poshmark and hope to purchase more items secondhand (most of the kids’ clothes are gently used and it saves us a fortune). To answer your height question I’m 5’6″. At some point, I think our bodies try extra hard to hold onto as much weight as possible so it’s pretty incredible that you’ve lost 15 pounds at your current stage of life. And YES the summer is amazing! It’s a mood elevator for sure. I hope you’re enjoying your weekend!
I love your 5 things posts!
How did you manage going out or getting the occasional treat? How did you manage your sweet tooth?! Or the afternoon wanting something to crunch on!
I know you had a weekly feast day, but I’m curious how you managed the above and still got such wonderful weight loss!
Maria Gavin says
Hi and thank you for the sweet feedback! I don’t personally struggle too much with an urge to crunch and snack during the afternoon (just because my days are nonstop), but the sweet tooth struggle is REAL. Gluten-free oreos, white whine, and my favorite GF DF ice cream help a lot. I seriously can’t believe how delicious this ice cream is: https://shop.sodeliciousdairyfree.com/products/chocolate-cookies-n-cream-cashewmilk-frozen-dessert
I am also a BIG fan of pumpkin pie during BFF because it’s sweet, but surprisingly low calories since the primary ingredient is pumpkin. I use a gluten-free pumpkin pie crust and this recipe for the filling (but my pie always takes WAY longer to bake fully) https://simplytaralynn.com/2020/10/15/gluten-free-pumpkin-pie-with-the-flakiest-crust/
I hope that helps a little!
Longtime lurker, first time commenter. May I suggest a pelvic floor therapist if you find you can’t get your diastasis recti to close on your own? I started working on mine at home last September and worked diligently on it for 6 months. I was able to close mine above my belly button, but I couldn’t get the rest of it to close. I did pelvic floor therapy beginning in May of this year. I started with a four finger width separation at my navel when I went to a pelvic floor therapist that I had been unable to close, and after 6 weeks of therapy, my inner abdominal muscles are closed, and I have maybe a one finger width separation remaining, which is not considered abnormal. I was also able to completely close the separation below my belly button. It made a huge difference. I know how frustrating it is to look in the mirror and not have your belly reflect the weight loss progress you’ve accomplished. I hope you’re able to repair it yourself, but if you’re not, pelvic floor therapy is a great option.
Maria Gavin says
Hi Laura and THANK YOU so much for sharing your experience and the suggestion. How did you go about finding a pelvic floor therapist? Were you referred by your OB/GYN or just find one on your own? Not much has changed since I started working to close my DR. I have a small hernia as well (courtesy of my pregnancy with Dessa), and I just sort of resigned myself to having a bulging tummy for the next few years until I’m ready to consider surgery, but your comment gives me hope!
Maggie Hall says
Hi Maria! I did Pelvic Floor PT after having my first baby last year. I’m in AL and we have to get a referral from a doctor for PT but yes, your OB/GYN should be willing to do that for you! I was surprised how many PT places there were in my area. I hope you’re able to get in with one and they can fix you up (I’m certain they can!).
Maria, I googled pelvic floor therapy and the closest city to me. Our insurance doesn’t require a referral, so I made the calls myself. I know it’s been a couple months since you asked, but I finished my sessions since then, and I can honestly not believe how much stronger my core is. I have excess skin (thank you, giant babies), but underneath it, I have legit an muscles. I can feel them. And my waist is trimmer, too, because my muscles are back in place, mostly. I hope you’re able to find a great PT in MI!