How Busy Moms Can Train For Their First Half Marathon. A Beginner’s Guide.

Wow! A half marathon in the books at the beginning of the year is just the moral boost I needed to start my year strong. I never imagined I would ever run a long-distance race. It was NEVER one of my bucket list items. Yet on Aug 2019 training for my FIRST HALF MARATHON happened to land on my To-Do-List. I remember I was feeling extremely low around that time and needed a distraction.

I had been suffering from sciatica pain for almost 6 months since the start of 2019. (This pain had been bothering me for time to time since pregnancy.) I wasn’t active for all those months and gained 8-10 pounds! This period was by far my lowest state in terms of physical well being. However, that rest was important as I wanted to make sure the sciatica pain didn’t come back.

Once I felt better and could get back to a healthier and active lifestyle,  I made sure I wanted to work towards a fitness GOAL. The Chevron Houston Marathon & Aramco Half Marathon registrations ad popped up on my FB feed and my gut told me to sign up and just go for it!

The last time I ran a long race was a 10k, almost 3 years back right after my pregnancy. My goal then was to shed all that baby weight. But this time it was different. I didn’t run to lose weight, I ran for my mental and physical well being. I ran for a stronger me. I ran to challenge myself. I ran because I believed I could do a half marathon if I set my mind to it.

If you follow my Instagram, you must have seen me training on my stories. It is saved under my highlights section. I started preparing for the race around September 2019. This training also helped me get ready for a 2-hour trek on an active volcano- Mt. Batur in Bali, Indonesia. This training was turning out to be my therapy and a getaway from the daily mundane. I really made sure that I don’t over think or stress about the race. So, I made a plan and I tried to stick to it.

In this post I am sharing all my tips and tricks on how I prepared to run my FIRST Aramco Houston Half Marathon on January 19th, 2020 in Houston, Texas at age 34. 

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“It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” First Half Marathon ✅. l couldn’t have asked for a stronger start to 2020. So happy that I was able to share this journey of training for my race with my son. He has motivated me to be the best version of myself, so I can set a better example for him. I grew up watching my dad pick medals at different sporting events and that inspired me to be in sports throughout school and college while representing my university and state in basketball 🏅I hope to inspire my son similarly to be strong and hardworking. Because I do believe our children follow our example and not just our advice. 🙏🏽 . . #RunHou #HouHalf @chevronhoustonmarathon #HouMarathon #momswhorun #toddlermom #boymom #liveyouradventure #letthembelittle

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Finding a Race and Signing Up

The act of committing to a race and plunking down the registration fee can help to motivate you. Plus, you need to know exactly when the race is so that you can map out your training runs over the next few months. Click HERE to find a race in your state.

My Training Plan

Note that I was always able to run a minimum of 3 miles. So, I followed the program below, 4 months prior to the race. However, if you are just starting off, I recommend training at least 6 months prior to race and get yourself to commit to this plan.

I followed the Novice 1 Half Marathon Training Program by Hal Higdon. This is a great running plan if you can stick to it. Note- I was also flexible with my run schedules. Every week wasn’t the same. Some days I was running 3 days a week and sometimes 5 days a week. What I focused was on avg miles weekly and most importantly, a long run on the weekend. I never missed that.

race plan

Credit :  Hal Higdon (https://www.halhigdon.com/)

Time Management for Moms

Most important question I have been asked by my followers. How can you do it all? Be a mom, work full time and manage your home? Let me tell you there is no magic formula. It’s team work, better planning and commitment that helped me finish the half marathon.

Communicate with your partner/ nanny/ family members before you plan to race. Me and my husband worked as a team. I couldn’t have really done this without his support. We discussed the days he will be doing school picks ups and drop offs, so I could use those days for my short runs. This meant I got to wake up early and go for runs at the gym before work or finish work 30 minutes earlier once a week and head to the trail in the evening. We also planned 1 day in a week where my husband would come back early from work, so I could start training for my longer runs in the evening (6miles +). Evenings worked best for me as Houston weather is brutal and honestly, I am not a morning person. Weekends were the easiest to coordinate and I kept aside 2 hours for my training every weekend.

Running Gear

Shoes- I had two fresh pairs of shoes on hand when I started my training. It helps extend the life of each pair by giving them ample recovery time between workouts. I ran the race in Reebok shoes and trained with Hoka one. I highly recommend both brands.

Active wear– I ran in leggings and tank tops. Most important part gear for me after my shoes was having a good sports bra. I love the Reebok Pure Move bra, it is made with motion sense technology that reacts to your movement. Also, I highly recommend wearing active wear with in built belts or zipped pockets to store phone and keys. I love my Flip belt leggings.

Before race day I treated myself to a new running T shirt and running sleeves from the Chevron Marathon Expo when I went for my bib pick up. Highly recommend buying gear form the race expo. It will forever be special.

first half marathon

Fuel for workouts

Pre work snack- I always had limited time to plan my snack, so I would just eat a banana or a peanut butter sandwich and head out for short runs. On days I did my long runs I would make a smoothie, I usually added banana to every smoothie with some spinach, chia seeds, hemp seeds, berries and oat/ almond milk.

Post workout– I would have a protein drink, some Greek yogurt with berries and granola etc. I often had my premier protein shake or some slices of apples with almond butter or I would just have dinner as almost 80% of my runs were in evening.

Note- I was eating almost everything and didn’t diet or control my calories for weight loss. If your aim is too loose weight while training, I recommend planning your meals and doing calorie counting to get the best results.

Race day nutrition– Carb load a day or two in advance before the half marathon. I ate good carbohydrates like whole grain pasta, quinoa, brown rice or sweet potatoes. These foods can help your body store extra glycogen which one can draw on for quick fuel during the run. On race day I carried my Cliff  bar to snack after 10 miles, although I didn’t eat it at the race as I got bananas at every 5 miles and preferred eating that instead.

Hydration- While training I only hydrated myself with water and since I ran on trails, there was a water fountain every few miles, so I didn’t carry any water with me while training.  I didn’t use any gels, but I have heard great things about it and will be using them in the coming months. Read more HERE

Note on race day there is water + Gatorade so it is suggested you pick one and only hydrate with that to avoid mixing it up. I stuck with water.

Apps and Tech, I used for training

Recovery Days are Important

 The day after a tough workout, the most I wanted to do is jog lightly or do some form of cross-training, like cycling. You need a recovery day after a hard day. No exceptions. I usually took Epsom salt hot water baths after long runs and it helped my aching muscles a lot.

Injuries are common.

Getting injured while running is very common. Read about it here .The more miles I ran, the more stressful it was on my joints, muscles, and cartilage. And even though I felt so good pounding the pavement with the wind in my hair, the reality is that our body is made of tissue. I suffered with Achilles Tendonitis just 4 weeks before my race. I rested my leg for a week and later started to use ice packs for at least 20 minutes after each run. Anti-inflammatory painkillers helped too, but what helped me the most was the ankle compression sleeves I bought 2 weeks prior to my race.  I wore it and ran the race. I was comfortable running in to up to 11 miles. Post that I was in pain but was able to finish my race.

Tapering ( cutting back on running a week before the race) is crucial

It allows the body to recover from the training that you’ve put in, which sets you up for peak energy on race day. It helped me a lot especially after my injury. I did short runs of 3-5 miles in my tapering weeks. And did lot of stretching exercises and yoga.

 

Take the pressure off and say goodbye to any negative thoughts.

Before race day I was wondering what if I was not able to complete my race. What if my ankle pain gets worse. I would let myself down. But then I reminded myself – Hey I will still be me, and my family and friends will love me no matter whether I finish first, last, or even if I don’t finish. I can cover this topic in an entire post itself. I kept saying to myself that I am strong, I am brave and I have to do me! And above all, I wanted to  set an example for my son.

Honestly at the end of the day, racing does hurt. It is going to test your mental strength, and no amount of tips or tricks will make it hurt any less. However, that pain is what leads us to the moments of pride; because we know the struggle we have been through to get to that moment.

I would like to finish this post by quoting the legendary Kobe Bryant, who the world lost  tragically on 26th Jan  in a tragic accident .

“Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change.” – Kobe Bryant. 

Good Luck on your training! You can do it.

XOXO

Arushi (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Body Reality 9 Months Post Pregnancy! 

 

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I love to jog especially when Vir can accompany me in the jogger!

 

Am I where I was before baby? In some ways yes, in other ways not at all.

If you read my previous post on my post baby weight loss journey, you know I had lost 30 pounds out of the 43 pounds I gained within the first 3 months. To continue with my progress I had set 2 goals for the next 6 months.

1) To get rid of those 13 pounds 2) To gain my fitness and endurance levels back. I believe that 9 months is a fair enough time frame to work on my postpartum body and fitness and that is exactly the time I wanted to bounce back in shape.

To accomplish these 2 goals I started with running because not only was it a great way to get out of home daily and get some fresh air but also because I had set myself up for a CHALLENGE.

The challenge was to participate in a 10k run, 4 months after my delivery! I wasn’t sure if I could complete it, but I was definitely preparing myself to do my best. On 16th Sept 2016, 4 month post my pregnancy, I ran and finished my first 10k race in 1 hour and 19 minutes. Completing this challenge I set for myself gave me a lot of confidence and appreciation towards my body.


Post race, I figured out I was ready to take my endurance levels up a notch. So I started doing more strength training routines for some muscle definition and toning. Daily cardio sessions felt great but when it came to strength training at the gym, I wasn’t feeling so good or enjoying it. After a month I stepped back and returned back to jogging.

I started to fit in my regular jeans after 6 months post partum. I was so glad to ditch those maternity jeans! Although, I still have a few inches to loose on my thighs. Losing weight on the lower half of my body has been a constant struggle since I was a teenager and it continues to this day. (I often blame it on my genes J )

My stomach was smushy after giving birth and still is. I have ways to go to get my lower stomach back in shape, and that’s OK. Despite using stretch oils and cream rigorously I still have stretch marks.  They have faded but will probably be there, and I am proud to have them as I was blessed to carry and deliver a healthy baby.

So far I have lost a total of 39 pounds in 9 months. Still 4 pounds shy from my pre pregnancy weight. Honestly, I have stopped looking at the scale now. I am trying to maintain my weight while exercising and enjoying my treats on regular basis. I can’t diet and restrict myself of certain food groups as I don’t want to live like that. I like food (and chocolate) too much.

As far as my boobs are concerned, they are not normal yet. They are neither perky nor saggy, just somewhere in between. I am still breast feeding in morning and nights so I think I will have to wait out on this.

img_2719Once Vir turned 6 months, maintaining a workout schedule has become a struggle. Between caring for Vir, work demands, home chores, and all the rest there is precious little time life for me to sweat and so workouts are the first to be scratched off the To Do list. Honestly few months back I was struggling to even keep up to my 4 days of staying active. It is hard now to find dedicated alone time as a parent, and I have learned it isn’t always possible to find some.

Yet in January I enrolled myself in Kayla Fitness. The SWEAT app has short 28 minutes of Resistance sets that I do from home as per my convenience. I plan to stick with my 2017 goals of staying active daily and not losing steam. If I don’t find the time or energy to workout, I make sure to walk my dog “Rio” an extra mile.  You can catch me on Instagram with my daily updates.

At the end I just want to say we are all aware that our life will never be the same once we have a baby, yet we expect our bodies to be. I could have never imagined that our bodies can do amazing things like – never failing to wake up for the fourth time in the night to feed a hungry baby or to hold an 18 pound baby for a ridiculously long periods of time or to even function the entire day with just an hour of sleep. There are truths of post baby body that I am trying to accept and realistically I still struggle over accepting the body I am in. But I won’t waste my time feeling bad about it. I plan to work towards what I can accomplish with it while not giving up on chocolate!

Watching Vir grow up and experiencing Motherhood is the most beautiful part of my life now. My smushy stomach and stretch marks are just reminders of what I endured for my son to be here.

arushi

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My 2017 Goals, Keeping it Real

It’s the dawn of a New Year and as always a few resolutions are to be made. Honestly, most of these resolutions don’t stick for a long time, and I end up breaking them by mid of the year or even as early as 2 weeks. So, I am tired of these resolutions and won’t bother making them this year.  Instead I have set up realistic specific goals for myself and look forward to achieving them.

A goal is more flexible and achievable for me. I don’t have to be ‘resolute’ in my journey to achieve it. As I got to the end of the year, I looked back and assessed how it went. I tried to categorize the year into eating habits, fitness regime, health, family, baby, finances etc and drew from there my top goals for 2017.

I strongly feel if we do not take the time to think about our hopes and dreams and set goals and actions steps to get there – nothing will ever change. By working on each aspects of our lives that are important or we are frustrated with, we can feel better about ourselves.  In my previous post I stressed upon the taking out Me- Time, and that is more of a lifestyle change I am already working on.

But setting goals is important for us because doing so helps us change things in our lives that are not as we would like them to be.  Defining goals that pertain to both ourselves and our relationships with those who are important to us can result in changes that make our lives happier and more fulfilling.  Isn’t that what you want for 2017 and moving forward?

Below are my TOP 2017 Goals . Please do share yours.

Happy New Year Everyone !

Love Arushi

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My Post-Baby Weight Loss Journey

 

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After a good run ! 10 weeks postpartum

I am three months and 1 week postpartum and you might wonder why I am already talking about weight loss. I have been struggling to write this post and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit this to the blog. Yet, I am posting it and I have decided to do so because it will not only motivate me to continue to work towards my “goal” but also give me a chance to celebrate my progress so far.

Will I ever get back to my pre-pregnancy physique? When will I hit my goal? How long will it take me to fit in my jeans? Will I have to continue buying bigger size clothes? Ahh!! .….all the questions pop up in my head as I step into my closet. No matter how many clothes are hanging in your closet, there are always those days when you feel you have nothing to wear. It’s all there but it’s all wrong and then you want to shop. I’ve faced this almost every day for last five months. Earlier I was so big that I could survive only in my maternity clothes and now, when I am neither 9 months pregnant nor my original size, I am in this no man’s land with only a handful of stuff I can fit in.

To fulfill my goal and stick to this weight loss journey I am putting a stop to buying any bigger size dresses or jeans or shirts. I think that this will encourage me to stick to my workout routine and healthy lifestyle to get back in shape and not fall off the wagon.

Pre- Pregnancy

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Last year Aug 2015, hiking Whistler Mountain, Vancouver

I feel I have always struggled with weight. I’ve always been the tall and athletic body type and never close to the slim shape. I played basketball and represented my school, college and state at competitions for almost 7 years. My love for sports directed me towards a healthier lifestyle and maintaining a workout regime so far. But my love for chocolates and cakes would wash away all that hard work and I would end up at the same weight rather than losing it! Post college I started getting comfortable with this theory and worked out so that I could indulge in my favorite food. I always enjoyed cardio and high energy activities like jogging, swimming, kickboxing etc . I have never been a big fan of dieting or staying on a controlled diet or eating clean. Right before pregnancy I was 150 pounds (68 kgs), a few pounds over what I envision my ideal weight to be, but I was working my butt off to maintain it. (Thanks to my metabolism which dipped like the oil prices last year, as I turned 30)

Pregnancy

When one is a pregnant you get a license to pack on the pounds!! Now since I have been pregnant let me tell you this is a load of bull….. I was obsessed with my weight gain (some of you might relate to it, except for a lone few who can rise above the weight gain issue). I stepped on the scale every day, I wanted to make sure I stick to the healthy weight gain between 25-35 pounds; in fact my target was to gain under 30 pounds. I was eating healthy, eating more green vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, multigrain bread; cheese etc. (Bought mostly organic food) Also made healthy smoothies with Greek yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds, spinach etc as staple ingredients. I ensured that I was having high nutrition snacks like dry fruits and nutritive bars daily.

 

As I wanted to be in the healthy weight gain spectrum, start first trimester I was running 3 miles, four times a week and swimming occasionally. Second trimester my energy started getting low and I began to walk 3 miles and do some weight training. Fast forward to third trimester I joined yoga and even with back pain issues I made it a point to go for a 2-3 mile walk daily with my fur baby Rio. Deep also accompanied me to keep me going.

Yet I gained 43 pounds!! I couldn’t believe it. Moreover, my yoga class was torturous; To make matter worse, where I live, pregnancy seems so competitive ! Somehow everyone manages to stay slim and gain weight just around their belly.

No matter how crazy the weight gain issue makes us, most doctors agree that we should keep check on our pregnancy weight gain, as many studies show it can lower risks of pre- eclampsia, gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications.

Now 3 months Postpartum

After baby Vir’s arrival in May 2016, I was looking forward to lose the weight so that I could feel like myself again.  I wanted to live the lifestyle of my goal as I couldn’t believe that I had gained 43 pounds after working out almost every day and not falling for those ghee loaded “laddos” and sweets lying in my refrigerator. Within 3 weeks post delivery I had lost 15 pounds. Of course, Vir was 7 pounds of those.

I read success stories online of women bouncing back to their pre-pregnancy weight  in 4 months just by ‘breast feeding’. Also some stories mentioning that the ‘last 10 pounds will be the hardest to lose’ and  how the ‘wider hips and bigger breasts are here to stay’. These anecdotes helped me prepare mentally as to what I should work towards to achieve my goals and at the same time be realistic about them!

I believe its important to have your energy levels back; as life of a new mom is very demanding. I didn’t want to lie down and rest while my family manages things at home. The C section made mobility hard for me but I wanted to be up and working. For me getting my body back was also finding and developing my inner strength. Post my 6 week check up and getting thumbs up on starting my workout regimen from my doctor, I ensured that I got at least 4 days of workout weekly and started with 2 mile brisk walks around my neighborhood. The first few days of walking 2 miles were hard. My belly would hurt if I tried to jog,  but gradually it started getting better. To kick start my workouts Deep bought me a Polar A 360 fitness tracker which helps me keep a tab on my daily steps, workouts and weekly fitness reports. It also buzzes every 50 mins prompting me to walk if I have been sitting for that long. I highly recommend getting a fitness tracker.

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Walking Rio while wearing Vir in Baby K’tan , 8 weeks postpartum.

2 months postpartum, I had lost a total of 22 pounds. Even after that I was somewhat horrified to discover that I still had a belly and looked 5 months pregnant.

I am 3 months postpartum as I write this post and have lost a total of 30 pounds !! 🙂

I still have 13 pounds more to go ! To reach my goal my fitness plan includes 3 miles for at least 4 days a week in the evening as its super hot here in Houston. Rio and Deep are my workout buddies and sometimes when the weather is good, Vir also join us in his jogger. (Highly recommend a getting a jogger so you can start going on long walk/runs with your baby. Great way to unwind and the babies seem to love it). Honestly, the new game Pokemon Go is also making my workouts more fun and has somewhat helped me maintain my 3 mile run and not cheat on my workouts. (I am very competitive when it comes to gaming and Deep is currently leading).  I also do 1 minute planks 5 times everyday to strengthen my core muscles and tighten the belly.

Since I am a breast feeding mama, I am not working on curbing my diet or following a restricted meal plan.  I eat 6 small meals a day. Milk and fruits is a must daily and as I am a vegetarian, cottage cheese, pulses, beans and green veggies is what I live on. Yes I am chocoholic and I can’t do without 1-2 small pieces of dark chocolate daily and  my homemade healthy popsicles . However now I have moved on to chocolate chips which are used in baking to work on my cravings and eat less calories. I also indulge in cupcakes and frozen yogurt on weekends.  No soda, no junk and no processed food for me!!

“Be gentle with yourself and accept the changes of your body” says my Mom and I think she is right;  I don’t want to lose steam too fast by focusing on my weight loss.  My plan is to include different types of routines like weight training, yoga, rowing , home exercises in my regimen than simply running. I am building my endurance and my back and leg muscles groups so as to join Kayla Fitness BBG program by next month. For me it isn’t about a skinny body, but more of a healthier and stronger body. (you can see my workout updates on my Instagram page. Do follow!!!)

My hope here is not to get frustrated but to stay motivated and keep reminding myself that I have created a fabulous tiny human being, who adores me! The best advice I want to share is “Let’s not obsess over how we LOOK but how we FEEL !!! ”

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3 months Postpartum !! I finally feel I can run 3 miles at a go 🙂

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Multitasking  !!  (This pic is from when I was 10 weeks postpartum)

 

An Expectant Dad Chronicles

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Arushi is 4 weeks pregnant! At our friends wedding in Houston

Let me begin with saying that it was not just my wife who was expecting. The two of us were working on this life project together. I didn’t know how to handle every hormonal situation, but just being there, listening, talking, comforting, caring and loving her; made me feel more involved, we were a Team!

We had been trying for just a couple of weeks. So when Arushi told me that she was pregnant, my response was “you’re kidding me! Already!” rather than an emotional and more appropriate “Oh my God, we’re having a baby!”.

Even though it was a planned pregnancy, that doesn’t mean that I was prepared for fatherhood! I thought I’d have more time… I’d do my research, read books on parenting, and seek the wisdom of the more experienced. Now the clock had started ticking.

Arushi had her list of things she needed to do and I had mine…I sifted through Amazon looking for the best books for pregnancy and gain knowledge, after all my reading material had a new theme. ‘Origins’ by Annie Murphy Paul, ‘Brain Rules for Baby’ by John Medina and ‘Be Prepared- a Practical Handbook for New Dads’ were the 3 books that I read to get prepared for what was coming. The app Ovia was another indispensable tool that kept me informed on the progress of pregnancy and provided me with a window into what was going on with my wife- mentally & physically. (The app’s weekly updates would have this fascinating comparison of the size of the growing baby with a fruit or vegetable). We both shared so much in this phase – Good food choices, healthy habits, baby’s weekly development etc. Honestly, this gave me a sense of being part of the pregnancy.

First few weeks flew by fast, informing family & close friends. Then came the morning sickness. No one warns you about the morning sickness! Don’t fall for the innocuous sounding name. It gives you a false impression of something like a mild nausea in the morning. It lasts all day long, everyday for a month and can be quite extreme. Needless to say, Arushi wasn’t in a good mood during this phase. And I learned very quickly, never argue with a hungry pregnant woman.

The morning sickness eventually subsided. We had barely let out a sigh of relief when Arushi started experiencing Sciatica pain. I received daily critical feedback regarding my back massage skills for that period. Bought new massager, tried yoga, off-the-shelf pain medication. Only thing that ended up being somewhat effective was professional massage. The pain thankfully went away after about 3 weeks. So, advice for husbands- if you are not good at massage, surprise her by taking a massage class. She’ll appreciate it a lot. I also got to practice my photography skills as Arushi wanted to document her bump. Easiest way to earn some brownie points!

It’s a baby boy! We found out in the 8th week itself. It was a surprise for me to know the gender so early in the pregnancy (through non-invasive prenatal test). The news all of a sudden made me realize the huge responsibility that I was about to take on. Now, apart from being a good father, I needed to be a role model for a tiny man. Just like my father had been for me.

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My Favorite from the maternity photo shoot.

Second trimester went much smoothly. It was also an exciting time as we got to see the baby for the first time during the ultrasound. Trust me, it was quiet something to be able to see a fetus grow and move inside the tummy. It was a transcendental moment. We had read how important it is for overall health of the baby that the mom stays active. That inevitably meant that I had to stay active. I would typically work out a couple of days a week. But now, Arushi was dragging me to the gym or the park, everyday. At first I complained a bit, but then I figured, if I wanted to run around with my kids 10 years from now, I could use the exercise.

The third trimester was when the baby weight gain accelerated. And with that, Arushi’s attempts to stay within the healthy weight-gain spectrum also intensified. I tried to comfort her anxiety about weight by pointing out articles mentioning that every woman has a different weight gain curve, and just because she had gained weight rapidly during past few months didn’t mean that she’ll continue to gain weight at the same pace.

Our weekly activities and projects started as the final weeks started getting close. We started buying stuff for the baby. My DIY nursery project of putting together the crib, nursing chair, dresser and decorating the nursery was in full swing. We had our maternity photo shoot. Our friends threw us an amazing baby shower and we ended up with more baby stuff than we could’ve asked for. We also did the hospital tour. Being familiar with the inside of the hospital, definitely made us feel more comfortable when we eventually went there for delivery. We read more stuff on the internet and flipped through a couple of handed down parenting books. We also watched a few videos online, as we agreed on not doing Lamaze classes or any other parenting classes.

Our hospital was 10 miles from our home. I was antsy about what we would do if it baby decides to come during rush hour traffic. And of course, that is exactly what happened. I got the call at work from Arushi at 4:00 pm saying that she thought she was having contractions. It took me 35 minutes to get home and then it took us another 50 minutes to get to the hospital! Arushi was surprisingly calm and asked me to relax and kept saying she was fine throughout the drive.

An experienced friend of mine had given me a simple piece of advice -” trust your doctors & just follow their instructions.” And that is exactly what we did. After around 6 hours in labor Arushi finally got the epidural. The nurse informed us that based on her progress, the baby would come sometime in the morning. “Cool! I can amuse myself by reading my baby’s horoscope.” As I looked up for the date online, it occurred to me. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th! “Oh crap! We are going to have a Friday the 13th baby! Can’t we do something to get him out in the next one hour?” Of course the nurse said no. But, for those of us not suffering from triskaidekaphobia, you’ve got to agree- it’s a pretty cool day to be born on! For the rest of you… stop being silly.

“It’s time to push, Deep!” Arushi said excitedly while waking me up at 4:30 am. The nurse started to get the things ready for the delivery and within 5 minutes, Arushi was pushing, with me on her side holding her hand. I was truly amazed at how brave she was at that moment, shivering and pushing and focusing, all at the same time. She pushed for an hour but as she was running a fever and the baby’s heart rate was climbing, the doctor made the call to do a C-Section. We knew ahead that this could be a possibility. We were now faced with a situation that we had hoped wouldn’t arise. Again, I just followed the simple advice and put my trust in the doctors & nurses. After all, we were at one the best women’s health hospitals in the nation.

Arushi was wheeled away to the surgery room while I was dressed up in scrubs and asked to join later. In what felt like an eternity, a nurse came to get me. This was the first time I’d ever been in a surgery room. It was very busy, with everyone very focused. That’s one thing that the movies definitely get right. Arushi was on the operating table, wide awake and there was an opaque blue curtain across her waist blocking the view below. Boy was I glad for that curtain! I had been quite calm through the entire labor. But I don’t think I could have handled seeing her being operated on or seeing her in any kind of pain there.

About 10 minutes later, at 7:05 am on Friday the 13th, I heard the cries of my baby. I instinctively knew that he was going to be alright, even though the doctors had informed us that he would need to be taken immediately to the NICU for monitoring. No baby bawling with a lung strength like that had could possibly have anything wrong with him (he still likes to give us displays of that lung strength every now and then). He was quickly wrapped up and the nurse handed Arushi the baby. It is a beautiful sight to behold. A mother’s first expression as she holds her baby for the very first time. Soon, the baby & I were immediately escorted to the NICU while Arushi was being stitched back. By the time I could gather my feelings and realize what was going on, this little 7 pound human, our son, baby Vir was placed in my arms.

I was a changed person- for the better. I was now a father.

 

By – Deepanshu

 

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When Vir was getting his measurements I got his footprints !

 

P.S – I am currently reading ‘Baby Sense’ by Megan Faure and Ann Richardson and refer to ‘Baby 411’ for all the wisdom, advice and answers we seek as new parents.

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Hey you!

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Can’t believe my first Father’s Day with 4 week old baby Vir !

 

Guilt Free, Homemade, Refreshing Popsicles!

Hot summer days are are upon us and these homemade popsicles will help you and your little ones beat the heat !! For me it also a healthy alternative for my sweet cravings. Fruit lovers, chocolate lovers and clean eaters, you can all follow below steps for these easy to make ice pops with pantry staple ingredients. I have added some tips to suit different tastes.  Enjoy these fresh from the freezer homemade ice pops and stay refreshed all summer long!

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Watermelon & Strawberry Lip Smacker!

Ingredients : 1 cup Watermelon , 1 cup Strawberries , Lime zest and few drops of Lime

Directions

  • Blend all 3 ingredients in a blender or mixer and mix to combine
  • Fold  the mixture into the popsicle mold and insert the sticks
  • Freeze until firm (1-2 hours)
  • To easily remove the Popsicle from the mold after they are frozen, put the mold under running water or immerse them in a hot water bowl.
  • Tip: Add honey for extra sweetness , and flax seeds for some nutritional value.

Tangy Coconut and Kiwi Kicker!

Ingredients : 1 cup coconut water ( bottled or fresh) I used Vita Coco, 1/2 cup kiwi slices

Directions

  • Pour coconut water into the Popsicle molds
  • Cut Kiwi into small pieces to fit in the mold and add them from top.
  • Insert the sticks and freeze until firm. (1-2 hours)
  • Tip:  Add blueberries for sweetness and extra color . Add Chia seeds for nutrition.

Banana and Peanut butter Pop!

Ingredients : 1 Banana , 1 and half Tbsp Peanut butter, 1 cup milk

Directions

  • Blend all 3 ingredients in the blender until combined .
  • Fold the mixture into the popsicle mold and insert the stick
  • Freeze until firm (2-3 hours)
  • Tip: You can add chocolate syrup for sweetness or chocolate chips for the crunch.

Notes

 

 

8 Things I Learnt About Motherhood in The First Few weeks

 

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Me and Vir @Kemah Boardwalk in Houston

I don’t think there is any manual or a “how to” book that can teach us how to be a perfect mother. I believe I am learning daily and this will be a learning process for my lifetime. Becoming a parent teaches us to live in the moment.  Our focus in life becomes our children, what we teach them, feed them, buy for them etc is an important and crucial household affair. Motherhood also teaches us a whole lot about ourselves; it might even shape us into the person we become.

It has just been 2 months and few weeks since I had “Vir”, and I have already discovered some my new traits and strengths, that I never knew existed.

  1. There is a “No sleep” function mode we operate on – I am amazed how mothers function with such less sleep. You don’t get a break with an infant. Wake up every 2 hours in the night to feed, change the diapers , sing them back to sleep; and by the time you are able to get back in deep sleep, the kiddo is up again. No wonder I am waking up with dark circles and baggy eyes in the morning, with a slight headache and lethargy, looking like a mama zombie or as I like to call it a “Mombie”. (A sleep deprived supermom who feeds on caffeine and survives on sticky kisses and messy smiles) Internet is full of articles telling us to catch short naps while the baby is asleep. Easier said than done, especially if you’re not a nap person.
  2.  You are now a MOM – Master of MultitaskingI was always proud of my multi-tasking skills, be it at work or at home. But now being a full-time work-from-home mom, with a 2 month breast-feeding baby and a furry terrier competing for my attention, I am able to simultaneously perform endless tasks and chores. I was an amateur multi-tasker before; motherhood has helped me master it and yes I already feel like a Supermom!
  3. No matter how strong we think we are, we can also cry like a baby – Some of us are strong, we can hold back our tears. I thought I was strong, until I saw tears in my baby’s eyes. Babies don’t have tears in their eyes until few weeks. But when I first saw his tears it broke my heart, and then when he got his first shots, I think I cried more than him. Now I understand why my mom can’t handle my tears.
  4. Appreciating your genes – With every passing day our babies start resembling one of the parents. “Vir” looks more like me. Yeahh !! His smile, eyes, long fingers and his full head of hair have suddenly led me to appreciate my genes more. “Doesn’t he look like me?” I ask with excitement to all my family and friends. And to the one who does not agree, I only have to show them my baby pic. Dare I say, he has my genes and they “suit” him better .
  5. Patience – the word gets added to my dictionary Patience never came easily to me. I’ve always wanted things to be fast paced and my way; it was my weakness. But as a mom our limits are pushed on plenty of occasions. Sometimes it drives you crazy, makes you go nuts! But now, every day my lil’ one is teaching me patience. We learn to understand and calm ourselves for this new life we brought into the world. And for the days when one just can’t and it gets overwhelming, then just take a pillow press your face against it and just scream! (I read it somewhere, it works) They say “this is just the beginning , wait till he start walking !!! “
  6. Dirty House , I can take that. In these few weeks I have learned things cannot always be perfect. Some days, it is okay if the diapers are everywhere in the living room or your stuff is spread out on the dining table, and that the laundry is still lying in the washer after its cycle . It is all about getting that one hour and boom! “Its SHINY” (The strength of Multitasking)
  7. Life is like a talent hunt show From feeding, to bathing to just making Vir sleep, I sing or hum numerous times of the day. Dancing and making animated faces, talking like a baby or making funny sounds are also a part of my daily acts that I break into to calm him. I have started enjoying this as I am rewarded back with his smiles and coos. I will continue to do this no matter how foolish I look, so I guess vanity also goes out of the door.
  8. Yoga pants a wardrobe essential: Our bodies change a lot and seriously when you don’t fit in anything and feel all crappy or more like a morbidly obese penguin, Yoga pants or stretch leggings come to the rescue. The only pieces of clothing which I could fit in from my pregnancy to my postpartum stage comfortably. They have been supporting me for so long that today they are my best friends (literally). The stretch fabric and elastic waistbands holds everything together and gives you a sense of tightness. I am so glad that these are more acceptable form of dressing to coffee shops and grocery stores. You can make your own personal style statement with it and stay snazzy. I have been buying more of these lately.
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10 weeks Postpartum  on a jog with my elder son ” Rio “