Blog: Momhood

Life is Beautiful. I love serving the world by capturing beautiful family memories, encouraging others to believe in life’s greatest possibilities, and inspiring others to realize their full potential. Everyone has a story... make it a beautiful one.  

Ways to Become Self Aware to Achieve Your Goals

One thing I have learned through my journey wether it be motherhood, my health and fitness journey or learning to navigate myself through anxiety, the first step that has helped me through is being self aware. Being self aware is the idea that we have self control of our behaviors. We are able to take a look and evaluate ourselves.
So why is it important? Being self aware can help you control your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. I have found that being self aware is essential and can help you have success in motherhood, leadership skills, establishing good healthy lifestyle habits or whatever path you may be on right now in your current season.
Through the process of being self aware it has help me to overcome negative thinking and propel myself forward in the growth process. I’ve been able to come to know myself just a little more and why I am the way I am. It’s helped to understand others.
Ways that have helped me to become more self aware with myself and have helped me to make better habits:

Personality tests- I know this may sound silly but really they help! I have taken the Enneogram test that is really hot right now amongst all the personal growth community. It’s a priest accurate test. It’s divided into types and my top two are type 4 and type 3. Type fours are authentic, expressive and creative individuals but can be can get depressed easily. Type threes are leaders, motivators, and goal oriented but can be total work alcoholics. Knowing my type called me too see my many strengths, but to realize me weaknesses so I can better work at them.

Journaling- journaling is a great way to connect with your thoughts. To get thought out on paper wether they be positive or even negative. It helps you to understand what you are thinking. Writing gratitudes or even writing down our current struggles has been proven to increase our happiness levels.

Daily self reflection- when you look in the mirror what do see? Look in the mirror everyday and compliment yourself on something… doesn’t matter what it is. Tell yourself something positive like your confident or beautiful. It sounds weird and maybe narcissistic to some, but the truth giving yourself that positive affirmation everyday gives your brain a confidence boost!

Ask questions- ask yourself honest questions like “how can I improve today?”, “how can I serve?” These can be great journal prompts to do before you start your day.

Write down your goals and track your progress- tracking yourself will help you see how far you have come.

Becoming self aware is a process but taking consistent action everyday will give you opportunity to really become aware of how you feel even in moments that you feel anxious and overwhelmed.
I challenge you to try these 5 steps this week and see how you feel!
Be Awesome,
Amber

Finding Brave From My Past

I sit here writing this post today in a very vulnerable state. I write this not only to tell my story but maybe perhaps one that reads this can relate and know that whatever you maybe going through right now in life, there is hope and many blessings that come along the way.

I was born into this world on August 12, 1984 which was a Sunday to be exact. I was born to a mom and dad and as a baby born I had no cares of the world. I grew up with no understanding of the life I was brought into.  I don’t remember much about the divorce but I know it happened. I remember being raised by my mother who at the time was single and raised me in our family’s hotel with help by my grandmother.  I always saw her as my second mother in life, and grateful for her.  Growing up not knowing much about the divorce it seemed to be kept a secret, instead of it being something I used an excuse, I look at it as a blessing, that because of this man I hardly knew, a beautiful daughter, wife, mom and individual was born.

At the age of 5 my mom got remarried to another man that I would learn to call dad.  He did so many good things for me throughout my life and he even went through the adoption process to make it official.  I was still young, but I remember that day… Heck both my parents asked if I wanted to change my name just because I could but I loved my name so kept it. I did have a middle name Renee but dropped it in the adoption process.

Life seemed pretty good, though I remember lying in bed and thinking…. they are arguing again but I just ignored it.  We moved around a a lot and remember I always had a hard time finding friends because I either got pushed out of the group for reasons unknown or we moved again. It was hard and confusing to find my place in life.  At the age of 11 my father was in a massive drunk driving accident that led him to go through major back surgeries with him and my mom commuting back and forth from the bay area.  I remember for a while that our living room was a at home hospital room.

This event took a huge tole on our family.  The arguments progressed especially about money, the depression was more noticeable and I would take on a lot more responsibility as the oldest child of 3.  The depression was the hardest thing to live with growing up.  To see the pain and suffering it causes someone you love and unaware of it, it starts to creep on to you like slo moving snake.

Because of the depression, it lead to even more strife that would later lead to another divorce.

I love my parents and know they did the best they could with the circumstances they were handed. They taught me to be brave and overcome struggle to an exceptional person because of it. Because of the arguments of money, I am motivated to provide a life for my children were they don’t have to see mom and dad argue about money.  Because of divorce I am a better wife and mom because I want my children to know what it is like to have a mom and dad who love each other unconditionally.  Because of depression, I strive to be a better version of myself both physically and mentally for me and my family because depression sucks.  It really causes more unnecessary pain and shame to ones personal life.

I have lived my whole entire 34 years of life pretending like this didn’t bother me, but the truth is, its held me back because of my own pain and shame I never new I had.  I always tried to find love in all the wrong places, I was needing to achieve something to feel that love I was seeking, and I felt I was always seeking love from others that was never there that led me down a path of unworthiness in my self and feeling shameful of who I really was as a person.

We can find brave from our past.  Our past doesn’t have to define who we are.  We can learn break free from those moments that led us to believe we weren’t good enough.  Without even realizing it, my past was holding me back because I didn’t know who the real me was.  I was so in my head of worry and fear, I couldn’t get to know the real me because I was to busy inside my head. I’ll put it into perspective of how much fear I was living in, After a lump was detected in my left breast as I was preparing to graduate from college, I kid you not, I would feel my boob 20 times a day for 4 years.  I was obsessive!  And with every little freckle I had I start to freak out I had skin cancer!

I lived in so much fear and worry for so long. After hitting rock bottom after Nate was born, I was tired.  Tired of living this life that controlled me who I was.  Resenting and blaming the people I loved for the problems (my fault or not) that where holding me back in life.

Today I am in a place of seeing love within my self and compassion for others.  Years of pain takes time to overcome, but I can say how grateful that my past has helped me to become brave.  Each day is a new day to have more grace with myself and each new day gets a little better.  Even in the seasons I feel stuck and like nothing is happening in my life no matter how hard I feel like I am trying to work hard at whatever I am doing, I am grateful.  With each new season comes a new lesson and blessing to be grateful for.

I seek guidance from my Heavenly Father and know that he has given me these trials to be blessed by and I truly have.  I’ve learned to appreciate my parents in a new way and know that they did the best they could.  I’ve learned to love my husband in new light and for him sticking with me through all my deep darkness.  My children are my greatest blessing even on the days I want to pull my hair out.  They just add to the learning process of it all.

Find brave from your past.  Your past and experiences aren’t placed in your life to define you, they are there to help you grow.

Be Awesome,

Amber

 

 

My Experience with Gestational Diabetes

I often talk about having gestation diabetes with my first son, however I never really go into to much detail of the whole experience and how it truly impacted me personally since then. To be honest, I didn’t even know that gestational diabetes was a thing until I was pregnant for the first time in 2013.  I was just told to go take this glucose test, so I did.  I was instructed to not eat before I went in so I didn’t.
I remember clear as day the moment I took that orange drink for the first time.  Moments later I  started feeling nauseous, lightheaded, shaking and sweating.  Something did not feel right. I went outside to take some breaths in the fresh air and after a while it started wearing off.  Was this normal? Is all I can remember asking myself. The next day I received a call from my OB letting me know that my sugar levels were out the roof and they rushed me to get in with a nutritionist and a perenatel  doctor who would be my specialist for the remainder of my pregnancy.  Confused of what was going on, I did what I was told.
I remember going into my nutritionist office days later.  She was very kind, but to the point. She kindly educated me on what was going on that my pancreas wasn’t working properly and not producing enough insulin for both me and the baby.  She continued to tell me that according to my pre pregnancy weight and my height (BMI) I was borderline obese and that if I didn’t take action right away, I would continue to be diabetic even after my pregnancy which would mean pricking myself every single day with needles and putting my body through other health complications.  Most people are told it will go away after the baby was born and don’t worry about it but in my case? It was different I had to make the changes.  I didn’t want to live my life like this is all I could think of. It was incredibly overwhelming to have to make all these changes so fast, but I knew I needed to do it.
My nutritionist set me up with my glucose meter and showed me how it worked. I remember I had to use it for the first time right then and there and it sucked and it hurt.  I cried on my way home but I knew I had to do this for my baby too so I sucked it up.
I had my first appointment with the specialist and the best thing of it all was I got more pictures of Ethan! However, he told me that I had excess fluid because of the diabetes that could cause some problems long term if it wasn’t monitored. All these things were being thrown at me like a ton of bricks…wasn’t I supposed to be enjoying this?  No. This whole pregnancy was about being at risk and told that this or that could go wrong.
At this point it was non stop trips to the doctors and pricking myself in the fingers three times a day to the point you could see holes in my skin, injecting myself nightly in my pregnant belly with insulin and going in twice a week for an hour strapped to a monitor praying that Ethan would move throughout the hour so the test would be normal.  I remember telling my unborn child in the bath tub  we got this. I’d wake up every morning going up and down the stairs a couple times or doing squats after dinner before I pricked myself to check my blood in hopes I could manipulate the numbers a bit to be a normal number since I had to log them in a book every time I pricked myself. Maybe not what I’m supposed to do but I did (with my second pregnancy I learned and went into the bathroom and did a 100 squats to burn through the drink faster…  okay I cheated a little).
Although Ethan was born safely into this world through an unplanned c-section, the complications continued for both of us. I blood so much after surgery,  I ended with a blood transfusion 4 days later… which should have been right away but it wasn’t.  I was laying in a hospital bed weak to the bones incoherent to the world un able to move and not understanding what was going on while my baby was in NICU do to complications that happened after birth. Nurses would tell me I was too weak to see my child so they wouldn’t take me down to see him.
I am not sure if these things happened from the diabetes, but it adds to the whole overwhelm of the pregnancy experience.
Through this experience, I was humbled.  It truly was a blessing in disguise.  It taught me to love my body that much more and to take care of it. When I saw myself at 197 pounds at birth and 160 pounds eight weeks later, it motivated me to take action. From this day even though I am done having kids, I still work on my health every single day because I got a glimpse of what it would be like to live a life with diabetes and I knew I DID NOT want live my life like that again because it scared the pants off me. Some may go through this experience not letting it impact them, but growing up with parents both over weight and seeing the issues they had because of it, I had every single reason in the book to change for me and my family.
I look back and know that there would have been some things I would have changed and some advice I’d give to a new, expecting mom is don’t be afraid to ask questions and educate yourself.  I didn’t think I needed to but I should have!  If I was more aware of the glucose test they they did during pregnancy  , I would have taken more action in the beginning instead of using pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted.  I later learned that diabetes can be genetic with weight issues, do some research before a pregnancy and see if it’s something you should consider.  You should eat healthy anyways but is always a good idea to know your family history.
I took this lesson in my life and learned from it. It was one of the most scariest moments in my life that made me realize that our bodies are precious and can do great things for us when we take care of them.  It made me realize that I wanted to be all there for my kids and be the best mom I can be and not have the health complications that come along with being overweight.
Be awesome,
Amber

Ways To Help Guide Your Kids To Eat More Healthy

I struggled with my oldest son Ethan being a picky eater for pretty much since they day he was born.  We had unexpected circumstances when he was born as he ended up in NICU and he was bottle fed.  Once we were home, I tried everything I could to get hime to latch to breast feed him, we even went to a lactation consultant and that didn’t even work.  As a new mom, I had that mom guilt but I kept trying to feed him the milk I though he needed most.  I ended up breastfeeding him for 3 months as a supplement to his bottle.

As we progressed into solids the battle continued. We couldn’t get him to try new foods.  All he wanted was pretzels and surgery yogurt fruit pouches.  As he being the first child, we did all the things that we were suggested to try: starve him out, make him sit at the table until he eats, etc. his stubbornness still wins every time..  However, we have gotten him to at least eat a few healthier options like, kale, carrots, some proteins, and a few fruits but even then he will give us a little fight.

As a side note: For a picky eater, we were told at his 4 year old check up that he was over weight and we needed to lay off the junk food… what junk food? What food?  I was confused and annoyed.  It wasn’t even our own doctor that told us this!

I recently took a nutrition certification course that had a whole section on eating for kids.  It gave me a glimmer of hope that perhaps we can make eating a fun thing and not a constant world war iii.  I’ve been implementing a couple things already I have learned and Ethan seems to be a little more susceptible to the idea of eating a little more.

I’ll be sharing with you some the ideas I learned that we will be working with Ethan with and perhaps will give you some ideas too!

1. Get them involved.  Go to the grocery store and get them involved!  Have them pick out a new healthy food to try. Get them excited to pick something out.  Let them help you grab the groceries you need to get.  Ethan loves to hold the list for me.

2. Have a fun reward tracker.  I printed a fun food tracker for Ethan.  I explained what her needs to to do throughout the week and he will earn a reward if he collects enough points by eating all the food groups and trying something new three times a week.  He chose to go to his favorite trampoline park.  A reward shouldn’t be food, but something that the child loves.  Could be a coloring book, new crayons, a trip to their favorite place like a trampoline park, etc.  but it should be a tangible, non food reward as we are working on staying healthy!

3.  Let your child help in the kitchen.  Make them feel involved in the process.  Ethan loves being involved in the kitchen. Make it fun and reference back to the tracker throughout the day as you are in the kitchen prepping meals.

4. Lead by example.  Your kids are watching your every step.  They learn habits from us as their parents.

5. Prep their lunches.  If they are in preschool or grade school, prepping and putting together lunches for them helps give them those boundaries for the day.  Yes it can be easy to let them eat hot lunch or packing the same easy thing over and over, but they may not be getting a variety or the nutrients they really need to sustain them throughout the day .  Through this program, I was able to be educated on some really great healthy lunch ideas.  I will be trying a few out like Mac and cheese cups, pasta with pasta sauce, a chocolate smoothie made for kids, and finding lower sugar fruit roll ups while finding new ways to get protein in there too.

These were some of the tips that I really loved that made sense and I believe are doable for my 5 year old.

Kids at each stage of their childhood have a general range of nutrition to follow and I loved that I learned this through this program. It’s not about loosing weight for kids like it is for adults, but getting well rounded nutrition in them so they stay healthy wither they are sedentary (active less than fair hours a week) or active ( four or more active hours a week).  If you would like to know more about the general guidelines and plans for children contact me today.

eating should be a good experience for our kids.  It is the foundation of habits they will carry out through adult hood and their life.   It’s going to be trial and error and kids will have their own views on food, but we can do our best to find ways that can make it a bit more easier for them and for us!

Be Awesome,

Amber

Why I Do Personal Development

Personal Development.  It’s a term that for many means something good, or to others can mean something that they think is a waste of time and hocus pocus.  I come from a place where people in my life thought PD is hocus pocus and a waste of time.  It’s hard when people you know think your weird for wanting to read these crazy “self help books” but in my mind, if it is helping me get through my daily struggles and I am learning how to become a better person, and AM becoming better, then PD must work right?

I was introduced to PD in my early twenties.  To be honest I read some books, grasped the concept, but was a little unsure.  It wasn’t until my last semester in college when I read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” written by Stephen Covey for a business class.  After reading the book and having discussions in class, I was hooked and finally figured out the purpose for personal development and how it can really be used for individual growth.

PD for me has been part of my daily life consistently for about 3 years through books, podcasts, and audible.  I have grown so much as a person with a lot more joy and hope for life.  I read the “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod that got me into waking up early and getting into a morning routine habit.  Darren Hardy in the “Compound Effect” I learned that things don’t happen over night, but through consistent efforts each day, results will happen overtime.  Excuses ruin your life and are your reason for why you aren’t becoming the best version of you, thank you Rachel Hollis.

I see what is possible through personal development and finding the mentors through books and/or podcasts that inspire me and learn from them every single day.  The reasons I do personal development are a mile long but I will share my top reasons for you today:

1. Through personal development, you learn to become confident with your abilities and it pushes you out of your comfort zone.  If there is something massive in your heart you want to achieve, confidence is key.  I struggled with confidence for a good portion of my life.  Most wouldn’t see it on the outside, but in the inside I was probably the most insecure person you know.  I struggled with my self worth, and self esteem.  I cared about what others thought of me and still fall into that crap trap but when you have lived years of not knowing how to help yourself, its hard to break the cycle. But now I am more self aware and I can slowly get myself back on track with help through a book or podcast.  Being confident for the person I am and having self worth in myself has been one of the biggest dreams for me and everyday I am getting there.

2. You learn new things and grow as an individual.  PD can be for anybody mothers, entrepreneurs, students, you name it.  We all can use a little knowledge with ways how we can grow as an individual.  I started personal growth as a student.  Its helped me be a better mom, wife, entrepreneur, and maybe a sober raver too perhaps…because you don’t have to drink or do drugs to have a good time at a music festival as I have learned… yes I love to party in a good girl way.  But back to being real, PD is an investment in you and your growth.  Going to conferences are a great way to take time to learn and to grow if you get the opportunity to do so.

3. It gives you an initiative to take action.  PD is like its own type of drug and has a weird superpower that gets me to take action.  After reading the Miracle Morning, I was not a morning person at ALL.  For some reason reading this book got me up in the morning doing all the things.  I have done things I never thought I would do ever, like talk randomly at the phone to random people on IG stories because that stuff scares the heck out me but you know what, I am learning public speaking and people skills through it.  I gained more confidence in showing up everyday dressed or still in my sweats. PD has helped me push through so many fears, to be curious, and to take action in all areas of my life.

4. Personal Development develops strengths.  We are like an onion and with each new thing we learn about ourselves good or bad, we peel a layer of ourselves off.  PD helps you to focus on your strengths and to develop them . You go from being good to exceptional at it and reach your true potential.

5. Improve your self awareness. PD has the ability to let you see were you are at as an individual and helps you to know where you can improve.  Like the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I was able realize that I am a person of affirmation.  It’s helped me to understand others including my husband.  I have learned that personality tests like the Enneagram Test can give you insight on your personality and what your strengths are and areas of improvement.

Personal Development doesn’t have to be the a skeleton in the closet.  It really is a great tool for personal and business success especially if in one of the books you read has a chapter on sex… that author is not an author we talk bad about in our house.  As a matter of fact she is very much liked in our house.  Personal Development is personal growth.  there is so many great things that has come from focusing on personal growth everyday.  It’s really provides a road map to how you can improve in your daily life, it has has changed me for the better and I see the changes everyday,  that is my Why I love and life my life with personal development.

Be Awesome,

Amber