Mar 25, 2017

My Pregnancy Essentials


My Pregnancy Essentials

I'm now 24 weeks and obviously I am at expert at being pregnant. Ha! Hardly. Kidding. I wanted to share a few things that have helped me along the journey of these past few months. I hope I won't need to add anything else to the mix because I enjoy buying for her much more than me. Also, pregnancy and babies are expensive, in case you didn't know.

Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
Stretch marks are mostly hereditary, but in spite of that, some kind of oil, cream, or lotion always appears on these types of lists. I guess it doesn't hurt to try. I read about a must-have almond oil that some ladies were using for an anti-stretch mark product and that junk was $40 or more. No thank you. This Burt's Bees stuff is amazing. It's thick, rubs in very quickly, is non-greasy, and doesn't have a smell to it (which is a positive in my book). Also, it's $12. For the record, I don't have stretch marks yet...but I'm sure they are coming. I have been using this once a night, after showering for about 10 weeks now and I think it'll easily last me throughout my entire pregnancy.

Copco Hyrda Bottle
I'm always thirsty and I prefer for some odd reason, to drink water out of a plastic bottle shaped device rather than my Eddy bottles or simply a drinking glass. This bottle is awesome: BPA-free, does not leak, double insulated, and you can screw the top off (not just the cap) to add ice, sliced lemons, etc. It's also dishwasher safe. I take it EVERYWHERE with me! I'm considering buying a back up so I can leave one at work and one at home. Brandon has even been convinced he needs one.

Boppy Pregnancy Wedge
A few posts ago, I talked about how much I hated the Snoogle (which everyone else seems to love, go figure). But so far, my sleep life has been just fine without it. I bought this $10 pregnancy wedge pillow to use either under my belly or between my legs and it does the trick. It doesn't take up any space and the cover is easy to throw into the wash. My preferred method is to use it between my legs and roll up a small throw blanket to wrap my arms around. So far, I've been sleeping like a rock.

Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal / Garden of Life Ocean's Mom Prenatal DHA
I think I mentioned these back when we were trying to conceive, but they are worth mentioning again. I hate swallowing pills and most prenatal vitamins are huge. That along with the first trimester nausea makes for some pretty gag-worthy mornings. While these do taste terrible (to be honest), they are small and much easier to swallow than horse pills. They are on the pricier side ($22/month), but I tend to think they are worth it. I also like how they are chock full of organic veggies and fruit. The DHA is great because I don't eat fish and it doesn't have a fishy aftertaste.

Ovia Pregnancy App
I have six pregnancy apps on my phone and this is hands down my favorite one. Really, you don't need any other apps but this one. I love how I can upload bump pics, track my symptoms, enter my doctor appointments, and record any other milestones. At the end of your pregnancy, you can print out a whole timeline of it with your photos, milestones, and photos of the infamous produce comparisons. You know the whole "my baby is the size of a ___"? This app has four different themes to choose from: fruits & vegetables, Parisian bakery, fun & games, and weird-but-cute animals. Also, each week you can see the size of her hand grow literally on your screen. It's so fun! Honorable mentions for other apps: The Bump and Sprout. The website Babysizer is really fun too for more comparisons.

Young House Love Podcast
Yeah, that's weird. They don't talk about pregnancy, but I look forward to this podcast each week! I won't let myself listen to it unless I'm outside walking, so it literally forces me to get some exercise and it works well. Of course, my biggest motivator to exercise is mine and her well-being, but this comes in at a close third. I cannot help but be in a relaxed, happy mood during these 40 minute episodes.

Expecting 411 
I have three pregnancy books (5 if you count the two I bought for Brandon) and this is my favorite one. It has a casual, sometimes funny tone, and so far, has been very informative. I'm almost through it and most definitely will buy Baby 411 next. Honorable mention goes to The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and Be Prepared, which is a fun dad-to-be guide I bought Brandon.

I listed a lot of my maternity clothing essentials back in this post. I'm still loving the following:
I hope you found that helpful! Things are trucking along pretty smoothly over here and I probably won't do another full update until I'm 30 weeks since nothing really changes all that much other than my growing midsection. I did develop carpal tunnel this week, which is a surprising pregnancy symptom that will go away after she's born (at least I hope!). Otherwise, zero complaints, lots of gratefulness. 

We are heading to Virginia in a few weeks for my baby shower and I'm so excited to see my family and friends. Oh and eat my brother's delicious spread of food he's preparing. Tonight we going to our favorite pizza restaurant with an important topic to discuss: naming this chunky monkey. I have 16 names on my list with one strong front runner and Brandon has 8 with his own front runner. Time to duke it out!

Favorite girl names you'd like to share with us?

Mar 20, 2017

10 Things I'm Looking Forward To (As a Parent)


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When you tell people you are about to become a parent, they almost always follow up their excitement with "Good luck. Enjoy your life now, it'll never be the same. Sleep while you can!". Those cliches probably are all rooted in truth, but my goodness do I get sick of hearing them (obviously, since this is my second time mentioning this). If I let them get to me (and sometimes I do), I'd probably be terrified of what we've gotten ourselves into.

Then I just think of all of the million different reasons why we decided to have a child. I've definitely been through stages of not being totally sure, but the more I think about my own childhood and how amazing it was, the more excited I get to provide the same environment for my own child. Here are some things I'm really looking forward to. Yes, I know. Roll your eyes. I'm that naive pre-parent who hasn't seen anything yet and from my perspective, things are still all rainbows and butterflies. That's not real life. I know. But humor me, okay?

1. Starting new traditions as a family. I grew up with a lot of traditions, mostly small ones, mostly involving food, but traditions were a huge part of my childhood. Even the smallest things I remember being a fun tradition: TGIF shows on Friday nights (Family Matters! Full House!), spaghetti Mondays, my mom's "Are you up?" wake up song that would send me into a giggle fits. Our holidays were chock full of traditions and still to this day my mom has a hard time letting them go and to be honest, so do I.

2. Children's books. You guys. I love children's books. I don't know if love is even a strong enough word. I want our nursery to be filled to the brim with books; new ones that look fun, old classics, and even my own books from my childhood. Reading was a huge part of my upbringing and I have the fondest memories attached to it.

3. Travel. Brandon and I didn't travel much growing up. In fact, we both were stuck in small town bubbles that left us a lot to learn about the great big world. In one sense, it was a blessing to have such a safe and warm community to grow up in (think Mayberry), but it also held us back. We hope that our children will be exposed at an earlier age to all the wonders of the world. We want to travel as much as possible once our child(ren) hit the right ages, (I know you seasoned parents are laughing again) and hopefully give them a sense of how others live.

4. Being a classroom mom. I know, I have a looong ways to go before this one, but when I was younger, I really wanted to be a teacher. I did an internship in a few schools and along the way, realized it wasn't the career for me. I'm okay with that, but I cannot wait to get back into the classroom as a mom. I want to volunteer to help with reading circles, holiday parties, and field trips. I hope I'll have the time to be involved in any way I can.

5. Teaching about giving.  One of my most vivid childhood memories was when my mom and I ran into a homeless man outside of the grocery store (which was really rare in our small town) and she said, "Let's get him a bag of food. I cannot stand to see someone go hungry." We chose things we thought he might enjoy and handed it to him as we left. He almost cried tears of joy and immediately started eating. My mom had very very little money back then (pretty sure she was living paycheck to paycheck) and she didn't think twice about using her last dollars to give to someone else. That was so impactful to me as a child and I hope I can be as good of a role model to my own kids. Actions truly speak louder than words.

6. Christmas. I know this kind of goes along with traditions, but to see Christmas through the eyes of a child again...well, pass me the tissues. I cannot wait to teach them about the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of family and faith. And let's be honest, I am itching to buy matching pjs for us to wear Christmas Eve.

7. Seeing Brandon be a dad. I didn't grow up with my dad and Brandon lost his dad to a car accident when he was young. While we have a lot of other incredibly amazing father figures in our lives, you don't know how much joy it'll bring to me to see him take on this role for our child.

8. Toys! I want to build giant blanket forts and make matchbox car roads out of painter's tape. I cannot wait to start family game nights and spend hours putting together giant puzzles. I want set up the perfect play kitchen (or classroom) and see our child's imagination go wild.

9. Seeing a personality develop. They say opposites attract, but Brandon and I are very much alike. We were good students and very well behaved kids. We are shy, introverted, and fairly calm and quiet in social settings. Will our child be totally different or be into the same things we are? Will she enjoy hiking and the outdoors like us or prefer organized sports (not us)? I cannot wait to see what kind of person she'll be.

10. Enjoying the little things. Making the little moments into teaching moments and seeing their faces when they experience firsts. I want to help them catch lightening bugs (we really need to move to a place that has lightening bugs). I want them to help me make snow cream, teach them how to make wishes on dandelions, and skip rocks. I'd love to create school projects and assemble homemade Valentine cards, create Halloween costumes, etc. I want to see the ordinary things in life become extraordinary through their eyes.

I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that there are some things I'm not looking for to (no sleep) and things that downright scare me (puke, vomit, throw up). But here's to hoping the good outweighs the bad and this little girl can hold down her meals ;)

Mar 12, 2017

The Second Weekend in March


Want a glimpse into our incredibly exciting weekend? It's especially riveting.

1. I made my own shower cleaner.

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Wait! Hear me out. This is fun stuff.

I've been a big fan of Shaklee's spray cleaners for a while now. I bought my starter kit from Brittany years ago and I still have a ton left. I use them in the kitchen and they are great sprays for surface cleaning. In the bathroom; however, I need something more. Bathrooms are nasty. Especially showers. I can never seem to get a shower up to my standards of clean.

I was using Method products and Bar Keeper's Friend until Brandon (who is now our designated bathroom cleaner around here) realized that they are both highly toxic according to EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning. We ditched them (honestly, they didn't work that well anyway) and were on the hunt for a healthy shower cleaner replacement.

And we found it!

The recipe is from Bren Did and really simple: 1/2 cup of Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds, 1/2 cup white vinegar. Just mix together, spray on the shower and let sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. Guys, I have never been more impressed with a cleaner, especially one that is non-toxic (it's ranks A on EWG). Brandon tested it on the grout of our shower floor and it worked wonders. He sprayed it on and used a small OXO brush (from their Deep Cleaning Brush Set) to scrub. Please ignore the ugly tile and look at that bright white grout!

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We also used it on the toilet, sinks, and counters. We basically only have to use one product to clean our entire bathroom now (besides some vinegar to clean the mirror).

I cannot believe I just wrote four paragraphs about this. Clearly, I love cleaning you guys. You should see my Spring Cleaning Checklist.

2. I chopped my hair off!

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I haven't had a haircut since July of last year since I'm just so cheap and lazy when it comes to my hair. It was long overdue for a trim and my stylist said all of my layers had grown out which is why I was hating it so much. So I asked for a trim and more layers...and ended up with this short mom cut. Never go into the salon and say "Oh, just do whatever you think will look cute"...because you'll end up with really short hair. My flat iron and I are about to get real close again.

I like it though! The layers are flattering and I know it'll grow fast thanks to all these hormones and vitamins (and then apparently, it'll all fall out?!). And yes, that dress is a little big, but at the rate I'm going, I'll fill it out in no time. 14 pounds and climbing!

3. I subscribed to Hulu. 

We've been devoted to Netflix for years, but Emma told me that Hulu had Dawson's Creek and that was all it took. The best thing is there are a TON of other shows I've been wanting to watch (This is Us, Mindy Project) and now have access to. Given that we don't have cable, Hulu + Netflix is still so much cheaper than Comcast....

4.  I went to Whole Foods hungry. 

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And ended up with watermelon popsicles (don't they sound just amazing right now?!), ice cream sandwiches, and pretzel chips for the salt fix.

5. We put up the crib!

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Actually, Brandon did. I sat, watched, and admired our growing stash of baby clothes kindly gifted by some of my favorite people. We went with the Babyletto Hudson crib that will eventually convert to a toddler bed. It's just as nice in person and love how it looks in the baby's room. It's getting real, folks.

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