Things I loved about 2017

🎶 These are a few of my favorite things…🎶

2017 was a year full of life lessons: being a mom is hard, being a wife is harder, and no matter what happens and what obstacles come my way, I still love to shop 💕

This past year was a weird one for most of us but there is always a silver lining. Here’s what made my year a little more bearable:

1. Things that make a new Mom’s life easier: pouches– I LOVE the organic baby food pouches that are available these days. They’re convenient, easy for baby to use on his own as he gets older and a good way to get those veggies in before and even after they get teeth. Some faves are Plum Organic, Gerber and Happy Baby. Teething snacks– my faves are Happy Baby teething wafers. They come in different flavors such as sweet potato and banana and my son loves them! Perfect for on the go. Pack and play– I probably don’t use it the way it’s intended but it’s helpful all the same. My son doesn’t sleep in it but he does sit and play and watch tv in it. And it’s perfect if I’m by myself and need to take a shower or I need him to stay put for a minute. I have the Graco Pack n Play playard with newborn napper station. You just take out the newborn top station and leave it open for him as a toddler. Throw in some toys and books and it’s perfect. Last but certainly not least, the thing that makes my life easier by far is my mom. Without her, being a mom would be far more challenging and not as fun. 2017 helped me realize that you need to appreciate those that are there for you no matter what because the years don’t mean much without the support of those who love you.

2. Online shopping: did I mention I love to shop. Whether it was Christmas gifts, baby items or clothes and shoes for moi, the internet was my best friend this year. The downside is that the post office and UPS were also my go -to when the online orders didn’t pan out and I had to return items. Still beats the mall though! Some of my favorites: SheIn, Amazon , Target, and Etsy just to name a few.

2. Selling clothes and accessories online: random, I know, but I’m so the opposite of a hoarder. So when I realized there were some things I would never fit again post pregnancy and wouldn’t even try, as well as things I just didn’t know why I still had lying around, I decided to try the online selling route. And you know what, Poshmark is everything you think it is and more. I HIGHLY recommend them if you have some old and even some new things collecting dust. Poshmark takes care of the shipping and the fee is minimal. You can’t beat it.

3. My family: and no this list is not in order of importance! Of course I love them, but this year I really valued them more than ever. Having your own family makes you appreciate the one you have and all the sacrifices they make for each other over the years. I’m lucky and thankful for my friends, family and in-laws. No matter their flaws or annoyances, they’re family and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As I reflect over 2017 I realized how I never would have made it without them.

4. The DIY era we live in: Everywhere you turn there is a how to or DIY video to show you how to do something and I love it! What’s not to love about making something yourself and for cheap? This year I made a lemon sugar scrub as part of a gift for my mom and sister. It was so simple and I already had the ingredients in my kitchen. It was a win win! Recipe below 👇🏽

Sugar Scrub recipe:

2 cups sugar

1 cup coconut oil

A few drops of essential oil of your choice (grapefruit, lemon, lavender)

Mix together and put into airtight jar of your choice like a mason jar

I hope the new year brings new and positive things your way and that we all learn from the year before to improve, grow and be better.

Happy New Year!!

XOXO

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Holidaze Part 2

It’s 3 days until Christmas and even though the gifts are all shopped for and wrapped, I’m still out doing last minute grocery shopping. Why??!! How do I always forget the fact that we need food too? Everyone else must be in the same boat because the grocery stores are worse than the toy stores and malls. My New Years resolution: I will not be out doing last minute shopping for the holidays! I mean it! 2018 I will be better prepared.

I don’t know how long I can blame my son for the fact that I’ve lost brain cells, maybe forever, but I honestly have such a hard time getting out the door in the morning, running errands, I’m so forgetful. It’s frustrating. I have to make lists to remind me of my lists.

It’s ok because I have to believe that it will get better. I just need more practice. If I can survive the holidays with a child, I can survive anything!

I said my goal was to be sitting with my feet up watching a Christmas movie and chilling by Christmas Eve…I’ll keep you posted!

Holidaze

Even before I had a baby the holidays were kind of stressful, yet fun and exciting. However, this year my son is a rambunctious 16 month old rather than a little non-moving 4 month old like last Christmas, so the holidays are going to be a bit different.

So in an effort to minimize the hassle and maximize what a relaxing holiday should be, my husband and I are trying to be as efficient as possible and non-last minute.

This weekend we got the tree and took out all decorations as well as finished and yes, I mean really finished all Christmas shopping. We managed to get the majority of it done online and at places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls so we avoided the mall. Plus I used Ebates so I got cash back too! It was a win win. And if you’re wondering about Ebates, it really is as awesome and easy as you think. Use my link to sign up now: https://go.ebat.es/imsk/iGR2y5o8BI

So all I have to do is decorate the tree, have my husband put up the lights outside, wrap the presents and sit back and relax. Right? Oh and try and keep my son from ripping apart the tree. No biggie. My goal is to be sitting with my feet up, drink in hand, with my baby and my husband Christmas Eve. And to not be out running last minute errands in the dark and cold night with all the other lunatics. Wish me luck! How are you dealing with the holidays?

Mommy Struggle #2

So it’s only been 15 months as a mom and it seems much longer! I’m just now starting to get the hang of things. How am I going to make it the next 17 years?! Forget that, the next 40! Because let’s face it, it’s not going to end when he turns 18. I still count on my mom and I’m 34. I don’t know if I can make it that long.

This leads me to the next mommy struggle: prioritizing your life and getting on a schedule. Otherwise known as the “I don’t have enough time” phase. I feel like most complaints I hear are about how moms can’t get anything done. I have to admit that even though a 15 month old can get into much more mischief now that he’s walking and older and more curious, it is a bit easier to get things done around the house. I allow him to play and explore (within reason of course) so that I can do the dishes, wash clothes, make the bed.

One thing moms kick ass at is multitasking, but don’t let it take over your life. I almost had a meltdown trying to do too much that I had to take a step back and calm down. Whenever you take on too much is when something suffers and usually that’s your child.

Instead of being stressed out about nap times and meal times, I let things happen naturally. That doesn’t mean I forget about nap time all together. I just don’t stress about it too much. Now when I want to get some things done, I put him in his high chair, let him feed himself some snacks and keep my eye on him while I get some things done.

Instead of worrying about working out during nap time, I work out while he plays next to me in his pack and play or on the floor. Sometimes I use him as added weight too 😉 And if worse comes to worse, I drop him off at his grandma’s house and do what I have to do!

<<<<<<

Motherhood is a learning experience and no one has all the answers. Being a perfectionist like myself doesn’t help either, because no matter how much you plan, or prepare, nothing will ever be perfect when it comes to kids. And no two experiences are the same. You do the best you can and ask for help when you need to.

How do you keep your sanity when trying to get things done with a baby or toddler? Tips and suggestions welcome!

Mommy Struggle #1

So in this “mommy struggle” series, let’s talk about the things that test all moms’ patience, drive all mommys crazy and make all of us want to give up and crawl back into bed. But won’t. Because we’re moms and our husbands and kids won’t let us.

I bring you the dreaded: “Why can’t I lose this baby weight?”

Well I don’t have the answer, not really anyway. But I do have words of advice. Don’t give up. Especially if it really means a lot to you. As a fitness professional, the pressure to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight was something I felt every time I looked in my closet and tried to find something to wear. I worked out here and there but nothing as consistent as before I was pregnant. I always had an excuse I guess. Too tired. No time. The baby won’t sleep. The key is to find your motivation, whatever it is, and use it to eliminate the excuses. Since I was fortunate enough to stay home this past year with my son you would think I had all the time in the world to get in shape. Well, running after a one year old is a lot harder than I thought and running after him doesn’t burn as many calories as you think. Big disappointment.

But it’s ok because my motivation just reared it’s head: first, a wedding coming up and then a Mardi Gras ball. 2 occasions where I would need to dress up, wash my hair and look presentable instead of wearing baby food stained shirts and sweatpants. I could do this. I wanted to do this. I needed something that was going to give me the added push. Something aside from being upset about all the clothes I couldn’t fit into. So I gave myself a few small tasks to complete each day. I would clean one room of the house, I would work out for at least 20 minutes everyday while the baby slept and I would set aside time to work on my blog. If I didn’t get to one of those things, well I would try to do it the next day and maybe for longer. Giving yourself small goals makes it a little easier to get to the bigger goal.

Another thing to remember is to go at your own pace. It’s been 14 months since I’ve had my baby and I’m just now starting to see results. I have to keep in mind that my body is completely different and not necessarily bad different, just different. That doesn’t mean I can’t lose weight, it’s just going to be a little different from what I did before.

Here I am now after 14 months 👆🏽

And here is what I was before 👇🏽

I haven’t given up and I haven’t forgotten that I gave birth to a human and it could possibly take a long time to come back from that. Each delivery is different, each body is different. It’s ok, moms who are struggling out there, we’re all in this together!

What are some things that helped you get your pre-pregnancy bod back or are you still on the struggle bus?

Mommy Guilt

You may or may not have heard of this before or never paid too much attention to it. And why would you? Unless you've experienced it personally, there's really no need to care too much about it. As a new mom, everything is a new experience. Even things you've done your whole life are completely different now that you're a mom. And inevitably, someone, anyone, will try and make you feel guilty about the way you do things.

My goal in writing this is not to put anyone down but merely to educate and give others a different perspective about this sensitive issue.

So let's first go through the types of mom guilt that I've come across. Now when I say "guilt", I'm referring to other people voicing their comments to in turn try to make you feel guilty for your actions. You moms out there know what I mean…

1. The stay at home guilt– whether you decide to stay home permanently, a year or a few months, you should never, I repeat, never feel guilty for it. It's a decision to be made by you and your spouse, if you have one, and no one else. I have a hard time with this one since I'm currently staying home with my baby, who's about to turn one next week. I have definitely felt the guilt for this one. Whether it's someone saying "wow you got to stay home that long! I had to go back to work after 6 weeks!" Or "what do you do all day? I mean babies sleep a lot right?" Or even your spouse who may not entirely understand everything that goes into being a stay at home mom. Add in the "wife" duties like dinner and laundry and cleaning….it can take your sanity and throw it right out the window. In fact, I find myself so delirious at times that I become easily aggravated and short tempered. I can't help it. I can't control it. It just bubbles out of me. Every other day I feel like what I'm doing doesn't matter to anyone, when in reality it's one of the hardest and most important jobs anyone can have. Raising a child is hard and not just raising any child but a well adjusted, decent and nice human being. I'm not throwing shade on working moms. I'll be one soon and we all know them and love them (see #2 below 👇🏽) and I know not everyone is able to stay home. Lots of moms have to go back to work sooner because of the enormous financial impact having kids puts on families. I consider myself and others who were able to stay home extremely lucky and I think we all know it. That doesn't, however, give others the right to project their jealousy onto the stay at home mom. I think if it came down to it, given the choice, all mothers would pick staying home with their babies for an extended amount of time over going back to work. Every. Single. Time. So until we have a health care system that enables family leave as a necessity versus a luxury, let's uplift and support our stay at home moms rather than tear them down because they can do what others can't.
2. The working mom guilt– on the flip side I know there are moms out there who feel like they should be at home with their babies. For whatever reason they can't be and they feel like they're missing out. I applaud those who juggle both, because it's hard to even get out of the house to run to the store much less get up and have to look presentable for work. Moms who work are no better or worse than those who don't. It's a choice that not everyone gets to make and it has to work for your situation. We also shouldn't feel bad for those that have to work. Lots of people don't want to stay home. They feel bored (I don't see how that's possible) or they miss their work. Whatever the reason, supporting the decision of moms and their rights to pick either option should be the only thing we talk about.
3. The breastfeeding vs. formula guilt– ok this one seems to be one that lots of moms are facing these days. I think about 50% is how you were raised and the other is random circumstances that happen once you try to nurse i.e. once you try to nurse the baby has trouble latching or there's some medical reason that hinders the natural ease of breastfeeding right at birth. In my situation, I was breastfed until I was 2, my sister nursed both her boys until they were 2 and 3 so I just assumed it would be super easy for me. Well it wasn't, and it was way more challenging than I thought and in the early days, that first week, I had to supplement with formula and I felt like the worse person in the world. Why? I have no idea. As long as your baby is eating it shouldn't matter. Well the guilt rears it's ugly head again. I abandoned my preconceived notions about formula vs. breastfeeding and came to the realization that as long as you're doing your best to make sure your baby is getting the nutrients he or she needs, don't listen to anyone else. No one should feel guilty for breastfeeding and no one should feel guilty for using formula. It's easier said than done. I know.

As a mom you do what you have to do. And I've found that things almost never go the way you planned when it comes to pregnancy and beyond.

What challenges have you faced with having a newborn? I would love to know I'm not the only one out there!

Healthy snacks for the breastfeeding and the non-breastfeeding 

It may seem weird that I’m posting about breastfeeding tips as my little one is almost one and pretty much weaning himself off of breastfeeding, but it’s never too late, right? Plus some of these recipes can carry me over even when I’m done nursing and wanting a healthy snack. 

I find myself needing these tips because the more he eats regular food, the less milk I seem to be producing. He mostly nurses at nap time and at night but I still have to pump for when my mom watches him. And maybe it’s my stress about pumping and nursing that’s slowing my flow but I find these tips really help and felt the need to pass it along. 

I’m starting to work out more and gearing up to go back to part time work, so as I said before some of these are perfect healthy snacks for anyone.

Lactation Smoothie

1 banana

1 cup of milk or almond milk

1/3 cup of rolled oats 

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp brewer’s yeast

1 tbsp flax

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

{To make it a non-lactation smoothie, take out the brewer’s yeast. I mix it up and add strawberries and other fruit to it and omit the peanut butter and cinnamon. It’s really good!}

Lactation Cookies 

{I used the same recipe that I posted about previously}

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal 
4 Tbsp. water

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour 

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp. Brewer’s Yeast 

3 cups quick oats

1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. 
2. Mix together the flaxseed and water and let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugars.
4. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.
5. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla.
6. In a medium bowl, combine together flour, baking soda, salt, Brewer’s Yeast, and oats.
7. Add to the butter mixture 1/2 cup at a time.
8. Once the dough is mixed together well, add chocolate chips.
9. Bake for 9-11 minutes.


Overnight Oats
1/2 cup of rolled oats

1/2 cup of milk, yogurt or kefir {whatever you want}

☝🏽That’s the base and you can add fruit or whatever you like from there. Mix the oats and the milk together and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, mix in whatever you like. Berries, apples, nuts, etc. Here’s a good link to check out: Overnight oats recipes

Some other tips for increasing your supply are things you should be doing anyway:

  • Drink lots of water 80-100 ounces. Just drink water as much as you can. 
  • Make sure you’re eating enough small meals throughout the day. 
  • Some healthy snack options: bananas, granola bars, Greek yogurt, trail mix, cottage cheese, pretzels, nut butters, fruit

Now for those that are breastfeeding the above works for you as well as these:

  • Pump!
  • Try the recipes in this post! 
  • Try some foods that boost your supply- asparagus, oatmeal, quinoa, fennel, flax, whole grains, berries, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, milk, cheese, chicken

I have to admit I’m a little late on trying these tips. Like I mentioned before, my son is almost 1 but this would have been a lot more helpful had I done these things from the beginning. So I’m passing this on to those who may need it! 😉