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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Guilt.

A while back one of my favorite people on this earth told me that her New Year's Resolution was to let go of guilt. It's been something that has really stuck with me, and something I think of often. As of lately, I've discovered on my own that letting go of guilt is really something that's much easier said than done.
 
Although I am so lucky and thankful to have the job I do,-one that provides health insurance for my family, decent pay I can't complain about, and 50% tuition benefits for my husband, I can say that 99.9% of me hates working. This hasn't always been the case. I have loved working. I love having my own money and a sense of independence and responsibility. After a 12 week maternity leave being home with a newborn, I thought I would feel these same feelings when I came back to work. Independence, responsibility, a burst of self-worth. But I couldn't have been more wrong.
 
Coming back to work has brought more guilt with it than I could have imagined. As I sit here at my desk (shh...) I can feel guilt, anger, frustration & complete disappointment building up inside of me. All of these stupid feelings are about to be made known as they stream down my face and make puddles on my work notebook.
 
Before I had Mackson I made a goal to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months. After reaching the 6 month mark if possible, I would make another goal for the next 6 months. After carrying a child and giving birth I've been completely overwhelmed at how amazing the woman body is. That we are able to provide life for our babies with the means of our own bodies. God is good. I wanted to breastfeed so badly, and we were doing great until I started work. Pumping at work and keeping up with a growing child is nearly impossible for me. The first time my mom text me during my first week back to work to tell me she ran out of "mama's milk" and had to give him a bottle of formula, and the fact he "took it so well" made me sob as I was flooded with total guilt. {P.s. I have nothing against formula, or mothers who choose, or may not have a choice but to use formula. This merely has everything to do with the fact that I didn't meet my personal 6 month breastfeeding goal.} I've partially loved the convenience of supplementing with formula as my milk supply has quickly decreased over the course of being back at work. But every time I shake that formula bottle, I feel it again. Guilt.
 
When I was home with baby during the day I felt like I had everything all figured out. We had a sleeping routine down, the perfect feeding schedule, beds were made, the house was clean, there were homemade treats and dinner was on the table when Spencer got home from work. My journal was all caught up, and I was regularly writing things in Mackson's baby book. I didn't mind the few sleepless nights with Mackson and I loved it when he would stir in his crib letting me know he was ready to be fed and cuddled. Those middle-of-the-night feedings were my favorite. The house was quiet and it was just us. Now I'm waking up at 4:00am to get ready for work. To have enough time to feed Mack, change his diaper, get my work stuff together and loaded up, baby in his car seat, to make a 15 minute drive to my parents house, then another 25 minute drive to work. I can't express the amount of guilt I have waking up a warm, comfortable baby at 6:00am to be thrown into his car seat and bounced around in the car. My heart aches every morning as I drop him off and drive down the street, late to work because I couldn't stand leaving him again.
 
It's frustrating being late for work more often than I should, not being with Mackson as often as I would like, and not being able to give the attention to Spencer that he deserves. I feel like I'm being pulled in so many different directions that it's hard to not feel like I'm failing in every category.
 
This past week so much has happened. Mackson has found his tiny voice and loves to coo and talk and make funny noises. He learned to roll over within the last two days, and he's started holding his own bottle. Fun things are happening with him, but I'm at work, during the days I feel it's most important that I'm home.
 
There's just simply not enough time in the day. I probably didn't make it to the grocery store, there's probably not going to be dinner on the table so it's macaroni & cheese or soup again for dinner. I sit on the carpet to play with Mack and think about how it's been two weeks since I vacuumed, and when I'm already feeling guilty shaking his formula bottle in the kitchen, I also see a crummy counter and dirty dishes in the sink.  I'm so lucky to have Spencer who is so willing to help me with anything I need. Unfortunately, I am terrible at asking for help, and even worse at thinking I can do everything on my own.
 
As I'm sitting here writing this, my frustrations have gone down. Even though I think what this all boils down to is being a working mom, what it really comes down to is that I don't have a choice right now. I have to remember that Mackson won't remember being 4 months old and staying at grandma's house instead of being at home with mom. (Even though being at grandma's house is probably more fun!) That right now, I'm making sacrifices. And for that, I think I'm doing an okay job. And one day, when I get to wake up to Spencer and Mackson and know that we can spend all day home together playing in the dirt looking for bugs, sharing treats, running errands and taking naps together, I'm sure I will know that my sacrifices now were so worth it. The day I can wake up as just "mom" instead of "working mom" will be so fulfilling. I can't wait. In the mean time, my weeks will drag on & I'll continue to live for the weekends.
 
For all of you working moms, it's the hardest thing I've ever done. There are good days and bad days, and I wish I could hug all of you for your hard work. For all of you stay at home moms, I'm sure it's the hardest thing you've ever done. There are good days and bad days, and I wish I could hug you too, for having the best job in the world!
 
Guilt is something I wish I could let go of, and I'm trying. It's a conscious effort to push it aside and there are days like today where it's so overwhelming. I've decided that one of my New Year's Resolutions is to let go of guilt, and I challenge you to try to do the same!
 
After all, don't we have enough going on to let guilt get in the way?
 
XOXO 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mommy Must-Have Items {Part 1}

When I was putting together a baby registry, I had never felt so helpless in my life. I literally had no idea what I would use or what I needed to buy. Now that I have Mackson, I thought I would write a list of the Top 9 things that we just couldn't (or wouldn't want to) do without!

{Part 1}
 
 
 
#1. Boppy Pillow.
The Boppy Pillow is the most well-known breastfeeding pillow. This has made breastfeeding so comfortable for both Mackson and myself. It's lightweight, soft, and I've discovered it has multiple uses. I had it with me at the hospital for some additional comfort in the hospital bed, we've used it to prop up Mack a little bit when he lays on his back, we've used it for a more comfortable tummy time, I have used it as a donut pillow to sit on after the hospital + lots of stitches, and I've also used it as a neck pillow on our Thanksgiving road trip to Idaho. Who knew it had so many uses?!
-Available online HERE!-

*Tip: If you buy anything at Pea In The Pod, or if you register at BuyBuy Baby you'll get a little goodie bag with lots of samples and some gift cards, which includes a gift card for a free nursing pillow- you just have to pay for shipping!
 
 
#2. The Diaper Genie.
This should be at the top of your baby registry. I had multiple people tell me before I registered they thought it was a waste of money. I now think those people are freaking crazy. This is a sanitary, quick way to get rid of those diapers and keep the diaper smells AWAY! Mackson's Nursery has never smelled like dirty diapers and I can thank my Diaper Genie for that.
-Available online, and cheapest HERE!-

*Tip: You can get 30% off a large refill pack of can liners right now at Diapers.com with code "JINGLE14" at checkout! Plus, If you create an account with them and complete your profile, you'll also receive FREE shipping on any order over $49.00- that's every baby item you can possibly think of, delivered right to your door (usually the next day!)
 
 
#3. HoMedics SoundSpa Noise Machine.
When I first purchased this, I thought it was a great idea, but I was also unsure of how often it would actually be used. Every. Single. Day. Mackson sleeps soo much better having a little bit of noise in the room, and this was the only stationary machine I found that had a great selection of noises programmed. There's Ocean, Summer Night, Rain, Rain Forest, Waterfall, and Natural Heartbeat. (White noise option gives me the willies so I loved finding a machine that didn't even have it as an option!) Mack's favorite is the Waterfall and we have it on all night long.
-Available online HERE!- 

*Tip: If you register at BuyBuy Baby or sign up for their emails, you'll occasionally get a 20% off coupon which can be used towards this machine! ka-ching!
 
 
#4. Noise Machine On-The-Go.
We took this on our road trip to Idaho and it was a lifesaver. With the hook we could attach it to his carrier, or the inside of his pack and play. We had something portable, and something that sounded familiar to him when we were staying in a new place. Plus, it was only $9.99 and it has a timer to shut off on it's own. I was so grateful I had this!
-Available online HERE!-

*Tip: This does not come with batteries- make sure you've got at least 3 AAA batteries on hand!
 
 
#5. NUK Air System Bottles.
I was originally using Medela bottles since that's what came with my pump. Unfortunately, after every time Mack would drink a bottle, he would spit up. A lot. This really worried me considering I knew I would be going back to work and didn't have another option but a bottle while I was away. I found the NUK Orthodontic Air System Bottles and they made my life a little easier! They have an air vent system to help reduce gas and colic. Mack doesn't spit up NEARLY as much as he did with other bottles. Plus these have a disc that can be placed in the opening of the bottle to prevent leaks and spills. Which means it can be thrown into my purse and not cause a huge leaky mess. Boom.

*Tip: You can go to the NUK Website and there's $1.00 off printable Coupon! The link is HERE
 
 
#6. Covered Goods Nursing Cover.
I had a few friends recommend these covers and I LOVE THEM! They're stretchy, lightweight, comfortable, and they breathe well. They also fold or roll up small to fit easily in a diaper bag. They're stylish, and they cover your FRONT & BACK for maximum privacy! I like this cover soo much better than the front only apron-looking cover. I have felt really comfortable nursing in public as long as I have this on.
-Available online HERE!-
 
*Tip: You can also use them as a car seat cover!
 
 
#7. Aden + Ansis Swaddles.
A pack of these swaddles can get a little pricey, but honestly they're totally worth the money. I got a few packs of these for shower gifts and I use them ALL THE TIME! They're large swaddles and they are lightweight for summer, but can also be used to swaddle baby up in the Winter months as well. I use them for blankies & swaddles, I lay them on the floor for baby to play on, I've used them as burp cloths, nursing covers, car seat covers, & I've put them up in the window of the car for some shade for baby! These are versatile and for that, I love them.
-Available online HERE!-
 
*Tip: Check out the Aden + Anis website- they have swaddles in different fabrics too!
 
 
#8. Medela Nipple Shield.
Whoever invented this is a genius. Pure. Genius. Baby and I had a hard time in the hospital establishing a good breastfeeding routine. This not only helped baby to latch easier, but it's protected the nips when they needed an occasional break. Breastfeeding is awful when you have cracked, bleeding nips, and this offers a little bit of relief when ya need some! Mackson never had any nipple confusion using this, so that wasn't a problem. They're about $9.50 per nipple shield, so a little on the pricey end. BUT, trust me. Worth it.
-Available online HERE!-
 
*Tip: These are clear, and blend into ANYTHING. I've lost a couple, so buying a case for them online is really helpful! Plus, the case keeps them sanitary for next use!
 
 
#9. The Solly Wrap.
Oh, my love for the Solly wrap. Every time I have worn Mackson in my Solly Wrap people have asked me about it. It has just enough stretch in the fabric to be comfortable, and it holds baby in nice and secure! Mackson loves being so close, and it's been great for the days that he wants to be held, but I need some free hands to get stuff done! There's a pocket at the end of the wrap so you can fold it up inside of itself and it stores nicely in my diaper bag! Each wrap is $65.00 and there's FREE shipping online!
The Solly Wrap has probably been my favorite baby item purchase!
-Available online HERE!-
 
*Tip: Their website has video tutorials on how to use it!
 
 
I hope this helps a little bit for those of you wondering what to register for, or get for when baby is here! There will be a part 2 to this post with a few more things I love and am so thankful to have!
 
XOXO

 
 


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mackson is 4 Months Old

Baby Mackson is FOUR months old! {yesterday}
Time is flying by, but I'm loving every minute of it.

 
Mackson has always been good at little coos and sighs, but this past week he has certainly found his tiny voice! It's been so fun to "chat" with him and talk back and forth. I love it.
 
Mack loves blowing spit bubbles lately & Spencer thinks it's hilarious.

He still loves sucking on his hands and he's super slobbery.  
(as you can see by his drool-soaked shirt)
 
Mack thinks he's all grown up and tries to hold his own bottle. *sigh*
 
When he eats he quickly finds one of my fingers and grips it with his little hand.
 
He's sleeping about 11 1/2 hours a night and it's glorious.
 
He's getting really good at gripping his toys & it's been so fun to watch him try to process all of the colors and sounds they make.
 
Lately when he smiles he gives a big gummy grin, but smiles with his eyes too. This makes him look just like his mama.
 
He's {finally} growing like a weed & it's gradually getting harder for me to tote him around  in his carrier. But with that being said, he's still wearing newborn diapers & newborn clothes with the exception of his 3 month sized jammies.
 
He's been pretty cuddly at night and has fallen asleep with me holding him tight. These are the nights I never want to put him down.
 
His favorite time is still bath time, and still calms right down as soon as he hears the water running.

His face is just barely starting to chub up a bit & kissing his cheeks is my favorite past time.

We love this tiny tot so much!!
Happy 4 Months little babe!

XOXO

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thankful.

I know a lot of people think the "30 days of Thankful" on facebook is totally overrated because we should be thankful everyday. Which is  completely true. But I think it's a lot easier to remember exactly how thankful we are for things when the entire month of November is based around being thankful. I didn't post anything on facebook about what I'm thankful for or why, so I thought I would post more than a few things that have been on my mind lately.
 
.i'm thankful for family.
for husband. for baby. for my role as wife & mom. for my own mom & dad. for sister. for brother. grandparents. in-laws. extended family.
I am so lucky to have a family that does so much for me.
 
.i'm thankful for means of travel.
for a car that runs so well and allows me to conveniently get to doctors appointments, work, grocery stores, to family, friends, & anywhere else i decide to drive to on a whim.
 
.i'm thankful for photography.
for being able to capture moments that mean so much to me. these pictures are so dear to me and allow me to remember times forever, see how things have changed, and give me something to show my kids one day.
 
.i'm thankful for a messy kitchen.
for reminding me i have food whenever i need/want it. i often take this for granted because it's so readily available. it breaks my heart to think there are people all over the world going hungry each day. i often forget how lucky i am to not only have an abundance of food in my fridge, but restaurants so close.
 
.i'm thankful for loads of laundry.
for reminding me that i have clothes that keep me covered and comfortable. for having a coat to keep me warm when it's cold outside. for shoes and socks that protect my feet. and for gloves that warm my hands.
 
.i'm thankful for my home.
for giving my family shelter. for allowing us to have a place to make memories together. to be comfortable. for giving me a safe place to sleep at night. for giving me a safe place to raise and teach my child.
 
.i'm thankful for my role as mother.
for my Heavenly Father to trust me with such a sacred, humbling job. for the chance i have to teach and learn. for the chance to be an example, and for the chance to love infinitely. i'm thankful for my role as mother, because it has allowed me a slight understanding of how much Christ loves me.
 
.i'm thankful for my daily failures.
for reminding me that tomorrow i can try again and do a little better.
 
.i'm thankful for my daily successes.
for accomplishments big or small.
 
.i'm thankful to my Heavenly Father.
for giving me all of these things. for memories, for blessings, for safety and comfort. for my family and all of the many things i love. for trusting me and allowing me to learn. 
 
Today i'm feeling so extremely blessed and loved.
Today i am especially thankful.
 
XOXO
 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mackson is 3 Months Old

 
Baby Mackson is 3 months old.
(I'm really behind writing this, considering he turned 3 months old on November 2nd)
 
Mackson is the best baby, I don't know what I did to luck out like I have.


Mack still loves the tub! When he's crying or tired but it's too early for him to go to bed, I will turn the water on in the bathtub and he immediately stops crying. No matter how tired he is, he would rather be in the bath than sleep. He splashes so cute, and looks shocked when the water hits him in the face and grins that big gummy smile that just kills me.
 
He also loves showers. I was in the shower one night and he was crying with Spencer. Spencer brought him in the bathroom and he heard the water and calmed right down. We stripped him down nakey boy and put him in the shower with me and he LOVED IT!
 
Sucking on his little hands are still his favorite thing. It's been really fun to watch him discover his hands more and more everyday. If they aren't in his mouth, his tiny hands are trying to hold his bottles, or he touches my arm softly as I'm feeding him. He's been good at holding things like his little pacifiers, his little blankets, my fingers while he falls asleep, and it's the most adorable thing ever when he holds his own hand.
 
He's still wearing newborn clothes, but he only fits into Carter's brand because he's soo long. Any of his 0-3 month clothes drown him, and I'm excited for him to grow a little bit so we can utilize the rest of the cute clothes in his closet. His little belly is rounding out and his tiny legs have gotten so long!
 
His favorite face is his "surprised face" he opens his mouth as far as he can and takes a big breath in and sighs. The last few weeks he has been making the cutest kissy lip face, and his favorite noise to make is "kkkkkkkkkkk" over and over. The last few days he's discovered he knows how to spit. Spencer thinks it's hilarious, so I have a feeling that one will be around for a while.
 
He loves talking and making noises, but if I record him and play it back to him he gets SO EXCITED. He will kick so hard, coo, and wave his arms around. His favorite thing is the mirror, and loves looking at the cute baby in the reflection.
 
He's lost most of his hair and I love it. I love his almost-bald head, even though I loved his full head of hair previously. For now, I like him bald.
 
Mack is a trooper with our abrupt schedule change since I've had to go back to work. He sleeps through the night, wakes up to eat, is such a good boy in the car driving to my mom's house, and sleeps again once he's in his crib there. I couldn't ask for a happier baby waking up at 4 to eat, and again at 6 to leave the house. It makes the start of my day so much easier.
 
Mack still doesn't love tummy time, it wears him right out. It's exhausting being a baby. If he's having a hard time falling asleep, tummy time does the trick. He's got such a strong little neck considering he could hold it up as a newborn. He's so aware of what's around him and will look side to side, up and down.
 
I love it when we are driving in the car and I look in the little mirror he has by his car seat. Sometimes we'll make eye contact and he just smiles so big.. It's made me get all teary a few times. He definitely knows who his mama is.
 
He has a special love for his grandma who watches him during the day. He's absolutely goo-goo-gah-gah for her and It makes my heart so happy. He also loves his pink gma great, and great papa. Papa pokes Mackson's belly and says, "You're a good baby! You're a good baby!" and Mackson smiles SO BIG!
 
We've almost got him to belly laugh, but not quite. He squeaks just a little bit but stops right before the big laugh happens. I've tried everything. Until it happens, I'll just keep looking silly trying.
 
It's been so fun to watch him grow and be more aware of what's going on around him. I'm soo blessed to be his mom, and I honestly couldn't ask for a better baby. When people at work say, "How are you waking up in the night with a baby and making it to work in the morning?!" People are shocked when I tell them he's been sleeping through the night since about 8 weeks. I've been told multiple times to never have more kids because they'll never be as good as Mackson hahah
 
I often miss being pregnant. Okay, every single day I miss being pregnant. But the joys this tiny tot brings me are incredible.
Thanks for being my little buddy, Mack.
Mama loves you!
 
XOXO

Monday, November 17, 2014

Boobie Smoothie

SO I saw a recipe on Pinterest for Lactation Cookies. 
..That's right. Cookies that boost lactation. I feel entitled to eat these (and lots of them) after giving birth. It's fair, right?? I was curious about these lactation cookies and started reading the ingredients and realized the secret ingredient that really isn't so secret, is Brewers Yeast.

I also saw multiple recipes for smoothies using brewers yeast and decided to make my own. I should have been better at measuring out my ingredients for the sake of this post, but I wasn't planning on doing a blog post about it until I realized how good tasted it.



SO, here goes.
My recipe for a "Boobie Smoothie"
 
1 banana
a handful of oatmeal *great for lactation*
a handful of raspberries
a handful of spinach
Almond milk 
Honey flavored Greek yogurt
1 heaping teaspoon of Flax Meal
1 heaping teaspoon of Brewers Yeast *great for lactation*
a dash of vanilla extract 
crushed ice
 
Blend well. & Enjoy. 
 
I thought it was really sweet and delicious, plus has some great benefits for me and baby!
 
*Side note: I got brewers yeast at a specialty health and nutrition store locally. It was on the shelf listed as "nutritional yeast"*
I'm excited about experimenting with more smoothie recipes!

XOXO

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fashion Friday

Lately I've had a full-blown love for dressing up graphic tees. I found this J'ADORE tee at Old Navy & had to have it-I love the structured black & white.
 
When it comes down to it, I will pick jeans over pretty much anything
(unless Lululemon Wunder Unders are one of my options.)
I took it upon myself to make the executive decision that Friday's are casual Friday's at work. No one approved this, but no one has told me not to either. HA!
 
Today's "Casual Friday" look includes my favorite pair of skinnies, a graphic tee, open half-blazer jacket, my favorite statement necklace and vampy red lipstick.


 


 
 
Graphic Tee: Old Navy *On Sale!*
Half Blazer Jacket: Bohme
Skinnies: American Eagle
Statement Necklace: Bohme (similar HERE)
Lipstick: Tannin by BITE
 
 
XOXO