Weekly Food & Fitness Plan {6.27.16}

Hey guys, and happy Monday! 

As I mentioned in my post last Monday, I have really been letting my fitness routine slip in the last few months. I think it was definitely necessary given the insanity that was my life for a little while, but now that things have settled down a bit, I don’t have an excuse anymore. So I have really been trying to focus first on just getting back into the habit of getting to the gym and making smarter food choices.

So I thought I might try something out this week, and do a little bit of a check-in. I  am not sure yet whether I will do it every week or not, but I know I always like reading about what other people’s plans for workouts and meals are, so I thought I might give it a shot. And if nothing else, it will (hopefully) keep me accountable! 

Food & Fitness Plan

To start out, here was my fitness plan from last week, and how I actually ended up doing:

Monday: Cardio + Arms – Check and check! I also ended up going on a walk after work with Colton and Laney

Tuesday: Running + abs – Running didn’t happen. Neither did working out. I spent the entire day running errands instead!

Wednesday: Cardio + legs – Check and check again. Man did my legs feel it!

Thursday: Rest  – I ended up going on an hour long walk with a friend of mine.

Friday: Whole body strength training – I was NOT feeling it on Friday, and instead only managed to get in 30min of cardio. 

Saturday: Barre + abs  – Nope. Rest day. 

Sunday: Walking around all day at the zoo! – Check!

Overall, it wasn’t too shabby of a week. I didn’t get all my workouts in exactly as planned, but I did at least get myself moving 5 out of 7 days, so I consider that a win. It’s all about getting back into the habit!

postpartum fitness

Now here is my plan for this week:

Monday: Cardio + Arms 

Tuesday: Light cardio

Wednesday: Cardio + legs

Thursday: Cardio + arms + abs

Friday: Rest day (family in town)

Saturday: House work ALL day! 

Sunday: Rest

We have family coming in to town for 4th of July, and we also plan on having them help with some house/yard work (aren’t we fun to come visit??), so that will definitely keep me busy!

grocery shopping

And how about some meal plans for the week:

Monday: Parmesan pork chops with potatoes + veggies

Tuesday: Chicken bacon ranch tacos + rice + veggie

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Buffalo Broccoli chicken quinoa bake

Friday: Grilled salmon + veggies

Saturday:  Braves game

Sunday: BBQ

 

So there you have my (tentative) plan for the week. I am definitely thinking about starting up an actual fitness plan in the near future to really give me something to work towards, but right now it’s just all about re-establishing good habits and routines. 

Now that I sufficiently amped up about my workout plans this week, I’m going to hop off my computer and get to the gym! Hope you all have a great Monday!

So tell me I would love to hear what workouts or meals are on your plan for the week!

 

Coffee Date Friday {6.24.16}

Truth be told, I am struggling a little bit with motivation this morning, and I nearly bailed on writing a post at all. So after dilly-dallying (<– does anyone actually say that anymore?) on my computer for awhile, I decided to pick myself up, make myself some coffee, and get going on my day.

And as I have been sitting here sipping on my coffee, it has kind of inspired me to pass on my normal post and just have a casual conversation with you guys today. Like we were holed up in the corner of a hipster coffee shop somewhere listening to acoustic covers of John Mayer songs. Or a Starbucks. I don’t discriminate when it comes to coffee. 

20140728_094419.jpg

If we were having coffee today, here are the things I would tell you:

– Everyone has been asking me lately how I am doing after the passing of my mom. The truth? I really don’t know. Somedays I am perfectly fine. Other days really, really suck. I am so lucky to have such an amazing support system which has been huge, but I have also been taking on some of the “adult” things associated with this situation, like handling some of the estate stuff, which has been complicated and draining. Sometimes being an adult really stinks. 

– Speaking of, I think all of this stress has finally caught up with me, and I have developed a nasty cold. The fact that I am sleeping terribly probably isn’t helping either. Gross. 

– I am finally committed to jumping back on the fitness train. I have tried several times over the past few months, but just never really got into the rhythm of things again. BUT I have already gotten a workout in 3 days this week, which is a big success in my eyes. 

– Colton is going through this extremely dramatic toddler-tantrum stage. I really thought we had at least another 6 months before my little man learned to throw a screaming fit (for goodness sake he just turned 1), but we have definitely reached that point. It is full meltdown just at the mention of the word “no”. Joy. I am not sure whether this means that we’ll get past this “terrible two” stage early, or if it is just a forewarning of things to come… 

– One of the hardest things lately has just been trying to stay present with Colton. So many things have been going on, both literally and emotionally, that sometimes it can be really easy to get caught up in your thoughts or emotions and just go through the motions. And I don’t want to be that mom. In fact, the other day I got a call from a family member while Chris was feeding Colton dinner that ended with me in tears. I actually had to pull myself together and trade places with Chris because Colton was so concerned he wouldn’t eat. He just wanted to turn around in his high chair and look for me. That is not how I want to be with him right now, especially when he is at the age where he is absorbing so much of what is going on around him. 

– Georgia is getting SO HOT! This is our first real Georgia summer, and I’m not going to lie, at this point I am already dreading July and August. I thought Virginia had hot summers, but they have nothing on this sweltering Georgia heat. I can have the air conditioning on full blast, and Colton still comes out of his car seat drenched in sweat every time! 

– We just signed Colton up for gymnastics class at the Little Gym near us. Guys, this class might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. And Colton, my giant ball of constant energy, had an absolute blast practicing his somersaults, climbing on the mats, and rolling down the wedge mats. And then he took a terrific nap (#momwin).

– I just got a new planner, and I am completely obsessed. I don’t know if any of you care about planners as much as I do, but I am probably going to do a post on it soon. I have a planner problem. 

– I went for an hour long walk in the park yesterday with a new mom friend of mine. As a new mom, in a new place, I have felt a little isolated lately. So not only was this walk nice just to get out of the house and get some sun and fresh air, but it was also so great to talk to another mom for an hour. 

 

So there you have it – a totally random brain dump, but that suits me perfectly on this Friday morning. Now it is your turn! I would love to hear the kinds of things you would chat about if we were having coffee. 

Have a great weekend!

Colton Turns 1!

Thank you so much for all of your sweet comments on my last few posts. I am still getting back into the hang of things on the blogging front, but I appreciate you bearing with me as I figure things out!

I am still playing catch up after a crazy few weeks, so even though I’m about 22 days late, I thought I take a few minutes today to give you Colton’s ONE YEAR update! One year. It still blows my mind. 

1 year update

Stats: At his 12 month appointment last week, here were his stats –

Weight: 20.8lbs (rocking the 15th percentile these days, despite the fact that he eats like a teenage boy)

Height: 29.5 inches long

Eating: I am getting a good glimpse into our teenage days, when I am pretty sure he is going to eat us out of house and home. At daycare they give them this gigantic plate of food, and more than half the time Colton asks for seconds before he is full. Super metabolism, I tell you! Right now his favorite things are fruits (we have to hide the fruit on the counter until he’s eaten the rest of his meal otherwise he wants only fruit), cucumbers, and cheese. At the moment, the only thing he will seriously turn his nose up at is zucchini. 

1 year update

Sleeping: Despite a rough week while at the beach (probably due to teething), he is a rock star sleeper. He has fully transitioned to one 1.5-2 hour nap in the afternoon, and then sleeps about 12-13 hours at night. And yes, I count my lucky stars every day that we got a great sleeper, because I know that is definitely not the case for everyone. 

Mood: He has pretty much fully embraced his role as class clown at daycare. Nearly every day the teachers have a story to tell of something goofy he did or how he had all his friends giggling hysterically. He is mister flirtatious most of the time and has an awesome belly laugh when you get him going. About 90% of the time he is super happy and smiley, and loves to do things for attention. The other 10% he is channeling his future 2-year-old self and throwing an epically dramatic tantrum. 

Clothes: Ugh, clothes. We have such an issue because he is so daggone skinny that most of his clothes literally slide right off of him. He wears mostly 12 month clothes, but sometimes in shirts he has to go to 12-18 month sizes because he has a long torso. But then he swims in them. It’s a struggle. 

1 year update

Likes: Being busy constantly, chatting, climbing stairs, his ring stacker-toy, dancing to music, swimming, and being chased around. 

Dislikes: Being hungry, when you tell him “no”, when you take something away from him that he wants, having his face wiped, and sitting still for more than 13.4 seconds. 

Nicknames: Booger, Boogs, Buddy, Dude, Goofball. 

I am: So thankful to have this little guy in my life. It has been a really rough month, and every time I’m feeling down he manages to make me smile. He is so sweet and loving, it is hard to be sad when he is around! In reflecting on this past year, he has taught me so many things about myself and about life that I really can’t remember what life was like before him!

C is: such an awesome dad. He is absolutely the calm, chill presence to my occasional type-A neuroticism. He always knows how to make Colton laugh, and the two of them are like two peas in a pod: always rough housing and playing together. I can’t wait to watch their relationship continue to grow.

1 year update

This month (and a half) Colton:

  • Went to the beach for the first time
  • Traveled to Florida
  • Met his great-grandpa
  • Went to Virginia Tech (starting him young!)
  • Took his first steps

In this past month (plus) I have really seen Colton’s personality begin to blossom from just a cute baby to a full-grown person. He is such a goofball, and loves to do things to get a reaction out of people. And heaven help you if he sees you laughing at something he is doing – he will continue doing it for the next 20+ minutes. He is such a chatterbox and loves to strike up conversations with everyone. He knows how to say “mama”, “dada”, “bye bye”, “night night”, “doggy” and “bubbles” pretty consistently, and signs “more” and “milk” regularly (although milk is pretty new!). 

He is also such a sweet heart. He loves to come over and just give you a hug or a kiss and then go back to playing with his toys. And of course he always picks the moments when he is driving my the craziest to remind me that he is sweet. Otherwise he is just a giant bundle of energy and barely ever stops moving. We are actually going to be starting baby gymnastics with him later this week to try and find a good outlet for some of this energy! He is SOOO close to confidently walking on his own (right now he takes like 3-4 steps), but he is such a speedy crawler that usually he doesn’t have the patience to regain his balance and goes straight to crawling. 

1 year cake smash

It still amazes me that he is no longer a “baby” – he is a toddler now! He has gotten super independent and wants to try and figure everything out on his own. He is also in the copycat stage so you always have to watch what you are doing because you’ll turn around and find him trying to do the same thing (i.e. when Chris started hitting some balls with a baby hammer and shooting them across the room… guess who decided to do the same thing 5 minutes later?)

I am going to talk more soon about my thoughts on this first year of motherhood, but is has been an amazing year and I cannot wait to see what this next year holds!

And just for fun, here are some pictures from his 1 year cake smash while at the beach!

1 year cake smash 1 year cake smash 1 year cake smash 1 year cake smash

Rediscovering Fitness

Truth be told, my fitness-game has been a little bit subpar lately. 

And by subpar, I really mean completely nonexistent. 

Between the move, vacation, family emergencies, and this weird period of grieving, I have just found it extremely difficult to get myself motivated to workout. I am one of those people who really can’t just stroll in to a gym and put in a good workout – I need some kind of plan or intentional goal in mind, or I tend to just wander aimlessly through the gym equipment. And given the total lack of schedule (or normalcy) in my life lately, trying to come up with any kind of workout plan just wasn’t happening. Thus, neither was my workout. 

postpartum fitness

But after about a month of this, I am definitely feeling it. Despite the fact that the number on the scale hasn’t really changed, my clothes are feeling a bit tighter, my muscles are feeling a bit weaker, and in general I am just not really feeling very comfortable in my skin. Not to mention the fact that working out does wonders for your mental state and I could definitely use an endorphin boost these days.  

So instead of making excuses, I am pumping myself up and getting back in to the fitness game. I  am still trying to decide exactly what my plan is going to be, because I do LOVE following a good workout program, but I feel like I need to get this snowball rolling a bit before I commit to an actual plan (I’m thinking maybe Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Plan?) 

barre class

For the next few weeks though, I am just making it my goal to get some kind of workout in 5 days a week. Yes that is a lot, but I am not committing myself to any kind of workout. Just making sure I get my body moving and get myself back into the habit of working out. So even if all I can manage is a long walk with the dog and the baby, I’ll take it. 

My tentative plans for this week:

Monday: Cardio + Arms

Tuesday: Running + abs

Wednesday: Cardio + legs

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Whole body strength training

Saturday: Barre + abs

Sunday: Walking around all day at the zoo!

 

I am also planning on making some major adjustments to my diet for a little while, to break some of these terrible sugar habits. I have eaten a little too much ice cream for my comfort (and waistline) lately, so I need to get things back in check. BUT I feel like that is a story for a whole other blog post, so I will chat more about that soon. 

I feel like I’m going back to my blog roots here a little bit, but I really want to spend the next few weeks staying accountable to you all. I always remind myself that it takes 21 days to make a habit (whether that is actually true or not I don’t know, but I am going with it), so I really just need to focus on making fitness a priority in my life again and it will go back to being a good, healthy habit for me!

24DC results

Long time, no talk

*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Well hello there! Remember me? I used to do this crazy thing called blogging. I used to be pretty regular at it too. 

And then I just completely disappeared. Whoops. 

The truth is guys: LIFE. Life for the past month and a half has been absolutely insane. Honestly, it’s felt a bit like being in the ocean (a feeling I am very familiar with, considering we just got back from a beach vacation a few weeks ago!) – There you are standing there in the sand and a wave hits you. Your feet sink in a bit. You think to yourself “well that wasn’t that bad. Refreshing even, maybe.” And then another wave hits, and you sink a little bit deeper. And then another. And another. And you start to think “Hmm, this is starting to be a bit too much for me, but maybe if I wait a bit it will get better.” And then more waves and more sinking. Until your feet are completely buried under the sand and it is difficult to move them, but still the waves keep coming. 

Not to get all deep on you, but that is what my life has felt like for the last few months. Like I am stuck in the sand, and the waves just keep pounding away, one after another. First it was a stressful semester. Then it was finals. Then it was packing up the apartment and moving across the city to our new house. Then it was attempting to unpack. Then Colton’s birthday and all of the plans for that. Then we left for vacation which was simultaneously relaxing and stressful (as family vacations always seem to be). One thing after another after another. 

And then my mom died unexpectedly. These weren’t baby waves anymore – it felt like a tsunami, and here I was with my feet still stuck in the sand as the world came crashing down around me. 

It has been a little over a week since she died, and I am just now starting to wiggle my toes out of the sand again. I have been keeping myself busy with work and unpacking the house and trying to figure out my new normal, because that is how I deal with stress. I organize. I plan. Something my mother always used to make fun of me for. But that is how I cope.

I am not saying all of this for pity. I just wanted to let you know where I have been, and why I just disappeared without saying anything.  And to give a foundation for the direction I am going moving forward.

One thing that I have been thinking about a lot lately is this blog. It has meant a lot to me over the last 4+ years. It has connected me with a ton of other amazing blogger friends, and has served as a way to stay in contact with many of my family members (my mom included). So I am not ready to say goodbye to it just yet. 

However, these last few weeks have also given me a lot of time to think and reflect about what kind of story I want to tell, what is important to me, and what I want to share with the world. For a long time I have been having a blog identity crisis, trying to figure out how to incorporate my new life as a busy mom without alienating all of my old readers who cared more about my fitness journey and food choices. And being stuck out in this ocean lately has made me realize that sometimes in life you have to do what feels right to you instead of trying to please other people. 

So that is what I am going to do, moving forward. I am sure I am going to lose some readers over this new direction, and I am at peace with that. But I need to be authentic to where my life is right now, and I have always done my best to keep my blog as authentic and genuine as I can. I am still figuring out EXACTLY what that is going to mean content-wise around here, but I am hoping I can figure that out as I go. 

Thank you to all of you who have been on this journey with me so far (whether for the entire last 4+ years or just for this post!), and I am very excited to see where I go from here. As much as I love the ocean, I am ready to get my feet back on dry land and live my life. 

Thanks!

Stephanie

 

Plan with Me: May {Bullet Journal}

Hello and HAPPY Wednesday! For some reason I am in a super mood this morning! Don’t you love it when you just wake up and feel ready to be productive? It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I just run with it!

I also got back into the gym this morning after a finals hiatus (although let me tell you – I would have much rather been at the gym than feeling like my brain was going to explode), and so those post-gym endorphins are definitely working their magic. 

Let’s do this thing!

Plan with Me May

Since a lot of you seemed to be interested in my bullet journaling process, I thought I’d share my May planning with you today. If you all want to hear more about other things that I do in my bullet journal, like daily planning, organization, and “collections” (aka topics or lists in my bullet journal) let me know. I LOVE talking about planning, so if you guys are interested I would definitely love to share more!

Anyway, I know that some people in the bullet journal world really go crazy with their monthly spreads. And maybe someday I will get to that point, but right now, I just like to keep it pretty simple. So when it comes to my monthly planning, I have 3 main spreads. 

Monthly Calendar

Bullet Journal Monthly Spread

I use my monthly calendar to list out most of the major events that we have going on in the month. I am a very visual person, so this also allows me to see what weeks are particularly busy for us, and which weeks are pretty open. I also color code to help me keep track of who is doing what – so I don’t miss anything!

This is probably the most traditional part of my bullet journal compared to a normal planner. 

Habits Tracker

Bullet Journal Habits Tracker

Again, because I am a visual person, I like to follow trends in my habits. I don’t usually have a ton of habits that I am working on or am interested in looking at, but I always have space to add in more as a go. But this tracker allows me to get a better picture of my patterns of behavior, and helps me turn things into daily habits! Usually once they are consistent habits, I take them off the tracker. 

Monthly Goals

Bullet Journal Monthly Goals

I know it seems super cliche, but I just love listing out my goals each month. Something about writing them down does help make me feel much more accountable to them. Am I the only one who does this?

And that’s all that I include in my monthly spreads. I tend to list a lot more things out in my daily spreads and collections, because that system of organizing just makes a lot more sense in my brain. So again, let me know if you want to see more about those kinds of spreads!

Well that’s it for today. I’m going to go ride this productivity wave and try to get some work done this morning. Then we have something VERY exciting coming up this afternoon that I am hopefully going to be able to share with you all on Friday!!

How is that for a teaser? :)

So tell me: All you bullet journalers out there – what else do you include in your monthly planning? Non-BJers – what do you love about your planner?

 

Because I get asked this frequently – here are the details on the Bullet Journal Products that I love (Affiliate Links, FYI):

Journal: Leuchtturm Medium Hardcover Dots

Black Pens: Sanford Sharpie Fine Point Pen

Colored Pens: Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 0.3 mm Porous Point Pen 334

Baby Colton – 11 Months

Well hello there, long time no talk! Unfortunately the end of the semester truly got the best of me, and I had to put a few things (like blogging) on the back burner while I finished up 1,000 different papers and exams. But as of 5pm today I am officially done with my first year of graduate school! WOOOO!!!

1 down, 5+ more to go. Yikes. 

Anyway, I have a lot of fun posts planned for the next couple of weeks now that I am finally going to be able to devote some time to blogging again, so stay tuned for those! And thank you very much for hanging with me during this crazy semester. I know that my blogging hasn’t been nearly as consistent as in the past, but I appreciate your understanding. Sometimes other things just have to come first. 

But today I’m back to share with you Colton’s 11 month update! AHHH!! This is actually the last one before we hit the big ONE! Blows my mind, I tell you. Blows. My. Mind. 

11 Months old

Weight: I am not sure of his exact stats, but based on our super scientific measurement of holding him while standing on the scale, I’d say he weighs about 20-21lbs right now. 

Eating: Since we are getting close to the 1 year mark, we’re just starting the weaning process. At his daycare, once you his 1 you are no longer allowed to have bottles or have food brought in for you (they eat off of an awesome menu instead), so we are practicing eating primarily solid foods. Right now he eats 3 meals and 1-2 snacks a day, and gets breastmilk 4-5x a day. He eats pretty much anything that is put in front of him, although he gets annoyed at things that are difficult for him to pick up (like spaghetti). Otherwise, he pretty much eats like a teenage boy. 

Sleeping: We are super blessed to have an amazing night sleeper. Most nights we get a solid 11-12 hours of sleep out of him, and we even bumped his bedtime earlier lately because he has been showing signs in the evening of being tired. That being said, he is NOT a fan of napping. Because several of the kids in his class have already transitioned to just 1 nap, he has started to do that too, but often only ends up sleeping for about 1-1.5 hours. Thus the need for an earlier bedtime!

11 months old

Mood: Most of the time he is a happy, giggly boy. He laughs hysterically when being tickled, and loves to talk with anyone and everyone around. He has also started to make this super cheesy-grin face that cracks me up every time. However, Mr. Drama King has definitely made an appearance this month too, and when you take something away or tell him “no” he’ll dramatically flop himself onto the floor. Oh, I can’t wait for those terrible twos!

Clothes: We have a never ending dilemma about clothes. He is long enough to be in 12 month clothes, but because he is so skinny (and has NO butt or leg rolls), he literally crawls right out of his pants. I am just waiting for shorts season so he doesnt look so ridiculous with highwater pants (that at least stay on his waist!)

Likes: Talking, being tickled, being flipped upside down, being chased down the hallway, eating food, big sister Laney, and his favorite blue circle.

Dislikes: When the sun is in his eyes, when you take something away from him, when he is contained (like in a carseat or high chair), taking naps. 

Nicknames: Bubs, Booger, Boogs, snuggleboogs

11 months old

I am: a little stressed about his transition to the next classroom. I’ve talked before about how solid foods has caused me a lot of anxiety, and getting ready to go through ALL of these changes at once (eating off the menu, no bottles, drinking out of an open cup, weaning, 1 nap, etc) is causing me a lot of stress. But I am trying to tell myself that everything is going to be just fine!

C is: an expert at making Colton laugh! He loves to throw Colton up in the air and flip him all around, which makes Colton giggle hysterically. Those two are going to be trouble…

11 months old

This has been a really busy month for us! This month Colton:

  • Visited family
  • Went to a Braves game and met some blog friends
  • Can stand on his own and is getting SO close to taking his first steps
  • Celebrated dad’s birthday
  • Went on his first run in his jogging stroller with mom
  • Attended a wedding in Charlotte, NC

April has been a really crazy month for our family, with the end of the semester, buying a house, and dealing with a lot of sad situations and stress. But thankfully Colton has been such a champ through it all. 

I feel like I say this every month, but this month especially his personality has really begun to shine. He is always talking and smiling, but he has learned the meaning of no (not that he always listens) and will get quite dramatic if you take something away from him. Every time we go somewhere, he is always flirting with everyone around him. He is definitely going to be a trouble maker when he gets older!

Because he has been SO active this month – crawling everywhere, climbing on everything, standing up, and wanting to walk – it has become a lot more difficult this month to take him out to restaurants or anywhere that he is going to be contained. We always joke about just how busy he always is, because he literally cannot sit still to save his life. Sounds a lot like me!

While he got his busyness from me, he also got his dad’s sweet nature. He loves to come up and give you hugs, and will literally just crawl over and lay his head on your knee for a moment before going back to what he was doing. Every time I pick him up from daycare too, the first thing he does when I pick him up is give me a big hug. There is seriously nothing sweeter than baby hugs!

I can hardly believe that this is the LAST MONTH before I officially have a toddler. I don’t know where the time has gone! We have orientation for the toddler class at daycare this week and my brain just can’t fully wrap around this idea! Everyone told me that time would fly with a baby, and you feel like every time you blink they get bigger and that is so incredibly true. 

I am so excited to see what this last month of babyhood is going to bring. Let the tears begin now!

 

 


 

What’s in my Pumping Bag {What to bring to pump at work}

When I had Colton, I was one of the first of my friends to join the new mama club. While I did have some people I could ask for advice, being the super type-A “research everything to death” kind of person that I am, I typically turned to the internet for all of my new parent suggestions: How much should they be eating, what are the best ways to clear up a cold in a baby, what if my baby despises the swaddle… you get the idea. 

So when I was ready to go back to work (or school in my case) when Colton was 12 weeks old, I was a bit overwhelmed by the giant list of stuff that I might need to bring with me to drop of with Colton at daycare or to pump at work. Naturally I turned to the internet, but I didn’t have as much luck as I would have liked in terms of a list of things to bring (and why). 

Since having Colton, I’ve had lots of people (both other new moms and coworkers who see me toting around my giant gym bag everyday) ask me what kinds of stuff I bring with me in order to pump at work. So I thought that today I’d take a little bit of time to share what has worked for me. 

However I do think it is important to note to all new mamas out there that, just like everything else in parenting  (as I’ve learned), take all advice with a grain of salt and find what works for you. These are just my suggestions based on the routine that I’ve gotten into over the past 8 months of pumping at work. 

1. Your pump & all the gadgets that come with it

What to bring to work to pump

This seems like a duh – but I’m not going to lie, it took me a little while to get in the routine of throwing everything into my bag. I’m pretty sure the first week of pumping at work, I forgot at least 1 part each day. If possible, try and get things put together as much as you can the night before to avoid the sleep-deprived grab for everything and possibly forgetting a vital piece (and then being uncomfortable the rest of the day – been there!)

2. An extra manual pump, just in case!

After that first week where I was prone to forget things and be pretty miserable the rest of the day, I ended up purchasing an extra manual pump off of Amazon (I got the Medela Harmony Manual pump – it was cheap and got the job done!) to keep in my bag. And let me tell you – this was a LIFESAVER on days when I would randomly forget a piece to my pump. I wasn’t sure that I would actually get a lot of use out of it, but it really has saved my butt on several occasions!

3. Something to clean your pump

Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump and Accessory Wipes, 24 Count

This is especially important if you’re going to be pumping more than once at work, because pumping pieces that aren’t cleaned well can get gross super quickly. Trust me on this one – I forgot my cleaning supplies once, and even though I thought I cleaned them out well in the sink, we were a no go later on that day. 

I personally like the Medela Quick Clean accessory wipes because they are easy to throw into my bag, but I have also heard really good things about the Medela microsteam bags if you have easy access to a microwave at your office. 

I also like to keep a small thing of soap in my bag so I can wash my pumping stuff in the sink. While I am sure that the soap at the office would probably be fine, for some reason I just feel a lot more comfortable with bringing my own soap so that I know I’m not leaving some weird, cheap bathroom soap residue in my pumping parts. Maybe that’s just me being weird. But since I’m now only pumping 1 time at work, I typically am washing everything that way, and having my soap just makes me feel better!

4. Something to clean yourself

After a couple of days of using paper towels or tissues to make sure I cleaned off before getting re-dressed, I decided that I needed something a little more, er, gentle to handle that situation. So I started bringing an extra burp cloth with me in my bag, and it made everything SO much more comfortable. Especially if you’re doing this multiple times a day, having something soft to clean up with makes a world of difference (or at least it did for me). 

5. Something to distract you

Things to bring to pump at work

Now I know that pumping is completely different for every mama, so when it comes to this part it is especially important to figure out what is going to work best for you. 

For me, if I am focusing too hard on pumping or am feeling stressed, it just isn’t going to happen. I would love to be able to spend my pumping time working on homework or reading for class, but I learned after just a few days that while this was great for my workload, it was not so great for my milk production. So instead, I take the 20-30 minutes of pumping time as a way to decompress and just have some me time. I typically watch Netflix or YouTube videos, read blogs, chat with a friend on the phone, or scroll through social media. By not focusing on pumping, my body is able to relax and do what it needs to do. 

 

There is nothing mind-blowing about my bag of pumping items, but after 8 months of practice, these are the things that I throw in my bag every single morning before I leave for work. I’ve pretty much gotten it down to a routine at this point, and the whole idea of pumping at works seems a lot less scary than it used to. 

As I said, I really think it’s all about figuring out what is going to work for you! 

So tell me: Other pumping mamas – any tips or suggestions on what you keep with you in your pumping bag? 

 

This post contains some affiliate links. However I paid for all products myself, and all opinions are my own. 

Checking In

Sorry that I disappeared after such a somber post last week!

In truth, this past week has just been a really hard one for me. Between my friend’s passing, the 9th anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting on Saturday, and the typical end of the semester stress, I haven’t had much positive to say lately. So I decided that it would probably be a better idea to step away from this space while I took some time to grieve and process everything. While I try to keep things real around here (the good and the rough), I also don’t want this blog to turn into a depressing place to visit!  

Thankfully spending this weekend with the Hokie alumni association was really therapeutic. Hanging out at a brewery for a few hours with some Hokie friends didn’t hurt either…

Chris, Colton and I joined up with probably 50+ fellow Atlanta Hokies and did a 3.2 for 32 walk/run. Thankfully it was a beautiful day outside, so it felt amazing to spend an hour walking around in the sunshine. Colton loved riding around in his BOB all morning, but was not a fan when we put him in the grass to play afterwards. Talk about dramatic – you would have thought we ruined his life by sitting him in the grass! Clearly we need to get used to this whole “nature” thing. 

3.2 for 32 Atlanta Hokies

Even though it was a pretty hard day (and week, in face) emotionally, it was really great to be able to spend it with good friends and fellow Hokies. 

But now I’m back, and in a much better place! In fact, I’m almost feeling really encouraged and raring to get started on some exciting things that I have planned over the next few months! Now that this semester is almost over, I am looking forward to a relaxing summer full of house projects, traveling, and some big blog things! 

I’ll just ask you to bear with me over the next week or so as I get through final exams and the giant list of papers that I have to write. I’m hoping to still blog consistently through it, but I make no promises. 

But stay tuned for some exciting things around the corner. Changes are coming! And I am super pumped about it!

So tell me: What is one good thing that is happened for you this week? Share a positive thought!

Leaving a lasting impact

I had originally planned on something about completely different, but I firmly believe that God sometimes puts something on our hearts to share and we just have to go with it. So that is what I’m going to do today. 

Yesterday a friend of mine from undergrad passed away from terminal cancer. It was a recent diagnosis, from late February in fact, and he was only given a few weeks to live. As was so characteristic of him, he didn’t let anyone know until about 2 weeks ago, because he didn’t want anyone to worry about it. That was just like Chris – always putting other people before himself. 

Chris was one of the first people I met when I started college at Virginia Tech. He was a senior when I was a freshman, and was my rank captain in the Marching Virginians. The first day of band camp, he took this nervous, overwhelmed freshman under his wing, and was there for me all season long. He always provided a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on, and was always so good at making sure these scared baby freshman felt comfortable their first few weeks in the new world of college. 

After 1 year, Chris graduated, moved away, and got married. And to be honest, we’ve only interacted a handful of times since then. 

But after hearing of his passing last night, it really hit me hard. As I sat crying on the couch, (my) Chris came over to hold my hand and said “I didn’t even realize you guys were that close.” And truth be told, we weren’t. However, the brief impression he made on my life, and the loss that I felt when I found out that he had left this world, were huge. And as my Facebook exploded with an outpouring of status updates and pictures of Chris, I was struck by just how many other people he touched (even if just briefly) with his kind hard and gentle nature. 

So today, instead of talking about food or fitness or even baby things, I wanted to take a moment to remind you that sometimes even the smallest of interactions can make a lasting impact. 

I’m sure Chris never knew just how much he impacted my life in those first few weeks at Virginia Tech. I’m sure he never knew that in my head I’ve always associated him with kindness and support, or that he is an integral part of my memories from my first few weeks of college. I’m also sure that he never knew that I looked up to him like a big brother.

But I did. 

I’m sure he never realized just how many people he impacted just by being a kind person to others. But the outpouring of stories and heartbroken messages says that he touched so many. 

So I guess the point of this rambling, emotional post is that you never really know who you are going to have a lasting impact on. You’ll never know if your brief interaction, or moment of support, or kind words to someone else are going to be imprinted in their memory 10 years later. If you’re friendship is going to be intertwined with someone’s memory of a period in their life. If someone will always associate the thought of you with kindness and support. 

But we should all strive to be like Chris. Be kind to others, lend a helping hand, take someone under your wing. Even just offer someone you’ve never met a smile and a “how are you today?” 

Because you never know what kind of impact you’re going to have. 

Rest in peace, my dear friend. 

MV Horns circa 2005.