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. 

5 Tips to Finding Balance as a Working New Mom

This past summer was a huge time of change for us: We had a baby (who is getting close to turning 1 – eek!), moved 10+ hours away from family and friends, and I quit my job to start my PhD. It was definitely not what I had originally pictured in my mind as to what life would look like once we had a new baby. 

Now that I’m nearly a year into my graduate program and Colton has gotten more a little bit older, I’m constantly getting asked how I manage to balance being a full-time student (with hours that are definitely not 9-5), being a new mom, being a wife, and maintaining some kind of social life. 

And the truth is, sometime I suck at it. See Wednesday’s complete lack of a blog post as an example – we’re getting close to the end of the semester and I have 4 papers to write in the next week, Colton had a crappy night of sleep, and even though I skipped the gym I still didn’t manage to get up the blog post I’d had planned. Sometimes I am really terrible at finding balance, and it is all I can do just to keep my head above water. While I may look like I have it all together, sometimes I’m just completely faking it and hoping people don’t notice. 

That being said, over the past year I have actually learned several important ways to balance everything that I have going on so that I can be the best student/mom/wife/friend possible and still keep my sanity. And sleep (sometimes). 

5 Tips to Finding Balance as a New Mom

So I thought today I’d share with you some of the tips that I’ve learned in order to get everything done as a busy, working mom, because I am sure some of you can relate. And other moms out there – please jump in with any tips that you have! I am always looking for more ideas!

1. All the lists

 

I’ve talked a few times already about my love of my Bullet Journal, but I’m going to sing its praises again. Mommy brain has hit me really hard since having Colton, and the fact that I’m constantly running from one class/meeting/activity/project to another doesnt really help. But since I learned about Bullet Journals I have jumped headfirst into making lists like crazy. 

bullet journal daily spread

Not only do I make to-do lists for things I need to get done, I also have lists for my school work, and lists for home projects I need to complete. Goodness, I even make lists of the foods Colton has tried and what foods we should try next. I am a list making machine! 

But not only are these lists a great way for me to keep organized and make sure I dont forget things I need to do, they are also just a great way to get all of the thoughts that are constantly swirling around my head out on to paper. It is such a relief just to be able to get all these thoughts and ideas out on paper and it keeps my brain from being on constant overdrive. 

2. Schedule family time

I know that this might seem silly to do, but if you’re like me and always have 100 things on your to-do list (see above about my obsession with lists), sometimes it can be easy to let those things take over all of your free time. For me at least, I often feel guilty if I just sit down on the couch to relax because I know I have so many other things I could be doing. 

9 months old

So I have made it a point to schedule family time into my day, the same way I’d schedule a meeting. That way I know that every single day from the time I pick Colton up from daycare until the time he goes to bed, that is family time. I don’t touch my school work, I don’t tackle big chores that are going to require my full attention, I just spend time with Colton and Chris. And because I’ve already planned it into my day, I don’t feel guilty for focusing on my family instead of all the other things that I need to do. 

3. Learn to love the prep

Since having a baby, my mornings have gotten significantly more complicated. Gone are the days when I can scramble around and get out the door in 15 minutes if I accidentally oversleep. Now our morning routines take about 1.5 hours to get me ready, pump, get the baby fed, get all of our meals/bottles packed, and get everyone dressed and presentable. It’s a process. 

So I’ve learned to prep as much as possible the night before. I pack up all of Colton’s meals into containers, get his bottles prepped, and even make my lunch if that is possible, so that they are in the fridge and ready to be tossed into the bag first thing in the morning. Since I make a lot of Colton’s food, I also try to make food in larger batches so that I can just cut it or puree it up and have multiple meals prepped at the same time. 

Baby food prep

It may only shave off 10 minutes from our morning routine, but that is 10 extra minutes of sleep! 

4. Fit in things you love

This has been one of the hardest things for me, because I always feel like I need to be doing something productive. Most days I just have a really hard time plopping myself down on the couch and not doing anything. And I’m not going to lie, when school first started I was really bad about finding time for the things that I really enjoyed and got a little bit down about it. I was frustrated by the fact that I no longer had time to watch any TV shows I enjoyed or read any fun books – I just always felt like I had to be productive in order to be a good student/mom/wife. 

Since I cannot change that aspect of my personality and forcing myself to slow down is often difficult, I’ve learned to embrace this character trait and use it to my advantage: I’ve gotten really good at multitasking while I am doing things that don’t require 100% focus. For example, when I’m putting on my makeup in the morning, I usually have a TV show going on my kindle so that I can watch/listen for 10 minutes. While I’m pumping, I will typically use that time to watch a bit of TV or read some blog posts. Heck, I have even been known to take my kindle with me into the shower (in a ziplock bag, of course) and prop it up on the towel bar so that I can watch or listen to something while I shower. 

While I know that this technique may not work for everyone, and some people much prefer to just schedule time to veg out, it has been such a lifesaver for me to be able to not only get to enjoy some things that I love, but to not feel guilty every time I take time for myself. 

5. Know that no one has it all together all of the time

Social media can be both amazingly helpful and seriously toxic as a new mom. On the one hand, it can be so great to share stories and ideas with other moms, and even relate when other moms share something that you are also going through. But at the same time, it can also be incredibly difficult not to compare yourself to other moms who seem to be doing 100 things amazingly well, and still manage to look flawless while doing it. 

The reality is, social media for most people is a highlight reel. You see their best moments. What you don’t see are the nights when their kiddo wakes up 3x at night because of a thunderstorm, or when their toddler has a total meltdown in Target, or when they are holding back tears in the shower because their day has just been overwhelming (definitely been there). 

Jawbone UP3 Sleep Tracker

So when you see a post about a mom who has a Pinterest-worthy life and has just baked a batch of homemade cookies and you want to strangle her through the phone, just remember that no mom has it all together all of the time. We’re all just trying to keep our heads above the water and do the best we can. And that is all that you really can do – give it your best and know that no one is perfect!

 

So to all of my fellow moms out there – hang in there! We’re all in this together, striving to find balance in our new roles. And probably still failing half the time. 

We’ve got this!

So tell me: Any tips on how you find balance in your life, mama or not? How do you manage a busy schedule without totally pulling your hair out?

Baby Colton – 10 Months

10 months. 10 MONTHS?? I feel weird even saying it! Somehow 10 months seems so much older than 9 months. Like, he has officially been out in the world longer than he was in, and we are super close to official toddler status. 

My baby isn’t much of a baby anymore! 

In fact, he’s pretty much Mr. Personality at this point.Don’t let that sweet little grin fool you – he can come up and snuggle you one second, and then sit down and go straight for the dog’s water bowl as soon as you turn your head! And he’ll look at you the whole time he is doing it, the little stinker!

10 Months Old

Now that we are 10 months (still feels weird to say!), here are some of his stats for the past month:

Stats: Not  sure exactly, but I’m thinking we’re getting close to the 20lb mark. Somewhere around 19lbs or so.

Eating: We’re still doing a mix of breastfeeding (both actual nursing and from a bottle) and solid foods. He still eats like a teenage boy – downs everything in front of him but doesn’t gain any weight! We are currently working on starting the switch from chunky purees to table foods since once he turns 1 he has to eat from the daycare menu. So we wanted to start that transition with plenty of time to get adjusted to all solid foods.

Sleeping: Overall this was a pretty decent month of sleep. He has had a few random rough nights here and there, but for the most part I definitely cannot complain because he usually sleeps anywhere from 10-12 hours straight at night. We have found that keeping multiple pacifiers in his crib at night helps with any random middle-of-the-night wake ups – he is able to find a paci and put himself back to sleep. Naps are still pretty short during the day though: typically 2 naps about 45 minutes each. 

10 Months Old

Mood: Man did he develop a personality this month! Most of the time he is super happy and loves to flirt with everyone. Although he did develop a little bit of shyness and stranger anxiety this month, and definitely prefers to stay close to mom or dad when in a new situation. But when he is mad, boy will he let you know it! He’ll throw his head back and WAIL. So dramatic!

Clothes: We’re pushing it in the 9 month PJs, but I’m trying to hold out the weather gets a touch warmer so he can wear his lighter fabric 9-12mo jammies. Otherwise he is in all 6-9mo clothes and still doesn’t really fill them out. In fact, we have to be super careful with his pants because half of them he can crawl right out of thanks to his skinny little torso!

Likes: Chatting up a storm, watching Laney, being flipped upside down, playing “where is Colton?”, anything with strings, the blue circle from his shapes toy set, mimicking what other people are doing/saying, eating, and touching people’s teeth (no joke).

Dislikes: When he gets overly tired, when no one is paying attention to him (and he thinks they should be), when you take something away from him, and when mommy leaves the room.

10 Months Old

His new thing is clicking his tongue at you. So weird!

Nicknames: Bubs, Buddy/Buds, Stinky butt, Snugglebubs, Booger, Boogs.

I am: Feeling a little bit stressed this month. A LOT has been going on in our little world – lots of traveling, the end of a very busy semester, house hunting, getting ready to move, and dealing with a lot of infant-to-toddler transitions (like solid foods). I have definitely been a lot more on edge lately! But I am also loving seeing all of the learning and growing that he is doing. I swear he learns something new every day!

C is: trying to keep everyone calm, even in midst of all of this craziness! He is definitely my rock and does a great job of reminding me to just relax. He and Colton are already best buds and I can’t wait to see them continue to grow together.

10 Months Old

This month Colton:

  • Traveled back to Virginia (a 12 hour car ride) for spring break and visited LOTS of friends and family
  • Became an expert at climbing over obstacles, pulling up to stand and squatting down to pick things up, and cruising along furniture. 
  • Has tried a TON of new foods and become an expert at finger foods
  • Visited the zoo, the petting zoo, and the Coca-cola museum

As I mentioned earlier, he has really developed a personality this month which just makes him seem so much older than his baby-self! He loves most things, but boy will he let you know it when he is not happy! He loves to be the center of attention, and has started making high pitched squeals or blowing loud raspberries in restaurants if he feels like you are not paying attention to him. He has also mastered the fake cough, and immediately looks around for someone to comment, and will laugh or clap if other people around him are laughing. 

He is also a little parrot. Our favorite game in the car right now is for me to say something like “mamama” and then he’ll copy it. He will at least attempt to copy most sounds you make, so I’m thinking that it wont be long now until we get some real words. He can say “bye-bye” and wave when people leave, but usually needs some prompting so I don’t think it counts as an official word yet. 

He is also Mr. Busy. On our drive to VA we hoped to be able to use my kindle full of baby videos to distract him if we got close to full meltdown mode. However, we basically made it through the themesong to VeggieTales before he was over the videos. He is just not in to sitting still and watching TV – he would much rather be on the move and in to everything. He loves to play with toys, flip them over, and open/close anything possible. As daycare always tells us, he plays hard and then typically crashes (sometimes on the playmat) hard. 

10 Months Old

My favorite thing though is that even though he is always super busy and you have to watch him constantly because he gets in to EVERYTHING, is that he is also the sweetest little snuggly guy. Sometimes in the middle of playing he’ll just crawl over to me, rest his head on my leg for a minute, and then go back to playing. Those kind of things just melt my heart every. single. time. 

This has been a super busy month for us, between traveling, hosting visitors, and house hunting, and he has been an absolute trooper through it all. I cannot wait to see what the next month brings, and I’m also in total denial that we are quickly approaching the 1 year mark. Where has my little baby gone??

Have a great Monday!

New Mom Anxiety {Confessions of a new mom}

Real confessions of a new mom

Can I make a confession here? I feel like as Colton gets older, I’m actually beginning to feel MORE anxiety as a parent than I did when he was an infant.

Now don’t get me wrong, those first few weeks of his life were super anxiety inducing. I’m pretty sure I lived in a constant state of “WHAT DO I DO???”. But thankfully after a few weeks we managed to figure out the routine of eating, sleeping, and diaper changes and my stress level went back down to a more manageable level.

And over the last 10 months, we have had our mix of anxiety ups and downs. Most days we’re in a pretty normal routine, and then every once and awhile a curveball (hello, teething!) will get thrown at us and once again I typically have a moment of “WHAT DO I DO?” Before googling something to death and figuring out what works for Colton. It is a cycle I’ve gotten pretty used to and for the most part take these new stressors in stride. 

But as he is now 10 months, I’ve found that there are some things that are causing me a lot more stress and anxiety than they probably should. Highest on that list: feeding solid foods.

8 months old solid food

I don’t know why this whole feeding thing has become this giant ball of stress for me, but it has. I absolutely LOVE making Colton’s baby food (#foodieproblems), but I also feel like I’m constantly worrying “is he eating enough/too much? Am I giving him enough finger foods? Is this food ok to give him? Are his meals balanced enough?” Etc etc etc.
It also doesn’t help that he is in daycare with 4 other little ones who are all born right around the same time. So I get to see on their daily check in sheets what they are eating, and how much, and I can’t help comparing my meal plans to theirs. Enter: Anxiety.

I know, I know, this anxiety is completely ridiculous. Millions of women all over the world figure out how to feed their children just fine – why am I so stressed about it? Chris reminds me of this fact all the time. But I just can’t keep myself from getting overly anxious about his meal plans and googling my little heart out to figure out the “right” meal plan for him. Like there is such a thing. 

I think maybe some of it comes from the fact that as a new mom (and maybe just as a mom in general – I’m still new at this!), we somehow seem to take on the “success” of our children as a measurement of our own success. Like, ‘if my child is eating well/sleeping well/smiley/well behaved/etc, I must be doing something right’. Combine that with the “supermom” complex that we should be able to do everything perfectly all the time and you just have a recipe for disaster. 

Feeding solid foods - 9 months

So I don’t really have a solution to this problem, and I’ll admit that more often than not I let the anxiety get the best of me. But I am trying to be more aware when the feelings pop up, and allow myself to recognize the stress and try to think about things logically instead of getting on edge. I have also researched my little heart out on meal plans and feeding schedules, because knowing that there is variety out there makes me feel a lot better. 

I know that this post was just kind of a jumbled mess of thoughts, but I was thinking that maybe some of you other new moms out there can relate, whether it’s with stress over feeding, or sleep, or just other “new baby/new mom” kind of issues, and I want you to know that you’re not alone. Being a new mom is a big adjustment for anyone, and probably especially for us type-A control freaks, since goodness knows infants are quite unpredictable. It has been a great life lesson for me, but that doesnt mean it isn’t difficult. 

So if you are experiencing some anxiety as a new mom, and feeling like if your child isn’t the perfect eater/sleeper/etc that you’re doing a terrible job, take hope. You’re not alone and you ARE doing a good job. And sometimes you just need to remind yourself of that. Or at least I know I do. 

Thanks for hanging with me for this random mommy-stress brain dump, and I hope you all have a GREAT weekend!

So tell me: Any other mamas out there dealing with anxiety and stress? Any meal plan/feeding tips for starting solid foods – I could use any advice I can get!

My Current Fitness Routine

You may have noticed that the fitness talk has been a little on the sparce side around here lately. Or at least it feels that way compared to pre-pregnancy. 

It’s not because I haven’t been working out. It’s more because my workout plan has been a bit all over the place in the past few months, and I wasn’t really sure how to share my roller coaster of a workout schedule!

But I feel like I’ve FINALLY gotten to a place where I have somewhat of a normal routine (not to be confused with a somewhat normal life – I’m still far from that point!) and I thought it would be fun to share it with you all. It’s nothing crazy or super exciting, but I know that I always appreciate glimpses into real, non-fitness-professional, busy mom’s schedules and how they manage to fit in fitness, and I hope you do too. 

postpartum fitness

It took me a little while to figure out a schedule that was going to work with my weird school schedule. Since I don’t have a normal 9-5, I had a hard time figuring out how to carve out consistent workout times since my schedule is anything but consistent.

Of course my type-A, overachieving personality made me determined to get to the gym 5+ days a week like I was pre-pregnancy (and pre-grad school) but I quickly realized that this just wasn’t going to work for me. I tried it for a few weeks and found that every time I was at the gym, I was feeling guilty that I was putting school work/research/meetings/etc on the back burner, and every time I skipped the gym to get work done I felt guilty for sitting on my butt in front of a computer. Not a healthy system. 

So I decided that working out 3 days a week was a good balance for me, and I aim to get in plenty of steps or walks on those off days to at least be active. And if I have extra time during the week or a lighter work load, I always try to add in an extra cardio workout when I can. Is it as much as I would like to get to the gym? No. But is it the balance that I had to make given my schedule and my obligations? Yes, and I am ok with that. It’s all about balance!

IMG_0564

Given that I only have 3 days a week, I have really been trying to get the most out of my workouts. I have found that the best balance for me includes about 1/3 cardio and 2/3 strength training, and trying to make my strength training as active as I can to get some cardiovascular benefits too. So this includes things like HIIT workouts, plyometrics, and moves that work multiple muscle groups at a time. 

I have also been really trying to mix up my strength workouts so that I’m working out all areas of my body during the week. I’ve mentioned before that I typically HATE working my upper body (because it’s my weakest area), but I’ve really tried to make that a focus lately to build up strength and hopefully make me hate it less. 

postpartum fitness

So during a typical week, this is my tentative workout plan:

Monday: 20 minutes interval cardio + 20-30 minutes arms + 10 minutes core

(Optional Tuesday): 45 minutes cardio

Wednesday 20 minutes interval cardio + 20-30 minutes legs + 10 minutes core

Friday: 20 minutes interval cardio + 30-40 minutes whole body

 

As I said, it’s nothing crazy and not super intense, but for me it is what works given my schedule and my free time. I almost always go first thing after dropping Colton off at daycare so that I can make sure to get my workout in and then be able to go focus on work, because if I go to my office first I’m less likely to be able to step away from work to go to the gym. 

Now, classes end for the semester at the end of April and I’ll have 3 whole months of summer vacation. I have a lot of plans for how I’m going to use that free time to change up and intensify my workouts, but I might save that for a whole other post once May gets a little closer. 

But for now, this is what works for me as a busy, grad student mom!

So tell me: How do you schedule out your workouts? Do you have a specific plan for the week or do you just wing it as you go?

 

Coca-Cola and Easter Bunnies

 

Happy Monday!

I’m not going to lie, I am kind of happy that it is Monday. These last two weeks have been a bit crazy, between traveling for my spring break back up to Virginia, coming back early to house hunt, and having family come into town this week,  so I’m kind of looking forward to getting back to my normal routine. As crazy as my regular schedule is, at least it is “normal”. Anyone else like that after a few crazy weeks?

Whenever we have family in town, I always feel like the weekend just gets jam packed with stuff. And this weekend was definitely no exception. 

Friday

Since my mom and her husband were in town, I had the opportunity to use them as babysitters and get a few things done in the morning. First, I went to a new mom’s small group that my church recently started. I don’t have a lot of mom friends here, so it was nice to meet some other young moms. Meeting other mom-friends has been a lot more difficult than I expected!

I also had a paper due by 3pm, so I decided to take advantage of the baby-free time and get some work done at Starbucks. I don’t know what it is about coffee shops that make me so productive, but I just zoomed through my work. Now if only the coffee wasn’t so darn expensive, I’d park myself at Starbucks all the time!

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The rest of Friday was pretty chill – we braved some bad Atlanta traffic to go visit a house that MAY be the one (after 3 failed offers, I am not counting my chickens before they hatch this time!), and stopped by a local burger joint for dinner on the way home.

Saturday

Unfortunately we had pretty dreary weather here this weekend, so we had to get a little creative to find things to do that didn’t leave us stranded outside for a random rain storm. Considering my mom’s husband has a strong love of all things Coke , we decided the World of Coca-Cola might be a fun activity.

World of Coca-Cola

Sadly I didn’t get too many pictures because I typically had my hands full pushing the baby around, but it is definitely a cool museum if you are ever in Atlanta. I may not really be a soda person, but Coke has a lot of interesting history and the museum really does a good job of displaying a lot of old machines, paraphernalia, and multi-media from throughout history.

World of Coca-Cola

There is also a tasting room where you can try Coke products from all over the country. It is actually pretty interesting to see just how different the flavors and tastes are from around the world. For example, Asia seems to love their fruity carbonated drink. So weird! You also get to leave with a real glass bottle of Coke, which are fairly rare these days since they only make the glass bottles in the museum. 

Sunday

Sunday morning we were up bright (well, foggy) and early for a visit from the Easter bunny!

Sadly it is getting super difficult to get Colton to sit still for a picture, but I did manage to get a few action shots of him opening his basket full of books and cheerio-filled easter eggs!

Easter Basket

Easter Basket

He especially loved the easter eggs and was pretty much entertained a majority of the day taking them apart and banging them together. 99 cents at Target well spent!

We battled the crowds and headed out to Easter service at church before coming back to a chill day at home, complete with Easter ham and mashed potatoes for dinner. Nothing fancy, but it was fun to host a holiday meal in our tiny Atlanta apartment. Hopefully next time we’ll have a real house to host gatherings in!

All-in-all it was a pretty good weekend, but I am definitely looking forward to getting back to my normal routine this week. Even if that normal routine is super busy – at least it’s my normal!

So from our family to yours, Happy Easter!

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(That giant smile… I can’t handle it.)

So tell me: Does your family have any Easter dinner traditions? What kinds of things do you like to get (or put) in Easter baskets?

5 Things I’ve learned about postpartum fitness

Hi guys! Today I thought I’d pop in to talk about something that I’ve been a little quiet about lately – fitness! Postpartum fitness, to be exact. 

As I talked about in my 9 month postpartum update, postpartum fitness has been much more of a rollercoaster than I ever anticipated. Naive new mom alert. I just kind of assumed that after I had Colton, I would be super excited to jump right back in to working out and would be able to be back to my pre-pregnancy level of fitness pretty quickly. 

Well, that didn’t happen. A) Because I was just trying to survive with a new baby and fitness ended up being low on my priority list (as compared to sleeping and eating), and B) It was a much slower, harder journey back than I ever anticipated. 

5 Things I've learned about Postpartum Fitness

You can read all of the specifics about my postpartum fitness journey in this post, but today I thought I would share 5 things that I’ve learned about postpartum fitness. While I think these could really apply to anyone, I think they are particularly relevant to any other moms or future moms out there who are stressed about their own postpartum fitness journey. Nothing ground breaking here, but you’d be amazed the kinds of things that you don’t think about when you’re sleep deprived!

So here we go, 5 Things I’ve learned about postpartum fitness:

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Yes, this seems like a “duh”. However, I was amazed not only at how thirsty I was all the time, but also how terrible I was at drinking water. Especially in those early days (aka the zombie mode phase), I could barely remember to eat or drink anything, so this became a big concern once I started getting back into fitness. 

Drinking extra water is especially important if you are nursing, because you really need to hydrate properly to keep your milk supply up. So once you start back on your fitness journey, make sure you always have a water bottle nearby and drink up!

2. It’s ok to start slow

Thanks to the wonder of social media, I had this false idea that I was going to be super gung-ho to jump back into fitness and that I was going to be able to go in full force right from the beginning. Well, that was completely false. 

postpartum fitness

I was working out several days a week up until about 38 weeks of pregnancy, so I was still in pretty decent shape all considering. However, after I got back to the gym at about 7 weeks postpartum, I was amazed at just how weak I was. Now, that could have been a mix of exhaustion and spending the first 7 weeks of maternity leave cuddling a tiny human 24 hours a day, but still – I was amazed that my stamina and strength were WAY different than pre-pregnancy. And in all honesty, I was a bit disheartened!

But you have to allow yourself to start back slowly, and remember that your body just went through quite the traumatic situation. So it is OK to give yourself a chance to get back into the rhythm of things and allow your body to get comfortable in the gym again. It might be slow going, but you’ll get there!

3. You will be a hangry beast

Guys, breastfeeding hunger is no joke. It puts pregnancy hunger to shame. It is kind of ridiculous just how hungry I am all the time, especially once I started getting back to the gym and burning more calories. 

Green protein smoothie

 

I know I had a really hard time trying to figure out my new eating habits post-pregnancy. Because obviously I wanted to lose the extra baby weight, but I was also STARVING constantly and was petrified of losing my milk supply. So allow yourself those extra calories and make sure to keep your body fueled, especially once you get back to the gym. Your postpartum body is still doing a lot of extra work, so give it a little extra love (just aim to make it the healthy kind… although sometimes you just need a donut). 

4. Find supportive workout attire

So full disclosure here: I went up 2 cup sizes when I got pregnant with Colton. I didn’t even know what to do with these giant things anymore, and my medium-support sports bras just were not working for me anymore. Not only did we have a fit issue, but running or other high impact exercises were definitely a no-go. Can I get an “amen” from any other large chested girls out there? 

Anyway, I went on a hunt for some more supportive sports bras to hold in the girls and make exercising a little more comfortable. However, I am also super cheap and could just not justify the cost of shelling out $70+ for a single sports bra, which was the price point for most of the recommendations that I got from my fellow large-chested ladies.

So I went on a hunt and came out with 2 great options that I have been stockpiling. First is the La Isla High Impact Bra, which is kind of a knock off of some of the pricier Moving Comfort bras that everyone was recommending. Not only is it decently priced, but it was also super comfortable while working out and kept everything in place. I bought one and then became a believer and bought several more!

C9 Champion Sports Bra

I also got a chance to try out Target’s new line of C9 Champion Sports Bras, and ended up picking up a C9 Power Shape MAX High Support Sports Bra. I mean, come on, it has MAX High Support in the title! Thankfully my beloved Target did not disappoint and I LOVE this sports bra. It is also super affordable, comes in some cute colors, and (just as the name suggests) is super supportive. 

5. Avoid the comparison trap

The bad part about living in a social media-driven world is that sometimes I think we end up with unrealistic expectations. Often times we only see people’s highlight reels. We read messages like “I am in a bikini 2 months postpartum” or “Look at how easy it was for me” and get down on ourselves because we can’t do the same. 

But what we don’t see are the struggles that go into things. Some people have careers in fitness and NEED to be back in shape ASAP to keep their jobs (and thus are putting in hours a day with a newborn at home to achieve that goal). Some people may get their body back quickly, but what you don’t see are their struggles with breastfeeding or with their new role as a mom. Other people are just genetically blessed and bounce back quicker than others. 

The point is, everyone’s story is different. And yet it is so easy to try and compare ourselves to what everyone else is doing and feel like we aren’t doing enough. So as hard as it is, I highly encourage you to try and focus on your own journey and not compare it to anyone else’s as “better” or “worse”. There is no better or worse – all you can do is try your personal best. 

9 Months In 9 Months Out

This is my story – It took me 9 months just to get back most of the strength I had pre-pregnancy. I am still not as strong or as fast or as toned as I used to be. But I am working on it, at the speed and intensity that I can manage in my life right now. That’s all that you can ask of yourself!

 

Any of my fellow mamas – I would love to hear your tips or lessons you’ve learned from starting your postpartum fitness journey. It has been a WAY different process than I ever expected, and as a result has taught me a lot not only about fitness, but about myself. 

So tell me: What lessons have you learned from starting your postpartum (or post-injury – many of the same concepts apply) fitness journey?

 

I received a discount on the C9 Sports Bra from Target thanks to my relationship with Influenster. All opinions are my own.