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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

April 30, 2019

Hi Friends! I can’t believe Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Crazy right? I feel like it’s snuck right up on me – paired with the fact that Collins’s birthday is ON Mother’s Day this year and we are getting ready for Iceland, I’m helping run a preschool fundraiser the six days leading up to our trip and getting ready to spend this coming weekend with my Beautycounter team leaders on our yearly incentive trip. Whew!

So, I haven’t done a lot of thinking about Mother’s Day. But today I’m doing a little thinking for you so you can spoil the moms/aunts/friends in your life or make a wish list for your significant other to gift TO you. These are my favorite gift-worthy Beautycounter items that feel a little more special than, say, a face wash or face lotion.

Glow Shimmer Oil //
I LOVE this shimmer oil because it makes me feel so pretty + glamorous when I use it. I’ve been known to be totally addicted to using this during my pregnancies in particular because there is something about a shimmery body oil that makes me feel beautiful at a time when I don’t always feel beautiful. It’s also a sleeper favorite because I don’t think many people know about this product and others aren’t likely to splurge on buying it for themselves.

Lemongrass Sugar Body Scrub //
Another pregnancy favorite – but really it’s a fantastic product for any person on your gifting list. It smells amazing and works to gently exfoliate and moisturize the skin. I use it weekly!

Velvet Eyeshadow Palette //
We have this awesome nine-pan palette in three different color combos/versions but the Romantic Palette is my favorite for springtime. It’s so feminine and lovely!

Lip Gloss in Rosewood //
This shade is a bit more of a statement than one of our lighter pink shades, yet still functions as the perfect neutral. I can’t get enough!

Sheer Lipstick //
The sheer lipsticks are an absolute favorite of mine! I don’t love an intense lip color but the sheer lipsticks are like a balm meets lip color in one. Rose, Terra, Twig and Petal are regular rotation favorites of mine! (Rose pictured in the above photo)

Satin Powder Blush //
Nectar (pictured above) is, in my opinion, the most versatile shade of blush we sell, but I also love Melon, Guava and Sorbet! Extra bonus? They last FOREVER.

PS: You have until May 2 to order any of the items listed with standard shipping in order to guarantee Mother’s Day delivery!

Family

Potty Training Round 2

April 29, 2019

We are currently deep into potty training (day 5!) with Collins and I thought it was worth putting a blog post together on the topic since I’ve gotten lots of questions on Instagram about the whole process. I’m NOT an expert, but I can definitely provide you with resources from those that are experts.

Book We Read and Loved // Oh Crap! Potty Training
This book is both super easy to implement and understand AND fun to read. I didn’t think that you could really enjoy a book on potty training, but her approach to the whole thing and her no-nonsense approach is refreshing. I LOVE that there are no sticker charts or reward systems involved and it’s an intense method, but it’s been pretty darn effective for both girls.

How We Knew Collins Was Ready //
We didn’t! Honestly, I wish I could say that we had some big signs that she was ready but that’s just not the case. The book said the idea time to potty train is between 20 and 30 months. Collins is 23 months and with what we have going on this summer, baby brother’s arrival this fall and knowing that things are going to be busy this summer we thought it was better to do it sooner rather than later. I was really not keen to be potty training Collins with a newborn around this fall and a husband with a busy schedule with work + football coaching.

How is Collins Doing? //
So far so good! She has done surprisingly well for how young she is! She has only had a small handful of accidents and really seems to get the concept of going pee and poop on the potty. I often hear her playing and then she sings the Daniel Tiger potty song and runs to the potty when she needs to go. She does occasionally need to be prompted to go, and putting pants back on her has caused some increased accidents, but I’m feeling like we are really on the right track and glad that we decided to do it sooner rather than later. We are just being careful not to bite off more than we should chew – meaning no long outings and staying home as much as possible for the time being until we get the hang of things!

Our Plans for Travel to Iceland with Collins //
This was a BIG question mark for us. Would it be better to travel to Iceland with a newly potty trained toddler or wait + travel with diapers. I still don’t know if we made the right choice, but we did invest in this travel potty that a friend highly recommended. It is collapsible and comes with disposable liners so we are planning on taking it with us everywhere!

Have you night trained her? //
No! We are going to do night/sleep training separately. She still wakes up with really wet diapers in the morning so we aren’t rushing that part of the process, and the book does have instructions for doing a two step training approach for daytime potty training and night time potty training. We have been making her go potty before nap and she has woken up dry for the last three days so I am hopeful we can be fully diaper free for daytime soon.

Family

Pregnancy Fitness Guidelines + Workout Faves

April 24, 2019

First things first, I’m not a medical professional, so please consult your doctor on any workouts you plan to do while pregnant. This is my experience with this baby and this pregnancy only. ūüôā

As a miscarriage momma, I found that with both my pregnancies with Ainsley and Collins (more so Ainsley) I brought a lot of fear to my workouts. I had a lot of self-imposed rules I followed (no high impact activities, no running, obsessive about heart rate, nothing too strenuous) because I was so scared I would miscarry early on and those patterns continued into the remainder of the pregnancy. As someone who loves to sweat, it was hard for me to avoid most workouts aside from walking and very light weight training.

I’ve been thankful that for some reason, whether it’s the way I’m carrying this baby or my physical shape before getting pregnant, I’ve felt better physically doing things like running, interval-style workouts and all my usual favorites. Working out like normal has really helped me feel more normal this pregnancy, which is a gift I’m not taking for granted.

I’ve also worked hard on my mental state, to make sure that I’m approaching pregnancy fitness with a reasonable mindset – using my doctor’s guidelines rather than fears to guide what is reasonable during pregnancy. As a general rule, most of the workouts that you did before you got pregnant you can continue to do (perhaps with some modifications) while pregnant.

If you’re pregnant, and not sure where to start or how to proceed working out while pregnant, here’s a good place to start:

The old guidelines about heart rate are outdated.
Chances are you’ve heard something about heart rate and not getting your heart rate over a certain point while pregnant and exercising. Turns out, according to Mayo Clinic, that’s an outdated guideline. Your previous level of physical fitness before getting pregnant is a much more important factor. A better rule of thumb is making sure you can still carry on a conversation while doing your workouts. So if you see my running + talking to myself, that’s usually why. I’m just checking to make sure I can still speak in a full sentence.

You should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity 
aerobic activity. 
I find that wearing my Apple Watch is one of my favorite ways to keep myself accountable – pregnant or not – to my activity goals each day. Having a track record of activity (or lack thereof) is definitely an added boost to get in a walk or workout or just play actively with the girls outside when it’s been a less active day.

Some of my favorite formal ways to get in a workout during pregnancy are:

Beachbody on Demand // It’s no secret I love my BOD subscription. I love the workouts and ease of working out at home in the margins of my day. My favorite workouts are T25, 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme, Transform 20, and LIIFT 4.

The Balanced Life Sisterhood // I’m a member of my friend Robin’s The Balanced Life Sisterhood which is a platform that houses so many amazing pilates workouts. I’ve found Pilates to be a great compliment to what I’m already doing and maintaining strength + flexibility is so important while pregnant.

Running // Like I mentioned above, running didn’t sit well with me with either of my previous pregnancies but this time around it still feels good, 24 weeks in! I’m not sure if it’s the way I’m carrying this baby or what, but I’ve been thankful to continue to run (albeit much more slowly) this time around.

The benefits of pregnancy exercise are numerous.
Sometimes when I’m not feeling particularly motivated to exercise, I keep in mind the many benefits of staying active while pregnant. Those being:
-Reduces back aches, swelling, bloating and constipation
-Improved mood
-Increases energy
-Promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance (great for labor!)
-May help prevent gestational diabetes
-Improved sleep
-Makes it easier for you to get back in shape post baby

Be on the lookout for warning signs.
Some of those warning signs being:
-Bleeding/spotting
-Feeling dizzy and/or faint
-Chest pains
-Shortness of breath before exercising
-Muscle weakness
-Regular/painful contractions
-Fluid leaking from the vagina

Family

100 Unique Boy Baby Names

April 4, 2019

Hi Friends! Some of you probably saw that over on Instagram I asked for baby boy name suggestions since we are having THE hardest time settling on a name for this baby! Boy names = not our strong suit. I think we have a couple favorites we are deciding between, but many of you messaged me asking if I would share the name suggestions that came in.

I figured the best/most long lasting way to do so was over here in a blog post that can be easily referenced! If you’re struggling like we are to come up with a baby name then I hope this can be helpful to you, too!

Ace
Adler
Ames
Anders
Archer
Asher
August
Baylor
Beckett
Bennett
Benson
Blake
Brooks
Bryce
Caden
Caleb
Cash
Charlie
Coby
Cohen
Cole
Collin
Corbin
Crew
Crosby
Dalton
Dax
Dayton
Dean
Declan
Devin
Easton
Elias
Eli
Elliot
Emerson
Ethan
Everett
Ezra
Felix
Finn
Flynn
Ford
Foster
Gideon
Grady
Graham
Grant
Grayson
Griffin
Gus
Hayes
Hendrix
Holden
Hollis
Huxley
Isaac
Jack
Jacoby
Jett
Jones
Keaton
Kellen
Lane
Lennox
Levi
Liam
Madden
Maddox
Marshall
Maxwell
Merrick
Miles
Nash
Nolan
Oliver
Oskar
Owen
Porter
Phoenix
Quinn
Ronan
Rory
Rowen
Silas
Smith
Soren
Theo
Turner
Walker
Wells
Weston
Wilder
Wyatt
Zeke



Family, Infertility and Miscarriage

The First Trimester for Miscarriage Mommas

February 21, 2019

I’m currently writing this just shy of six weeks pregnant with our sixth pregnancy. Writing that this is our sixth pregnancy just caused me to pause and make sure that’s correct. I’ve been pregnant six times now, and I have to babies playing in the next room, three in heaven, and one whose fate is to be determined. I don’t write that to sound morbid, in fact I’m actually, in this current moment, really hopeful for this pregnancy but not without a hefty dose of caution and fear. It’s something I’ve been working on, the fear piece. But while the thoughts and emotions are fresh – in the waiting and wondering and praying that comes with the first trimester for anyone, but especially us mommas who know loss intimately – I wanted to write what it’s like to be a miscarriage momma pregnant (again), hoping (again), praying (again and again) and pleading with God that I don’t have to lose another baby.

For us mommas who know loss, a positive pregnancy test is met with some degree of excitement but a lot of caution. It means that instead of surprising your husband with a fun announcement or telling him in a creative way, you text him in the middle of the day with a matter of fact, “We’re pregnant again.” Or, you pee on a stick and come out of the bathroom saying something like, “I guess we’re pregnant or something.” Shrugging off the temptation to get hopeful because you know what it feels like to experience loss.

Sure, us miscarriage mommas think a bit about what a baby in August would look like, what it would be like to be majorly pregnant in the summer, jot down mental notes on baby names, toss a few names back and forth with their husbands now and again in that first trimester, but it’s all with the disclaimer of “if we have a baby in August” rather than “when we have a baby in August.” It kills me, because I want to be hopeful. I want to be excited. I want to savor ever single minute of what could very well be my last pregnancy if things work out the way we hope they do. But I’m also so weary from hurting and experiencing loss that my heart is wrapped in concrete where pregnancy is concerned.

I’m willing to guess that a fair share of moms in this camp also own a home doppler, like I do, and are probably more skilled than their doctor at locating a heartbeat. I can’t tell you how many appointments I went to where I would watch my doctor try to find a heartbeat, holding back the urge to just offer to find it myself because, well, I knew exactly where baby was hiding. My fellow miscarriage mommas probably also subconsciously check the toilet paper for signs of blood or spotting every time they go to the bathroom. Who, as time progresses, fall into a minor panic every time it’s been a while since they last felt baby move. Mommas who pray for morning sickness and symptoms to ease their mind and get them to their next appointment. Who test progesterone levels every two weeks and take countless shots and drink herbal supplements that taste like a barnyard smells because maybe, just maybe, all of those things together will tip the scales in our favor this time around. Who go into ultrasound rooms expecting the worst while hoping for the best. Who remind themselves that if they get bad news, they will be OK because, you know, they’ve done this before.

If my thoughts and words seem a bit of a jumbled mess, it’s probably a good indication of where my heart is at in this current season. Sitting (rather impatiently) in the in-between time, a time of what-ifs, hope, fear. All jumbled together. It’s hard to sort out those feelings and thoughts, difficult to form concise words with a clear direction. So instead of trying to make sense of it all, I’ll wait, and pray, and count down the next 72 hours until I walk into that ultrasound room. And even then? Even if we heart a heartbeat? I wish I could tell my fellow miscarriage mommas that it would get easier after that, but the truth is that it won’t. It will continue to be scary and hard, but that’s the cross you bear when you’ve lost a baby at any stage in the game.

The other day my doctor told me that this could, if I allowed it to be, a time of refinement and an opportunity to deepen my faith. My husband has echoed those same sentiments during times when I’ve been particularly worried. I can’t say I think either my doctor or husband quite understand what it’s like to be on my side of this experience, but I have to say that I agree God can work in big ways during times when we feel so incredibly week and prone to big fears. Lord, may you be glorified in my worry. May your power be made complete in my complete weakness. May you protect this baby. And even if you don’t, may your will be done.

Madison