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Family, Pregnancy

Stay Healthy, Mama

July 13, 2015

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and healthy mama® , but, as always, all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #gethealthymama

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Having experienced a couple miscarriages before getting pregnant with Ainsley, I was more than a little paranoid about what I put in my body. I was constantly worried about doing something that would compromise the health of my baby and desperate for a little peace of mind when I wanted relief from morning sickness or a headache or some other pregnancy-related aliment.

I’m a researcher by nature so I did a lot of scouring on the internet for healthy, safe ways to navigate the less-than-glamorous sides of being pregnant. My doctor was a good resource, as well as a few reputable baby- and pregnancy-related websites and books, but most of the products I found still came with a disclaimer for pregnant or nursing women.

Toward the end of my pregnancy I discovered that Target has a section devoted to pre- and postnatal care filled with healthy mama® products that are safe for nursing moms and moms-to-be. I wish I would have found the section sooner rather than at the end of my pregnancy!

During pregnancy and the postpartum period, my two greatest complaints were nausea (specifically the first trimester but also a bit toward the end of pregnancy) and headaches. I’ve always had headaches, but the postpartum headaches I experienced? They were horrible! I found a few little changes during the course of my pregnancy and after Ainsley arrived really helped…

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Headaches

*I found that making sure I was getting plenty of iron in my diet was key! Since meat and veggies didn’t sound all that great to me during the first trimester, I was seriously lacking in iron. And some of the research I did also said that you start to experience the unpleasant effects of low iron around 18/19 weeks, which was exactly when I started getting really bad headaches!
*Hydration was also key to keeping the headaches (especially during the postpartum period) at bay. I kept a giant water bottle with me at all times and couldn’t get enough ice water with extra ice!
*When water and vitamins weren’t cutting it, I found that the cure-all was usually a cup of coffee (coffee in moderation is totally safe!) and a little bit of acetominophin, like that found in the healthy mama® Shake that Ache! pain reliever, was enough to keep the headaches at bay most of the time.

Nausea

*I only experienced a mild case of nausea starting around 12 weeks and lasting until around week 19, but it was enough to keep me snacking on carbs 90% of the time. My go-to remedies were salty kettle-style potato chips, lemonade and sparkling water.
*A lot of research talks about the benefits of consuming B vitamins to calm the nausea. I’m guessing that’s why healthy mama® included B vitamins and electrolytes in their Boost it Up! Protein Energy Drink. Although I wasn’t experiencing nausea when I tried this drink, I loved it anyway! And it’s a great caffeine-free energy alternative that’s safe for pregnant and nursing moms.

I am so bummed that I didn’t discover these products sooner. But I have a feeling that if we’re blessed to have another kiddo down the road, I’ll be using that section at Target as my go-to resource while pregnant and nursing.

Madison

Family

My Little Sister’s Wedding

July 1, 2015

photo (95)We traveled to Idaho last week to celebrate my baby sister’s wedding to Alex! They got married in the most beautiful location in the mountains and we constantly found ourselves in awe of the beauty around us as we celebrated their marriage and new life together.

I haven’t attended many smaller weddings, but after this one I’m pretty sure that keeping the guest list down to just close friends and family is where it’s at. It was SO much fun to have the setting nice and intimate and much less stress, too!

We rented a house on the venue property for the weekend so the whole family could stay together and hired a babysitter for Ainsley on the day/evening of the wedding so we could enjoy the wedding and fully put our attention on the bride and groom. Ainsley dropped by for a little while and then headed back to the house to go to bed on time.

The happy couple is celebrating by honeymooning in Denmark and then settling into life in North Carolina. I couldn’t be more excited for them as they start their life together! Here are a few photos from the day…

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Family

Mommy + Mind Update: 4 Months

June 23, 2015

BW_Madison and Ainsley

I’ve talked a little bit about going back to work after having a baby, but I realized that for the most part I’ve been pretty quiet about my return back to the working world and how our family has been adjusting to the change. Truth be told, before I became a mom I couldn’t have ever pictured myself even entertaining the idea of staying home with my baby. “Not for me! No way!” I would boldly proclaim. I was raised by a working momma and always assumed I would follow in her footsteps with my own family someday. Plus, that work I do? Well, it’s pretty darn great most of the time.

During maternity leave I found myself feeling a little lost and confused. I was all wrapped up in new-momma things like feeding schedules, naps, finding a way to get more sleep and working around the clock to nurture and care for my little person that was so helpless, cute and, let’s admit it, demanding.

As the days and weeks ticked by I felt conflicted about going back to work. On the one hand I was enjoying my days with Ainsley immensely. It was bliss to cuddle with her, grab lunch or coffee with friends, and take long walks outside as the weather transitioned into spring. Sure, the days were sometimes long, exhausting and certainly hard, but I really did love being home with my favorite girl. And then other days I felt, if I’m being honest, like a shell of the person I once was. My mind felt hazy and under-utilized and many days I felt like the passion I once had for work, food and life outside of baby-land was as dry as a dessert because I hadn’t been cultivating those passions. The old me who dressed up in “real-people” clothes every day and interacted with co-workers and spent time without a baby attached to her 24/7? I missed that person.

The first couple days after returning to work were extremely difficult. I missed my little buddy and the routine we had created over the 13 weeks I was home. And then, day by day, things started to get easier. Instead of feeling relieved by that, I was overwhelmed with guilt. Should I enjoy time away from my baby? Did this undercut the type of mother I was because I didn’t find total fulfillment in staying at home with Ainsley? Would Ainsley not love me as much because I wasn’t home with her every day?

As the weeks have passed, I’ve come to a much more peaceful place about work and motherhood and finding a balance in it all. I’m blessed to have a work schedule that allows me to be flexible and find balance between work and parenthood, which has made the transition easier.

I’m sure some would look at it and say that I’m selfish. After all, I get to manage my day the way I want, drink a full cup a coffee without interruption in the morning, dress up and have adult conversations while taking home a paycheck. Some would probably argue that it’s a noble choice: I’m providing for my daughter’s future, saving for her college and family vacations and experiences, setting an example that women can work outside the home and pursue both a family and a career.

It’s amazing how you can take the same situation and spin it in two entirely different ways, isn’t it? Before I was a mom I looked at things in black and white when it came to parenting. And then I became a parent and started to realize that the world is much more gray than I even realized.

Four months in, I couldn’t care less whether a mom decides to stay home with her kiddos or return to work. What’s right for one family? It might be totally wrong for another. I’m just thankful we all have the opportunity to blaze our own path and make decisions that are right for us, as different as that may look from family to family.

Madison

Family

Trust me, new momma. It gets better!

June 17, 2015

New Momma

Man, oh man. Those first few weeks and months of motherhood? Let’s be honest, they’re pretty dang hard. I was really discouraged by everyone who told me about the difficulties of new motherhood, but guess what? They were right.

When I think about how my baby is getting older and bigger by the day? I think I’m supposed to be super sad about the whole thing. Sometimes when I look at those tiny little clothes I’m packing away I do get a little (okay, a lot) sad. But more often than not, I’m just thrilled with this older, more interactive, adorable little baby that’s joined our family and I’m pretty happy those first few weeks are in the book.

So, if you’re a new mom or a mom-to-be, let’s get a few things straight: Continue Reading…

Uncategorized

Budgeting Post-Baby: Cutting Cable

June 2, 2015

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Having a baby has a way of making you seriously re-examine your budget. You start to think about the little luxuries you enjoy every day and then realize the money spend on those luxuries could (and probably should!) be going toward more important things your child’s college fund. Although we felt we were in a position to have a baby, when we sat down to re-evaluate our budget post-baby, it was a big wake-up call to make some changes. We are no longer DINKS (you know, Dual Income No Kids?) and spending/living like we are is a thing of the past.

So, that said, I’m planning on doing a mini-series on the site in the coming months to examine how we’re adjusting our budget for baby and cutting costs while still managing to live well. Our first target for cost savings? Our pesky and over-priced cable bill.

Yes, we finally did it, we cut the cable cord! We’ve been talking about cutting DirecTV for a couple years, but the sticking point for us was always ESPN. But when we realized that we were spending $115 a month on cable, something needed to change. Our solution? We signed up for SlingTV (not the same as Sling Box) through Dish Network. Sling TV can be accessed through your internet TV or an internet TV stick, like a Roku, which we got free when we pre-paid for three months of Sling TV.

You plug in your Roku, download the SlingTV app and for just $20/month you get access to streaming of about 20 popular channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, HGTV and Food Network, to name a few. We’ve been SO impressed with the quality of the streaming and the ease of accessing our favorite channels. Plus, I love that you can by month-by-month with the option to add additional channel packages based on interests. In the fall, I anticipate that we’ll add the sports package (which includes SEC Network, ESPNU, etc.) for a couple months, which costs an additional $15/month. No matter the way you swing it, we’re saving over $1,000 over the course of the year just by making the switch.

Additionally, we share an extended-family Netflix account for streaming movies and TV shows and we pay for Hulu Plus as well, which costs $8/month. And access to the basic channels like ABC, NBC and CBS? Those are free with a digital tuner!

A few notes about cutting cable:
-You need to be 100% committed to cutting the cord. When we called to cancel, DirecTV offered to reduce our bill by a paltry $10/month. But, about an hour after cancel our service we got a call from DirecTV’s retention department offering to give us our current package for $60/month for 12 months, plus a $200 Visa gift card and NFL Sunday Ticket for free. Tempting, but we stuck to our guns and passed on the offer. (Hint, doing this might be a good option if you want to keep cable but are trying to reduce your budget!)

-Even with SlingTV, we’re going to have to do without some luxuries like being able to record the shows we want to watch at a later time. However, most of that can be remedied by going online to Hulu Plus or Netflix and finding the show we want to watch. Not nearly as convenient but costs savings frequently mean a trade-off in convenience.

-We’re hoping that by cutting cable we will spend less time watching mindless TV and more time reading, spending time with Ainsley and getting outside. We have said it’s not only an investment in cost-savings but an investment in another way of living, and I like the sounds of that.

Old Budget
DirecTV $115/month
HuluPlus $8/month
TOTAL: $123/month or $1476/year

New Budget
SlingTV: $20/month
HuluPlus $8/month
TOTAL: $28/month or $336/year

TOTAL COST SAVINGS: $1140/year

I’m excited to continue this series on budgeting over the next several weeks. I have a few awesome guest-contributors who are going to weigh in on things like hair and salon visits, food and groceries and events/activities!

Madison

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