Pre-pregnancy to Postpartum Body

Pre-pregnancy – Before kids it’s so much easier to make time to take care of yourself. Sometimes I look back and wish I would have taken more advantage of all of that me time! Getting to the gym was a breeze…I just hopped in the car and away I went. Meal prepping was done without a kid hanging onto my feet and another wanting to be attached to a boob. I could make hair appointments when I wanted. Take a nice, long, hot shower. Do my makeup. You know…it was just, easier.

Pre-Kids!
5’1
123lbs
Pre-Kids!
Pre-Kids!

I was 29 when I got pregnant with my first child. Aside from the horrible morning sickness..well..more like all day sickness…I absolutely loved being pregnant. Knowing what my body was going through to create a little human made me feel strong and beautiful. I loved my body as it was growing. I embraced all of the stretch marks. I went from 123 pre-pregnancy to 170 at 40 weeks pregnant. Somehow gaining all of that weight during pregnancy didn’t bother me.

After giving birth I didn’t want to look in the mirror at my body. I couldn’t. I had an emergency C-section after laboring 22 hours. Let just say that wasn’t in my birth plan. I was exhausted and needed to recover. I had a baby to take care of. My anxiety was at an all time high. I was wearing gigantic pads that went from my belly button to the top of my butt crack. My husbands t-shirts were the only things that fit me. My skin was saggy and squishy. My boobs were huge, hard, leaky milk jugs and my nipples HURT. I just didn’t feel like myself. Nobody really tells you this part of pregnancy. Most images online make you think motherhood is something like a fairytale. Not many people are willing to share the real rawness that comes with the aftermath of pregnancy. So it is hard to know what to expect.

Feeling like myself physically and mentally, took time.

6 weeks post-partum. I was cleared to start working out and wanted to document my progress. I’m smiling in these pictures but yet I am far from happy with my body. I couldn’t believe what I looked like. Self-love was nonexistent. I was literally mortified of my body. Completely insecure. Why?! Why should I be mortified when I just grew a baby inside of me? It was all in my head. I was judging myself. Nobody else was judging the way I looked. I wasn’t giving myself credit for everything I had went through the past 9 months.

6 weeks postpartum after 1st child
6 weeks postpartum after 1st child
6 weeks post part after 1st child

Having a newborn with no family around to watch him I started doing at home workouts. They were high intensity and it wasn’t easy at first. I often had to push my exhausted self to get them done. After a couple of weeks working out made me feel good, I enjoyed that time with myself. With having a bit of PPD and anxiety working out gave me a release, something to do for myself. It made me so much happier and it made me a better mom.

“Above everything else, genuinely love yourself first. Self-love is powerful and it’s the best love that you will ever have. When you love who YOU are, your relationships will be healthier and your life will be happier. Self-love sets the standard in how we allow others to treat us and how we treat ourselves. Your happiness and well-being is important. Protect it by always valuing who you are!” ― Stephanie Lahart

6 months postpartum – This is the point postpartum that I finally felt like myself again. I felt worthy, I felt strong again, I felt healthy. My clothes were fitting! I lost all of my baby weight and I looked better than I ever did before. I think breastfeeding helped too. They say that you burn 20 calories per every ounce of breastmilk you produce. So if your baby is eating 20-30 ounces a day….well you can do the math! I was burning tons of extra calories.

6 weeks postpartum – 6 months post partum
First Baby

2nd Pregnancy I gained about the same amount of weight as my first but this time I felt more like a beached whale. I had so much cellulite on my legs and booty. My belly literally couldn’t stretch anymore. I didn’t feel as beautiful the second pregnancy. Maybe it had something to do with the season. Let me tell you, being pregnant in the summer is rough! Its hot, humid, sticky and sweaty. Squeezing into shorts and swim suits at 39 weeks pregnant is not fun!

6 weeks postpartum – 6 months postpartum
Second child

I am not so much concerned this time with weight. I’m not stepping on the scale a couple times a week. I don’t have time for the added stress worrying about my weight taking care of a toddler and an infant. I just want to feel good! I want my clothes to fit comfortably. I want to look at myself in the mirror and feel like myself. That is what I am focused on.

“Caring for your body, mind, and spirit is your greatest and grandest responsibility. It’s about listening to the needs of your soul and then honoring them.”
– Kristi Ling

After you have a baby it is so important to dedicate time for yourself. I know that for me to stay sane with two littles I need that time for myself. That time I take for myself not only makes me a better version of myself but it also makes me a better mom and wife. The gym I have a membership to has an incredible child care center, I utilize that. I drop the kids off let them play and socialize and I take an hour or so to myself.

Our little secret….sometimes I even just drop them in the childcare center and go sit in the steam room then have a long hot shower.

If you take time for yourself during the day, don’t feel guilty…ever.

You D E S E R V E that time!

It’s okay to not bounce back like Kate Middleton right after having kids! That is NOT reality. It’s completely okay to be unhappy with your body but just remember what you went through the past 9 months. Give yourself some credit, you just created LIFE! Give yourself time! Breathe. Relax. Motherhood is TOUGH. Finally, most importantly don’t forget to take care of yourself first..you will be a better version of yourself for your family for it.

“Be you, love you. All ways, always.” ― Alexandra Elle

Baby Registry Must Haves!

If you are wondering what the heck to register for, you came to the right place!

I’m going to start this off by saying no matter where you register make sure you get your free registry gift bags! Target, Amazon and Buy Buy Baby gift all moms-to-be a registry gift bag filled with all kinds of full and sample sized goodies! The goodie bags come in handy because with so many baby items on the market, you never know what will work for you and your baby so being able to test them out beforehand is a BONUS. Plus, who doesn’t love FREE STUFF!?

When I was pregnant with my first child I was overwhelmed when looking online to start my baby registry. I couldn’t believe typing in car seat on buy buy baby’s website would pull up over 400 search results! How was I supposed to choose?! Not knowing where to start I began reading reviews and blogs to see what other moms recommended. Thankfully I was able to narrow everything down to what I wanted and completed my registry.

Now that I have some experience under my belt, I want to share all of the items we absolutely love with you! Some of the items I have linked to Amazon.

Feeding:

Haakaa – While baby is eating, attach it to the opposite breast and it collects all the milk that leaks out (that would otherwise be wasted!). Such an incredible tool for breastfed babies!

Mam Bottles – What worked for our first (Dr. Brown) didn’t work for our second. We’ve tried Dr. Brown, Avent, Mam and Joovy. Mam worked best for our second child, I wish we had used them with our first! We did love Dr. Brown bottles as well but there were so many piece to wash!

Formula – Even if you breast feed its good to have backup food in the cupboard incase you have a dip in supply!

Baby Breeza Formula Pro – For formula fed babies this little “keurig” bottle maker can be a real time saver! It makes a baby bottle just like a keurig makes a cup of joe!

Boppy – Perfect for feeding or tummy time! I especially loved this since I had a c-section. Holding my baby during feeds was tough during recovery. The Boppy was so incredibly helpful and supported all of baby weight.

Boon Lawn – We’ve tried a couple drying racks and the boon lawn was the easiest to keep clean.

Burp Cloths – You’ll want a lot of these on hand! We literally had them draped over the back of our couches for easy access.

Joovy Nook High Chair – If your limited on space this joovy nook highchair is perfect. It folds up in half easily and when its open its not bulky. Also incredibly easy to clean and wipe down!

Bath:

Angelcare Baby Bath Support, Aqua – Once your ready to transition baby to a bath in the tub, Angelcare baby bath is the way to go. It isn’t made of fabric so its easy to dry and keep clean. Also, baby isn’t able to scoot out of it.

Aveeno Baby Bath Set – Aveeno is really gentle on baby’s skin!

Bath Towels – JJ Cole makes some really nice baby bath towels with hoods

Bath Toys – Around 4 months old baby will be able to hold onto toys so its good to have these on hand right off the bat!

Nursery/Sleep:

SwaddleMe Original Swaddle – SwaddleMe’s make swaddling a breeze! You just put babies legs in the little pouch, fold arms in and velcro, BOOM done!

Vtech VM343 Monitor – We’ve had this monitor for two years. Its been to Michigan and back, unplugged and plugged back in hundreds of times. It is clear, shows room temperature and you can connect up to 4 cameras to it!

Graco Pack and Play – Great for travel, sleeping, playing, bringing to Grandmas. Our babies slept in our pack and play next to me in our bedroom until we were ready to transition them to their cribs which worked perfectly for us.

Crib Sheets – I love Cloud Island from Target! Tons of cute prints and they are so soft.

Mattress Protector – Y’all. Diaper blow outs are real. Puking in the middle of the night is real. Peeing through diapers is real. Spilled milk is real. Get a couple of mattress protectors!

Aden & Anias muslin blankets – These blankets are a nice light weight blanket and they’re perfect for swaddling.

Humidifier – If you live in a cold dry climate, a humidifier is a must! Even if you don’t its a must. When you have a congested child a cold mist humidifier works great help!

DOHM Sound Machine – LIFE SAVER! In our home, you can hear every creek in the floor. This sound machine blocks out all outside noise. We bring them with us when we travel too!

Diaper Pail – Stinky nursery no more thanks to the Playtex Diaper Genie!

Chair – Get something that is comfortable or has great reviews. You will spend lots of time in your nursery chair! The chair we have is by Baby Relax – Mikayla swivel recliner. We actually purchased it from Walmart online and it is the best chair if you aren’t looking to spend $500.

Rock and Play – Our first baby had reflux. Laying upright was the only way to comfort him. Rock and plays also fold up in half for easy compact storage.

Halo Sleep Sacks – Once your baby can roll and swaddling is no longer an option invest in a couple of sleep sacks! We personally like the sleeveless but they also make sleepsacks with sleeves.

Dock-a-tot – From age 0-4 months my kids would sleep in the dock-a-tot. I think it gave them a sense of comfort since it somewhat snuggled them.

Play:

Baby Einstein Star Bright Symphony Toy – Music, lights and soft edges to chew on…what more could a baby want?!

Fisher-Price First Steps Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym – We started laying our kids under an activity gym around 1 month old. This activity gym grows with your child. When they lay under the mat they can kick the piano. Once they are able to sit up, the piano can move upright so baby can push on it with their hands while sitting!

Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo – Both my kids loved this jumper (and still do!). It has tons of great toys and fun animals for baby to look at, touch and spin!

Sophie La Girafe Teether Giraffe – Teether’s are a must have. I suggest registering for a couple. Sophie the Giraffe is a great teether. The two handles makes it easy for babies to hang on to.

Lamaze Mortimer The Moose – Mortimer is easily hooked onto strollers, carseats, activity gyms…the perfect baby toy in my opinion!

Wood Baby Gym – If you are a minimal momma, this wooden baby gym is perfect!

Fisher Price Swing – We loved the Fisher Price snugapuppy swing. It has multiple swinging speeds and sounds. It can also be tilted upright for when baby wants to see what is going on around him/her!

Health:

NoseFridaLIFE SAVER! If you don’t mind the thought of sucking snot out of your congested child’s nose, this product is for you! We’ll even if you do mind, I suggest you still get it!

Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water – Gripe water seemed to help our kids when they had colic. It is all natural and great to have on hand for when they have an upset tummy!

Safety 1st Deluxe Healthcare and Grooming Kit – A hair brush is necessary unless your babies are born bald like mine were! But, Nail clippers are a must. Babies nails are like little razor blades and we really love these safety first nail clippers.

Diaper Cream – We loved Earth Mama Angel Baby and Aquaphor healing ointment.

Braun Forehead Thermometer – one word, accurate! We love this thermometer because of its accuracy.

Pampers Diapers – We’ve tried most brands (Huggies, Up & Up, Honest, Luvs & Seventh Gen) and stuck with Pampers!

Hughes Wipes – Huggies natural care are fragrance free!

Car seat/Stroller:

Car seat/travel system – Graco Snuguride click connect 35. This is a complete travel system which comes with a carseat, base, and stroller. The carseat can be clicked directly into the stroller which makes life SO MUCH EASIER! You will probably want to keep your baby in an infant carseat at least until they can sit up. Once they can sit up you can put them in high chairs and grocery carts so no need to carry them around in an infant carseat!

I didn’t add a clothing section because you are likely to get an abundance of clothing at your baby shower. But here are some clothing tips: Onesies great for winter to put underneath sleepers as an extra layer for warmth. Also, Z I P P E R sleepers! With my first, my mom stocked me up on Little Me brand button sleepers and while they are oh so cute by the time my son was 6 months, I didn’t want to snap another button!! One more thing. Baby hand mitts to cover baby’s hands as they have a tendency to scratch their precious heads!

If you are a new mama in search of where to begin or a second, third, or fourth time mama with a new little bundle of joy, I hope I was able to help you out in this exciting time in your life! and Congratulations!!!

Traveling with 2 under 2

Because why fly when you can save a couple hundred dollars driving 17 HOURS with two tiny tots!!! Said no one ever. But if you are that one person who decides to take a long road trip with littles, I hope this post can help you prepare a little better!

The Henry Ford Museum
Dearborn, MI

Trips like this take lots of preparation, like weeks. Unless you cram it in then it can be done in a couple of days. You have to make lists, lots of lists. I made lists for myself, my husband, my toddler, my baby, list of things I needed to drop off with the dogs at their babysitter, snack list, activity list….and the list of lists goes on…

The morning of the trip we piled everything packed by the front door, my husband and I both knew everything wasn’t going to fit.

Well, all you mama’s know how much shit you need with a toddler and a baby, don’t you?! We had two large suitcases, a bag filled Christmas gifts, cooler, pack and play, snack bag, activity bag for Owen, Activity bag for Cameron, overnight hotel bag, breast pump bag, diaper bag, stroller. Well my husband being Mr. Doitall, was able to squeeze just about everything in and with little to no bitching at how much I had packed (thank goodness). The stroller had to stay behind.

We finally got out of the house 3 hours after we woke up. You’d think with all of those lists I had written we would have been right out the door…nope not with 2 kids, mom brain syndrome and a 17 hour drive ahead of us! On a positive note, the memories we were about to make would be unforgettable.

TIP: have your car packed the night before!

The activity bag I mentioned above that I made for my toddler was filled with toys and activities he had never seen before. Here is what I included in his activity bag:

  1. Matchbox cars
  2. Crayola mess free coloring book with markers
  3. Melissa and Doug water wow
  4. Usborne lift the flap books
  5. B. Toys pull back cars from Target
  6. Usborne busy car book
  7. ipad uploaded with Blippi and new educational games
  8. Colorful pipe cleaners (because why not!)
  9. Finger puppets

The snack bag was similar, I tried to find fun new snacks…most unfortunately held little to none nutritional value but I did pack some fruit and PBJ sandwiches for lunch in the cooler! Here is what was included in the snack bag and cooler:

  1. Fruit snacks
  2. Pringles
  3. Simply Cheetos white cheddar
  4. Chips ahoy cookies
  5. Annies bunny snacks
  6. Nabisco cheese dip and pretzels/crackers snack packs
  7. Grapes
  8. PBJ Sandwiches
  9. Waters/Mini Gatorades
Oops!
Pringles errrrywhere

I wouldn’t suggest driving over 8 hours with two littles, unless you have an abundance of patience!

Staying in a hotel with a toddler and a baby can be challenging. At bedtime Owen is used to being contained to his crib. In a hotel with freedom to roam about and bountiful amounts of energy from sitting in the car we realized we were up for little to no sleep. I took the king bed in the bedroom with Cameron and Tim took the pull out with Owen. (we had a king suite hotel room which had a bedroom, it was nice! Check if your hotel has that option!) After a couple of hours, we were all finally in Zzz dream mode! Suggestions for a hotel stay with a toddler:

  1. Let them RUN, burn that energy (of course)
  2. Bring swimsuits for the pool!
  3. Bring a pack and play
  4. Put the pack and play in the bathroom at bedtime
  5. Bring books and a favorite toy/blanket

Ive personally never done #4 but I’ve heard many parents use that hack so I figured i’d throw it on the list!

Fun at the pool to burn energy!
Matchbox Car – Check!
Blankie – Check!

After we made it to Michigan the following day, I realized how much stress I had put on myself before the road trip. I was entirely way too nervous for absolutely nothing. It is what it is, if you decide to drive and take a road trip with kids…you never know what will happen! You can just be as prepared as you can be and thats it!

Time for LUNCH!

Oh and one more tip. If you need a place to stop and stretch, use the bathroom and let the kiddos have something fun to look at, Cabelas is a great spot for a road trip stop! Some even have a restaurant inside!

Cabelas – Somewhere in Illinois
I burned 800 calories a day crawling from the front passenger to the back with the kids!
Nap Time!
Me dreaming about how I wish I could put my seat back a little further.
The road trip was filled with fun memories that will last a lifetime, it was entirely worth it.
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