Time Saving Tips for the New Mom

Monday, August 31, 2015

When you become a mom you list of things to do gets longer and longer but you don't have more time to do everything. Here are a few things that I do to keep the laundry down and my morning routine as efficient as possible.

1 - Moms might recognize these as the pads they lay out on your hospital bed when you're giving birth. Well, we bought a bunch from SAM's Club and use them on the changing table and for a short time we even taped some up on the wall in the "splash zone". Yes, babies can catapult their poop onto walls and lamps.

2 - Disposable wipes/burp cloths. When were in the hospital they had these great clothes that we used for burp cloths and we asked where we could get some. All the nurses replied that as far as they knew they were only found at medical retailers. Well when we went into the Care by Parent (something they do for NICU babies) the nurse gave us a whole, unopened bag. JACKPOT! We had everything we needed to order it online! So we ordered 600 of them!

3 - Setting her clothes out for the week is real time saver for my morning routine, I just have to grab an outfit and get her dressed. I don't have to look through the mounds of clothes she has and pick something last minute...hmm, maybe I should do this for my clothes too...

DIY Celulite Reducing Scrub

Friday, August 28, 2015

I wanted to try a cellulite reducing scrub ever since giving birth. I feel like my skin is more dimply now. You can find these scrubs all over pinterest so I thought I would give it a try and let you know what I think.

I followed the simple recipe of 1/2 cup coffee grounds, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 olive oil. I mixed them all together in a container and applied to my thighs and stomach before my shower. I massaged it for about 5 mins.

I bought the cheapest of all products and used in-store coupons that were available to make this the least expensive way possible.

Survey Says - - - I think it works! I noticed less dimples and smoother skin. I definitely recommend applying the scrub before you shower since you'll need to wash all of it off and you'll need soap to get all the oil off. I'll be bringing this with me the next time we take a beach vacation for sure! Plus it smells pretty good!

10 Hardest Things About Maternity Leave

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Most of us have been there, sitting around on maternity leave, the baby just went to sleep and you start to think... what have I done today? You took care of a baby thats what! Here are some things you might find difficult about maternity leave

1. Watching the clock.
I took 12 weeks off, the most I am allowed by law to keep my job. And I did start to watch the clock when I had about 3 weeks left. And I started to hold her a little longer when I could because I knew I would never get those moments back. I love the feeling when she falls asleep on me.

2. Trying to cram too much in.
I didn’t try to cram anything in except maybe a workout or two. I didn’t try to craft or cook or anything. Heck, it was a good day if I made it out of my pjs!

3. Worrying about what’s going on at work (or the fact that you’re not).
I was in a position at work that I was unhappy with so I didn’t really worry or care with what was going on at the office. I am happy to report that I have moved to another position within the company and it seems like a better fit.

4. Getting anxious about missing milestones.
This did happen to me. My mother-in-law was able to watch her for 3 weeks when I first went back to work. She would take pictures all day and post them Facebook and I loved that! We do get pictures from daycare but only a few a week so it's just not the same.

{you can see just how small she was in the far left picture}
5. Trying to squeeze into your old work wardrobe.
Yeah…I didn’t even try this because I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I spent a pretty penny buying a new work wardrobe. To be honest, I hated it! Before I knew my exact size at all my favorite stores and now I had to spend hours trying on different sizes and seeing what worked and what didn’t. Shopping is (at least for right now) not fun since I am still a bigger size than I was.

6. Envying your partner.
While I do envy how quickly he can get up and get out the door I did not envy him getting out of the house while I was on leave. Like I said above, I wasn’t happy at my job so staying home was fine with me.

7. Feeling isolated.
I did feel a little isolated at times since I really couldn’t take her anywhere (at least until she got her shots). But when my husband came home from work he was on Daddy duty and I was able to go for a short walk or bike ride.

8. Agonizing about child care.
I think having my mother-in-law there really helped me transition emotionally. Although I am sad that I don’t get to spend the day with her, daycare is a part of life and it's just what we have to do. I need to socialize and be challenged as much as she does.

9. Not being able to say where the time goes.
Feed, sleep, repeat - that was reality. People would ask how I was and I would just reply, "You know, busy taking care of a baby." I don’t know what else to say?! I mean I am fine and doing well but my life revolves around her right now.

10. Embracing the chaos.
Parenthood pretty means having a messy house for the rest of your life! With 2 dogs and a baby to take care of things get a little crazy! I keep her room cleaner than any other room in the house!

4 Month Check In

Monday, August 24, 2015

Whoa! I cannot believe that August is almost over and I have 4 month old! So, how are we doing?

She is doing great! At her 4 month check up (a few weeks ago already) she was 23.5 inches tall and was 10lbs 15oz. She is measuring in the 5th percentile in both. Our little tiny darling.

Mommy & Daddy
We are hanging in there! We are very tired since Alana is going through a growth spurt and started wanting to eat again during the wee hours of the morning. We had about 3 1/2 weeks of her sleep through the night before she started her growth spurt. We are hoping to make it over this hump soon and get back to some good nights sleep.

We are also adjusting to dropping her off at daycare and picking her up. We try to minimize her time there as much as we can. I do love that they do little art projects with her and our fridge is already starting to get decorated! My little Picasso!

The Dogs
Coco and Lola are doing fine. We still have a "cage" around the living room to keep them off the carpet and away from Alana's things. Coco will put any and everything in her mouth and I don't need another thing to wash right now... or to have surgery to get whatever she ate out!

Preparing Your Dog for Baby's Arrival

Friday, August 21, 2015

We are a 2 dog house hold - one English Bulldog and one Old English Bulldog (1/2 American Bulldog and 1/2 English Bulldog). Our English, Lola, is probably one of the best dogs in the world character wise, she is so chill. Coco on the other hand is the female dog version of Dennis the Menace! Coco will speed towards the door when the doorbell rings, she will jump on you as a greeting and then she will pee everywhere (because she is a submissive pee-er). She was the real hurdle were having trouble crossing when we brought Alana home. We bought a book about how to tell your dog you're expecting but with reading What to Expect... and Baby Wise I didn't get around to reading it.

Of course we brought home some blankets she had used in the NICU but I'm not really sure how much that helps our 4 legged friends. I think dogs, and animals in general, have a 6th sense and know when a being is a baby or toddler...

After my 12 weeks of maternity leave was up we decided to invest in Coco and sent her to a 2 week board and train camp. I have to say it was nice not to have her in the house and I think Lola was less stressed by having her gone. But Coco came back and I have to say she is much better. We have to work with her every day but she is worth it; just look at that face...

What have you done to prepare your dog for baby's arrival?

Daycare Essentials

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sending your baby off to daycare can be an emotional time. I was lucky enough to have my mother-in-law watch our daughter for the first 3 weeks I went back to work and I feel like that really helped me with the transition. Below are some things that you’ll need before you child goes to daycare; some I knew and some I didn’t know.

1: Bottle labels – Permanent marker will come off with a few washes so you can use the bands or you can buy these really cute permanent and washable labels that I got from ModishCC on etsy! I like these because they are small and can go on anything. You’ll need more than you thought since you have to label the bottle and bottle caps. I also put one on her pacifier, pacifier clip and car seat

2: Pacifier & Pacifier clip – Our daycare said they could provide one for us but I bought one anyway

3: Cooler for bottles – Our daycare gave us one which is really helpful! Our pediatrician also gave us one when we had our first visit.

Of course don’t forget all the changes of clothes you’ll need, extra diapers and wipes. What I didn’t know was that they actually initial every single diaper!

And as a working parent I found it really helpful to layout all her clothes for the week by Sunday night. No thinking in the morning, just get her changed, fed and out the door!

What are some things you find helpful for getting the kid-o to daycare?

A Travel Themed Baby Shower

Monday, August 17, 2015

Welcome to the World

If you were a reader from travel mi amor then you know I HAD to have a travel themed baby shower. The theme was Welcome to the World!

Lets start with the crafts:

1 - Mod Podge Kleenex boxes and letters. Except we didn't use mod podge, my mom found out that using Elmer's Clear Glue (not gel) works just as well as mod podge; and its cheaper! We just painted the maps onto the Kleenex boxes and cardboard letters. They looked perfect!

2 - The 'Welcome' wreath was made by my best friend and co-host of the shower. I had seen many of these wreathes on Pinterest using wrapping paper for the holiday season. It turned out great and I LOVE it! Here is the tutorial she used.

3 - The food labels and gift tags were made by me using my Silhouette. This machine is pretty cool! If you're cleaver enough you can design your own designs or you can purchase some from the design studio.

4 - We also made some banners out of maps. This was pretty easy since we just cut out some triangle and strung them together with twine.

The food was one of the coolest things out everything I think! We had food from some of favorite countries!

America - Mini Hamburgers & Cupcakes
France - Macarons
Italy -  Spaghetti
Mexico - Taco Cups
Germany - Soft Pretzels
Asia - Crab Rangoon

And as a 'Thank You' to everyone that came I had little boxes filled with European chocolates and cookies! 

I absolutely LOVED my baby shower! Thank you so much to my friend Ashley, my mom and my mother-in-law for hosting and putting it together!

TV Watching

Friday, August 14, 2015

I saw an article on Yahoo! and the title was, Is There Too Much TV? Personally, I think the answer is yes. I saw the 2015 list of premier dates for network TV the other day and I wrote down all the shows I watch and their start dates... there were 13 of them!!! It appears that I need to get a life! And that was only on network, it doesn't include HBO, FX, Showtime, etc.

I realize that this TV season I might get a little backlogged or stop watching some shows all together since my new routine is: pick Alana up from daycare, get home, get her settled, let the dog out and feed them, feed Alana (sometimes this comes before the dogs), change out of my work clothes, eat something (crock pot meals have been a lifesaver!), wash bottles, feed Alana again, clean kitchen, shower, make up her bottles for the next day...it keeps going...

I have dropped some already just because I am not interested: Orange is the New Black, Chiacgo PD, House of Cards... I'll probably drop a few more this season too.

What are some of your favorite shows? Thinking of dropping any?

Products We Didn't Know We'd Love

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

With all the new baby products out there it can be a bit overwhelming on what you need and don't need. There are a few products that I didn't register for that we LOVE and I can't imagine being without them.

4Moms Infant Tub - I had one of the lounge washers and the flower thing you put in the sink. Neither one of these worked really well for us. So we bought the 4Moms tub and it fits perfectly in the kitchen sink. I also like that it reads the temperature of the water - no guessing!

Halo Sleepsack - They used one of these in the NICU and we were hooked! Not only did it make swaddling super easy but its a wearable blanket helping reduce the chance of SIDS. We had 2 in preemie, one in Newborn and I just ordered one in 3 - 6 months. They are a little on the pricey side so I have been ordering them in neutral tones/fabrics just in case we decide to have another kid and it ends up being a boy.

{1 - 4Moms Infant Tub, 2 - Munchkin Wipe Warmer, 3 - Halo Sleepsacks, 4 - Crib Mobile, 5 - Kickee Pants}

Mobile - I had initially wanted to make one but with Alana arriving 5 weeks early I never got around to it. We bought one from Potter Barn Kids and Alana just loves it! She loves watching it and listening to it.

Wipe Warmer - Now this I thought was a little ridiculous. I mean babies have been using regular, non-warmed wipes for ages. Why would I need one?! Well it makes diaper changes a happier time when the wipe is warm - that cold wipe on her little hiney made her pretty unhappy.

Kickee Pants - When I was registering for stuff and at my baby shower I told I would need a lot of the "sleepers" and sleeper gowns. I haven't really used any of them. I have been using Kickee Pants. I love them because they have booties that are lined with fleece to keep a baby's feet warm and they have built in mittens for the hands. And the fabrics are SUPER soft! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these!

What are some items you didn't know you loved?!

What is Your Work Style?

Monday, August 10, 2015

I feel like this can be a touchy subject but it come up in the news that a JCPenny’s employee was sent home because her shorts were too short. She bought the shorts in the JCPenny “Careers” department. First thing, I don’t know how shorts got put into a “Careers” section in the first place. I have NEVER seen anyone wear shorts to work – short skirts is another thing – but never shorts. (I guess shorts are acceptable if you are a pro golfer or something…)

I would say I am pretty conservative with what I wear to work. I prefer to wear slacks/dress pants (the Editor from Express is my favorite) . I will occasionally wear a skirt if I’m out of pants but the skirt is always below my knees (and by occasionally I mean once). The one time I did wear a skirt to work I got complimented on the way I look, “Alexa, you look really nice today” said a manager in my group. I think, “Oh, thanks. Because I don’t look nice every other day…when I’m wearing pants?!?” Literally nothing has changed about my look except now my legs are showing. It might just be me but I don’t want that sort of attention at work.

{example of my work attire. Top & Bottoms from Express, Belt is Lauren by Ralph Lauren and shoes are Jessica Simpson}

I have seen ladies wear knee high boots, lacy dresses with key hole backs and skirts with slits in the back that leave little to the imagination when they bend over to pick something up…yeeeah. And if you wear those shoes to the club you probably shouldn't be wearing them to work! All of these things I deem inappropriate for work.  And on the guy side of things, mostly I see them wearing baseball caps; like you are at work, take it off and get over your male patterned baldness. And tuck your shirt in for crying out loud!

So, what is your work style? Share in the comments below.

Breastfeeding and the Working Mom

Friday, August 7, 2015

Lets talk about boobs! Only sort of, lets talk about breastfeeding!

As a new mother it was really important to me to breastfeed my baby. But things do not go as planned. My little girl was born 5 weeks early and it took about 4.5 days for my milk to come in, and I wasn't getting much if anything of the colostrum (the thicker stuff that comes out first). So those first days of her life she was getting formula through a feeding tube in the NICU.

Once she got the sucking thing down the NICU was bottle feeding her at night when I wasn't there and they wanted me to add some formula to my breast milk to give her some more calories...so we were still bottle feeding her. Trying to do bottle and breast was just confusing her so we went straight to bottle feeding her breast milk. I didn't really have a problem with this.

Then she started eating more and I wasn't producing more! It hurt my heart that I could not provide for my little one. But you do what you gotta do and now she is getting formula and and whatever breast milk I can provide for her. My lactation nurse told me to up my pumping from 6 times a day to 8 but I did not see an increase in amount so I went back to 6. I feel like breastfeeding/pumping is sort of like a catch 22 - they say you need to pump every 2-3 hours to keep good flow but that you also need to get good sleep. Um, how can I get good sleep if I have to wake up twice a night to pump?!

{Medela Backpack}
To help boost my milk production I took gaia HERBS Fenugreek Seed supplements and Go-Lacta's Malunggay. I felt like both of these really help! I also tried the Milky product you can buy online or at Destination Maternity and in my opinion it was disgusting! And I didn't feel like it helped much (and they were expensive).

Pumping at work was good, my company has a Mother's Room where I can go do my thing and store my milk. And it broke up my day which is nice. However, I feel like for me it just became too much work for not enough milk. I was pumping 5-6 times a day for only about 10oz of milk when my daughter is putting down about 28oz a day. So I decided to slowly stop, it took about a week.

I got my Medela pump through my insurance (saving me about $300) and the extra things I keep in my breastpump bag are:
- Hands free pumping bra; Simple Wishes
- Wash basin (I took one of the little tubs they gave me at the hospital)
- Small bottle of dish soap
- Hand sanatizer
- Cleaning wipes
- Lanolin cream, sample size

Back at the Barre

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Life and body after baby can be some what of a shock. You have this new little life you are responsible for and unless you're blessed with a high metabolism your body isn't going to just bounce back. I was about 135lbs pre baby, 179lbs when I walked into the hospital after my water broke and about 149lbs 12 weeks postpartum. The first 20 seem to come off pretty quick within the first 3 weeks, the next 10 were a bit slower and I am now working on the last 15!

I was doing Pure Barre hot and heavy for 2 months before I got pregnant. My friend and I were going just about 5 times a week. And then my HG hit and I couldn't do anything without having to vomit.

Well I am back at it! I decided it would be a good idea to get back to the barre as I started back to work, 12 weeks postpartum. After about 9 or 10 months of not working out I was SORE to say the least. I hit up the 5:30am class 3 times a week to get my fitness juices pumping again. Plus my mother-in-law was watching my daughter for a few weeks before we put her in daycare.

{Pure Barre Fitenss}
I was able to start Pure Barre again using their introductory rate of $99 for one month unlimited (you can do this after being incactive for 6 months). After my one month is up I'm not sure what I'll do; I am either going to go at it alone or see what the YMCA has to offer. I am leaning towards the Y because they have child care while I work out :)

The few things that I dont like about Pure Barre is the "rules" about cancelling classes or not letting you pause your membership (that happened to me while I was pregnant). And I dont like the fact that it is expencive!

What was your postpartum workout routine like? Send me some encouraging words!

Travel Contrasts: Luxury vs. Budget

Monday, August 3, 2015

If you followed me over from travel mi amor then you know travel is a passion of mine. Some months I would link up with some lovely ladies from overseas where we would all post on the designated topic for the month. This month is Travel Contrasts and I will be talking about Luxury vs. Budget travel. We have done both - and we love both!

Budget Travel
Budget travel is a no brainier for obvious reasons, it doesn’t cost much. But most people think that budget travel means visiting a beach or lake 3 hours from their house or even doing a stay-cation. READ MY TEXT - You can travel to nice places on a budget, it just takes planning. Here comes my soapbox talk on rewards points. Our last vacation to Hawaii was almost 100% booked with rewards points. The only things we paid for was our rental cars, inter-island flights (which could be booked with points) and our AirBnB rental. Our flights to and from the main land were booked with rewards points and so was our hotel stay on one island.

What is the main reason to go to Hawaii? The beaches; and guess what - they are all FREE! All beaches in Hawaii are public beaches. There is also plenty of hiking you can do for free on all of the islands! Hawaii is actually really budget friendly if you plan it right.

{the beautiful garden at our AirBnB house, our 'welcome' treats}

Luxury Travel
Our trip to Europe in 2014 was pretty luxurious one might think. We flew business class there and back (but with rewards points so that was free), we took a coach tour of Europe via Trafalgar, and we stayed one extra night in Paris in a hotel room with a view of the Eiffel Tower. It's probably safe to say that that hotel room was the most we have ever paid for a room. But it was worth every penny and for just one night! We were upgraded to the Executive Suite where we had an inviting jetted tub, comfy bed and a two story terrace with views of the Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Cœur in the distance. Once we were checked into our room in the late afternoon we only left to grab a few bottles of wine for the night. Who would want to leave that view?!

If you want to join the link up head on over to Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes and post your link on her blog :)