A to Z Survey VIDEO

I’ve seen this going around the good ol’ blog world for a few weeks, but wanted to make it a video instead. If you enjoy that kind of thing, great! If not, we’ll be back to regularly scheduled posts tomorrow.

 

Tell me: Where’s your hometown?

Snapshot

snap shotI’m exhausted, in every since of the word. I’m un-showered, greasy-haired, barefaced and have spit-up on my left shoulder. There are dishes in the sink, dirty clothes in hamper, and dog-hair ‘tumble weeds’ that float across my hardwood floors. There is dinner that needs to be made, lunches that need to be prepped, and blog posts that need to be written. Timely thank you notes, work outs, and phone calls top my Should List.

But in this moment, when I look down and see his tiny fingers clutching my shirt and I catch him smiling in his sleep, I happily think to myself, everything else can wait. 

Friday Shout Outs [7.10.15]

Happy Friday, my friends! I’m sorry I missed Shout Outs last week – I wasn’t able to get it all done and scheduled before leaving for our trip to Florida. But without further adieu, here are some people who stood out to me this week!

shout outs

– MEGAN –

meg

I’ve been following Megan since her Sunshine ‘n Spice blogging days, but this shout out is specifically for her Instagram account. I’ve literally watched Megan transform her body over the years, and I’m creepily so proud of someone I’ve never met ~*IRL*~. But what I’m most proud of is how she’s been so open about her struggle with anxiety. Megan could easily just post pictures of her amazing body with a caption like #beastmode but she really spills her guts and opens up about how lifting has been her healthy coping mechanism for her battle with anxiety. If you just look at her, you might think I could never relate to someone who looks so perfect but she’s a shining example of embracing her human side and preaching “progress, never perfection.” She inspires me and I adore her!

– LINDSAY + TIM FARRAR –

farrar

Lindsay and Tim are a wife + husband duo who have dedicated their lives to helping others get healthy. I’m part of their current 60 day challenge, and it’s a totally free (private) accountability group on Facebook where they provide support, advice, and a sense of community for people on their healthy-living journey. It’s awesome! This specific shout out is for Lindsay, because not only has she inspired me, but her recent transformation “after baby” has caught the attention of the big wigs at BeachBody, and they’ve asked to talk to her in person this month! Again, I’m so proud!

LINDSAY

lindsay

I have to give Lindsay a shout out because she’s so nice. Earlier this week, I sent her a scatter-brained email out of the blue asking her about blog things, and she responded to me within minutes. I’m actually shocked by how quickly she responded, because she wrote me an in-depth, candid email and I am so appreciative! Some big-time bloggers take days, even weeks to respond, and I was simply impressed by her kindness, candor, and willingness to help me.

Friday Shout Outs 6.26.15

Totally Truthful Thursday

// On Tuesday morning when I woke up for Jack’s 3am “breakfast” I had one of those zits on my chin that looks more like a bug bite than I zit. You know what I mean? Anyway, as I was nursing Jack I thought about how I’ve used breastmilk on his skin when he has a rash or a cut and it heals him within a matter of hours. You see where this is going don’t you? Yes, I put my own breastmilk on my face.

It worked.

// My girlfriends and I have implemented a monthly Wine Down Wednesday, and I’m confident this will save my sanity.

WDW

// Having a child has given me this newfound motivation to be healthy (obviously not too healthy ^^)  It’s so strange, but I’m now constantly thinking about what I’m putting in my (and subsequently Jack’s) body. I bought a juicer and I’m more excited than I probably should be. I love you, Amazon Prime.  If you’re into juicing, I’m in the market for any and all resource recommendations! 

// I posted this video earlier in the week about my experience with Jack’s new Newton crib mattress. In it, I mention my genuine concern about Jack rolling over in his sleep and being face-down. The morning after I posted this video, Cory went into Jack’s nursery after we heard him on the monitor, and he was face-down and fully swaddled. I am SO THANKFUL he was sleeping on the Newton mattress. I’m not even exaggerating, this mattress is amazing.

// It’s so odd that I feel alone while I’m home all day with Jack, but when Cory gets home, I just want five minutes by myself. How does that even make sense?!

// Real talk: this week has been shitty in the SAHM department. I have a Stage 5 Clinger baby, and he throws a major fit whenever I put him down (which is unlike him.) I think he may be starting to teethe, and I’m pretty sure I’m handling it like he’s going away to college next week. THEY GROW UP SO FAST.

jack

 

// I’m so ready for it to be Friday afternoon.

5 Expectations to Have When Flying with an Infant

sky

Photography via Mandy Harlow

1. Crying. Babies cry, end of story. I saw something on Pinterest where one mom made little “sorry you’re sitting near us” baggies to give to the passengers sitting in the vicinity of her baby, full of gum and ear plugs and candy and a nice note. I call bull shit on that. Because a) candy from strangers is creepy as hell and b) I’m traveling with a baby. I feel like someone should give me a goodie bag. Sorry if my baby cries and annoys you for 30 minutes. Welcome to my life. 

2. Someone will see your tits. Up until recently, the thought of someone catching a glimpse of my NatGeo boobs made me extremely uncomfortable, but when your baby is screaming because the cabin pressure is killing his tiny baby ears, you go into Mama Bear mode and whip that shit out without a care in the world. To the traumatized man in 22C, I apologize. 

3. A blowout. I think babies have a sixth sense about when to have a blowout. Babies don’t shit up their backs when you’re home alone enjoying Netflix and can easily access their diapers and/or a bath. No, they only have poops of gigantic proportions when you’re in a window seat and the stranger in the aisle seat is passed out and drooling, and you’re left with two options: hold your shitty baby until you land, or change your shitty baby in your lap. I chose the lap option. 

4. Your inner germaphobe will come out in full force. I’m not even a germaphobe in real life. If Jack’s pacifier falls on the ground, I barely wipe it off before sticking it right back in his mouth. But something about a plane freaks me the hell out. Every time some one sneezed or coughed, I imagined all the germs floating around that flying germ tube and infecting my baby.

5. To make an oath that you’ll never again travel outside a ten mile radius of your neighborhood until your child is at least in middle school.

Fourth of July Weekend

Ugh, the Monday after a vacation is the worst day, isn’t it? I laid in bed for a beat longer this morning, wishing I was back at the beach with my family.

beachOn Thursday, Cory, Jack and I flew down to Pensacola, Florida to spend the holiday weekend with my family and close family friends (who might as well just be family, you know?) It was so good to be with this group for a few days just laughing and hanging out.

My family has a tradition of spending this holiday together, as well as a peculiar tradition of wearing matching outfits.

kids– Please check out my brother’s Tipsy Elves fanny pack 

(I don’t know why we all dress the same, but I know it’s something we’ve been doing since we were born.)

match

Everyone’s travel schedules had us trickling in at different times, but the whole group (all 12 of us) was together by lunchtime on Friday. I’ll admit, it was quite the treat to have 10 people who were chomping at the bit to have their time with Jack. Both Cory and I soaked up the opportunity to play “pass the baby” and enjoy some down time!

On Friday and Saturday mornings, my mom was basically camped outside our bedroom door waiting for Jack to wake up, and she would cuddle him for an hour or so while Cory and I took walks on the beach. It sounds so simple, but that alone time with Cory was easily one of my favorite parts of the trip.

cory

Thankfully, the weather in Pensacola was perfect on the Fourth. I spent some time down at the beach with Whitney and Lindsay while Cory, my brother and my brother’s girlfriend went jet skiing, and copious amounts of adult beverages were consumed. I have to thank Wes from Tipsy Elves for sending us these fanny packs – they were perfect, and my brother never took his off.

brian2

My brother, Brian, is one of my favorite people in the whole world – he’s the funniest person I know. He’s the life of the party and absolutely ridiculous. I love, love, love spending time with him.

brian

I don’t know if it’s because it was Jack’s first vacation with this group, but I left Pensacola with an extremely full heart. I’ll continue to blame it on the hormones for as long as I can, but having a kid has made me so GD sentimental. I think I finally understand all those moments when I was growing up and I’d look at my mom and say “MoOoOm, are you crying?! STOP CRYING.” 

So, until Jack can roll his eyes and I can embarrass him with my tears, I’ll just continue to happy cry over all the firsts and special moments of this weekend and not feel bad about it. Not one bit.

Balancing Blogging + a Baby

A month or so ago, I put out feelers on Instagram, requesting questions for a Q+A video, and you guys asked excellent ones. I attempted making the video blog, but I was having the most difficult time condensing my answers. I mean really, who wants to watch me talk for 10 minutes? No one. 

(Also, recording a video while home alone with an infant who doesn’t nap is a skill I have yet to master.)

So, I thought I’d do the next best thing and put some of my longer-winded responses into separate blog posts.

balance

photo credit

Julie asked this question, and at first I was like “Great question! I have NO idea!” Balancing blogging with a new baby is no easy task, and it’s one I’ve yet to completely master; but because I feel entirely hit-or-miss these days, I can absolutely say I’ve learned a thing or two in the past few months.

1. Take a maternity leave I don’t care if your blog is your full time job or simply your side hobby, but this is the #1 thing I would have done differently. When you bring home a new baby, your sole focus is that baby. Although this blog was easily sent directly to the bottom of the totem pole when Jack was born, I admit that I still felt a nagging pressure to create new material and post on a semi-regular basis. I was recovering from a c-section, was home alone with a new baby within 4 days of coming home, and oh yeah – I had a new baby… 

2. Set Realistic Expectations …Which brings me to this point. If I had set realistic expectations and told you guys, ‘I’ll be on maternity leave from the blog for X weeks,’ I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Also, I’d suggest setting realistic expectation in regards to the type of and/or frequency of which you’ll post. If you’re used to posting 3 new recipes each week, or posting twice a day, keep in mind that might not be realistic when you have a new baby unless you do a hell of a lot of leg work before you give birth.

3. Don’t be afraid of change …Which brings me to this point (see how this would have been too long of a video?) I had major trepidations about writing “mommy things” on the blog because I was scared I’d lose all of you. I know I did lose some readers, but I’ve actually gained a whole new audience by allowing myself to evolve and write about what’s relevant in my life — which just so happens to be “mommy things.”

4. Avoid campaigns/sponsored posts for the first 6-8 weeks I take pride in my sponsored posts and ad campaigns, but for the first 6-8 weeks, I didn’t feel like I was on top of my game and I feared creating subpar material that someone else was paying me to produce.

5. Frequent reality checks Will your audience disappear if you don’t post this week, even though you didn’t give them a head’s up? No. Will you never work with another brand again because you’ve passed up three opportunities this month? No. Will you ever write material with actual substance ever again? Yes. 

Give yourself some grace, girlfriend. You literally just created a life.

 

Weekend Wrap Up

Our friends Bobby and Whitney came to visit us this weekend! I had been looking forward to this for, like, a month, as we’ve understandably had pretty low-key weekends since Jack was born. It’s been semi-intentional/semi-organic, but once Friday hits all I want to do is spend time with my little family doing a whole lotta nothin’. I’m still in a place where having set plans or a full agenda makes me anxious because Jack’s schedule is unpredictable. I mean, I can estimate when he’ll fall asleep, eat, etc – but it’s not an exact science at all. 

Thankfully, the only thing on our agenda this weekend was WINE.

Jack woke us all up around 5:00 on Saturday morning, so we were at our first winery when the doors opened. We started with a tasting at Saude Creek and bought a few bottles to enjoy on the patio with a few snacks we brought along with us. After we (except Cory, he was the designated driver) were sufficiently buzzed, we headed to New Kent Winery for another tasting.

group

 

More bottles of wine were purchased.

Whitney and I enjoyed a glass on the porch while Jack napped in his stroller and Cory and Bobby played a few games of corn hole. We got back on the road around 4:00, and we were all in bed by 8:00. Thanks a lot, day drinking…

On Sunday, we said our goodbyes to Bobby and Whitney and headed out on a two-mile walk before heading to the grocery store, which has quickly become our Sunday routine. That afternoon, Emily and I made our way over to Lauren’s for a little spa party! The invite specifically instructed us to wear comfy clothes and no makeup — sign.me.up.

lips

We got mini-facials along with other spa-like treatments (lip exfoliating, as seen above!), and it was the perfect way to wind down the weekend, even if we did look ridiculous ;)

Do you have any weekend rituals? 

Long walks and Sunday grocery shopping are ours!

 

What to Expect When You’re Expecting


I’ll tell anyone and everyone that I believe the key to happiness is having realistic expectations, because in reality, stress is when the world as it is rubs up against the world as we think it should be. Right?

And when you’re as Type A as I am, you can easily find yourself stressed and/or upset if you’re not careful. (Because everything should go exactly as we plan, right!?)

That’s why when I got pregnant, I needed to know what to expect. On that same token, I knew I could not have a WebMD pregnancy. I had to stay away from Googling every ache and twinge of pain because I’d absolutely drive myself crazy. But I did want to know what the heck was going on from time to time, you know?

I figured I’d let my mom be my Google, seeing as I felt pretty comfortable with her track record.

When I told my mom this, she recommended that I buy What to Expect When You’re Expecting. At the time, that book seemed so cliche to me for some reason. Really, a book that actually tells me what to expect? (If so, did they have a What to Expect When You’re Living Life as a Human?)

book

My mom swore she found it to be so helpful when she was pregnant with me. Wait – my mom wasn’t born knowing the answer to everything? She was once new at motherhood, just like I am now?  It was shocking to me when she said she consulted that book up until her water broke.

So, as always, I did what my mom suggested. I figured if a book has been around for decades and is a consistent Best Seller, it had to have some substance.

I’ll admit, I was super overwhelmed by all the information when I first sat down with the book when I was 8 weeks pregnant. I made the mistake of thinking I was supposed to read it all at once, like a book. Instead, I quickly learned to consult this book at the beginning of each month.

page

 I greatly appreciated the chapters broken down by weeks, in which the baby’s development was explained, as well as some FAQ’s about what would be going through. My anxious mind was calmed by this book MANY a time!

Come to find out, the series doesn’t stop at Expecting — they made books to help us parents out for the first two years of our baby’s lives!

stack

 

The What to Expect in the First Year has been getting a good deal of use around here. From growth spurts, to breastfeeding, to sleep schedules, The First Year covers it all.

And so what if I’m raising a mini-Type A-me? He likes to know what to expect, and I can’t blame him one bit ;)

reading

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.