going back to work

Itz August 1st, summer is almost over, and I’m going back to work next week.

WHERE IS THE TIME GOING?!?!

We’re both feeling a bit….

william sad 3.5 months

Yeah.  That.

Needless to say, I’m dreading going back to work.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my job, I love my school, I love my co-workers, I love my students.  I know I’m lucky to have a job, and a great one at that.  But I love my baby more and the thought of leaving him for eight hours five days a week breaks my heart.

I know that he will be in good hands.  The best actually.  My mom will have him one day, my mother-in-law one day, and “school” the other three.  Itz a place that Jonny and I both really love and know he will be safe, stimulated, and loved on constantly.

little dude

I just have so many worries.  I’m worried I’m going to miss lots of his “firsts.”  He’s growing and changing by the day. With me being away from him so long, I’m bound to miss something.  I’ve loved spending every minute of every day with him for the last three and a half months.

I’m worried about my milk supply and I know worrying is certainly going to do nothing.  I’m worried about pumping enough at school.  I’m worried about my body adjusting to this new schedule.  I’m worried about getting myself ready and getting to school on time.  Usually we play in the morning, but now I’ll need to figure out a new routine to be able to get myself together quickly, as well as him.  We usually walk in the mornings, but I doubt that is going to happen, at least not in the beginning until I figure out how to make it work. Maybe I’ll start doing quick yet effective at-home workouts since long, leisurely walks probably won’t be happening during the week.

I’ll miss exclusively breastfeeding him and snuggling throughout the day.  I’ll miss weighing him each week after I nurse in the group.  I’ll miss having playdates throughout the week with other cutie pie babies.  I’ll miss singing, dancing, and reading with him during the day.

I’m just going to miss my sweet little baby so much.  I know people make it work all the time, and I’m certainly not the first momma to return to work, but this is a huge first for me, and one I’m feeling super anxious about.  I just love him and don’t want to leave him.

william 3.5 months

How can I leave this sweet guy?! Advice?!

Sorry for the whiny post. Birth story coming Monday…

Summertime at Innsbrook

Summertime at Innsbrook is the best.  It includes family and tons of outdoor time.  What could be better?  Some photos from our trip last weekend:

It was William’s first time on a boat.  He was so ready for it!

william ready for boat

The beautiful lake on a gorgeous day.

lake

We had the cutest drivers and best looking crew.

boat

Steph and I with our babies.

aud steph boat

Audrey has to be touching William AT ALL TIMES.

But if you’re going to spend a day in the sun, you obviously need proper protection.

block island sunscreen

my attempt at posing with the sunscreen. errr……

Block Island Organics recently sent me a bottle of their sunscreen to review.  This was the perfect weekend to try it out. I’ve been hesitant to wear sunscreen this summer because whatever I wore would most likely get on William and I didn’t want that to include chemicals.  So I’ve pretty much stayed out of the sun to avoid needing sunscreen.  However, Block Island Organics is different.

Their philosophy is to actively enjoy the outdoors with the motto “Play Smart. Play Safe. Non-Toxic Suncare.”  As such, they strive to make safe, effective and lovable suncare products.  Their sunscreens are non-toxic mineral based (zinc and titanium), as opposed to chemical based.  Their products are non-comedogenic, vegan formulated, paraben free, phthalate free, nano particle free, artificial fragrance free, non-eye irritating, not tested on animals, made in the USA and highly rated by the Environmental Working Group.  They even have a Baby SPF 30 which will come in handy once William is in the sun more.

Since I lathered my arms and chest in this, it obviously touched William’s skin, but I felt ok about it.  This sunscreen is a bit pricier than other brands, but you have to consider what it is (really, what itz not! Chemicals!).  For one week, Block Island Organics is offering readers a 20% discount code valid from August 1-7, 2014.  Get it while itz hot! (Get it? Ha.)

A weekend at Innsbrook is not complete without cousins and a campfire.

innsbrook

And roasting marshmallows, ooooobviously.

My dad and Jonny (aka pyros) got the fire going once again in the morning.

dad jonny innsbrook

Lots of babywearing happened, too.  Actually, it happened most when my family went out on the boat for the first time.  Rain was in the forecast and I didn’t want to get caught on the lake in the rain with William, so we stayed back.  While babywearing him, I decided to do a little workout and walked up and down the stairs 30 times.  Fit momma for the win!

babywearing innsbrook

What does summertime look like for you?

Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Milkshake

Apparently itz National Cheesecake Day.  I didn’t even know.  Well, this is just perfect!

There’s just something about milkshakes that call summer’s name.  Itz probably because they’re cool and creamy and delicious which compliments summer’s steamy temperatures quite perfectly.  Most milkshakes are not the healthiest, and while itz fun to indulge on occasion, I’ve got a perfect solution that you can feel good about anytime.  Even daily.  Itz a healthy strawberry cheesecake protein milkshake.  And itz absolutely amazing.

Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Milkshake Recipe

Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Milkshake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 scoop Designer Whey Luscious Strawberry protein powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • Pure Via vanilla stevia to taste
  • *optional – whipped cream for garnish

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

If you don’t have or don’t want to use protein powder, reduce the amount of milk.

Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Milkshake

The idea for this healthy strawberry cheesecake protein milkshake came when I saw this lightened-up cheesecake dip.  Anything cheesecake is a win in my book.  And if you want to give it an extra little something, go ahead and top it with some whipped cream.

Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Milkshake Recipe

I mean, why wouldn’t you, really?

What’s your favorite flavor of cheesecake?

Why I Started Blogging

Just over two and a half years ago, I started my own space in the blogosphere.  (Thank you, Jonny, for naming Itz Linz!)  When talking about my blog, I often get asked, “Why did you start blogging?”  So now let me reflect.

william bandana

He’s reflecting.

And sneak in some super cute pictures of William.  Because that’s just what I do.

A few years ago, I didn’t read any blogs except for my sister’s, who chronicled Jacob’s life.  (And now she photographs his, Audrey’s, William’s, and thousands of other babies and families.)  Her blog consisted of adorable pictures, funny anecdotes, and special moments from her first-born.  This was the only blog I knew. Then, Annette, my childhood best friend, began posting her blog Enjoy Your Healthy Life on Facebook.  Curious, I checked it out.  This blog was different.  It had workouts.  It had recipes.  It had product reviews.  It had many things related to health and fitness.  I was hooked.  Much of what I read related to my own life.  I learned from and was motivated by her blog.

Then I discovered there were other blogs in this same healthy living field.  Peanut Butter Fingers, Clean Eating Chelsey, and Healthy Diva Eats were among the first blogs I found through Annette’s.  I began reading them regularly where I discovered there was a whole world of bloggers out there.  I wanted in.

cousins

Just like William clearly wanted in on this picture with his cousins.

As I found more and more blogs, I noticed anyone could blog.  You didn’t have to necessarily be a certified trainer, group fitness instructor, or registered dietitian.  I found myself thinking, “If they can do it, why can’t I?”  I’ve always enjoyed fitness and healthy foods, and many times, my friends and family would ask about it.  A blog just made sense to me.

Plus, I love to write.  I always have.  Writing has forever been my favorite and best subject.  In elementary school, high school, college, and now as a teacher, too.  I love the endless possibilities and the unique personalities that come alive through writing.  I love that writers can do what they want and never be “wrong” when sharing their opinion or creating a story.  Itz always been an outlet for me and now I get to share it with you.

william sunglasses

Yeah, dude.  I love writing, too.

I suppose I should mention product reviews and sponsored posts.  My hesitation with bringing it up in this post is that itz not why I started blogging.  I thought they were only for “big bloggers” (whatever that means).  Now itz a perk.  I enjoy learning about and trying new products, clothes, food, places, etc. and sharing my honest opinion with you.  I find personal reviews much more helpful than commercials.  Blogs are written by real people, and the blogs I like most are the ones that I can relate to.  Blogs are about the connection between people, bloggers and readers alike.  I’ve made true friendships through blogging, and appreciate each and every one of you who take the time to stop by my little spot in this big blogosphere.

Bloggers, why or how did you start?  Non-bloggers, do you have any desire to blog?

Getting Pregnant With PCOS (guest post)

Amy is back today to share Part II of her story.  If you missed the first portion, you can catch up and read it here: The Loss Nobody Talks About.

Admitting There Is a Problem

After still not ovulating months after my miscarriage, with the maximum dosage of Clomid, in October 2013, my OBGYN referred me to a fertility specialist, Dr. Barry Witten.  I researched him and he sounded very experienced, professional, and caring.  I was nervous about going to see a fertility specialist. It seemed like a huge deal and an admission that something was wrong.  Looking back, I want to tell myself, “DUH!  Something was wrong!” and I wish I had pushed to go to a specialist sooner!

Fertility Doctor and IUI’s

At first, I simply met with Dr. Witten, and he looked at my records.  I wanted a plan right away, but he wanted to perform another ultrasound to look at my ovaries and look at blood work while we waited for the right point in my cycle.  As soon as the information came together, Dr. Witten put me on a medication called Femara to help my eggs grow.  Then, Dr. Witten suggested that in addition to the medication, that he do IUI’s (read about what these are on Lindsay’s IUI entry).  Again, I was hesitant.  I didn’t like thinking that Tyler and I would conceive a baby through a medical procedure.  But it wasn’t that bad, and I know that if I hadn’t done them, that each following month that passed that we didn’t conceive, we would be wondering if the IUI would have made the difference and we would be regretting not getting them.

A Diagnosis: PCOS

During the initial cycle with Dr. Witten, he had done an ultrasound of my ovaries and told me I was “a little egg lady”.  LOL – what on Earth?!   He told me that instead of having one big egg each cycle, that I had lots of little eggs.  Unfortunately, these eggs weren’t big enough to ovulate.

I cannot speak more highly of my fertility doctor, but in hindsight, I wish that he had told me there was a name for this at that early point – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  After the second round of IUI’s not working, Dr. Witten mentioned this term, saying it was the number one hormonal reason for infertility.  Tyler (a.k.a. “The Learner”) did research on this ‘little egg lady’ syndrome, and found a study that showed that women with PCOS who struggled with infertility and followed a low-GI diet had much higher fertility rates.  Finally! I had something I could do in a situation I was feeling powerless to stop!  But what on Earth was a low GI diet?!?

I learned that having PCOS means that my body doesn’t do the best job of processing sugars, thus messing with my hormones, kind of similar to someone with diabetes.  I quickly picked up Low GI Diet for Dummies from the library and learned about how different foods (and even cooking methods!) mess up my hormones.  Most High-GI foods are high in starches, carbs, and/or sugars, so, for the first time in my life, I started paying close attention to carbs!  I had always sought out low-fat foods, but never really stopped to consider the damage that carbs and sugars were doing.  Who knew that these ‘staple’ foods were not only turning into fat, but that they were messing up my hormones so much that it was lowering my fertility!  Good-bye, bread!  Good-bye cocktails!  Good-bye, pasta!  Good-bye, potatoes!  By my next IUI, I had tried out lots of new, yummy recipes, greatly reduced my intake of carbs and sugars, and lost a few pounds.  I was very hopeful that the next and third IUI would be the one!

Losing Faith/ Other Options

Well, you would think I would be used to disappointment by this point in time, but each let down was still a crushing blow.  When my third IUI was supposed to roll around in January 2014, my doctor did an ultrasound to confirm that an egg was ready to be released, only to find that my body was not ready to ovulate.  Despite my efforts over the last couple of weeks, for the first time since being on Femara, no eggs had increased in size.  My doctor said that instead of doing the IUI, we would start the cycle over with a stronger dosage of Femara.  I felt like I was entering the post-miscarriage months all over again.  Some initial success followed by mysterious failure after failure.  Despite this, I kept up the low-GI diet.  After another couple of weeks, the stronger dosage did produce an egg that ovulated and we were able to do an IUI… but still no conception.  Yet another let down as Tyler and I were nearing the 2 year mark.

By my fourth IUI, Tyler and I had increased our research in InVitro Fertilization (IVF), as well as some other alternatives to becoming parents the ‘traditional’ way.  I was feeling like this infertility struggle wasn’t ending anytime soon.  I also knew that even if I was blessed enough to become pregnant, that miscarriage was a very real possibility.

What we were finding ourselves most called to was domestic infant adoption.  We attended an adoption informational meeting put on by a local agency.  We had begun filling out the initial application, trying to prepare ourselves for the possible complications, legal issues, and waiting time for getting to adopt a baby, not to mention the responsibility of raising a baby that might not look like us.

By this point in my low-GI journey, I had lost over 10 pounds, and was feeling the most physically fit I had since I started dating Tyler back in my early college years.  I was really seeing the results of my diet kicking in, but starting to feel pulled away from pregnancy and wanting to invest myself more into pursuing adoption.  We think it’s because of the low-GI diet that, before the IUI, my doctor even told me that this month, I had TWO big eggs that were ready to ovulate.

Resolution

The night of March 3, 2014, after our fourth round of IUI and two years after getting off birth control, Tyler and I got another positive pregnancy test!  In the weeks to come, we found out that we were having twins!

amy announcement

Later, we found out that our babies would be a boy and a girl!  We’d like to say that we were as confident about these babies as we were about BunBun, but there’s something about going through infertility and miscarriage that a) makes you hesitant to be fully excited (but thankfully that’s getting easier with each OB appointment) and b) makes you realize how fragile life is, and really makes you value it and be thankful for it.  We are due in November, have gone from lamenting our circumstances to feeling extremely blessed, and are anxiously looking forward to holding our twins in our arms!

To You, The Reader

For me, I think what helped me conceive in the end was finding a great fertility specialist, fully understanding my PCOS diagnosis, limiting high GI foods, and time.  I do feel, as with going through any difficult life experience, forever changed by this struggle (in negative and positive ways), I am believing more and more that, while I might not understand why I had to go through this, that it was for a reason, or maybe several reasons:

1. During this time in my life, I became a lot closer with my aunt, who tried for 10 years to have children, and never did.  2. While I’m sure that I still say and do things out of ignorance towards others’ situations, I feel a lot more genuine empathy to others.  3. I also developed a strong heart for fostering and adoption, and, while no one knows what the future will bring, Tyler and I see ourselves possibly fostering to adopt a sibling set after the twins are ‘big kids’.

For those of you wishing for a baby:  Your feelings are valid.  Infertility truly does suck.  Miscarriage does suck.  No one talks about it.  Those two years created the worst times and feelings in my life thus far.  I hope that you can share your struggle with friends that are going through it, or that have gone through it.  I hope the journey doesn’t take you as long as it’s taking / has taken me, but unfortunately I know that many women spend longer amounts of time waiting; often with more heartbreak.

I do believe there is a plan for you.  It may be InVitro, it may be adoption, it may be waiting, it may be IUI’s, or it may be, like my aunt, discovering lots of happiness and fulfillment without having her own children.  Just know, you are not alone in this struggle!

amy gender reveal

<3 Amy

Major thanks to Amy for sharing her struggle, her story, and her absolutely marvelous news with us!  I’m so excited to meet your littles when they enter this world!

bow tie baby

Let’s be real here.  William is the cutest bow tie baby you’ve ever seen, am I right or am I right?!

bowtie william

My mom bought him this special outfit from Sak’s Fifth Avenue for Justin’s wedding, and I decided he needed to wear it again before he grew out of it!  The bow tie, the vest, the pants – itz all just so darn cute!

Audrey thought he was pretty stinkin’ cute, too, when she babysat him.

audrey

She thinks holding him is the coolest thing ever and lets out such happy shrieks when he’s in her arms.  Just look at her smile!

William’s striped bow tie matched Mama’s pretty outfit, too!

mama

Papa told William all about how he was going to teach him golf, pool, swimming, bowling, and ping pong… tomorrow.  William was very excited about it!

papa

Do William and Poppy have the same eyes, or what?

poppy

Look how happy Grandma Adelaide and William are together:

grandma adelaide

William is lucky to have so many amazing great-grandparents in his life!

Look at William sticking out his cute little tongue at his daddy:

jonny

William was Mr. Social this week.  Not only did he see many of his great-grandparents, but we went to a Mommy N Me class where he saw a whole bunch of his buddies.  Then, he had a play date with Leo who is one month older than William.

leo

Leo’s momma, Nichole, and I go back to teaching way too soon.  We’re not ready to leave our babies yet!

William also had a play date with his new buddy Wolf!

wolf

Wolf is eight months old and gave William some of his stylish hand-me-downs!  Thanks, buddy!!  Wolf and William are in the same play group and both LOVE music!

Yaya and Jackson taught William to read. #smartestbabyever

jackson yaya read

And then I went home and promptly made my own set of flashcards!

Lots of babywearing happened since I got my new wrap.  (More coming on this topic.)

kangaroo wrap

I know he’s not wrapped correctly here. I was attempting the kangaroo front carry which is much more difficult than I anticipated.  I love my new wrap and William loves being wrapped!  Any other babywearers out there??

Whew, this turned into a long post.  Itz time for bed…

william bear

Nighty night!

Tell me something from your week!  Weekend plans?  We are heading to Innsbrook!

7 On-the-Go Power Breakfasts

Being busy is something I think the vast majority of us can relate to.  However busy, you must eat breakfast.  Momma always said, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”  And she’s right.  Breakfast is a must.  Today I have Samantha Turner, certified health coach, guest posting with her favorite 7 On-the-Go Power Breakfasts.  Samantha writes a blog, offers free health consultations, a plethora of easy, healthy recipes, and sends a weekly newsletter.

samantha turner

I love to cook. And sometimes there’s nothing better than waking up, turning on some music and making a big, delicious, hearty breakfast of eggs with veggies, toast, and fresh fruit.  However, there’s not always enough time to cook AND sit down to a big meal in the morning.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t have something delicious and nutritious to start your day!  Instead of grabbing a pre-packaged breakfast bar that could be loaded with sugars, refined flours, preservatives, and additives, try one of these simple On-the-Go Power Breakfasts that are filled with nutrients to get your day started right!

7 on the go power breakfasts

#1. The Original: This is where it all started.  I like to wake up and go for a run, but need something to get my metabolism going before I leave the house.  In a small bowl, mix together a banana and a large scoop of almond butter and a teaspoon of chia seeds.  This simple breakfast packs in protein, healthy fats, fiber, and is low in sugar.  The banana and almonds also contain vitamins and nutrients that are linked to heart health, weight-loss, and combating diabetes.

#2. Almond-Ginger:  I absolutely love ginger!  It’s known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties as well as reducing muscle pain and is often used to calm an upset tummy.
Mix together:

  • a banana
  • a large scoop of almond butter
  • a tablespoon of fresh, chopped ginger
  • a splash of almond extract

#3. Mint-Chocolate:  A little fancier than the previous combos, but worth the extra steps!
Mix together:

  • a banana
  • a large scoop of almond butter
  • a tablespoon of fresh, chopped ginger
  • a teaspoon of fresh, chopped mint
  • a teaspoon of raw cacao
  • a splash of vanilla extract

Raw cacao is what chocolate is made from.  It’s packed with antioxidants, can help control blood pressure and promote cardiovascular health.  It does contain theobromine, which has stimulant properties similar to caffeine.  So if you are sensitive to caffeine, do some research on this superfood before trying it.

ginger

#4. Triple Berry: This one got into my rotation as farmer’s markets opened up selling fresh, organic, locally grown berries.  Berries have anti-oxidants, lots of vitamin C (promoting joint flexibility), as well as water and fiber, which help with weight-loss.
Mix together:

  • a banana
  • a large scoop of almond butter
  • a teaspoon of freshly chopped ginger
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • any amount of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries

#5. Ginger-Coconut: Coconut flakes contain healthy fats as well as carbs and protein for energy.
Mix together:

  • a banana
  • a large scoop of almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon raw coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • splash of almond extract
  • dash of salt

chia

#6. Chia Seed Pudding:  I love that you can make this one the night before and have it ready to go in the morning.  Chia seeds provide anti-inflammatory properties, can aid in digestion, and can help lower cholesterol.
Soak ¼ cup of chia seeds in 1 cup of water (for as little as 10 minutes, or overnight).
Add:

  • 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • berries or ½ chopped apple
  • a small handful of chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of salt

#7. Cinnamon-Vanilla Quinoa Breakfast Pudding: Quinoa is known for its high protein content and being a gluten-free grain.  I often use quinoa in my cooking, so I use pre-cooked leftovers for this power breakfast.

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup milk or milk substitute
  • small handful chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 sliced banana
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • dash of salt

For #1-5 you can mix by hand or put in a blender.  In terms of the portions, you can absolutely adjust to your tastes.  I usually just eyeball it instead of actually measuring it out, especially as I get more comfortable with the recipes.

I am a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.  I support people in achieving their health goals related to weight-loss, healthy cooking, and stress management.  If you like these recipes and want to see more, or to find about my Health Coaching services, check out my website and sign up for my weekly newsletter!

http://samantha-turner.healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com/

What’s your on-the-go power breakfast?

good day

Yesterday was a good day.  Nothing extraordinary happened, it was just a good day, in general.  Let me tell you about it… WIAW style.  Itz been awhile since we’ve had a WIAW post.  Here we go.

First of all, it started out with this cutie, so it was basically impossible for it not to be a good day!  I mean seriously, check out this stud:

william bowtie

Too handsome.

After I nursed William and pumped first thing in the morning, I was getting hungry.  I decided to make overnight oats and just planned to let them soak for a short while.  In the meantime, I had a couple bites of A Loving Spoon’s Honey Vanilla Bourbon Peanut Butter.

a loving spoon

A Loving Spoon was created by fellow FitFluential ambassador Sarah Kay Hoffman (A Gutsy Girl). The peanut butter comes in the cutest little jars ever.  I’d like to think they’re single servings in there, but itz definitely supposed to be more than that.  Let’s just say I could eat the whole jar in one sitting.  And itz gluten, grain, dairy, egg, soy, and preservative-free. Most importantly, itz absolutely delicious.

As good as the peanut butter was, I decided I probably shouldn’t consume the entire jar for breakfast, so approximately twenty minutes after I made my overnight oats, I ate them.  And failed to take a picture.  They weren’t very pretty anyway.

William and I went over to my grandparents’ house.  Mama and William had the stripes thing going on.

mama

I snacked over there to tide me over until our lunch date at Brio where we met my sister, Audrey, and my mom.

mom mama steph aud

It was a lovely lunch with these lovely ladies.  (William slept the majority of the time.)

But because you can’t possibly see the full cuteness of Miss Audrey’s outfit, here is a close up of my little mini me:

audrey

Diva.

When we got home, it was William’s turn to eat.  We played a bunch, and he went down for another nap.  My mom came over and helped me totally organize all the shoes in my closet.  It was a disaster.  And by “helped me” I really mean my mom did it.  I really have a hard time staying organized.  I got rid of several pairs and the remaining shoes are very organized.  I will do my very best to keep it that way.  Thanks, Mom!

Around this time, Jonny came home and he and William did some daddy-son bonding where they read books, listened to music, sang, and played catch.

william ball

For dinner, we wanted something fast and easy, so for the second night in a row we had tuna melt sandwiches and fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden.  (Tomatoes came from our garden and cucumbers came from a neighbor’s.)

tuna melt

For the tuna melt, all we did was sprinkle some cheddar cheese on one side, add a can of tuna, and place sliced tomatoes and cucumbers on the other.  We toasted the sandwiches and wah-lah!  Dinner was served.

A couple of days ago I was really in the mood to bake a cake I saw on Pinterest.  It was a Boston Cream Poke Cake to be exact.  Instead of chocolate frosting I used vanilla and added sprinkles.  We made our friends Diana and Andy come over to have a slice with us since we didn’t need a whole cake to ourselves.  Then, we gave a chunk to my in-laws and another chunk to my grandparents.  That left us with the perfect amount to have an extra generous portion last night for dessert.

cake

And that, my friends, was why it was a good day.

What’s good about your day?

 

How To Prepare For A Walk With A Baby

How To Prepare For A Walk With A Baby – Sounds simple, right?  Wrong!  New mommas know, there’s nothing easy about babies.  Everyone encourages new moms to get out of the house and take a walk. There are many reasons including exercise, fresh air, sunlight, and merely getting out of the house for a short time which feels good after you just had a baby.  Doctors and other moms will agree.  But what if your baby cries the second you put him in his car seat?  What if you don’t know what to bring?  Will he get hungry during the walk?  These are all real fears and the reality of learning with a newborn.

I recently had a new momma reach out and ask how I prepare to take a walk with William as I’ve been taking them almost daily.  Walks are my main form of fitness these days, so itz important to me I take them.  Fitness should be fun and stress-free no matter what it is, and that’s how walks have become.  Like most everything else with a baby, itz been trial and error, but I’ve figured out what works best for us.  I hope you find these tips helpful because getting outside in the fresh air and warm sunshine feels so good, especially during times when you may need it most!

how to prepare for a walk with a baby

The first thing to consider when attempting to take a walk with your baby is the weather.  Babies have a harder time than adults regulating their body temperature, so itz important you go during mild temperatures.  I’ve been going in the morning before it gets too hot and before the sun is blazing. (Itz recommended that sunscreen is used only on babies six months older, though some people use it sooner. I try to avoid situations where I would need to use sunscreen on William as I don’t want him exposed to the sun for long periods of time right now.)

Itz better to go if itz a little cooler rather than a little hotter. The reason being that you can always bundle up your baby, but itz harder to cool them off.  And a hot baby is a cranky baby, and nobody wants that.  We’ve had unseasonably cooler temperatures in St. Louis for July.  Many mornings have been barely 60 degrees, so I keep William in his footed cotton sleeper, add a hat, and put a lightweight blanket on him.  That has worked well.  If itz 70, he’s in a onesie and a lightweight blanket with the option to remove the blanket if he seems too warm.  80 or 85 is the warmest I’ve taken him in, and I probably wouldn’t take him if it were any warmer and the sun was beating down for fear of overheating.  (That may be dramatic, but as a first time mom I’m definitely overly cautious!)

Now for the big secret…

The key to taking a walk with your baby is to go right around the time he or she is due for a nap!  

carseat

Babies love movement and sleep best when moving (think: rocking, swaying, bouncing) which is why most pregnant women don’t feel their babies kicking and moving throughout the day; instead, we feel them at night when we’ve slowed down a bit.  The same goes once they’re here.  That’s why there are so many bassinets, rockers, gliders, bouncers, rock n plays, etc. that MOVE in order to soothe babies!  It makes sense!

Many people suggest following the eat – play – sleep order for babies.  Whether you follow this or not (we follow no schedule here!), you want to time your walk with the sleeping portion.  Sometimes that means we play a little, eat, play a little more, and then walk, while other times it means we play a lot, eat, and then we’re reading for our walk right away.  It will vary with every baby, and even from day to day!

Once William wakes up from one of his morning naps, I unswaddle him and let him wiggle and kick around his crib for awhile.  He’s always (usually) so happy when he wakes up, so itz fun to see him laugh and smile and move around.

crib

Then, I decide whether itz time to play more or nurse.  This depends on the last time William’s eaten and what he wants.  Babies are in control!  If itz been a couple hours, most likely he’s ready to eat again, so we eat.

eyes

After we eat, we play.  And we play hard.  I really let William wiggle and move to tire him out.  Plus, if I expect him to sit in his car seat for a little while during our walk, I want to make sure I give him the opportunity to MOVE before and after.

So, we play on our activity mat.

activity mat

We have tummy time which requires LOTS of energy and strength!

tummy time

All that moving around after he’s eaten usually gets his insides moving… which means itz time for a diaper change!  He does some more moving and grooving with his wrist rattles while I change his dirty diaper.  (Even if itz just wet, I suggest putting him in a clean diaper before you walk.  I wouldn’t want to sit in wetness – neither does he.)

smile wrist rattles

Once you have that baby all ready, then itz time to get yourself ready.  I usually put WIlliam back on his activity mat or in his bouncer seat to keep him entertained for a few minutes.  I put on my walking clothes and get everything ready for our walk. (I put my water bottle, garage door opener, and phone in the stroller.  I put a leash on Zoey.  I make sure there is a diaper and wipes and plastic bag for Zoey in the stroller, just in case.)  Once I’m completely ready, then itz time to put William in his car seat.

Alas, he’s starting to get tired!  Once he starts to get tired, itz time to put him in.  You don’t want to wait until he’s totally sleeping.  If you do, you risk waking him up while you strap him in, and mommas know – itz never good to wake a sleeping baby!

carseat

And we begin our walk!  Sometimes William falls asleep two seconds out the door.  Other times, he’s awake, but drifts off shortly after we begin walking.  When he’s awake, itz the perfect opportunity to talk about everything you see outdoors and the sounds.  Sun shining, wind blowing, trees whistling, dogs barking, whatever it may be.

William does not typically sleep in his car seat.  Walks are the one exception because of the movement.  If he’s not sleeping at first or if he wakes up during the walk, he’s fine because of the calming effect the movement of the stroller has.  Plus, all his needs are met.  He’s already eaten, changed, and slept.

Itz definitely a trial and error game with finding what works best for you and discovering how to use the baby’s timing to your advantage.  If you take away nothing else from this blog post, the best time to take a walk is when your baby is fed, changed, and ready for a nap.   Then itz a happy walk for all!

walk

Are you a walker?  How’s the weather been where you live?  Mommas, how do you prepare to take your baby/kids for a walk?

William’s babysitters

William is so incredibly loved. Of course by us, but also by our extended family members and friends, many of whom have offered to be William’s babysitters.  But there are two babysitters in particular who are William’s favorite.

jacob audrey ohio

Jacob and Audrey.  Since I’m with my sister Stephanie so often, these two little kiddies are with William very frequently.  They love him and always want to help out.  There have been several times where I’ve babysat all three of them together.  You’d think it would be difficult for a new mom with a new baby, but Jacob and Audrey are so good with William that handling all three at the same time is actually totally fine!

Like when we were in Ohio for Justin’s wedding.  Every time Audrey came to our room, she exclaimed, “I have that same crib in my room!”  And they thought it was the coolest thing ever to get in the pack-n-play with William.

jacob audrey packnplay

Audrey partied with William on the Fourth of July.

audrey william flag

Last time Audrey and Jacob were at my house, they took control.

First, Audrey buckled William into his bouncy seat.

buckle in

Then, Jacob read to him.

jacob read

And when Jacob finished, it was Audrey’s turn.

audrey read

But then the cutest thing happened.  Without any prompting at all..

audrey touching face

So Audrey. So gentle.  So adorable.

And of course Jacob and Audrey were right by William’s side for his first piano lesson with Aunt Stephanie.

piano1

But they found it much more amusing when she played the keys with William’s tushie.

piano

Speaking of music… Audrey took William to his first concert.

audrey holding william

She just has SO MUCH love for him.  Can’t get enough!

audrey kiss

William’s babysitters are the best.

Do you remember any of your babysitters growing up? I don’t, but I do remember spending the night countless times at my grandparents and great-grandparents’ homes!