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Mommy Mania

Mommy Mania Pregnancy

18 Weeks With Daphne Grace

May 13, 2019

How far along? 18 Weeks
Baby is the size of a:  Bell Pepper

 

Total weight gain: Still 0

Stretch marks? Nope.

Baby Development: Daphne’s nerves are growing their protective covering this week! Her blood vessels are visible through her skin and she has all her reproductive organs!

Best moment this week: Hearing Daphne Grace’s heartbeat! She has a strong little ticker. This week was a whirlwind! I couldn’t even tell you what we had for dinner last night.

Movement:  Daphne Grace is moving like crazy! I never remember Winnie J moving like this.
Food cravings: I’m super proud of myself! This week was craving free and I ate super clean.

Miss Anything? Wine was hard to resist this week.

 

Symptoms: I felt SO good this week! No pain or headaches! I think the second trimester energy has hit and I could not be more grateful!

Belly Button in or out? OUT!
Wedding rings on or off? Still on!

Mood? Focused. Trying to prep for the end of the school year!

Winifred Update: I swear I have the most fun kid in the world. When we are home, she has very little interest in her toys! All she wants to do is whatever Will and I are doing. She is a great helper with the laundry. She’ll take clothes out of the bin and hand them to us to fold. She loves to ride the bin back and forth to the laundry room! Her favorite “toys” are remotes, cups, and car keys! She has developed this fake “laugh” taught to her by her lovely father and it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever. Winnie J enjoys her outside time more than anything! She got super sick this weekend. It was heartbreaking to see her so miserable but I didn’t hate all the snuggles. STILL WAITING FOR TEETH.

 

 

Looking forward to: Car Shopping! This momma needs a new car if I’m gonna be hauling around 2 tiny humans!

Mommy Mania

17 Weeks with Daphne Grace

May 2, 2019

How far along? 17 Weeks
Baby is the size of a:  White Onion, Play Station Controller, Chipmunk
Total weight gain: Staying even
Maternity clothes? It’s a lifestyle.

Stretch marks? Nope.

Baby Development: Daphne’s brain is beginning to coordinate things, like regulating her heartbeat! Did you know that for the first 16 weeks, the heartbeat is not controlled by the brain?? I had no idea. She is getting a stronger umbilical chord that is delivering more and more nutrients to her. The cartilage is not turning into bone, so I need to make sure I’m getting super nutrient dense foods! The coolest part, Daphne already has eggs in her ovaries. I’m carrying part of my grandchildren!! This week was fascinating for me to learn about.

Best moment this week: Will and I had a great week for our relationship. Having Winnie and being pregnant has caused us to become AMAZING communicators. We’ve made it a point to sit together for dinner no matter what, and that has led to conversations of adoration and growth. I’ve loved evolving our relationship and making sure the other feels loved amongst the chaos.

Movement:  She moves the most when I bend over! Daphne definitely likes her space!
Food cravings: This weeks was Chinese food week! I think I had it 5 or 6 times. Poor Will, he was so gracious to indulge me.

Miss Anything? Nothing this week, really. This was a very joyful week all around.

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My little rollie pollie

Symptoms: DING DONG THE HEADACHES ARE GONE! Coffee was my answer. I’m making sure to get my water intake and eat small meals. I’ve had to switch my prenatal vitamins to the evening because they’ve been causing me to throw up for some reason, so that’s weird. Toward the end of this week, I experienced severe round ligament pain. No fun. It loosened up after some heat and stretching. This just means I need to incorporate more exercise into my day. My sleep has been incredible, which I’m super grateful for.

Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? Still on!

Mood? Much better this week, just tired. JOY was the feeling for this week.

Winifred Update: Winnie J turned 8 months this week and we are having SO. MUCH. FUN. She has taught herself to wave and is now waving “HI” to literally everything. We walk her around the house and waves at everything and we’ll tell her the name of it. “Hi, oven. Hi, TV. Hi, window, etc.” She hasn’t quite mastered the “bye-bye” waving, but we’re working on it. She is CRAWLING (kind of). She pulls herself forward with her arms and engages one leg. She is so determined to move. I love watching her figure out what works. Her determination and tenacity are admirable. Winifred is the happiest baby and loves her routine! She has this crinkle nose smile that makes my heart melt. She is soaking in everything we do and I love watching her wonder about the world.

Looking forward to: Week 18! I have a shower for a dear college friend whom I can’t wait to see. We will hear Daphne Grace’s heartbeat on Monday and I’m so excited!

Mommy Mania Pregnancy

16 Weeks with LL2

April 21, 2019

How far along? 16 Weeks
Baby is the size of a:  Dill pickle
Total weight gain: Back where I started!
Maternity clothes? I forgot that dresses were a thing and I’m a happy gal now.

Stretch marks? None!

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If it has an owl on it, she wants it. She’s going Chi O for sure.

Baby Development: LL2 is getting more nutrients and hormones from the placenta now! She outweighs the placenta by about 1 or 2 oz.  She is developing her sense of sight, sound, smell and touch. Her eyes are not open yet, but she can detect light and can hear everything going on. Her ears are moving into place on the side of her head and she is starting to look more human and less alien-like.
Sleep:  I’ve been staying up way too late. I think it’s because of the time to myself I get after Winnie goes down. I regret it every morning when I wake up , yet I do it again the next night, haha. I’m getting awesome sleep when I do go to bed, though! I switched to Friends before bed, so my dreams have been much more pleasant.

^^ WJ learned how to drop food for the dogs, she is now Zeus’ favorite human. She has also fallen in love with taking everything out of a basket and surrounding herself with it.

Best moment this week: Honestly, my students were the best part of my week. I love this time of year with my kids. They know summer is coming but they still love being in school (mostly). The curriculum gets a tad lighter, leaving room for some amazing, engaging activities and lessons. Our last few weeks are full of year end testing, so we  play games and laugh to keep our brains alive! They’re starting to become second graders and I love watching them talk and interact with each other. Their behavior this week was magical and I’m so grateful for their attitudes. Also, taking Winnie J to see the easter bunny was amazing.

Movement:  Definitely some actual flipping going around in there! Makes my heart so happy!
Food cravings: I want pasta all day every day. I need to watch my carb intake to avoid a giant baby, but WOW only carbs sound good. Will has been doing an incredible job cooking the most delicious, and healthy meals. He incorporates my cravings while giving me all the nutrients baby and I need. Fruit of any kind always sounds incredible.
Miss Anything? I miss not having a head that hurts.

Symptoms: The headaches are continuing and I’m DONE. The nausea is completely gone, which is a total blessing. I can’t tell if the fatigue is from LL2, teaching 18 tiny humans, or having a 7 month old.

*Update- I reincorporated coffee into my mornings and have been headache free! Its only been 3 days, so well’ see.

Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? Still on!

Mood? My mood has been much better this week. Minus the headaches, I’ve had much more energy and feel more positive. My moods still change hour by hour, but we’re getting more on the better side! I feel better when I’m productive, even when I don’t want to be.

^^First trip to see the Easter Bunny and Hobby Lobby in the same day!

Winifred Update: She is LAUGHING y’all! It’s the single most amazing sound I’ve ever heard in my entire life. I’ve been waiting forever to hear her laugh and it was so worth the wait. Winifred continues to babble like crazy with a lot more consonant sounds. Her favorite place to talk is in her crib as she falls asleep and in the morning when she wakes up. She had physical therapy this week and her therapist said she’s doing amazing. She is right on schedule with all her developments and she is SO close to crawling. She can pull herself forward and get on her hands and knees, but has trouble putting those pieces together. She still sits completely straight legged, but the physical therapist isn’t worried about her hips anymore! Her legs just need to be manipulated when she sits until she can do it on her own.  Winnie no longer has a head tilt from Torticollis, so we’ll just be monitoring for any changes as she starts walking and crawling. Winnie should only have 1 more appointment before she’s done with therapy!! I’m so proud of our smoosh and how hard she works. She’s not a quitter, that’s for sure! She also saw the Easter Bunny this weekend and was so unbothered. She didn’t even look at him!

Looking forward to: Winifred turns 8 months next week and we have another appointment for LL2, whose name is……..

 

Mommy Mania

The Spinning Plates

April 19, 2019

“Want a topic idea for your mom blogging- What about how motherhood is a never ending, no winning struggle. If you focus on work, you neglect your family. If you focus on family, you neglect your work. If you focus on the kids, you neglect your husband. If you focus on your husband, you neglect your kids. Focus on you, and you neglect EVERYTHING. Then, you just end up with your toddlers watching the Baby First Channel so you can at least do the dishes.” This text message came from a co-worker of mine, an incredible teacher and supermom of toddler twins. I must admit, this came at the perfect time. Her words comforted me, not because I was taking solace in her misery, but because I related to her on a spiritual level.

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The picture that accompanied the text message, shared with permission. Any mommas relate to just wanting one minute of peace!?

You’ve heard the metaphor of the man spinning plates. He has them balanced on tiny sticks, all spinning in sync. It’s his job to keep all the plates spinning at the same time, taking time on each of them. If he focuses too much time on one plate, the others will fall. If he doesn’t move fast enough, they will crash to the ground. I can picture the chaos. An image of shattering porcelain and a man frantically sweating as his efforts become futile. The spinning is unsustainable, he can’t continue forever. This is the perfect picture of parenthood. Except, the plates are on fire.

There is no break in the world of the spinning plates, the movement never ends. Sometimes there is a brief moment, usually when Winnie is asleep, when I think “We got this, we can do this”. Then, the morning comes; Winnie had a blowout in bed, she won’t eat breakfast, I forgot to move the laundry to the dryer, I didn’t get my lesson plans done, we’re late to daycare drop off, and I didn’t get to kiss my husband goodbye. Crash.

Often, spinning the plates brings guilt. Guilt from feeling as though no part of your life is getting all of you. Feeling pulled in a million different directions and not knowing which plate to tend to first. For me, a messy house means a happy kid who has spent quality time with her mom. Being late on grades or lesson plans means I’ve had date night with my husband or took time to sweep the mountains of dog hair off my floor. Engaging, colorful lessons usually means lack of sleep or laundry getting washed for the 3rd time.  It’s a day to day struggle, which plate will spin the fastest today? I either feel like I’m killin’ it, or they’re all crashing to the floor.

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The thought of adding another kid into the mix sent me into an anxiety induced frenzy. I still struggle to picture what out lives will look like.  I thought, “We’re either going to have happy kids, a clean house, or my students are going to have the best teacher ever. Not all three”. Will came in our room to find me bawling one night. He asked me what was wrong and I couldn’t fully explain my thought process. I was overwhelmed, emotional (thank you hormones), and exhausted. I expressed to him how anxious I was about becoming a family of four. “This is really difficult, babe. I never feel like I’m doing enough for anyone! I know moms do this everyday!! Since the beginning of time mothers have had way harder lives than me and have juggled WAY more children! Am I the only mom crying in bed tonight? Do all parents feel like this?” Will looked at me with love drenched eyes. “Yeah, love. Being a parent is just that difficult, but you have me and we can do this. Our kid is happy and our house is perfectly clean, we’re good. I love you so much”. I repeated those words over and over. **Thank goodness for an incredible husband who is my complete partner in everything.**

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Falling asleep, I asked God how on earth we were going to keep our plates spinning. It hit me. Not once had I come to God with my anxiety about the future. I’d been feeling like it was all on my shoulders as the Mom. I got a swell of emotions in my heart. I felt like God was saying “Give it to Me”. The weight felt lighter when I realized a have a God who wants to help me spin my plates! I’d been trying to do everything “on my own” but, just like the man, my spinning was unsustainable by myself. I began to pray nightly for God to show me which plate needed attention. I accepted that I could only do my best each day, and that was enough. If I gave more attention to my job one day, I gave more to my family the next. If I focus everything on Winnie one day, I make sure Will gets extra love the next.  And if a crashed to the floor, God has a whole cabinet full of new plates each day. My anxiety came from the enemy telling me I wasn’t good enough and my desire to give my all to every single priority. It’s still difficult for me to let go and accept that not everything would be perfect all the time. I’m learning day by day that the world continues to spin even though my plates do not. We will all be ok.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7

It’s not just parenthood. Everyone has their plates to juggle, their own priorities. Parenthood just adds a little extra pizazz to the plates. Life can get overwhelming very quickly. It is incredible that we have a God who is willing to take some plates when we get tired.

 

Mommy Mania Pregnancy

15 Weeks with LL2

April 14, 2019

 

How far along? 15 Weeks
Baby is the size of a:  box of crayons, pear, yellow canary, small avocado
Total weight gain: -1 (right now, sleeping beats eating)
Maternity clothes? Living my best life!

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Stretch marks? Nope!

Baby Development: LL2’s lungs are developing in overtime right now! She can breathe in the amniotic fluid that will help her lungs develop air sacs. Her eyes and ears are moving into the right position on her face. Her heart is pumping 25 quarts of blood a DAY! She can now bend her knees and elbows!
Sleep:  The vivid dreams are turning into nightmares, probably because of the SVU I watch before bed. The anxiety creeps in as I fall asleep and is making it harder to drift off. This is about the time in my pregnancy with Winifred where I had to be put on anti anxiety meds, but I’m hoping to avoid that this time around. A calming bedtime routine is in my future.

Best moment this week: RAIDER!!!!!!!!!!!! Even though we didn’t win, I’m so stinkin’ proud to be a Red Raider! I also stepped out of my comfort zone and became a contributor for the Midland Moms Blog! I had my first event this week. After a minor anxiety attack in the parking lot, I went it and mingled my little heart out. I’m proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and I can’t wait to see what the MMB is all about. We also went to a crawfish boil with the people we love! Needless to say, momma and baby were both pleased with the spicy goodness.

 

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Watching the Tech game with Daddy!

Movement:  I felt some “no doubt about it” movement from LL2, which just made my heart so happy! LL2 is super low, so I’m only feeling twitches.
Food cravings: Got my first real pregnancy food craving this week! Kraft Mac and Cheese. It was so bad that I couldn’t sleep, and sweet Will had to go to the store at 11 pm for me. Now, this was weird because I generally do not like Mac and Cheese…so baby was definitely in charge.  I ate about 4 bites and couldn’t stomach it anymore, but it satisfied baby so I could sleep. Other than that, I can’t get enough popsicles.
Miss Anything? Not this week!

Symptoms: MIGRAINES. Y’all, I did not have this many headaches with Winnie J. I get one every day and nothing helps. Essential oils, caffeine, Tylenol, sleep, showers, Ice packs, NOTHING. I’m dying and I hope they go away soon. It makes teaching and momming really difficult.

Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? Still on!

Mood? Cranky, because of the headaches. My fuse is about a centimeter long and I blow at any inconvenience. These are the worst and I feel sorry for my students and husband. I’m not a very pleasant person to be around during a headache.

Winifred Update: This girl is the light of my freaking LIFE. She is talking non-stop! She babbles and sings along to the radio, using her paci as a microphone. Winnie J is enthralled with her Daddy. Everywhere he goes her eyes follow him or she wants to be right there. I love watching their relationship grow. If Will has anything to say about it, she’ll have a game controller in her hand by age 3! She THRIVES in the bathtub. She loves to get the water dumped over her head and chase her floating toys in the water. She is a professional splasher, and giggles like a maniac when she gets into her towel. Right now, her favorite bath toy is the cup mom uses to dump water on her. WJ has also discovered her tongue and can make the cutest little noises when she’s eating.
Looking forward to: The headaches going away and Feeling more movement! Also, planning a name announcement!

Mommy Mania

14 Weeks With LL2

April 5, 2019

How far along? 14 weeks
Baby is the size of a:  Lemon, House Mouse, Troll Doll
Total weight gain: None! Staying steady.
Maternity clothes? Just bought a pair of overalls and I’m a tid bit more pumped than I should be.

Stretch marks? No new ones!

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Baby Development: LL2’s kidneys are now producing urine! She is taking every ounce of protein I have to begin to build those muscles. Her immune system is beginning to develop, too! By now, she can make facial expressions and even suck her thumb!
Sleep:  Winifred has decided she missed her night feeding so we’re back to being up from 2-3, but other that that she sleeps like a champ. I’m still having vivid dreams and any caffeine after 6 greatly affects my ability to fall asleep quickly. Vivid dreams are still occurring.

Best moment this week: Got to hear a strong heartbeat this week (157)! Took the doctor about 10 minutes and it was the most terrifying part of either pregnancy. However, once he found it, it was the sweetest sound!

Movement: I have felt stronger “twitches” really low in my abdomen! Doc says within the next couple of weeks I’ll start to feel “no doubt about it” movements. Will can’t wait to feel!
Food cravings: Potato. Chips.
Miss Anything? Not this week, really. I actually had a lot more energy and felt very myself.

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Symptoms: Still getting headaches but they have definitely been more dull this week. My energy comes in spurts and fatigue hits quickly. I’ve been experiencing “Round Ligament Pain”, which was something new for me. When I step with my left foot I get a pinching feeling right below my belly button. The more I move, the better I feel! Also, I feel more nauseous than I did in the first trimester. Is that a thing?

Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? Still hanging on! I don’t think these will last as long with this one though!

Mood? Up and Down energy. One minute I’m cleaning the house like a mad woman, the next I can’t keep my eyes open!

Winifred Update: Little Winnie J has developed quite the personality! She is so animated and loves loves loves to get kisses. She grew out of her baby tub and is taking sitting up baths now. She learned to splash around and loves getting the water dumped on her head. Bath time is our favorite time of day. Still no crawling but she’s working on it. Her favorite food this week was a beet, pomegranate puree! She’s learned to shake her head “No”. I don’t think she really knows what it means but she thinks it’s the best thing ever. She is eating like a CHAMP! Mostly purees to help her gain weight, but she picked up a strawberry and went to town!

 


Looking forward to: Feeling bigger kicks, warmer weekends, sleeping through the night and watching Tech win their game this Saturday!

 

Mommy Mania Organization

Natural Beauty

April 4, 2019

Before we started trying to conceive I tried to get our lives as natural as possible. I wanted our house to have the least amount of harmful chemicals while remaining realistic. The easiest to transform was out cleaning products, that will be another blog post. However, the most challenging and most rewarding transformation was my beauty routine! It was surprisingly fun to do research and try natural products to see what worked. I am by no means an expert, but here are the products I uses everyday in my beauty routine! I have two favorite companies (Acure Organics and Lush Cosmetics) and a few Etsy shops that provide the cleanest and semi-waste free beauty essentials.

For reference: I wash my face every night, rinse with cold water in the morning, exfoliate 2-3 days a week, moisturize night and day, reapply deodorant every 48 hours, and wash my hair twice a week. I also wear makeup 3-4 times a week.

Tip: I used a phone App called “Think Dirty” to assess the cleanliness of the products I tried. You scan the barcode of your products and it will give you a 1-10 rating of the chemicals used in the products, 1 being the least toxic. This was helpful for me to get the facts when so many products out there claim to be “all natural”.

Facewash- I think I tried the most brand/kinds of face wash. I have combination skin, oily T-Zone, dry cheeks. I wanted a cleanser that could get rid of my makeup and leave my face moisturized. This was apparently a lot to ask for from the natural world. Some just sat on my skin and didn’t get into my pores, or left me feeling way to dry. In the end, I found several that worked out very well. I switch between these based on what my skin is doing and what my budget is that month.

Lush– Lush has several cleansers that I LOVE. Herbalism is a clay-like cleanser that you mix with water to make a paste. I love this one during the summer when I don’t wear much makeup and my face gets a lot of sun. It is soothing, exfoliating, and leaves your skin feeling fresh. It’s on the more pricy side but lasts a really long time if you use it 2-3 times a week. Angels on Bare Skin is a more gentle exfoliant with almond and lavender. I love using this one in the winter when my skin is more dry. It leaves your skin feeling moisturized and super smooth. BONUS- These come in recycled/recyclable containers. When you collect five you can redeem them at any Lush store and get a free face mask. YAY less waste! 8/10 would recommend this brand.

Acure Organics– I. love. this. brand. You can get it on Amazon or Target, from what I’ve seen. This is an all natural brand with a TON of options for skin types and types of products. Everyone can find something they’re looking for. The Brightening Face Cleanser gel is amazing for the morning time. It has a citrus smell that wakes me up. It’s a gentle cleanser that lightly suds up and massages well into the skin. My face feels awake and ready for the day with this one. A little goes a long way, so it lasts for almost two months with me using it every morning. (It’s also on sale from Amazon for 6 dollars). The Radically Rejuvenating cream is a more moisturizing cleanser. I love using this one at night. I’ve found this one removes makeup well and leaves my skin feeling clean and ready for bed. (Also on sale for 7 dollars on Amazon).  They also have several other kinds like the Seriously Soothing cleansing cream and the Sensitive Skin cleanser! 10/10 would recommend this brand.

Burt’s Bees– I bought this brand in a pinch. While out of town, I needed a cleanser and snagged this one at HEB. You can also get it at Target, or on Burt’s Bees website. I’ve been using the Intense Hydration Cream in the morning and I love the way my makeup looks after using this cleanser. I would also recommend this cleanser at night with a toner. I’ve noticed some makeup left over after using it at night, but using a toner usually removes all the leftovers. 8/10 would recommend this brand (it’s 98% natural).

 

Moisturizers- Confession, I LOVE moisturizer. I admittedly use way too much and I’m not sorry. Again I have combination skin so I look for moisturizers that hydrate my skin without making my face look like I just stuck in in a vat of coconut oil, ya know? It’s a fine line.

Lush– I am obsessed with Skin Drink. Now, it is hella expensive in my opinion but soooooooo worth it if you can swing it. I asked for it for Christmas. This stuff is a miracle in a recyclable tub. If you can get past the smell (avocado, rose pedal oil, and aloe), your skin will thank you for this one. I love using it at night in the winter to give my skin a “drink” overnight. My skin feels like Winifred’s bum when I wake up and its amazing. 7/10 would recommend this product (huge price factor).

Acure Organics– This brand comes through again, y’all. They have a matching moisturizer for each of their cleanser types, plus a few. My favorite are the Brightening Day Cream and the Brightening Night Cream. They are GREAT for combination and oily skin. My skin absorbs the moisture without looking like a greaseball. The day cream also makes a great primer! This brand also offers an Incredibly Clear Matifying Moisturizer for oily or acne prone skin. 10/10 would recommend this brand.

 

Body and Face Exfoliants- This was the most intimidating product to test out. If you get the wrong one, it can damage your skin. You should only be exfoliating 2-3 times a week to reduce the risk of damaging your skin while getting rid of the dead skin. A good exfoliant should not leave your skin feeling desert dry or cause any pain.

Lush– My favorite is the Ocean Salt face and body scrub. I gentle scrub you can use all over that leaves you skin feeling fresh! I add a little more pressure when scrubbing my knees and elbows to really get that dead skin off. I use this before a spray tan to make sure it gets even! I love using this on my face in the summer to give myself a refreshed look. It also comes in a “self preserving” formula and in a recyclable tub!

Acure Organics- I use the Brightening facial scrub. Y’all this stuff is insanely good and only cost $7. A little goes a long way. I’ve been using the same tube for almost a year and I use it 2-3 times a week. It has tiny tiny exfoliant particles, so I don’t feel like I’m scrubbing my skin off. I love using this to hit the reset button in the middle of the week or when I feel like I’ve been wearing a lot of makeup and my skin needs a little something extra. This brand also has a Pore Minimizing scrub, and a Radically Rejuvenating scrub! 10/10 would recommend.

 

Toner- Never underestimate the power of a good toner. I use toner after I was my face and before my moisturizer. Toner helps remove any leftover makeup or oils on your skin. There are toners for all skin tones! I love switching up my toner based on the seasons or what my skin needs. It leaves my skin feeling refreshed and my pores tight.

Lush- Tea Tree Water is by far my favorite! I can use it in any season because it seams to balance the oils on my face no matter what. It’s an alcohol free toner, so it won’t leave your face feeling extra dry or too tight. It does a great job getting rid of the excess makeup my cleanser doesn’t quite get. It’s a great value for the price. I usually only use 3 or 4 sprays, and I use it 3 times a week. The 3.3 oz bottle will last me almost 3 months. Talk about the biggest bang for your buck. There is no real smell too it, either. PLUS, it’s packaging is recyclable and made with recycled materials. 9/10 would recommend! Breath of Fresh Air is PERFECT for the summer! It has aloe, sea water, and rose it in. I love using this after I’ve been to the pool to get that chlorine feel off my face. It truly is a breath of fresh air. It smells amazing and leaves your skin soothed and supple. Lush offers almost a dozen different toners based of what your skin type is and what it needs.  10/10 would recommend.

Toner Tip: I’ve found toner works best when I spray directly on my face and wipe it off with a cotton pad. However, in my efforts to have as little waste as possible, I looked into finding some reusable cotton pads to keep from throwing so many away! I found these wonderful cotton pads on Etsy! I bought the pack of 30 and have been using them for a year. I’ve used them with toner, makeup remover, and micellar water with no problems at all. I use one a day and just wash them at the end of the month. The quality is amazing and the makeup washes right out! They will most likely last for several more years.  10/10 would recommend.

*There’s always good ole Witch Hazel! This works wonderfully as a toner, is natural, is BOMB for helping heal, and won’t break your bank!

 

Shampoo- My view of shampoo has changed over the last few months and I’ve truly see the amazing results of having an organic shampoo. My hair is lighter in weight, it stays  cleaner longer, doesn’t have as much build up, and has way less frizz. I’ve found the truth in lather, rinse, repeat. That “repeat” part it SO important!

Lush- I have used several shampoos from Lush cosmetics and there wasn’t a single one that I didn’t LOVE. They offer such a wide variety for all hair types and hair goals. They offer no waste options and recyclable options. The ones I’ve tried are:

Fairly Traded Honey is everything it says!  A smooth and silky shampoo that gives your hair LIFE. If your hair is in need of some moisture and repair, this will be your jam! This is the shampoo I’ve used/bought the most times. 50% of the shampoo is honey and it shows! You really only need a quarter sized amount and it is self preserving, so the 8.4 oz bottle lasts for about 3 months depending on how often you use it. It is a bit pricy but for how amazing it is and how long it last, I think it’s worth it! 9/10 would recommend! Jersey Bounce is my summer go to! Jersey Bounce is perfect for when my greasy hair needs some volume without getting too dried out. It really helps me achieve a “just went to the beach look”. It comes in a recycled/recyclable jar, contains chunks of sea salt, smells lemony fresh and leaves your hair feeling like you just went to the salon! I wouldn’t recommend if you have super dry/fine/brittle hair because the salt my leave it feeling super dry. 7/10 would recommend. Godiva Shampoo Bar is the most waste free shampoo/conditioning bar that I have tried. Lush offers this empty tin to store it in and reuse! Y’all I think this one was my favorite. This tiny little shampoo bar lasted for almost 40 washes  (It would have lasted longer if I hadn’t left the tin open and got water in there). It also was SO moisturizing that I only needed a pea size amount of conditioner on the ends of my hair. 10/10 would recommend. Lush has dozens of other shampoo/shampoo bars to accommodate any and all hair types!

Acure Organics- Curiously Clarifying Shampoo with lemon grass and argan! I. LOVE. THIS. SHAMPOO. This was definitely made to lather, rinse, and repeat.  It really suds up on the second go round and you need less than a quarter sized amount. This bottle lasts a very long time! It leaves my hair feeling so light and super clean. Its VERY reasonably priced. The only draw back it its a lot of plastic! 8/10 would recommend. Acure has a ton different kinds of shampoo/conditioner, this is just the only one I’ve tried!

Conditioner- My hair gets weighed down by conditioner very easily, so I have to be careful about the kind of conditioner and how much I use! I usually just apply the conditioner on my ends, then run my fingers through my hair to spread a little to the roots. I make sure I rinse really well to prevent getting weighed down.

Lush- American Cream was the first one I tried and it took me a while to get used to a more natural conditioner. I was so used to the  heavy cream of Panteen, and it was weird to use a lighter one. American cream is more runny than any conditioner I’d ever used but worked 10 times better than any conditioner I’d ever used. Only needing a nickel sized amount, the 8.4 oz bottle lasted about 3 months. This one is worth the price for me! I’m obsessed with the strawberry, vanilla, citrus sent it gave my hair all day! 9/10 would recommend. “Big” Conditioner Bar– Once you go “Big” you never go back! Y’all, I bought this BEFORE WINIFRED WAS BORN and it’s still goin!!! This no waste conditioner can be stored in Lush’s Oval Tin for a long lasting product. This took me a while to get used to using the bar and not having something creamy to run through my fingers. The bar is not a detangler and that took some time to work around but the feeling of my hair when it dries is UNREAL. All I need to do is lather up the bar and run it over the ends of my hair. I let it sit while I shave my legs and rinse well for squeaky clean ends! This is my absolute MUST for a natural step to waste free beauty! 11/10 would recommend. Like their shampoos, Lush has more conditioners for you!

Acure Organics- Curiously Clarifying Conditioner is the sister to their shampoo. I do love that Acure has a matching shampoo/conditioner set for each kind they offer. I love using this creamy conditioner every once in a while to really moisturize all the way to my roots. I just have to be careful to use a small amount and rinse really well or my hair can be heavy and greasy when it dries. When I rinse it all out, my hair feels incredible! This is definitely an affordable option if you’re looking to make more natural steps! 8/10 would recommend.

Deodorant-  Lume. Y’ALL. This took me forever to find. I went through so many natural deodorants before I found the Holy Grail! I tried Native, Schmidt’s, ones from Etsy, and random ones from Amazon. They all either gave me a rash, stained my clothes with the oils, or just didn’t to anything at all! By happenstance, I heart the creator of Lume on a podcast I was listening too. She was so confident in her product that I thought I would give it a try. I’ve been using Lume for a year a a half and I could not be more happy with it. It took a while getting used to a deodorant and not an anti-persperant. It was weird sweating and not smelling, but I felt so much better! Being pregnant in West Texas during August was BRUTAL. My body took a couple weeks to adjust, but I’m so happy I stuck it out! Currently advocating for a more wast free option. 10/10 would recommend!

*Bonus Favorite Etsy Shop*  Sam Wish – Sam makes AMAZING oil blends, scrubs, deodorants, lip balms, and MORE!  Here are a few of my favorite of her products!

Organic Face Nectar– This stuff is actual GOLD. I’ve purchase the “Balancing” formula and it was sensational. It was an amazing makeup primer oil and also helped balance my oils at night. I used this the most in the summer as a replacement moisturizer. It really did an amazing job making me feel fresh and balancing my skin!

Lavender and Grapefruit Lip Balm– Let me tell ya, I’ve been addicted to chapstick since being on accutane my sophomore year of high school. I’ve had to have a tube every where I go and in every jacket pocket, car cupholder, and room in the house. With Sam’s lip balm, it’s all I need. I applied it before bed and didn’t need it again until the afternoon! Talk about getting your bang for your buck! It smells incredible and lasts a long time!

11/10 would recommend her shop and anything she offers!

WHEW! Bonus points for you if you made it this far! I think we should all be mindful of the products we put on our bodies and where they come from. Making moves toward a natural and “less waste” house has been a long process full of trial, error, and being ok with making small moves. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or tips on living a more natural life!

 

 

Mommy Mania

Week 13 with LL2

March 29, 2019

This week, we’ve really tried to focus on spending the most quality time with Winifred. Will and I found that, on weekdays, our evenings were a complete whirlwind. Almost to the point of not speaking to one another until after Winifred was asleep. We would get home, bounce/play/read, dinner, bath, story, bottle, song, bed, whew. We realized how much of Winnie’s life and development we were just kind of skimming through, so we made a deal. It’s kind of embarrassing how simple and logical it was but I didn’t realize the effects it had until we did it. We turned off the TV and put away our phones until Winnie was in bed. If you know me, you know I watch the same 5 shows on repeat (Friends, The Office, Parks and Rec, Gilmore Girls, and New Girl). They are always on in the background no matter what. I love listening to something familiar when I’m around the house or working. However, I didn’t realize what that was doing to my communication skills with Winifred and my husband. Turning the TV off gave Winnie a voice! I think with all the excess noise gone, she could finally get a word in! She’s been blabbing all week long! This weekend was especially sweet, spending intense quality time with the people I love the most.

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I have much more energy this week and my belly has already popped (muscle memory right?!). Here is a little peak into our week and the life of LL2!

How far along? 13 weeks
Baby is the size of a:  Jalapeno, Matchbox car, clown fish
Total weight gain: -5 lbs. When I was pregnant with Winnie I lost about 20lbs in the first trimester, so I’m relieved I’ve only lost this much.
Maternity clothes? Oh. Yes. I put those suckers on at 10 weeks. Why aren’t maternity pants socially acceptable to wear at all times??
Stretch marks? No new ones!
Sleep:  The freaky dreams are REAL y’all. I have the most vivid and long dreams every night. They last all night and continue even if I wake up and go back to sleep. People I barely know or haven’t talked to in years are usually the star of my dreams and it freaks me out every time! Winifred still wakes up once a night for her night feeding/diaper change but that only takes 15-20 minutes around 2:00AM. We did the Farber Method (a nurturing version of cry it out) and I’m so thankful we did. Winnie was very ready to put herself to sleep and it took her less than 2 nights to master. Now, she takes 2+ hour naps and sleeps 12+ hours at night. This mama is #blessed.
Best moment this week: IT’S A GIRL AND WE PICKED A NAME! We’ve told some people but haven’t decided if/when we’ll announce her name.

Movement: I have felt teeny tiny flutters and it makes my heart so happy. The first trimester is the hardest because there is no real way to know how baby is doing in there. I love those first little twitches.
Food cravings: carbs carbs carbs carbs carbs. FRUIT; pineapple, apples, grapes. Popsicles.
Miss Anything? WINE. In the first few weeks I struggled with not being able to drink alcohol. Not that I drank much before, I just felt like I got robbed. I went from being pregnant to breastfeeding to pregnant again and only had 1 sweet month of freedom to drink whatever I wanted. Luckily, my bestie got me non-alcoholic wine for my birthday and that had sufficed.
Symptoms: This pregnancy is already so different from my first. With Winnie I was just nauseous 24/7 and couldn’t eat anything. With LL2 I began to have really intense upper abdominal pain during and after eating. After going to the doctor and getting an ultrasound, they discovered I had “sludge” in my gall bladder causing my pain. I’ve now been put on a super bland, super low fat, high fiber diet, which is just great when all you want is carbs. I’ve also been blessed with the first trimester migraines that hit at 3-4 PM everyday. Some days are worse than others and Winifred keeps me plenty distracted!
Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? After Winifred my knuckles grew? Didn’t know that was a thing. The swelling went away but my original rings wouldn’t fit over my knuckles. So, I ordered a simple set from “Go-Rings” and they’re still going strong. I’ll probably get my original ones resized after LL2.
Mood? Emotional! Everything makes me tear up.
Looking forward to: Winifred crawling, feeling bigger kicks from LL2, hearing her heartbeat next week!

 

Mommy Mania

And Then There Were Four

March 26, 2019

Uh oh.

I looked down and saw a completely full cup of coffee on my desk. It was 11:00am and I was usually on my second. My stomach sank as the first thing that popped into my head was a little voice, “Ummm, that’s what happened when you were pregnant with Winnie….”. I shook it off and blamed the coffee aversion on the killer allergy attack I was enduring.  Later that night, we ordered Chinese food from the best place in town. I’d been thinking about it all day and couldn’t wait to dive in.  I took one bite and almost spit it out — it tasted unbelievably salty. “Girl, stop”, that little voice said (is anyone else’s inner voice a little condescending?) “This is another sign.” I refused to entertain the thought. Winnie was 5 months old, this could not really be happening. When, in all reality, it very well could have been happening. I expressed my musings to Will and he gave me a look, a look that said “I think you’re pregnant.” No. No, no, no. I came up with a million other reasons for the things happening to my body. Maybe it’s because I just stopped breastfeeding and my hormones are leveling out. Maybe I’m getting my period back and my body forgot what that was like. Maybe it’s the allergies.

Or,

maybe I was growing ANOTHER tiny human. We decided to wait a week to take a test, partly waiting for my body to get it together and partly out of sheer terror.

On February 1, 2019 at 4:00am Winnie woke up to eat and Will went to grab her. It was as good a time as any to take the test. Will came in with the baby and waited the longest 3 minutes ever with me. I took the digital test because I didn’t want any of the “faint line, maybe baby” bull crap going on. Every thirty seconds, I leaned over to see a blinking clock, taunting me. “I can’t look anymore!!” I shouted with impatient frustration. Will leaned over, closed his eyes, and clutched Winnie. For a second, I thought he saw a “-No” and was relieved. Then, I saw the tear roll down his cheek. I lunged for the test and saw a big, clear “+Yes” starring me right in the face. My hand slammed into my mouth in disbelief. Will and I just looked at each other for a good 2 minutes. I crumbled to the floor.

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This was such a different feeling than when we found out we were pregnant with Winnie. This was several feelings. We were confused, shocked, scared, overwhelmed, and a little distraught. I burst into tears as a wave of guilt rushed over me. I just found out another life is inside of me, shouldn’t I be excited? After all we went through to get pregnant with Winnie, shouldn’t I be grateful to not have to go through that again? People I know are fighting with everything they have to get pregnant, shouldn’t I be happy? I should have been, but I wasn’t. I was terrified, selfishly terrified. I had JUST done this, I was just getting my body back, we were just getting into our groove as a family, how could we possibly do this? TWO INFANTS??

The negative thoughts spiraled as I lay in a ball of tears on the floor. How were we going to afford this? We couldn’t possibly pay for two kids in daycare. What will my body be like after two babies in two years? I had just started seriously working out again. How could I handle this? For some reason, the idea of two infants and a full time job seemed impossible.Will this negatively affect Winifred? She has barely had time with us to herself! I told myself to take a breath, women do this EVERYDAY. I’m not the first person in the world in this scenario. Everything seems overwhelming at 4 in the morning with lack of sleep.

(Note to self: stop taking the freaking pregnancy tests so freaking early!)

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As my mind came to a pause, I realized that Will hadn’t said anything in about 15 minutes. I looked up to see him clutching Winifred, tears rolling down his face. “Why are YOU crying?” I asked. “Babe,” He breathed, “we’re never going to sleep ever again”. I couldn’t help it, a giggle busted from my belly. He was absolutely right. For the foreseeable future, it looked like the “Sleep-Deprived-Zombie-Parent” was going to be our signature look.

Will joined in the hysteria and the laughing continued as we stared at our perfect baby in his arms. This was ridiculous. How was this real life? Even in all the confusion two of those babies didn’t seem so bad. We were surviving with one, why not just add one more to the circus?? We already had allllllll the baby things still out (shout out to our procrastination in packing things up). The nursery was already gender neutral, so even if it was a boy we were covered! We decided not to freak out just yet. We crawled into bed with Winifred and soaked in the morning snuggles before Will went to work.

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The rest of the day was a mix of tears, laughter, and “OMG” texts as we came to accept what our future looked like. I felt guilty for not being as excited as I was for Winifred. I couldn’t take that moment back, it was real and raw and true. In the weeks following, the excitement grew. We became so thrilled for Winifred to be a big sister. Picturing the complete mess of love our life was about to become was so much fun!

Now, we could not picture our life without the little toy soldier in my belly. We found out the gender and can’t wait to bring another Baby GIRL Lou into the world.

Was this our plan? Absolutely not. But, you know what they say. “Make a plan and God laughs”. Well, Big Guy, I’m hoping you got a real kick out of this one!

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Mommy Mania

Are you breastfeeding?

December 11, 2018

For some reason, “Are you breastfeeding?” is one of the most common questions a new mom gets asked. I’m sure it’s just people making conversation or they are genuinely curious about how baby is being fed. Most of the time though, it doesn’t come from a place of judgment. However, there is a certain weight that comes with that question. There’s a back story, a complicated answer, or a hesitation around it. An invisible sign surrounds breastfeeding, cautioning people to tiptoe around the subject at the risk of offending one party or the other. Some moms are proud out loud, others are private. Some moms choose different paths to feed their babies while others try desperately to breastfeed. I’m no expert on this matter by any means, but I’d like to share my journey to feed my kid.

*Disclaimer* HOWEVER A MOTHER FEEDS HER BABY IS PERFECTLY WONDERFUL.

Winnie came out of me searching for the breast. She latched like a champ and immediately started eating. That was incredible. Looking down at my baby, who was minutes old, already knowing how to survive was astounding to me. I was in awe of the fact that our bodies knew what they needed to do without me having to do anything at all. It was truly a magical connection. The sudden release of Oxytocin didn’t suck either. The nurse came in and said “Wow, what a latch! She’s a pro already! You guys look great!”. That boosted my ego a little. I’d only been a mom for like 3 minutes and I was already killin it! *Self-High-Five*

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Welp. The magic pretty much came to a screeching halt after that. The glimmer of peace was rudely interrupted by reality.  The whole process became a messy wreck of a giant stress ball. Let me explain.

We were transported to the postpartum room and immediately greeted by a lovely lactation specialist who asked if we had any questions about breastfeeding. “No thanks,” I thought, “I’m actually already a beast at this thing”, but I smiled and said “I think we got it so far!” She dipped her head and left the room.

Winnie seemed to prefer one side, so I didn’t fix what wasn’t broke. I fed her from that side that night. Well, the obvious happened and my other breast got GINORMOUS and insanely painful. I tried to feed Winnie from the other side and she was having none of it. She didn’t like her head tilted that way and she just could not latch; it’s like my nipple was invisible. About an hour later, another lactation specialist came in and asked if she could help with anything. “Nope!, ” said me and my prideful self, “We’re good!”.  “Show me,” she responded. That caught me off guard. Why didn’t she believe that I had it under control? I’m the mom, I got this (I in fact did not have this). I had Winnie drink from the good side to show her. “Now the other side,” she said. Part of me was pissed she was questioning me, part of me was prideful, but most of me was relieved because I knew I needed help. Thank goodness for pushy lactation consultants who can take one look at your engorged boob and call you on your crap lie.

All I had to do was undo my nursing tank on that side “Ope! Looks like we have ourselves a flat nipple!”.  That’s a thing?? Apparently. My heart sank; I didn’t know what that meant for breastfeeding. Then, she whips out this handy dandy nipple shield, a nifty contraption that pulls the nipple out so the baby can latch. It’s a rubber cover that makes your nipple (how many times can I say the word nipple?) look and feel like a bottle. This thing was amazing; easy to put on, and allowed Winnie to nurse from that side. A wave of relief hit me. “Ok, that’s not too bad. I can do that!”. The following day, the lactation specialist continued to coach us on the different holding positions and reiterating how important it was for her to eat from both sides. She made me feel confident but, in the back of my mind, I was very scared about doing it by myself. Right now it took 4-6 hands to make it happened. One person to help prop me up (ow!), one person to hand me the baby, and one person to help adjust pillows as I put on the nipple shield. I mean this was an all out production. William and my mom were so helpful. That made me a little more comfortable. But what would happen when they left…..and it was just me? I pushed that to the back of my mind.

The weeks that followed were a milky mess. My milk came in with a vengeance, painfully and quickly. The heating pad was my best friend as I tried to massage out the hard pebble-like lumps forming in my breasts.  Winnie wasn’t an eater, she was a grazer; only wanting to eat for a few minutes every hour on the hour. This meant I couldn’t pump until I was sure she was full. Which turned into a very painful day.  It also didn’t make sense to clean up when she would want to eat all the time, so I hung out in a nursing bra 24/7. Once we got into a routine, I had to pump every two hours to keep from becoming engorged. I don’t know if you’ve ever lived your life in 2 hour increments, but it’s exhausting and hella inconvenient. Along with being a grazer, Winifred is a thrasher. She could not control her arms while feeding. This lead to the nipple shield being knocked off and milk going everywhere. I was overwhelmed and frustrated. Waking up to feed every hour was insane and I felt like a cow and a zombie at the same time.

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The Dark Thoughts crept in when I was feeling overwhelmed. I didn’t want to do this anymore…..It was not even a little bit as magical as people promised me it would be. How do women do this for a whole year?? I wanted to bail after 2 weeks. What was wrong with me? “You can do this”, I thought. “Most women would kill to have the supply you have! Don’t be a baby. Just figure it out.” I argued with myself daily, feeling so ashamed. I thought it was going to be easier. I didn’t know how incredibly difficult it would be. Most of all, I felt guilty. Isn’t the breast best? Shouldn’t I want to do this? Why is this not magical? Am I the only one who just can’t figure this out?

When Winnie was 2 weeks old, I’d had it. I thought I was going to explode. Sitting on the couch with my mom, tears filling my eyes I asked “Mom, would it be the worst thing if I pumped and fed Winnie with a bottle?” She starred at me and said “Of course not, you can feed her how ever you want to. You don’t even have to pump if you don’t want to. She’s your baby!” I burst into tears from relief. “That what I want to do”. I felt like I could handle pumping. I was #blessed with an amazing supply and I wanted to use it. I just needed more control.

Giving Winnie that first bottle WAS magical. I finally felt what everyone was talking about. I got to sit belly to belly with my baby and look into her eyes as she fed. We connected. It was what I’d always dreamed of. I felt a sense of pride that I had made a decision that was best for me and my baby. Like I had earned my first mommy merit badge. I liked it. We found our magic differently, but it was there.

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It’s hard to explain Exclusively Pumping to people; that you have a good supply but you just don’t feed from the breast, but that’s ok. It’s our normal and it’s what works for us. I applaud moms who do what is best for them and their babies. Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?

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Full disclosure: We are still exclusively pumping but my supply is diminishing. Right now, I have one working breast that supplies 5-7 oz., and one breast that has dried up (I call them Pancake and Boulder). It’s not ideal but it’s reality. We will probably supplement with formula and start solids when my freezer supply runs out. AND THAT’S OK! Winnie will eat, grow, and be happy. I’m so happy with my choice to exclusively pump. William can bond with Winnie while feeding her and my anxiety has been severely reduced. I’m thankful for my parents and William’s encouragement and support when I felt like quitting. They knew how important it was to me and they were a HUGE part in me getting over the “pump hump”.

So, moms, you’re going to be asked that question. “Are you breastfeeding?” Its inevitable.  What if instead of being defensive, embarrassed, or offended, we answer with confidence! However your little love is being fed is right! WE ARE MOMS! WE know whats best for ourselves and our babies! WE are keeping the tiny human alive whatever way we can. Isn’t THAT all that matters?

In my humble opinion, I think you’re all killin it.