Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Season of Motherhood...

Wow. It has been a long while since I sat down to write a blog post. I can already tell you that I have 35 minutes left in nap time, and laundry that needs to be switched over. I think it is safe to say that this blog post will be fairly short.

When I had my daughter, who is now 9 months old, I was over the moon excited and ready to tackle motherhood. I knew it would be hard, but I reckoned I had the support of those who have gone before me, and those that I was going through motherhood with now. A.K.A other moms. 

You know those formula commercials (I forget the brand that puts them on), but they talk about the "Circle of Sisterhood" that you join when you become a mom. How you have this endless support of moms across the country, world, perhaps universe...if you wanna go that far. We want the MOM group when we have kids. It is a great group to be apart of...I love the sympathetic looks I get when my daughter is crying in the store (you know you can only get those from other moms). The play dates and being able to talk mommy with someone who GETS IT. Because lets be husband doesn't always understand the baby eyed, wipe her hands, don't let her eat that, she hasn't pooped today, does she look okay?, CRAZY mom monster I have become.

It is nice to have other moms to share in this journey with.

That said, I have recently been convicted. We started a mom bible study with several moms in our church and our pastor's wife is leading the study. She picked out the book "Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood" by Melissa Kruger. I was really excited to start this book! It is hard to find time to spend in the word when there are a million things demanding your attention. We had our first meeting this morning. We were able to meet some new moms and get to know the ladies in this group. However, I didn't get to share my conviction and while it's on my mind I'm going to share with you. Right here. Typed out.

I was convicted before I even opened the book. I did not even turn the cover to open it. I simply read the title and reflected introspectively. 

Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood.

Right there. WALKING WITH GOD!

You see...this Circle of Motherhood that I so craved. This bond with other moms. Wanting, and at times forcing, mom friendships to have the acceptable status quo of mommy friends. I wanted other moms to walk through this journey of motherhood with. So much so, that I put aside the fact that I should desire walking with God through motherhood FIRST.

There is nothing wrong with mommy friends, obviously. So don't take this the wrong way. I don't know what I would do without my mom friends. Especially, my loving, supportive sisters in the Lord. But it is with God whom I should continually strive to walk through motherhood with. He is my biggest supporter and has nothing but my best interest at heart. He knows my heart and my everyday motherhood struggles (which to some may seem insignificant). He so carefully designed the relationship between a mother and her child. Who else would you go to but the designer Himself?

Anyway...naptime is ending, therefore so is this post. I hope other moms can share in my conviction; and remember that while it's great to be part of the circle of motherhood, nothing is greater than being in the circle of God's chosen for His kingdom.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Meal Plan Monday!

I've decided to start posting my meal plans on Monday here on the blog. I know I get inspiration from seeing other people's meal plans, so I'm sharing mine. Hoping to post these every Monday :) 

Would love to know what you are cooking this week...leave some meals in the comments below!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Peeking Around the Corner...

I've caught myself doing something over the past few months.
 As K has grown, we have a short period of time (usually in the mornings) of independent play. Typically this is after breakfast while I have some cleaning up to do in the kitchen. I set her down on her play mat in the dining/play room and she plays with her toys.

In the beginning months she wasn't super happy to be alone. She didn't really know how to "play" with her toys, and I spent most of my time going back and forth from the kitchen and the play room. But as she has gotten a few months older, she has come to enjoy independent playtime. I often find that she is much more apt to practice her developing motor skills to reach new  milestones when I'm not right there with her.

Nonetheless, back to my beginning statement, I've caught myself doing something as this new liking of IP (independent play) has surfaced.
I peek around the corner.
Yes, I know. Every mom has done this and most do it several times in a day like me. However, I've noticed that this simple action of peeking around the corner brings to light so many emotions as I watch my beautiful daughter play.

Love: This is first because I love my daughter. This goes without saying. Watching a mini me discovering her new skills and enjoying time with a monkey rattle (I'm no fan of monkeys btw) brings a flutter to my heart that I feel only other mommas will understand.

Pride: With the love I feel as I watch my daughter, I feel pride. This is MY daughter learning all these cool things. It's MY daughter who just learned to pick up the monkey rattle by the ear with her thumb and forefinger. MY daughter is in there playing contently. Every mom smiles with pride for their children as they learn; even the small milestones that we as adults have taken for granted.

Sadness: How is this possible? Because I realize my daughter is enjoying herself, by herself. She has her toys laid out before her and she beats two stacking cups together. She is happy and content without me. It's a small, quickly vanishing feeling of sadness, but it's there. I partly wish she would look around the room for me or cry out for me. I'll admit it, I like to be needed by my daughter. She needs me most of the day, but for those 20 minutes that she is happy in play I'm not needed. *tears*

Happiness: Ultimately, before I leave the corner I'm peeking behind, I feel an unexplainable joy. I'm happy my daughters happy. And for a small moment... the drool that got in my mouth while playing airplane, the poop I had to spray off her cloth diaper that got all over the bathroom, the spit up on my carpet I had to clean (for the fifth time in a day), the fussy/teething days that never end, and the crying that can make your heart break into a million all forgotten while peeking around the corner.

 Cheers to peeking around the corner mommas!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Current Favorite Toys! {5 Months}

My daughter is just over 5 months now and it is amazing to watch her "go to" toys change. Well as much as a 5 month old can. We try to limit the amount of plastic toys in K's collection. We prefer to purchase wood, but sometimes you just can't help it. For us it's just a preference when shopping for her, not a hard fast rule.

I figured I would show a few of her current favorites here on the blog today. The name of the toy will be linked below.

O'Ball Rattle by Rhino Toys

This toy is too advanced for my daughter, obviously. We like it because she can sit at it (on her own) and play without having to look down at smaller toys in her lap all the time.

What are some toys that your babies can't part with? Or any other toys you recommend?
*Disclaimer: All toys were purchased by me. I was not compensated for posting these toys on*

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Exclusively Pumping Update {5 Months & Going Strong...}

A few days ago I officially earned my 5 month pumping award!!!

I figured I would do another small update, like I did at 3 months, in order to continue to share my pumping journey.

To Date:

PPD (Pumps per Day): 3
OPD (Ounces per Day): 45-50
Freezer Stash: 3000+
Donations: 300 Ounces Pending
Hours Spent on the Pump: Approximately 482 Hours

Since my last update a few things have changed. I dropped a middle of the day pump which means I'm only pumping 3 times a day now. I set my alarm and pump at 6AM, 1PM, and 9:30PM before bed. I noticed a small decrease in my supply, but I added 5 extra minutes to my pumping sessions to help with that. I probably pump 35 minutes each session.

The cube freezer we had to purchase for my milk storage is full and I have continued to freeze my over supply in our other freezer. I have around 300 ounces currently set aside and ready to be donated; we are just waiting to make a few arrangements. I'm hoping that I will be able to make another donation in the future.

I get a few questions about EPing from my blog followers, friends, and even family at times so I wanted to put together a small list of "lessons learned", if you will, to help EPers if they are just starting or anyone interested.

How do I know EPing is for Me?: I think as a mom you just know. You know your limits and if you have exhausted all other resources in your breastfeeding struggle. Or, you are going back to work sooner than later after giving birth, and you just want to pump. Or, maybe breastfeeding just isn't for you, but you would like to offer breastmilk instead of formula. Only YOU know if EPing is right for you. There is no shame in it, only the utmost respect.

Where do I Start?: First off, if you have decided to pump full time, GET A GOOD PUMP! It makes a world of difference when it comes to fully emptying your breasts. A poorly functioning pump can tank a good supply. 
Second, in the beginning, PUMP, PUMP, PUMP! I cannot stress this enough. 8-10 pumps per day for 25-30 minutes a session. Yes, you will be tied to your pump and you WILL hate it; but it all pay off a couple months in. Eventually, after establishing a good supply, you will be able to drop a few pumps here and there getting back those precious minutes to spend with your little one or tackle the household items.
Third, have a support system in place from the beginning. Your husband, significant other, mom, friends...anyone who can help encourage you along. We will need the support. I also found comfort by joining the Exclusive Pumpers Facebook groups. All those moms are rockstars and often they have the same questions and can offer advice.

What Pump do you Use?: Spectra S2

How to Increase Supply?: O man...there are so many "ways" to try to increase supply. I will give you a few things that I do to increase/maintain my supply.

1. Power Pump: This is key. It mimics a cluster feeding like a baby going through a growth spurt would have. You want to pump until empty, then turn pump off for ten minutes, pump for ten minutes, off for ten, pump for ten, off, pump for ten. In the beginning this is a good idea to do once a day or every-other day to help get supply up.

2. Mother's Milk Tea: I feel like you have to drink a lot of this to notice a difference, but I actually like the taste (some don't) so drinking a few cups a day wasn't a chore for me.

3.Gatorade: I swear by this. Especially if you are having trouble getting a ton of water in during the day (also a HUGE must have for breastfeeding).

4. EAT!: It can be kinda annoying to not loose the baby weight as fast as some other moms, but you HAVE to keep your calories up throughout the day or your supply will take a hit. Don't plan on dieting while EPing.

5. Don't Stress: It's really hard to do this. If you are an under-supplier worried about getting enough breastmilk for your baby, you worry. If you are worrying then you are stressing, and if you are stressing it can cause a dip in supply. Try not to stress about pumping.

There are several other things you can try, but I have tried the above and found they help.

Is it hard work?: O MY HEAVENS...YESS!  You essentially have to do double duty. Pump AND deal with bottles/cleaning/sterilizing etc. Plus, in the beginning you are tied to a pump so much it makes going out for a second really tough. You need to find places to pump on the go, deal with keeping milk cold if out for more than a couple hours, and save all that liquid gold you can because you never know when aunt flow will show up and your supply take a dive. All that aside, if you are dedicated--it is doable. NEVER, let a lactation consultant  tell you it isn't possible (sometimes they try). There are so many of us out there and we do it everyday :)

Does your supply even out?: Yes. Just like an exclusively nursing mom's supply will most likely even out after 12 weeks, so does an EPers. That is why it is very important to keep up your 8-10 pumps per day in those first 10-12 weeks. If you are an over-supplier you may be able to drop a pump or two sooner than that, but be watching your ounces.

What bottles are your favorite?: ComoTomo

How long should I pump for?: It is totally up to you! Any little bit of breastmilk you can offer your baby is wonderful! 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and is all up to you. Don't ever feel down on yourself if 3 months is all you want to do. Personally, my first goal is 6 months and since that is looking doable, I plan on working toward my second goal of a year.

Does it hurt?: It can. Try to use lanolin or coconut oil on your breasts to help. Using the correct flange sizes is key for long term pumping.

Any additional equipment that I need?: I would recommend a hands free pumping bra. Life saver! A few others: nursing bra (not needed, but great for pumping out and about), nursing cover, nursing pads, milk freezer bags, freezer, and a good book to read while pumping.

Should I keep milk stash?: That is a personal choice. I keep one so that I may be able to stop pumping sooner then a year and still offer breastmilk to my daughter. It may also be helpful if during your pumping journey you need to take medicine that is not safe for breastfeeding.

I hope that answers a few of your questions. If you have something specific, please feel free to email me or comment below.

We are 5 months and going strong! O what a journey!

Keep Pumpin' Mommas :)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

We made it 3 months EPing!!!

I have to admit that EPing is hard. It takes a lot of work and dedication. But, I am BEYOND dedicated to my beautiful daughter and I am going to keep on pumping :) I plan to do a look back on EPing blog post when I start to wean, but I did want to give y'all an update on how it is going now.

To date:

PPD (Pumps per Day): 4
OPD (Ounces per Day): 55 ish
Freezer Stash: 1500+

I have been blessed with an over supply so that I am able to freeze milk to use for my daughter in the future as I start to wean or if I want to drop another pump per day. If my supply stays the same and I am able to make it a year with pumping/ my minimum stash, I plan to donate the additional ounces.

This is not how I originally intended to breastfeed my daughter; but I will say that right now I can't imagine doing it any other way. Miss K is happy, healthy, and thriving.

My first goal is to make it to 6 months before weaning and my second goal is to make it a year. I have to two goals because EPing is hard (I mentioned that already so it's definitely true). There are days that all I want to do it throw my pump out the window and be done. There are days when I cry hooking up to the pump. And, there are days when I just want to snuggle with my baby girl instead of pump. But, it's all worth it. I keep reminding myself that I'm doing this for my daughter and that's all that matters.

We are on a great schedule during that day that allows me to pump during her naps so that it doesn't take away time we have. It doesn't always go according to plan and my pumps have to be flexible but we are making it work.

Thanks for all your encouragement! I have received so many emails and messages from you all with similar experiences. It is a journey for sure!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Back-up Baby Bag!

As I travel out and about with my beautiful daughter, I've started to notice a pattern of what I carry in my diaper bag. It's the usual items; diapers, wipes, changing pad, change of clothes, pacifier, a toy, boogie wipes, hand wipes, and so on. And while I have what I need for a day out, I began to worry about what would happen if I got caught out longer than expected.
Maybe even an overnight stay?
I put together a quick and simple back-up baby bag to keep in my car. Just in case.

1. The Bag: I have this reusable Vera Bradley tote bag that I wasn't using. It fits everything perfectly and there is room for more if need be. (See pic below)

2. Extra, Extra Clothes: I carry a change of clothes in my diaper bag for the random blow out diaper. However, just in case I'm kept longer or overnight for some reason; I packed a pajama zip up and extra onesie with a pair of socks.

3. Diapers: I put ten extra disposable diapers in this back up bag as well. We (sort of) cloth diaper at home, but use disposables when we are going out. Having disposable diapers in this back up bag is just easier. But this way, I have about a days worth on top of what is already in my diaper bag.

4. Wipes: This is a extra package of Earth's Best Organic Baby Wipes.

5. Blanket: I keep this in my back up bag for several reasons. First, I may want this when going to a friend's house to put down on the floor, but it doesn't fit in my diaper bag. Therefore, I just keep it in the car. Second, if I were to be stuck overnight somewhere I now have something to put down for my daughter in hotel or something to cuddle up in etc. Like I mentioned, this is worse case scenario. Ideally, I would have our pack n play if traveling.

6. Nursing Pads: Just a quick back up, again, to what I already keep in my diaper bag. I can never have enough of these!

And finally, I keep some bottled water in my bag. Just to have for me. I can't make milk without water :)

The bag.

It gives me some peace of mind knowing I have a few back up items in my car for my daughter. I'm sure I will add to this as I feel she needs more :)


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Top 10 Newborn Faves!

I think I read  thousands of these posts when I was pregnant-- trying to filter through all the items I needed to purchase with our little one on the way. I figured I would attempt to do a post as well. Needless to say, there are so many items a newborn actually needs and most of them are the staples that you are probably going to purchase anyway.

My list is random. Kinda like my thoughts on this blog. I literally sat down and off the top of my head tried to come up with some items that are WONDERFUL but that you may not always gravitate toward.

1. MamaRoo: The best thing ever invented. This is the swing that we opted for instead of the traditional back and forth monotony (that some babies really enjoy actually). I have heard stories of some babies not enjoying their mamaRoo and I have to say that we do not have this issue. My daughter loves it! Occasionally there are times she wants out, but the majority of the time she is in swing heaven. It has several different settings to change up the "swinging" rhythm and you can also adjust the speed.

2. SwaddleMe Swaddles: These are the easiest, easy swaddles out there. In my opinion. My daughter likes to escape from the traditional swaddle blankets that you fold yourself. These are working pretty well so far when it comes to escaping during the night. We have also tried the Aden and Anais Easy Swaddles which have snaps. They work better than the blankets but are not as secure as the SwaddleMe. Plus the snaps during the night are annoying to deal with.

3. Changing Pad Liners: In only a few short weeks after coming home from the hospital we had several blowout diapers resulting in spewing poo (how do you like that image?). Of course we have a changing pad with that fluffy, pink "feel good" cover which welcomes every little stain possible. These changing pad liners are great. They offer another layer of protection which is WATER PROOF (errrr... resistant...whatever the technical term is). They are washable and pretty inexpensive. So worth it!

4. Play Gym: I don't have a particular brand here. Just any gym is great! I started putting my daughter on her back under her gym early and she loved it. She is just now starting to respond to the items and really play, but even prior she liked the music and staring at the hanging items. We have some gym time every morning :)

5. ComoTomo Bottles: I'm breastfeeding my daughter, however I am exclusively pumping so good bottles are everything! I love the comotomo bottles. While every baby is different when it comes to their latch and preference, my daughter favors these bottles as well. They are very soft and have a great "breast like" nipple and neck. I will say that they tip over easy if not on a hard flat surface which can be frustrating for some people, but totally worth the inconvenience for a great bottle.

6. MAM Pacis: My daughter isn't picky about her bottles, nipples, or pacifiers. Huge blessing so far! However, she does seem to prefer the MAM Pacifier to her others (Nuk, Soothies, etc.) I honestly don't know the science behind pacifier nipples and why some babies take to one brand over the other, but she seems to be soothed the easiest with these. She will take the others just fine but they don't seem to have the same result.

7. Nail Clippers: Infant nail clippers are a must. Nails grow so fast. Enough said.

8. Angel Baby Bottom Balm: I make my own diaper cream since we cloth diaper at home. It is a recipe of coconut oil, organic beeswax, and organic shea butter. However, I was given this as a gift and REALLY like it. If you are looking for a great, natural diaper cream for your beautiful baby's bum I highly recommend this!

9. Ava Anderson Baby Shampoo/Wash: This was also a gift sent to me. We use a lot of the Honest Company products and I love the Honest shampoo and body wash. It is what we normally purchase. However, like I said, this was a gift sent to me and we really like it! Now, Ava Anderson makes all non-toxic organic items so I generally feel better about myself when using this product on my daughters newborn skin. I have to admit though...the reason it is in my top ten is the lather. HA. I know. What? Seriously though. Many of the organic, all natural shampoos are tough to lather especially on a newborn head with little hair in the first place. This shampoo gets a great lather and I actually feel like it's doing its job. Also, we have been using this on my daughter's very minor cradle cap and I see some improvement in that area.

10. Dapple Bottle & Dish Liquid: Ahhh...dapple! I just love the name. This is a new product for me, but I really like it. Dapple is basically like this all natural dish soap made specifically for bottles and such. Since I wash so many bottles I become obsessed trying to something that didn't leave spots on my bottles and that took the milk smell/film away. I tried this and haven't gone back. Would highly recommend.

These are just a few of the items I have found useful during this newborn stage. I hope to do another blog post featuring some of my top ten mommy faves soon!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Giving Myself Some Grace: Exclusively Pumping {My Story...}

Please excuse any errors in this's long and I'm 20 cups of coffee short of functioning.

Throughout my pregnancy I had my eye on the prize! I was going to be breastfeeding.

(Let me just say this before I continue. I understand that every parent is different and I truly believe that breast milk, formula, or both is an individual decision. I am no one to judge anyone. It's not like they ask you if you were breast fed or formula fed on your college application...)

 I was so sure that I was going to be breastfeeding that I purchased many of my supplies ahead of time. I wanted to feel that bond with my daughter. The idea that I would be feeding her the best possible nutrients I could made me feel like super mom.

So there we were. I was admitted to the hospital on Friday at 7 AM to be induced. My husband and I were so excited to finally meet our baby girl. At around 4:30 PM she was born. As per my birth plan, I wanted to have skin to skin and breastfeed as soon as she was ready. They put her on my bare chest and already I was so in love! She started making her rooting face and was searching me out. "Perfect!" I thought to myself, we can establish a good latch right here and now.

Well...if only I knew what was coming.

Everything happened so fast. We positioned her in the cross cradle hold and tried to have her latch. Immediately I had this sinking feeling. She didn't latch at all. And what was worse she got frustrated at the breast extremely quickly. Before I knew it, the nurse that was "trying" to help me got a nipple shield. We put it on and she started to suck.
Excruciating Pain!!! That is the only way to described it. I was shocked at how horrible I felt. After about 20 minutes on the nipple shield I looked down to see my nipple cracked, bleeding, and black and blue. I was devastated, however I kept on. Every two hours we tried with the nipple shield. About every other feeding we tried to get her to latch right on to me and it was the same thing. She wouldn't latch and then scream after a minute or two.

The next day, both my nipples were shredded to nothing and the nurses could only offer me lanolin and ibuprofen. The lactation consultant does not work weekends at my hospital and I delivered on a Friday at 4 PM and went home Sunday at the same time.The nurses tried to offer me some support and help, but everyone had a different opinion about what I should try. I think I cried to every nurse concerened that I wouldn't be able to feed my baby.

Then more bad news...

After one of her check ups in the NICU the pediatrician came to our room and said she had lost 6% of her weight in two days. They said they don't like to see more than 10% weight loss in the first week and she has lost 6 % in only two days. They suggested I supplement her with a formula feeding.
"Absolutely not!" I thought to myself. This wasn't how I had it planned. I wanted her to have my breast milk and ONLY my breast milk. The next few hours were so emotionally draining. I cried for hours trying to get her to latch and trying to see if she was getting enough out of the nipple shield. She would scream at the breast and act hungry after hours on the nipple shield.
Finally, a nurse came in with a supplement and sort of "shoved it in my face". (Let's be clear, the nurses were great but I believe they are VERY quick to give formula) She basically made me feel like I was starving my child and I finally caved in. The nurse feed her a supplement feeding while I cried the entire time.
Upon discharge, it was recommended that I offer a supplement every 12-24 hours in place of a feeding until my milk came in. Luckily, I didn't have to wait long for my milk to come in, but then entered an entire new set of problems.

My daughter still was not latching directly to me. It was a frustrating experience for both of us and after about 10 minutes each feed of trying to get her to latch we would end up using the nipple shield. However, once again the pain from the nipple shield was unlike anything I have ever experienced.  I pushed through for several days working with the nipple shield. Little did I know, because I wasn't told, but the nipple shield dampers milk supply and production. I didn't know this so I wasn't pumping afterward. This is a no no.  I also had been in contact with several lactation consultants trying to work on my latch. I had sore, cracked and bleeding nipples each time we nursed and then it hit me. Mastitis. A week into nursing with the shield I developed horrible chills and a fever of 102 for 3 days. I made an attempt at urgent care where they gave me an antibiotic. I took that for two days and nursed through the pain, however on the second day I had a change of heart about taking the antibiotic. I was worried about my supply. She would nurse forever and still be hungry. She obviously wasn't emptying my breasts with the nipple shield. That, and the opportunity for thrush, made me stop the meds and I went to try to get rid of the mastitis on my own. I took ibuprofen and used warm compress every time I nursed. I also started to pump more. I wanted her to have breast milk. I wanted to feed her. Plus I was able to empty my breasts better and my nipples were healing a bit. Every time I used the nipple shield she wouldn't get what she needed, my nipples would re-crack and bleed, and my breasts wouldn't empty.

I started to lose faith in the nipple shield. After another appointment with my lactation consultant she still wouldn't latch on to me. I would slip out of her mouth and she would scream. An endless cycle. Ultimately, the lactation consultant didn't seem very positive and ended up suggesting I just use the nipple shield--she mentioned I can use it up to 9 months or so. To me right there made me feel like even she thought my daughter wouldn't latch. I tried to explain how I thought the nipple shield was causing more problems than helping, but I didn't seem to get through.

That night I sat down with my husband and discussed our options. I cried and cried because I felt like a failure. I told my husband my desire to pump my breast milk for her if I couldn't nurse. This is where it started. The pumping. Every two hours like clock work to mimic her feeding schedule. I started researching exclusively pumping and realized this was going to be super demanding because it's like double duty. I have to pump then also feed her. However, I am determined to make this work.

I must say the emotions have been up and down over this. I cry and feel guilty, but then some days I offer myself a little bit of grace by telling myself I'm doing the best I can. I'm at least giving her breast milk which is the most important thing to me. And! I AM FEEDING HER!

It's always interesting when people ask me if I'm breast feeding. They see me giving her a bottle and maybe assume I'm formula feeding (BTW I'm not knocking formula, trust me I KNOW how hard this is and parents need to do what works for them!). She is getting my breast milk. I'm learning to give myself some slack and I'm going to try to exclusively pump for as long as I can in order to give her the best possible.

I've been reading several other blog posts from mommas who have exclusively pumped for their baby. There are PROs and CONS. The PROS means that my daughter can have my breast milk and the benefits that come with that, but I do find there are more CONS. I am constantly tied to a machine and I can't leave the house without planning to be back in, AT THE MOST, 3-4 hours. On top of that I think I have spent more money on Amazon ordering replacement pump parts, extra parts, and other items to make my machine time  much more bearable. There are many more issues here, but I really don't want to complain. I think the best post I came across was from this blogger who said "Remembering that if push comes to shove, I am more important to my baby than my milk".

Side Note: We still continue to work on her latch and we are making some progress every now and then. That I'm still working on too :)

Additional blog posts I found encouraging:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What I Thought I Knew...

For my readers who do now know, I recently gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl! :) A bit earlier before my due date since today (Feb. 1st) was my actual date.
I have to admit that these past few days have been rough, but joyous all the same. It is funny to think about how I had everything planned out (that is my personality of course) from how I would handle labor to how I knew I was going to breastfeed.
I had a birth plan.
A recovery plan.
A newborn plan.
A, how I was going to do things, plan.

Looking back, I wish I could slap myself as I was planning on these things a few weeks ago. Little did I know that things would change, not work out, or be much harder then I had anticipated. I thought I knew how it would all be.

First off, I would like to start off with a little vent! There is so much pressure! Pressure to be the super mom or the best parent out there. Doing everything the right way (if there is such a thing as a right way). Everyone has an opinion about what is considered the best practice in having a newborn, and most of the time people, specialists, and doctors agree to disagree on many matters.
That being said, I'm one of those people. I put the pressure on myself.
I'm a member of several mommy groups on Facebook. Some about breastfeeding, some about natural living, cloth diapering, mommy questions, etc. While I love these groups (mostly because people ask the questions I'm too afraid to ask), I also can find them a bit hostile. 
Okay...maybe that's a strong word.
Not that disagreeing is a bad thing, but some of these moms go back and forth arguing about who is right, who did what, and shame on you if you didn't do it the all natural way etc.
Maybe it's just me, but I find these groups intimidating. I don't want to be viewed as someone who "does it wrong" because I don't do things someone's believed way. 

I think it goes without saying that this blog post is a bit all over the place. Not really a thought-out post; just a few thoughts in my head that I seem to have found the time amidst my zero sleep and my shower lacking self to type out. 

I guess it boils down to, what I thought I knew...I don't.
Everything I had planned, didn't all happen (some things ARE going as planned FYI).
And, finally, for the first time in my life, I'm learning how to fly by the seed of my pants.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 REORG {Part 2: EC Planner Meal Plan Update}

So part TWO of this REORG focuses around my menu planning system. I am a HUGE menu planner and have been planning my weekly menu since I got married. Menu planning for my family helps up stay on $ budget $ and it keeps that sinking feeling of not having dinner ready for my husband at bay.

Nonetheless, I had a system for the longest time in which I had a menu board in my kitchen that I updated each week with my meals. I really liked this board so that my husband could see what was going to be for dinner. It turns out he didn't seem to look at it much and I realized I was writing my meal plan down multiple times. I usually plan my meals in my office and was writing it in my planner, as well as, then transferring to my menu board.

So my goal for the beginning of this year was to change where I kept my meal plan. I just found it more helpful to keep in my planner. I'm slightly obsessed with planners, planning, and life management. Can you tell? I tried writing my meal plan directly in my planner; but I would have to occasionally swap meals or our schedule would change. Very annoying. I didn't like having strike outs and messiness in my planner. Plus, I thought it would be cool to use my Erin Condren Coil Clips to move my meal plans to each week. The downside--they aren't reusable.

Here is what I did!
 I purchased 5 1/2" X 8 1/2" Sheet Protectors (Target) which fit perfectly in the Erin Condren Life Planner. I also picked up a few of the weekly note pads from the Target dollar spot which work perfectly for writing down my meals!

I went ahead and cut the holes off the sheet protectors so that the sheet fit even more snug into my planner. If you have a Filofax, this system would work there as well. Just keep the holes!
Then I attached my coil clip to the outside of the sheet.


Now I can move my sheet protector to each week and insert my meal plan for that week right in my planner.

When I get to the middle of the week, I can easily switch the side my meal plan faces.

This saves me some time, a mess in my planner from menu changes, and allows me to have my plan inserted each week! Happiness!


Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 REORG {Part 1: Floating Desk Paperwork}

Ahhh! 2015! I love when a new year rolls around. For some reason it is a huge motivator to get things reorganized and moving again. I have a few minor re-organizational goals to accomplish in this first week of the year that I am hoping will make some positive changes in my home management tasks.

Part 1 of this 2015 REORG (as I'm calling it) was to find a solution to the mess on my desk. I noticed that for the last quarter of 2014 I had some serious paper issues. A middle man problem. My filing system normally consists of my kitchen catchall basket and my file cabinet. The catchall houses all the incoming mail we need to pay, keep, or file for the week. Fridays, as per my schedule, I empty the catchall items and go through the paperwork. This is a win system for me. Works great! However, I noticed that sometimes I would have paperwork that can't be filed yet or items I need to follow up on that I don't want to archive away in my filing cabinets. THESE are the papers (and coupons) that would accumulate on my desk.

My solution was simple. I needed an active file box. If you are confused as to why I say active, I use the ABC filing system. So simple, and I usually recommend this to most of my clients as I work with them on paperwork management. I was really using my catchall basket as my active files, however as explained above that didn't work.
I can do a more in depth blog post on how the ABC system works, but the goal is to break down your paperwork into three categories.
Active Files
Basic Files
Classic Files
(I'll do a separate blog post on this later because this one would just get too long)

I purchased some adorable folders (from Target) which led to the need for a clear file box (Target) in order to see everything :) This is typical Katrina fashion! I am currently on the hunt for some clear hanging folders to make this work a tad better, but until then...this works!
I pulled out my washi tape and my labeler to create some labels.
I created a few folders for now with several folders left to expand.

To-Pay: For the 1-2 bills that I actually need to send a check for.
Blog: I have post-it notes with post ideas and other paperwork regarding my blog that tends to float around on my desk. Now I have a folder for it.
Follow Up: I usually have to follow up with our providers as part of household management and/or double check accounts etc. This is helpful to keep all the papers I need to follow up readily available. Instead of filing them away.
Coupons: Because I have several coupons that are for other items besides food (Shutterfly, Tiny Prints, BBW, etc.). I like to keep them at my desk for online orders and planning.

I placed this on my office tray and reorganized a few things. I love how it looks, but even more importantly my floating desk paperwork has a home :)