Casual Nursing Style
  • January 19, 2018
  • Baby · Style
  • Earlier this week I was at my new moms group talking about what we missed about our pre-baby lives. One mom said she missed being able to just get dressed without having to think about if it would be easy to nurse in. This was something I hadn’t thought about before having Grace, but I couldn’t agree more. Since I spend most days at home, I’ve started building a small wardrobe of casual nursing tops. casual nursing topsFinding nursing tops that are my style and don’t make me feel like I’m shouting “hey look I’m a nursing mom” can be challenging. I purchased a few tanks before Grace and they ended up not being that great of quality so a few weeks ago I stopped into Kickin’ Chicago, a maternity and nursing boutique in Roscoe Village.

    Kickin’ has a great selection of designer maternity and nursing clothes (I got this dress there last summer) and the owner was kind enough to talk me through what to look for in nursing tops. Details like hidden zippers, like this top has, are great because they are discreet. In the winter months you can layer it with a soft cashmere sweater like this one here. I like rolling the sweater up slightly so the sweater sticks out a little at the bottom. These are both pieces I would wear once I stop nursing, which I love because I don’t want to be buying a lot of clothes that I’ll only wear for a short time. Especially living in a condo, closet and storage space is scarce. For casual days when I’m just at home, running errands or meeting up with other new moms, I also have been liking henleys, cardigans with tanks and tops with zipper details.

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    sweater and top c/o available at kickin’ chicago / jeans (similar) / wedges (similar) / earrings

    Owning My New “Mom Status”
  • January 16, 2018
  • Baby · Life
  •  This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OwnWhatYouEat #CollectiveBias

    Now that I have about six weeks of being a mom under mom belt, I’m starting to feel like I’m really settling into my role as a mom. I always knew I would love being a mom, but I never knew I would love being a mom this much. With that being said, before I became a mom I knew it would be important to still maintain a sense of my pre-baby self. Here are a few ways I’m owning my new “mom status,” with the help of Kellogg Special K® products.

    Shop this image by clicking on any of the products and start owning your day!

    Date Nights

    This is one we haven’t had a chance to do just yet, but Brett and I have talked about trying to do one date night a month. We have a date night planned for his birthday later this month, and plans for a spa date in March. We’re lucky to have my parents who live close by, plus friends who have offered to babysit little Grace so we can get away together for a few hours.

    Girl Time

    Now that Grace is taking a bottle for some feedings it’s easier for me to get away. The first time I left Grace with Brett, I pretty much sprinted down the street to our neighborhood nail place and asked for the quickest manicure they could give me. I was gone less than an hour and I think Grace slept the entire time. I’ve since been able to get away for longer periods of time and as much as I hate being away from Grace, I also really enjoy this time away whether it be lunch with girlfriends, a trip to Target on my own (where I can pick up all these great Special K® products!) or shopping with my mom and sister. I also know that it’s a great way for Brett to get to spend more one on one time with Grace.

    Exercise 

    I haven’t been cleared to work out just yet, but once I do I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine. I know it won’t be as easy to get to Bar Method as often as I would like once I go back to work, so I plan on adding in some at home workouts that I can do in the mornings or at night after Grace goes to sleep. Do you have any favorites? I’m thinking about BBG, but not sure if it’s right for me.

    Multitask and Prioritize

    Before bringing Grace home, I foolishly thought I would have a lot of free time during the day while she napped. Those naps go by so quickly though! They are usually spent tidying up the house, spending time with Riggins and trying to get in a quick meal or snack. I’ve started making a to do list each morning with what I want to get done each day. It makes me feel like I have a little control over my day and that I’ve accomplished something more than just keeping Grace happy, fed and rested.

    Lately I’ve been having Special K® handhelds for lunch while I’m catching up on emails when Grace is napping. I can pop the egg, spinach and cheese sandwich (my favorite!) in the microwave and cut up some fresh fruit while it’s cooking. It’s packed with protein so it keeps me fuller longer, great for days when I don’t get a chance for an afternoon snack.

    Speaking of snacks, I’ve found I am much more hungry now that I’m breastfeeding than I was when I was pregnant. Any other new moms feel this way? Having healthy, quick snacks on hand has become essential. I’ve gotten pretty skilled at preparing a bowl of cereal one handed! The Special K® Nourish Coconut, Cranberry, Almond cereal is packed with healthy whole grains and quinoa, but also satisfies my sweet tooth.

    Right now when you shop at Target you can get 10% OFF select Special K® Quiche and Handhelds (through 1/27). mom status mom status mom status mom status mom status mom status

    Click here to learn more about the Kellogg Family Rewards offer for a free Swell water bottle with purchase of three Special K® products!

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    One Month with Grace
  • January 8, 2018
  • Baby
  • Saturday marked Grace’s one month birthday and I completely get what people mean when they say it goes by in a blink of an eye. Looking back at pictures from the day Grace was born and now, I can’t believe just how much she’s changed. They also say the days are long, but the years are short, but Brett and I have both said the days go by so quickly too. Some days it feels like we have barely gotten our day started and it’s already time for bed again. I’ve said it before, but I get so sad each time I put Grace to sleep at night because it means she’ll be another day older in the morning. Her Disposition: We joke that we have no idea where she got her chill disposition from because neither of her parents are exactly “go with the flow kind of people,” but we’re not complaining! She rarely cries, and when she does it’s usually because she’s hungry, has a dirty diaper or is cold. Girl hates being cold! Considering it’s been above freezing only a few days since the day she was born, you’d think she’d be used to the cold. Bath time and changing diapers or her clothes can be pretty traumatic, but as soon as we wrap her back up she’s back to being calm. She loves being swaddled or wrapped up in blankets and being held.

    Daytime Routine: Since day one in the hospital, she’s been on a schedule of eating every 3 hours during the day starting at 7am . She hit a growth spurt around two weeks and was feeding more frequently, but for the most part she sticks to this schdedule. Mornings are my favorite time of day with Grace. Now that Brett is back to work, he wakes Grace up a little after 7 if she hasn’t woken on her own and changes her diaper/cuddles with her while I shower. I feed her while Brett showers and then spend time cuddling and talking to Brett before he has to go to work. I try and put her back down for a nap around 8:30 and I finish getting ready for the day and have breakfast before she is back up again at 10 to eat. She’s starting to become more alert, but for the first few weeks she slept most of the day. Of course being a nervous first time mom, I worried that there was something wrong, but my doctor assured me that it’s perfectly normal and some newborns just sleep more than others. I’d like to get her on a more consistent nap schedule, but I know this will come with time.

    Bedtime & Night Routine: One of the most surprising things with Grace has been just how much she sleeps. Again, we’re not complaining, but we were definitely expecting to be getting a lot less sleep. Aside from our first two nights at home, which were really rough for all of us, she’s been sleeping great at night. We start bedtime around 7 and she is usually asleep by 8. She typically wakes up twice at night (around 1 and 4), but we’ve also been getting one or two nights a week where she will only wake up once. We try and not change her diaper unless we have to at night, so I’m usually back to bed in about 30 minutes. 

    Feeding: When Grace was first born, I was worried that she wasn’t eating enough because she would only nurse for 10 – 15 minutes max. She still has a tendency to fall asleep after only a short time and sometimes I’ll take her clothes off to wake her up and get her to continue eating. She was back up to her birth weight though at her one week appointment so I felt reassured that she was getting enough to eat. Breastfeeding was something that did not feel natural to me at first, but I feel much more comfortable now. We introduced a bottle at two and a half weeks and we typically give her a bottle at 7 right before bed and for her 10pm dream feed so she is going to sleep with a full belly.

    My Recovery: I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of pain and recovery after delivery, but it really wasn’t as terrible as I thought it was going to be. Yes I was in pain, but it was manageable. My biggest problem in the first couple weeks was that I would wake up in the morning feeling great and would end up doing too much in the mornings and would get more sore and wear myself out by the afternoon. Brett was constantly having to remind me to take it easy in the mornings and was great about making sure I got time to nap in the afternoons. I have no idea if it’s genetics, because I was so active throughout my pregnancy, or a combination of both but my body has bounced back so much more quickly than I expected. Even the nurses and doctors in the hospital were surprised by how quickly my stomach had gone down. I have about 4 or 5 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-baby weight, but with the holidays and breastfeeding losing that weight has really not been a priority. I’m excited for my 6-week doctor appointment where I will hopefully get cleared to work out so I can start toning up again. 

    Best Part: Every time we get to introduce Grace to a new friend or family member, my heart just swells with pride. I just love being able to say that this tiny, perfect little human is mine.

    Hardest Part: The hardest part about this first month has been just how cold it’s been. I’ve only been able to get out of the house a few times and those times I have gone it’s been to run from our garage to another garage and into a building. I would love to be able to take Grace and Riggins out for walks during the day and I know the fresh air would be good for all of us, but it’s just way too cold to take her out. I’m hoping that we’ve gotten through the worst of the winter though and we’ll be able to start getting out more. Once Grace gets her two month shots we’ll be able to do more indoor activities too, like visit museums or go out to eat, when we won’t have to worry as much about her catching a cold from another child.

    Introducing Grace Elizabeth
  • December 20, 2017
  • Baby
  • Today I’m so excited to finally be introducing Grace Elizabeth to you all! Grace Elizabeth was born two weeks ago today, on December 6th at 4:49 pm. She’s the sweetest baby and we couldn’t be more in love. Grace ElizabethMy water broke and I went into labor on the night of the 5th, while Brett was at the Jay-Z concert. I’m pretty sure our friends and family were shocked that he was at a concert when I was one day overdue, but I was pretty convinced that this baby wasn’t going to come on her own and we had already scheduled to be induced that Friday. (This is why we’ve nicknamed Grace Gray-Z.) My contractions weren’t yet regular, and to be honest I wasn’t actually sure if my water had broken at all so I figured I would just wait it out until Brett got home a few hours later. When he did get home, I told him I thought I might be in labor and he was ready to leave for the hospital right away. My contractions still were still anywhere from 6 – 10 minutes a part and I really didn’t want to go to the hospital until they were more regular. I did not want to get to the hospital in the middle of the night only to be turned away. (Knowing now that my water had actually broken we would have been admitted right away.) I told Brett to try and get some sleep and I took a shower, tried picking up the house a bit and waited it out.

    Finally around 2:30 am I felt like it was go time. I don’t remember much of the drive to the hospital (at this point, my contractions were about 1 – 2 minutes a part), but Brett says he may have ran a red light or two. We arrived at the hospital and left the car with the valet and headed straight to triage. Brett started unloading the car and this may have been the only time I came close to loosing it. I got so upset with Brett for bringing all our bags (and a sleeping bag that I made him take back to the car) into triage when I still thought we might be turned away. Luckily we were the only ones there!

    Once checked in, they confirmed my water had broken and I was sent up to delivery. Not too long after they came in to give me my epidural and Brett left to call our parents. Getting the epidural was one of the best things ever and even though my contractions weren’t as painful as I thought they would be, I still can’t imagine going through labor without it. Once I had the epidural Brett and I were able to sleep until around 11, when the nurses started to come check on me more regularly. My parents arrived around noon and Brett’s parents, who had driven up from St. Louis that morning, were at the hospital shortly after. We all sat around talking for a couple hours just waiting for me to get to 10cm dilated. I wasn’t planning on having anyone in the room with us, but it really made the time go by a lot faster while we waited. Once it was go time, we kicked everyone out and got to work. We had an amazing team of doctors, nurses, residents and interns coaching us along and just over an hour later, Grace Elizabeth was here!

    The past two weeks have flown by and I am loving every minute of newborn snuggles. I’m already starting to feel sad night when I put her to bed, knowing she’ll be another day older and another day out of the newborn phase. I’ll be sharing more about life with Gracie in another post soon.

    Thank you all for your sweet comments on Instagram! Brett and I are so excited for this new chapter in our lives and can’t wait to see what the future holds for our family and our little girl.