Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2 Months of Parenting

Okay so I'm a little late on this one, but it's never too late to brag about your cute little people.  Right?

Clara is a little over two months old now, and I cannot believe it. They tell you the time flies by.  You believe them.  But you don't truly understand how fast it goes until you're living it.

Clara absolutely loves seeing mommy first thing in the morning.  She will crack a huge smile when I peak into her crib and start un-swaddling her. 

She is an amazing sleeper!  I put her down at 8:20 nearly every night and she sleeps until 6ish.  She's also sleeping in her own room.  

We're mostly breast feeding, however we're also doing some supplementing too.  Going back to work has been hard on my milk supply, and I didn't have a whole lot stashed before my return.  But we aren't ready to quit.  I'm pumping and nursing every day, doing my best to provide for my baby girl. 

Being back at work is hard, but Corey is father of the year.  He takes Clara to the sitter ever morning, gets her all dressed and ready, and even remembers to make our bed (the only neat thing about our tornado house) before he leaves. 

Clara is the center of our world and I can't believe that I get to be her mommy.  Every day I spend with her is a blessing.  When I feed her before bed I hold her close and I often cry just wishing that time would slow down.  

Here is to another successful month of parenthood!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Pregnancy Nostalgia and Other Weird Things About Motherhood

When you're 90 months pregnant and so very ready to evict the tiny being growing inside you, people tell you, "You are going to miss this!"  They say it every time you make the slightest complaint about your pregnancy or when you say "I can't wait to meet my baby!"  Everyone tells you not to wish it away and that you will miss being pregnant. 

I never thought in a million years those people would be right.  I thought, "I've had an easy pregnancy and I don't feel like I'm going to miss this!" 

I was 100% incorrect on that one.  And if you know me at all you know that I hate little more than admitting that I'm wrong. 

I totally miss being a big old pregnant lady.  I miss my cute little bump and my stretchy maternity clothes.  I miss feeling Clara roll around inside my belly and laughing at strangers saying "You're about to pop."  I miss laying in bed and night and feeling Corey reach over to rub my belly or give it a goodnight kiss.  And I miss that anticipation of wondering what my little girl would be like. 

I can't believe how wrong I was about this.  But that's not the only weird thing about being a mom.  There are so many weird things about motherhood that I've discovered over the past couple of months. 

I am constantly talking about my child. I seriously want to talk about her all the time.  I don't remember the last time I had a conversation that didn't start or end with something about my daughter. 

I am so sensitive and I cry about everything! They don't tell you this when you're sitting at the OBGYN and getting all prepped for parenthood.  I don't know if it's hormones or what, but the other day, I cried because I saw two really happy old ladies on the jumbotron at the Jazz

My hair is always a hot freaking mess. My daughter is really a great little baby.  She sleeps through the night (or STTN as all the mommy FB groups say), she is growing like a weed, and she demands very little attention.  But some how, the second I go to fix my hair, she wants to cry.   Or I'll have to nurse and the only practical thing is a top knot rat's nest.  Let's just call it like it is. 

I feel constant pressure to be a certain type of mommy.  Can you say hashtag MomGuilt?  I swear I have never worried so much about what I'm doing than when it comes to my child.  Am I at work too late?  Should I be interacting with her more?  Should I eat oatmeal for every meal to boost my milk supply?  Is supplementing with formula going to make my child develop slower?  Are these car seat straps right?  I'm not kidding, this list goes on and on.  I could write 10 post about momguilt. 

I worry I don't have anything in common with my non-mom friends anymore.  I haven't hung out with any of my friend who aren't parents, and I'm scared to.  See my point about the Clara-word-vomit.  

My house work is just not getting done.  The other day I spilled some chips onto the floor.  I cleaned up most of them then needed to vacuum the rest of the crumbs. The crumbs sat there for at least 24 hours. 

What crazy things have you noticed about motherhood?  I feel like my list could be 50 items long.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

5 Secrets to Giving the Perfect Gift

There's a book out there somewhere all about love languages.  One of those love languages is receiving gifts.  Well, no offense to the love language book, but I think you forgot one:  Giving gifts.

I absolutely love to give gifts.  But not just any gift.  I like to really put some thought behind the things I give people.  For example, one year for Christmas, I gave my sister the beginnings of a scrap book that we could work on together and add more of our memories.  Another year, I made my mom Christmas ornaments out of things like paper plates, pipe cleaners, and old photos of my sisters and me.  It was sentimental and exactly my kind of gift.  

And lets be honest, who doesn't love that moment when your sister opens your gift on her birthday and tears instantly come to her eyes?  To me, that's the best feeling in the world. 

Today I'm going to share 5 secrets to giving the perfect gift (even if you are never that person who brings the emotion to the birthday party. 

1//  Remember that you are giving this gift, not receiving it. 

One of the biggest mistakes people make when shopping for a gift, is they shop for themselves when looking for a gift. When you think "Well I would like to get that..." You're not shopping for your boyfriend or your husband, or your mother-in-law, you're shopping for yourself.  

2//  Shop in the right place. 

If your shopping for your friend who is all about sustainability and "green" business practices, you may want to shop at a place like Uncommon Goods rather than a large franchise.  You're more likely to find that unique gift that your friend can truly appreciate.  

3//  Know what occasion you're shopping for. 

One of the best things about Uncommon Goods, is that they break down their products by occasion.  For example, I'm looking for a gift for Corey's and my first anniversary.  I can go here and find all kind of creative ideas.

4//  Think outside the box.

One of the best ways to do this is to purchase a personalized gift. Why buy newlyweds a blender, when you can get them a personalized piece of art that they can hang in their family home for the rest of their married lives?  This one is my personal favorite.  You can check out more personalized gifts here

5//  Show them that you know them.

Picking up a shot glass in the gift shop for someone who doesn't drink probably wouldn't go over so well.  Really look for that perfect birthday gift.  Something personal like this fillable book could be the best possible gift for someone who is more sentimental that material.  (hint hint Corey ;)

I promise, if you use these 5 tips when you're searching or the perfect gift, you will not fail.  You can thank me later when on Christmas day, mom is crying over the gift you gave her being exactly what she never knew she wanted.  ;)

A few things worth noting:  I like to support businesses where I believe in their mission.  I chose to work with Uncommon Goods because of they cultivate a community of artists and quality products. Buying from a place you truly want to support could make your gift the perfect one all by its self. 

*This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods. All opinions are my own.*

Thursday, October 6, 2016

5 Tips for the Working Mom

On Monday I went back to work.  For those of you who may not know, I work as a manager at a call center.  I am over the training department.  The company I work for is a start up.  That means that we are growing very quickly and constantly.  Things change every day.  That means that I am a workaholic.  The last few months of not worrying about work have been complete heaven, but going back to work has been somewhat refreshing. 

The last week of my maternity leave I did a few things to prepare to head back to work.  I cleaned my house, sent a few emails and started working on my plans for how I'm going to survive being a working mom. So far things are going really well. 

Here's a few tips for making that tough transition to full time mom and full time employee. 

1//  Get your clothes in order
One of my biggest worries for going back to work was getting there on time.  To try to ease this worry I took a few steps during my last week of leave.

I washed all my clothes and organized my closet and dresser.   This way when I go to dress myself, I know where my work pants and shirts are at.  No more digging through everything I own and taking 45 minutes just to FIND my clothes that are appropriate for work.

2//  Do parts of your morning routine at night
As much as I like to have a shower in the morning, I haven't had a lot of time for them in the AM.  Sometimes I get one in the morning, but I have more time to get us ready.  
I also used to make Corey lunch in the morning.  Now I pack most of it at night and save myself about 10 minutes every morning. 

3//  Don't get back in bed.
You WILL fall back to sleep.  You WILL be late.  Your make up WILL be all smudged.  And you will not start that day out right. 

 4// Have a back up plan for childcare
I use a private baby sitter for childcare.  That being said, she will occasionally need days off.  I've made sure my employer is okay with me working from home if necessary to take care of Clara if the sitter is unable.  I also have a back up for my back up.  Knowing I'm covered when I'm back at work is a huge relief. 

5// Meal plan
I am the cook at home. Corey's specialties are microwave dinners, ramen noodles, and frozen pizza.  While there is nothing wrong with that, I don't want him microwaving dinner every night  To keep that from happening, I meal plan.  The hardest part of cooking every night is deciding what to make with the stuff I've got at home, and that causes me a lot of stress.  Having a meal plan saves time and ensures that I have everything I need to make what we're having.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

8 Things You Should Be Doing to Earn Your Next Promotion

Today was my first day back at work!  Leaving my baby at home for 8 hours was possibly the hardest thing I've had to do as a parent so far, but I know it will be nice to be back in the office. 
I haven't shared a whole lot about what I do here on the blog, and I always say there is no time like the present!

I started working for a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company in June of 2015.  I had just moved back from Las Vegas and I was wanting a summer job to keep me busy and put some money in my pocket.  I never expected I would still be there over a year later, but I ended up working really hard and getting promoted very quickly. Within a few weeks I was placed on a tier 2 team and training other representatives.  Shortly after that, I became the trainer and as the company has grown, so has my position.  I owe each promotion I've gotten to each of these secrets to success below.

8 Things you should be doing to earn your next promotion

1// Dressing to impress.

My grandma told me when I was younger that you should always dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.  I really don't even know why she told me that.  I didn't get my first job till after she passed away.  But let me tell you, she was right.  Dressing professionally even when you don't HAVE to will get you noticed.  I know of employees who were promoted based on the fact that they always looked the part. 
 Dress one grade fancier than you're required.  If you wear a uniform make sure every hair is in place, you're clean shaven, and you don't look like you just rolled out of bed.  Use an iron and for the love of all that is working, brush your teeth.  

2// Showing your worth

Employers want to see that you're valuable.  They want to be able to put you in a position and see that you can excel no matter where they place you.  When you're given the opportunity to give input, do so.  If you have a chance to make a suggestion or affect change, don't wait to be asked! Showing that you're valuable is extremely important to earning your next promotion.

 Always do your best work.  Even if you're doing something extremely easy and below your skill level.  If you're given a task that requires a more efficient process, implement it and share your results when you're finished.  The proof will be in the work you produce. 

3// Going the extra mile

Doing the bare minimum is never going to get you noticed.  In fact, it will make you invisible. Aiming for exceptional is what will get you noticed.  Set yourself apart from other employees by impressing a client or customer with your customer care skills, your knowledge, or your efficiency. 
Take any and all chances to participate in work activities.  This shows a sense of community in the work place which is important for supervising and management.  If you're working with a client or a customer, do your very best to ensure they have the best possible experience.  Who knows, they may even leave you a positive review!

4//  Showing up

Showing up to work is half the battle.  It's important that you're there when you're scheduled.  If your attendance is poor or you frequently request time off, you'll look as if work is not a priority and you won't be there to handle more responsibility.

5// Showing your willingness to learn

Being teachable is very important.  You may think you know everything there is to know about your job, but there is always more you can learn.  

6// Being kind and sociable

Being in management or supervising a team is very different than being a team member.  Of course you still need to able to do the tasks you ask of your team, but there is more to it than that.  You should be a trusted resource for your colleagues.  Employers like to see that you can interact with other well and build rapport. 

7// Following the rules

This is a no brainer, however, if you're an overachiever, this may be harder than you think.  For example, if you're policy is that each department handles different aspects of a customer's experience then you should only provide them with what you are permitted to provide.  If they need something another department should do, allow them to do so.  Breaking rules, even if it's to help a customer, is not going to be received well. 

8//  Being a team player 

This can have a lot of different meanings.  To me, being a team player is mostly about being observant and listening to others.  Recognizing that team work makes the dream work is an important part of being a valuable employee.  
I'll leave you with a bonus tip for earning your next promotion: 
Always take a chance.  If your employer posts a listing that you're interested in, apply.  They can't promote you if they don't know who you are!  I work for a smaller company where everyone knows everyone.  I didn't need an interview to get my job, but you probably will! And if at first you don't succeed, keep on trying! It's so important not to give up.  The more your boss sees you in the interview chair, the more likely you are to earn a promotion.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

The 4th Trimester

Being a mom is great.  I absolutely love being a parent.  This morning Clara and I sat on the couch while she smiled at me over and over and I just cried.  It's the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life. 
And I know you're waiting for the "but"  so here it comes:
But recovering from pregnancy and child birth is so hard.  Before pregnancy I was a size 1.  I didn't have a single stretch mark.  I had never weighed more than 110 lbs.  You can imagine that when I stepped on the scale at 4 weeks postpartum I was a little bit discouraged to see 138.  
I've had a lot a people say things like "I don't feel bad for you"  or "OMG you're tiny! Pregnancy didn't affect your body at all."   And really, that isn't fair for them to say.  Pregnancy takes over your body and it has made it something I don't recognize.  I try to put clothes I wore before pregnancy and I can't get my thighs in them.  I try putting on maternity clothes and I'm drowning.  It's that 4th trimester in between that causes me disappointment every morning when I get dressed. 
Now that I'm just over 5 weeks postpartum I'm going to start exercising again.  In my due date group on Facebook one of the admins started a work out challenge and it started today.  I started today with my squats.  We're using this challenge from Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans
We're also doing a planking challenge.  This one isn't exactly the same, but it's similar to what we'll be doing and it's from the same bloggers at Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. The great thing about planks is they're great for women who are recovering from pregnancy.  It's easier on your recovering abs.
Planksgiving: Do Planks, Give Thanks w/the Sisterhood #shrinkingjeans #planksgiving #exercise #fitness

We're doing another ab challenge as well, however I'm waiting for the go-ahead from my OB before I start that one.

I'll be sharing some exercise videos on my Facebook page each week along with progress photos.  Stay tuned for more!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

8 Must-Haves For the New Mom

*This post contains affiliate links.  I use all of the products linked and I swear by them!*
When you become a mom, the world changes.  Okay, so maybe the whole world doesn't change, but a lot of things do. 

The other day I had some errands to run.  In order to run those errands I had to feed the baby till she was asleep so I could shower.  I had to dress myself.  I had to dress my baby.  I had to make sure her diaper bag had all the essentials. I had to make Corey lunch and get out the door before 12:30.  

All I wanted to eat for lunch was a teriyaki place near Walmart.  In order to go inside I'd have to take the baby out of the car, lug her inside for all of 6 minutes while I ordered and waited for my food. Then I'd have to lug her out with my food in hand, forgetting about a drink because I just didn't have enough hands for that.  

So I decided to go home and eat a bag of cookies and left over spaghetti instead.  Life as I knew it is over and a new one as begun.  But lucky for me, I've found a few things that make my life a lot easier.  

1// Munchkin Bottle Drying Rack
When I was registering for things, I didn't really think I needed a separate drying rack for bottles. When my counter was taken over by bottles and pump parts to where they wouldn't fit on my regular drying rack with the dishes.  I  bought mine last week and it has already made my kitchen cleaner.  

2// Boppy Nursing Pillow
I thought this would be a totally overrated mommy novelty.  I was promptly proven wrong.  My Boppy is a complete life saver when it comes to night time feedings or when Clara is feeling fussy and doesn't want me to put her down.  The Boppy gives my arms a rest.  

3// Pack 'n Play
These aren't new.  My mom used one when we were growing up, but they've changed a little since I was born. they have bassinets, changing tables, nappers, and the bottom comes up so you don't kill your back reaching in the pick up the baby.  I use mine literally every day during naps and I love it. 

4// Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags
This is another thing I didn't buy prior to having Clara.  I didn't know I'd need it.  But it's already been a live saver.  When I want to go out with Corey I can take some milk out of the freezer and my baby can benefit from breast milk without me being there and when I go back to work  we can continue feeding Clara breast milk.  

5// Chicco Bravo Stroller 
My stroller rocks.  I got it extremely on sale at Babies 'R' Us and had no idea what to expect, but in the last month, it's got us through 2 grocery trips, multiple walks, the State Fair, and other trips to the outside world for mommy's sanity.  It's easy to fold up and my car seat pops right onto it.  I am so glad this was the stroller I found on sale.  
6// Aquaphor Baby Diaper Rash Cream
I got this cream as a sample at my pediatricians office.  I noticed baby girls bum was a little red so I put some of this on.  It was gone literally the next day, so of course I bought more.  That sample system works...

7// Rock 'N' Play
The rock and  I love it.  Clara sleeps better in her Rock 'N Play than anywhere else.  We put it in the kitchen while we eat or in the living room when we watch TV.  It has been prefect.  

8// Delta Glider
My glider was a gift from Corey's mom.  Best. Gift. Ever. There is nothing like sitting in my glider and staring down at my beautiful baby girl.  And sometimes daddy gets to use it too.  

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