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Tuesday, June 21

Overcoming the anxiety of an unexpected pregnancy

"I know that there are women out there who struggle with infertility and there are women who are so blessed to get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I'm glad I've been able to experience both because it's helped me realize that we can't judge each other based our trials or our blessings. It's different for each person and you have to let people feel whatever feelings they have about their situation."

I used to get really annoyed with people who got pregnant "accidentally," or at least super easily, and weren't happy or excited about it. Before my pregnancy with Benson, Jason and I had tried to get pregnant for what felt like the longest time, then once we did, we had a miscarriage. I thought people who got pregnant quickly and with little-to-no effort should be grateful and should be be nothing but happy, since it had come so easily to them while other struggled with infertility. I felt that way right up until January when I was unexpectedly pregnant and felt so scared.

I've always wanted more kids. Jason and I still aren't settled on how many kids we want. I say a million and he teases that he's fine with just one, or two now. But, regardless of how many kids I want, I was not ready to get pregnant when I did. I had just set out some big goals for myself and I knew that things would need to stay the same in order for me to accomplish them. Getting pregnant was not even on my radar for this year.

But, God had something else in mind for me. He blessed me with another baby. I spent the first several weeks of my pregnancy overcome with the challenges that having another baby would bring. I worried about how I would balance two kids while working from home, how having another baby would mean pushing back my personal goals, how I hadn't gotten back into shape like I wanted to before having another baby. All the negatives were glaring at me and I started to get anxious instead of excited about adding a new member to our family.

The problem with anxiety is that it steals the happiness out of life. Instead of being excited about all the pregnancy milestones that were coming up, I was buried under a pile of fear. Finally I realized, I didn't want to miss out on anymore of this pregnancy so I decided I had to change my focus.

I used these tools to help find the positives in being pregnant until I didn't have to focus so hard on being happy. Now, I really am excited about bringing baby girl into our family!

Think about the baby not about yourself. 

It's so easy to be overwhelmed during the first trimester when you feel absolutely terrible and you're completely zapped of energy. I found that it was during those first 13 weeks that I had the most doubts about being pregnant. I worried about every little thing and couldn't see the joy in pregnancy and in having another baby because I was so consumed with stress and anxiety. 

It takes a strong change in perspective when things are tough to make the most out of a bad situation. Every time I was hovering over the toilet feeling nauseous, I had to remind myself that these were good signs. This all meant that baby was growing strong and healthy. When I didn't want to eat because nothing sounded good I had to remind myself that the baby needed me to eat. It wasn't all about me anymore. It was time to focus on her. 

Find an aspect about pregnancy to be excited about

Finding out the baby's gender is always the most exciting part of pregnancy for me. Before 20 weeks I try not to worry about decorating or buying clothes, but as soon as I have the gender ultrasound I go into hard core planning mode. Picking out a nursery theme and filling my registry always help me get excited about the baby. 

I also love picking out names. When I was pregnant with Benson, Jason and I thought about names but couldn't agree on any boys names until after we found out that we were having a boy. Once we had a name picked out it made the whole thing seem real. We don't tell anyone our baby names before they're born but it's so fun to call the baby by name when it's just the two of us. 

Realize just how blessed you are. 

Because I've been on both sides of the spectrum I know just how blessed I am that it didn't take another year, or more to get pregnant. Sure, I would have liked to have gotten pregnant on my own schedule. It might have helped me to not have to deal with the anxiety that this pregnancy brought, but that wasn't what was right for me and my family.

Instead of focusing on my plan and my schedule, I'm learning to trust in God's plan for my life. Maybe my kids will be best friends because they'll be close in age. Maybe they'll resent me for making their birthdays so close (they'll be a week or two apart.) Either way this was what was in store for me and I need to be grateful that God blessed me with another baby.

I know that there are women out there who struggle with infertility and there are women who are so blessed to get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I'm glad I've been able to experience both because it's helped me realize that we can't judge each other based our trials or our blessings. It's different for each person and you have to let people feel whatever feelings they have about their situation. 

So, to all the women that I secretly judged, I'm sorry. I had no idea what you were going through. I'm just glad I'm able to understand a little bit better now. 

"I know that there are women out there who struggle with infertility and there are women who are so blessed to get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I'm glad I've been able to experience both because it's helped me realize that we can't judge each other based our trials or our blessings. It's different for each person and you have to let people feel whatever feelings they have about their situation."

Photos by Kelly Gubler
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Thursday, June 16

Five teething tools to make your life easier

Are you fighting a teething baby or toddler? Having the right tools on hand will make all the difference. Click through to see my favorite products and routine to ease the pain for your kiddo!

Teething snuck up on me way before I thought it would. Benson was about three months old when his first tooth popped through, and then disappeared again an hour later, but I was not prepared for it at all! Since then I've learned a lot about soothing a teething babe and even developed my own system depending on how much pain he is in. After 15 months of teething I think we're finally out of the woods and I want to share my tips with other moms who are starting the same journey! 

**Please note that I am not a doctor, I don't know all the side effects of any of these suggestions. These are just tips that worked for me and my son. 

We have a three part system that we do when Benson really starts to show signs of pain. 
  1. We always start off with a teether toy. I mention a few of my favorites below, but I like to see if just chewing on something can help relieve the pain before I give him any medications. 
  2. If toys just aren't cutting it, then I step it up to teething tablets. This is a great medium between ibuprofen and just a toy. I'll share my favorite teething tablets below too!
  3. Finally, if nothing else seems to cut it we give Benson Ibuprofen. When things were really bad we would rotate between ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help ease the pain. 
You will find millions of teether options online, but these are my absolute favorites; both because they helped ease the pain for my little guy and because some of them were just plain cute! 

Are you fighting a teething baby or toddler? Having the right tools on hand will make all the difference. Click through to see my favorite products and routine to ease the pain for your kiddo!


Icy Chew Teethers

Like I said, Benson started teething before I had even thought of it and I was so lost at first as to what to give him. Luckily, I had gotten these Munchkin Fun Ice Chew Teethers as a baby shower gift and when I found it in my toy bin I was so relieved. I gave it to him right away and even unfrozen they helped so much. Now I constantly have that foot in the freezer, ready to bust out anytime Benson starts to get cranky or show signs of pain. 

Appeteethers

I came across this adorable bacon teether when I was frantically searching Amazon for teethers that first day Benson started showing signs of pain. I knew Jason would be ok spending a little bit more on this cute bacon teether. It always gets compliments and questions, and they have a lot of other cute food options; I was very tempted by the broccoli teether. The bacon teether was a little hard for Benson to use at 4 months, but as he's gotten older he's loved it. 

Mesh food holders and ice

Put an ice cube or some frozen breast milk in a Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder and let baby chew on that cold stuff! The cold helps sooth the inflamed gums plus this is probably the easiest way to sooth those teeth when you're in a pinch. I didn't discover it until Benson was older, but it would have been great when he was young as well. Now, when he's in a lot of pain I'll just hand him an ice cube and he loves that as well. 

Teething Tablets

I have Hyland's teething tablets stocked in my diaper bag and in our house so we're never without them. I love that Benson can have a fair amount of tablets without me having to worry about side effects. Benson even knows that these will give him relief and now will grab them out of my hand and eat them himself. 

Amber teething necklaces

Let me start this off by saying I'm not a "crunchy granola mom." I'm a huge believer in modern medicine, and like I said, I've given Benson drugs for teething, but I also think there are a lot of holistic approaches that are effective too. 

That being said, I'm a huge believer in Amber teething necklaces. I am still amazed by how well this necklace works. Before the necklace Benson was constantly drooling, but now he doesn't drool at all. He can also tell he difference when it's gone. We usually take it off at night and the couple of times I've forgotten to put it back on in the morning he is fussier and grabs at his neck for the necklace. I think they are definitely worth a shot if your baby has a lot of pain while teething. However, make sure you do your research because there are a lot of scams with teething necklaces. Read reviews, make sure it's certified and spend a little more if you have to. 

What are your favorite teething methods? What works for you and your family? 

Tuesday, June 14

Cute + Cool = The perfect summer outfit equation

Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!
Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!
Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!
Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!
Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!

I should have learned from my last pregnancy that heat and a pregnant me don't mix very well. But I must be glutton for punishment because here I am heading into June 6 months pregnant. 

Being a hot pregnant mess is tough enough when I'm in basketball shorts and a t-shirt, but actually trying to look cute during these hot months can be a real challenge for me. I like to look at least somewhat presentable when I leave the house so I've had to find a way to put together an outfit that's going to keep me cool and make me feel beautiful at a time when it can be hard to feel that way. 

I've boiled my summer outfit equation down to these three parts. 

Keep my pieces simple

I've always been a fan of basics, but I've found that when I'm pregnant all I want to wear are loose t-shirts and pants. I don't have the energy to coordinate mixed prints and I don't want a ton of layers. Instead, I've found that having a couple of basic tees on hand make getting ready quick and easy, plus I don't have to worry about over heating while wearing them. When I am worried about being cold, I love pairing a denim jacket over an outfit. It gives it a little more depth but I can take it off at any time. 

Make sure my clothes aren't adding heat

I'm all about shorts and skirts in the summer, but I'll be super honest, sometimes shaving is the last thing I want to do! Especially as the summer goes on and my belly gets bigger shaving becomes such a chore! I love these joggers because they're light-weight and super breathable so I can slip them on and not worry about dying of heat exhaustion, or be nervous that someone will notice I haven't shaved today.

Wear comfortable shoes

I am not typically a comfort over fashion person when it comes to shoes. I'll rock a 4 in heel just because they're pretty, but in the summer I never know what kind of opportunities will arise, so I like to make sure I'm wearing a comfortable shoe in case I get an invitation to go out and enjoy the weather. A pair of slip on tennis shoes in a fun color or print make me feel like I tried without actually having to do any work.  I also have a couple pairs of cute, but functional sandals that I like to rotate through during the summer. If your shoe can go from day to night, it's an even better pick!

Pregnant or not, summer fashion has always been a challenge for me since I feel like there's less you can do with your clothes. Ultimately, I think erring on the side of simplicity really helps you feel laid back and relaxed, which is just how summer should feel!

Dressing for summer weather is hard enough, but being pregnant on top of that has really pushed me to create the perfect outfit equation so that I feel good and look good. Click through to see my tips!
22 wk bump

What are your summer staples? What do you like to wear to stay cool and look cute?

Tuesday, May 24

A day in the life of a mom of one (and a half)

Wonder what other moms are struggling with on a daily basis? Click through to find out what this pregnant mom of one struggles with and where she finds joy in motherhood.


From the time I was a kid I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: a mom. I never second guessed it. It was the only thing I could see myself doing when I was older and I was so excited to start my motherhood journey when I found out I was expecting my first.

Although being a mom is still my favorite "job," I've found that it isn't as easy as I thought it would be. I always imagined being a stay-at-home mom, but life seems to have other plans for me and I've had to figure out how to be the best mom I can be when it's not just as I pictured it. Life is only getting more complicated as I'm now expecting my second child.



My mom struggles

As I mentioned, I never envisioned being a working mom, but that is what my life is calling for right now. One of the hardest parts of being a working mom, is giving Benson the attention he needs and deserves. I am lucky enough to be able to work from home so I still get to see him throughout the day, but for the most part, my work calls for me to be at my desk eight hours a day. I feel bad that Benson misses out on a lot of fun things that most kids his age are getting to do. 

One of the hardest things for us to participate in are play dates. I've had mom friends who weren't willing to work with my schedule and so we missed out on him getting to play with other kids. Luckily, I've met some new fun ladies who are always willing to find a time that works with my schedule. While we don't get to be involved in every play date it's nice to know that when I really need some time with adults and Benson needs to hang with some kids we can turn to those friends. 

I worry a lot, just like all moms, that Benson isn't progressing as he should because of my work. We don't have a lot of time each day to read books and teach him how to say new words. I started to really worry about Benson when we were hanging out with another friend whose daughter is just a week older than Benson and she seemed to be able to say so many more words than Benson could. For a first-time mom this really freaked me out. Was I not giving my son enough "learning" time? I had to take a step back and realize that kids progress at their own pace and little by little Benson's grunts turn into real words and this is just his pace. 

Finally, one of the biggest struggles I deal with, especially while being pregnant, is finding time to do everything that a "good" wife and mother should be doing. I constantly feel like a failure because my house is a mess, I rarely cook dinner for my husband and by the end of my work day I don't have the energy to play with my toddler (not to mention our puppy!) 

I am a hot mess when I'm pregnant and the first trimester seemed to drag on for me. One day Jason came home from work and found the disaster that had occurred while I slept on the couch. While I was sleeping, Benson found styrofoam and pulled it apart and it was all over the floor, the couch and stuck in my hair. I hadn't even bothered to clean it all up before Jason got home. I feel like it's the perfect explanation of what my days look like. 



How I survive it all

While I can never seem to stay on top of all of the things I should and I struggle with these insecurities and issues on a daily basis I've found that there are some things I can control and that I have to do in order to have any amount of order in our home. 

Number one has to be sleep training. I am the biggest believer in getting babies to sleep on a regular schedule as soon as possible. I know that if Benson hadn't been on such a good sleep schedule that I could not have returned to working. I am so dependent on him waking up at 9 a.m. and going down for a nap at 12 p.m. It's such a blessing knowing that 9.8 days out of 10 he's going to follow that schedule. We have the occasional day where things get thrown off (thanks teething) but those are few and far between. 

Since January I've been (so) blessed to be able to have some help during the day. I was able to get a babysitter to come in for the three hours Benson is up and she watches him, feeds him breakfast and lunch and gives him attention when I can't. It's been absolutely amazing, but I was so hesitant to accept help at first. I really thought I could do it all and that I needed to do it all, but I've found that I can't and I don't. It's absolutely OK to ask for help or even just accept help when you're struggling. I'm not a bad mom because I can't devote 100% of my time to Benson. I'm just a lady with a lot on her plate. 

My husband has also been a big help in helping me overcome all the struggles that I face as a mother. Jason has always been an involved dad and I'm so lucky that he wants to be involved in diaper changes and feedings, but that's not even the best thing he's done for me. I grew up in a traditional home where my mom stayed home and cooked and cleaned and that's all I ever wanted. My dad was a great provider and always pitched in with house chores, but we all knew that it was either the kids' or mom's responsibility to care for the home. When I realized I couldn't have a perfect home with home cooked meals while I was working Jason helped me break down my own expectations. He's never expected those things of me, although when he comes home to dinner on the table he never complains. Realizing that I'm not all on my own when it comes to house work and cooking takes a huge load off of my shoulders. 



My favorite things about being a mom to one (and a half)


As I'm sure all moms will tell you, this motherhood gig is hard, but it definitely has it's rewards. 

The best parts of my days are the little moments when Benson does something absolutely adorable--even when it's just trying to kiss our dog on the mouth. It's those small little moments I get to spend with him after I get off work, just the two of us, that make all those struggles worth it. I absolutely love seeing him learn new things. He is so interested in anything I'm doing and wants to try it out. Even as I was prepping this post he wanted to look at pictures with me and tried to type on the keyboard (I'm going to go ahead and blame him for any typos you might find!) His curiosity is endless and I love watching him grow up, although I hate that he has to grow up. (Bring my baby back!!) I can't wait to enjoy those same moments with his sister when she makes her way into the world. 

I also am so thankful that I get to spend one-on-one time with Jason. Benson's cat naps in the evenings are the perfect time for both of us to unwind from the work day and either watch TV or talk about what's going on in our daily lives. 

I wouldn't trade in these experiences for anything. I love being a mom to my little boy and can't wait to see what it's like to be a mom of two. 

Luckily I've had the pleasure of connecting with other moms through blogging and can get a little sneak peak into what it looks like to have more than one child. Shann, of Shann Eva's Blog, is a mom to three little boys (including twins, which is just amazing!) and Lauren Jane, of Bellows in the Berkshires, is a mom of six (aka a rockstar). I've teamed up with these ladies so that you can see what it's like for moms in different stages. Please go check out their posts and let me know where you fall on the mom spectrum!

Shann Eva's Blog A Day in the Life of a Mom of ThreeBellows in the Berkshires A day in the life of a mom of six



What do you struggle with as a mom? Are you like me, with just one baby, or are you more like Shann or Lauren Jane? 

Thursday, May 5

How to keep a big secret for 5 months


I don't know if a lot of you noticed my absence the last couple of months, but life has been kind of a whirlwind for me and it's kept me away from the blog. We got a new puppy in February and that was a big adjustment (how does he have so much energy?) I was also asked to help with the young women's program at my church and we have had a lot of family visiting lately, so I just haven't had time to sit down and write a lot. But, I'm here to give you a few tips on how I managed to keep my biggest life change a secret for so long (also, spoiler alert, I'm letting all of you in on my big secret!)

Go silent on social media for at least 3-4 months

I love social media but when I'm trying to keep things on the DL I stay away from posting anything. So, if you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else you probably saw that I've barely posted anything. I'm sorry and I'll try to get back in the posting game. 

Take a lot of naps

When you can't run around sharing big life news with people it's best to just stay home. While you're already home you might as well take a nap because, A. You need one and B. You can't tell people things if you're in a deep sleep on the couch while your toddler destroys your house. 

Tell yourself you'll tell people soon

I was convinced I wouldn't be keeping this secret for very long, but it turns out I needed a lot more time (and naps) before I had the energy to orchestrate a fun announcement. Trying to get excited about an announcement and planning it out helps take the edge off of not being able to shout your news from the roof tops. 

Pick a day to share your news

I love having something to look forward to and having a certain date in mind as to when I can finally tell everyone and anyone what's going on always helps me make it through the harder parts of secret keeping. 

Just share the dang news already!

Here's my final announcement for you! (If you read through the entire post before skipping the end you get a gold star and a brownie...although I won't be providing the brownie. Sorry!)

Please excuse my terrible video skills. I am not practiced at all and iMovie is harder than it looks!

Tuesday, May 3

Zak Deodorant Review

This post is sponsored by Zak Deodorant. All remarks and opinions are my own. I was provided a sample deodorant to review. 

I've given up my favorite deodorants for Zak's all natural deodorant and I'm not looking back. Click through to find out what made me take the plunge!

I am a tried and true kind of girl. If I like a product I'll stick with it forever. Just ask the Neutrogena face wash that's been restocked in my shower since high school, my mink Covergirl eyeshadow that's I've been using since...middle school? (yikes!) or the Degree deodorant I've been buying in bulk for the past couple of years.

I loving knowing which products work for me and I'm definitely loyal to them, that is until I notice that they aren't performing as well as they once were. I started to notice that about my beloved bulk deodorant a while ago. Not only was my deodorant not really giving me all-day protection but I noticed that my skin was starting to react to it. I was dreading summer when swimsuit season would force me to put my armpits on display (this post is feeling very TMI right now, sorry about that!)

I had started thinking about different products I could try that would give my underarms the nourishment that they needed but would still keep me smelling fresh throughout the day. I had debated using different products for mornings and evening so that I could get the nourishment from one and the strength from the other. But then, as if they knew my internal struggle, Zak Deodorant contacted me about their natural deodorant line that promised to fix all of my problems.

I'm not typically an all-natural product user -- I'm more worried about just getting the job done -- but I was willing to give up all the chemicals for coconut oil, earth clays and aloe vera if it could help solve my current deodorant problems.

So I agreed to try Zak Deodorant and tell you all about my experience. And guys. I might never go back to regular deodorants. Turns out these natural ingredients really can get the job done.

First, all of my skin problems are gone. My underarms are soft and smooth and my skin looks great. The one thing I was really worried about with a natural deodorant was that it wouldn't hold up to a full day of toddler and puppy chasing, but it totally has! I also love the smell! I chose the Elevate scent, which has a sage, rose geranium and vanilla and I love how soft and feminine it smells!

I've given up my favorite deodorants for Zak's all natural deodorant and I'm not looking back. Click through to find out what made me take the plunge!

One of the awesome things that I wasn't expecting when I switched deodorants was saying goodbye to the white residue that deodorant usually leaves behind. I always try to wait for the deodorant to dry before putting my clothes on, but it never helped. I ended up with residue either on my bra or my shirt and it drove me nuts! The Zak Deodorant doesn't leave a residue! I didn't even know that not having deodorant residue was an option!

The only downside to Zak Deodorant is that it's going to be a bit pricier than your average drugstore deodorant. I wish I knew if it lasted longer than my old deodorant, but I just don't keep track of that type of thing! However, I think the benefits outweigh the price difference, especially if, like me, your deodorant just isn't getting the job done anymore!

I'm really excited because Zak Deodorant wants to give one of the chance to switch up your underarm game too! Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win your own Zak Deodorant!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 28

Are you ready to really tackle your goals?

So you set some goals this year. What are you doing to accomplish them? Click through to find out what helps me accomplish my goals and grab a FREE worksheet to help you reach your goals too.

I set out this year with some lofty goals and the first few weeks in January I really pushed myself to reach them. Then last week something changed and I was completely unmotivated to accomplish anything.

I felt overwhelmed. Like my goals were unreachable and no matter how hard I worked I could never accomplish all of them.

I am very easily discouraged, so when I felt this wave of panic and stress wash over me I let it affect every aspect of my life. Which in turn, pushed me further away from my goals, stressing me out even more. I was caught in a vicious cycle!

I realized needed to do more than just set goals. I needed to plan how I was going to accomplish my goals-especially when I didn't feel like it was possible.

The goals I set in January were year-long endeavors. I knew that they would each take some work and that I would need to come up with a plan of attack for each goal, but I never created that plan.

Now, I’m learning the importance of breaking your goals into bite-sized pieces. I’ve found that giving yourself something to do on a daily, weekly, or even, monthly basis helps you reach your goals. Planning keeps you  on track, and being able to cross something off your list regularly keeps you motivated.

My new system breaks down each of my goals into manageable steps and sets a due date so that I know when I need to have something accomplished by. I always have something I'm working towards and once I finish it I feel that sense of accomplishment, which in turn, gives me the motivation to tackle the next task.

I love this system because it works for all of my goals, not just my blogging goals. This month we had some home projects that needed to be accomplished and we were able to finish them using this system! It felt so good to get those projects off our plate so that we could move on to something new!

To help you reach your goals I’m giving you a worksheet that allows you to outline your smaller goals. As always you can set your main goals on your monthly planner and then you can break down each of those goals with the Goal Planning Worksheet.


 photo goals opt-in_zpsslxkboan.png

What goals are you working towards? What is your favorite goal setting method?