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Monday, October 19, 2015

7 Things I wish I would have known when Ellie was a Newborn

Hey all,

So Ellie is 6 months old.  Like SIX MONTHS OLD. That's half a year.  I can't believe it.  While this has definitely been the fastest six months of my life, it has also been the longest and arguably the hardest as well.



As a new mom, you get a ton of advice.  I love advice, and I have no problem soaking it all in.  You never know what little pearl of wisdom you'll want to try when all else has failed.  So, here are a few things...call it advice if you want... that I wish I would have known during the first few months.


[ONE]

Sleep.  Oh sleep.  You've never been so tired in your entire life.  What I didn't know was that you have to work to get your newborn to sleep.  Ellie wasn't the baby that you could rock to sleep, then ever so gently put down in a bassinet.  She wanted to be held, 24/7.  That made things really difficult during the first few weeks.  I thought it was going to be like this forever, and it was not.

[TWO]

While on the topic of sleep...they will sleep through the night.  When you're so used to waking up 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. times per night, you're running on fumes.  You don't know that it will be like to actually get a full night of rest.  It WILL happen.  You feel like it wont, but it will.  Some sooner rather than others, so try not to compare to other babies.  I thought that Ellie would never sleep through the night, and she does now.

[THREE]

Everything is temporary, the good and the bad.  Nothing is your new normal, whether it be good or bad.  Even with the sleeping thing, I know that once she starts getting teeth, things will be changing again.  Every time you think, "I got this!", something knocks you down, and when you're down...things get better.  I've learned to enjoy the good days and know that the fussy days are temporary.  I feel like babies know when they've pushed you to the edge, then they give you just enough of a break for you to regain sanity before it starts all over again.

[FOUR]

See lactation early.  If you choose to breastfeed, and it's something you feel really strongly about... SEE A LACTATION CONSULTANT when you start to have doubts.  Ellie was having some issues that were seriously stressing me out and making me want to quit.  A lactation consultant recognized her/my problem immediately, and after my 45 minute appointment, I had a renewed sense of confidence.  If you see one that you don't mesh with, try again.  Of the three LCs I've seen, one is great, and the other two were "eh."

[FIVE]

Guilt. There is always something to be guilty about.  I feel like I wasted a lot of time struggling with feelings of guilt for absolutely no reason.  "Why didn't I see lactation earlier?"  "I didn't read to her enough today." "She has spent too much time in her car seat today."  "Kathy and Hoda on in the background is probably turning her brain to mush."  I mean...I could go on forever and ever, but I'm slowly learning to relax.  I try my hardest to make sure that Ellie is happy, healthy, clean and fed. Sometimes, I need to make sure that those apply to me as a mom too.

[SIX]

Communication with spouse and asking for help.  This one is huge.  For some reason, I thought it was the end of the world to "bother" George with tasks around the house.  I felt guilty (see above, ha!).  He works his butt off all day, and then he comes home and I'm asking for help.  But, the reality is, that when I started asking for help, I became much less stressed, which made everyone happier.

[SEVEN]

Networking!  Having a support system of other moms has been so helpful.  Whether it be a quick text to my sister in law (who is a total baby guru, I'm so lucky...she's amazing) or a friend who has a small baby Ellie's age, sometimes it's just nice to bounce ideas off others.  Sometimes, it's also just nice to have a short bitch-fest about how tired you are or how chores are piling up.  Misery loves company, ha!



That's all I have for now.  What do you wish you could have told your "new mom" self?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Favorite Things

Wow, it has been a minute since I've posted.  I thought I'd come back and do a quick "Favorite Things" post to kick off October.  Here are some things I've been loving:


1.) Costco Leggings

I've decided that I'm not going to wear real pants this fall or winter.  I mean, I'll throw on some jeans if I want to get fancy, but I'm going to live in leggings and long sweaters to cover my mom-butt.  These Costco leggings are awesome.  SUPER soft and very thick.  You don't get that see-thru problem when you bend over.  They come in grey, black and navy.

2.) Crazy Cups

Most K-Cup variety packs seriously blow.  You end up really enjoying about half, and the rest is decaf crap or some gross butter almond something or other that you don't really want.  These Crazy Cups have the best variety with flavors like "Bananas Foster Flambe," "Death by Chocolate," "Frosted Oatmeal Cookie."  They're all delicious without being too much. Buy It Here

3.) Simple Micellar Cleansing Water

I wash my face before bed, but when I wake up in the morning, I need something to clean up with really quick.  You just put a dab of this on a cotton ball, and takes any oil or grime off without drying your face out.  It doesn't leave the soapy residue that you get with a makeup wipe. Buy It Here

4.) Target Threshold Monogram Mug

How cute and fall-ish is this mug?  I'm also a sucker for anything monogrammed.  Target has a ton of tartan style mugs and dishcloths that are absolutely adorable.  Buy It Here

5.) Maybelline Fit Me Powder

Nothing is better than the MAC mineralize skin finish powder, but this is a close dupe.  It gives more full coverage, but has a matte and kind of velvety finish.  Does that make sense?  I like to put on concealer to hide blemishes and dark circles, then put this all over with a big powder brush and skip foundation.  It's great to brush all over when you're in a huge hurry.  Love it! Buy It Here

6.) @fuckjerry on Instagram

Excuse the French, but this Instagram account is absolutely hilarious.  It's kind of like @thefatjewish, but I think it's even funnier.

7.) Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

Yes, yes... I'm all about doing your own gel manicure.  (I have a tutorial here) BUT... for when you're really in a pinch, this polish is by FAR the next best thing.  If I have 2 minutes during one of Ellie's naps to do my nails, and I don't have time to drag out my light and all that, this is awesome.  My nails chip in about 5 minutes after regular polish, but this stays looking good for 4-6 days! Buy It Here

8.) @targetdoesitagain on Instagram

Holy cow.  Those of you who know me know that I'm slightly obsessed with Target.  These girls are AWESOME!  They post their favorite things from Target that you may have missed.  Clothing, food, home items.  Like I need another reason to go to Target, ha!

9.) Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk

I had to cool it on the dairy because it was hurting Ellie's tummy.  Now that she has gotten older and is eating solids now, I've been able to slowly add it back into my diet.  I don't, however, think I'll ever drink normal milk again.  To me, it tastes better than cow's milk and has all of the same health benefits.


So, that's it.  What are some things you're loving for the month of October?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dinner Ideas

Hey all,

So, this summer I've been incredibly busy...but not really doing a whole lot at the same time.  Any moms of new babies probably know exactly what I mean.  When Ellie turned 3 months, I feel like I was finally crawling out of the hole that is the newborn phase.

Now that Ellie is napping more consistently, I'm going to try to update the blog a bit more.  I feel like I say this a lot, then it never actually happens.  Whatevs.

So anyways, I've been trying to do a bit more cooking at home.  When Ellie was first born, we got a lot of carry out, which is typically crap food. Even if restaurants disguise it as healthy, there is a ton of added salt and butter and everything else that is bad for you.  I enjoy cooking, and I really missed it.  I'm not a gourmet chef by ANY means, but I enjoy experimenting with different recipes.  I love love LOVE to see what friends and fellow bloggers are making for dinner.  Not only does it give me ideas, but it proves to me that it can be done by a normal person and not just the Martha Stewarts of the world.

Here are a few of my favorites:

But first, a few things:

*I don't cook any red meat or pork at home.  I'm very sssllloowwwwly moving away from eating meat.  I just can't give up chicken yet. I will probably always eat seafood. (It doesn't make me as sad)

*Some of the recipes I made up, some I got from magazines/Pinterest (I will link where I can), but most recipes I have tweaked to add more veggies.

*I can't eat dairy anymore because it messes with Ellie's tummy.  Boo! :(

*You may recognize some of these from my Instagram (@BeautyandtheGreek)

*I use my grill A LOT in the spring and summer.  It's just a normal gas grill, but I love cooking outside and having less kitchen cleanup.

*I keep a "dinner diary" (I talk more about it here) to document what I've made, ingredients, and things I would change for next time.

*I am no food photographer, so food is much tastier than it appears! :)


Coconut Curry Shrimp

Main Ingredients: Brown rice, shrimp, tomatoes, coconut milk, onion, ginger, curry sauce spices, top with cilantro
I add some sauteed squash and zucchini. Buy microwaveable brown rice here .  (No added salt or bad stuff), buy ginger in a tube to save time.


Vietnamese Spring Rolls

I made up the recipe
Main Ingredients: Rice paper (Buy It Here), red pepper, cabbage slaw, shrimp (or pork), tomato, red bell pepper, and cilantro.  Soy sauce, sesame oil and red pepper flakes for the dipping sauce. Just keep mixing like a mad scientist until it tastes good.  Edamame on the side.



Pesto Chicken Pasta and Salad

No real recipe
Main Ingredients: Pasta, grilled chicken in (EVOO, S&P marinade, nothing fancy), with Costco pesto sauce (amaaazing, but any store bought pesto is fine, or make your own...but I think it's a pain), spinach salad with feta and veggies.


Pasta with Shrimp and Snap Peas

Main Ingredients: Pasta, feta, shrimp, snap peas, dill, lemon zest, garlic


Cucumber Tomato Salad

No recipe
Main Ingredients: Tomato, cucumber, oregano, olive oil (balsamic vinegar if you want), feta

George's dad gave us an obscene amount of tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden. This....THIS ladies, is what I came home to one day.  Yes, George said, "I totally went all Martha Stewart while you were gone."  I know, he's a keeper.  God love him...he even made the cucumber water too. Just precious.


Quickest Dinner Ever

No Recipe
Main Ingredients: Spinach ravioli (from Costco) with sauteed squash, zucchini, and broccoli, marinara sauce and a tiny bit of parmesan.


Ha, this was uploaded on accident.  But I've been LOVING oatmeal lately with some almond milk, cinnamon and fresh peaches.


Veggie Pizza

Veggie pizzas are my favorite to make.  I buy two thin pizza crusts because I'm too lazy to make my own.  This one has broccoli, bell pepper, tomato, mushroom, fresh basil, and garlic.  Cheese and sauce as well, obviously.  Make two and freeze the other one so you're not left with a ton of ingredients.  If I'm not up for making two, I saute the extra veggies and put them with some pasta later in the week.


Summer Tomato Soup  

Main Ingredients: Tomatos, shrimp, corn, zucchini, poblano peppers, onion, garlic.
This was awesome!  Lots of chopping, but it goes really quickly.


Salads

I make big salads almost weekly.  My current favorite is to make a spinach salad with some garlic cous cous and grilled chicken.  I add some tomato and sauteed mushrooms.  Some parmesan or feta with olive oil and a tiny bit of balsamic.  It's so good!

I'm also a fan of mixed field greens, peppers, tomato, black bean, corn, avocado and whatever protein you want.  Add some salsa with maybe a tiny bit of ranch...yum!

Apples and berries with some herbed goat cheese and cucumber makes a killer salad too.


So those are some of my favorite summer dinners.  Now what are yours?  I need some new ideas, haha!  If you liked this post, do me a favor and pin it!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Baby Registry: The Hierarchy

Hey all!  So today I'm going to talk about all of the STUFF you "need" when having a baby.  Most of it you don't actually, truly need. I've had a few pregnant friends ask me recently what I thought was needed and worthless when registering. So, I've listed it from most important to least important.  I am by no means a baby expert, I don't know what the hell I'm doing half the time, but here is what I think so far.

Click here for a printable list.

Must Haves:


Car seat: We have the Chicco (did you know that it's pronounced "key-co"?...Odd) Keyfit.  It's fairly light and has a base that's easy to install. I think all car seats are probably created pretty equal and must pass the same safety standards. Buy It Here

Safe Place for Baby to Sleep: I'm in love with the Rock n' Play with the auto rocker.  Splurge for the auto rock... much better when it's 4AM and you don't want to have to rock it yourself. It's inclined, cozy, and super easy for travel. A crib and mattress could also be listed here too. Ellie didn't take her first nap in her crib until she was a few weeks old. Buy It Here

*Side note...it has been difficult transitioning Ellie to her crib since she is not used to sleeping flat. So, proceed at your own risk.

Diapers: I feel like Huggies leaked more than the Pampers. Buy It Here

Wipes: These are all the same to me. Buy It Here

Onesies/Sleepers: A 5 pack of onesies and 5 or so sleepers are really all you need.  More would be helpful if you don't do laundry every 2-3 days.  Depending on the season you may want some pants, socks, hats, etc.  Don't go all crazy registering for a tutu or 3 piece suit for your newborn.  If you're taking your 4 week old to a formal event, then you can always go out and buy something with your gift cards. People LOVE to buy baby clothes, so do yourself a favor and register for different sizes keeping the seasons in mind.  Your baby may be in newborn for a while or not at all, and you have no idea how quickly they will grow, so register for basics. Buy It Here

Things you will certainly need:



Stroller: For me, stroller = sanity.  I needed to get out and take a walk.  With a stroller, you can get out to the mall, walk around your neighborhood, etc.  You can also just put the infant carrier in the cart if you need to get out, but a stroller is still a must.  We have the City Mini GT and LOVE it. Super light, folds up with one hand, doesn't take up too much room in your trunk. Love. Don't forget to also get a bar that is compatible with your infant carrier. Buy It Here

Blankets: I like the Aiden + Anais Bamboo swaddles.  They're super soft and big.  Buy It Here

Prefold Diapers (Burp cloths): These are cheap, durable, and by far the most absorbent. Buy It Here

Baby Wash: We have the California baby stuff, and we really like it.  I also have the Mustela foaming shampoo, and it seems to do a good job on Ellie's locks. Buy It Here

Thermometer: A baby under 6 weeks with a fever is a big freakin' deal.  It can mean your little guy or girl is seriously sick.  You always want to be able to take baby's temperature if you suspect a fever. Rectal is the most accurate, use some vaseline. Buy It Here

Bulb Syringe/Nose Frida:  You may not need to use this for a while, but in my opinion, it's kind of another safety thing.  You want to be able to clear baby's airway if they ever got into trouble.  Maybe that's just nursing school being drilled into my head.  Newborns are obligate nose breathers, so you want to keep everything patent.  The Nose Frida is THE BOMB, and no snot actually passes into your mouth.  So much better than a bulb syringe...seriously. Buy It Here

Bath tub: Just for the record, we own the bath tub pictured, and it SUCKS. So don't buy it.  One with a mesh sling or one of those flower things would be much better.  It's just hard to find a tub that works with a giant farmhouse sink. Buy It Here

Crib, mattress, sheet, waterproof mattress cover: These are all necessities if you're going the crib route right away.  Buy two covers and sheets and layer them.  I have the "Harper" dot sheet from Pottery Barn Kids.  It's not super soft, but it's really cute. Buy It Here

Things you can survive without, but wouldn't want to: 


Baby carrier: Oh man... these wraps are amazing.  If you have a fussy or colicy baby, a wrap is a must.  When you can't set your newborn down without them screaming their face off, this will give you your freedom back.  Ellie didn't like being wrapped for a few weeks, but then she grew to love it.  I have the Boba wrap, which is a little more stretchy than a Moby. Buy It Here

White noise machine/fan: The Lasko Cyclone fan is loud and amazing.  It drowns out any noise that may startle baby, but it is also soothing.  Thanks to my amazing SIL for the awesome recommendation! Buy It Here

The Baby Connect App: I seriously think I would have lost my mind already without this app.  It's $5, but worth $100 in my opinion.  You can track literally everything your baby has done.  I use it to track eating, sleeping, pooping.  I can't tell you how many times I look at it to check when her last feeding or diaper change was.  Love it! Check It Out Here

Swaddle: Ellie loves to be swaddled for bed at night, and it honestly has helped her sleep longer stretches.  The Miracle Blanket is the BEST swaddle blanket. It has extra flaps to keep their arms in, so your baby cannot get out.  The pouch at the bottom keeps their feet covered. Buy It Here

Nipple Cream: If you are breastfeeding, you will really really need this for the first few weeks.  It can get really ugly without it.  Yikes... Buy It Here

Baby Monitor: Ok, I have two kinds of baby monitors because I am two kinds of crazy.  I have a video one (the one pictured) which was only $75.  It syncs with your phone, you can see it when you're away, blah blah blah.  It's great.  I also have an Angelcare Apnea monitor which appeases the nurse in me.  It's a mat that you lay under the crib mattress and it detects movement.  Love it. (Ellie can't crawl off the sensor pad yet, so I've yet to have a false alarm.) Buy It Here

Breast Pump: Oh breastfeeding, a whole post for a different time.  If you are exclusively breastfeeding as I am...having a pump is essential to your freedom.  You need to pump so your baby will learn to take a bottle, so you can go out and have some "me time." Many insurance companies will cover an electric double pump for free with a prescription from your OB. Make sure to ask before you buy one. Don't Buy It Without Checking

Nail Clippers: Newborns come out with razor sharp nails. I found filing really difficult, and others said that they could chew them down?  For me, clipping them is by far the easiest, and it keeps them from scratching their little faces. Buy It Here

Changing Pad Liner/Travel Changing Pad: These Munchkin changing pad liners from Target are genius!  They're terry cloth on one side, and a waterproof liner on the other.  I put a thick burp cloth down on top (they aren't very absorbent for pee accidents) and just use this for diaper changes.  Folds up for the diaper bag, hides well in a basket in the living room...I have them everywhere. Buy It Here

Very Helpful to Have:




Drying Rack:  I really like our Boon drying rack.  It's cute and comes with attachments for bottle/pump parts to hang. It's also not hideous. Buy It Here

Baby Toys: You don't need this right away, but an activity gym, books, brightly colored rings are all things that will entertain your baby for a few minutes while you make dinner, ha! Buy It Here

Diaper Rash Cream: It's just nice to have on hand for the first time your baby's butt gets a little red. Buy It Here

Medicine: Infant Tylenol, saline drops, gas drops.  Nice to have before you need them. Buy It Here

Stroller Console: This seems like something silly, but it's so nice to have a place to put your Starbucks and car keys when you're out and about. Buy It Here

Pacifier: Ok, so this is kind of a necessity, but don't run out and register for a ton.  You will get free ones at the hospital and in registry goody bags.  I think we also got one with our car seat.  Who knows what kind of pacifier your baby will like, so don't go registering for 20 of one kind. Buy It Here

Bottles: Same as pacifiers.  You will get random ones for free in the mail and with registry goody bags.  Ellie ended up liking Dr. Browns after a few tries.  (Of course she likes the one with a million pieces). Buy It Here

Boppy: For nursing, I just use a regular pillow for support under my arm.  The Boppy isn't my favorite for nursing, but it is great when baby gets a little older.  It makes tummy time a little more enjoyable. Buy It Here

Nursing tank/bra: Again, not a necessity, but definitely makes life easier.  Nursing tanks are great when you're in the hospital.  They keep nursing pads in place.Buy It Here

Bouncy seat: I couldn't use this until Ellie was 4-6 weeks old? It does keep them entertained for a bit, and they're not that expensive. Buy It Here

Things you you don't need:



Baby bath towels: I use a regular towel that we already had, and I like it better.  More plushy and absorbent.

Baby wash cloths: Same as towels, I like plain old regular ones that we already have better.

Diaper pail: These things gross me out a little. I throw them in a plastic grocery bag that goes out to the garage every day.

Diaper bag:  I use a nylon, zip top tote from Old Navy that was less than $30.  Any bag with some interior pockets will do just fine.

Changing pad: I don't understand this.  I prefer to change Ellie on the floor or on our bed (with the liner + burp cloth).  You don't have to worry about them rolling off a somewhat narrow surface.

*This post contains links from Amazon Affiliates

Click here for a printable list.


So, here is my favorite part.  Do you agree? Disagree? Anything you would add?

Do a sister a solid and pin this? :)