Category: "Wellness"

Reflection: If you want to live happier, longer…

July 18th, 2018 | no comments

Becomming a mom makes you take a long, hard look at your values and actions. You are instantly catapulted into the most important teacher and role model because first and foremost, children learn by example. 

When I became pregnant I started to think about the kind of mom I wanted to be and it dawned on me that I should be focusing more on the kind of PERSON I wanted to be and the rest would follow. It does NO good if I am a great mother to Emmy and yet awful to my family and friends. Or if I provide healthy nourishing foods to her and yet fill my body with junk. 

My values became exponentially more important because LIVING OUT these values is how I will DEMONSTRATE and TEACH them to my daughter. 

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Seems so obvious. You’re probably like, “well, duh, DeAnna!” But, I’m telling you… this reminder is profound and I see those unideal scenarios lived out on a daily basis in my community. 

My recent birthday has me taking a long hard look at what truly makes me happy and how I will teach Emmy to cultivate happiness in her own life. Again, it’s simple.

The way I will teach her is to show her by living that out myself. 

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With that, I came across an interview by two people that I have long-followed their work and I can’t recommend this 30 minute clip enough! Life and business expert Marie Forleo (who I have followed for many years, fellow B-School grad here!) interviews happiness and longevity expert, National Geographic Fellow and New York Times Best-Selling author Dan Buettner (not to mention, an instructor for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). They discuss Dan’s research and concepts around happiness and longevity around the world, in what Dan refer’s to as  Blue Zones – “places in the world where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on earth.”  It felt like all of my worlds were colliding in this one 30 minute clip and I just loved every, single minute of the wisdom here and couldn’t wait to share it with you. 

You may think 30 minutes is a precious time investment but just trust me. SO MUCH GOLD HERE! PRESS PLAY while you’re cooking or cleaning or on a walk, but I promise you – this 30 minute investment in your happiness is worth it!

Let me know what you think. Xx, D

Life Update: Birthday Week

July 15th, 2018 | no comments

Hi Friends! 

It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted…. #momlife. Good news though, I’ve been working on some recipes for you (similar to my All Natural DIY Body Scrub) and lots of website updates and newsletter content behind the scenes. 

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I’m a SUMMER BABY and since my birthday is on July 7th, this season tends to energize me a ton. This year I wanted a low key, outdoor, fun-in-the-sun celebration and was truly spoiled by a fabulous weather week, lots of outdoor time, sunset and water activities (pool, paddle boarding, beach) and evenings with some of my favorite people. I feel spoiled in gratitude right now and that is all I could ask for this year. 

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My birthday has that birthday-way of bringing on reflection and this time around the thoughts were DEEP. This was my second birthday since Emerson was born and WOW time is really going fast. This year I feel a little more clear headed in my reflections since I am out of the newborn vortex that I was in this time last year. 

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Now that Ems is 16 months old and is in a more independent stage, I’m finding that I have a bit more room to think about myself these days. I’m really craving the me-time, self-care and movement that I had put on the back burner while diligently taking care of a newborn and getting on my feet as a new mom. 

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I’m feeling more than ever that self care is NOT indulgent…it is VITAL. For me, it is as vital as food, water, air and all of the necessities of life because it is the fuel for my brain, creativity and motivation.

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Is it like that for you too? 

Anyway, I just wanted to give a quick life update before I jump into some recipes that have been keeping me busy that I can’t wait to share with you. 

Hope you’ve had a great start to the summer! 

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5 Minute DIY: All Natural Body Scrub

April 13th, 2018 | no comments

Hi Friends – 

As a busy working new mom I am always looking for quick, at-home and super easy SELF-CARE activities. That 10 – 15 minutes pampering myself daily makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE to my energy level and mood. When I don’t have that time for me I really notice a difference. 

The other day my friend Jenn and I were at Sephora and I was seeing body scubs on the shelf for upwards of $50 and $60. What the what?! People, please! You can make your own body and lip scrub at home with ingredients you already have in your pantry. It is sooo simple. And, if you have a cute jar and a little ribbon, you have a hostess or birthday gift in minutes. 

I love to keep a jar of this body scrub in my bathroom to exfoliate my hands, lips and body. Sloughing off that dead skin and stimulating new cell growth is just moments away when you have something like this on hand. It’s a small way to show yourself some love and luxury the next time you’re in the shower! 

Uses:

  • Exfoliator for hands, feet and body
  • Pre-tan or pre-wax exfoliator
  • Gentle lip scrub
  • Self-care ritual
THE EASIEST DIY BODY SCRUB RECIPE EVER!

Body Scub

You’ll Need: 

  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Cups Sugar (Brown or White Sugar or a Mix)
  • Airtight Glass Jar
  • Fragrance of choice:
    • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extra
    • 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil:
      • LAVENDAR for a calming scent
      • LEMON for an energizing scent
      • PEPPERMINT for an invigorating foot scrub 

 Quick Tutorial:

Follow m on Insta for more quick DIYs in my stories: @DeeLynn78

Want more PANTRY DIY SELF-CARE HACKS, try my Avocado Hair Mask or my All Natural Hand Sanitizer

My Favorite Clean Diapering Products

April 2nd, 2018 | no comments
None of the product links below are sponsored or paid ads. Just products I truly use and love.

Hi Mom Friends! 

I’d really love this blog to evolve with me into motherhood, so today I thought I would share all of my “clean diapering” favorites. These are tried and tested products that we absolutely LOVE. 

As a first time mom, I remember navigating the aisles or Target, BuyBuy Baby and Whole Foods in complete confusion as to why there were so many darn products to choose from. At my local CVS alone there are probably 10 different diaper brands. All of this had my head spinning!

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When it came to nurturing my baby I wanted to make sure she had safe, effective and chemical-free products for anything that touched her skin, especially her delicate areas. 

It wasn’t until Emerson arrived that I actually started to understand what it all meant and quickly found products that were right for our family. Keep in mind that I only have experience with my little girl and moms of boys might have a different experience. What’s nice is that for baby #2, we’ve got this all sorted out already! :)

Since there are endless options out there I thought I’d give you my quick run down of the products that we use on a daily basis and why we love them. Hope this helps you navigate the sea of choices!

Diapers

When we first came home from the hospital, Ems was in Pampers newborn diapers because that’s what they had at the hospital. I have to admit, the little wetness indicator was super helpful in the beginning because we quickly learned that she did not want to sit in a diaper for more than a few minutes. I had a ton of different diapers on hand… Bamboo, Earth’s Best and Honest were among my stock. In hindsight, I should have just chosen one and stuck to it because Ems has sensitive skin and the switching/trying wasn’t great. We quickly found our two favorite brands and we’ve never looked back!  

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We LOVE:

  • Seventh Generation Free & Clear - We love these cozy, chlorine-free, unbleached diapers and they are certainly our favorite. Of the “clean” diaper variety, we order ours in bulk from Target and they come out to about 36cents each. 
  • The Honest Company Diapers - Depending on what’s in stock or my mood, we’ll pick up these chlorine-free and no harsh chemicals added diaper favorite. I love Honest in the summer because they’re designs are so darn cute and sometimes baby just wants to hang in their diaper. We order these from Target as well and they come out to about 44cents each (Ems wears size 4 now). I have heard great things about their diaper bundle but have not tried it! Have you?
  • The Honest Company Overnight Diapers - At around 5 months old, we started to incorporate these night diapers and we have never looked back. Ems was always a solid sleeper and these just ensured that she did not wake due to a full diaper. These diapers are SO absorbent, one will last the whole night and she is always comfortable in them. Plus, for something she is in for (a lot of times) 12 hours straight, I like that the ingredients are super clean. 

Wipes

Coming home from the hospital we used wet washcloths with water for diapering and soon switched the Water Wipes. At around two months old, we incorporated a still-gentle yet more textured wipe and we’ve been hooked on the combination of the two ever since.

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We LOVE:

  • WaterWipes Sensitive Baby Wipes - 99.9% Water with a drop of grapefruit extract these wipes are sooooo gentle. They were perfect for newborn skin and later on became a favorite hand/face wipe because of how soft and gentle they are. The drop of fruit extract is naturally antimicrobial and helps clean hands and face. 
  • Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes – These gentle and textured wipes get the job done well into toddlerhood. We love that they are made for sensitive skin yet super effective. They are free of alcohol, fragrances and parabans so you will not be transferring any chemicals to baby’s delicate skin. 

Diapering Products

Coming home from the hospital we learned that you want to keep the diaper area as dry as possible (may seem obvious to you but we were SO NEW to this!). So, we would clean Emmy’s bottom, let it air dry a minute and then put the diaper on… no creams or powder. This method ensured minimal diaper rash AND helped the products below be more effective when we actually used them. TIP 1: If your baby has a rash, stick to one product for a few days to allow it to work. TIP 2: Let baby go diaper free for some part of the day to “air out” the area. :) 

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We LOVE:

  • Spectrum Essentials Organic Coconut Oil - Coconut oil naturally clears mild yeast infections due to the properties in the coconut oil. 
  • California Baby Calming Diaper Rash Cream  – When Emmy is teething hard she gets a bad diaper rash and we love the clean ingredients in California Baby products. This product is a holy grail for us!
  • Weleda White Mallow Diaper Cream – We were gifted this item and I love it. Very gentle and similar to the product above. 
  • The Honest Company Organic Talc-Free Powder – Occasionally baby will develop a “wet rash” that will be better suited for a powder to dry it up. The talc-free powder by Honest is perfect for that. I also use this for wiping off sand when we are at the beach
  • Alba Botanica Un-Petroleum, Multi-Purpose Jelly - I loooooove this product so much. It is a great alternative to vasoline or Aquafor. If either of those products are in your rotation, this UnJelly is a petroleum-free option that works perfectly. I end up using this on Emmy’s hands, chin and cheeks in the dry New York winters to keep her sensitive skin moisturized. 

A few more not necessary but much LOVED products:

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  • Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser & Bags – These bags are not necessary but they soon became a staple in my car and diaper bag. You just never know where you’ll be when a BIG stinky diaper strikes…ahem, the car! These odor-absorbing bags are great for blocking that stinky diaper smell until you can get to a trash. 

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Remember to engage your baby during diaper activities, tell them what you’re about to do, invite them to join the process, make it a special time for you and your baby to connect. <3 

Let me know which products are your favorites too or if there are any I need to try. Help a mama out! 

10 BEYOND BASICS – INFANT TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

January 31st, 2018 | no comments

You guys…

MAMA NEEDED A VACATION… BAD!! 

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We recently returned from a nice long family vacation to HAWAII. We visited Oahu and The Big Island and had a really wonderful time!

Several people had messaged, texted and DM’d while we were there and now that we’ve returned with questions about traveling that long and far with our 10 month old, Emerson Ava. To make it easier and share links (none of which are paid ads), I figured I would put together some of my “BEYOND THE BASICS” travel essentials for you. Gear or gadgets that helped us throughout our trip with a teething, on-the-go crawling, climbing, curious, chatty infant!

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And, the reality of traveling with an infant is that there just IS a lot of “stuff.” Even when you try to pare it down, like we did. Of course a lot of this stuff isn’t absolutely necessary but some of it made our travels go a lot smoother, so I hope this post helps you if you’re planning for your next trip with baby. Because it IS possible and now that we’ve done it I can say it is SO worth it! 

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I say “beyond the basics” because I don’t mean diapers, wipes, baby sunscreen, swaddles, lovey, clothes, PJs, sunglasses, sun hats, swim diapers, overnight diapers….you get it… we had all of the stuff! However, one of my tips, not included below, is to scout out your location for a store to stock up on diapers and wipes (especially for extended stays) and/or send some of those essentials to your destination ahead of time. We knew there was a Target in Waikiki, Oahu that would be easy to get to. We only packed enough diapers for about a day and a half and then made a quick trip to Target to stock up on our beloved Seventh Generation Diapers and Wipes and Honest Overnight Diapers (not necessary but we love these) for the week! That saved us a lot of room in our luggage too. 

I also knew that our villa had a washer and dryer so I brought a few easy-to-pack Seventh Generation Free & Clear laundry detergent pods in my toiletry bag and packed accordingly, knowing we would be able to wash clothes halfway through our trip. So think ahead if you’re going somewhere that you’ll have access to a washer and dryer – many hotels have options, so definitely ask! This helped us keep packing to a carry-on sized bags each plus Karl had a backpack and I had a diaper bag. Not bad for 12 days in Hawaii with a 10 month old! 

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Other BABY GEAR we traveled with(that isn’t mentioned below):

  • Uppababy Mesa Carseat – Ems is on the cusp of growing out of this but still fits comfortably. We did rent a car while in Hawaii so we could have saved space here and rented through the car rental company but it was easier to have it to/from the airports and she slept in it on the plane. Since she is within the safety limits and is still comfortable, we figured we’d get one more trip out of this carseat and it worked out really well. If you do bring your carseat and end up gate checking, a Gate Check bag will keep the carseat protected while under the plane. 
  • Uppababy G-Luxe Stroller - depending on where you are going assess whether you really need a stroller. We packed pretty light so opted for the stroller because Ems still naps well in the stroller and we knew it would give us some freedom, which was really nice on a vacation. Uppababy makes a similar stroller that is a tad lighter but we opted for this model because of the recline feature and I can’t say enough good things. It does not have a lot of storage so we added the SkipHop Traveler organizer which we love and it has a zip-off pouch for keeping cards and valuables with you. Lots of people love to Babyzen Yo-Yo because you can fold it for the overhead bin. We gate checked our stroller in the stroller bag and it was super easy, no fuss at all!

Now let’s get into some of the non-obvious travel essentials that were either shared with me by friends or other local moms, or that we found online. All of these items below aren’t absolutely necessary but they were VERY MUCH nice to have (if you know what I mean). I hope you find some new goodies to help ease your mind for upcoming travel!

10 BEYOND THE BASICS – BABY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS 

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  1. Disposable Placemats- We absolutely LOVE these and have a bunch in our diaper bag, car and in the stroller. They are GREAT to pull out and cover the surface in a pinch. We brought them in our carryon and covered the tray tables on the plane, it made it a lot easier for “meal times” on our 11 hour flight. We get them on Amazon
  2. Pacifier clip Hack - at this stage and in the thick of teething, we use pacifier clips to keep teethers connected to her/us/stroller while on-the-go. Worked great on the plane! Can use for pacifiers or teethers alike. 
  3. Sippy Cup Holder Straps - much like a pacifier clip that keeps your baby’s pacifier from falling on the floor, this is a clip for your baby’s sippy cup. A local mom in Brooklyn shared this with me and we love this item. It comes in a 2-pack and we have one clipped to our high chair and bring 1 on-the-go to restaurants to clip to the high chair. At 10 months old Emmy is in the “I can THROW things?” phase and even thinks its funny. This item keeps her sippy straw cup from smashing on the floor and nice and clean! Since I know folks will ask, we love the Munchkin Miracle 360 Cups and Lollaland Toddler Straw Cup(our current favorite!).  
  4. FizzWizz Cleaning Tablets – made with 100% food grade all natural ingredients, these easy-to-use effervescent tablets let you quickly clean a sippy cup, bottle or water bottle on-the-go with just a tablet and water. These are easy to pack and nice to have in a pinch rather than carrying around soap and sponge, etc., and especially if you won’t have a dishwasher (like in a hotel room). I got a sample from a baby event and was quickly hooked! Also on Amazon here, woo-hoo.
  5. Pack-n-Play Memory Foam Mattress Insert - we started using a Pack-n-Play while traveling at around 4 months old. I had a hard time understanding how Emmy would be comfortable sleeping on that super board hard insert that comes with the Pack-n-Play so we quickly looked for other options. Another mom told us about this Milliard Memory Foam Topper that fits perfectly in a pack-n-play and we’ve never looked back. Emmy will nap or sleep overnight VERY soundly with this inset and for us this is a must-have item. Another Amazon purchase, link here.
  6. Travel White Noise Machine – I picked this up as an impulse buy at BuyBuyBaby and it soon became one of our essentials that I always pack while traveling. Ems is a great sleeper and I attribute some of that to keeping things consistent for her. White noise being one of those things…it is truly Pavlovian for her! This affordable travel white noise machine is light and can easily be thrown into your diaper bag. We…take…this…thing…EVERYWHERE! Purchased at BuyBuyBaby (bring your 20% Off coupon!) and also see it on Amazon.
  7. Small Bag of Toys and Mini Board Books - I saved a few toys from the holidays that she had not seen before and threw in a few of her favorites (think one gallon sized ziplock full – so not a ton!). She loved to take the toys out of the bag, see familiar toys and books and enjoy a few new ones. Emmy is really into the Touch-and-Feel series, we LOVE the Wild Animals book and Colors and Shapes book and they’re small enough to pack in your travel bag.
  8. Baby Banz – Infant Hearing Protection Earmuffs - I’ve heard some people use these for the plane but our little Brooklyn gal can sleep through a bit of noise. However, you never know when you’ll need these. Our resort had a huge firework display one night and we got to enjoy them as a family due to these safety headphones. Amazon or BuyBuyBaby
  9. Baby Carrier – for this trip we were gone about 12 days so we did bring an umbrella stroller (UppaBaby G-Luxe – cannot say enough good things about this!) which was helpful but we also brought two baby carriers. It doesn’t much matter which carrier you use as long as you and baby are comfortable. I’ve used this ip for several airport trips and have got to say that carrying your baby through security is the way to go – trust me that you will need both of your arms! We used our Beco Baby Carrier for longer carries and a deliciously broken in WildBird Ring Sling for short carries throughout the day on our way out at night. 
  10. A positive attitude - this one may seem obvious (?) but you have to know that when you’re traveling outside of your home you WON’T be able to control all of the elements. It helps to go into the experience with those expectations. Depending on what stage your baby is in it’s best to know that even when you’re traveling without a baby there are elements out of your control. If nothing else, will make for some good memories and funny stories down the line! 

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Safe travels – it will be great! 

Clean-ish Shrimp and Vegetable Pad Thai

November 30th, 2017 | no comments

 Hi Friends!

It’s been a bit since I’ve posted a recipe on the blog. As a busy working mom to an almost-9 month old (who is crawling, climbing and eating EVERYTHING!), I don’t have a ton of time in the kitchen these days. But, since I am still nursing and to keep up with a very active lifestyle, nothing fuels my mind, body and soul like healthy eats AND time in the kitchen.

Today’s recipe is one that I shared on my Instagram insta-story and received soo many messages asking for the recipe. It is my “Clean-ish Shrimp and Veggie Pad Thai” and I say “clean-ish” because I use all organic vegetables, it is gluten-free and dairy-free, and yet I have a few quick tricks (you’ll see in the recipe) like a delicious simmer sauce that speed the recipe along. In my before-baby life I would make the sauce from scratch and one of these days I promise to share. But for now, some quick tricks like this keep a mama sane – know what I mean?

At the end of a work day, I want to spend as much quality time with Emerson as possible. One of our favorite things to do is to hang in the kitchen and Emmy has already taken an interest in the kitchen. And since an 8.5 month old’s attention span is not all that long, these days I look for simple no-fuss recipes that come together very quickly — and this one fits the bill! 

I hope you enjoy this two pot meal that is so easy and you really can’t mess it up. For added flavor I love using fresh ginger. garlic and lime juice — these are the three magic ingredients in this dish. To keep it simple, add only the vegetables that you have on hand and mix-and-match vegetables in future versions so that it always feels like a new dish! 

P.S. For those following along you know that we are doing Baby Led Weaning with Emerson which means she eats what we eat, when we eat. However, this dish packs a MAJOR spice punch. But since I do want to expand her flavor and texture experiences with new foods, I set aside a few plain rice noodles (ingredients rice flour, water) that she had a lot of fun playing with. We did let her “play with” some ginger root too, she got to smell it and even taste a little – so that was a brand new flavor profile for her!

Enjoy!

DeAnna’s Clean-ish Shrimp and Vegetable Pad Thai

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You’ll Need:

  • 3-5 cloves fresh garlic (based on preference)
  • 1-2 inch peeled fresh ginger (grated)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 Small zucchini, chopped
  • Large handful of fresh spinach
  • 20-25 wild shrimp (we buy regular size and they cook up small)
  • Organic garlic powder, ginger powder
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
  • Toasted Sesame Oil (for stir fry)
  • Saffron Road Pad Thai Sauce
  • Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Rice Noodles
  • Fresh lime (using the juice to sprinkle before eating)
  • Crushed cashews (optional)

 NOTE: I always use whatever vegetables are in my fridge for stir frys and pad thai. You can swap out zucchini for broccoli, cauliflower and baby bock choy all work well. When I have fresh pineapple on hand, I add that too. 

 To Make:

In a large pan boil water and prepare noodles according to package using “Pad Thai noodles” soaking instructions on the box. 

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Meanwhile…

In a wok, heat sesame oil over medium heat and add fresh garlic, stir for 1 minute. Add chopped onions, carrots and celery and start to saute  for 3-5 minutes. Next add zucchini, fresh grated ginger and a splash of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or regular soy sauce). Cook another 3-5 minutes until the vegetables start to get tender. Lower heat and add pad Thai sauce packet, additional seasonings and mix vegetables to coat. Bring heat back to medium and add shrimp, mix thoroughly. Cook 5 minutes until shrimp starts to change color and then add in spinach. Cook shrimp thoroughly while spinach wilts.

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Source: saffronroad.com

 Strain the soaked noodles which should be completely soft at this point. Once shrimp is fully cooked, add noodles to the wok with vegetables and shrimp and toss until noodles are fully coated and vegetables are mixed in – cook another 1-2 minutes while the sauce coats the noodles.

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Plate the pad thai and before serving squeeze the juice of a wedge of fresh lime and top with crushed cashews for texture (optional).

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*Naturally Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

My Top 10 Newborn Essentials

September 9th, 2017 | no comments

Hi Friends, 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Well…I’ve been in what I call the NEWBORN VORTEX! That delicious baby bubble that consists of long days, longer nights, mom brain and navigating the first few months with a brand new HUMAN. :)

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Sweet Little Pink Baby, Day 1

 

Time truly ticks away differently when you have a newborn and I have been meaning to get this post up for SO LONG and I just haven’t gotten around to it. I feel terrible for going RADIO SILENT these last few months since little Miss Emerson Ava was born and I am excited to share what life has been like since her arrival and keep you all in the know.

Coming home from the hospital <3

Coming home from the hospital <3

Here are some of the posts I have planned:

  • Emmy’s Birth Story
  • My Most Loved Baby Gear List 
  • Lessons in New Mommyhood and Postpartum Feelings
  • Recipes for Energy, Breastfeeding and Emotional Well Being
  • How I fit in Self-Care as a New Mom and Why It’s Extra Important

Those are just a few of the posts I have in the works but tell me…what do you want to see on the blog? Tweet me @DeeLynn, comment on an Instagram @DeeLynn78 post (watch my story for daily pics of my CUTIE PIE) or comment below. 

Snug as a Bug after her first  bath

Snug as a Bug after her first bath

Like most new moms it has taken me A WHILE to get on my feet and find my stride in this new role and life. I had a difficult delivery (more on that later) and have been taking off any pressure to jump back into things. First and foremost I am enjoying every precious moment, snuggle, milestone and I’m grateful to have a beautiful, healthy child. 

Sleepy Sweet Cheeks

Sleepy Sweet Cheeks

Since I’ve never done this new mom thing before, I did A LOT of research in those last few weeks of my pregnancy. Today I thought I would jump back into posts with my NEWBORN ESSENTIALS and what “stuff” really helped us adjust in those very early days. These are a few of the items that we absolutely loved or used endlessly in those first weeks home or things that I was really glad I did or documented early on. 

First Visit to the Pediatrician - Day 5

First Visit to the Pediatrician – Day 5

Here are my Top 10 NEWBORN ESSENTIALS

  1. Water Wipes and Organic Cotton Washcloths – Newborn skin is sooo delicate and we loved to using a lightly dampened cloth to clean baby’s diaper. In those early days that is all you need. Eventually we graduated to Water Wipes which I loved because they were 99.9% water with a hint of grapefruit seed extract which is perfect to keep things nice and clean “down there” which helps avoid diaper rash. 
  2. Newborn Sized Clothes and Diapers – Typically newborn size is up to 7 lbs and many babies leave the hospital within a wide range of that size. A lot of people I knew had babies leave the hospital over 7 lbs and their children were never in newborn size, so with that in mind I had mostly 0-3 sized clothing on hand. However, little Miss Emerson Ava left the hospital 6 lbs 9 oz and was in newborn sized clothing for a few weeks so I was glad to have some on hand 
  3. Baby Connect App – As a probably neurotic first-time mom I wanted to document EVERYTHING in those early days…every diaper change, nursing session and even sleep. It really helped me get to know Emmy’s preferences and natural patterns in those early days when I was too sleep deprived to remember anything. I found this app super easy to use. I especially loved the nursing and sleep timers because it allowed me to see when the last activity took place. Now I know not everyone will need to be that meticulous but it worked really well for us early on.
  4. Bassinet (or somewhere for baby to sleep) – We co-slept from Day 1 which means we had Emmy in our room from the start. Since I was nursing, and it felt right for Karl and I, we had Emmy right next to my side of the bed (sometimes IN the bed, although we didn’t bed share until she was a little older). I loved the UPPAbaby Bassinet with the UPPAbaby Bassinet Stand because it was a portable bassinet and we could move in around the house with us during the day and next to me within arms reach at night. Sleep is one of those controversial parenting topics and you HAVE to do whatever works for you, your babe and your family. Emmy got great overnight sleep in the bassinet from the start and we used it until she transitioned to her crib. 
  5. Muslin Swaddles – Is there anything better than a cozy, swaddled newborn? Emmy LOVED to be swaddled to bed right from the start and these swaddles were a go-to. After she outgrown the sleep swaddle we continue to use muslin swaddles for EVERYTHING. I always have 2 – 3 on me at all times…in my diaper bag, in the car, in every room in the house. They’re great as a park blanket or to clean up a quick mess. 
  6. Milestone Documenters: My bestie made us personalized milestone cards (SIMILAR HERE) to take pictures of Emerson week to week and it was so fun to see how much she changed so early on. On DAY 5, we also took hand and foot imprints using THESE FRAMES that are in her nursery and also made a hand and foot stamp for her BABY BOOK
  7. Baby Sleep Gowns – You guys…newborns are SOOO tiny and delicate. It really made me nervous to change her clothes at first (new mom confession!). I love these sleep gowns for middle of the night diaper changes that were minimally disruptive. To this day I am in LOVE with the Burt’s Bees Baby Organic Cotton pajamas for Ems now that she’s graduated from the gowns.
  8. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow – For a nursing mama this was a go-to of mine for getting my nursing flow on . I love how supportive this pillow is and it made it comfortable to nurse around the clock! Eventually I weaned myself off the pillow but in those early days at home this was something I used a ton.
  9. BOPPY Lounger – I loved having a snuggly place to put Emmy in those early days. Karl and I would make an Emmy centerpiece at the table while we ate dinner and stare at her. I love how easy this was to move around the house. 
  10. TinyBeans App - We have family all over the country and in those first few weeks it was a bit overwhelming to keep up with social media. We also did not want to spam everyone with tons of baby pictures online, but wanted a way to document and share pictures with our loved ones frequently. Instead of texting or emailing pictures everyday we turned to this online photo journal. Its SO easy to use and you can upload one or multiple pictures, milestones or videos each day and your loved ones can follow along by invite-only. Almost 5 months later and we still update our calendar daily for friends and family to enjoy. 
Lovely Little Newborn

Lovely Little Newborn

While I’m sure there were many more items we were using and LOVING these were some of my go-tos in those first few weeks home with Emmy girl. What about you?? What were some of your newborn essentials?

Next up more BABY GEAR we love in detail. Stay tuned! 

 

What No One Told Me About Going Past Your Due Date! {Pregnancy Update Weeks 40+}

March 6th, 2017 | no comments

Hi Again! 

You know how I said in my last post that it would be my last pregnancy update? Well… that’s because I had this totally off base idea that once I hit my “due date” then *poof* baby would be here. What I’ve learned(or been reminded of)? A few things…like…

  • First time moms rarely deliver first babies ON their due date
  • Due dates aren’t an exact science
  • Babies are on their OWN time! #patience

Soo… with all of the prepartion we did for peanut leading up to our due date {you can read ALL ABOUT THAT here} what I failed to think about was, what if we went past our due date? I wasn’t prepared for the myriad of new tests (like the Nonstress Test), more frequent prenatal appointments (2x a week post-date) and bombarding of questions like “Where is baby??” “No baby yet??” and “Any contractions?!” from loving family and friends and even perfect strangers. Couple that with the comments full of opinions on how long I should wait to be medically induced and what I should/shouldn’t be doing to bring on labor (like this is somehow in my control)and there were a few moments I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.

Of course I was doing everything humanely possible to help my body move things along… was this really in my control or something I was somehow doing wrong? These thoughts crossed my mind. It wasn’t until Karl said to me after one of our prenatal appointments “you have to relieve yourself of the duty to make this happen. The baby WILL come when she’s ready.” Ahhhh…big sigh of relief. It’s hard at this stage not to let thoughts of worry and self-doubt creep in but what baby girl needs from me is what she has needed all along…me feeling physically and emotionally well. To do that, I needed to do was to reframe the situation and put trust back in myself, my body, the baby and the universe that all of this is part of a perfect plan. It sounds silly but I also needed the reminder that baby girl IS on her way and NO I wouldn’t be pregnant forever (ohhh the hormones!). 

What no one told me about going past you due date was just how emotional it would be. 

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Let me also say, most importantly, I am healthy and baby girl is healthy (and yet still on the inside). At this point, we are being very closely monitored by our midwives/Dr at our practice and I am physically feeling very well.

While this last week has brought A LOT of external “noise” we’ve have found ways to drown it out because we know in our hearts that nothing is wrong, we have just chosen to let baby girl grow and develop uninterrupted a bit longer without medical intervention because that is what feels right for us… at this time. It’s been interesting to see how uncomfortable other people are with some of our choices (that we feel calm and confident about), and yet a great lesson in parenting which will likely provide the same type of opinions, judgements and questions in our style or choices and that’s okay

What matters the most is that we continue to make decisions that feel great FOR US and feel right for OUR FAMILY. 

I wanted to share some of these very vulnerable thoughts as emotions have been high and low throughout the last week. My goal is always to be helpful and hopefully inspire other people who might be finding challenges in a similar situations. There ARE ways to cope with the difficultly of this waiting period and unknown…two things that just don’t come that natural to a Type A mama like myself…so I wanted to share that if I can, you can. Here are some of the ways we are spending our time and energy as we wait for our daughter to tell us “it’s GO time!”

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TREAT THE TIME LIKE A BABYCATION

The silver lining to all of the preparation we did prior to our due date was that after it passed we had nothing pressing to do. So, we’ve used this time to indulge in activities as a twosome (threesome with Harlow Girl) and soak up the quality time together. We’ve pretty much eaten our way through our neighborhood at all of our favorite restaurants, taken lots of walks, caught up on Oscar nominated movies and played games to pass the time. It has honestly been really special for us and I consider this the biggest perk of the extra time so far. 

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 CHANNEL POSITIVITY

For me the way I channel positivity is through creativity such as making a VISION BOARD. All you need is a few magazines, scissors, glue and a canvas or poster board in the size of your choosing. I decided to make a smaller sized one that was very portable so that I could bring it around with me throughout the house and bring it to the Birth Center/Hospital with us. Without judgement, scan the pages of the magazine and pull images and words that inspire you. Then, assemble the board with your images and watch the messages you need to hear reveal themselves. Try not to set out with any expectation for what you will create and let your inner guide inspire you. 

 

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A fellow new mom and childhood friend Angela brought me these mom-to-be Mantra Cards to help release some fear, doubt and encourage confidence and calm. They have been very inspiring and came just when I needed them — thank you A!

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 STAY HEALTHY 

At first I wanted to throw my hands in the air and say “I’m done!” and its understandable since pregnancy is a loooong time. I had to re-center and remember that little girl who needs me healthy and strong and this reminded me to continue to nourish myself with LOTS of sleep, healthy foods and staying active. With that, we’ve been enjoying daily walks in our favorite park and lots of homemade meals (a double win since cooking is also one of the ways I de-stress). 

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INDULGE IN SELF-CARE

Above all, this is truly vital for mom’s well being while the dealing with the rollercoaster of emotions that come with going past your due date (and throughout your entire pregnancy in my opinion). Some of the activities that I’ve been indulging in are:

  • Acupuncture
  • Prenatal Massage
  • Journaling
  • Bubble Baths
  • Manicures and Pedicures
  • Naps and rest and early bed times
  • Reading and listening to books on audio
  • Meal prepping and baking
  • Time with Karl and Harlow 
  • Catching up with friends 

HAVE FUN

We know that this time won’t last forever so we’ve been finding ways to stay busy and have fun with the extra time. The other day we visited NYC’s largest independent book store, Books of Wonder, to add some book’s to peanut’s library and it was SUCH a fun experience. We poured through the aisles and pages and picked out sweet stories that we’ll read our girl soon. It was fun to see our childhood favorites and loads of new stories about everything under the sun!

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A few more thoughts…

 So with that, we’re still waiting…just a few more days…for mother nature to continue to amaze us and bring our little girl into the world. We trust that this is all a part of our journey and we are learning great lessons in parenting, such as PATIENCE, while we enjoy the last few moments before baby. 

Thank you to everyone who has called, texted, emailed, messaged and sent thoughts and prayers our way. We are SO appreciative for your thoughts and can’t wait to introduce you to our daughter very soon. 

If you’re pregnant and past your due date… HANG IN THERE! You’re doing GREAT! 

With so much love…from this soon-to-be mama..

Xx, D

 

CATCH UP ON MY OTHER PREGNANCY UPDATES HERE:

Big News: We’re Expecting!!  {Update Weeks 1 – 18}

10 Pregnancy Essentials {Weeks 1 – 19}

It’s a…….!!! Gender Reveal + Pregnancy Update {Weeks 19 – 22}

Hello, Third Trimester! PREGNANCY UPDATE {Weeks 23 – 28}

Baby Celebration + Pregnancy Update {Weeks 29-35}

What’s in my Hospital/Birth Center Bag? + LAST Pregnancy Update {Weeks 35-39}

Gluten-Free Maple, Fruit and Nut Granola

February 26th, 2017 | no comments

Hello friends!

Today I’m back at it with a super simple recipe that is one of my all time favorites. I’m in my last few days of pregnancy and waiting for this sweet baby girl to arrive so stocking the fridge and pantry for postpartum convenience has kept me busy. For all of my mamas-to-be or new-mamas, Oats have been linked to a boost in milk supply so it’s a great food to reach for if you’re breastfeeding. Dried fruit and nuts provide a delicious boost of protein and energy which is great for new mamas who need all of the energy they can muster up for caring for a newborn. So it made sense to me to make my own granola since it’s easy to grab, tops well over yogurt for breakfast and salads or sweet potato for a heartier meal (try it!). 

This recipe is SO easy. It’s all about the mix, bake and wait. You can’t go wrong. Another reason I love it is because you can really mix in any fruit and nuts and seeds you have on hand. I hope you enjoy! If you make this delicious granola, tag me in your posts @DeeLynn78 on Insta, @DeeLynn on Twitter and #createyourgreatlife. Happy Baking! 

Gluten-Free Maple, Fruit and Nut Granola

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups GF rolled oats
  • 1/2 cups raw nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)
  • 1/4 cup shaved unsweetened coconut flakes 
  • 1 tbsp raw hemp hearts
  • 1 tbsp raw chia seeds 
  • 2 tsp organic cinnamon powder 
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil 
  • 1/3 cup grade b maple syrup 
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (I used unsweetened cranberries and apricots) 

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To Make:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl add dry ingredients (leaving out the dried fruit) and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. In a small bowl mix melted coconut oil with the maple syrup and vanilla extra and whisk until its (mostly) incorporated. Next, slowly drizzle wet ingredients into the dry mixing bowl ingredients and mix thoroughly until all of the oats and fruit are incorporated. 

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Spread the oat mixture evenly onto your lined baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes stirring every 10 minutes and flipping the sheet halfway through to encourage even baking. Once baked, let cool and dry completely. The oats will harden as they cool and dry out. 

Once the oats are cooled add your dried fruit and stir mixture to evenly incorporate. If you want to get really fancy you can add some dark chocolate chips too (I love to add when I’m giving this as a gift). 

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Store in an air tight glass container in a cool dry place. If giving as a gift, tie a cute ribbon around the neck of the jar and add a homemade tag — makes a great hostess gift! I love to enjoy it over coconut yogurt with fresh fruit – YUM! Enjoy! 

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What’s in my Hospital/Birth Center Bag? + LAST Pregnancy Update {Weeks 35-39}

February 17th, 2017 | no comments

 Hi Friends!

Here we are at 39 weeks pregnant and I decided to write this post as my last pre-baby update. Aside from the regular pregnancy questions, a lot of people are asking how we are preparing for “the big delivery day” and “what’s in my hospital bag?” So… as to hopefully be helpful, I thought I would document it all here. Partially to keep myself organized but also to help if you’re preparing for your big day and wanted to see what we’ve done to pack and prepare.

DISCLAIMER: I am a first-time-mama-to-be who has NEVER been through this before and so you’ll soon see that we DID and PREPPED alot. Probably more than is actually necessary and I admit that I know some of the preparation we did will be in vain but I am OK with that because I’m a pregnant lady with a lot on my mind and it has eased my mind to focus on preparing in this way. So please know that this isn’t the END ALL BE ALL of lists and I also hope to post an update after baby with what I actually used or found really helpful in hindsight. So, there’s that. 

But first, let’s do a little update from the last few weeks…

BUMP!
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Weeks 35-39: These last few weeks have brought about a lot of preparation, which you will soon get a glimpse of. My energy level has ebbed and flowed (Enter: NAPS) and the baby growth spurts have brought about some new aches and pains, mainly in my lower back and hips. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor who specializes in obstetrics, going for weekly prenatal massages and wearing this belly belt and I have to say the combination is definitely helping. [Please consult your physician if you are experiencing any aches and pains, all of this treatment was pre-approved by ours for my specific needs]. Right around week 37 I came down with a horrrrrrrible cold and was on bed rest for about a week = NOT FUN. Luckily I made a full recovery and baby girl decided to STAY IN and I could not be more thankful to have that in the past and these days of getting healthy again accruing before the ‘big day’.  

In terms of cravings I am still on a FRUIT kick but have definitely been craving sweets in these last few weeks which is new. I’ve been indulging in all of the old wives tales about “what to eat” to prepare your body for labor…like dates, pineapple, spicy foods and supplementing with evening primrose oil… and not that I can tell you anything’s working or not working but it’s fun to pay more attention in this way (again, please consult your care provider before adding in any supplements or anything new to your regime).  I am still able to go to SoulCycle and do the elliptical a few times a week and always feel good and sleep better on the days I workout. Oh, sleep. This one is pretty rough as I’m getting bigger and more uncomfortable by the day, but all for a good cause! :) Other than that our weekly appointments have been mostly uneventful in the best way possible and we are getting more and more eager to meet our sweet daughter very soon! 

Self-care has been tremendously important for allowing me to feel good as my body, mind and soul continue to change everyday. For me that looks like exercise, good nutrition, early nights in bed, manicures, baths and scrapbooking the Baby Book which has been a really fun experience (thank you to my sweet friend Kelly for giving us this book!). I also snuck in a haircut since I knew I wouldn’t have a chance for some time postpartum

 A fresh cut/color pre-baby sure makes a mama feel good! 

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The NESTING instinct has picked up HARD and we’ve really spent the last few weeks preparing the nursery, our home, our work and our minds for what’s to come soon. You’ll soon see as you keep reading just HOW MUCH we have actually done to prepare but now, at 39 weeks pregnant I really don’t have much to do but “feel well“, get lots of rest, eat well, enjoy prenatal massage, visit my chiropractor, enjoy the last few days as a twosome (threesome if you’re counting Harlow) and stay comfortable. Which is exactly the place I wanted to be at. I know that so much of labor and delivery and having a newborn will be unpredictable and chaotic (and beautiful) so it has helped me to relax by getting all of these ducks in a row. 

 So, I warn you. Super long post. Lots of products, packing and preparations (mostly necessary but surely some unnecessary). But, I feel great about it all and that’s all that matters.

Read at your leisure, use this as a reference if you find it helpful, skim, bounce around and if you’re a mom and I am completely missing something obvious — help a sista out and let me know! :) We are giving birth at a Birth Center so some of what we did/prepared for is geared towards that experience which may be slightly different than a traditional labor & delivery situation at a hospital. So just keep that in mind if you’re thinking “wow, that’s a lot!” If you have any questions about why we did something or packed a certain item, let me know. Happy to share my thought process it reasoning with you if it will be helpful.

Otherwise, know that you don’t really neeeeed most of this “stuff” or to prepare like we did. It’s SUCH a personal thing and whatever fits your personality and preferences. So…please please please listen to your body, your heart and connect with your partner about what will work best for you. What you’ll read below works best for us but may be too much (or too little) for someone else and I can totally respect and appreciate that. 

“Prepping for baby is exhausting!” -Harlow 

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For my Hospital/Birth Center bag I chose this one from Vera Bradley that I had on hand because it’s a large duffel that will fit a ton, it’s very light as a bag so won’t add extra weight or bulk (for Karl who will be handling) and most importantly it can easily be tossed in the washing machine afterwards. I didn’t want to bring a nicer bag or our diaper bag for that last reason specifically. I’m happy with this choice because it sure is big enough for everything you’re about to see on my list below! 

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I’ll start with what we packed….

For Baby:

• (2) newborn outfits (with feeties and mitts) • (2)  newborn white onesies • (3)  0-3 outfits • (4)  pairs of socks • Headbands (because…pictures ) • (2)  cotton hats + (1)  cozy going home hat • Going home outfit + puffer onesie (because it will still be winter here) • Burp clothes (disposable + cotton) • Swaddles (so we can use our own) • Organic coconut oil (for baby’s bum before meconium) • Newborn pacifiers for car ride home • Cozy receiving blanket

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For Me (mom):

• Labor outfit ((2) super soft robes — one old that we can chuck and one new for postpartum, cotton bras, cozy tanks, loose boxers + maternity leggings) • Extra Cotton Bras + Nursing Bras • Comfy hipster style undies (for postpartum) • Grippy socks • Slippers • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, face wash, face cream, comb, deodorant, etc.) • Nursing pads, nipple cream, bottom spray (I am already a lover of Earth Mama Angel Baby) • Fridet Mom Washer • Maternity Belly Band (for postpartum support) • Extra socks • (2)  comfy outfits (Gap Body Maternity leggings, maternity tanks, cozy zip-ups and open front sweaters) • Going home clothes • Pillow with colored pillow case • A roll of my own soft toilet paper • Phone chargers • Digital camera with extra battery • Polaroid Instapix camera with extra film

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For Hospital/Birth Center:

• Pre-registration Confirmation paperwork • Copies of license and insurance cards • Copy of medical records that we go at out last prenatal appointment• Copies of birth “preferences” + Who to Call/Text list • Snacks • Drinks • Nursing Pillow (My Brest Friend) • Bluetooth speakers • Toxic-free ink pad + Baby Book

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For At-Home Labor:

(Since we are going to a Birth Center, at-home labor will be a longer than tradition L&D)

• Birth ball • Essential oils (lavender, peppermint + lemon) • Massage oil • Bendy straws (for easy hydration) • Baseball cap for ride to birth center • Headphones • Snacks + Beverages (hydration!!!) • Copies of different labor positions + contraction management techniques

 For Karl:

• Extra clothes • Bathing suit • Toiletries • Pillow • Snacks for hospital

This should say 38.5 weeks or “Just shy of 39″ ;) But, who’s counting??

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Now let’s talk about HOW we prepared…

Aside from packing our bags and the car for the delivery day, we’ve been busy in the weeks leading up to our due date. We wanted to be mindful of other life responsibilities and take as much off of our plates for those first few weeks/months in the “newborn vortex” as possible. It was a great opportunity to go through our lives and think ahead to what might be needed/due and handle as much as we could now as to minimize any distractions later on.

Of course with delivery services like InstaCart (for groceries), Target.com /Amazon.com /Diapers.com for baby and household essentials and Chewy.com for pet supplies, it’s really VERY easy to get most of our needs met without more than the push of a button (which is very comforting). But there was more on our list as we took inventory of our life and apartment and it feels good to know that this is all taken care of and that our baby will get our full attention when she arrives. Also because the nesting instinct is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and it kept me calm to focus on some of these things the last few weeks without just sitting around and waiting.

Other things we did to prepare our lives (and create mental capacity) for this new life change and the inevitable beautiful chaos that’s about to ensue:

• Karl got the car’s oil changed, checked and filled up car with gas (checked insurance coverage and inspection dates so nothing falls through the cracks) • Put car seat in car beforehand with base, seat cover and rear-facing mirror • One word: “padsicles” (Google if curious) • Arranged Harlow (pet) Care “on call” basis / stocked pup with food and treats (checked with vet for any upcoming vaccines that are due) • Meetings with our Doula • Completed Bradley Method Childbirth Ed classes • Completed birth center orientation • Talked extensively about our birth preferences + views on newborn procedures + postpartum preferences • Books, documentaries + positive stores • Expectful.com meditations + YouTube • Stocked fridge + freezer with healthy meals / options for postpartum • Picked our pediatrician • Set expectations with family/visitors • Prepped the nursery / washed all baby clothes and blankets and swaddles, prepped diapering station at changing table and one “to-go” for our bedroom • Stocked the apartment with essentials and cleaning products so we wouldn’t have to think about it for a while • Paid bills / filed taxes (since our baby is due during tax season!)

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Reflecting on what’s to come…

Now that I’m 39 weeks I’ve been doing a ton of reflection about this whole pregnancy and what’s to come. I love to sit in the nursery which is so filled with love already. I look around and see all of the beauty, love, support and generosity from everyone in our lives and the positive energy is truly remarkable. It’s been an emotional week. It feels like it’s 24/7 that I think about how she’ll arrive any day, whenever she’s ready, however is meant to be and what it means to let go of control, expectation and put full trust in something greater than myself.

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I’m learning new lessons in patience, unpredictability, unconditional love and acceptance of the unknown. I know that the journey is only beginning and that I have A LOT to learn but I find comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in any of this. Which is absolutely a mindset shift as I reflect back to discovering we were pregnant and having all of these anxious and isolating feelings appear. I’m proud of the growth I can see in myself, in Karl, and in US, throughout this journey that was FULL of a spectrum of emotions and experiences. Now more than ever I know that there is a reason pregnancy is approx 40 weeks. It really has taken all of that time to feel all the feels, prepare mentally and physically and fully embrace the life changes that are coming.

One more thing before I wrap up this VERY LONG post which is my final pregnancy update(next up a baby update!)! I need to thank everyone who has supported us throughout this entire journey. The love and support we continue to receive in abundance has allowed us to truly welcome this new chapter in our lives with open arms and hearts, and know that this journey will be amazing, real and one where we are never alone. Because I really do believe that it takes a village, and I am sooooo thankful for our village! 

It’s been so much fun to share this journey with you and to connect with all of the new-mamas to be that I’ve met along the way. I’m looking forward to more updates, baby updates, sharing new mama struggles and successes and OF COURSE getting back to some regularly scheduled “GREAT LIFE” programming like clean eating recipes, wellness tips, and much more, here soon. With LOVE + gratitude… Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

 And now… we wait. ♥

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In case you’ve missed any of the other PREGNANCY UPDATES, here are links to all of those posts! 

Big News: We’re Expecting!!  {Update Weeks 1 – 18}

10 Pregnancy Essentials {Weeks 1 – 19}

It’s a…….!!! Gender Reveal + Pregnancy Update {Weeks 19 – 22}

Hello, Third Trimester! PREGNANCY UPDATE {Weeks 23 – 28}

Baby Celebration + Pregnancy Update {Weeks 29-35}