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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Running with Baby

running with baby

As a new mom, I was pretty determined to get right back into my regular exercise routine.  Admittedly I tried too much too fast in the beginning and it set me back, but once CT got to be about 3 months old, I was able to get back into the swing of things.  Have any of you struggled with that?

Since getting back into my routine I have started going longer distances.  Longer distance means longer time away from home.  Before this meant carrying a water bottle, but with a baby it requires a little more gear.  Through trial and error, I've found what works for us.

A good jogging stroller is a must if you intend to run with a baby.  The BOB Revolution is my dream jogging stroller.  For now, I'm using a Schwinn that I purchased at a consignment sale at the beginning of my pregnancy for just $50.  My suggestion would be to research as much as possible before making this purchase and know exactly what you are looking for and what features are non-negotiable.  

Check out my post on making a jogging stroller purchase for more information on this.

Once you are physically ready to train long distances, your concern needs to be on taking care of baby during these training sessions.  Babies body temperatures rise much quicker than our own (even when we are the ones doing all the work).  It is essential to keep baby comfortable.  This fan uses double A batteries and clips to anything.  It is single-handedly the best impulse buy I've made in the last 12 months.  I clip it to the visor on the stroller and direct it toward baby while running.  

To help with lowering body temperature, always have a sippy cup ready with cool water and a bottle of milk.  If you intend to be out for longer than 30-45 minutes, I would suggest having cold, wet washcloths for baby to suck on or play with.

When training, we often think about our own comfort; wearing a hat or sunglasses to shade ourselves from the hot sun.  Do the same for baby; put sunglasses and/or a hat to provide shade and protect the eyes.  Always wear sunscreen and put sunscreen on to prevent burn.

Last but certainly not least, bring a toy or two that will help entertain.  I prefer the type that clip to the stroller so that if the terrain is uneven it won't fall out of the stroller (or if baby decides to play a game of throw it down and have mommy pick it up).

Monday, July 28, 2014

Jumping on the Nordstrom Sale Bandwagon

Ummm....I confess that I've never really shopped Nordstrom because I just felt as though it was out of my league.  I know...I know...stupid.  I just thought it was expensive and fancy and not "me."

That was until I won a $75 gifcard from Jessica and had reason to shop there.

I realized it's not "out of my league," you get what you pay for, and the sales are amaze!  I've already spent my $75 giftcard, but I have a feeling some of these goodies might make there way to my doorstep soon, too.

nordstrom sale

What are your favorites?

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Favorite "Mom" Apps

As a new mom there are many questions and sometimes you don't think to ask them at the most opportune times.  In fact, a lot of my questions were thought up around 3 a.m. in the middle of nursing or at 6 a.m. when I was laying back down for a morning nap with baby.

So, the ones that I didn't write down in the moment and forgot to ask the doctor/lactation consultant/nurse I went hunting for.  Lucky for me (and you) the age of the smartphone is here and with it, a plethora of tools and information at fingertips.

Here are just a few of my favorite "mom apps" that I've found to be helpful along the way.

My Pregnancy Today (free)
This app provides information about what is happening within the female body at each stage of pregnancy.  It lets users see how big the baby is and gives tips for healthy habits throughout pregnancy.  *It is important to note that this is based on a typical pregnancy.

My Baby Today (free)
Once the baby is born this app, also created by BabyCenter, keeps users updated on what to expect in regards to monthly milestones and provides information regarding feeding, sleeping, etc.
*It is important to note that this is based on average babies.

What to Expect (free)
This app does exactly what it claims to do: informs users of what to expect at each stage of pregnancy/motherhood.  They also provide fertility and pregnancy trackers. (Found here)

BabyConnect (free)
Any nursing mother needs this app.  It can also be purchased and used by daycares, nannies, and preschools.  It helps the user keep track of sleep patterns, feeding times, dirty diapers, etc.  All the things parents need to know at doctor appointments.

Baby Sleep (free)
This app plays lullabies for a period of time.  Perfect for soothing baby while out and about.

Disney Junior (free with option to purchase more)
This app contains episodes of shows seen on Disney Jr.  It is interactive and users can purchase more episodes for viewing.

FreePrints (free)
This app allows users a certain amount of free prints (delivered to your door) of photos each month.  Perfect way to decrease the amount stored on the phone and a quick, inexpensive way to update the family album at home.

Zulily/Woot (free)
Both apps provide users great deals on all sorts of baby gear, clothing for the family, jewelry, toys, games, and decor.

Target Mobile/Cartwheel (free)
These apps save money and time while shopping at Target.  See how I use these apps to save my family money here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mommy Essentials

You may or may not have noticed that last month (and this month) I didn't do the milestone must-haves for mommy and baby like I'd done here, here, here, here, and here.

I realized that when I was pregnant it wasn't convenient to see a monthly list of items that came in handy.  In fact, I would much rather have seen a cumulative list of necessities.  I wish I'd had one to go by when registering for items.  As a first time mom you really don't know what you need.  And stores and companies would love to have you think you need all the pink and blue things.

So here is my necessity list for the first 6 months baby is in your life.  Things I could not (or would not want to) live without the first 6 months of being a mom.

baby needs 0-6 mos

There are obvious items missing from the list like a pump, bottle warmer, etc.  I wanted to accumulate a list of things that you might not think about in the excitement of preparing for baby.

Feel free to add your necessities in the comments below!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Feel-Good Pants

I went shopping with Morgan and the babes at the outlets two weeks ago.  I'm so glad we got together because her moving date suddenly moved up and by moved up I mean she's gone now.  Tear.

I've been on the hunt for the perfect pair of distressed boyfriend jeans and when I saw these on the clearance rack at JCrew, I thought they might be it!  I hunted through the pairs that were hanging searching for my size.  I settled on this pair just knowing they wouldn't fit.  Don't you hate that?

Imagine my surprise when I put them on in the fitting room and they not only slid up over my soccer thighs, but they buttoned!

A dressing room selfie moment if there ever was one.

So, these pants are deemed my feel-good pants.  They are comfy and it feels pretty darn good to be able to wear them when I thought I couldn't.
Top: GAP outlet (similar, similar,), Jeans: JCrew Factory (similar)

Oh!  And I chopped off my hair.  It was a reward, remember?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Life Hacks Every Mom Should Know

There are a few tricks I've picked up since CT was born in December that make life a little easier.  Whether you're a mom or not, these will save you time and make you come across a little more domesticated than you may have time to be.

Double up on mattress liners/sheets in the crib.  My mom told me to save time she used to put a mattress cover, sheet, mattress cover, sheet on the crib.  That way if baby has an accident in the middle of the night, you just take the top sheet and mattress cover off without having to remake the whole crib.

Slice a lemon and add it to a pitcher of Crystal Light lemonade.  People will assume you spent a lot of time making home-pressed lemonade and it will taste more authentic.

Use vinegar in the laundry.  I've always used a little splash of vinegar in with the dog's blankets/towels when washing.  Now I use it with bibs as well!  Anything that has an odor will come out smelling almost new.

Use baby powder to remove sand.  Baby powder absorbs wetness so when baby has sticky sand all over him at the beach, just sprinkle some on and brush the powder and sand right off!

Available here
Wet bag.  I bring this bad boy to the pool and put all the wet things/food soiled things/spit-up things in it to take home.  This way all the clean things aren't getting dirtied by the dirty things.

Available here
Cut up fresh fruit/veggies as you buy it.  Prepare everything the minute you have time.  Freeze what you think might go bad before you get a chance to eat it.  Place it in clear containers so that you can easily see it and grab it for a healthy snack. (This slicer is the best $10 I've spent in some time.)

Dry shampoo. As if you didn't already know...

Keep extra everything in the car.  I keep a random t-shirt for me, a one piece outfit for baby, a container of wipes, and a few diapers in the pocket of the car seat just in case I find myself in a situation where I need them and didn't pack them.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Some Fitness Thoughts

It's really easy for me to make excuses and sit on the couch rather than get out and do.  It's hot, humid, and sticky this summer.  And apparently my body has taken on the stance of a newborn because I have my days and nights clearly confused.  I'm in a bit of a party all night, sleep all day mode.  Which is working out greeeaaaat with a 7 month old.  How does that even happen?

I've been eating my weight in fresh from the garden cucumber and watermelon.  So delicious and hydrating and easy.  I just put a little salt and pepper on those cukes and eat 1 (or 2 or 3) in a sitting.

For some reason, my appetite just goes away with the heat.  I can't complain though.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I just purchased my dream running stroller.  Yes.  I'm that girl...the girl with a dream running stroller.  I actually contemplated going for 2 runs in 1 day just so I could try it out once I got it home!

I just signed up for this half marathon.  I've run several halves in the past, but this will be my first one postbaby.  I don't intend to run it with CT, but I may just get a wild hair - who knows.

If you're located in North Carolina and are looking for some motivation and accountability, join me!  This is one of my biggest passions that I've accumulated since moving here.  Victory Junction Gang is a camp designed for children with debilitating and/or life-threatening illnesses.  Ordinarily these children might not get to attend summer camp due to inefficient auto-immune systems, medical needs, or finances.  We take a tour each year when my parents come down (it's sponsored by NASCAR and Kyle Petty) and it just about makes my heart burst.  We donate as often as possible throughout the year.

How is your fitness going?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Nice Little Saturday

A few Saturdays ago my mother in-law and I went on a little trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond to look for this blanket.  It reminded me of Old School when Frank is talking about the nice, little Saturday he and his wife have planned.  It was a nice, little Saturday after all.

Chambray: Old Navy, Shorts: JCrew, Flops: Sanuk via Zulily

It was unusually cool and breezy that day so I took advantage of the (slightly) cooler weather by wearing my new chambray button down.  

While at Bed, Bath, and Beyond we found the blankets we were looking for and I ended up getting a few other items that I've had on my "to-buy" list like these pocketed bibs and a bath toy scoop.  I thought I would share them with you and let you know how they are working for us in case you are in the market for anything similar.

The big mouth bibs are awesome.  I love that the pocket buttons up and down making cleanup easy, but catching all the food that gets dropped.  Bonus: they are dishwasher safe!

This mesh toy storage bag clings to the tub wall and has made cleaning up after bath time a breeze.  My only concern is that our water will cause the tote to mildew.  It tends to be hard and I have to change out shower liners frequently and clean the toilets/tub biweekly to keep up with it.  

This blanket has been a fantastic addition.  In fact, I would go so far as to say any family that enjoys being outdoors should have one.  It is water resistant making it easy to clean and great for repelling sand and dirt.  CT loves the vibrant colors and pattern and the carrying case makes it extremely convenient for traveling.

new for baby

Have you made any recent baby purchases worth sharing?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How I Make Target my B (and save lots of money!)

 (This is not a sponsored post, although I think it should be!  *wink*)

Recently I went to Target during their big baby sale.  Regardless of whether or not you are a mommy, everyone wants to save a few bucks so I'm sharing the tools and tricks I use to save my family the most money possible.  Every bit matters, right?

CT was really wanting a taste of my caramel frappacino
First things first, if you haven't already you must download the Cartwheel app and the Target mobile app and sign up for a RedCard.  (If you are concerned about opening up another credit card, you can get a RedCard debit card that is connected to your checking account just like your normal debit card - you get the same benefits of RedCard holders and have no worries about credit score, etc.)

I save sooo much money with these three things alone.
*The bonus is when you combine them with manufacturer coupons.

On the Cartwheel app, you can select up to 10 discounts/coupons you would like to use in your next trip to the store.  These are on anything from clothing to baby department to groceries.  I love that you can cater your discounts to your family's needs each week.

The mobile app provides you access to Target's mobile site, the sale flier for your particular store, mobile coupons, etc.  Just load the coupons into your passbook on your phone and you're set to save.

Each time you use a Cartwheel discount and a mobile site discount, they both work.  So if you have $1 off 5 pouches of Up&Up baby food on your Cartwheel and there is 5% off Up&Up baby food on the mobile app, you get both discounts.  Not to mention, when you use your RedCard to buy it you get another 5% off.  That brings 5 pouches of food from $4.00 to $2.71.

Set up an account at Coupons.com and download the coupon printer from their site.  You can print various manufacturer coupons that regularly rotate and combine them with any store coupons.  You can also clip coupons from the circulars in the Sunday paper to use in combination with the store offers.

Read signs at the store and check for any gift card rewards for certain purchases.  For example, Target regularly gives a $10 giftcard reward for the purchase of 2 cases of diapers or 3 containers of formula.

Here is what I bought:
Gerber baby food (2 jars per pkg) $1.09 (x15 - That's 30 jars of baby food!)
Gerber Graduates yogurt melts $2.49
Gerber Organic pouches $1.49 (x6)
Up&Up food pouches .79 (x5)
Plum Organics pouches $1.49 (x3)
Happy Baby pouches $1.79 (x2)
Pampers Baby Dry diapers $24.99 (x2)
Munchkin Snack Containers $4.49
Take & Toss sippy cup $3.19
Munchkin To Go bib $6.99
Baby Orajel Natural teething tablets $5.99
Munckin Teething Rings $3.29
Fisher Price remote toy $9.99

Total: $123.70 (retail value)
What I Actually Paid: $75.56

*Target got me again and I returned to buy more diapers a few days after this trip.  I ended up paying $108 for 6 cases of diapers and a few other essentials (I also came home with almost $5 left on a giftcard from them).  This would normally cost about $155*

For example:

First Transaction: When purchasing the 6 cases of diapers I saved money by purchasing 4 cases for $24.99 each with a giftcard reward of $10 with the purchase of 2 (savings: $20 giftcard rewards).  I printed 4 coupons from Coupons.com saving $1.50 on each case (savings: $6 total).  I added Up&Up baby food pouches to my order bringing my total to $100 (savings: $20 off a $100 purchase through a mobile coupon offered in store + 5% off baby food pouches using the mobile app). (*savings: 5% off using RedCard)

Second Transaction: In my second transaction, I purchased 2 more cases of diapers for $24.99 each with a giftcard reward of $10 with the purchase of 2 (savings: $10 giftcard rewards).  I had 2 coupons for Pampers diapers from the Sunday circular saving me $1.50 on each case (savings: $3.00).  I used my $20 in giftcards from my first transaction toward the purchase (savings: $20) making my total less than the cost of just one case of diapers. (*savings: 5% off using RedCard)

Third Transaction: In my last transaction I picked up my mineral foundation from the beauty department because the sale flier advertised it as buy 1 get 1 free (savings: $10.49). I had a $10 giftcard from my second transaction that I used making this purchase less than $1 which originally would have been close to $25 (savings: $10). *Had I realized this deal prior to going in the store, I would have printed a coupon for $1 off the purchase of 2 Physicians Formula products and this transaction would have been totally free.* (*savings: 5% off using RedCard)

Tricks to help you save more moolah at Target:

  1. Download Cartwheel, Target mobile, and any other coupon app (RetailMeNot and CouponSherpa) onto your SmartPhone.
  2. Sign up for the RedCard.
  3. Create an account on Coupons.com/cut out coupons from the Sunday circulars.
  4. Check for giftcard rewards.
  5. Separate your purchases in order to use the most coupons/giftcard rewards possible in each transaction.
  6. Combine any and all offers.
  7. Always ask - always try to get the best price.  The worst they can do is say no.

What's your favorite money saving secret?

Monday, July 14, 2014

7 Months

Dear Carson,

You are over one half year old now.  I know that is obvious since you're 7 months old.  It's just that this monthly milestone makes you much closer to being a boy and a little further away from being a baby.  

You're doing more things on your own than you once did.  I can already see your independence and desire to try new things.  It won't be long now and you will be crawling and chasing after your puppies.  You get really frustrated when you want to follow them and struggle.  

You continue to amaze everyone that meets you by just being you.  They can't believe what a great baby you are - and I am so happy I get to be your mama.  

I don't know how I got chosen as yours, but I'm so thankful I did.

7 Month Update
Weight:  19 pounds
Length:  27 inches
Nicknames: The Milkman, Milk Monster, CT, Hungry Hungry Hippo, Bubby, Monster, Buddy Boy, Stinka, Bubba
Sleep: You generally go to bed around 8:00 and wake up around 6:30 a.m.  Sometimes you will wake up earlier, talk to your hands/toys and fall back asleep.  Lately, you've gotten so tired from all the playing and you have started going to sleep much earlier.  Your naps are still short, but you are taking 3-4 a day.
Eating: All the veggies and fruits!  You like everything.  You've also tried eating small pieces of banana and avocado.  You would rather smear them all over your high chair and play in them than feed yourself though.  You have also tried the little yogurt bites - you aren't quite sure you like those yet.
Clothing: 6-9 months

  • Playing
  • Your Fisher Price Seahorse
  • Bath time - especially now that you are sitting in your bath seat and playing with toys
  • Walks/Runs with Mommy
  • Your "wubby" 
  • The pool/water
  • Your jumparoo
  • The dogs!!  You follow them (with your eyes) everywhere...it's only a matter of time before you are chasing them around the house.
  • Sweet potatoes and mangoes
  • Yogurt bites (I think they are too sweet)
  • Being hungry
Exciting Moments:You got 2 bottom teeth!
You are scooting around and army crawling around the living room floor to get to your toys.
You tried yogurt for the first time (I mixed in mangoes so that you would like it better)
You are working on your sippy cup
Momma's Milestones:
I am running an 11 minute mile with the jogging stroller.

I currently weigh less than I did before getting pregnant.

A little look at the last 7 months...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

4 years of fun

Today is 4 years of marriage for my hubby and me.  4 years.  Can you believe that just 4 years ago when we got married Pinterest wasn't around and we had to come up with ideas all on our own?

Wow.  Time flies.

In honor of 4 years, I've been thinking about all the best things we've done in these 4 years.  There's been a lot of laughter, tears, celebrations, and obstacles, but we've come through it all together.

Traveled to New York, Virginia Beach, Charlotte, Jamaica, the beach, Bahamas, Charleston, the mountains, Pennsylvania, and countless other places 

Ran The Color Run together

Adopted 2 pups

Made an amazing baby boy

Cheered for ECU Pirates too many times to count

Had lots of fires and lots of cocoa

Visited home

Put CT's toes in the ocean

Cheered for the Greensboro Grasshoppers always
& a ton of other amazing memories!

Although marriage is a lot of work and a lot of compromise, the good always outweighs the bad and the easy is far more memorable than the hard.  There is no one in this world I would rather work alongside or compromise with.

Happy Anniversary, honey!  Here's to many more.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Champion Yard Saler

Tee: Target, Shorts: GAP via yard sale (similar, similar)

I've become a champion yard saler, but I haven't quite mastered finding a champion yard sale.  I go around looking for them and scouring their contents like a boss, but I haven't really hit the jackpot so to speak.  By jackpot I mean a turtle sandbox for $15 like I got from the local thrift or one of these little cars for around $20.  That would be a real prize.

However, I have found a few little clutch items here and there.  Like these shorts.  I was out one Saturday morning with my mother in-law and CT and we were just strolling through some local yard sales.  There were piles of clothes on a tarp on the ground and I just happened to notice some of them were shorts that looked to be my size.  For some time now there has been quite a hole in my wardrobe where shorts are concerned so these were perfect.

I grabbed them right up and, not only were they my size (at least I hoped they were since I couldn't try them on and body after baby doesn't always agree with consistent sizing), but they were new with tags marked for $1!  Jackpot!  

I thought they would make a cute and subtle red, white, and blue look for the 4th of July.
What do you think?

Linking up with Shanna, Lindsey, and Liz

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I'm a Bad Friend (and other confessions of a first-time mom)

Tee: Target, Shorts: JCrew Factory, Flops: GAP Outlet
It's true.  Motherhood has consumed me.  My days revolve around naps, feedings, laundry, and diapers.  As I've gotten so wrapped up in my selflessness, I've realized I've not spent nearly enough time or given nearly enough attention to my friendships.  Particularly my friendships with people who don't have children.  So guilty.  I'm going to work on that.

So although I'm being completely selfless, I'm coming across extremely selfish.  Ugh!

When people say they're going to "swing by" or "stop in" I get anxious.  I mean, that's nice and all, but you can't just do it when CT is napping or maybe I'm going to want to watch that new soap opera I've become addicted to...what do I do if you stop in at the wrong time?

I smell things before I put them on.  So, I've worn the same shorts 3 days this week.  Okay, well, they don't smell so that's okay....right?

No, I don't have an opinion on the dress that Jennifer Lawrence wore to the last award show.  Or any award show.  I didn't see it.  I DVR Saturday Night Live for crying out loud.

There are at least three diaper bags prepped and ready to go in my living room at any point on any given day.

If you do show up, step over the toys and blankets on the floor.  We plan to use those later so there is not use picking them up for visitors.  

While you're in my bathroom, feel free to give the counter a good wipe down or scrub the toilet.  I don't know the last time something other than a Clorox wipe graced that surface.

5 minutes seems like forever when you have a fussy baby in the checkout line at the grocery store, but 5 minutes goes by in a blink when you're in the shower and baby wakes up from a nap.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Heart

It's amazing how this small boy can come into my world and within moments consume my whole heart.  My heart, which is such a small organ in this body of mine, that feels so unbelievably full and swollen hearing his sweet voice, smelling his baby skin, and seeing his face light up with a smile. How did I ever live before him?

Making : all the Pinterest recipes
Cooking : baby food (mangoes, peaches, and carrots, oh my!)
Drinking : ice water
Reading: Prized by Caragh O'Brien (the second book in the Birthmarked trilogy)
Wanting: to add days to summer
Looking: more and more like myself
Playing: peek-a-boo

Watching: Game of Thrones on demand with my hubs
Wasting: time
Sewing: carseat covers for Lulu's Mimi customers
Wishing: I could get paid to stay home
Enjoying: my morning runs with my boy
Waiting: impatiently to see my family again
Liking: fresh, al fresco meals
Wondering: if I’ll ever finish my summer "to do" list
Loving: how happy CT is
Hoping: that this summer won’t go by too fast
Needing: a pedicure
Smelling: fresh fruit
Wearing: a new hair cut (that I love)
Noticing: my clothes fitting better
Knowing: I am blessed
Thinking: about National Boards certification and what passing or not passing will mean for me and my career path
Feeling: excited about our trip north
Opening: boxes from diapers.com (diapers delivered to your doorstep = best invention ever)