Health, Love & Fire: December 2015

A New Mom's Morning Routine

Monday, December 21, 2015

Since going back to work after having Harper, my whole schedule and routine on a daily basis has changed. I used to try everything to push the time the alarm went off to as late as possible on my work days. Ever since having Harper, I never make it to the 6:30 alarm that used to seem so early!

Lately I'm lucky if I'm still in bed at 6. I honestly hadn't thought about all the prep work and time it would take just to get myself and Harper's stuff ready in the morning, not including the time it takes to get just her ready. On my work days, I'm up by 6 at the latest and here's my to do list before I head out the door . . .
I have to pump before she wakes up
Then make sure all my pumping stuff including clean bottles is ready for me to take to work
Fill bottles for the day for Dan or my mom to give to Harper
Get dressed and do my hair and make up
Let the dog out and feed him
Wake up Harper and change and feed her

One of the things that makes my morning tricky is Dan's schedule. Being married to a firefighter has it's perks, but their schedule can make things a little more challenging. He works 24 hour shifts so on mornings he's leaving for work we both get ready and then I stay with Harper until my mom comes to pick her up. Mornings he's getting off work are a little more difficult. He gets off at 730 and I typically leave the house by 720 so I stay a little longer and hand off Harper as soon as he's there. Unfortunately his job can be unpredictable, so every morning he's supposed to get off I'm always hoping and praying he doesn't get a late call that will make me late for work.
I'm always looking for ways to speed up my getting ready process in the morning. I'm the queen of trying to skip a day of washing my hair or taking a shower the night before so I can sleep an extra few minutes! A girl needs her beauty rest, right? One of the ways I've found to save some time is to use the Saphire 8 in 1 Curling Wand! I've always pinned different tips on how to curl your hair to get relaxed waves or how best to use a curling wand, but never tried it out myself. Clearly I was missing out! I absolutely love how easy the curling wand is to use and just how great my hair turns out when I use it! Not only do I feel put together, but it doesn't take me all morning to do it!
I used the Saphire 8 in 1 Curling Wand to do my hair for our Christmas photo session and love the way my curls turned out. I've never been one who's awesome at styling their own hair and I've always been a little afraid to try some of the curling wands, but after trying this one I'm hooked! It makes creating the perfect curls or subtle waves so easy! I've even convinced my husband to help me out a time or two to make sure all the curls in the back of my head look perfect! The wand comes with 8 different barrels to create 8 different looks!

When I'm in a hurry in the morning trying to get myself ready before Harper wakes up and needs to get ready too, I'm always looking for quick and effective tools to help me. The Irresistible Me products really help me look put together every day without taking hours to do it and killing my hair! Now I don't always have to sport the bun every day and always feel put together!

This is a sponsored posts written on behalf of Irresistable Me. All opinions are 100% my own.  

2015 Highlights - The Year of Harper

Thursday, December 17, 2015

As we come to the end of 2015, I wanted to look back at some of the highlights. The past few years I've broken my yearly highlight posts into a few different posts, but this year I decided just to showcase my favorite parts of the year. Basically what I'm saying is this new mama don't got time to drag it out. So here's some of my favorite happenings from the past year . . .

This was definitely a monumental year in our lives and basically the year of Harper. Starting with the day we found out we were pregnant and got the keys to our new home, the fact that it all happened on one day should have been a sign that the next year ahead was going to be a great one.

It's been exactly one year since On we finally got the keys to our brand new home on December 18th of last year! We'd been waiting months for this day. As soon as we got the text from our realtor, we jumped in the moving van (which was already loaded with our stuff) and headed right over to move in! (keep in mind this was also at 7 o'clock in the evening). We couldn't wait to officially move in and get settled! And just 48 hours after moving in our first box, we hosted 25 of our closest friends for my birthday!
Februrary 21st - I shared our best Christmas gift ever by announcing we were pregnant! I was already 12 weeks and we were both so excited to finally be able to share our news with everyone!
April 13th - We found out that our little one was a girl! We decided to wait and find out what we were having with close friends and family at a gender reveal party. No one except the Dr, Ultrasound Tech and party store worker knew what we were having. We were all so surprised to see pink confetti come out of that balloon and so excited to start buying everything girly!
May 28th - We took a few days off of work and headed to Vegas for our babymoon. We got upgraded to the most amazing suite at MGM and had an amazing time relaxing together for a few days!
June was all about baby - well actually this whole past year seems to mostly revolve around that, but in June anyways we took our maternity photos and I had my friends and family baby shower. Both me and Harper felt so much love this month and in the time leading up to her arrival! We definitely lucked out with some amazing people to love and support us!
On July 15th we celebrated our 5 year anniversary. I didn't necessarily picture our 5 year anniversary with me unable to drink a celebratory glass of wine or not doing much cause I was worn out from being nearly 9 months pregnant, but it was fun none the less. These first five years have flown by and I can't wait to see what the next 5 have in store!
August 11th was the best day of the year. It was the day Harper joined our family! And while this day is an absolute blur, I can't imagine my life without this day!
In October two of my aunts came to visit and to meet harper for the first time. We had a fun fall family weekend that included games, wine tasting, morning walks, yummy food and lots of baby snuggle time!
The holidays are so much fun with our family of three. I have always loved Christmas time and getting to decorate and celebrate my favorite time of year. This year we kicked off the holidays by picking out our tree and taking Harper to meet Santa! I know she isn't aware of too much this year, but I can't wait to experience it all for the years to come!

What a truly fun and amazing year it has been. I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us. What were your favorite parts of 2015?

Must Haves For Getting Through the First Three Months

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Harper was four months on Friday and I literally can't believe how fast she's changing and growing. It seems like just yesterday I was bringing her home from the hospital and now she's growing out of all her three month clothes and really starting to show her little personality. When we were preparing to have Harper, I was at a loss of what products and items I really needed. Thankfully I have a few close friends who had recently had babies and had made some good friends through blogging that were also pregnant so I was able to make some important purchases before she arrived. But every baby is different, and there are some products I purchased and loved and some that I never really used. One of the things I found really helpful in the months leading up to her arrival was reading what other blogger moms recommended and then doing my research from there. So here are the items that helped us get through the first three months with Harper.

Rock 'n Play - We were planning on having Harper sleep in the newborn napper in her pack and play in our room, until she didn't really like it there. Trust me, you'll let her sleep anywhere she actually sleeps if it means you get more rest. From the very beginning she didn't like laying flat in the crib at the hospital, and had to be elevated a bit to help with some reflux issues so the rock 'n play worked perfect. It's inexpensive and easy to move, so we used it all around the house. She is actually still sleeping in this right now, although we are working on the crib transition. Wish us luck!

SwaddleME Infant Wraps - Harper is an escape artist. We tried using swaddle blankets and wrapping them as tight as we could and she'd still un-swaddle herself and wake up hitting herself in the face in the middle of the night. It took a couple weeks before she fit in to the small size SwaddleMe well (especially since she was pretty tiny at first) but ever since then she's slept in these every night! She stays tightly swaddled all night and for any baby that likes to be wrapped up tightly to sleep, these are perfect!

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Toy - This toy is a miracle worker! Most times if she's upset or crying this thing does the trick! And at less than $10 on Amazon, it can't be beat! I carry this thing with us in the diaper bag or next to her in her carseat when we run errands and always have it nearby at home. It works so well my parents even have one at their house for when she's there. Something about the lights and music help calm her down every time!

Fisher-Price Kick and Play Mat - Once she was about a month old we started putting her on the play mat a few times a day. She loves to stare at herself in the mirror and kick the piano with her feat. By the time she hit 3 months she started really noticing the toys hanging above her. Before having Harper some of my friends referred to this as the crack mat and said it was a must have baby item and I have to agree. Plus once she's older and can sit up on her own, the piano comes off and she can carry it around to play with it.

Solly Baby Wrap - As a newborn, and most of the time even now, Harper likes to be near you. I purchased the Solly Wrap when Harper was a couple weeks old and have used it ever since. The fabric is lightweight and easy to get tight while still being comfortable. I love that even in the summer, the material is still thin enough and breathable so I'm not dying from the heat. Harper loves to be up and looking around at everything and this wrap is perfect for wearing her around the house, at the store and for walks to the mailbox!

ErgoBaby Carrier - While I also have the Solly Wrap, I wanted a carrier that my husband might feel better about wearing and that was a little more supportive for longer walks or outings. The ErgoBaby carrier works great for walks or longer shopping trips. It's super supportive for me and Harper, and is really comfortable to wear. Even with some back issues, this carrier is really comfortable for me to wear for extended periods of time.

Carters Sleepers - These sleepers are basically all she sleeps in every night. The Carters sleepers come as button up or zipper and the smaller sizes have mittens in them you can use to cover their hands. Harper always likes to have her hands in her face so we loved these newborn sleepers with the built in mittens to help protect her face from scratches. I couldn't imagine putting baby mittens on her all the time and them actually staying on so these worked perfect for those first few weeks. Now she seems to keep her hands out of her face even without her hands covered but we still love the adorable designs and comfortable sleepers Carters makes.

Each of these items definitely made the first three months with Harper a million times easier. Every baby is different so some of these things may work and some might not, but these definitely worked for us. Unfortunately a lot of times I find that things are trial and error till you figure out what works, but this is definitely a good start. What were some of the things that helped you through that newborn stage?

A Blogging Reminder

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I was sitting here scrolling through my bloglovin newsfeed, catching up on all my favorite blogs when I realized my life feels like its become a lot less blogworthy. I've gone from fun weekend outings of beer festivals and beach trips to early mornings, play mat sessions and constant outfit changes. And in the midst of all that change I started to feel a little less photo ready or adventurous. But just because I'm a new mom and am slowly easing in to my new schedule of balancing work, motherhood and the occasional second for myself to shower doesn't mean that I should quit blogging.

Sometimes I think it can be difficult to figure out what this sort of ultra ego the blogging world seems to be. One where it feels like we are supposed to constantly have our DSLR out and always be on the go in the most fashionable outfit. Let's be real, we all love reading those blogs.

My blogging feed is filled with amazing party planners, awesome fashionistas and the best home decorators you could ever imagine! I find myself thinking maybe I can't compete or maybe I don't have as much value to add.

But why did I start writing in this space in the first place? Was it to compete or keep up with these published authors with thousands of followers? Not really. It wasn't until I started to understand this blogging world that I had gotten myself in to that I realized the potential that blogging had, or that there was even a way to gain 500 followers much less thousands.

So while I try to remind myself that I don't have to compete with every other blogger, I also need to remember to get out that camera and commemorate the things I am doing.

Here's a photo from our Christmas photo session this past weekend and the start to my goal of capturing and sharing more pictures and more of what I'm doing now!

New Mom Thoughts: The Crazy, Irrational and Normal

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

So many things changed the day I had Harper. From the day we told people we were expecting, I had lots of people tell me how different things would be once I had that baby in my arms, and as much as I hate to admit it, they were right. I never thought I'd be the crazy worrying parent about every little thing or that I would be so sad to leave her to go back to work, but I was. The feelings and emotions I experienced after giving birth was something I definitely wasn't prepared for, and honestly it made me feel a little like I was going crazy. Were these feelings and behaviors normal? I was lucky to have several friends who were also new moms that I could text at 3am during a feeding or call when I felt like I was going crazy. But not everyone has that. So at the expense of me sounding like a total crazy person, here are some of the feelings and thoughts I had to help you feel less alone and maybe a little less crazy.
I became overly protective:
I worried about leaving her, who was holding her, who she stays with, the thought of leaving her, everything worried me. But I wasn't just protective of other people watching her, I became protective with my husband too. I wanted him to be around and for him to have as much time with her as I did. It would make me worry if he'd hold her less than me or get frustrated with her getting up in the middle of the night. Basically I worried about all normal things that I shouldn't have been worried about, but I was. And even though I can see now I was being totally crazy, I couldn't tell at the that I was being that way! Thank goodness my husband is patient!

Crying for no reason:
I was on my way home from a doctors appointment just 4 days after Harper was born and crying in the back seat or up in the middle of the night to feed her sitting in the rocker in her room sobbing. I cried a lot. Not because I was depressed or sad, but because the hormones and emotions running through your body are intense. You're lacking sleep, which is probably the biggest culprit to my happy, sad, exhausted emotions. Even if you're baby is a good sleeper, you're only getting a 4 hour stretch at most of sleep before it's time to wake up and change, feed and rock again. Before going to the hospital, I had thought about the fact that it would no longer be just the two of us, but the realization that you're now completely in charge of someone else's life even more so than before is definitely a daunting realization.

I was proud of my body:
I have always struggled with my self-image and feeling embarrassed or ashamed of my body, but for the first time I was comfortable in my own skin. I had just had a baby, was constantly sweating and had that lovely postpartum smell, but I was comfortable and proud. I wasn't overly worried with how I looked, and even though barely anything in my closet fit me right, I felt good. Even now, 3 months later I'm still more comfortable and proud of what my body was able to do than I have ever been before. Sure I have stretch marks on my stomach and an extra pooch that wasn't there before, but I'm okay with that.

I Became Google's Biggest User: 
Anything and everything new that happened or changed I was on my phone googling it. She made this noise, what does that mean? She slept for four hours, do I wake her up? She's eating this often, is this normal? If you can think of a baby related question, I googled it. . . or asked my mom the nurse and she googled it . . . or asked my mom the nurse and we both googled it. No matter how prepared I felt before, once she's home and changing every day there are still questions that come up. And I didn't get to a point where I felt like I didn't wonder about all the changes or behaviors she experienced every day, but I became more confident as the days went by in my ability to make decisions and care for each of those behaviors.

Becoming a mom is truly one of the best things that has ever happened to me, but with that has definitely come a change in my emotions, behavior and feelings. It is a life changing experience and one that I am so thankful to have gone through. Especially because now, I am part of a great group of women, Moms.

What are some of the worries or thoughts you had as a new mom? Did you find any specific tools or places that you went to for answers or encouragement?

A Kickoff To The Holidays

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I always look forward to Thanksgiving weekend because it means a few extra days off of work, a yummy meal with my family, and time to decorate the house and get our tree ready for Christmas!

Thanksgiving day marked the first Thanksgiving in our new home. We were hosting dinner so once Dan got home from work we started cooking. My dad came over to watch the parade and drink mimosas (our yearly tradition) and we spent the rest of the day hanging out, playing games, drinking wine and spending time together. It was a small group that included my parents, my brother and his girlfriend and my mother in law but it was nice to have us all together. After a couple of years of trying to squeeze into my pants after two meals in one day we decided to combine them in to one meal all together! Definitely the way to do it!
Harper and I were both tired on Thanksgiving Day because she'd been up a ton the night before while Dan was on shift. By 7pm I was ready for bed and ready for our guests to leave. 

Friday we hit up a few black Friday sales, mainly Target in the morning and then spent the afternoon picking out our tree and decorating it! It was so much fun to get our first tree together! Our evening was spent watching the Oregon Ducks beat the Oregon State Beavers and finishing up decorating the tree.
Saturday Dan had to work so Harper and I spent the day together decorating a little more around the house and doing some Small Business Saturday shopping! I'm pretty excited that I have most of my shopping already done!
I have to start putting Harper in all her holiday themed outfits cause she's got quite a few of them! But she doesn't seem to mind :) 
Sunday we spent the day decorating the outside of the house! Any weekend in November or December that isn't raining in Oregon you can be pretty sure most people will be outside. We are lucky to have several members of the fire department live just a block from our house so we took a couple walks down to see how their decorations were going and borrow a ladder to help with our own. Ours still aren't finished, but it was getting chilly and Harper was getting hungry so we got a good start on it!

I'm so excited the holidays are here and that we get to share this fun time of year with Harper! What are your favorite things to do during the holiday season?