Product Review: Moss & Marsh

Motherhood

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As we approach London turning 6 months old this week, she is full force into the teething (and drooling) phase. I’ve had a lot of mom friends recommend using bandana bibs to keep baby dry, so I decided to try them out for myself. That’s when I found out about Moss & Marsh. They focus on making functional, unique products that help make the parenting life easier! And because the creator is a mom herself, she has brilliant ideas that she takes right to the sewing machine to make come to life.

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This bib (along with all of their products) is handmade right in Savannah, GA. It’s made of 100% Kona and Terry Cotton and has two adjustable snaps to fit different neck sizes. Each bib is backed with terry cloth for extra absorbency and has a removable pacifier attachment. They come in different print and color options, and can even be personalized with your baby’s name.

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It’s made the last couple of weeks much easier to be able to protect London’s clothes and skin from the extra moisture and I can’t wait to try more of their products!

 

 

This post was in collaboration with Moss & Marsh, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

Tips for Sensitive Skin

Motherhood

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Before I had London, I already knew she was probably going to inherit my super sensitive skin. And of course, about a month after she was born, we were left dealing with all of the baby rashes in the book: baby acne, eczema, cradle cap…the list went on. I was so worried that the beautiful skin she was born with was gonna be gone forever.

We visited the pediatrician and dermatologist religiously to make sure we were doing everything we could to heal her skin. I know that’s not possible for all the busy mamas out there, so I wanted to share the tips I learned, in case it might be able to help your sensitive baby too.

Daily Bath

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This came as a surprise to me, because everything I read said that giving your baby a bath too often would dry out their skin. But this advice was given to us by London’s dermatologist and amazed me by how much it helped! We accumulate so much dead skin cells and bacteria on a daily basis that bathing once a day is recommended for everyone, and babies are no different. Just make sure to use warm (not hot) water and moisturize right after.

 

Lotion Twice a Day

Speaking of moisturizing, this is probably the best thing you can do for your baby’s skin. Find a good, hydrating lotion and apply once in the morning and once after bathtime.Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

Our favorite has been the Aveno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream. It’s active ingredient is colloidal oatmeal, which is much healthier for the skin than other products. It’s moisturizing and absorbs into the skin, but isn’t heavy or greasy, which is always a plus. And it’s fragrance and paraben-free, so I feel safe using it even on her gentle skin.

 

Olive Oil for Cradle Cap

I don’t know if this is common knowledge or not. I honestly can’t even remember who suggested that we try this remedy. But if your little one is dealing with cradle cap, this is definitely something worth trying. About 10 minutes before giving your baby a bath, apply olive oil all over the scalp and rub it in. Wash and rinse as normal. After drying with a towel, go through their hair with a comb. You will notice the flakes coming off as you comb through. Do this once a week until it’s gone.

 

Find a Good Soap (and stick with it)

I myself have dealt with sensitive skin since I was a little girl. One of the first things that I figured out was that changing soaps/body washes always irritated my skin more. I would go through the cycle whenever I tried to switch up the products I used. Knowing that, I set out on a mission to find a good product that I can keep using on London’s skin for years to come.

I prefer a hair and body wash so that I can use the same thing all over and whenever possible, I try to buy things with natural ingredients. I recently tried out Tubby Todd’s 100% Natural Hair and Body Wash and I am in love! It’s a hypoallergenic wash with natural extracts and plant-based ingredients. And just a little goes a long way so at the price of $15, you’re getting a pretty good deal.

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It’s natural fragrance of Lavender and Rosemary is sweet with a hint of coconut. It’s pediatrician and dermatologist tested & approved. And free of toxins, parabens, & sulfates, which means it’s safe for the tiniest newborn and toddler faces, and extra-gentle for sensitive skin. It has all of the qualities I look for in a product to use for my family.

 

I definitely will have to try out some of their other products and give you my thoughts on those as well. Let me know if you try any of these tips or if you have any of your own! xx

 

 

 

*This post was in collaboration with Tubby Todd. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Surviving the Newborn Stage

Motherhood

Bringing our first child home from the hospital was probably the most exciting and nerve-wracking feeling I’ve ever felt. And now that she is 4.5 months old, I can actually say: WE DID IT. We survived. And it was harder than anyone ever told me it would be!

Not much will make it feel easy perse, but I do have some trips that might help out if you feel like you’re drowning in helplessness!

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1. People will offer help. SAY YES

You know how you normally decline help in effort to be polite? Don’t do that! Having a baby is hard in so many ways and good people that understand that want to help you. We had neighbors dropping off take out, friends taking our dog out while we were in the hospital, and of course people bringing an endless supply of diapers. It was SO nice to not have to worry about those sort of things while I was healing and bonding with our new baby. 10/10 would recommend!

2. Take turns being on baby duty

I feel like I will get some criticism for this because a lot of people believe the mom should do everything for the baby (*eye roll*). However, this worked wonders for me and Q. London would not sleep AT ALL at night for the first month and saying it was exhausting is a major understatement. We came up with a plan to split the night in half: he would stay up from 12am-4am and I would be up with her from 4am-8am. This way we would at least get 4 hours of sleep a night. Of course this only works if you are pumping or formula feeding, but I am all for giving dad some breastmilk in a bottle and giving him the chance to bond too!

3. Keep notes with any important information

I’m not sure if this applies to everyone, but our babe had some eating issues in the beginning. Every time we visited the pediatrician, we were given a ton of new information and tips on what we should try/not try. It was overwhelming trying to remember everything. I started a note on my phone and eventually put it up on the fridge, that way I didn’t have the added pressure of memorizing everything. Learning how to take care of a new baby was enough and I didn’t need the extra work.

4. Find joy in the little accomplishments

If you’re anything like me, you’re gonna want to be a natural at being a parent and expect everything to come easily. It most likely won’t (and if it does, I envy you). Don’t try to tackle on too much in one day. I remember the first time I took London out of the house by myself. I literally just walked down the street to the grocery store. But I felt so accomplished and so much more confident in my new role. So take pride in those little moments and trust that soon enough, you’ll be nursing on a plane, pumping the other side, and eating lunch all at the same time (true story. lol)

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At the end of the day, you’re going to find out what works for you and your family, despite all of the advice people will try to give you. Just smile and nod so that they can end their rant about why you should use one brand over another and keep doing you! xx

 

Raising Her.

Motherhood

 

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During my pregnancy, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on about taking care of a baby. How to change a diaper. How to recognize their different cries. How to breastfeed. The list went on. Just before we moved to Texas, Q’s pastor prayed over our family. One of the things he told us was that whatever we do and prioritize, London will learn to do the same. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized I wasn’t just physically raising a child. I was going to have to spiritually raise her as well. I wouldn’t just be taking care of her body and needs of the flesh, but I’d be caring for her heart just the same. Whatever decisions we made as parents were going to shape her personality and determine the impact our daughter would have on others for the rest of her life. (Woah.)

That made me take a look at myself and analyze my choices and priorities. I can listen to songs that make references to drugs and crude language, because I know my stance and a song won’t sway my opinion. I never saw it as a problem if I skipped a day of church every once in a while because I grew up going to church every Sunday. I have a close relationship with God, so missing one day wouldn’t change that. But she didn’t have the upbringing I did. If I listen to those songs now, it’ll normalize those things for her as she grows up. If I attend church casually now, she’ll be attending church casually later. I started to realize that I needed to be what I want her to become.

I’ve said it before, I believe our children belong to God. We are just given the job of bringing them up. I kind of compare it to taking in a foster child. They are temporarily in our care and will eventually be reunited with their parents. I looked up the definition of foster and it read:

foster

VERB

[WITH OBJECT]

  • 1
    Encourage the development of (something, especially something desirable)

 

Our job is to foster a love of Christ in our children. Foster a love of people. Foster a sense of self-worth. So that they will thrive and bring glory to God until the day they come face to face with him.

Having this perspective has changed everything about the way I view parenting.  It’s a much bigger job than I realized initially. And while I’ll never be a perfect parent, I want to do better than just buying her fun toys and dressing her in cute outfits (even though I do love those things). On days when it’s hard, I can ask God to help me do the job he’s called me to do. And as important as it is to learn about how to swaddle a baby, it’s more important to be an example of the person I want her to grow to be.

 

5 Things That Happen When You Become a Parent

Motherhood

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Just like with pregnancy, there are a lot of changes that happen when you become a parent that no one really prepares you for. You leave the hospital with a tiny human and quickly realize your world is now completely about them. But there’s more. 

1. You’re now a “mom driver”.

B6B192AD-0895-4CC9-977F-9F02872F200C.gifEvery other car on the freeway becomes your enemy and you purposely drive in front of the worst ones so they can see your “baby on board” sticker. 

 

2. “Sleeping in” is waking up anytime after 5am.

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Even on nights when you’re baby-free, your body just isn’t used to sleeping until noon anymore.

 

3. Your kid is usually dressed better than you.

6119D10C-840F-4140-8EDE-B021482A86FA.gifThere just isn’t enough time in the mornings for both of us to look our best, so I take one for the team.

 

4. You talk about your kids nonstop.

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Every conversation starts with “we’re new parents” or “do you have kids?”

 

5. Going out just isn’t the same anymore.

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You get a babysitter and decide to take on the town, but quickly realize that you’d much rather be at home, snuggled with your little one, singing the itsy bitsy spider 99,000 times. And I guess that’s parenthood 🤷🏽‍♀️

Our Birth Story: 6/15/2018

Motherhood

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If you follow along here, first of all, THANK YOU! Second of all, you’ve probably been wondering where the third trimester bumpdate went and why I have been MIA for a while. Well, surprise! Our little girl decided to join us early, so I never even got the chance to post my last update! We have been taking some time away from technology and social media to enjoy our daughter and adjust to the parent life. And boy oh boy, do I have some stuff to say about that adjustment, but that’s for another post!

In this post, I wanted to share about our birth story. It was nothing like I had planned or envisioned, but I know that it was exactly how God had ordained in His plan. As usual, skip to the end if you want to avoid some TMI-type details.

On Wednesday, June 13, I went to the bathroom and noticed that I had lost my mucous plug (gross, I know). I didn’t freak out, since I had read that it could still be weeks before you go into labor once losing your plug. So I came back to the living room to continue binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy with Quinton and non-chalantly shared the news. He freaked out and asked if we should be driving to the hospital! I laughed and reassured him that we probably weren’t going into labor “anytime soon”.

On Thursday, June 14, I woke up and noticed my underwear was wet. I wasn’t sure if this was another weird pregnancy symptom, or if it could maybe possibly be my water?! We decided to get checked at the hospital after consulting with the 24-hour nurse line. Per Q’s decision, we did not bring the hospital bag, because now he was convinced we weren’t having this baby, lol.

After waiting in triage for over an hour, I was told my water had broken, I was 3cm dilated, and I was having contractions 4-5 minutes apart. All of this was a surprise to me, because I was hardly feeling any pain! I waited 8 hours before getting the epidural, which I was so grateful for by that point.

Around 5:30 AM on June 15th, it was time to push. Within 20 minutes of pushing, London was born. Unfortunately, she had aspirated some fluid during the delivery and had to be sent to NICU before we had even gotten to hold her. While she was rushed out of the room, the doctors pumped me full of medications, due to losing more blood than expected. They “massaged” my uterus, to help it contract, but it felt nothing like a massage. I’m pretty sure that pain was worse than the birth itself! While I’m so eternally grateful for the doctors who provided her care, it was not at all what I had imagined for our first few days of being parents. Due to baby girl staying in the NICU, we weren’t able to hold her for the first 24 hours. I wasn’t able to do skin-to-skin or to breastfeed. Everything I had requested on my birth plan was denied to me. While I completely understood the situation, it didn’t make it easier to experience and I had to spend some time learning to accept  it all.

London was finally able to come home five days after her birth. It was the happiest and most nerve-wrecking feeling to bring her home after having around the clock care for so long! The days that followed were a challenge, but I was happy to be able to take it on with my husband by my side. Through everything that went wrong, he was such a source of support and strength. I now feel like there isn’t much we can’t get through together.

 

Bumpdate: Second Trimester

Motherhood

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I found out that it’s true what they say. The second trimester is indeed the “honeymoon” stage of the pregnancy. Physically, I didn’t have many symptoms at all. Some minor dizziness and hilarious moments we’ll attribute to pregnancy brain. But emotionally, I was all over the place. The mood swings from the first trimester continued and possibly multiplied. This could also be due to the fact that I was in the midst of planning a wedding and figuring out a move, but that’s a separate blog post to come later!

I was all over the place emotionally because I was going back and forth between feeling happy and fortunate to be pregnant with every kick and roll I felt, and feeling embarrassed by the many stares and remarks from others about my size. I know I’ve touched on this here before, but to reiterate, being pregnant is hard! Growing a human is hard! The world needs to cut pregnant women some slack. There is so much pressure to look good, have a perfect basketball-shaped belly, and be a “fit mom”, even before you’ve delivered your child. I can’t tell you how many people made comments about how I look like I’m “about to pop”, and I have to awkwardly respond that I still have 2.5 months to go! It definitely took a toll on me for a little there. By 25 weeks, I had already gained about 20 pounds. It wasn’t at all what I imagined when I pictured being pregnant, but I’ve accepted it. I’ve accepted the stretch marks, the chunky cheeks, and the fact that I’ll have my work cut out for me when I get back into the gym this fall. And that’s okay! Because at least for right now, I can continue enjoying feeling my little girl tumble around my tummy (and an extra donut with sprinkles!)

5 Tips for Healthyish Eating During Pregnancy

Motherhood

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Healthyish. 

I am probably the first person to admit that I’m not the healthy one when it comes to eating. During the first trimester, I rationalized my excuses by saying I was “too nauseous” to worry about eating my vegetables and “any food is better than no food!” But by the second trimester, I read that the baby begins to take in amniotic fluid and can taste just about everything mom is tasting. That definitely made me feel guilty about all the pizza and fries I’d been pigging out on! I knew I wanted to eat healthier, but being the picky eater I am, I didn’t have a clue where to start. So I talked to my doctor who helped me come up with some tips that I’m sharing with you all:

1. Pack a Lunch

I’m ashamed to admit that I eat fast food way more than I should- probably three times a week. I’m on the road often for work, so it’s convenient to go through a drive-thru and order some chicken nuggets for lunch. I don’t think I even need to explain why that isn’t the best option. Instead, I’ve opted to pack my lunch at least three times a week. This has helped soooo much in regards to making healthier choices. Since I don’t have much junk food at home, I’m pretty much forced to pack something good for me and little one, which is definitely a win!

2. Stay Hydrated

One of the things I hear almost daily (from everyone I talk to) is a reminder to drink water. Not only does it help with those obnoxious headaches and preventing stretch marks, but it helps curb some of those cravings you get at random times of the day. In addition to delivering nutrients to your baby, which is pretty important.

3. Start off with Desserts

I don’t mean like, for breakfast. But if you’re going to indulge in some sweets, doing so earlier in the day can be beneficial. This is because your body continues to be active for the remainder of the day, giving it the chance to burn off excess sugars you may have consumed. Whatever isn’t burned when your metabolism slows down by the time you go to sleep will be stored as fats. Take that for motivation!

4. Get your 30 minutes of Exercise

My primary goal in eating healthier is to make sure my child is getting the vitamins and nutrients she needs. But if I’m being honest, I also want to stay away from eating junk food 24/7 because I dread gaining too much weight during pregnancy. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, of course. On these days, I make sure I carve out enough time after work to do 30 minutes of cardio. It might not erase all of the bad eating I did during the day, but it definitely helps.

5. Find Healthier Alternatives to your Favorite Foods

For me, this is pizza! I can go without a lot, but I can’t resist a good slice of cheese pizza from Pizza Hut. And when I have pizza, I always want soda. I just feel like you can’t have one without the other, but that’s a totally different topic. One fix for me has been making healthier versions of these foods at home. Buying some dough and low-fat toppings for home is much better than buying processed, greasy food (as good as it tastes) from a chain restaurant. For soda alternatives, check out the Ice Sparkling Water flavors!

Skinnytaste is a website I found a while back that has plenty of healthier versions of my favorite comfort foods. Check them out!

 

I hope this info helps some of you out as much as it’s helped me. Cheers to healthier eating!

 

 

10 Pregnancy Symptoms I Never Expected

Motherhood

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Maybe it’s because I wasn’t well-versed in the pregnancy/parenthood/baby universe, but I can definitely admit that I was NOT prepared for the (mostly gross) symptoms I would encounter throughout the course of pregnancy. Thankfully, the internet exists and I could verify that these were in fact “normal”, or I’d probably be convinced I was carrying a baby alien…

*Don’t read on if you’re squeamish*

1. Constipation

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It’s gross, I warned you. But this had to be number one, because it was the most unexpected and the most annoying of all the symptoms.

2. Bloating/Gas

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By the end of the day, your baby bump has grown 2x the size, depending on what you’ve had to eat. And by the morning, it’ll be back to it’s normal size! And then there’s the uncontrollable passing of gas. On the bright side, you’ll never feel more comfortable around your partner than during this time!

3. Insecurities

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If you’re anything like me, you’re under the impression that you’re supposed to be glowing and having an adorable round bump you love to show off on instagram. The reality is, there will be days you hate the way you look and change your outfit 8 times before leaving the house. It’s not easy to see your body change so drastically in such a short time, but in the end, it’s worth it for the health of your little one.

4. Headaches

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Some days you wake up with a headache that sticks around for 48 hours, and some days it’s brought on by the annoying moments in life you no longer have the patience for. (See below)

5. Mood Swings

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Okay. This one I had actually heard of, but for some reason, thought I would be immune to. It’s not a myth. There were days I cried because someone I hadn’t spoken to in 10 years couldn’t make it to my wedding. Followed by days I would get irritated at my fiance for not replying to my texts fast enough while he was at work. *shrug*

6. Breast Changes

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They grow. They hurt really bad. They grow some more. Your nipples change colors. They might even start to leak.

You’ll probably hate them, then love them, then hate them again. It’s part of that body-changing process.

7. Cramps

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This was definitely the one thing I thought I would get to do without for 9 months, since you know, no period. Duh. Not true, though. Your uterus stretching to the size of a melon makes for some crampy times. Sigh.

8. Food Aversions

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I’d heard of food cravings, but didn’t know food aversions were a possibility! Luckily, I didn’t have too much of this. The only thing I haven’t been able to stand so far is Chinese take-out. Probably for the best, since I’m trying to eat somewhat “healthy”.

9. Dry, Itchy Skin

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Okay this one has been HORRIBLE. Your boobs and belly itch SO much. And scratching causes stretch marks. So you’re just supposed to put coconut oil on and hope for the best. WHERE IS THE PREGNANCY GLOW.

10. Tickling Feeling of Movement

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You won’t notice it at first, but in time, you realize that thing that feels like your stomach doing backflips is actually your baby. It’s a weird sensation and I didn’t expect it to tickle. But I did come to love it and I’ll gladly endure all of the bad symptoms to keep experiencing this one.

Bumpdate: First Trimester

Motherhood

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If you’re reading this, it’s because I made it through one of the darkest and scariest times of a woman’s life-the first trimester. (Dun dun duuuuun). Let me take you back to the moment I found out I was pregnant. I had been on birth control for 6+ years and my fiancé and I were not planning to start a family for at least another 2 years.  So to say I was “surprised” is an understatement. I went through the typical stages post-peeing on a stick time: shock at those two life-altering lines, panic of how I’m going to have a baby and plan a wedding at the same time, and then the inevitable excitement of becoming a “mommy”. All of this followed by rapid google searching, since of course, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. The google searching ended up being a HORRIBLE idea. I read story to story of miscarriages, MISSED miscarriages, blighted ovums (WHAT), etc. By the end of the day, I was convinced something terrible was going to happen to my baby.

It’s a scary thing to be growing a tiny human inside of you not be able to peek in and make sure little one is doing okay. I was forced to breathe, stay positive, remind myself to trust my body, and most importantly- stay off baby forums. I remember thinking “how can I care about something so much, that I didn’t even realize I wanted more than a few weeks ago?” Needless to say, I was relieved when I hit the glorious 12 week mark. Of course, the worrying didn’t completely stop then, but it was a milestone I was happy to cross, as the chances of something going wrong decreased significantly. For the most part, 12 weeks also marked the end of the less-than-enjoyable symptoms that come along with pregnancy: nausea, fatigue, constipation, etc. I finally felt that I could relax and start to enjoy the wonders of pregnancy, as I entered what people refer to as the “honeymoon” stage- the second trimester.