Tips and Tricks | The Not So Hoity Toity Life

Category: Tips and Tricks (page 1 of 2)

Fingerprint Art

I admittedly am not very creative. But, I loved doing arts and crafts when I worked at a daycare. Before I had children, there was no doubt in my mind that I would do all kinds of Pinterest inspired crafts with Lulu but I think I have actually only made 3 and 2 of them were really only art a mother would love. Today, though I found some motivation to pull out the canvas that has been in my drawer for the past 10 months and get creative!

-This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in. –

Fingerprint Art

  1. Fold a piece of paper or cardboard in half. From the fold line, draw half a heart.Fingerprint Art
  2. Cut out the heart and tape it to your canvas.Fingerprint Art
  3. Press child’s finger in ink. I used the Melissa and Doug stamp pad which worked great because it had a variety of colors and even better it was cheap! You can purchase this ink pad HERE from Amazon.Fingerprint Art
  4. Press child’s finger along the edge of the heart. Once you have fingerprints around the entire heart you can start putting fingerprints on the rest of the canvas. The more fingerprints you have the better it will look.   Fingerprint Art
  5. Remove the heart from canvas. And you are done!! Super easy art project and it looks adorable hanging up in the playroom!Fingerprint Art***Note: Bribery may be necessary to complete this project! I had to use Yogurt Melts and a Sippy cup of Milk in order to my wild toddler to sit long enough to finish!***

Secrets to Better Sleep with a Newborn

The first night you bring your baby home from the hospital is overwhelming. You feel joyous that your sweet baby is finally in your arms. You love them more than you could have ever imagined. You are also beyond tired and need a good nights rest! There are a few easy steps you can take to ensure that you get the sleep you need as a new parent! Newborns are not made to sleep like adults. A newborn who sleeps through the night is incredibly rare and according to some doctors is not even recommended.  But, there are definitely things you can do to improve your newborns sleep!

-This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in. –

Let your baby sleep during the day

Everyone has seen an exhausted mother desperately trying to keep their newborn awake during the day in an attempt to make sure they sleep at night. However, this approach is all wrong! Sleep begets sleep! If a baby becomes overtired it is much harder for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.  A baby should have regular naps throughout the day. You can follow the chart below to see how much sleep your child should be getting throughout the day. If you ensure your child gets the right amount of sleep during the day, it will be much easier to put them to sleep at night and they will likely sleep much longer.

Age:Amount of Sleep during the Day:Amount of Sleep at Night:
Newborn8-9 hours9 hours
1 Month8-9 hours9 hours
3 Months6-7 hours10 hours
6 Months5-6 hours10 hours
9 Months3-4 hours11 hours
12 Months3-4 hours11 hours
18 Months2-3 hours11 hours

Double Swaddle

Swaddling is the MOST important thing you can do to help your child sleep. I have heard parents say ‘my baby hates to be swaddled’. This is likely because you aren’t swaddling correctly.  You can watch thousands of Youtube videos to show you exactly how to swaddle. You can also ask your pediatrician for help. I was never the best at swaddling so I always used the velcro swaddle blankets. However, a single swaddle just doesn’t cut it sometimes. We swaddled our daughter with a swaddle blanket first (You can see one here)  and then we used a velcro swaddle over the blanket (You can see one here). Your swaddle needs to be snug. If your baby is able to undo her swaddle or get her arms out, it is not tight enough. We also swaddled our daughter during naps but we only used a single swaddle during the day.

How to get your newborn to sleep better

Sound Machine

The womb is a very loud place! Babies are accustom to constant noise. The familiar sound of white noise can be very soothing for your newborn. Most sound machines have a few different options for noise and you can play around with which sound works best for your baby. The one I have can be found here but there are numerous options on the market right now. There are also several apps that you can download for white noise.

Develop a Nighttime Routine

There are a few reasons to develop a nighttime routine. The first is to help sleep deprived parents remember everything they need to do for bedtime! When you are tired it is easy to forget the little things. Routines become habitual which will prevent you from forgetting the essential steps you need to take to help your baby sleep. In addition, children thrive on routines. If you start a bedtime routine from day one, your baby will eventually begin to pick up on the bedtime ques allowing her to fall asleep easier.

Put Your Baby in her Own Room from Day One

This is a controversial topic and you should talk to your pediatrician about whether or not this is the best method for you and your baby.  I knew that there was no way I would be able to sleep if my daughter was in the same room as me. She is a very noisy sleeper and if she would have been right next to me, I would have been up all night. I wanted to be sure that when she was sleeping, I was sleeping. I also heard horror stories about the struggles parents have trying to get their child to transition into sleeping in their own room. By having my daughter sleep in her own room from day one, I never had to deal with the dreaded transition.

Invest in a Snuza and Video Monitor

In the social work field, I hear about SIDS far more than I would like to. If you are a nervous mom, like I was, sleeping without these two baby products will be nearly impossible.  The Snuza allowed me to be comforted that if something were to happen, I would be alerted immediately.  Without it, I would have been waking up all night to check and make sure she was still breathing. You can find the Snuza here. Even with the Snuza, I would still wake up in an occasional panic and the video monitor allowed me to see my daughter and make sure she was ok, without having to run into her room to check on her. The video monitor we have is no longer for sale so I don’t have a link to provide to you but you can easily find a variety of video monitors on Amazon, Target or Babies R Us. It is important to look for a monitor that has a clear picture and sound. I also wanted a monitor that could connect to two cameras and have a split screen. I have always planned on having more than one child so I wanted a monitor that would allow me to see both children at the same time.

These methods will help you and your baby sleep better however, you will inevitably still have moments of exhaustion (especially around the 4 month sleep regression) but just remember, even this shall pass!

 

The 10 Best Books to Read to Your Children

Reading to children is one of the most important things a parent can do for their children! There are numerous studies explaining the importance of reading to children.  Studies prove that taking time to read to your child improves self esteem, increases vocabulary and most importantly, it improves the relationship between children and parents. Due to my work in the social work field, I was given the opportunity to see the benefits of reading to children first hand. It’s amazing the difference that I saw between children who are read to and those who aren’t.  When parents take the time to read to their children, the bond between them inevitably improves. This is something I observed over and over again in my line of work.

When I was pregnant, I stocked up on as many children’s books as I could. My favorite books to read Lulu are ones that focus on how special she is and how much she is loved. These are the 10 best children’s books I have read.

-This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in. –

If I Could Keep You Little

I had never heard of this book until I was roaming the aisles of Babies R Us one day. Lulu had just turned three months old and I had recently started back at work. I was struggling with how quickly she was growing up and how many precious moments I was missing with her while I was at work. I wished she would stay my little newborn forever. This book perfectly expressed how I was feeling. I  knew Lulu couldn’t comprehend what I was reading to her but it made me feel better to have a way to express this to her. It also reminded me that despite how much I wanted to keep her little there were so many amazing things to look forward to as she got older. You can find this children’s book here on Amazon. 

Children's Books

 

I Love You Night and Day

This is my go to book when Lulu is not in the mood to sit for a longer period of time. It is a quick and easy read. We have it in the board book version so she can easily flip the pages which she loves. And I love it because it reminds her of how much she is loved in every situation.  You can find this children’s book here on Amazon

Children's Books

On the Night You Were Born

I received five copies of this book when I was pregnant. I couldn’t bring myself to return any of them because I love this book so much. We have it in both board book version and hard cover. This book tells a story of celebration for the night your child was born. It focuses on how special and unique each child is and urges them to remember this as they are going through life.  You can find this children’s book here on Amazon. 

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Llama Llama Red Pajama

This book series features a little llama who has to learn a lot of life lessons. The first book in the series is my favorite but we own a variety of the Llama Llama books. In each story Llama faces a struggle that he has to work through. Each book teaches children a very important lesson through the most lovable character.  You can find this children’s book here on Amazon. 

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You’re Here For A Reason

This book has a very important message for our children, especially with everything going on in our world. It tells children how important their actions are, no matter how big or small. It encourages kindness and reminds children to do something good as you never know whose day you could make. You can find this children’s book here on Amazon. 

book-5

Goodnight Little One

This is a great bedtime book. It gently tells each of the animals to close their eyes and ends with telling the little child to close his eyes. This book is written by the same author as Goodnight Moon and it has beautiful illustrations. You can find this children’s book here on Amazon. 

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Love You Forever

Everyone has heard of this book. It is a classic but it doesn’t change how special this book is. After a long hard day, this book still makes me tear up as I read it to Lulu. I doubt any further explanation is needed for this one. You can find this children’s book here on Amazon. 

book-7

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You

The message in this book is that no matter where your children are or what they are doing your love will find them. I think this message is so important. I want Lulu to be reassured that even when we aren’t together I am thinking of her and I love her. As the wind blows in her hair, I want her to be reminded of me and my love for her. You can find this children’s book here on Amazon. 

book-8

I Love You More

This is a flip-sided book which allows it to be unique.  Half of the book is told from the mother’s perspective and the other half is told from the child’s perspective. It reminds children and parents just how much they are loved. The book is able to keep Lulu’s attention as it doesn’t have many words and is a fairly quick read. You can find this children’s book here on Amazon. 

book-9

How Do I Love You?

This has been my favorite children’s book since I read it as a daycare teacher. The children loved this book and I always changed the last page to insert each child’s name. They would listen in delight and anxiously await their name to be called. This book reminds children that no matter what happens throughout the day, you love them. This is a very important message for children to hear especially on a day that hasn’t gone as smoothly as either of you would have liked.  You can find this children’s book here on Amazon. 

book-10

 

I would love to hear suggestions of other children’s books!

 

Happy reading:)

 

 

DIY Tutu

I love to dress Lulu up in tutus and they are super easy to make. I made the one in this tutorial to be part of her Minnie Mouse Halloween costume. You can see the rest of the costume here.

-This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in. –

Step 1:

Collect all of your materials. You will need elastic, 2-5 yards of  tulle {depending on size} in any color you chose, scissors, hot glue gun and cardboard {I used cardboard from a cereal box}.

I purchased the tulle I used for this tutu at the local craft store but it is a much better deal to order tulle off of Amazon in a bundle package. I would recommend purchasing THIS BUNDLE.  It has a good variety of colors at a great price.

Step 2:

You will need to determine the length of the elastic you will need. The best way to do this is to measure the waist of the child you are making the tutu for. If you are unable to measure the waist of the child you can use the chart below. Once you cut your elastic you will need to use the hot glue gun to seal the two ends together.

Clothing SizesElastic Sizes
Newborn11 Inches
0-3 Months12 Inches
3-6 Months13 Inches
6-9 Months14 Inches
9-12 Months15 Inches
12-18 Months16 Inches
24 Months17 Inches
3T18 Inches
4T20 Inches
5T22 Inches

Step 3:

Cut your red tulle into rectangles. See chart below to see the length of your rectangles based on the age of the child you are making a tutu for. All rectangles should have a width of 10 inches. I used 35 rectangles of tulle. I was making the tutu for a child in 9-12 month clothing.  You will need more or less tulle pieces depending on the size of the child.

Clothing SizeTutu Length
Newborn4 Inches
0-3 Months4 Inches
3-6 Months6 Inches
6-9 Months6 Inches
9-12 Months8 Inches
12-18 Months8 Inches
24 Months10 Inches
3T10 Inches
4T11 Inches
5T11 Inches

 

Step 4:

Fold each of your rectangles in half and roll each piece.

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Step 5:

Slide 1/2 of each rectangle  underneath the elastic band. Then tie the tulle around the elastic band. Once this is tied, you need to take the next piece of tulle and tie it to the elastic band. This tulle should overlap the previous tulle piece. Continue this until your elastic band is completely covered with tulle. You will want to have the tulle overlapping as this is the best way to cover your elastic. None of the elastic should be showing.

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The polka dots in this sample picture were glued on to complete the Minnie Mouse costume. You can see the tutorial for it here.

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You did it! You now have an adorable tutu fit perfectly for your little princess! You can leave your tutu like this or you can tie a bow onto it. Either way it is super cute!

 

10 Minute Headbands!

This may be my favorite craft. Ever. Lulu wears headbands every day of her life. Purchasing new headbands started to become an addiction. A very expensive addiction. You can imagine my excitement when I figured out how to make headbands myself! And it is seriously so easy. I swear once you get the hang of making these headbands you can actually make one in less than 10 minutes.

-This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in. –

Step 1:

Prepare your materials. You will need fabric {I always just purchase fabric squares}, pair of nylons {old of new}, scissors and a hot glue gun.

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You can find fabric squares at your local fabric or craft store. Amazon also has A LOT of fabric options and they sell bundles like THIS ONE which is a really great deal and gives you a variety of options for headbands!

Step 2:

Cut two pieces of fabric. You can make your bows as big or as small as you want. I made a rather small bow in this example. My large piece of fabric is 8in X 3in. My small piece of fabric is 3in X 1in. You do not have to worry about having perfectly cut edges. You won’t see these edges by the end.

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Step 3:

Take your large piece of fabric. Use the hot glue gun to put a vertical line of glue down the middle. Fold over the edges of each side and stick them to the glue line. Do the same with the small piece of fabric.

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Step 4:

Put a horizontal line in the middle of the fabric. Fold over the edges on each side and stick them to the glue line.                                                                                                                                    img_8810img_8809

Step 6:

Cut the toe piece off of your nylons and discard. Cut off approximately 4 inches from the leg of the nylons.

 

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Step 7:

Take your large piece of fabric and pinch it in the middle. Hold it up to the nylon. Then take your small piece of fabric and wrap it around the middle of the large bow and the nylon. Glue into place.

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You are done! You now have an adorable headband that was cheap and super easy to make! Warning: You may become addicted to making these!

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DIY Minnie Mouse Costume

Lulu loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I knew for Halloween this year I wanted her to be Minnie Mouse. I started an endless pursuit of the perfect Minnie Mouse costume. I went to multiple stores and completed approximately 45 internet searches but I could not find the Minnie Mouse costume I had envisioned. So, I decided to make one! As you all know, I am not very crafty. If I can do this, so can you!

-This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in. –

Step 1:

Collect all of your materials. You will need elastic, 3 yards of red tulle, white felt, black felt, black headband, red and white polka dot material. I found it really easy to find red material with white polka dots. At my local craft store I had the option of three different types of materials that would work for this. If for some reason you can’t find red material with white polka dots you could always use plain red material and glue on small white felt. You will also need scissors, a hot glue gun and cardboard {I used cardboard from a cereal box}.  To cut circles, you can use a circle cutter or you can just use circular household objects.

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I purchased the tulle I used for this tutu at the local craft store but it is a much better deal to order tulle off of Amazon in a bundle package. I would recommend purchasing THIS BUNDLE.  It has a good variety of colors at a great price.

Step 2:

You will need to determine the length of the elastic you will need. The best way to do this is to measure the waist of the child you are making the tutu for. If you are unable to measure the child’s waist, you can estimate the length of the elastic based on the table below. Once you cut your elastic you will need to use the hot glue gun to seal the two ends together.

Clothing SizesElastic Sizes
Newborn11 Inches
0-3 Months12 Inches
3-6 Months13 Inches
6-9 Months14 Inches
9-12 Months15 Inches
12-18 Months16 Inches
24 Months17 Inches
3T18 Inches
4T20 Inches
5T22 Inches

Step 3:

Cut your red tulle into rectangles. See chart below to see the length of your rectangles based on the age of the child you are making a tutu for. All rectangles should have a width of 10 inches. I used 35 rectangles of tulle. I was making the tutu for a child in 9-12 month clothing.  You will need more or less tulle pieces depending on the size of the child.

Clothing SizeTutu Length
Newborn4 Inches
0-3 Months4 Inches
3-6 Months6 Inches
6-9 Months6 Inches
9-12 Months8 Inches
12-18 Months8 Inches
24 Months10 Inches
3T10 Inches
4T11 Inches
5T11 Inches

 

Step 4:

Fold each of your rectangles in half and roll each piece.

img_8765img_8766

Step 5:

Slide your elastic band over the cardboard. Slide 1/2 of each rectangle  underneath the elastic band. Then tie the tulle around the elastic band. Once this is tied, you need to take the next piece of tulle and tie it to the elastic band. This tulle should overlap the previous tulle piece. Continue this until your elastic band is completely covered with tulle. You will want to have the tulle overlapping as this is the best way to cover your elastic. None of the elastic should be showing.

img_8770img_8775

Step 6:

Cut circles that are approximately 1.5 inches across. You can use larger circles if you prefer bigger dots. You can use a circle cutter if you have one. You can also just use anything around the house that is circular and a size that you like. I used 22  circles but it depends on how many dots you want on your tutu and how large of circles you choose to make.

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Step 7:

Use the hot glue gun to glue each of the dots onto the tutu. You can glue as many dots as you prefer but be sure to glue each dot onto one tulle piece. One dot should not be glued onto more than one rectangle of tulle.

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Step 8:

Fold the black felt in half. Place your circular object on the fold of the felt. Your circles should measure 4 inches across {mine are a little smaller because I couldn’t find the right size object}. Leave a small portion of the object off of the felt. Trace the circle with white chalk.  Cut out the shapes.

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Step 9:

You are going to fold the black shapes over the headband. Use the hot glue gun to glue around the edges of the felt.

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Step 10:

You will now need to make the headband. You can go here to see my headband tutorial. The bow in this tutorial is much smaller than the bow I made for the Minnie Mouse ears. This tutorial shows the bow being put into nylons. This won’t work with the Minnie Mouse ears. You can either use a standard plastic headband or you can use an elastic headband. I had a black elastic headband that I wasn’t using so I just removed the flower that was previously on it.

Step 11:

Use the hot glue gun to glue your bow in the middle of the ears.

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Your work is complete! Pair the tutu and headband with a black shirt and black leggings. It is the most adorable Minnie Mouse costume I’ve seen!

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How to Travel with a Toddler

Before Lulu came we loved to travel. We took at least one vacation a year and typically went to a beautiful tropical location. Ahhh, those were the days. Before becoming pregnant, we agreed that a baby wasn’t going to change our lifestyle. We were still going to do the things we loved to do. We quickly learned it’s a lot easier said than done. But after a year of not traveling we needed a vacation and we needed it NOW! Of course we were worried about traveling with our rather high maintenance little princess, but we were willing to try. We decided to join my in laws on their annual week long trip to the Outer Banks. Our first family vacation was something we had talked about for awhile. We were so excited to spend an entire week together showing Lulu all of the amazing things to do on a vacation. Our family vacation had the potential to be a complete melt down disaster or an amazing family adventure. Luckily for us, it was the latter.  These are the 5 things that made our first family vacation a success.

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-This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in. –

Travel with Family

If you are lucky enough to have family who is willing to travel with you definitely take them up on this offer! Sure,  it would have been nice for us to have our first family vacation be just the three of us but honestly, having family made the trip so much easier. On vacation, everyone loves to eat out at restaurants. Unfortunately for us Lulu can only manage to sit in a highchair for approximately 9 minutes before she absolutely loses her mind. Having family with us meant that we could take turns entertaining Lulu and our extended family loves spending time with her so they were more than happy to take her for walk breaks when she needed to move around. This made for a happy baby and happy parents. Our family was also more than happy to watch her one night so we could go on a date. For one night we got to pretend we were a young, carefree, childless couple enjoying a vacation. Having our extended family on vacation also meant there were other children there who loved playing with Lulu. They spent hours in the pool playing, took trips together to the swings and ran on the beach together. Seeing Lulu make memories with her cousins was a perfect way to spend our first trip together.

Drive to your Vacation Spot

There were many reasons we decided not to fly for our first family vacation. The obvious factor was to save money. It cost us under $100 to drive and it would have cost us over $800 to fly. Since we never traveled with Lulu before, we had no idea how she would do. As with most toddlers, she is incredibly unpredictable. We decided that we didn’t want to take the risk of having her on an airplane with other travelers who may not think her screeching is as endearing as we do.   We also knew that in order to keep Lulu happy for an entire week on vacation we would need to bring A LOT of stuff. Just the thought of how we could possibly fit everything we would need in a few suitcases was overwhelming. Driving allowed us to bring her pack n play, stroller, playpen, box of toys and everything else we considered essential in keeping our sanity and our baby happy. One item we couldn’t have survived with out was the Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard. It made our time at the beach and by the pool so much more relaxing {see last tip}. It was super portable and easy to set up. Lulu loved playing with all of her toys while in the playpen and I loved knowing she was safely contained. You can purchase this vacation essential HERE. We also used the Canopy Cover to protect Lulu from the sun which could be purchased HERE. 

Travel at Night

Lulu is not a fan of car rides, especially not long ones. We knew that the only way we would all survive the travel would be for Lulu to sleep through it. We decided to leave right before her bedtime. We completed her entire bedtime routine so we could be sure that she was ready to fall asleep. After we completed the routine, we put her in her car seat and headed out. It only took a few minutes before she was asleep. I sat in the back seat with her so I could help soothe her back to sleep when she woke up. She slept through almost all of the car ride and it made for very peaceful travel. This is the only way I would travel with a toddler.

Try to Keep Routines the Same

We have gotten in the habit of a rather extensive bedtime routine {we are working on shortening it but for now this is what works for us!} and this is the only way Lulu knows how to fall asleep and stay asleep. She was already going to be sleeping in a new environment and a new crib so we really wanted to keep everything else the same. The only way to do that was to pack the books, sound machine, at least 12 pacifiers {she’s addicted…we’ll work on it} and everything else we needed to make this routine as similar to being at home as possible. We also tried to keep her on the same eating and nap schedule as we have at home. Keeping similar routines ensured that Lulu was a happy girl throughout the vacation. A happy baby means a happy Mama and Dada!

Relax

As important as it is to keep routines it is also important to remember you are on vacation! Loosen up on the Mama control and try to remember that it’s ok if they stay up a little later than normal, eat a little more ice cream than they should or get more spoiled than they ever would at home. Vacation is supposed to be fun for everyone!

 

 

 

4 Things C-Section Moms Need to Hear

I had a birth plan. It wasn’t complicated. I didn’t want a home birth, I wasn’t looking to deliver in a pool full of water and I wasn’t expecting butterflies released when my baby entered the world. I just wanted that magical moment, after all the pushing and pain, when the doctor laid my perfect baby on my chest and we had an abundance of skin to skin time. My husband would hug us and look at us endearingly. I would cry with happiness and it would be the best moment of my life. We waited the full nine months to find out our baby’s gender and I thought in the moments after birth we would be talking about how our baby boy was going to be on the soccer team or how our baby girl was going to be the princess I always wanted. What was definitely NOT on my birth plan was multiple failed attempts at an induction, actively pushing for four hours and being rushed in for a C-section. I didn’t expect to only get one glimpse at my precious new baby before she was rushed off due to breathing trouble and to give me time to ‘recover’. Also not in my birth plan was the sadness, guilt and jealousy I had after Lulu’s birth. It took awhile for me to cope with everything that happened during and after her birth. I wish someone would have reminded me of these four things after Lulu was born:

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You gave Birth

After my C-section, I felt like I couldn’t say that ‘I gave birth’. After all, my baby didn’t come out of the birth canal like a ‘normal’ birth. I felt like I somehow cheated. The truth is, I did give birth. She wasn’t pushed out like I expected, instead she was cut out of me in a major surgery. Giving birth isn’t defined by the way your baby comes into the world. I carried my baby for 40 weeks (plus 1 week and 3 days…she was very comfy in there) and my body changed to grow my baby. If it wasn’t for me and my body, this perfect human being wouldn’t be here. My body grew this baby and my body gave her life! It doesn’t matter how she came into this world what matters is that I gave her life.

You Didn’t Take the Easy Way Out

Anyone who says that a C-section is the easy way out, clearly never had a C-section! We as C-Section Mothers had our abdomen and uterus cut open and then stapled back together. We were given a serious dose of pain meds and put on strict movement restrictions. Prior to ever entering the cold and sterile operating room, many of us, tried pushing out our baby, we attempted labor and the C-section was the absolute last option. We had to make a choice about what was best for our babies before they even entered this world. We definitely didn’t take the easy way out either emotionally or physically.

You Didn’t Fail

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by incredibly resilient women. The women in my family are strong minded and tough. They are amazing women and even better moms. I heard all about the birth stories that the women in my life experienced. I knew they all powered through labor and showed amazing courage through it all. I knew how proud they were of themselves and how proud their spouses were when they were able to deliver their babies. I knew that they all had vaginal births and I never anticipated I wouldn’t. It never even occurred to me that I wouldn’t have the same type of birth as all of the other women in my life. I remember right before I went into the operating room that I cried to my mom because ‘I failed’. She assured me that this was absolutely untrue but it didn’t change how I felt. What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I deliver my baby the way a woman was supposed to? Why can all of these other women have vaginal births and I couldn’t? All of these questions went through my mind right before the C-section and after. It wasn’t until one night that I was holding my beautiful daughter and she smiled for the first time. It hit me. Of course, I didn’t fail. I loved her from the minute I found out I was pregnant. I changed my diet and my lifestyle. I took vitamins and went to all of my prenatal appointments. I did kick counts and I went to birthing class. I did everything I needed to do to make sure my baby was healthy. The way my baby came into this world does not determine my success or failure. It wasn’t my fauly that she was a rather large baby and that her head was positioned wrong which made her stuck in the birth canal. This wasn’t my fault, I did nothing wrong. How could I have possibly failed when my body created the most perfect being I have ever seen? I couldn’t have. I didn’t fail. C-section Mamas may have given birth in a different way than anticipated but they certainly didn’t fail. After all, when you have given the world a miracle there is no possible way you could have failed.

Stop Focusing on How Your Baby Came Into the World

The months following Lulu’s birth, every time I heard about another baby being born a little part of me was jealous. I hated hearing about other people’s birth stories because mine was so traumatic. I didn’t get the happy and exciting moment that everyone else got.  I cheated myself by getting bogged down in this thinking. I missed celebrating happy moments with my loved ones. I missed out on talking about my birth story. I missed out on celebrating the day that changed my life. I missed out because I couldn’t stop thinking of all the things that went wrong. I am not going to make this mistake again! If my next birth ends in a C-section my focus is going to be on how happy I am to have my baby in this world. I will focus on this new life that I brought into this world and what a blessing that is. These are the things that are important about your birth story, not which way your baby was delivered.

C-section Mamas {and all mamas} YOU are strong, you are courageous and you are amazing! Stop telling yourself any differently.

 

How to get the Best Deals on Children’s Clothes

Lulu has A LOT of clothes. I mean she’s a girl. She needs a variety of outfits. And then she of course needs bows and shoes to go along with each. I have had more binges at Carters, Target and OshKosh than I would like to admit. But, I get the majority of her clothes and shoes from other moms! How is this possible? Mom to Mom sales, mom to mom Facebook pages and my very favorite…second hand shops! Every time I get a compliment on one of Lulu’s second hand outfits people are shocked to learn where I purchased it. There have even been times that people doubtfully question whether I am remembering the purchase correctly. So many people have negative ideas of ‘hand me downs’. They envision the clothes to be tattered, stained and have the ‘this outfit has been worn by 12 different kids’ look. There are a few things to keep in my mind when attempting to purchase second hand.

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Mom to Mom Facebook Pages

If you want to get great deals off of Facebook it is important to join all of the Mom to Mom sales sites in your area. Just do a Facebook search for mom to mom sales in your city. It is also imperative that you turn on notifications for each of these pages. If you aren’t quick you are going to miss out! The nicer the item, the quicker it is going to go.Items on Facebook go fast! The sites I am a member of have over 10,000 followers. That is 10,000 people you have to compete with for an item you want.  Once you join the sites make sure you understand how they work. The majority of sites go based on a first come first serve basis. This means the first person to comment and say ‘interested’ is the person who will be contacted first for item pickup. If someone has already commented that they are interested you can still comment and say ‘next in line’. If the first person passes, the seller will move on to you.

Mom to Mom Sales

These sales most frequently occur in the spring and fall. Most states have a Mom to Mom sale website which lists all of the sales in the state. The Michigan Mom to Mom site is  http://www.mom2momsalesmichigan.com/. Most of the sales will have an Early Bird special which means you pay a little extra {normally $1} to get into the shops early. I can’t tell you how many times I have been walking into a Mom to Mom sale and I see another mom walking out with the exact item I wanted. I kick myself that if only I would have arrived to the sale earlier I could have gotten what I wanted. The early bird sales definitely pay off. If there are more than one sale in your area on a certain day try to go to the sale that is going to have more tables. It is very rare that I walk out of a 100+ table sale without anything purchased.

Second Hand Sale Shops

I have actually never been to the large chain resale shops such as ‘Once Upon a Child’. However, the people I know who have been to these large chain stores have given mixed reviews about the quality and price of clothes for sale. The resale shops I like are the small local resale stores. All of the small resale shops I have been to have great quality outfits and fairly reasonable prices. They are typically a little more expensive than Mom to Mom sales but they normally have slightly higher quality items to chose from. All of the clothes I have purchased from second hand shops look brand new. This is also where I get a lot of the higher end brand clothes that there is no way I would purchase for full price. New items come into second hand shops all the time so it’s important to visit on a regular basis. The local shop in my area allows shoppers to give a list of items you are interested in and they will call you if they get these items into the store.

 

No matter which venue you are shopping at it is important to remember to be picky. Just because you spent a few dollars to get into a Mom to Mom sale does not mean you need to buy a spit up stained shirt with a hole in the back. This was the mistake I made when I first had Lulu. I was so excited to finally be part of this exclusive mom club that I jumped at the chance to buy.  It ended up being such a waste of money because Lulu never even wore these clothes! Now that I have learned to be picky, the clothes I buy from second hand shops are some of my absolute favorites!

I love the feeling I get when I save money! After shopping, I like to go online and see how much the full priced item would have cost. Over this past year, I estimate that I have saved almost $1,000! This includes shoes which is one of the biggest savings. Shoes at the stores can cost upward of $30 but all of the shoes I have bought for Lulu have been under $10!

Enjoy shopping Mamas!

 

How I lost 10 pounds in 30 days

I gained 30 pounds while I was pregnant with Lulu. After she was born, I tried not to overthink loosing the weight. I was blissfully happy in my new mommy life with my new mommy body. I didn’t want to stress about my weight when I had so many other things to focus on. I lost the first 20 pounds rather easily. However, the last 10 pounds stuck around for far too long. I started to realize the ‘don’t stress about it’ motto wasn’t working. Summer was quickly approaching and I knew I was going to be in a bathing suit frequently.  I wanted to be able to run around the beach and jump in the pool with Lulu . I didn’t want  feeling self conscious about my weight to prevent me from enjoying the Summer with my family. I just wanted to enjoy the moment with my baby.  I decided to take action. I am horrible at working out and I am even worse at eating healthy. I have a serious weakness for french fries and everything buffalo chicken.  I wanted to lose weight but I didn’t want to lose it at the expense of the things I enjoy. These are the steps that worked for me.belly-2473_1280

 

This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in.

Sign up for Lose It!

I can’t go on a typical ‘diet’. If I try to cut certain foods out of my diet I will obsess about those foods until I can’t take it any longer. I will stuff my face full of every piece of chocolate cake I can find. Think of the scene in Matilda with Bruce and the chocolate cake. It just does not work for me. Instead, I count calories. This way I can eat all of my favorite foods, I just can’t eat them in excessive amounts. I am cutting down on eating but I don’t feel deprived.  Downloading a calorie counting app makes it incredibly easy to track what you are eating. This was the most important step in my weight loss.

Skip Lunch

This approach definitely won’t work for everyone. But I noticed for me, every time I ate a large lunch I would go over my calories. Even though I wasn’t hungry, I still wanted to sit down and eat dinner with my family. This inevitably led to overeating. Instead, I ate a healthy snack (almonds, carrots, apples, etc.) around lunch time. This satisfied the midday hunger without forcing me over my daily calorie count.

Take Daily Family Walks

I have never had much motivation to work out and it has only gotten worse since I had Lulu. It is important for me to find enjoyable ways to exercise. My favorite is by taking family walks. It gives me a chance to get outside, enjoy time with my family and as a bonus I get in a great work out. On top of just walking, it is also great cardio to push a 20 pound baby in a 15 pound stroller!

Find an Enjoyable Workout

I enjoy using the Wii. My very favorite game is Just Dance! I love getting into the dance moves. I channel Britney Spears circa 2001 and I go all out. Why not? I am in the privacy of my own home and no one can see me! It is the perfect place for me to let loose. And I really let loose.  By the end of my 10 song set,  my body feels like I just ran a marathon. I work out on the Wii at least four times a week. This isn’t the best workout for everyone but it is what I find enjoyable. If you don’t have a workout that you enjoy you are going to avoid exercising like it’s the plague. You can find Just Dance! on Amazon by clicking HERE. They of course, have other video games that you can also use as an enjoyable exercise routine.

Drink Water

I know this is said over and over again but it was vital in my weight loss. It is very easy to mistake thirst for hunger. Not drinking enough liquid throughout the day is a slippery slope into overeating. I fill up a large water bottle and commit to drinking it by 12pm. I then refill the bottle to drink throughout the afternoon.  Miraculously, I stopped feeling starved by dinner time and instead started being satisfied with much smaller food portions. Not only did this help with my workout plan but it made me feel better. I have more energy, I started getting less headaches and I noticed improvement in my digestion.

Weigh In Daily

Weighing in everyday makes me accountable. When I notice a lower number on the scale I am proud of my progress and it motivates me to continue working hard. On the days that the scale goes up I know exactly why. I went over my allotted calories the day before and I skipped my work out. Knowing what a difference those 500 extra calories makes is all the incentive I need to do better the next day.

 

In the past, I have gone on crash diets to loose weight quickly but as soon as the weight was lost I went back into old habits. Following these steps not only allowed me to lose 10 pounds but I lost the weight quickly. I was proud of my weight loss and most importantly the plan was something I could continue to sustain.  Keeping up these steps has allowed me to maintain my ideal weight and I actually weigh less than I did before I got pregnant!

 

 

Amazon affiliate links are used in this post-I promise this will not cost you anything or change your Amazon experience.*

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