My 15 Favorite Pregnancy Survival Must-Haves

My 15 Favorite Pregnancy Survival Must-Haves

As promised in previous baby bump updates, these are the products that helped me most during the 9 months of pregnancy. Let’s jump in, shall we?

1: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter for Stretch Marks – I only had a few tiny “whiskers” from my first pregnancy. During my second pregnancy I gained a few extra, but nothing purple or deep. I attribute this luck to using such a fantastic lotion.

2: This big blue bouncy exercise ball – It was way more comfortable to sit on than the couch + I’m still using it to bounce my baby to sleep at night.

3: First Kick Black Fleece Lined Leggings – They are one size fits all, which I was skeptical of at first, but I practically lived in these while pregnant. SOOO COMFY. (I couldn’t find these online to link to here, but I got them at Ross for $5.)

4: The Complete Prenatal One Vitamin by Rainbow Light – You only have to take it once a day and it’s never made me nauseous or have an upset stomach (I’m still currently taking it since I’m breastfeeding). It’s also organic and made from bio-available ingredients (a.k.a. actual fruits and veggies), which makes me feel even better about having to take a supplement everyday – I hate taking pills.

5: My Breville Blender – I would drink a smoothie every morning and still do if I have time to make one. I’m always super thirsty when I wake up + my stomach can’t handle eating a solid meal until much later in the morning, despite feeling hungry after getting up. This was especially helpful during the first trimester when the thought of most foods had me running to the bathroom. It was an efficient way to get enough calories in those tough early months. 

6: Boppy Wedge – I would tuck it under the side of my belly when I slept to help add support and relieve some of the pressure off of my ligaments.  

7: Warm baths with Epsom Salt – Epsom salt is AMAZING whether you are pregnant or not. I used to soak in baths with this stuff when I was an avid runner (5+ miles a day) and it does wonders with easing muscle aches and pains. While pregnant, I would use either a lavender or spearmint essential oil infused blend to help me relax before bed. All you need is a couple of tablespoons per bath so this stuff is cheap and lasts a long time too. #winning

8: Belly Bandit Upsie Belly Pregnancy Support Band – Ahhhh yes. So much back pain relief! Sometimes it’s uncomfortable just standing while in the third trimester. Gravity is a mean force when you have an extra 25lbs tacked onto your stomach, but this band helps counteract the intense stretching and pulling sensations + gives your lower back some rest. There’s also a little pocket where you can stick hot or cold packs for extra back pain relief!

9: Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Oil – A simple classic. It would soothe my dry skin and the scent made me feel warm and cozy. I would take a shower and then massage this into my arms and legs before bed. For my belly I’d still use Palmer’s Stretch Mark Massage Lotion, but sometimes I’d rub a little extra baby oil on my belly in the mornings too.

10: My Bodum French Press – I’m a huge fan of making butter coffee in the mornings and I love to brew my grounds using the Bodum French Press. There’s something meditative about boiling the water on the stove, steeping the coffee for a few minutes, and then slowly plunging the wire mesh down to separate the grounds from the liquid. It also gives a richer, fuller flavor in my opinion – but I may just be a coffee snob…

11: Single Cup Coffee Pour-over – Makes a smooth cup of coffee and the clean-up isn’t as labor intensive as my French Press.

12: Reading Pillow – It’s soft, large, and has little arm rests attached to it. It would give me a little extra support while sitting on the couch or in David’s office to work on my computer. I’d still have a back ache, but this little pillow helped make it less severe. I also used it quite a bit when breastfeeding my first son and I’m using it again with this baby.

13: Bio Oil – I kept seeing ads for this stuff, but never really thought much of it. However, it was seriously a game changer. It was the ONLY thing that got rid of the intense itchy feeling that strikes in the third trimester. I have to apply it twice a day, otherwise my belly does start to bother me again, but it’s a small price to pay for relief.

14: Jason 14,000 IU Vitamin E oil – A little goes a long way with this stuff. I’m talking one to two drops. I even started using it on my face as part of my Rosacea skincare routine and I’ve seen an improvement on some old scarring.

15: Burt’s Bee’s Cleansing Oil – This cleansing oil is technically for your face, but my friend Audrey said she used it as a body wash during her pregnancy. I did the same and it really helped maintain the moisture barrier of my skin while showering. Traditional soaps and even moisturizing body washes were leaving me red, blotchy, and itchy, but this product eliminated all of that. I simply rubbed it into my belly and back before hopping in the shower and then let it rinse off on it’s own while I washed my hair and face.

What about you? Were/are there any products you loved during your pregnancy?


Ethan’s Birth Story

family of four

Disclaimer: Some photos in this post are graphic… If you are not comfortable with images of labor and delivery, this post may not be for you… 

Most birth stories start with a mother recounting the moment she went into labor. What was she doing? Who was present? How did the sights, sounds, and physical sensations make her feel?

Ethan’s birth story is different. There was no “my water just broke” moment. Instead, we went to bed on January 3rd, woke up at 4am on January 4th, drove to the hospital, and our son was delivered via a scheduled cesarean at 8:46am.

Everything was planned out perfectly, so a lot of my emotions and recollections of the delivery are a bit surreal.

When our first son was born, I had an 18 hour labor to mentally and physically center my mind on the fact that I was having a baby. With Ethan, the whole delivery from start to finish was only 2 hours and 45 minutes. And I didn’t feel any pain (until after that is).

This post could easily turn into a million different ramblings on the implications of having a cesarean vs. a vaginal birth, hospital vs. midwife (which I’ve already talked about before), or even about the pro’s and con’s of trying for a VBAC. But I don’t want to do any of that. I simply want to recount what the experience was like, so that in the future I can look back and remember authentically what transpired.

Continue reading “Ethan’s Birth Story”

Slow Living Challenge Update: January Shopping Ban

Slow Living Challenge: January Shopping Ban
Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

If you’ve been around these parts for awhile, then you’re probably aware I’m obsessed with anything related to simple living – especially in regards to pregnancy, health, and motherhood.

But despite my love of less, I’m not perfect. Not even close.

I don’t own less than 30 articles of clothing. My children have waaaay more toys than they probably need. And I don’t live in a tiny house… I don’t even live in a moderately sized house. Basically, I live a life most minimalists and slow living guru’s strive to avoid.

Because get this: I’m human. And I’m messy.

But I want to change… a little at a time, in small yet significant ways.

So I created a Slow Living Challenge for myself. By creating small goals, one for each month of 2018, my hope is to double our family’s savings and dramatically increase the amount of time we spend together doing the things that bring us joy. I’m calling these goals habit shifts.

First things first…

Before embarking on my little slow living experiment, I spent the month of December ridding room-by-room in my house of junk and unnecessary items (a.k.a. clutter) as sort of a “pre-New Year’s resolution.”

(You can read how my kitchen declutter went here)

Admittedly, we still have quite a ways to go, but already the fruits of our decluttering labor have freed up two entire closets, several kitchen cabinets, and my make-up drawer no longer looks like the contents of a dollar store clearance bin.

Slow Living Challege 2018
Ah sweet, sweet organization

It’s kind of insane how much space we’ve realized we don’t need.

And if this new slate of space and organization has transformed our home in just one month, just think what a shopping ban could potentially accomplish?

Continue reading “Slow Living Challenge Update: January Shopping Ban”

A Day in the Life with a Newborn and Toddler

A day in the life with a two week old newborn and toddler
Photo taken by Elisabel Photography

I love reading “day in the life” posts. They are such a great way to capture a snapshot of what life is really like at any given stage and I wish I’d made time to do a few when Ezra was born.

I’ve already written a DITL for when I was pregnant with a toddler, but now I want to write one about life with a toddler and a newborn. It’s so crazy to see how much has changed in just a few months!

At the time I wrote this, Ethan was two weeks old, which means I’ll probably end up doing another one of these “day in the life” posts in a couple of months once he’s settled into a more solid routine. Also, I’m considering a day as a full 24 hour time period, which is why I’m starting at 1am.

Full disclosure, this is a long post so bear with me!

Here it goes!

1:00 am

Ethan woke up for his first feeding of the night. We nursed for about 15 minutes, I changed his diaper, and then I grabbed some water and a snack for myself.

Usually Ethan will fall back asleep after his diaper change, but he was especially alert this morning so we ended up spending a few minutes in bed cuddling and trying to wind down. Then I swaddled him and laid him in his bassinet to fall asleep.

1:30 am

After much grunting and restless shifting, Ethan poops – I guess that’s why he was so alert earlier! I change his diaper again, nurse and reswaddle him, then lay him back down.

He’s still grunting a bit, but I cross my fingers it’s just gas passing. Note to self: lay off the broccoli at dinner next time…


Ethan wakes up for his second feeding. I go to change his diaper and in true little boy fashion he projectile poops and pees as soon as his {already full} diaper is removed. How can a little body produce so much waste?!

After getting him – and my walls, floor, and the changing table – cleaned, we nurse for about 10 minutes when surprise, surprise, he poops… again. Note to self: NEVER eat broccoli while breastfeeding again.

I change his diaper for what feels like the thousandth time and then nurse Ethan for an additional 5 minutes. Then I swaddle and lay him back down to sleep.

I drink two glasses of water – because breastfeeding and changing diapers works up a thirst on par with any workout – then crawl back into bed just before 5am.


I wake up to Ethan’s little grunts, gurgling, and other various animal squeaks and squeals. I hear him working on a poop, so I leave him in his bassinet a little longer while I use the bathroom, grab some water, and a banana.


Ezra wakes up and reads books quietly in his room. We usually let him read by himself until around 8am. If we don’t give him this quiet time after he sleeps, he’ll spend the rest of the morning or afternoon fussy and cranky.

I change Ethan’s diaper, grab my laptop, and watch the morning news (we have the CBS app) while he nurses. Then I swaddle and lay him down in his bassinet since he’s dozed off.

Sleepy and content again after a fresh diaper and eating ♡

8:00 am

David goes downstairs to take out the trash. Meanwhile, I hear Ethan poop just as I walk into the bathroom to shower.I change his diaper while I hear David in Ezra’s room getting him ready for the day.

Showering will have to wait. **Sigh**

Since I’m still recovering from the cesarean, David changes Ezra’s diaper and gets him dressed for the day. I reswaddle Ethan and then carry him with me to say good morning to Ezra. Then we all head downstairs for breakfast.

8:15 am

Ethan is asleep by the time we make it to the kitchen, so I lay him in the pack and play while prepping breakfast. Ezra has blueberry Greek yogurt with cereal and I have a large bowl of cereal with fresh blueberries and raspberries with almond milk. David makes an Asian stir fry with mushroom, fried egg, and other veggies using some leftover rice.

Breakfast of Champs (a.k.a. tired mama’s)

9:00 am

Ethan is still asleep, so I leave him downstairs with David and Ezra while I hurry back upstairs to take a quick shower. Afterwards, I grab a load of laundry and head back downstairs to make coffee and clean the kitchen.

9:30 am

Ethan wakes up from his nap, so David changes his diaper while I finish with the laundry. We nurse for about 15 minutes, then I swaddle and lay him in the pack and play to sleep.

10:00 am

David heads to his office to get some work done (he works from home) so I’m officially on full-time kid duty.

Ezra and I goof off for a little bit before putting on Pete the Cat so I can drink my coffee and fold some more laundry (it never ends!). Ezra decides he wants to help me fold instead, which I always encourage when he’s willing.

Side note: I’m trying to make a point of having some one-on-one time with Ezra, even if it’s only for a few minutes. It helps make us both feel more secure amidst the transition from family of three to family of four.

Laundry and coffee. Both staples of my life now.



Ethan wakes up. I nurse him while Ezra has independent play with his blocks and fire trucks. After Ethan nurses I put him in his rocker for a bit to look around until he nods off.

It doesn’t last long though because in 5 minutes he wants to eat again so I nurse him for a few more minutes. He soon falls asleep so I lay him in his rocker while we make lunch.

Blissfully asleep


For lunch we eat turkey sandwiches with avocado, tomato, mayo, and arugula + a side of steamed snap peas. Ezra has frozen peas instead because he doesn’t like the texture of the fresh ones. David takes a break from work to eat with us.


David goes back into his office to work while Ezra and I clean the kitchen and pick up toys in the living room. I make a second cup of coffee and sit down to play with Ezra for a bit.


Ethan wakes himself up pooping. I change his diaper and then we sit for awhile making faces at eachother. He’s really alert so Ezra comes over to give him hugs and kisses and show him all his toys.


It’s time for Ezra’s nap so we all head upstairs. I give Ezra a hug and kiss and then David takes another break from work to do the nap-time routine.

I feel so blessed that David works from home and has the leniency in his schedule to help out so much. However, I’m also really looking forward to when I’m healed from surgery so I can start doing Ezra’s nap-time again. I miss reading to him and tucking him into bed. But I know the situation is temporary, so I’m trying my best to stay focused on recovering as quick as possible.

After saying “goodnight” to Ezra, I nurse Ethan for almost 30 minutes. Usually he only eats for 15 minutes at night and in the morning, but during the day he likes to nurse longer.

After eating he spits up all over himself so I change him and cuddle him a bit before swaddling and laying him down in his bassinet to sleep. I end up repeating this scenario a couple of times before Ethan finally falls asleep.

3:00 pm

Both boys are asleep so I take advantage and lay down to nap too.

4:00 pm

I wake up and eat a snack and drink some water. It still sounds quiet in Ezra’s room, so I lay in bed watching YouTube until one of the boys wakes up.

After a few minutes, Ezra opens his door and I can hear David in the hallway with him. This is my cue to get up and moving again.

I go into Ezra’s room and play with him for a few minutes. Then I get us both a snack and some water to share.

4:30 pm

Ethan wakes up and I nurse him and change his diaper. I soon start freaking out though because Ethan’s umbilical cord falls off! I don’t know why but that stuff has always grossed me out…

5:00 pm

David and I play with the kids in the family room for a few minutes before heading downstairs to make dinner. On the menu tonight is pasta with a spinach tomato sauce and grilled chicken. Yum yum.

Ethan sleeps in his rocker while we cook.

6:00 pm

Dinner is served!

A day in the life with a two week old newborn and a toddler
Not the prettiest meal, but definitely delicious

6:30 pm

We finish dinner, clean the kitchen, and then hangout in the living room. Ezra’s favorite activity lately has been to play music and dance in a circle.

7:00 pm

Ethan wakes up and we all head upstairs. I change his diaper and nurse him for 15 minutes in bed. David and Ezra hang out with us and we use this time to wind down, read books, and say goodnight.

7:30 pm

Ezra gives me and Ethan hugs and kisses then heads to his room with David for his bedtime routine.

Meanwhile, Ethan falls asleep so I swaddle and lay him in his bassinet. I wait a few minutes to make sure he’s out, then go and get ready for bed – wash my face, brush my teeth, etc. Once I’m done, I crawl into bed and kill time on YouTube while I wait for David to finish putting Ezra to sleep.

7:00 pm

David joins me and we talk for a bit and catch up then watch an episode of Container Homes on hulu.

8:30 pm

Despite having napped, I’m dead tired so I decide to go to bed now in order to get an hour or two of sleep before Ethan wakes up for another feeding. David goes back downstairs to finish up work and have wind down time. He usually will come to bed between 10:30 pm or 11:00 pm.

10:30 pm

David comes to bed right as Ethan wakes up to eat. First I change his diaper and then he nurses for 17 minutes. He spits up EVERYWHERE (are you noticing the trend here?), so I change his outfit while David changes the bed sheets.

I end up nursing Ethan again since he pretty much spit everything up the first time. Then he poops and gets the hiccups, so after changing his diaper {again} I spend a good while patting his back. I then swaddle him for the third time (it’s the charm after all, right?) and lay him down in bassinet to sleep.


After almost two hours, Ethan is finally asleep.

And that’s what a day in the life with a two week old newborn and toddler is like for us.

I sometimes feel so overwhelmed, like “how the heck am I going to keep my life together!?” There is always something to clean, someone to feed, or sleep to be had. Don’t get me wrong, I seriously love being a mom. But it is hard and I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out.

What about you? Do you have two young children (or more)? How did you handle the transition from one to more than one child? Leave me a comment and share the knowledge!

Back to Blogging

Back to blogging
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

It’s been a few weeks, but I’m back!

After the birth of our son Ethan, I needed to take a break from pretty much everything. I was healing from major surgery (they cut through three layers of me y’all!), trying to reconcile my guilt over not being available for my toddler, and then processing our birth story while working through the baby blues – which would kick in around 11am and last until 7pm…

Now, almost a month out, I’m finally feeling like myself again.

I’ve been blogging a little here and a little there, in between naps and diaper changes, and during late night feedings. I just haven’t been posting the content. My ultimate goal with this blog is to document the life of my family. So while I needed a break, I also wanted to make sure I was capturing all of the fleeting moments unique to the newborn phase.

Going forward, I am {already} adjusting my new year resolution to write one post a day. And I’m TOTALLY ok with that. The point of resolutions, I think, are to help us grow into the people we want to become. I don’t think my resolution of writing so often would have helped achieve that. Rather, I feel I will have more balance between my daily life and creative pursuits if I adhere to a less rigorous schedule.

Sooooo you can now expect an update/post from me every Monday. I’m even toying with the idea of adding video… :O

I hope you have all had a wonderful January and start to the new year. Also, thank you to everyone who has sent me comments of encouragement and support as I try to figure out what my life is going to look like now ❤



It’s Time to Rest

Going into 2018 I held aspirations to start blogging more. Every day in fact. But I’m finding the transition back into newborn motherhood more life altering than expected. 

For one thing, I feel an intense need to be present, fully, to my family. Over the last year or so, as I’ve gotten more into blogging, I’ve noticed a shift in the role social media and the Internet is playing in my life. I’ve gone from checking notifications once or twice a day, if at all, to checking every hour. Even when I’m supposed to be spending family time with my husband or sons.

I’m afraid I’m becoming addicted to the instant gratification of knowing whether or not a photo I posted was liked or a blog post I shared was appreciated. I believe sharing visual aspects of my life as well as my thoughts and experiences on crucial moments isn’t a bad thing. But there should be balance. 

Secondly, the thought of taking a break fills me with a sense of joy and relief. I’m trying to be better about listening to my heart and gut feelings vs my head and the tasks I’ve set for myself. 

So to be true to who I am in this moment – tired, healing, new mother of two – I’m declaring my blog and social media profiles temporarily closed for spiritual maintenance. 

I plan on coming back to these spaces to share my life and thoughts on various topics. But first I need to detox, reconnect with myself, settle into my family dynamic again, and finish processing/recovering from all that has happened during pregnancy and delivery. 

Until then, I wish you all peace, well-being, and ♡. 



You are Healthy. You are Healing.

I’m 5 days postpartum and in the thick of recovery from my scheduled cesarean. It’s been hard. But it’s also been empowering. 

Baby blues, breastfeeding, cramps, and cleaning my incision site are scary. I’m trying to work my way back into life, but it’s all changed. I’ve changed. 

My house and my family are familiar, but I’m not. 

I’m learning to be a mom of two now. The “baby years” didn’t seem so far away. Now I’m back in them and realizing how different it all is… because my new baby is not my older baby. 

It’s beautiful and wonderful getting to know this new person and I find myself caught off guard with how different the experience is from last time (in a good way).

For one thing, sleep isn’t as big of an issue. We used to tip toe around Ezra when he was asleep or spend countless hours rocking, cradling, or feeding him to try and make him sleep. 

At just a week old, Ethan is the complete opposite. Ezra literally screams and bumps into the bassinet while playing and Ethan continues dozing blissfully unaware. 

I’m also realizing my toddler is more of a child. He’s always been little to me – I guess that feeling comes naturally with all firstborns. Now, side by side with an actual baby, he is showing how grown up he is. 

He’s eager to help out with Ethan and takes every opportunity possible to kiss him on the head or talk to him. I couldn’t be more proud of the good, kind person he is becoming. 

All of these emotions coupled with the physical pain of recovery have produced a unique environment in which I currently exist. 

I’m vulnerable. I’m raw. I’m physically weak, but spiritually strong. I’m healthy, but I’m healing. 

In fact, this has become my mantra through the recovery process. Whenever I start to feel scared of the pain caused by surgery, or whether or not my son is as healthy as doctors say he is (which, for the record he definitely is healthy – it’s my baby blues messing with me), or when I just feel lost with how to interact with my toddler, I repeat these words: “You are healthy. You are healing.” 

Because I am. And the postpartum recovery period regardless of cesarean or not, is hard. There’s no way around it.

But it’s also an empowering time. This phase – recovery and newborn – is transformative. 

While I do morn the loss of one identity – being a mother of one and the routines and family dynamic of that – I’m also completely wrapped up in love and discovery of a new sense of self. 

It’s true what they say… you can never have too much or too little love when it comes to children. I wondered how I could possibly have more room for the amount of love I feel for Ezra. Then Ethan was born and I knew in an instant there was plenty of space. 

I’m officially a mother of two, navigating the road to what life looks like now. It’s all an adjustment period, a scary beautiful one, and I’m ready and geared up for the stage where I can say: “I am healthy. I’ve healed.”