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    Things I’m Loving Friday #3

    Hello Everyone, I hope you’ve all had an awesome week! Ours has been pretty good for the most part. It started off with what we thought was a broken window in my car (due to my dog’s craziness).

    It ended with finding out that really the only thing wrong was that it was on LOCK, so that’s why it was “stuck.” I mean I took it into the shop and everything. Not my brightest moment, but hey I’ll take it especially when it saves us a good deal of money. So, all in all it was a good week.

    It was hard to pick just a handful of things that I was loving this week, but I did it!

    Make sure to comment and tell me something that you are loving too!

     

    • Visits with Great Grandparents 

    We took an impromptu road trip to see my grandparents this week, Foster’s great grandparents. It was so good to see them and to create some memories for Foster to have with them. He was so excited to see them his little smile literally went from ear to ear! His little wobbly walk was working so hard to go back and forth between the two.

    We went with my mom, sister and her son. With the two little ones running around it made for a really fun and entertaining visit. It’s amazing how much entertainment and joy babies can bring to a situation.

    In attempts to keep my eating/drinking pretty clean I ordered these nutpods. They are a non-dairy alternative to creamer and the ingredients are very minimal plus they are Whole 30 approved. We thought about doing the Whole 30 again, but I’m not sure if I’m ready for that commitment just yet.

    Since I hadn’t tried them before I thought the variety pack would be the way to go. So far I’ve tried French Vanilla and it’s amazing!!! Oh and it’s pretty good all on it’s own as well.

    An amazing friend introduced me to the Duck Duck Moose app this week. They’re are a ton of different educational choices to pick from.

    So far Foster’s favorite is the Itsy Bitsy Spider. The age recommendation is 2-5, so he’s a little young to really benefit from all it offers. But, real talk…it keeps his attention during diaper changes and that’s what we use it for so far because he’s recently decided chaining his diaper is the worst thing in the world…literally. So, any distraction are welcome. But, I know that he’ll enjoy it more and more as he gets older.

    I’ve been using this for a while now. It’s a great way for me to moisturize my face, neck, chest and pretty much anywhere else on your body. It’s used in many skin care products because of it’s natural benefits. They harvest it from the seeds of rose bushes and is full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids.

    My skin can be pretty sensitive, so I’ve been using this instead of anti wrinkle creams.

    I love a good podcast! We listen to them on our walks and it’s nice to have something that will just make you feel good. The host is Gretchen Rubin and each episode is centered around happiness. Her and her sister talk about how to build happier habits into your everyday life. Their info comes from research, their experiences and guest hosts. My favorite so far was Drew Barrymore. She’s one of my heroes!

    I hope everyone has an awesome weekend!!

    Weekend Update {Started out Great, Ended Annoyed with our Dog}

    Greetings folks! I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you are now getting an even better start to your week, although, I know that can be tough! But hey, it didn’t rain on Monday! I feel like it always rains on Monday for some reason and it’s a major downer. Anyways, we had a really fun weekend and I want to tell you about. Wanna hear it? Here it go…

    Friday (I consider it part of the weekend. It makes it last longer that way.)

    We started of the weekend with what was once a rare occasion and is starting to be a little more of the norm and that is the Babby Snuggle class at the Library. The Friday class  is the one that is my favorite and I like to believe it’s Foster’s favorite too!

    There is a good amount of structure, interaction and then a little free time at the end. Foster absolutely loves it! It’s so fun to watch him be social. He usually begins the class pretty close to me but by the end he is ready to venture out into the wide blue open.

    Like I said it’s so much fun to watch him interact with others but what’s not fun is when someone grabs something from him (as babies will do) because I want to be the totally mature person and just grab it back from them. I know it’s all a learning lesson though. Why does learning have to be painful sometimes?! Probably more painful for me than him.

    Friday evening we stayed pretty low on the radar. When Aaron got home we did some family play time followed by a bath and bed time for Foster. Then we watched This is Us! I absolutely love that show! They’ve done such a good job portraying real families. It was the season finale so now we have to wait until Fall or whenever it’s coming back out to see it again (tear).

    Saturday

    It was a work weekend for Aaron so Foster and I had some play time in the morning before I put him down for his firs nap. Or not…he would not fall to sleep. Babies can be very confusing.

    He seemed so tired, so I started our nap time routine but then when I put him in his crib he sat straight up. I went back in after a while and did the whole routine again and laid him down and proceeded to sit back up again. We did this dance for an hour and then I decided it was time to let that nap go.

    Instead we went on a run since it was thankfully a gorgeous day. It’s so awesome that he is more comfortable being in his stroller now. When he was very little he could not stand it. He would cry so hard that I felt like people were going to report me. So, it’s a nice change of pace to have a happy baby on board.

    Once we got back home he was definitely ready for a nap. He had been awake for four hours which is way out of the norm. He usually only makes it for two hours before he’s ready to sleep.

    When Aaron got home Foster was waking up and we were hungry, so we decided to go on a family outing to Cracker Barrell (woop, woop)! Who doesn’t love the Barrel?! After we got there Aaron and I were talking and realized that this was only the second time in Foster’s life that we had been to a restaurant as a family of three, which is crazy since he’s 10 months old! I guess it just goes to show you that we really don’t eat out much unless it’s with family or friends. But, we need to do it more often because Foster enjoyed every second of it.

    And look at how grown up he looks sitting in the high chair with his little color sheet…stop.it!

    He got to try his first taste of cornbread and biscuits and surprisingly the cornbread was the winner! I also got to see a whole new set of attention getting smiles. He was all about the family sitting behind us and made all sorts of funny smiles and noises at them. They were super sweet about it too. I love sweet people!

    We checked out the toys afterwards…the best part of Cracker Barrel (besides the biscuits). Foster also got a ride on daddy’s shoulders and he loves his long hair. It gives him something to hold onto. Aaron may not enjoy this as much as Foster.

    After lunch we headed on over to Target for more people watching and I wanted to check out their dollar aisle to see if they had any cute decorative things for Foster’s upcoming one year old birthday party….crazy!!! My theme is “You Are My Sunshine”, so I was looking for little yellow containers.

    I found these cute little ones and ended up buying three to put different candies in for his birthday. I’m not very design minded so I was proud of myself for this one.

    After leaving Target we stopped by a park on the way home but ended up staying for about five minutes. I think everyone was a little pooped out by that point. We headed home to get jammies on and chill for the rest of the evening.

    Sunday

    Sunday was awesome because Foster got to wake up to Aaron being home. This is such a rare occasion since he is such a hard worker and usually gone before the sun rises. So, Foster was surprised to see his daddy still in bed when I took him into our room. Taking full advantage of this rare moment we hung out and snuggled in bed for a little bit until Foster started getting hangry!

    After we had breakfast and Foster’s first nap of the day we were off for a hike because it was so gorgeous out. It felt like a crime not to.  We took Hunley with us since she loves to run and the trails are the perfect place for that. It was an awesome time outside together as a family.

    On our way home we decided to stop at Aldi to go ahead and get our grocery shopping done for the week. This meant that Hunley needed to stay in the car. This is not a brilliant idea since she has major FOMO(fear of missing out).

    We came back out to the car to find out that she had pushed so hard on my window that it would no longer roll up. So, needless to say that I was very annoyed at her. After I gave myself some time to cool off I realized that it wasn’t totally her fault. We probably shouldn’t have left her in the car BUT it was still super annoying.

    Now I need to go about the business of trying to get my window fixed. Oh well, you live an learn and get annoyed sometimes.

    The rest of the evening was spent food prepping, cleaning out my car (since Hunley went crazy in it) and playing.

    All in all it was an amazing weekend for the books. I’m still a firm believer that the work week should only be four days. Seriously, I think this would just make the world a better more productive place!

    Things I’m Loving Friday #2

    Happy Friday everyone! So, we made it through my first Things I’m Loving Friday edition and we are onto the second…look at us making progress!

    I have to say I like these posts. It challenges me to think about things throughout the week that I’m loving and that reminds me of something I learned at the Business Boutique conference I went to recently.

    Rachel Cruze, Dave Ramsey’s daughter, said that she used to start everyday looking at social media (as I often do). She went onto say that it immediately put her in a comparison mindset (yup, that’ll do it). So, instead she started making a list in her Notes app and titled it Grateful. Then each day she added a new thing she was grateful for. Sounds pretty simple but it can make a big difference in your mindset for the day.

    I have been doing this since November and I have to say it’s awesome! I highly recommend it. At first it’s super easy to think about things you’re thankful for but as time goes on it forces you to think a little deeper. Anyways…you should try it out.

    Alright, let’s move onto the Things I’m Loving Friday

    • Comparing Photos  

    People often say that Foster looks like Aaron. This is a great thing because that’s his dad and added bonus he’s super cute. Buttttt, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it also gives me a certain twinge of jealousy. Selfishly I think I’m the one that carried him for 9 months and labored for over thirty hours I think he should look exactly like me! Yeah, I know…pretty selfish.

    But, when I compare our baby photos I get a certain since of pride/excitement because of how much we look alike or at least I think we do.

    I see his little sweet face in mine and it makes my heart swell! Don’t get me wrong…I think he looks like Aaron too! I just also want there to be a resemblance of me as well and I’m thankful I can see it here!

     

    I have been loving Ibotta! I discovered it while I was pregnant and have used it a ton since then. It’s basically a rebate for things you buy.

    Here’s how it works…you search the store you’re going to(Targer, Wal-Mart, Kroger, etc) and look for the items you need. If they match up download it to your app.

    Then once you’ve bought the item you scan your receipt and barcode and the rebate money is added to your account.

    It’s kind of become a fun game to me and easier than finding receipts.

    • Halo Top 

    Praise Jesus for Halo Top! The most delicious, guilt free ice cream I have been able to find! There are a ton of different flavors to choose from. Peanut Butter Cup and Cookies and Cream are my favorite so far.

    I love that I can eat the entire pint and not feel guilty. Because confession…who can stop eating ice cream after only a couple of bites?! And if you can, I don’t wanna know about it!

    This way I can indulge and not feel horrible about myself afterwards. Plus, it has been on Ibotta for a dollar rebate. That’s a really good thing because although it is delicious,  it’s also a bit pricey, but worth every penny!

    • Library Read Time

    Another confession, I’ve only gotten my stuff together enough to go Library Read Time a few times but when we do Foster absolutely loves it!

    He listens, observes and just smiles. This last week he actually got brave and ventured into the sea of kids(it was actually more like ten, but it felt like a sea).

    It’s fun to see how he interacts with others when he thinks I’m not around. I also need to confess that as he crawled away from me I got sad, like almost cry sad. I just thought about how he’ll be leaving me one day. I know that’s what we prepare our kids for but still I can be a little sad.

    I feel like I’ve basically been living in leggings and you know what…I’m not even sorry about it. They are so warm and comfy and just perfect! Plus with this little pack I have different colors so I can at least switch it up a little bit. God bless leggings! They’re appropriate for lounging around the house or running errands…right?!

    There’s my list for the week. I’m a firm believer that the little things are what make life great. These things may seem little to you but to me they come together to make a pretty big deal and make me smile. Smiling is always a good thing!!

    What is something you were loving this week??

     

    10 Month Old Foster

    What the what?! It’s already 10 Months? I honestly feel like I just wrote the 9 Month Update. Time does fly but the month of February was no help either. It was a short month and honestly not that great of one. I don’t like to say that because I try to stay generally positive, but sometimes you just gotta call em like you see em.

    The month started with Foster’s 9 Month Old check-up that didn’t go great. He had not gained weight(in fact he had lost weight) and that sparked concern in the pediatrician and in us. Whenever your doctor is concerned you immediately become that way as well! We ended up getting blood work done to make sure Foster was okay. Then over a week of waiting later we found out that they did not get enough blood for the test so we had no results after anxiously waiting for them over a week.

    It was stressful to say the least. We have a follow-up appointment with the doctor to weigh Foster and then we’ll decide from there if he needs to have blood work done again. I’m hoping and praying for great results so there won’t be a need for any of that!

    To add insult to injury a day after going to the pediatrician Foster woke up with a super high fever. We treated it with Tylenol and Motrin as long as we could but that wasn’t helping and his temp rose to 105 degrees and that’s when we freaked out and went to the walk-in clinic. They determined that he had Roseola and all we could do is continue to do what we were doing, but it was horrible. To see your baby sick is just the worst. So, you see why February wasn’t all that awesome?!

    Despite all that the majority of our days have been good. With a lot of praying and deep breathes I’ve managed to keep the worrying to a minimal…most days. It has not slowed Foster down one bit. He has been a busy little fella!

    Continue reading…

    Things I’m Loving Friday #1

    I thought it’d be fun for us to get to know each other a little better. After all if we are going to share this space it’ll be helpful/fun if we can also share some things we are loving! So, here is my first attempt at Things I’m Loving Friday.

    We live in a huge world with lots of good stuff some bad, but it’s way more fun to focus on the good so let’s do that. Some stuff I’ve heard about that you haven’t and vise versa. So, if we share it we’ll have double the good stuff and that’s just double the fun (Double Mint Gum throwback for ya)!

    But before we get started let’s just acknowledge the first good thing going on…it’s Friday! Friday is my favorite day of the week. So much fun, adventure or relaxing lies ahead. Everyone is happier and we get to spend time together as a family!

    This weekend we don’t have a ton planned and that’s how I like it. Especially since we might get some snow here in Tennessee after we’ve had 70 degree weather and lightning storms. Hey, it’s crazy but I’ll take it.

    Now let’s get to it. A few things that I’m loving this week…

    Things I’m Loving Friday 

    • Nice People

    Nice people are the best. I like to think they outweigh the mean people but somedays I have my doubts. Well, not this week!

    We were in the checkout line to buy Foster this ball (that he loves so much I couldn’t get a non-blurry pic). While we were waiting he was trying so hard to get the attention of  a woman in front of us. Once he succeeded he gave her the biggest grin and waved. She was so sweet and talked to him for a while and he loved every second of it.

    Our conversation did not last long at all but at the end of it she said, ” I want to give you this money to pay for your items.” It absolutely blew me away. We did not know this woman and she did not know about us. Yet she wanted to do something so generous for strangers.

    It really moved me and inspired me to go pay it forward. I thanked her profusely and she said she just wanted to bless our day. That she did! I’m convinced little nice things over time is how you change the world. I know she changed ours that day.

    I love this app! They have a ton of different radio shows or podcasts. All you do is search what you’re looking for and you can save it as your favorites so it’s right there when the next show is available. This comes in very handy during our walks!

    My favorite podcast to listen to is the Wally Show. They are really funny, clean and real!

    Oh and I like Stitcher because it allows me to save space on my phone (I’m always getting notifications that I’m out of space).

    It can definitely be a challenge to get a good workout in when you’re trying to do it from home and in between naps or during a nap. Thankfully I have found this program that I really enjoy and always makes me sweat because they are hard!!

    BBG (Bikini Body Guide) is really all about building a strong body and focusing on health and strength instead of weight and the scale. This has been a very healthy outlook for me, especially after having a baby.

    Our bodies are so much more than a number…they’re amazing, capable and strong!

    • FREE cookies

    This one is only appropriate on the heels of the workout idea. Trying to keep it balanced. 🙂

    Kroger does this thing called Free Friday Deals. If you are signed up for it you will get an email every Friday telling you what they are giving away for free.

    My deal was Chips Ahoy Thins. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have tried them if they weren’t free, but who can pass on a box of free cookies! I’m so glad I got the opportunity to try them because they’re amazing!! The perfect mix of light and chocolatey. Plus they can’t be all that bad for you since they have the word THIN in the name…right?!

    I ordered these this week and thanks to Amazon Prime they arrived in my mailbox the next day! When I decided to buy ABC Flashcards I felt a little silly because Foster is only 10 Months old but then I thought hey, the exposure can’t hurt.

    Now I’m so glad I decided to push through that silly feeling and buy them. Scholastic is such a quality company. The cards are very durable so I feel comfortable letting Foster handle them in order to get a little more hands on interaction.

    I decided to just introduce one card and see what happens. We started with B for bear since we call him Foster Bear. I know it’s a super research driven way to approach the alphabet. Regardless, we are loving this little find!

    Okay, there you have it! Hopefully you found something on my list that adds a little extra happy to your day! Now, your turn.

    What is one thing you are loving right now? 

     

     

    10 Tips to Help You Shop at Aldi

    Aldi is my absolute favorite grocery store! I love everything about it from the minimalistic approach they take to how they help families save time and money. There’s really nothing not to love or is there?!

    I’ve been shopping there for so long that I have forgotten that you can easily feel a little awkward during your first visit or two. In fact I’ve had several friends say they won’t go back because of how uncomfortable they felt since they just didn’t know what to expect. So, I thought I’d try and help you guys out and jot down some helpful tips. Hopefully you can feel more confident during your intro to Aldi. Even if you’ve already been an Aldi’s shopper you may learn some new things as well. I know I did. Let’s begin, shall we…

    1. Bring a Quarter –  I have heard a lot of people get hung up/annoyed/over it with this little detail. At Aldi you need to bring a quarter because you technically “rent” your grocery cart. There is a little slot for you to put your quarter in and then when you return your cart you get your quarter back. So don’t worry…you get it back!

    I think it’s a brilliant idea now that I know what to expect! I have to admit the first time I went I felt completely confused about the whole thing. I couldn’t even figure out where to put my quarter. So, hopefully this little visual helps you out.

    The whole goal is that you are invested in your cart so you won’t leave it in the middle of the parking lot (rude) and they don’t have to pay someone to retrieve your cart. This is just one way they are able to keep their prices so low.

    If you don’t keep change you the Aldi Key Chain  is a great way to make sure you are always prepared. Plus it’s super cute and a brilliant idea!

    2. Grab Some Bags- Make sure you bring your own grocery bags or you can buy some from the store for something like 10 cents. The first time I went I ended buying bags because I didn’t know to bring my own. Now I keep a  Grab Bag  in my car for groceries and a Planet E Grocery Cooler Bag for my meat and frozen foods.

    This is a great way to help our environment out and help you save money. This is another thing that once you know you can prepare ahead of time. So, get you some bags!

    3. Select Assortment- Most grocery stores carry over 30,000 items, which is totally overwhelming to me. Who wants to have so many choices for ketchup?

    Aldi only sells the weekly must-haves. They sell high-quality brands and the smaller inventory allows them to have smaller stores and this leads to a lower rent and electricity cost. Put all that together and what do you got….lower overhead which saves them money and then they pass the savings on to us. Brilliant!

    You can find their weekly Weekly Specials here.

    4. Ditch the Labels- For the most part they do not have name brand foods, but they doesn’t mean that they are not quality. The Aldi exclusive brand help you save around 50% on your grocery bill(give or take). The ingredients are very comparable to name brand products as well. Sounds like a good deal to me!

    5. Check the Hours- Aldi chooses to stay open only during the most popular shopping hours. Doing this allows them to save on labor cost and keep their prices down.

    Click here to find out the hours of you local Aldi.

    6. They Double Guarantee- This little gem is new information to me as well. They promise 100% satisfaction or they will replace the product you bought and refund your money. All they ask is that you return the product if you are unhappy with it.

    This could give you a peace of mind if you are hesitant to try out their products. That’s just how confident they are about their store.

    7. No need for Coupons- This is one of my favorites!  Because of the cart renting, bag bringing, small stores, necessary hours and Aldi brands there is absolutely no need for coupons. Items are at an extremely discounted price already so there are no coupons to be had or needed.

    I love this about Aldi because I feel like I carry around coupons forever. Then when I finally go to use I come to find that they’re expired or I’ve lost them somewhere. No coupons is no hassle in my book!

    8. You Can Still Shop Organic or Gluten Free – They recently greatly expanded their variety of organic and gluten free options.

    Aldi teams up with local farmers to get fresh produce. You can now find a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that are organic. Our favorites are the bananas and avocados.

    Their organic brand is Simply Nature and their gluten free bran is liveGfree. You can find both of these brands throughout the store.

    9. Get Your Baby Essentials- They recently added a wide range of baby items like formula, diapers, wipes, baby pouches, snacks and items for washing. They released their baby products soon after Foster was born and they’ve already won awards for the quality of their items.

    Little Journey is the name of their products and you can check them out in even more detail here.

    10. Save Time and Money- Since there stores are smaller with less clutter you save time wandering around or choosing which product you want. Then in return the same things…smaller store, less inventory, fewer workers and a more sufficient system overall allow you to save money!

    There you have it…you’re now an Aldi pro! Feel free to walk into any Aldi store with your head held high. With confidence in knowing what to expect and how to navigate your way around. I do realize it’s not for everyone but I sure do love it!!

    Are you an Aldi shopper or have you had a bad experience?

     

     

     

    15 Things I Wish I Would’ve Known Before My Baby Arrived

     

    Before my son was born I feel like I did a fair amount of preparation to make sure I was ready for him. I mean after all you are bringing a human into the world, I wanted to be ready! Despite all of my book reading, class taking and researching. There are a few things I had no idea about and I wanted to talk about them. So, let’s get started. I did not know…

    Babies don’t just go to sleep when they’re tired –

    This is something that wasn’t even on my radar. When I went to all the classes and read all the books sleep was something I, naively, never thought I’d have to work at. I mean I knew I wouldn’t get a lot of it from what everyone was telling me. But what I didn’t understand is that babies don’t just go to sleep when they’re tired. Mind you there are exceptions  that I’ve read about on social media. I’ve seen posts about babies that would just go to sleep as soon as their parents put them down, but that was not the case for me.

    We had to learn how often he should be sleeping and how often he should be awake. The Baby Center became a good resource for me and all my sleep questions. After doing some research I found out he was awake A LOT more than he should have been and that is why he was fussing. After much trial and error we figured out how to hold and rock him to get him to go to sleep. So, just know that newborns need a whole lot of sleep and they may not just naturally fall to sleep because they’re tired. You have to figure out what they need…swaddling, rocking, shushing. But, I know you’ll figure it out. I mean if I can, you can!

    I would be scared to be left alone- 

    I’m very thankful that Aaron was able to take a week off when I went into labor with Foster. What I didn’t think about was how quickly that week would go by!

    The firs three days were spent in the hospital since my labor was 30 hours long. So, when we got home Aaron had 4 days left with us. That time was an absolute blur of joy and confusion. The morning Aaron was due back to work was one of the most challenging days. I was TERRIFIED to be left alone with Foster. Aaron had been such a huge help to me. I was still healing, so he had been bringing me whatever I needed, changing Foster’s diapers, taking care of Hunley, our dog, and helping me keep up with the whole nursing timing situation (how long he was on each breast). I was faced with the fact that my rock was leaving and it was just going to be me to do it all. I know it sounds silly now but it wasn’t at the time.

    First nap on our first day alone together and I was trying not to move because I didn’t want to wake him. 

    But, good news..we made it! And actually it helped build my confidence knowing that I could keep me, Foster and Hunley alive and happy (for the most part).

    I would have hot/sweat flashes- 

    Folks, for the first couple weeks and maybe even more (I don’t remember timing at this point) I had all kinds of hot flashes. More like flood flashes. I would wake up absolutely drenched!! I’m pretty sure it had a lot to do with my hormones and how many bags of fluids they pumped into me while I was in labor. Regardless, I was not expecting it. I never had them during my pregnancy, so it was a new and unexpected experience to say the least. So, if it happens or happened to you don’t be freaked out. Just change your pjs(and maybe sheets) and get back to bed!

    When to start sleep training- 

    I’m pretty sure I did everything wrong as for as the whole sleep thing goes. He pretty much slept on me the first 6 months of his life. I knew it probably wasn’t the best but it worked…until it didn’t. He started getting restless and uncomfortable and I had no idea what to do. Then we had to go back to square one and figure out how we could get our baby some sleep.

    This is when I found Secrets of The Baby Whisperer out of desperation. Through this book I learned that sleep training can start as early as you want it to. I just didn’t have the confidence or knowledge to do so. I think if we would have started Foster a little earlier our journey wouldn’t have been so rocky. But hey, you live and learn and I’m a firm believe that everything happens for a reason, so no regrets. Plus, I really liked holding him all the time. So, you do you boo boo, but know that sleep training (fyi sleep training doesn’t mean crying it out) can pretty much start as early as you want it to.

    How often babies nurse- 

    Ya’ll this is a HUGE one! I decided I wanted to breastfeed Foster and I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy journey. I had heard all of the scary and painful stories about making this decision. Regardless, I still felt like it was something I wanted to try. Well, they were right it is scary and very painful!!

    I remember my first attempt at nursing Foster was pitiful. I had tried to prepare myself for this moment, but it’s totally different when you actually have your baby latched to you or attempting to latch to you. It was so hard and I quickly felt like a failure. After much more pain and practicing we finally got the breastfeeding thing down. It’s definitely a work in progress. Even now at almost 10 months I feel like I’m still learning about breastfeeding. But, what I didn’t know is how often he would be eating!

    He literally ate about every hour to hour and a half. Mind you that it took him about thirty minutes to an hour to nurse. So, if you’re doing the math in your head you can figure out that I pretty much never left the rocking chair for the first few months. Thank God one of my sweet friends let me use her Breast Friend. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that this thing changed my life!!! I was struggling hard to keep Foster on my boob while trying to hold his body just the right while. All while it still hurt to sit in certain positions because of labor. My back and arms were sore from holding him in the same position for hours on end. Plus since my hands were both occupied I couldn’t really move or do anything else.

    Sheer excitement! I was nursing and I had both hands free!! 

    Then enters the glorious Breast Friend. The first time I used it I remember being able to take a deep breath because my son was nursing while I could still have a hand free. I could eat, Google all of the new questions I was having in my head, scratch my nose. I’m not joking when I say that this thing was a game changer.

    Frequent feedings continued for a while but the Breast Friend really helped give me more maneuverability.

    How protective I would be- 

    Before having a baby I was not a germ person. I mean I was a teacher so I had to be pretty comfortable with them. Of course I would wash my hands and such but never really thought much about germs. Other than they would just strengthen your immune system.

    Well, that all changed the second Foster arrived. I remember the first time someone wanted to hold him in the hospital and my mind went spiraling with all of the germs they could have on them and then give to Foster. I immediately became OCD about hand sanitizer. When we got home I quickly stocked up on the Bath and Body Works Pocket Hand Sanitizer. They were the perfect size to literally put in ever spot in our home. Plus they smell really good and I’m big on smells.

    It definitely doesn’t just stop at germs…I was nervous about where the nurses were taking him, for other people to hold him, for my dog to get near him. I’ve since eased up a bit, but the mama bear in me has officially arrived to stay and I’m proud of that. As parents we are their earthly protectors and you bet your booty I am going to protect my son.

    How sore I was going to be- 

    Having a baby is an absolute miracle in every single way, but it definitely does leave you with some battle wounds. Personally, I had a second degree tear, hemorrhoids from all the pushing(sexy, right) and sore nipples from all the breast feeding.

    To help relieve pain from the roids I used Preparation H and Tucks Pads. They were lifesavers! If you have ever had them you know you just want them to go away. I won’t go into anymore detail but it’s just not fun and these things helped a ton.

    For some nipple relief I used Earth Mama Angel Baby. It’s all natural and safe for your baby.  I applied it literally after every feeding and it was a huge help! Before using it I had several blisters developing and dryness going on. After finding it I quickly healed and didn’t have anymore problems. That’s a huge deal!

    So, just make sure you are prepared for the healing process. Having the right tools makes a world of difference.

    What size baby clothes to buy- 

    Before I had a baby I didn’t think about what season it would be when he was born I just looked at size. So, in December we bought some winter newborn clothes. Well, Foster was born in April, so he didn’t get to wear many of them. We learned that when buying clothes for babies you have to think about the season they’ll be born in and the size at that time. I know it seems simple now but it just didn’t occur to me at the time. Lesson learned.

    Plus, I’ve always heard that your baby will probably be around the same size as you and the dad were when you were born, so that could be helpful when buying clothes as well. When all else fails just keep the receipts so you can return them if they are too small.

    How easy it would be to compare- 

    Comparison is the thief of joy! Sounds simple but it’s so deeply true. If you start the comparison game it will eat you alive. It’s so easy to start too. It usually happens unknowingly. I would find myself slipping into comparison often about sleep. Other moms would proudly post about their babies sleeping a full night in their crib. Meanwhile my son is waking up every two hours and sleeping in whatever would work for the night.

    I had a hard time not relating that to how I was doing as a mother. I still have to daily shut those thoughts down. They are from the enemy and I just don’t have room for that and neither do you. So, when you feel comparison coming on quickly think of things you are thankful for in your life and then move on. Comparison is not a healthy place to stay.

    It takes time to heal, so be patient with yourself- 

    I have the need to feel like I’ve accomplished a lot during the day. I’m a to-do list girl. Crossing things off my list is one of my favorite things. Well, after having Foster I had to realize that I needed an attitude shift. My body had just been through a traumatic event and I couldn’t get anything done except for keeping my son alive and that’s a pretty big thing!

    So, be sure to be patient with yourself and give you the same grace you would give someone else. It takes time to heal. I feel like I healed a lot faster after I was able to accept that things are different and I need to be nice to myself.

    I would Google everything- 

    As soon as Foster was born Aaron(see, it’s not just me) and I were on hyper drive about everything going on with our son. In the hospital it was okay because we were surrounded by experts. But, when we got home we were freaking out about so many little things…was his breathing normal, when should we bathe him, how should we bathe him, is he too hot, is he too cold and the list goes on and on and on. We sought comfort from Google to tell us that everything was going to be okay. I’m here to say…don’t do that. I’m pretty sure Google will never give you the answer you want. Instead it’ll tell you the worse case scenario every time! So back away from the internet and trust your gut (this is one I’m still learning).

    Known what people meant when they said…you’re going to be tired!-

    This used to annoy the stuff out of me when well meaning people would immediately tell you to “sleep now while you can” whenever they found out we were expecting. As if there was some magical sleep bank I could log the extra hours in to use later. I feel like it was a scare tactic. Please know that I’m not saying this to scare you, I’m just saying it as a friend telling another friend so they’ll know what to expect. I feel like if you going into something knowing what to expect it makes reality a lot less harsh once it happens.

    You’re going to be very tired at first. BUT, I have good news…you will sleep again but it might not feel like it for a while. It’s hard to see past a moment when you’re in it.

    So, if friends and family offer to help…let them. The best thing anyone did for us is stay with Foster for a couple hours so we could sleep. I remember waking up feeling like a new woman! Remember sleep is a need not just a want.

    The first night may be tough- 

    Our first night was very difficult and it in absolutely no way set the tone for the following nights. Night two was totally different from night one. I think the first night was extra challenging because we were both already so tired from the hospital stay, we were both scared and we both so badly wanted to do a good job and have the answers. Add in there that I got very sick the first night home and you have a challenging first night.

    Aaron took this our first night home. I was sick in the bedroom and he was taking care of Foster. 

    Just know that if your first night was hard there is hope for tomorrow. I can almost guarantee you it will be better! You gain confidence with each passing day.

    Online grocery shopping-

    I tried to prepare with frozen meals before our son arrived, but we pretty quickly went through those. My mom brought us some food which was a HUGE help! We were also brought meals by a few friends and family. Side note…never turn down a meal in attempts to try not to inconvenience someone. They’re offering, let them help because you’ll need it. But, after all this was done we needed to go to the grocery for ourselves and this now seemed like an incredibly daunting task. Then Kroger Clicklist rode up on his white horse and saved the day. I highly recommend online shopping. It allows you to keep baby safe at home and it’s definitely much less stressful than going into the actual grocery.

    I’ve also used Wal-Mart Grocery Pick-Up and I highly recommend them as well. I feel like it’s a genius idea and I’m so thankful for it!

    They may not like the car seat-

    Oh, the car seat. My son has NEVER been a fan of the car seat even to this day. I remember when he was a couple months old and I thought it would be such a sweet idea to go visit Aaron at work. Well, he works about thirty-ish minutes away. I’m here to tell you that Foster absolutely lost it on the way there and on the way home. Add traffic to that little scenario when we were on the way home and you have one frazzled mama.

    Despite him not liking the car seat I still attempt it. I’ve tried to keep toys with me and pass some back a little at a time, I’ve tried singing and now that he’s older I’ve tried teething crackers. All of these worked for a while but then he has always caught onto my distractions. I’m still hanging to the hope that one day something will click and he won’t mind his car seat anymore. Here’s to hoping!

    I spared you from a crying pic because who wants to see a crying baby?!  

    There you have it, the 15 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before My Baby Was Born. Each baby and mom are different, so I realize some of these may not apply to you. But, I also know that I can’t be the only one. I’m a firm believe that knowledge is power. Now at least you have a little extra insight to things I wish I would have known and hopefully it’ll help you too!

    I know I will continue to learn more and more about how to be the best mom for Foster and we plan to make Everyday Above Dirt a  Good Day in the process!! Go get em’!