Challenges

No Soda Challenge

All right Venturers, this week I challenged myself to not drink any soda!

I did awful. It honestly felt like I didn’t even give myself a challenge this week.

Now, I don’t drink that much soda to begin with, so that’s good. However, I would really like to eliminate it entirely. One positive I took from the week was the fact that I never had my own soda. I would only share my husband’s.

He was probably the reason that I really wanted to do this challenge. He drinks way too much soda in my opinion. He definitely doesn’t drink enough water. If I can eliminate soda from my diet, then maybe he’ll drink it a little bit less.

Either way, there wasn’t much success this week. So what did I learn? I’m going to start getting the mini cans of soda. They are so adorable and you still get that carbonated goodness. This week also made me realize that I should make some different lifestyle changes. I mainly have soda when I’m drinking a liquor. I’m a sucker for rum and coke. Point is, I should probably cut back on those.

I am a little bummed that I wasn’t able to do this challenge right this week. In the coming weeks I will definitely be working on buying the smaller cans of soda and see if that does any good.

Let me know what you think. Have you eliminated soda from your diet and if you’ve tried, how did it go?

Thank you for stopping by and I’ll see you next time!

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Postpartum and Beyond

Utilize your Village

Once to twice a week my parents will take Little P for the day. Usually Friday is my dad’s day and my mom will get Saturday or Sunday depending on her plans and what I have going on. I never thought anything of it until one of my friends pointed out that Little P is with one of her grandparents a lot. Now, that friend probably didn’t mean it in a rude way, but I’ve noticed there can be a lot of judgement thrown around when someone else is watching your baby.

I’ve seen a good number of, “you’ll never see me leaving my baby at my mom’s so I can go do *insert something here*”. I think, for the most part, the comments are directed at people who go out and party consistently or are always doing things minus the baby. To an extent, I see the party point. It would have to be close to a daily type of thing for me to start to judge it though.

It annoys me that comments are being made at all though.

Yes, I’m a stay at home mom currently, and up to twice a week, I take Little P to one of her grandparents’ houses and take the day to myself. I love my daughter with all my heart. I cherish every moment I get with her. I also cherish moments I can get away from her. That doesn’t make me a bad person or parent. It’s nice to clean, relax, and get work done without one eye suspiciously following a seven month old. I mean really, you just start doing one thing and then there’s silence? What has that child gotten into already?

I think once you have a kid people forget that you’re still your own person. You essentially become two people: you and the baby. I’ve noticed this more so with women. However, I’m speaking from experience. I don’t see why a stay at home dad wouldn’t be faced with the same struggles. “Oh, where’s the baby?”, “No baby today?”, or even “Would you like to go do *insert not baby friendly activity here*” which would be directed to the other parent.

Why are my options as a newer parent either be excluded or be judged for taking me time?

I am grateful for my daughter and all the challenges she brings. I’m also grateful for parents who allow me a day’s worth of peace. I’m a parent and that comes first, but I’m also me still. I’m still introverted and value my space. I’m still bipolar and need to take care of myself.

They say it takes a village to raise a kid and I’m happy I have a village I can utilize when I need them. It helps me to recharge and refocus. I get to come back as a better mom and partner every time I get her back at the end of those days.

If you’re a parent and you “don’t need a break” from you kids, then I applaud you. Maybe one day you’ll know what I’m talking about, or maybe you never will, but please don’t go out of your way to make someone else feel bad for taking a break from their kids. We all have our own system and ways to make life work.

All right, I think that about wraps it up for today. Let me know what you guys think! Did it feel like I was getting onto a soapbox? Can you relate?

Have a great day and I will see you next time.

Pregnancy

2nd Trimester to Do

Congratulations! You made it through the first trimester. A lot of people refer this to the honeymoon phase of being pregnant. A lot of women feel more energized than they did last trimester and hopefully your nausea is a bit better than the previous months as well. Whether or not you consider this the easier months, here is a list of things you should be looking at doing during the upcoming weeks.

Prepare for doctor visits

I religiously checked what each and every doctor visit would be like. I don’t like doctors and I like being prepared. You’ll be seeing your doctor roughly every four weeks. For the most part they’re all pretty standard. You’ll get weighed, blood pressure checked, and you’ll be able to talk to your doctor about any concerns. This trimester you’ll be taking the glucose test, so be prepared for that around weeks 24-28. Short version is that you’ll drink a sugary drink, they test your blood, and it will help determine if you have gestational diabetes. There’s a possibility of having to take this twice. One is short (about an hour), the other is three hours.

Decide if you want to know sex

This trimester you’ll get to discover the sex of the baby if you want to. You can opt to not know, have the doctor write it down so you can have a gender reveal party, or you can just find out when you’re getting the ultrasound.

Think about maternity/paternity leave

Will both parents be taking time off once the baby arrives? Some workplaces offer paternity/family leave for expecting parents. Figure out if this is offered, how long it is, if it’s paid/unpaid, and if this is something you’ll be able to take advantage of.

Mom, you get to find out how long your maternity leave is. If you’re newer at your job and FMLA doesn’t apply for you, then figure out how long you’re able to take leave for. Will you be returning to work or will you be staying home with baby?

Finances

Take a good look at your finances and cut back on things you don’t really need. Also, see if you can start saving any more money. Having a baby can definitely put a strain on your finances, but you can do it. This would be a good time to also decide if your family can afford either parent not going back to work.

Baby registry/showers

Decide whether you want to have a baby shower. If so, work on getting that planned out or find a helpful friend who would love to plan it for you (or at least help). Either way, I would make at least one baby registry. There are a lot of cool goodies/freebies you can get for creating registries. Amazon was my go to, the goodies were nice, and honestly it’s just so convenient. When people ask what you need you can direct them to your registry. Another tip, see which of your friends/family has had kids, odds are they have some things that they can give you.

Find/continue prenatal exercises

Keep up the pregnancy safe exercise! It is so good for you. If you take a class then you get the opportunity to meet and connect with people going through the same things you are. It can also keep you motivated to go. However, if a class isn’t for you, you can always find some pregnancy safe exercises online and do them right at home. Just make sure you get some movement in.

Drink water

This is very important through every single trimester. I still recommend getting a big water bottle and taking it with you wherever you go.

Adult time

Some people go with a babymoon, AKA a special holiday for you and your significant other. If this is your first baby, then you might want to take advantage of the last time you’ll be getting some peace and quiet. If this isn’t your first kid, you probably really want to take advantage of this one, just make sure you get someone to watch your other kids.
Even if you don’t think you’ll need one, I recommend doing something, even if it’s just dinner and a movie. It will be the last dinner and movie you’ll have for a while without either worrying about a babysitter and how your baby is doing or without a baby joining you for date night.

Maternity clothes

Get some comfy clothes for you! My main goal while pregnant was comfort. I didn’t care what I looked like as long as I felt good. However, there were times when I was bummed I didn’t have clothes other than yoga pants. So, while I don’t think you should feel obligated to dress up and look nice all the time, you may want to get a couple of cute, flattering clothes as well.

Begin preparing pets and/or other kids

Don’t forget that this is going to be a transition for your other kids (yes, the furry ones as well). Talk to your human kids (if you have them) to try and help them with the transition to getting a new brother or sister. If you have pets, mix up your schedule a bit from day to day and getting them used to walking while you push a stroller. They’re your babies too, so try to make this easier for them as well.

There you have it, some of my second trimester things you should be doing. While you’re busy getting everything prepared try to take some time to enjoy where you are. Being pregnant can be overwhelming at times, so make sure you find some good and remember that too.

Let me know what you think and I will see you next time!

Challenges

Challenge: Daily Workout

All right Venturers, this week I challenged myself to exercise every day. I wanted to do at least 15-minutes a day. A fairly small amount, but I’ve been a bit lazy since after I gave birth. I don’t want to set too high of a goal and then get frustrated and quit when I can’t reach it. So, my aim was for 15-minutes a day and I was mainly focused on yoga.

I also added in more physical movement to my day. For example, instead of sitting while I worked or watched TV, I would stand. I did some lunges and squats while holding Little P. Overall, just tried to be more active while I went about my usual activities. These I didn’t count towards 15-minute goal.

I am proud to say that I was pretty successful. It was a little hard finding time to do it though. Now, while I am proud that I even managed to get a week done, I’m not sure if I can make this an actual habit. For this, I think the challenge is more in the two to three week range. I don’t want to set a challenge for myself (especially at a week) and come to tell you guys that I couldn’t do it. So, I do try extra hard so I can come and say I was successful.

With that in mind, I think I’m going to up the ante on this one. I will continue my usual weekly challenges and then revisit this at the end of April. For the most part, I do these challenges because it represents a change I want to make in my life.

For now, let’s mark this as a win and then we’ll see if I managed to keep a consistent workout routine throughout the month. I’ll be a bit more lenient for the month. We’ll see if I can do at least four work outs a week and try to increase the time spent working out.

So, what do you guys think? Are you able to keep a consistent workout schedule? How do you keep yourself motivated?

Postpartum and Beyond

Why I Make my Baby Food

When I was pregnant I had never realized that there was an option to make baby food. I had assumed that only option was to buy it. I did a bunch of research and book reading on raising children and I stumbled upon baby food recipes. This had opened up a whole new world of options for me. So, I decided to at least give it a try once we start moving on to solid foods.

I gave store bought foods briefly and decided that homemade baby food was the definite option for me. So here are a few reasons on why I prefer to make my own baby food.

Save Money

There’s very few things that I enjoy more than saving money. This is one of the main reasons why I make baby food. A pound and a half of fruits (or veggies or meats) can make about 15 ounces of baby food.

Some math:
Let’s say that my daughter eats two ounces of solids per meal with three meals a day. Once a day, she’d be eating a total of six ounces. I’ve seen four ounces of Gerber baby food going for as low as $0.99. So, for a full day I’d be spending at least $1.98. Two pounds of carrots at the store (I used Smith’s) is $1.49. I get two and a half days worth of food for $0.50 cheaper.

Obviously, different foods will cost different amounts, but on the whole, you’re saving money.

Combinations

I notice that a lot of the stage two foods are already combinations. Which I totally get because you want some more exciting flavor combos for your little ones. My concern here is my little one not liking it and me not being able to tell which part of it wasn’t for them or even being allergic and still not knowing what caused it. It would also be a bummer to find an interesting combination and then not be able to get it because it contained an ingredient my little one was allergic to (or didn’t like.

With making my own food none of that matters. I can make any stage as a single at first and then combine from there. Plus I get to come up with the combinations, which is kind of fun.

Texture

So, I did try a couple of store bought foods for Little P. One was Gerber and the other Beech-Nut Organic. Both were stage two and a little on the thin side. I like being able to control both consistency and texture of the food. Once I got the okay from my pediatrician I started making my food thicker and Little P loved it. I also get to have her try different consistencies in the same meal. For example, she can have a thicker avocado and a thinner sweet potato one right after the other.

Fun

I really enjoy making food for her. This just happened to be an added bonus since I didn’t know it would be fun when I decided to make baby food. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen and making things.