Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Munchies...

Hey...lookie here!  I am actually here...on a Monday...to share a recipe with you all!
I cooked! #saywhat
But the truth is, with the three weeks of my meal train coming to end, it was bound to happen.  And with the lack of kosher food in our new home town, I've struggled with creating Shabbos day menus.  But, I got a little help from the weather!  It's been mighty mighty cold and snowy here-definitely not a typical winter!  And because of that, all I want to do is curl up, stay home, drink coffee, and eat warm soup. So, the crock pot it is!  

I tried out this recipe this past Shabbos when we had company, and I was blown away!  I was nervous truthfully-I was leaving out the fancy ingredients because I knew there was no way I would find them at my local grocery store, and some of the reviews had commented on the lack of taste.  

For starters I doubled the barley, and doubled+ the water.  However, it was way too much barley.  I would honestly either halve the barley and do the original recipe, or double and just do 1 cup total.  Next time I might add more mushrooms...I added some extra salt, pepper and I used chicken consomme and it was honestly so delicious, hearty and comforting.  I will definitely be making this again soon!  Maybe even a good weeknight meal if you add in some meat! 

In the coming weeks I'm most likely going to change up Monday Munchies to help me get a grip on my new task-weight loss!  I'm brainstorming now, but I hope it'll help me get organized, and hey, maybe you'll find a recipe or two you like! Maybe you'll even lose a pound, or ten #Ihavemanytenstolose 

Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Hospital Bags

Hi everyone! Today I'm popping in to share what I took with me to the hospital.  This is a fairly talked about topic, because it can be very overwhelming. Mainly because there are so many different variables to be taken into consideration!  What will the hospital provide? What are your personal preferences? what are the necessities??? Have no fear because today, I'm not only going to share with you what I took in my hospital bags, but I'm also going to share what you might want to bring because hey, we're different.  I don't care as much about my shower, but I made sure to bring my makeup...and things like that.  
Let's get crackin' 


I packed in two separate bags: mine, and baby's.  I used a duffel bag for myself and a larger carry-all bag for the baby.  The reason you want to pack separately is because you don't need any baby stuff in Labor and Delivery, so when you're in the moment, you'll end up carrying a lot of unnecessary items. In fact, you don't need much for yourself even in Labor and Delivery, but you might want some of your stuff sooner than you'll need anything for the baby, so it might be nice to have it brought straight to your room after you have the baby.  

Labor & Delivery/Post Partum Bag-what I brought
Labor: 
 I did not bring anything for labor this time.  I planned on an epidural even before they started pitocin, so I didn't need anything to "help" with labor.  My husband also works in the hospital I delivered in, so I knew he would be able to fend for himself if he needed a snack.  I also hired a birth photographer (can't wait to share those with Simmy's birth story!) so I knew we didn't need the camera or video camera.  These are items that I would bring had my labor/birthing situation been different. But in addition to this, I am also ok with hospital provided items like the gowns, pillows and blankets, and toiletries.  

Postpartum:
1.  Nursing tank tops.  This time around I opted for these nursing tank tops from Motherhood Maternity because I wanted an extra layer since it was the winter.  Because I end up needing a lot of support from my bra, which nothing build in, or without underwire can provide, it wasn't worth it for me to spend the money on a nicer nursing tank top.  I also can't use these as every day shirts under cardigans/open shirts either since they don't provide enough support. But I will wear them as pajamas...
2.  Nursing bra.  I brought this one just in case I didn't end up wearing the tank top home.  
2. Zip-up jacket.  This is nice just to have as an extra layer.  You might not use it, but I felt much more comfortable with my jacket on over my tank top, and you can leave it open, or zip it up.  I have a maternity one I've worn after each delivery from Destination Maternity, but this one looks especially comfortable.
3.  Comfortable pants.  You'll be spending most of your 1-2 days sitting in bed.  You will definitely want comfortable pajama pants.  I hadn't seen anything that fit the bill, so I bought these from Destination Maternity.  They are so comfortable, I'm even wearing them now, but they do pill...
4.  Makeup.  After Moshe, I saw the pictures from when I was in the hospital, and I vowed never again would I look like death in the hospital.  So, I pack makeup.  I packed my compact that allowed for less products, but it definitely helped me feel freshened up when the kids arrived, and hey, when you look good, you feel good!  
5.  Jewelry.  Earrings are a quick, easy, no fuss way to add some bling to feel more put together. I had attempted to get a new pair of earrings to wear in delivery, but these were not available at Nordstrom. I did wear my rings to the delivery, but I ended up taking them off because I was just uncomfortable.  However, if you end up needing a c-section, they have to be removed.  If you can't remove them, they'll cut them off, so plan your jewelry accordingly.
6.  Going home outfit.  You will want this to be a comfy, yet put together outfit. I wore leggings, a black skirt, a shirt I've worn home after every baby, but this year I added this jacket because of the weather.   
 7.  Chap stick.  Chapped lips are the worse; this is the lip product I brought with me. 

Labor & Delivery/Post Partum Bag-what you might want

Labor:
1.  Hospital gown.  There's not two ways about it, hospital gowns are drab.  If you're into fashion, bring your own!
2.  Money.  Change is specifically helpful for vending machines.  
3.  Snacks.  Even though we can't eat, there's no reason for your support person/team to be #hangry.  Just make sure they save or buy something good for you post delivery. Nothing tastes better than that first meal/snack!
4.  Technology.  You definitely want to have fully charged and ample space to take pictures and videos of this time.  Trust me, memories fade, and even though it's not your prettiest moment, you'll want to remember this forever.  
5.  Your favorite pillow or blanket. This will probably help you feel more comfortable and help you relax better while in labor.  I need very flat pillows, fluffy pillows hurt my neck, so if you know something will help you be the most comfortable, do not hesitate to bring it.
6.  Music.  No one can deny that music helps support/enhance an emotional time.  If you plan on an unmedicated labor/birth, pick music that will help you get in the mood, focus, dig deep, and get the job done.  I even had some music picked out to play had I wanted it.  

Postpartum:
1..  Underwear.  TMI: I'm still wearing the hospital mesh panties, because #comfort but, if you don't want to roll that way, buy some larger grannie-panties.  The reason I like the mesh underwear is because it gives you a lot more coverage and allows for the hospital pads which give you a lot more protection.  It's also nice to not have anything push on your stomach-even if you don't have a c-section your lower stomach area is sore, your uterus is sore!  Another score about the mesh panties is that they don't push on your still pregnant looking belly so I think that helps with how you look post-partum.  
2.  Pads.  You will need extra heavy pads initially, but not for long. I used the hospital ones, and truthfully am using them until they run, even though I don't need that much protection. 
3. Nursing pads.  Just for extra protection.  I prefer these.
4.  Nipple cream.  #freshlynursednips enough said.  I always buy a tube of this, it lasts forever and then some.  These look soothing, but I've never tried.  
5.  Belly binder.  I tried several off-brands after I had Moshe, and the truth is, I don't think it made a bit of difference.  First of all, it's uncomfortable.  If no one told you, post birth sweats are the worst.  I was sweating, and itching and the last thing I needed was to be tightly bound in some non-breathing material. I could never tolerate it.  I also think it looks hideous under clothes-it's definitely noticeable.  It also impacts nursing because you can't easily move.  Spoiler alert: I ended up skinnier than I was before I was pregnant, without a belly binder.  Post babies two and three, I also ended up just as skinny.  But, if you want to try, these look like good ones to check out. 
6.  Bed clothes.  Hospital sleep sucks.  Between the beds, constant beeping and checking on you, plus a new baby, you won't get much sleep. But it's helpful to bring the comfort items that will help make sleep more possible. 
7. Toiletries.  If you are picky about your toiletries, bring them in travel size, or find reusable travel size containers to pack in.  You can find travel sizes at Target, and sometimes your local store.  Check out this Amazon page if you want an easy way to shop travel size toiletries.  Here's the thing though-while you might really love your shampoo, and feel like it transforms your shower...you're first post-birth shower might not blow your socks off.  In some hospitals, they keep the water at a certain temperature because you might burn yourself #eyeroll...but it's the truth.  You might not get that extra steamy shower.  You also might be weak, or sore and if there isn't a shower seat, you might not be able to stand.  I've had all of these scenarios happen, so you just never know.  

A lot of these items mentioned here will be provided by the hospital.  If you have a preference for any of these items, bring your own! I have had no problem with any of the hospital provided items, so for me, it's just easier to use theirs.  I will say that I've had some of these items rationed when I was in the hospital for some odd reason, which was annoying.  My most recent experience was the exact opposite-endless supply of these personal items, and not only that-I came home with bags of these items for future use.  Let's move on...to packing for the precious new babe!

Baby Bag-what I brought
1. Diaper bag.  I always buy a new diaper bag for each baby.  I put a lot of thought into finding one that suits me as a new mommy.  I've learned over the course of now, four diaper bags, that it needs to be a material that can be cleaned, and easily expand and accommodate lots!  This is the diaper bag I bought this time, found on a great sale from Gilt.com and with an extra amount off for first time purchasing, the price couldn't be beat! 
2. Blanket.  If you watched my Instastories yesterday, you know that I had a major issue with one of my blankets.  This is the one I ended up ordering, and surprisingly needed to keep.  
3.  Hat.  I knew I wanted a statement hat for the baby-girl or boy! What's hotter than a pom pom hat? Nothing! So, I ordered from this shop, a neutral white and gray/natural fur colored pom pom in NB size and it goes with everything!  Just a heads up, 0-3 month size hat is too big for the hospital! 


4. Going home outfit.  Just like the diaper bag and the blanket, I put a lot of time into picking out just the right outfit.  I prefer a very gender specific going home outfit.  This time, because I had no idea how big the baby was going to be, I bought preemie and NB outfits (in each gender obviously).  If your baby is 6-7lbs or less, preemie will be a more snug fit.  Simmy wore preemie clothes for three weeks, and just yesterday we put on her first newborn outfit.  It's slightly baggy, but she now has room to stretch her legs #growinglikeaweed 
5.  Milestone item.  Milestone items are all the rage now.  There are blankets, and blocks, and stickers!  I saw this blanket on Nordstrom and knew that I wanted this to celebrate the first year milestones for our rainbow baby.  


Rainbow has been quite the theme here!  



6.  Folder.  If you follow me on Instagram #doit you know that I shared on my stories while I packed, that I have an accordion folder for each child.  It helps keep all their medical papers organized.  I've taken it with me to each birth and it ensures you don't lose any of those important papers from the hospital. It's also especially helpful because you're in a daze for much of the first few weeks-but you're expected to have doctor appointments and answer lots of questions and sometimes you need extra medical attention.  So, the folder helps keep everything organized so nothing is lost, but you can also provide the right information to all the medical professionals. 
7. Pacifier. Some hospitals are breastfeeding friendly which means they won't easily allow formula, nursery stays, or pacifiers.  If your baby is admitted to the NICU, pacifiers are given out freely, which is how Hannah got so lucky when she was born.  I was told before Moshe about this, so I get a pacifier to bring with me to every birth.  You can ask ahead of time so you know if you need to bring it or not.  I used the one from my Buy Buy Baby registry bag, Simmy seems to love these, but I am partial to how adorable this one looks and am trying with all my might to get her to take to this one.  
8. Nursing pillow.  As a first time mom, I found the My Breast Friend to be extremely helpful with nursing.  I also had a Boppy, but I didn't use that for nursing until later on when I was a confident nurser.  What's good about the Boppy is it's multi-functional and can also be used as a lounger for the baby, whereas the My Breast Friend is a single-use item. If I was a new mom, I'd recommend both, but make sure to buy the waterproof cover for the original Boppy pillow!  As a seasoned nurser, I only bought the Boppy this time around.  


Baby Bag-what you might want to bring 
1.  Outfits.  I was fine having my baby in hospital clothes until it was time for her to leave. If you want to dress your baby up in a hat, or an outfit, or a specific blanket, bring it!

What else can you think of to bring for baby?
This can be a very overwhelming process!  If you need more help, start with a list like this, and then take some time to think about your day to day life for items you might want/need, as well as what you might want for baby's first photos, or how you want you or the baby dressed for visitors, what you want to eat, listen to...the list is endless! 


Monday, January 1, 2018

SURPRISE!

It's a GIRL

#saywhat?
Yeah, it took me some time too...days...
It took us five days to name her..
.but less than a second to love her.
Completely. 


This week last year, was my original due date.  I watched close friends have their babies, we were due the same week.  I begged God to allow me to just be pregnant by the time the one year anniversary rolled around. He did better...she's here, in our arms. 



I wasn't worried about the adjustment to four, and so far it's been easy.  If you're reading this mom, I totally took your help for granted before!  My parents booked travel a year ago, long before I was pregnant, and decided to stick to their original travel plans-which I was in full support of, but that means we were quite literally on our own from almost day one.  No one to help clean, help with the older kids, help at night, or in the morning.  We thankfully are having meals delivered, but late nights, early mornings, and middle of the night dog walks-all on us.  Thankfully it all has gone well.  



Life will resume somewhat of a normal routine as my husband will return to work tomorrow, Hannah will return to school, and the boys go back Wednesday.  I feel good, I feel decently well rested. and I feel like I know this little lady well enough to predict my day. 



So, while I'm waiting for birth pictures to share her birth story, I will hopefully resume normal blogging again, albeit cooking, I'm not cooking...yet. 






Sunday, December 17, 2017

Final thoughts on D Day



Today's the day...delivery day. 
In the stillness of my house, while everyone is out at their Sunday activities, I become emotional thinking about this day.



Tonight, I'll remove my Ruby necklace, as now it is time for my uterus to be empty again. It's only been removed one time before, when I had to enter the mikvah (ritual bath) after our forth failed cycle.  
At this time last year, I was anticipating the first anniversary of my due date that wasn't, not sure where I'd be in a year, not knowing if I'd ever be pregnant again.  

Tonight, we'll make our way to the hospital in anticipation of an early morning arrival.
Boy or Girl?!?
We'll soon find out!



Follow along on Instagram for more updates!

SA PUG 16X20 OVER RAINBOW

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Final Bumpdate: 36 weeks



Total Weight Gain:  At my last appointment, on Tuesday, I was up a total of 32lbs.  This would probably still end up being my lowest weight gaining pregnancy, but, I'm also being induced three weeks early, so I'm sure I'd reach a gain of 40.  Add that to the additional 20 I gained pre-pregnancy...it's a pretty hefty number, but I'm so ready to lose it!  That will definitely be a journey I'll keep you posted on!  But, I did lose 55 lbs after Hannah, so I can do it again!  

Maternity Clothes: Oh definitely!  I realized I bought a lot of dresses this pregnancy, and while they've served me well...they won't work for nursing!  I do still plan to show you my maternity wardrobe because I'm very pleased that I kept it to mostly a minimum, and I'm excited to show you the transition to a nursing wardrobe.  I headed to Destination Maternity and I just can't wait to have the excuse to wear these stylish, yet comfy clothes!  Not having to go back to work this time around is a whole different ball game!  

Sleep:  Sleep has been ok.  I definitely wake up to pee, but with the long nights I've been pulling there have been less wake ups...#thereisntenoughcoffee

Best Moment this Month: We miraculously, got our roof replaced, got our bedroom painted, and had all 14 windows installed a couple months ahead of schedule.  #chanukahmiracleorjustcoincidence  It has also been a relief to have this month progress positively, and hopefully we'll end with all good things in a few days.

Movement:  The baby continues to be very active.  There are moments where I catch myself worrying about lack of movement, and usually after a few prods, I can get my 10 required movements.  I am doing daily kick counts-which everyone should be doing, but because the risk of stillborn is increased with my cholestasis diagnosis, I am extra cautious about movement.  

Exercise:  I pulled a muscle in my side when I fell taking Marshall out a couple weeks ago.  I saw the trainer once after, and it was fine, but by that night the problem was clearly exacerbated and we decided it was best to take time off to heal, and return after the baby.  

Gender:  I think boy! 

Labor Signs:  I've had some contractions that make me hopeful things are progressing.  Last week I was 1 cm, but I had been 1 cm for a few weeks.  I opted out of an internal exam this week because it does not chance our induction plan.  So...why bother.

Belly Button In or Out:  All of a sudden, in one day, it just kinda popped out! But it's not really noticeable thanks to the curvature of my stomach. 

What I miss:  Honestly, it would be nice to be able to put my shoes on normally. 

What I'm looking forward to: In 4 days, we'll God willing meet this baby!


For comparison, you can check out Hannah's bumpdate HERE 


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Memories: Pregnancy Journals



My previous pregnancies were emotionally very different from this one.  My anxiety greatly increased once I found out I was pregnant, and that has impacted almost every day of this pregnancy.  It did not make documenting this pregnancy easy.  I feel badly, because I kept pregnancy journals with my other pregnancies, regular bump shots from the very beginning-but I just couldn't bring myself to do either of those things, no matter how hard I tried.  



I did take the step in the right direction though, and researched pregnancy journals.  I even bought one.  I thought having one, where I could sit and focus, would help ease my anxiety.  Even though it was hard to take those bump pictures, and make the purchase of a pregnancy journal, I knew if I didn't, I'd regret it.  And truthfully, no matter what extremes we go to to avoid connecting and acknowledging, should something bad really happen-we'll talk about it just the same as if it was a joyous occasion.  So, why not live in the moment, with a positive outlook?  I tried...I know I didn't always succeed, but I did the best I could, even when I was uncomfortable.  



Even though my pregnancy journaling is happening now, in my final week of pregnancy, I'm glad I have the journal to do it, to sit and reflect in these precious last few days.  To remember where I came from and how far I've come.  So, I want to pass along the pregnancy journals I found to be the best purchase worthy...




The Emily Ley Story of You journal was one of my favorites.  I absolutely love her products, they are darling.  However, this journal is meant for beyond pregnancy, and that's not what I'm looking for in a journal.  However, if you're looking for a one-stop journal-where you can keep pregnancy, birth and up to two years, this one is for you!  

Who knew Anthropologie sold baby books?!?  I couldn't resist the baby journal from one of my favorite stores!  Again, this journal is also to be used post birth, and was just not what I was looking for, but the price is totally right at only $30!  

I was interested in this journal because I figured it would allow me a quick and easy way to daily document the pregnancy, which would also by default allow me to focus on being positive, address my anxiety and reach a good place daily.  

This is the journal that ended up being perfect for me! Not only in price, but it also focuses only on the pregnancy.  It's colors are simple, and whimsical yet mature.  

It feels so wonderful, in these last few days, to sit, in the stillness of the night, alone in thought, and truly reflect on where I was a year ago, 10 months ago, even 20 weeks ago-in the pregnancy, but not really in it.  I do wish I had pushed myself to document more in the moment real, true, raw thoughts, but I'll take these fleeting moments.  

My favorite pens can be found HERE.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Skincare: Pregnancy Routine


Hi everyone!  I'm so glad I'm getting the chance to get this post to you-all about my pregnancy skin care routine!  I'll let you in on the not-so-secret-secret...I'm being induced Sunday night #cuepanicattack so, I am going to hopefully jam pack this week with the pregnancy related posts I want to so desperately get out to you before this baby comes! Eeeek-can you believe it?!? Who would have thought we would go from this day, to this coming Sunday??? #crazytalk #allthefeels 

Anyway, excuse the "thrown togetherness" of this post-we took these pictures in a hurry, but I'm so excited to finally share my skin care routine because these products were game changers for me, and I'm sure some of you will find them just as beneficial!  


I sometimes use the Simple Micellar Water-if you've seen the ads for this product and were just as confused as me, let me explain how it works, it's really very simplesee what I did there...You apply it to a cotton ball, a cotton pad, perhaps a washcloth, heck I've even used it on a tissue in a pinch! Then use it cleanse the skin! That's it...yes, that is all folks...there is no water needed for this product!  And did I mention that it's under $10, and can be found at almost any convenient store?!?  I've tried the Garnier version, and in my opinion, it's not as good.  So, I can tell you, without a doubt, this is one product you don't need to break the bank on!  When I'm not using this no-water cleanser, I will use this cleanser.  


This product is fabulous for getting off makeup, including eye makeup-but I can't say how it removes water proof eye makeup, because well-I don't wear it!  This is my go to for a cleanser because it doesn't require water and with being so dry in the winter, plus I've been indulging in long hot showers, I don't need more water to deplete my hydration.  It's also super convenient for gym bags, and while traveling!  I prefer to use a cotton pad, and I like mine to have a smooth side and more of an exfoliating side.  


I recently switched to this toner after reading about it in a Fit Pregnancy article.   This product can be found on Amazon and I'm loving it.  Again, I use the cotton pad for application.  


If you follow me on Instastories, you know I'm in the midst of trying a new line of repair/color correcting products and this is one of them. Spoiler alert: the other two made me break out, so I'm choosing to continue with this one to see if I think it makes a difference.  A post about these products is in the works, so stay tuned!  I apply this with my hands-it goes on almost like water-doesn't feel oily or have a gel consistency.  


I've been on the hunt for a sunscreen that won't impact my makeup, won't increase my oil, but also has good protection.  I bought this product from the Dermstore after having used a couple Super Goop items, which I plan on blogging about soon!  I really try to apply the proper amount-which if looking to apply to the face, is a nickle size amount. 


I wrote a whole post on my experiences trying out all the popular primers these days-but this is one I discovered after I tried out all those products.  I've been using it ever since!  It smells great, it's on the cheaper end, I see great results immediately, and it lasts throughout the entire day!


Who would have thought to double up on primers? Well, thankfully I'm here to tell you that you can absolutely trouble shoot your primer. I was told to apply the base primer all over, and then apply this oil-controller, pore minimizing primer to my trouble areas, which are really my cheek bones and chin.  

These two primers combined have been an absolute game changer! 

For my nighttime routine, I will either use the same Simple Micellar water, depending on how I feel, or I'll use this cleanser. Hint: this product will last almost forever, so no need to buy a full sized bottle, save your money and buy a smaller size!!!  I use the same toner, but then will apply this face butter, followed by this oil.  I have very dry skin, especially in the winter.  I see a huge difference in my skin in terms of dullness and acne when I don't hyper moisturize in the winter.  

So far, I'm very please with how my skin has been throughout this pregnancy.  I've had some minor breakouts-all things considered, and am so thrilled with these products.  Stay tuned for more! 

You can read about the products I used while on accutane here



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