Bundle Moms

Tips for Flying With a Newborn

flying-with-a-newborn

A few weeks ago, I took our then 2-month old son on his first flight to watch his grandma coach in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Division II Final Four. My mom was my high-school lacrosse coach and has gone on to have incredible success at the college level. This year was her 7th NCAA Final Four appearance and we had a feeling that it was going to be the year, so my siblings and I decided to make the trip down to Florida together. Spoiler alert, we were so glad we did because they won the National Championship!

As soon as I booked my ticket, I went into serious research mode. I was fortunate to be flying with my sister who has two little ones as home so I knew I would have a lot of support but she has yet to fly with them so we were both rookies when it came to navigating airports, flights and hotels with a baby!

By no means would I consider myself an expert but I received some great advice and found some helpful tips along the way that made traveling with an infant as smooth as I could have ever hoped for!

Baby’s Ticket & Seat
After I booked my ticket, I called Delta to make sure that I was aware of any of their airline specific rules. I knew that all airlines allowed a baby to sit in your lap until 2 years old but I was glad to have called as they were able to flag my ticket “traveling with infant” and issued Tommy his own boarding pass to make things smoother going through security, etc. They also encouraged me to bring his birth certificate in case there were any questions regarding identification (I didn’t use it but I guess better safe than sorry). Considering his age and size, I decided to hold him in my arms but I also learned that most airlines allow you to bring an infant car seat on the flight if you choose to buy a second ticket (some airlines offer discounted baby tickets).

Hands-Free
I decided to check as much luggage as possible because my husband was dropping us off at the airport so he was able to bring everything in as I got Tommy situated in the carrier and checked in for the flight. With a quick layover in Atlanta, I opted to be as mobile as possible by carrying him versus gate checking the stroller & car seat. I love my solly baby wrap but I decided to use the boppy carrierfor navigating the airport because I like the security of the back buckle and head support, especially when I would be bending over and lifting luggage. I wore him in the carrier right through security (they just did a swab on my hands for as an alternative to passing through the monitor).

Uppa Baby Insurance
I cringed at the thought of our new Uppa Baby Mesa car seat & Cruz stroller getting tossed around the luggage conveyor. I was thrilled to discover these amazing travel bagsand while they are pricier than your basic bag to cover a car seat or stroller, they are built specifically for both models, have durable padding and get this – you can register them which essentially insures your car seat and stroller against any damage during travel when using the bags! I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that both items could be checked as no additional cost, all baby items fly free with Delta!

Avoiding the Pre-Board
I was glad I had read this advice before traveling because it seemed logical to take the airline up on their courtesy offering to board early. In hindsight however, boarding early just means another 30+ minutes of sitting with baby in a cramped space just praying that he doesn’t have a blow out or lose his mind. Both flights, I was so glad I boarded at the end because I was able to keep him comfortable and napping in the carrier and do a last minute diaper change before boarding for take off!

In-flight feeding
Again, another piece of advice I read a lot about, prompted by my angst in cabin pressure changes and the painful effects on his little ears. A lot of moms shared that it helped baby to nurse or bottle feed them during the ascent and descent – it encourages them to swallow and thus keeps their ears from popping. I did this all four legs of the flight and while I don’t have anything to compare it against (I didn’t want to mess with what was working), I would highly recommend this strategy! I wasn’t (and still aren’t) totally at ease with the whole breastfeeding in public thing so I started with a bottle on the first flight that I had pumped the night before. For the rest of the flights I used my covered goods wrap (this thing is my go-to for stroller and nursing cover, so soft!) If all else, feeding in flight also forced me to get more comfortable about breastfeeding in public so that was a win in itself!

Sleeping Arrangements
We are blessed that Tommy has been a great little sleeper (fingers crossed this continues), so naturally I was a little nervous that this trip and a few nights in a hotel would mess with his routine. He had been sleeping in the dockAtot in his bassinet at home so I thought it would help keep things consistent by bringing the dockAtot with me. I learned that most hotels have a pack ‘n play that they will bring to your room at no charge, a perfectly suitable place to hold his dockAtot. I can’t say enough about the dock a tot and the convenience of its size. I packed it right in my large suitcase and packed his clothes right on top of it. I also packed a fresh sheet to use on the pack n’ play so I knew it was cleaned with his baby detergent and fresh and ready to go for tummy time in the hotel room!

…All in all, it was a smooth trip and I was so glad that I didn’t allow my anxiousness about flying with a newborn keep me from being there to celebrate with my mom. I would love to hear any other travel tips from you guys, especially with older kids or road trips in the car. We are driving from Upstate, NY to Northern Michigan (11 hours, yikes!) later this summer so any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Xo,

Kristen B.

My Wellness Journey

(2017 vs 2018  - I lost 50lbs and put on some muscle after working out for a year)

(2017 vs 2018  - I lost 50lbs and put on some muscle after working out for a year)

As a mom, staying on a healthy lifestyle is not that easy. I don’t always make it to the gym and frozen meals that are loaded with carbs are usually on the menu. After my first son was born, I lost the baby weight and baby “pouch” very quickly. I didn’t eat that healthy and didn’t join a gym. But after I had two more pregnancies my body/hormones changed.

I joined the YMCA in January 2017, about 6 months after my second son was born. My body had drastically changed and I had other symptoms I didn’t have postpartum with my first. I felt I needed to get in shape and try my best to stay healthy. I have been working out for a year and a half now; and started seeing the results in early March. I have always been that person that would give up if I didn’t see results. But I keep reminding myself I have had a total of 3 pregnancies. I gained weight from every single one. I shouldn’t expect change immediately.

I’ve tried diets and they don’t work for me. The keto diet…no WAY…I need my sugar and carbs. I eat what I want (in the right portion sizes) and I work out 5 days a week. I am proud of the progress I have made. Yes, I still have a baby “pouch”. But I’ve learned to love my body.

My advice, don’t ever give up. It took me over a year to lose over 50 pounds. Find a gym that has a daycare. I highly recommend the ymca! My kids love going to the y. So I never have to stress over them while I’m working out. Learn to love your body after having kids. Our bodies are such wonderful things. Even all the stretch marks and sagging skin is a sign of the wonders our bodies can do.

Mental Health

Mental health is one of the most polarizing and controversial topics in today’s society. Having a child, especially a newborn, can push you to the limit in so many ways (hello, relationship shifts, lack of showering, and utter exhaustion!) so it is especially important to pay attention to how your emotional status is changing on a day to day (ok, minute to minute) basis. I want to preface the remainder of this conversation with the understanding that every perspective is unique to your own experiences and mental health journey. I am in no way a mental health professional, and these thoughts are simply ideas that I have found helpful and wanted to share with you in the spirit of community!

Talk about it

As someone who has struggled with moderate anxiety for the past 10 years, I was (shocking, I know) very nervous about how becoming a parent would affect my overall mental health. I had just gotten to a point where I was using strategies to effectively cope with anxiety in a positive way,  and now I was looking at quite possibly the biggest life change I’d ever undertake...I should also mention I find change (even wonderful, wanted change) very difficult! One thing I found very helpful was talking to my husband and mother about my concerns before the birth of my daughter. I asked them both to be on the lookout for major shifts in my emotional wellbeing and to advocate for me at a time when I might not be able to advocate for myself.

Do some research

Another thing I found hugely helpful was researching the typical symptoms of anxiety, depression, and postpartum depression. I wanted to know what I should be keeping my eyes open for and also what warning signs I should be sharing with those closest to me. I was so surprised to learn that postpartum anxiety can manifest itself as being extremely quick to anger-and man, oh man, did I experience that! The National Institute of Mental Health can be a good starting point and gives quick and clear overviews on anxiety, depression, and postpartum depression that can be useful.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

There is such a stigma surrounding mental health. Our bodies are amazing (hello, creating and giving birth to a HUMAN!), but just like your bones and organ systems, your brain and mental health are susceptible to experiencing difficulty at times and it is so important to take that first step and seek help when you may need a “tune up.” And while I know it’s easier said than done, if you or a loved one suspect you may be suffering, taking that first step and reaching out to a doctor is key. Help also can come in the form of asking for or seeking out other supports. Many moms have found that a postpartum doula has been a lifesaver and other moms struggling with things like breastfeeding have found seeking out professional support to be beneficial for their overall mental wellbeing.

Use your resources

Parenthood puts a strain on just about every resource you may have: emotional, physical, mental, and financial. Making good choices about how you allocate those resources can help ease some of the strain. There’s the old adage, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” But, if running a load of laundry while you watch an episode of Real Housewives or sneaking out for a manicure is a better use of your “resources” and makes you feel a bit more human, then go for it, mama! My husband and I also divide up household and home maintenance tasks/errands between the two of us and try and squeeze in as many things as we can during the week, leaving us with more time to spend to spend together on the weekends, rather than racing around. We also made a clear plan to give ourselves some independent downtime and budgeted to fund some fun activities. It’s certainly not the same as it was pre-parenthood, but I do find we’re also more appreciative of these things now then we were before, and it certainly improves our overall mental health.

Be kind to yourself

When I first sought professional help for my anxiety, the one thing I will never forget was my therapist saying the following phrase: “You just ‘should’ all over yourself!” Her point was that so many things that factored into blocking my mental wellbeing were things I was putting in place. Once I began to be a bit kinder to myself and not have as many “shoulds” in my mind (“I should be able to handle this…” or “I shouldn’t get this upset over…”), my emotional mental health was in a much better place. So every time you start to beat yourself up...don’t! You are a wonderful and valuable human being, but you can make mistakes and that’s ok, mama!

Parenthood is a tough, amazing, beautiful journey, but we are our best selves when we take care of our mental health. I cannot stress enough that I am not a professional, and that mental health is a deeply personal issue, but I hope that these thoughts have resonated with you! Thank you, as always, for reading!

The Balancing Act

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Hi everyone! I think it’s worth sharing where I’m writing from this week since it relates to this topic. I’m currently in my hotel room at Aulani Disney resort in Hawaii, writing while my daughter naps after a fun morning at the pool. This family vacation is all part of maintaining a healthy work / life balance! I think it’s so important to get away as a family to reconnect and recharge. Not that we don’t love our everyday life, but the routines and responsibilities can take a toll, and going somewhere to relax and have fun is so nice! We have had so much fun together this past week just enjoying each other and our surroundings! P.S. I highly recommend this place for families with young children!

Anyway, on to the broader topic of work / life balance. First of all, I think it’s just that - a constant balancing of priorities. To give you a sense of what my daily life looks like, I have a full-time corporate job that I would consider both demanding and flexible, I have a two-year-old who is just demanding and not flexible ;), a husband, another baby on the way, I try to workout at least 3 times a week, I have a side business and all the other typical adult responsibilities like cooking, shopping, cleaning, etc. I think parents today more than ever are trying to do it all, and to put it simply - it’s hard! I know most of the time I feel mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the day, but I also feel like what I’m doing is worth it.

My husband and daughter are the most important things in my life, and if I could spend my time however I wanted without worrying about money, I would spend most of it with them. But this is the real world, and we need money (and lots of it in the Bay Area!) not only to survive, but to live the life we want. So I spend most of my time working. I’m fortunate to love my job, but I won’t sugar coat it - it’s still work! Having said that, it is important to me to have a career, so it also holds a top spot on my list of priorities. My short list of top priorities looks something like this - family, friends, career, fitness, healthy eating / living, travel.

Since the way I spend most of my time is dictated by financial need and career aspirations, it’s really important that I maximize my time for myself and with my family outside of work. Since I became a mom, I have learned to cram a lot more work into a shorter period of time and/or work different hours so I can fit everything that’s important to me into my day. I go into the office a bit later in the morning so I can spend time with my daughter when she wakes up and most mornings we have a family breakfast before I leave. It’s important to me not to fly out of the house unless I absolutely have to. I like to be home to get my daughter up, dressed and ready for her day. I also try to leave the office relatively early so I can go to a Crossfit class on my way home. While I would equally love to race home to my family, it’s also important to take care of my personal fitness and well-being, so I try to dedicate an hour a few evenings a week to working out. I feel so much better when I’m consistently working out, and I’m a better person, wife and mom because of it. Since I’m often getting to the office on the later side and leaving on the early side, I sometimes work again in the evenings once my daughter has gone to bed. But usually if I’m efficient with my time in the office I don’t have to do that which is great. I’d much rather put work on pause to spend a few hours with her before bed and pick it back up when she’s asleep, than work straight through and miss that precious time with her.

Once our daughter goes to bed in the evenings, my husband and I have a few hours to spend how we want (well, once the house is picked up and the kitchen is cleaned which is the bain of our existence!). Sometimes one or both of us has work to do, but ideally we get to spend quality time together, which usually means watching one of our favorite shows. The weekends are a bit all over the place just depending on what’s going on. We try to spend as much time as possible together as a family, but my husband is a self-employed videographer so his work often takes place on weekends. We just try to be mindful and if we aren’t together for a period of time, we just prioritize family time as soon as we can to balance it out. We realize that sometimes you just have to make tough choices for a variety of reasons and prioritizing what’s important isn’t always clear cut.

Because my time outside of work can feel so limited and I want to maximize time with family and friends, I’m always looking for ways to simplify or save time on those must-do things like cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. Once the weekend rolls around after a busy week, the last thing I want to do is spend it all doing errands and chores - but they still have to get done! We’ve been using various meal kit services for a couple years now and love that they give us healthy dinner options without the shopping or thought process. We have dabbled in grocery delivery services and use Amazon prime like nobody’s business! We also have a house cleaner come every once in a while to do the deep cleaning that’s so time consuming, although I am always saying that if I had a bunch of extra disposable income I would hire a daily housekeeper in a second! Keeping the house clean (especially when you have kids) is so time consuming and I am always thinking of what better things I could be doing instead of it!

Like I said, it’s a constant balancing act in prioritizing and being mindful about what’s most important to me. It’s not easy and I’m not perfect at it. Sometimes I let something less important get in the way of something more important, but I try not to beat myself up for it because I can always rebalance.

I’m looking forward to seeing how things change yet again once our second baby arrives this Fall. My daily life will obviously look a lot different while I’m on maternity leave (hello baby snuggles all day!) but I think it’s these ebbs and flows that keep life interesting! I will love the change of pace while missing work and my typical routine all at the same time.

I hope this post either gave you inspiration, validation or just the satisfaction that you could relate in some way. I look forward to connecting again in a couple weeks!

Sara  



 

 



 

 

Advice for New Moms

In early March, we welcomed our second baby into the family. My second pregnancy was not as easy or enjoyable as my first and I was being constantly plagued with the projection that, because our first, Elliot, was such an easy baby, surely number two would rock our world. I don’t know about you, but that kind of sentiment didn’t rest well with me and I am a stubborn person, so I was that much more determined to not need people after the birth of our son, Clark. Enter advice for new moms.

  1. Don’t let the opinions of other people  dictate your actions.  As I said above, I am, perhaps to a fault, a very stubborn person. I like to pretend that it translates to determined, but for the most part it’s me not wanting to be vulnerable. Mommas, the most humbling and perhaps most important thing I’ve learned is to not let what other people say change how I decision-make when it comes to my children. Sometimes that means eating your words and succumbing to what everyone was telling you, but I find that more often than not, it’s giving other people a polite smile, followed by doing exactly what you intended to in the first place. You see, there is this thing called a mother’s instinct. And it’s real-life. I have found that when I ignore that, I always end up regretting it.

  2. Listen to your body. After I had Elliot, I didn’t want help at the house from anyone. I had felt great the entire pregnancy and bounced back relatively quickly. When I delivered Clark, I knew that I would need help with Elliot, so my sister came to stay with us for a few days, but I still fought letting her and my husband take care of me. Another part of that maternal instinct is to, above all else, care for our little ones. The problem there is that our bodies need healing. Because I didn’t want to forego changing every diaper, my body suffered and I ultimately took twice as long to heal. Give yourself a second to get back on your feet and don’t be so hard on yourself. Ultimately, we can’t be at our best mom-selves if we aren’t feeling our best human-selves (and there is a difference).

  3. Make a routine.  Children want boundaries. They want to know what to expect and what you expect of them, even at birth. I think it’s fair to say that most of us function best when we can plan our day out and know what is required of us in that day. I fought this with my second baby. I think, perhaps, because I had, “He’s going to rock your world” stuck in my brain that I was just trying to make him happy, regardless of the fact that it was nothing like what I had done with my daughter. I would face an inevitable “witching hour” in the evening and dance around my living room like a fool, just for some silence. I thought that every time he cried he just needed to be fed so I stopped writing down everything I did and threw my second time mom experience out the window (huge mistake). I didn’t trust myself and my whole family briefly suffered for it. Finally, at six weeks, I stepped out of my new-mom-fog and smacked myself back to the reality that my babies like designated nap-times. They like routine feedings and structured active time. I wrote out a schedule on Sunday night that I intended to follow Monday and stick with no matter how challenging it became. It was a glorious day. He ate well, he napped well, he smiled when we played and when witching hour came, I heard silence. I’m not going to give you my schedule because it likely won’t work for you. It’s important to look at your family and block things out in a way that makes the most sense for you and fulfills the need of your newborn. I promise you, if you do this, you’ll feel like yourself again. It gives you a sense of control in what can feel like an uncontrollable new norm. It frees you from the anxiety of leaving the house and not knowing what to expect.

  4. Stop. For me, there is always something that can be done. I struggle daily with enjoying little moments and taking care of a task that feels like it’s looming in the corner. After having our son, I was very nervous about how I would give one hundred percent of my time to two children. Friends, that isn’t possible. Don’t burden your brain with that. It requires mental discipline to not go there, but you have to find ways to stop and enjoy the moments with each child, with both and as a family.

  5. Seek out other moms. This goes for moral support in addition to advice and finding great products that your kids will love. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve got a jump because you’ve already realized that our greatest assets are each other. I can’t tell you how many Instagram accounts have brought me to some of my most useful and helpful baby products. It’s this gift that we, as new moms, should definitely take advantage of more often.

I could probably write a book about different things that I’ve used or women who have helped me along the way, but those are the five that, I found, have given me the most peace of mind. Let’s be honest, we all need a little bit of that when we bring home tiny people who rely entirely on us for their care and nurturing.

My First Pregnancy

first pregnancy bump

 

Hi There!

Before too much time passes and my mind shifts to all things baby, I wanted to share a few things from my first pregnancy with our son, Tommy!

I will first say that I feel fortunate to have had a fairly easy first experience with pregnancy. Other than a week or two of mild morning sickness during weeks 7-9 and some serious acne (thank you hormones), I felt pretty great throughout and was able to continue exercising and maintain my normal work and life routines. That said, I won’t go as far to say that I wasn’t absolutely exhausted by the time the end of the third trimester rolled around but by that time there was light at the end of the tunnel!

 

COMFORT IS KEY!
When it came to maternity fashion, I prioritized comfort over all things! Since I work from home, I kept to a fairly simple maternity wardrobe of leggings and loose sweaters in the fall and winter months. I found that my Madewell cardigans which typically run large were perfect for my growing belly and I also sized up in my favorite Lululemon Wunder Under Tights & Crops and wore those throughout my entire pregnancy (I loved how they came up a bit higher but weren’t a complete full panel – they have also been amazing for the first couple of months after baby!) A few of my other favorite places to find maternity clothes were AsosTarget, Gap (their GapFittops were my favorite, so soft!) and Pea in the Pod.  

STARTING THE DAY OFF RIGHT
I’ve always loved breakfast and I honestly can’t remember a time that I have ever skipped the meal, but when I got pregnant my breakfast cravings went from grabbing something quick to…egg sandwiches; literally EVERY morning. I think that having a more substantial breakfast really helped me feel better throughout the day energy wise. I have Celiac Disease so grabbing a bagel on the go hasn’t really been an option for me for the past 10 or so years. Right around the time I found out I was pregnant, I discovered theseamazing gluten free everything bagel things and I’m pretty sure I’ve had at least one every day since! I got a set of these silicone egg ringsvoila, I was whipping up baked egg sandwiches in no time!

MY ROUTINE, SIMPLIFIED.
I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the rules of what you are and aren’t allowed to use. My best advice for the rules is to avoid google and just ask your doctor. There is so much information out there and sometimes it is hard to decipher what sources are valid but the nurses and doctors will be able to put your mind at ease with anything you aren’t sure of.

When it came to skincare products, I actually found that pregnancy helped me simplify my daily routine. I had been playing around with all kind of different brands of lotions and serums but I hadn’t found anything that I loved. Right around when I hit the 9-week mark my skin developed a mind of its own and I began getting cystic acne all over my face. As anyone who has experienced having bad breakouts can attest to, you become desperate for anything that could possibly work. Of course, many of these solutions are the same ones that are not allowed when you’re pregnant. I tried every natural remedy that I could find but to no avail. Eventually, I decided to take a step back and simplify my routine. I started using the Beauty Counter products and have been using them ever since. I can’t say for sure if it was the products themselves or the fact that my hormones had leveled out a bit mid-way through my second trimester but my skin began feeling like mine again and I loved that I was using a product line that I knew was safe for my skin but also for my little one growing inside me! I would highly recommend the charcoal cleansing bar, cleansing balm, and the rejuvenating night cream as my personal favorites thus far!  

…so there’s just a few of my personal takeaways from this time around. It is unbelievable how quickly you can forget those months and the crazy side effects of being pregnant when your little one finally arrives!

 

Xo

Kristen B.

 

Maternity Fashion

alix-maternity-fashion

Hello hello!  

I am so happy to be back and writing for the Bundle of Joy blog, this time about something that I am thinking a lot about these days.... maternity fashion!

Full disclosure - I am by no means an expert in this arena. As this is my first time dressing a bump I am still very much learning (and making some mistakes) as I go. But for the rest of you first timers out there, maybe you can learn a thing or two, or at least what not to do, from me :)

I’m now in my 18th week of pregnancy and am officially no longer able to wear my old pants. For a while I did the old hair tie around the button and through the loop of my jeans trick… it’s effective but... definitely not the most attractive option in the world. Thanks to a very sweet friend, I was upgraded to the “Instant Button” , which is essentially the same concept just using elastic made to look like the top of your jeans. Effective and attractive. These were a great solution for that awkward stage where you’re not quite big enough for maternity clothes, but your old clothes definitely aren’t comfortable anymore. My sister-in-law, who is also expecting, swears by the Belly Band. I have yet to purchase one for myself but hear only good, comfy things about it!

During the day I work as a floral designer so, fortunately, I am able to keep it pretty casual most of the time. This usually means sneakers, leggings and a loose tunic, which was basically my work wardrobe pre-pregnancy as well. The one thing I did invest in early on (out of necessity) was a new bra. I went up several sizes and even my old sports bras weren’t going to cut it, fit or comfort wise. I got two great bras from Uniqlo - no underwire but still totally supportive and very soft. Highly recommend!

Other stores I have purchased maternity clothing from so far include Old Navy (super affordable leggings and tank dresses), the Gap (I found a really pretty floral wrap dress there that I love!), H&M (I got a pair of white jeans that are super soft and fit well, I did NOT however realize how hot full panel pants make you so… I won’t be wearing them as far into the summer as I had hoped), and I also did a Stitch Fix box of maternity clothes. I didn’t keep everything, but I got a great striped dress and wrap cardigan that will double as a nursing cover so it was still a success in my book!

Now that it’s getting warmer, I’ve been wearing a ton more dresses. I love that they aren’t tight in the belly area at all (I do not miss my high waisted jeans!) and I’ve been able to wear a lot of dresses from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe as well, which I hope to do for as long as I can. I’m trying to mostly buy things I can wear both now and after delivery, so I forsee lots of loose and flowy maxi dresses in my future for this summer!

I think my biggest piece of advice so far would be to just go ahead and put your comfort above style. We had a few weddings to attend this Spring and I did not realize just how much of a toll the added weight would take on my feet in heels. Skip the heels, ladies! Unless (like me) you really want to wear them,  in which case go for it - just be sure to bring along bandaids. I was seriously blistered within MINUTES of leaving the hotel! Ouch!

Anyway, as I’m still very much learning and figuring out how to navigate bump style, I’d love to hear from other moms about what has worked for you. Where were your favorite places to find maternity clothes? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

 

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a great week!

Xoxo



 

Life With Two Kids.

Photo Credits: Jennifer Kendall Photography

Photo Credits: Jennifer Kendall Photography

I had my second baby when my first was 2 ½ years old. We knew we wanted two kids from the start. But really had no clue what to expect. Adjusting to life with 2 in the beginning went smoothly but as they get older it gets a little crazy.  

When my second was born, I signed my oldest up for part time preschool. That was definitely the best decision ever. I got two days a week to focus all of my time to just one kid. It definitely helped the transition period. As my youngest gets older, I’ve noticed the need for multiple cups of coffee. HA!! Life with two boys can get a little crazy at times. They get into EVERYTHING!!  From playing in the dirt to playing in the toilet bowl, there is never a dull moment in my house.

I have learned to keep my kids busy doing something like puzzles or coloring. We also stay very active. I joined a wonderful moms group last year. We go on play dates at least once or twice a week. I highly recommend finding a moms group. This is a great way to get kids out of the house to mingle with other kids their ages.

My boys like the same things. So having two of everything is very important. Although, I’ve noticed they still want what the other one has regardless of it’s the same. They are still learning how to share and play nicely with each other.

Being a mom of two can be so challenging at times. But I can honestly tell you it’s the best decision in the world to grow your family. My boys don’t always get along, and that can be annoying. But I can tell they love each other so much and as they get older they will only grow closer. I keep telling myself not to blink because the last two years just flew by.

Partner and Family Dynamics

This weekend I traveled to New Orleans to catch a flight to Pennsylvania for a work conference. Fortunately for me, my in-laws live there and not only did they let me crash the night before my early morning flight, but my mother-in-law drove me to the airport at 6am. (Praise hands!) As soon as I made it through security, I grabbed a chai tea latte and made myself comfortable while I waited until it was late enough to FaceTime my husband and son.  By 6:50am I was making silly faces as I was talking to Chris and Blake, and when I hung up the phone I laughed and thought to myself: “Wow… times have changed!”

With that reality setting in, I started thinking about the last 19 months. I thought about how different my relationships are, how differently I prioritize my time/energy/resources, what values lead my life, and how my identity as a woman has evolved. I’m sure a lot of moms can relate to this, so I’d like to share some of the obvious and not so obvious impacts that these changes can have with your partner and your family dynamics and what you can do to manage that.

First, your identity (or the role you’ve played) changes, thus your identity/role in your closest relationships changes. Sure, I’m still Amanda and you’re still you, but also… not really. How you see yourself changes, and I’m not just talking about the reflection in the mirror. Being a mother means your priorities shift, your responsibilities grow, and your values evolve as you begin to settle into life as a parent. When your primary identity changes from wife or daughter to MOTHER the ripple effect can seem like a tidal wave to the people who knew you before.

Emotions, oh, the emotions. Being a mother certainly can introduce new emotions and even significant shifts in your mood and behavior. You may find yourself on the verge of tears as you look at your kids’ baby photos from last month (seriously?). You may also find yourself operating in extremes- becoming completely enmeshed with you child’s emotions or completely intolerant of your spouse’s. The emotional rollercoaster you didn’t sign up to ride has you barreling down a cliff and as you look behind, you see your very confused husband and family screaming behind you. Whoops! Who knew these emotional changes were so powerful.

Another change that is both obvious and expected is that your spending habits change. And I’m talking more than just money (hello, new roommate!). You’re also spending more time getting out of the door every morning, you’re spending less time sleeping, you’re spending more brain power trying to manage multiple workloads and sets of expectations, and you’re spending more physical energy making sure your new roommate is housed, clothed, and fed on a daily basis. Your regular date night is forgotten about, running that errand for your sister is impossible, and that birthday reminder you wrote on your calendar gets overlooked. And all these changes mean you’re spending less time/energy/attention focusing on your romantic and family relationships. So, you guessed it- these changes in your spending have consequences!

It’s ok… I repeat- IT IS OK. You are human, and you are constantly in transition. And I promise you that if your support system is made up of a least a couple of decent individuals they will forgive you. However, in an effort to not completely bankrupt your support system’s forgiveness bank I’d like to share some communication strategies and other tactics that I use, and that you can try to bring some balance back to your partner and family dynamics.

Ask for what you need.

This is probably the most important one! I swear, there is no greater spiritual practice than being aware of what you need and asking for it. Tell your partner and your family what’s going on, tell them what you need, ask for their help- and accept it. Despite these people loving you and knowing you does NOT mean they can interpret or even anticipate your needs. They are very used to you being just their wife, just their daughter, just their sister and will likely continue to treat you that way unless you inform them that you need something more/less or different.  

Take accountability.

I can tell you from experience, this one can be hard at times; however, when I’ve done it right it strengthens my relationships. Tell your spouse you’re sorry if you forget something important; don’t let the guilt make you avoid them or the topic. If you snapped at your mom- make amends.  Acknowledge your newfound limits and make a game plan for how you want to manage your multiple roles.

Be open and honest.

Say “no” when you really can’t make something happen- I promise you, people handle an initial rejection better than a delayed one. If you’re feeling burned out, let your partner or family know. They may be willing to take over if it means you’ll be recharged the next day.

Set boundaries

This one can be difficult pending your pre-baby dynamic. If things were tense before you started a family, you can probably anticipate that setting boundaries will continue to be difficult. However, decide what boundaries you need for yourself and your new life and communicate those to your family and partner. If someone in your family repeatedly crosses boundaries, make a game plan for what consequences will be upheld and how you want to address it with them.  

Be gentle with yourself

Give yourself permission to feel a wide range of emotions in general and towards others. Don’t judge these emotions as they come up. Be realistic about what you can handle any given week and don’t put unnecessary things on your plate. It may sound silly but if you make it a point to talk kindly to yourself you will feel better as you figure all this transition stuff out.

To all my fellow roller coaster riders out there, I hope you’re enjoying your ride!

 

xo,

Amanda

 

My Favorite Baby Gear

Hey mamas! This week we’ll be talking about some of my favorite products for little ones. I want to preface this by saying that I HATE baby gear-truly, I hate clutter of all varieties and my husband can attest to the fact that nothing makes me happier than purging our possessions and getting rid of things we don’t love or use frequently. I know the usual rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in 6 months, get rid of it; I prefer to use a 2 month rule, seasonal items notwithstanding. What we have in our home are products that are used regularly and are fairly neutral in design. Something to also keep in mind is that every babe and family is different and has their own set of preferences and needs but these are the hands-down the best products that we’ve used for our family.

Feeding:

This is such a tricky area to make recommendations, as things are so individualized to you and your baby’s needs. One thing that we found to be very helpful was the Boon Grass drying rack. We’ve used it since the beginning and are still going strong with it 18 months in! I love that it looks a bit more fun than most drying racks-if it’s going to sit on my counter for two years, I want to like how it looks! A few other items that worked for us were the Tommee Tippee bottles and soft lid cups (not a million parts, easy to wash, and never gave her gas!), and the Munchkin 360 cups.

Sleeping/Clothing:

One product I found to be very helpful isn’t exactly a “baby product” but I highly recommend reading Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. The section on “The Pause” was so helpful to read when we were working on establishing healthy sleep habits with Ellie. We are also huge fans of Petit Pehr swaddles; the muslin is so soft and stretchy (perfect for creating baby burritos!) and the prints are fantastic. When we found out we were expecting our new babe, this was one of the items I immediately ordered, along with some new Petit Pehr crib sheets. Our nursery is predominantly neutral colors, but these fun sheets gave the nursery a bit of a playful pop.

In terms of clothing, I’ll try to be brief but wanted to share those items that we’ve loved and would buy again and again. The Gap has most adorable knit Garter Collection sweaters. These beauties hold up wonderful after multiple washes and work well for little boys and girls. I always imagine that I’ll end up saving one for each of my children to pass down to their little ones one day. I have the same thought towards the Freshly Picked moccasins. While a little pricey, they stay on your babes feet easily and are just such a great basic shoe for both babies and young walkers. Hanna Andersson pajamas are also a favorite in our house. These jammies are excellent quality, super soft, hold up beautifully after many cycles through the wash and come in my favorite style-stripes!

Something I’d recommend investing in is a Patagonia down sweater. Steve gave me the hardest time in spending the money for this item but it was so worth it. After a winter of playing outside, this jacket looks just as good as the day we got it. We plan on purchasing these in gender-neutral colors and having each of our children get some wear out of them.

My last favorite items for Ellie have been her L.L.Bean fleece jacket, as well as her very own L.L.Bean slippers made from the same material as the popular Wicked Good slippers. These shearling beauties are so toasty and the rubber sole was terrific for her, especially when she was just learning to walk.

Play:

It is so easy to get carried away with purchasing every toy imaginable for your little ones, but I really don’t have too many recommendations in this area. Ellie loved playing with some traditional toys like the Fisher Price stacking cups and rings, but one thing she got the biggest kick out of was the Munch Mitt. This little glove-like toy is capped with a food-grade silicone top that babies LOVE to chew on and the mitt design allows them (ok, you!) to not worry about dropping it over and over again. Anything made by Bannor Toys has also gotten a lot of love in our house. These heirloom quality wooden toys can also be personalized and not only are beautiful and durable but make great gifts for friends and family when they bring home a new babe.

Gear:

Like every girl who wasn’t the first to have a baby among their close group of friends, when I initially registered for a stroller, I stole recommendations from my mama pals who had done all the research. We wound up with the Britax B Agile & B Safe 35 Travel System. I was perfectly happy with this set up...until I got pregnant again. Now my suggestion for new moms is to register for a stroller that can convert to a double! We recently purchased the Baby Jogger City Select and man-oh-man, am I in love! This stroller is fantastic because of it’s in-line set up (hello, aisles of Target that I can easily fit down!), ability to handle easily (because what mother honestly has two free hands to push a stroller?), and it’s flexibility configurations and in fitting an infant car seat along with toddler seats. The City Select also has converter clips for almost every major car seat which is so helpful!

Another mama hack I couldn’t live without is babywearing. While I know this is certainly subject not only to your preferences but also your child’s, I highly suggest giving it a try a few different time. I started wearing Ellie in the Solly baby wrap (so soft, so stretchy, perfect for brand new babes) and while she wasn’t super happy the first few times I wore her, by the end of the first week, she was snoozing away in the wrap, giving me more time to use both of my hands. Once she was around three months, I switched to using a Wildbird ring sling. Mamas, purchase one of these beauties at your own risk as they are highly addictive! The simplicity of the ring sling design (so easy to get on and off) and the gorgeousness of the breathable linen material is why I prefer slinging to a more traditional structured carrier. That being said, if a carrier is more your bag, I highly recommend checking out Happy Baby and Lillebaby carriers-they have excellent reviews and come in the cutest prints.

Now for my all-time favorite baby/toddler product-the Ciao Baby high chair. Steve and I joke all the time that we should be brand ambassadors, due to the number of times we’ve been asked about this amazing chair when we’ve been out and about. This collapsible high chair is made much like a camp chair and folds neatly into its fabric case for easy travel. The plastic coated tray section is easily wiped down and can be used not only for feeding but also as an on-the-go playstation. Ellie has used this since she was five months old and we actually used it yesterday when we took her to get ice cream. It goes with us quite literally everywhere (on vacation, out to dinner, to Grandma’s house) and is such a terrific product, especially since the market doesn’t really offer anything quite like it.

I hope that this post was helpful but want to end with this thought: borrow! Borrow any and all baby items that you can, to try things out and see what works for you and your little one. Then invest in items that you feel will get a lot of use and hold up well through multiple children.

If you have any other items that you have loved for your family, please, please, please share them in the comments below!

 

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Becoming a Mom of Two

sara k-mom of two

Hi again everyone! Thrilled to be back for my second Bundle Moms blog post! As you may have read in my “About Me” post, I am expecting my second baby in early October. Well, we recently found out the gender and we’re so excited to share we’re having another girl! I am still sort of processing because I was convinced it was a boy! When the ultrasound tech told us, I yelled, “WHAT?! NO WAY!” and then a couple tears of joy rolled down my face. I was shocked and happy at the same time. I love having a daughter so I’m thrilled to have another one. Also, my relationship with my sister is so special, so I’m excited for the bond that my daughters will hopefully have.

Finding out the gender has definitely made me more excited about the pregnancy. I remember feeling this way the first time too - it just feels more real! This milestone also signifies being halfway through the pregnancy, which brings on contrasting feelings of “I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever,” to “OMG we’re already halfway there!” The first part always feels longer because you likely don’t feel well and you might be keeping your happy news a secret, and the second half seems to fly by! Looking at the busy summer months ahead I’m sure October 2 will be here before we know it! Although, my guess is she will make her grand entrance in late September :)

Everything is different this time around… from the pregnancy itself to the way I’m feeling about bringing another baby into our lives, to what our daily life looks like now. The first time around I would describe my mental state as excited and slightly overwhelmed by what taking care of a newborn would actually be like. This time I feel much less nervous about the newborn parenting stuff, but instead overwhelmed about having two young children to care for. Especially since our first born, Dylan is approaching two years old and is exhibiting some qualities that fall under that “terrible two’s” phrase. Although at her core she’s a super sweet, fun girl, she can be very challenging at times and the thought of dealing with her and a newborn at the same time is definitely daunting. I know it won’t be easy, but the good will outweigh the bad and it will all be worth it.

Since I’ve been through it once before, I have an idea of what I’m looking forward to and what I’m not. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the breastfeeding experience, so I’m not looking forward to that, but I do believe in the benefits of it so I’m more than willing to make the sacrifice again. And I think it goes without saying, but I’m not looking forward to the midnight feedings and diaper changes and interrupted sleep, but I am looking forward to all the baby snuggles it comes with. Even though Dylan is only two (but she’s big for her age), she seems like such a big kid now, and I’m looking forward to holding a tiny, cuddly, sleepy baby in my arms. When I look back on that time with Dylan, some things were harder and some things were easier. They sleep more frequently and aren’t mobile so there’s no chasing them around and keeping them out of trouble, but they also require so much and when you can’t figure out why they’re crying it can be exhausting. Like I mentioned in my first post, there are just different challenges and joys at each stage, and I’m so curious about what it will be like to navigate all the challenges and joys of two children at two different stages. I know some days I’ll feel defeated and some days I’ll feel like Super Mom. Bring it on!

I’m definitely looking forward to maternity leave more this time. I think the first time I was overwhelmed at being a brand new mom and sometimes forgot to enjoy the time. This time since I know more of what to expect, I hope to really cherish the time because it’s so special. Dylan will be in all-day preschool by then which I think will be great for all of us, especially through the transition. I think Dylan will love and thrive in her new routine with new friends, and John and I will get to focus the majority of the day on the new baby and then enjoy time together as a family in the evenings and on weekends. I’m also excited because John will be home while I’m on maternity leave this time. Last time he had a different job and was in the office every day. Now that he’s self-employed, he will be home with us! I’m sure it will be challenging for him to focus on work and the baby, but I’m going into it with the mindset that I’m the primary caregiver and his priority during the day is work unless I really need help. It will just be nice to have him around so I’m not lonely!

Something I feel really great about is the fact that I’ll be taking 6 months off work for maternity leave, and when I go back John will continue to take care of baby #2 for probably another 6 months before we send her to daycare, and once we do, we know we’ll take her to the same place Dylan goes to now which we love. Already knowing where both kids will be all day at that point is really comforting, and as a bonus, they are just a few blocks away from each other.  

There are some other logistics on my mind as we get further along with this pregnancy, including figuring out how to arrange the kids room (we only have two bedrooms in our house so they will share) going through the storage bins of Dylan’s baby clothes and stuff to decide what we need and what we can part with, and potty training Dylan before baby #2 gets here. We have a busy summer ahead so sometimes as the days and weeks are flying by, one of these things pops into my head and I have a moment of panic thinking about how we need to take care of them, but I know they’ll happen when they’re meant to.

Overall I’m super excited about having another baby and (almost) everything that comes with it. I can’t wait to see Dylan become a big sister and to watch them interact and grow together. I realize we’re very fortunate to be able to grow our family and have two healthy children. I look forward to sharing more updates with all of you soon!

 

Sara  


 

Meet Kristen.

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Hi There!

I am honored to be a part of the Bundle of Joy Community and to be joining this incredible group of moms in sharing our stories and learning from one another!

First, a little bit about me…

My name is Kristen Beilein and I am very new to the title of “mom,” just about 8 weeks to be exact. As those of you with children can relate to, having our son Tommy has truly changed our world in the most amazing ways possible. On the other hand, I’d be lying if I didn’t say the past two months have been a bit of a whirlwind (hence my late intro post, apologies!)

My husband, Patrick, and I live in Syracuse, NY where we met four years ago. We fell in love quickly and starting a family was always a large part of how we envisioned our future together. We got married last June and while we weren’t sure how long it may take us to grow our family, we were delighted (and yes, a bit surprised) when it happened very quickly! There are certain moments that you can remember so vividly and telling Patrick our news is one of those for me. I will never forget the smile on his face and the love in his eyes when I told him that he was going to be a dad.

I was born here in Upstate, NY but I haven’t always lived in the freezing cold. I enjoyed four amazing years at the University of North Carolina where I played lacrosse for the Tar Heels alongside my best friend and older sister, Kelly. After college, I moved to NYC where I worked in Merchandising for Ralph Lauren. After about a year and a half, I realized I was in search of a new challenge and moved out West for a job with Nike at their World Headquarters in Oregon. I fell in love with the charming city of Portland; everything from the local farmers markets to my girlfriends who made 6am runs together the best part of the day. I learned so much about myself during those years as I grew my career in Product Development and Brand Marketing, but the one thing I missed dearly and knew I could never duplicate in Oregon was family.

Fast forward to 2014. I moved back to Upstate, NY and pursued a personal goal of working for myself. I started a consulting business where I could focus more of my time on the work that I loved and while it’s hard to believe that it’s been over 3 years since this new beginning, so many wonderful things have happened since taking that leap…engaged, married, and now blessed with our baby boy. We are incredibly fortunate to have two amazing families and I feel very lucky to be living just miles from my mom and siblings here in Syracuse. It is a dream to be able to call my sister up and meet her for coffee or take our kids to the playground together and see her two little ones love on their new cousin Tommy. We coach our High School lacrosse team together which has been such a fun adventure and brings back the best memories of playing the sport that we loved together. Patrick is a college basketball coach which will likely take our little family on a journey of living in different places but for right now Syracuse is home, and we love that.

Being a first-time mom has been the most rewarding, intimidating, tiring and overall the most incredible experience of my life. Patrick and I often find ourselves staring at his little face (he started smiling last week and it is the most amazing thing, ever). I am definitely a ‘planner’ by nature but if there is anything that pregnancy and motherhood have already taught me, it is to embrace the beauty of uncertainty.In full disclosure, I don’t even know exactly what going back to work will look like for me in these next few months but for now, I am soaking up every minute with our little guy and we will figure that out as we go.

I look forward to sharing more about my experiences as a first-time mom and learning from you all. I have already had many ‘rookie’ moments and am about to embark on a flight to Tampa with the little guy in t-minus 12 hours so I will have lots to report back on about flying with an infant (prayers please!)

Thanks so much for letting me introduce myself and I can’t wait to grow this community together!

 

xo,

Kristen

 

Meet Corinne.

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Hi everyone! My name is Corinne Plafker. I am 29 years old and live in Burlingame, California, a town just about 15 minutes from San Francisco, with my husband, Jake, my beautiful 6-month old baby girl, Maddison, and fur-baby, Nash.

I was born and raised in San Francisco, graduated from San Francisco State University, started my career in event planning in San Francisco, a true city girl, can’t you tell? Little did I know what was in store for me on this crazy journey called life...

In college I met my best friend, Liz, who introduced me to her cousin, Jake. We went on a camping trip to Lake Don Pedro for Memorial Day Weekend 2008 and that's when sparks flew. Jake and I kept in contact for years as friends, but about five years ago we went on our official first date and the rest is history.

Jake was working on finding his career path which drastically shifted from Physical Therapy to Cardiac Pulmonary Perfusion. With this switch meant searching for a school. We had two options: Nashville, Tennessee or Charleston, South Carolina. We visited Charleston for his first interview and took a road trip down to Nashville for his second. On the drive to Nashville, I may have gotten a little ahead of myself and excited about starting this new life together so I started to search for puppies (yes, crazy, I know!). It was love at first Ebay Pet Classifieds ad- the stuffed animal look-a-like puppy! For hours we went back and forth about this insane idea about getting a puppy on a cross-country trip, but in the end went home with our fur-baby, Nash (for Nashville). This story has a slight resemblance of our relationship. Happy wife, happy life, right? Jake was first accepted into Nashville and then into Charleston. This surfer boy couldn't imagine life without a beach, so Charleston it was. Needles to say, this true city girl followed her heart for love to the South!

Three months before moving, Jake popped the question. We decided to have a long engagement so that we could enjoy our new city, apartment, fur-baby, and not stress about the details of wedding planning.  The move was bittersweet; sad to leave everything I had ever known, but desperate for a new adventure. I packed up boxes of my exorbitant amount of clothes, left my job as a wedding planner, said goodbye to family and friends and we hit the road! Shortly after arriving in Charleston, we were able to get settled. I finally found a job back in wedding planning and spent a lot of time networking to meet new friends. The change was hard at first, but was a distant memory once it just became our normal life. Yes, driving away from our apartment complex seeing alligators in the morning was never quite normal, but friendships grew, work became routine, and we were happy with our new Southern life.

After the first year of school, Jake learned he would be traveling to various hospitals within the country for rotations which meant we would spend the next 8 months apart. Back home to San Francisco Nash and I went and spent many nights on FaceTime and exchanged nonstop handwritten letters. I decided to start my own wedding planning business and dabble into a new career path- recruiting. After accepting a position at UCSF, Jake moved back home and we moved into an apartment in Burlingame, California to start our new journey.  Finally, on September 3, 2016 we got married at a winery in Los Gatos, California.

Six months after getting married, we found out we were going to have a baby! Overwhelmed with joy, panic, and all of the emotions you could possibly imagine we shared the news with close family and friends. We were both convinced we were having a boy- we went through all the old wives tales to see what certain cravings meant, checked the Chinese calendar, took gender prediction tests, we did it all! After so much anticipation, we finally found out we were having a baby GIRL! We were both ecstatic. I tried to take control of my shopping addiction and not go too crazy with the adorable baby clothes in Baby Gap which is in walking distance from our apartment (dangerous, right?).

I feel so blessed because I have to say, pregnancy for me was a breeze. I didn’t have morning sickness, I was craving things like cold fresh-squeezed orange juice and fruit loops. The worst part about my pregnancy was the new disgust I had for Mexican food- even the smell of walking into a Mexican restaurant would make me queasy. What was once my favorite food, now made me sick- literally. The months passed by, and I just grew and grew… not only my stomach, but my calves and ankles. I remember one night wanting to walk downtown (or should I say waddle) to dinner, it was cold so I wanted to put on my Ugg boots. I couldn’t get them on, Jake came to help me pull them up and then i just got stuck, so he had to pull them off, with force, which led me to kicking him in the face. The same went for my Nikes, they wouldn’t even tie anymore. I kept telling myself it was only a few more weeks. Finally it was November 2, 2017, the day I had been waiting for, Maddison’s due date, but that date came and went. This baby girl was not ready to come out! I was so unbelievably uncomfortable at this point. I couldn’t sleep, I was popping tums like they were tic-tacs, I cleaned our baseboards daily, I was more than ready to meet this baby, but she wasn’t ready to meet us.

To Kaiser we went, at 41 and ½ weeks pregnant it was time to get induced! We packed the car with our hospital bags, pillows, snacks, both so overcome with emotions we barely even said a word to each other on our drive. We checked in to the hospital, they checked heart rates and to see how dilated I was (or wasn’t!). Because I was only half a centimeter dilated, they gave me a dose of misoprostol and sent me home. We had to go back the next day for another dose of medicine and had to repeat this process one last time since I would be admitted for the next dose. Sunday was the day we had the second dose of medicine, so we decided to make the best of it and went on a date. As we’re walking, I started to get contractions. Jake pulls out his app on his phone to time everything but we still weren’t close. We came home, I sat on my pilates ball bouncing away and finishing any last cleaning I could. Around 11pm I woke Jake up (yes, he was trying to nap to make sure he was well-rested for the hospital) because my contractions had gotten more painful and closer together. He called Kaiser, we repacked the car, and headed in. After five minutes of getting to the hospital, my water broke!

I always thought when your water breaks, it means you’re very close to having a baby… I guess you learn a lot more once you’re actually pregnant and going through labor, because that was false! Sixteen hours, two shots of fentanyl, and an epidural later we welcomed our beautiful baby into this world. She was and is absolute perfection.

I will say that since the beginning of pregnancy I was most worried about the days and weeks post-labor and that worry was validated immediately. Jake and I hit a new level of vulnerability and comfort those two nights in the hospital. We had no idea how life would change, how to really care for a brand new baby, how sleep would be, but we rolled out of the hospital and back home and instinct took over!

This journey is just beginning. Maddison just turned six months old and time sure has flown by! We had our struggles with breastfeeding, a lengthy recovery from labor, sleepless nights, constant Google searches, a career shift, a new outlook on alone time, but it has all been worth it. The most exciting part has been watching this brand-new baby change every single day- hearing her make a new noise, watching her react, seeing her smile or laugh, developing a personality. The lack of sleep, mom-brain, and rare showers are quickly forgotten when this baby girl gives me a smile! I cannot wait to share more about my journey post pregnancy and watching Maddison grow with a network of other moms!

 

Xo,

Corinne

 

 

Meet Sarah L.

sarah- bundle blog

Hi there,

I am so excited to be a part of the Bundle of Joy Community!

My name is Sarah Lawrence. I am 26 years old. My hubby and I have been together going on 8 years now. We have two boys, 4 and 2. We live in Florida.

I have been blessed to be a stay at home mom going on 2 years now. I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom for as long as I can remember. I was actually homeschooled until I was in 5th grade.

Life with boys has its challenges but man they have so much love in their hearts for their momma.

A couple things I have learned/learning still is 1. to slow down and enjoy all the small moments. Man, my kids have grown up so fast. I mean my oldest is almost in kindergarten. This one is hard for me because I am the one that always has to be somewhere on time. I rush around and miss so much important things. So it’s my goal this year to not rush. And 2. find a Mom tribe. Last year I met some amazing moms. We are all raising the same age kids and going through the same stages. It’s so awesome to have some Mom adult time every now and then.

I am looking forward to sharing life as a mom of two boys with you all soon!



 

Meet Catherine.

Photo Credit Instant de Vie Photography

Photo Credit Instant de Vie Photography

Hi everyone! My name is Catherine Van WIngerden. I am 28 and  live in Culpeper, Virginia with my husband, 3-year-old daughter, Elliot,  and newborn son, Clark. My husband and I are high school sweethearts. Twelve years together, almost seven years married and recently two-children in. One might ask what landed us in suburban Virginia? My husband’s family was heavily involved in the horticultural world in the states and out of college he started a business growing Orchids. We operate a commercial greenhouse in the area doing just that.  I have had the journey of working in banking, teaching English, jumping into our business for three years and now have the unique opportunity of being a stay-at-home-mom; by far, the most challenging and rewarding of any job I have ever occupied.

I am the baby of my family, but have always been a natural caregiver and nurturer. I take on the world’s problems as my own and feel a need fix things. I’m also silly. The only thing better than having someone make me laugh, is being able to watch someones face brighten up after I’ve made them laugh. Color intimidates me: before having my daughter the only color in my closet was chartreuse and maybe some red. After, I added some blush millennial pinks that dance on the nude spectrum, so I can’t say I adventure in that department. I am a terrible creature of habit; so much so that when opening the garage door when letting my dog out, she ran into the one that I usually open rather than the one that I did that night. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad one, but it’s allowed me a day-to-day routine with my family that works for us.

Shortly after the birth of my daughter in 2014, I had the itch to connect with others. For those of you that have gone from working full-time to being a stay-at-home-mom, the transition is interesting. You’re exhausted and emotionally overworked, but newborns sleep an awful lot during the day.  I wanted to use all of my newfound “free time” for more than just organizing and reorganizing closets and drawers (more on this later because being a stay-at-home-mom to a toddler in school part-time and a newborn is not as, let’s say, freeing, as the bliss of life with one). After brainstorming and thinking about where I could connect, I realized that my immediate friend groups ranged from single to dating on Bumble, to married, to married with 3 children and then me: married, with a newborn, trying to figure out parenting. We were all women, all in different walks of life, but we all had something that bind us:: personal style and the need for an outlet. That need prompted me to take a course and get certified in Fashion Styling.

Body image is always something that  I have struggled with. Styling gave me a fantastic understanding of how you can take your body and recognize it for it’s beauty and enhance what you do love rather than pick apart the tiny things that you don’t. In the course, I also found that combining old pieces in your closet with new, updated ones helped stretch my creativity and constant need for consumption of more.

As my daughter got older and wasn’t just in onesies and comfy one pieces, the fun of coordinating began. My point of view quickly moved from styling myself to styling both of us. From there it took a turn into health and wellness as well as developmental activities for my little baby that was growing at what felt was lightening speed. I was always a “healthy” person, but having a  little one to nourish made it that much more important and fun for me! I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to grow with my blog as I have grown as a woman and a mother.

I feel so privileged to be a contributing part of the Bundle of Joy family. Caroline was one the first (and if I’m being honest *only*) successful bloggers that I felt an instant connection with. She always communicated with me when I reached out and I always felt that it was so kind and thoughtful of her. It’s not surprising that she would come up with a brand that thinks about the genuine needs of a mother after just having a baby rather than fluff.

I’m looking forward to unwrapping more of what I’ve outlined here as I contribute and get to know each of you! Connecting with people and realizing that no matter where we are in life, there are threads that weave us all together is not only refreshing, but enriching. Being able to communicate regarding motherhood takes an area of life that can be isolating, and makes it a community. Here’s to transparency and, if only for one person, making someone not feel so alone.

 

Catherine VW

Photo Credit Instant de Vie Photography

Meet Heather

heather- bundle

Well, hi there! I’m Heather, though most of the time I answer to Mom, Mama or Mommy shouted at the top of tiny lungs. I’m a stay-at-home mother of three, something I am certain my younger self would find hilarious. I always hoped to be a parent, probably of two children, but three? No way. Not me. I am not nearly patient enough. I covet alone time. And I’m a neat freak! A large family would surely be the end of my sanity.

And yet by some magic of finding the right partner (my incredible husband, Larsen) and a supportive community of extended family and friends, here I sit, a blissed-out mother of three who has found joy in being surrounded by just the right amount of chaos.

Do not be mistaken: there are moments when I am next-level TIRED; when I yell at my kids; when I am not having fun. At. All. Like when I hosted Christmas Eve dinner last year, and while frantically tablescaping and doing advance meal prep for a three-course meal for 14 people, my preschooler woke up covered in barf. (Yeah.)

But more often than not, we are doing cartwheels in our garden; baking Smitten Kitchen’s salted chocolate chip cookies with way too much Maldon; snuggling while my kindergartener reads to us; and singing along to The Dixie Chicks at the top of our lungs in our big, messy, carseat-filled car. Our hometown of Piedmont, California, is the kind of place where neighbors walk their children to school together and the Fourth of July means potluck block parties with mismatched tablecloths and flower centerpieces from everybody’s gardens. It is a very good life, and I am deeply grateful it is mine.

A lawyer by trade, I started blogging while expecting my first child and restoring a century-old Edwardian flat in San Francisco with my husband. I was overwhelmed by these new roles of wife, expectant mother and homeowner, and Priss & Vinegar proved the perfect outlet for exploring them all. Its pages chronicle a journey from exhausted new parent, to in-the-weeds mother of two children 2-and-under, with an unexpected (and mercifully brief) turn into the heartbreak of secondary infertility while trying for our third child. There have been Pinterest-worthy parties, mortifying public tantrums, and all manner of triumph and trial in between.

I am thrilled to be part of the Bundle community to share what I’ve learned as well as pick up new tricks from all of you. Though I’ve been at this parenting game for almost seven years, I certainly don’t have all the answers! If anything, the most important wisdom I’ve gained is that just when you think you’re crushing it at parenthood, change comes barreling your way.

You are probably reading this while getting side-eyed by the helicopter mommies at the playground or pumping in the backseat of your car or some other super glamorous location that moms frequent. So, thank you! Your spare time is precious and I’m delighted you spend it with me. This is going to be FUN.

xo, Heather

 

 

 

 

Meet Sarah R.

My name is Sarah R. and I am a 31-year-old working mama who lives in Connecticut and I am thrilled to be able to connect with you mamas here on The Bundle of Joy Blog! My husband and I have been married for almost three years and have a sweet, spirited (ok, strong willed!) 18-month-old daughter, Ellie, who we adore. I work as a high school special education teacher at my former high school and, while it can be a bit awkward  having my former teachers as colleagues, I really do enjoy what I do! I also work with middle and high school students through two youth theater programs and this serves as a great creative outlet…though I’m not sure how continuing to do these things will work after our second babe joins us this fall!

I’d rather clean than cook and, luckily, married someone who has the opposite preferences. Otherwise, we might be surviving exclusively on take out! My husband, Steve, and I met playing bar trivia with mutual friends, and after a group ski trip and some nudging, we started dating. Steve is my saving grace, not only as a person, but especially as a mother. He is my partner in all things, from caring for our daughter, making dinner, taking care of the house and yard, etc. My second pregnancy hasn’t left me feeling so great, and he has been my hero in helping everything to run smoothly while reassuring me that I am not a complete failure.

After we were married, I had a lot of anxiety surrounding starting a family. After watching friends struggle with infertility heartbreak, I was convinced that getting pregnant would be difficult for us too. . However, much to our surprise (read: shock), we got pregnant very quickly and I had a wonderful pregnancy with Ellie. She joined us in November 2016, after a labor that left me feeling strong, in-tune with my body and with her, and showered in love. To the expecting first time mamas-every mother’s labor is different, challenging, and beautiful in its own way, but I can assure you that a wonderful labor and delivery can happen; In fact, I’d relive that day over and over again if I could!

Ellie was an easy infant who slept and breastfed like a champ, and just as we started to believe she had inherited her dad’s easy-going and mellow disposition…she turned one! She is now a hilarious, opinionated, little girl with a big personality and is truly the greatest joy in our lives. She adores other children, is very inquisitive, and is currently quite interested in going to “sit” and read a book or go “ouuusiiiide” to see if there are birds or flowers in the yard. I’ll be honest and say that while Steve and I can’t wait to welcome our newest addition this fall, there is a big part of me that feels a bit sad that this time as a cozy family of three is coming to an end. In this spirit, I’m focusing on making wonderful memories with our girl this summer before she becomes a big sister and our hearts double in size.

Motherhood is the wildest ride of all time. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a mama and the day we had Ellie was easily the happiest day of my life. That being said, I never knew I could feel so many conflicted emotions all at once. The fear, guilt, and constant second-guessing of parenthood, mixed in with all that happiness, pride, and love is simultaneously the most difficult and amazing experience of my life. Lifting up and supporting other parents is something I am passionate about, and I am beyond thrilled to be a part of this community.Without a doubt, I can’t wait to share this journey together! XOXO

Meet Alix

alix-bundle of joy

Hi there!

Thank you so much for visiting the Bundle of Joy Community Blog! I’m so excited to be joining this group of fabulous mamas as a contributor and I look forward to sharing a little bit of my journey with you.

Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Alix and I am a 28 year old first time mom-to-be. I grew up in a small town on Long Island about an hour east of Manhattan with my parents and younger brother. If I wasn’t at the beach, bouncing between part-time jobs and school, or spending time with my closest friends, you could find me on the stage singing and acting in all the school plays. These days I save it mostly for the shower, but still love my creative outlets! Though I no longer call New York home and have grown fond of southern style, there will always be a special place in my heart (and room in my freezer!) for a New York bagel. They really are the best!

I first left the northeast in 2008 when I packed my things and started freshman year at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. It was there, in the same dorm, I met my wonderful husband Richard. After college we soldiered through a few tough years long distance while in graduate school (Richard in New Orleans while I studied art history at Georgetown) before he joined me in DC, which we have called home ever since. It has been so exciting to see the city change over the years and being able to take advantage of everything it offers. We have loved the District but are always dreaming about our next move and where we want to raise our growing family. Location TBD, and we are definitely open to suggestions! :)

As I mentioned, I love expressing myself creatively, which makes running a small flower shop in the heart of the city a dream! I enjoy making arrangements by day and painting or photographing flowers for my online business by night. I feel very lucky that I get to make beautiful things and work with my hands each day.

Full disclosure, I am a little giddy writing this post as I just got off the phone with my OB to schedule my mid pregnancy ultrasound. I cannot wait to find out if we are having a boy or a girl! I have a feeling it’s a boy but almost everyone else in my life is convinced it’s a girl. We shall see!

I am currently 16 weeks pregnant and just starting to show. My husband is also finally starting to believe that it’s all really happening, though he keeps accusing me of pushing out my belly when I tell him to look at how much it has grown. (I’m not pushing it out.. to be clear!) For me on the other hand, the pregnancy has been very real for the past 3 months. Without getting into all the messy details, just know there was... a lot of vomiting, and not always at the most opportune times (ie. mid conversation walking down the street... in the flower pots just outside my front door... pregnancy hormones are no joke people!). If you’re currently in the thick of all the nasty first trimester symptoms, just know there is a light at the end of the tunnel!! I finally started feeling like myself again last week and let me tell you, finding food appetizing after months of barely being able to keep down plain toast feels amazing.

Our due date is October 25th and I am overwhelmed with excitement, nerves, joy... all of the emotions (!) at the thought of meeting our little one in just 6 more months. I feel like I have been doing so much research about pregnancy but should probably start transitioning into reading about... everything that happens afterwards. Please send any good book recommendations my way!

Thanks so much for reading a little bit about me, I can’t wait to share more of my experiences with you and I so look forward to watching this community grow and evolve. Xoxo!

 

Meet Amanda K.

Blake (7 months) at his Baptism

Blake (7 months) at his Baptism

Hey y’all! I’m Amanda- I’m a 30 year old wife, mother, and Licensed Professional Counselor from a small town in Mississippi. I’m so honored to be joining The Bundle of Joy community and contributing to the blog!

A little bit about me… I’ve lived in Mississippi all but two years of my life. I’m a wife to Chris and a mom to 10 month old, Blake (real baby) and six year old, LoLo (dog baby)! I’m the eldest of two- even though at first glance most people think my sister and I are twins. We are five years apart and are best friends. She’s the toughest girl I know. I do this thing where whenever I have to do something difficult or entails pain I “channel my inner Emily” and somehow make it through!

I grew up in a very loving home. My mom and dad were amazing parents and always so supportive of my dreams and ambitions.  Most of my childhood was spent at a dance recital or a sports game and my mom and dad didn’t miss a single event. How they managed to do that I’ll never know! My dad passed away when I was 17 so being present and sharing how much I care about my family and friends is top priority for me.

I couldn’t do life and certainly not motherhood without my girlfriends! Boy, do they keep me sane! They encourage me to take better care of myself and reassure me that mom guilt is normal. One of the best parts of my friendships is that although the relationship differs from friend to friend; they’re all easy! Plus, not one of them has fussed at me for being too busy… yet! ;)

I met my husband, Chris, about 7 years ago while I was in graduate school. We fell in love right away and have been married a little over 5 years. He’s my best friend and tells me I’m pretty when my hair is greasy! (Keeper, am I right?) He’s hard working and generous. He’s somehow managed to be this tough guy, baseball coach who also writes thank you notes that could make you cry. Seriously, send Chris a gift, and he’ll send you a note that’ll make you question what you did to deserve it! When we aren't chasing around our little gapped tooth wonder, Blake, we love binging tv shows!

My career as a therapist is inspiring and challenging! Over the last seven years I’ve worked with people from all walks of life. I’ve worked with children and families to professionals with addictions. I’ve learned the importance of seeking harmony (because when in life is everything truly balanced?) in the roles we perform. It’s a value I encourage my clients to find for themselves and one that I try to live by daily.

The value of seeking harmony in life has always been important to me, and it became vital to my existence the day I found out I was pregnant. Chris and I were surprised and thrilled when we found out we were going to have a baby together. We always talked about starting a family but were unsure when the “right time” was. At the time, he had just become a head coach and I had just started a new job. Fortunately, God and the universe did me a solid and let me have a baby after baseball season ended!

Pregnancy was hard… not going to lie. Pregnancy introduced me to limits, yes, limits- mental ones, emotional ones, physical ones! Whew! The first trimester was the most difficult, I had “morning” sickness all day. Things did improve with time, but I had a pre-eclampsia scare around 20 weeks. I stayed active my whole pregnancy to try to combat the fatigue and to keep in shape. Ironically, I felt more secure in my body and more beautiful the further along I got in my pregnancy. I miss my long thick hair, but I don’t miss my rings not fitting or only being able to wear flip flops!

I gave birth at 39 weeks via emergency C-section after being induced due to pre-eclampsia. I tried for a natural birth, but it ended up being safest for the baby to be taken through cesarean. Our sweet Blake was born at 1:29 AM on June 29th, measured 22 inches long, and weighed 8lbs 10oz. His exciting entrance into the world and into our lives definitely set precedent for how he has remained.

Blake is best known for his big grin, happy disposition, relentless spirit, and infatuation with all NON-TOY things (i.e. a play mat, shoe, or spatula versus the perfectly placed dump truck, ball, or stuffed animal). He hasn’t met a food he doesn’t like. He feeds himself but will not hold his own bottle. He is observant and curious, and he reminds me to be in awe of the world around me.

Since becoming a mother, I look forward to doing the dishes! I don’t mind getting up early even though I am NOT a morning person. It’s the hardest and easiest job I’ve ever had! I’ve learned that my new-found limits actually provide me more support than ever and my new responsibilities give me motivation and accountability. And yes, the “old me” rolls her eyes all the time at the “new me” and I’m ok with that.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about motherhood is that I cannot do it all on my own. (I mean, have you tried breastfeeding?? Did you know it takes like 6 people to make that possible because I didn’t?) I’ve always prided myself in being “able to handle a lot” but, trust me, that pride does not serve anyone well long term. I’ve leaned harder on my husband, mom, sister, in-laws, and friends than ever before. I’ve sought out online support for feeding and sleeping schedules. I’ve googled tips and tricks for making bedtime routines easier. And you know what, asking for help works!! Who would have thought?- ha!

I love weekends at home the best. I love eating sushi and ice cream more than I should. I love staring at the big gap between Blake’s two front teeth, which he proudly shows off all the time. I love hearing Blake giggle and bang on pots with wooden spoons. I love eating dinner on our deck under the string lights that Chris hung up. I love letting my dog, Lolo, sleep in the bed with me. I love surrounding myself with people who can make me laugh and don't take life too seriously. And I love that motherhood is pushing me to trust myself and others more now than ever.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know me, and I hope you’ll enjoy what I share in the future!

 

xo,

Amanda K.

 

Meet Sara Konye

bundle moms

Hi everyone! My name is Sara Konye, and I’m so excited to be featured on The Bundle of Joy blog! Let’s get started with some of the essential facts about me: I am 31 years old, and live in San Jose, California with my husband John and our two year-old daughter Dylan, and we are expecting another baby in the fall! My due date is actually just a couple weeks before Caroline’s! It has been so awesome reading her pregnancy updates since we are so close on that journey! Every time I read one I’m like “Yes! I am going through the same exact thing!” It’s so fun to relate on that level.

I am a California girl - born and raised in Santa Cruz, California with my parents and younger sister, Natalie. My grandma Frances, affectionately known as “Frank” was also a huge part of my upbringing and still is today (at 93!). My parents are divorced and while I’m not close with my dad, I am super close to my mom, grandma and sister, who now lives in Ventura, California with her boyfriend who I also adore.

I work in Corporate Communications at Intuit (the makers of QuickBooks, TurboTax and Mint) and love my job! On the surface you may think financial software, but I have seen how our products actually change people’s lives and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of that. I have been with the company for over five years and hope to be there for a long long time!   

The first thing to know about my personality is that I’m SUPER easy-going, calm, and most things don’t phase me. I’m also naturally optimistic and my attitude towards pretty much everything in life is best summed up in the phrase, it will all work out.

Ok, now that we have the basics out of the way, we can go a little deeper. A big part of my life growing up was competitive swimming. I swam through middle school, high school and college, and even coached a bit after college as well. I have the sport to thank for many life lessons as well as life long friends. I also probably wouldn’t have met my husband if I hadn’t swam in college, so there’s that too!   

I moved to San Jose in 2005 to attend (and swim at) San Jose State University and that’s where I met my husband John in 2007. He was on the football team and since student-athletes tend to only hang out with other student-athletes, we ran into each other a few weekends in a row and quickly became friends. At first I was convinced we were just friends, until suddenly I wasn’t, and well, here we are! We dated for three years before he popped the question, waited another two years to get married in 2012 (so we could save up for a wedding venue that was a bit out of our reach but we fell in love with), and as of today we’ve been together for almost 11 years, married for almost 6! As I type that out, it’s sort of hard to believe… part of me feels like we’ve been together forever and I barely remember life before us, but part of me feels like those 11 years have flown by! I guess maybe you always feel a little bit of both.

In June 2016, our lives forever changed when our daughter Dylan was born. I don’t know what else to say other than she’s amazing and I love her so much it hurts sometimes! Fast forward to today and she’s a spunky, sassy, silly two year-old.

My pregnancy with Dylan was great. I had it pretty easy with no miserable side effects and truly loved being pregnant. We had tried to get pregnant for 8 months (which I fully realize to some who have struggled with getting pregnant that may sound quick) and by the time we did I just felt so lucky, fortunate and excited. I also had an awesome labor and delivery experience. I will always look back on that as such a special time.

Life has gotten much crazier since then, but mostly for the better. Being a mom has been amazing on so many levels, but let’s be real… sometimes I’m so physically and mentally exhausted that I just want to curl up in my bed for an undefined amount of time. But it always seems like in a matter of moments something awesome happens and I’m reminded of how fortunate I am to be a mom and to have an awesome partner-in-crime husband and dad by my side.

When Dylan was an infant, I feel like our biggest challenges were feeding and sleep/schedule related. I definitely stressed over those things in the moment, but it all worked out and I wish I would have relaxed a little, but that’s easier said than done as a new parent.

The joys and challenges have changed over the months, and right now we’re getting excited about new words or the fact that she can jump, while also struggling with how to deal with meltdowns and tantrums. One minute we’re all laughing and smiling, the next we have a screaming toddler and two stressed parents. It’s a balance!

My second pregnancy has been very different. Even in terms of getting pregnant, unlike the first time, it happened right away and we were a little shocked when we found out! We had some disconcerting things happen in the very beginning of the pregnancy and on top of that I just felt worse in terms of nausea, fatigue, etc. during the first trimester. Of course having a toddler to take care of also makes it harder. But now that I’m almost half way, I’m feeling much better all around. I’ve also gotten back into working out (Crossfit) which I couldn’t do during the first trimester, so I’m feeling more like myself! One big difference between my two pregnancies is the first time I was completely consumed by it, and this time I have literally had moments where I’ve forgotten I’m pregnant! It’s also flying by because our lives are busier now than before.

We will find out the gender of the baby on May 14 which we’re excited about… but definitely less excited than the first pregnancy… not in a negative way, I just think we’re less consumed by it this time. I will admit the first time around I really wanted a girl, so now I feel like I’ll be happy either way!

We’re equally nervous and excited to be growing our family. But staying true to my beliefs, I do know that at the end of the day, it will all work out. Some days will be perfect, and some days will be messy, but as long as I’m navigating through the chaos with my little tribe, that’s all that matters.

Thanks for getting to know me a bit, and I look forward to sharing more with this community in the future!

Sara