Tuesday, April 28, 2015

25 weeks

First of all, you're welcome for sparing you the tedium of a weekly pregnancy update post.

I mean, props to you if you're into that sort of thing...but at the rate that this pregnancy is flying by (aka the speed of light), the weeks kind of blur together. So even this update -- a whole 5 weeks (!!!) after my last one -- feels a little superfluous.

But inquiring minds must know, and so I will tell you how my pregnancy is going at 25 weeks.

Due date: Still August 11. We're consistent like that.

Weight gain: Approximately 17 pounds. Apparently gaining 7 pounds in one month is frowned upon, even in pregnancy. I got a little "just so you're aware" lecture from my nurse practitioner at my last appointment, and then I went home and ate my feelings. My feelings strongly resemble Oreos.

Baby size: According to my tracker app, "Baby is now about the size of a rutabaga." Maybe someday they'll reference a food I've actually eaten. Like a Costco hotdog.

Sleep: I'm exhausted. Now, 3 hours ago, 8 hours from now, all day tomorrow -- exhausted. Always. But I still am sleeping pretty well. I fall asleep much faster than usual, which is great.

Sickness: I think I'm past this for good. Maybe we'll even take this category away for the next update! The only time I really feel sick is after a heavy meal. Lighter foods agree with me way more. Or just less food in general. I've actually skipped dinner several times because I'm just not hungry, and I know that if I eat when I'm not hungry, it'll make me sick.

Aches/pains: My back has given me a couple nasty twinges in the past couple weeks, but nothing major yet. My (ahem) pelvic area and inner thighs hurt pretty frequently though, leading me to strongly suspect something like SPD. I got a super sexy support band to help out with that. I don't have to wear it all the time, but on bad days, it's really a lifesaver. And it's super sexy. I know I already said that, but it's really worth mentioning twice.

Cravings: Ha, still all the sour things! Sourdough bread and sour candy -- particularly these heavenly sour punch straw rainbow things, which are all kinds of delicious:

I would tell you all about how I can eat a whole pack of these in one sitting, but I'd hate to embarrass you.

I'll also never say no to some good french fries or a chocolate chip cookie...but that's pretty much par for my entire life, so I'm not sure those count as "cravings." It still helps to have that card to play though ("Oh man, a chocolate chip cookie from Paradise sounds SOOOO GOOD...No, we don't have to go...Are you sure?...Oh, okay then!")

And just so you don't think I'm sitting around spoon feeding myself artificially colored high-fructose corn syrup and nothing else, I'll have you know that I've also craved Asian salads, of all things. Pei Wei, I salute you.

Random: I hate to say it, but you guys...peeing. About a week ago, the frequency of this activity went from a little bit funny to really not funny. The plus side of this is that it might have something to do with the fact that I'm really focusing on drinking a ton of water (at least a ton for me). But seriously though -- I have now Googled "is there such a thing as peeing too much when pregnant?" which knocked my dignity down a few notches.

I'm also really focusing on exercise. I'm in generally terrible shape, especially when it comes to cardio, so I've just been trying to do pretty simple toning workouts. They've been awesome, though! Even that little bit of a workout seems to give me an energy and morale boost, and I'm starting to be able to do less modified versions of the exercises as I've been getting stronger. Go me!

One more thing in the "random" category: emotions. Holy guacamole. My hormones have just given up any and all efforts to help me act and think like a normal person. I cry, I get angry, I'm happy, I shut down, I get depressed, I'm loving life, I'm proud of myself, I get pissed at Dallin, I love Dallin more than anything in the world...and then it's time to get out of bed. But seriously. It all happens very quickly and very intensely. My poor, poor husband -- who, by the way, handles it more gracefully than you would think possible. Man, I love him.

So, there you have it -- 25 weeks down! It boggles my mind to think that a whole new person is going to be joining our family in just 3 short months. But I'm excited to meet you, baby girl!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

5 Easy Mommy Wins We Should Be Celebrating Every Day

Like most moms, I am incredibly hard on myself. Mommy guilt is a constant battle. And mommy guilt creates mommy shaming/judging, which creates MORE mommy guilt, and it doesn’t take long before you’ve got a world (or at least a Facebook) full of moms who are mean to themselves and to each other.

Moms - I’m ready to stop. For real. Are you?

But honestly? It’s hard. I know I, for one, want to be the mom that does it all, all the time. I want to raise well-nourished, well-behaved, well-groomed kids who love Harry Potter as much as I do and wear shoes when they’re in public places. Is that really too much to ask?

But if you think about it...well, they’re kids. They’re people. They’re individuals. Some of them do not like broccoli (except this broccoli. Oh-em-gee my kids loooove this broccoli! It’s incredible). Some of them want to wear a pink skirt with a green shirt...every day. Some of them have a really hard time drinking from a cup without spilling (or purposely pouring it all over their high chair tray and then spreading it around with their hands --coughPARKERcough--).

But really, you can’t create perfect kids. Period. And frankly, perfect moms don’t exist, either.

So how to get over it? How do we accept that we have the kids we have, and that we are the moms that we are, and that that doesn’t have to mean that we inevitably end up crying in a corner at 4:00 every day (I’m working on it)?

The answer I’ve come up with, for now anyway, is simultaneously simple and complicated: positivity.

It’s so easy to focus on everything I’ve done wrong on any given day. The hours my kids have been on the iPad; the fact that I gave my 20-month-old a regular cup of milk, thinking that this time would surely be different; the clean family room that (BLINK) isn’t clean anymore; the half hour of my life that I spent falling down Facebook rabbit holes that I’ll never get back; the fact that I would honestly rather be catching up on a stupid TV show than helping my 5-year-old practice her reading. Ugh, even writing these things is bringing me down!

Why oh why is it so hard to celebrate the things that we do right? The “mommy wins,” if you will, that we have every single day? I mean, I don’t completely screw up every single day, do I? My kids end the day alive, clean...ish, safe, and (I think and hope and pray) relatively happy. So I’ve got to be doing something right...right?

So I’ve been trying to focus on the little stuff. On those tiny mommy wins that honestly and truly don’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but that actually do mean that, if nothing else, I put some thought into mothering that day. I took the liberty of making a list of common mommy wins that go uncelebrated far too often in our house; maybe they need a little recognition in yours, too.

  1. I fed my kids a fruit and/or a vegetable. I know - your vegan friend feeds her kids nothing BUT fruits and vegetables. They eat eggplant and avocado and cherry tomatoes and they don’t even flinch. But my kids? Ha. They don’t. Heck, I don’t! So when I actually feed fresh fruits or veggies to my kids (or myself), that’s a win for me!
  2. I limited my kid’s screen time. I’ll tell you what, this is not easy to do. If your kid has ever been under the spell of the Octonauts, or the Backyardigans, or (heaven forbid) Dora the Explorer, you know how difficult it is to snap them back to reality. Throw in the iPad, and it’s game over. An hour of screen time becomes four hours faster than you can say “Disney Collector.” So on those days when I’m super conscious about it and actually get my kids to step away from the screen, I WIN.
  3. I cleaned something. Anything. Want to know what “cleaning” in my house looks like? Get a pile of confetti and dump it on a table in a nice little pile. Point a table fan right at it and turn it on high. Do your best to keep the confetti in a nice little pile. Oh, I almost forgot - make sure you’re using plant-based confetti so your toddler can eat it without a trip to the emergency room. That’s key.

    Basically, cleaning with kids is hard. If something in my house is cleaner than it was when the day started, that’s a big fat win.
  4. I took my kids somewhere with me. When you have kids, or even one kid, with you, a trip to Target is an ordeal. A trip to the post office is suicide. And even just thinking the word “Costco” may be enough to land you in therapy for a few years. Even “fun” outings, like the park or a lunch playdate, become challenging when little ones are in tow. Throw in some of my social anxieties, and well, venturing out with your kids becomes a pretty big deal. I’ve been getting better at this as I get used to somehow keeping my two eyes on my three kids at all times, but I still need to count it as a win!
  5. I took some time for myself. I know you hear it all the time: “You need to recharge.” “You need to do something for yourself.” “Put on your own oxygen mask before you put on your kid’s.” Riiiight. But let’s be real - it’s not easy to do. When every potential quiet moment is interrupted with a tattle, a whine, a scream, or the sound of breaking glass, “mom time” becomes the impossible dream. So any time I make mom time happen -- whether it takes paying for a babysitter or collapsing on my bed the second my husband gets home and letting him take care of dinner -- I should really recognize that for what it is. It’s taking care of myself, and it’s a win.  

Gosh, those things seem small, right? They seem small to me. I look at that list and I think, “Well, “good” mothers do ALL these things with ALL their kids ALL the time!” And well, maybe some of them do.

But as for me, and my life, right now, I may only squeeze one or two of these wins in each day. That makes them a big deal to me. That makes them something to celebrate.

I hope I’m making sense here, guys. I hope you look at this list and maybe think about the “little” things that you do right every day. Because honestly, your wins probably look totally different than what I have listed above. But whatever they are, and how many you can say you did at the end of each day -- celebrate them. Recognize and appreciate the effort that went into every single one of them. They matter. You matter. Your effort matters. Don’t give it anything less than the standing ovation it deserves. Banish whatever mom guilt you’re feeling, and focus on what you’re doing right, even with all the odds (and, if you’re like me, the dirty dishes) stacked against you.

So tell me: what little “win” are you going to try to celebrate more often?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Stitch Fix Maternity - April 2015

Yay! It's Stitch Fix time!

{about stitch fix}

In case you haven't heard...

Stitch Fix is an online styling/shopping service. For a $20 fee, they send you five clothing or accessory pieces that a personal stylist has chosen just for you, based on your style profile, special notes to your stylist, and even your Pinterest boards. When you receive your box, you can choose to buy as many of the items as you want, and then return what you don't want in your return bag (postage is prepaid!). Your $20 styling fee applies to anything you purchase, and if you love everything, you get a 25% discount on your entire box!

So basically, it's a ton of fun. You can choose to receive just one box (no subscription required!), or you can subscribe to receive boxes every 2-3 weeks, monthly, every other month, or quarterly.

Stitch Fix also offers petite and maternity options now, which works out just perfectly for my preggo self.

{my maternity stitch fix - april 2015}

This is my second maternity Stitch Fix (read about my first here! By the way (spoiler alert), I kept the leggings and the gray striped shirt!). I was so excited to rip into this box! Let's take a look at my treasures from this month...

Loveappella Carlita Multi Chevron Print Maxi Dress ($78)

first impressions: CRAY-CRAY print. Something I would never take a second looks at in a store. Super soft, though. Sleeveless (can be a problem since I wear my LDS garments all the time).

on me:

thoughts: Okay, I don't love the print. It's busy, very colorful (even more so in person), and gives off a hippie vibe that is not a normal part of my style. BUT. But. It is incredibly comfortable. The material is super soft and perfectly flowy and cool. It stretches well over my bump, but it's technically not a maternity dress, so I can wear post baby, too. In fact, the criss-cross opening would make this an ideal nursing dress. The coloring does work with my skin, and I thankfully have a couple cardigans that will work really well to add coverage (though I could see myself using it as a swimsuit cover, too). So basically, UNDECIDED.

RD Style Jennika Open Cardigan ($38)

first impressions: Why was I sent this? In fact, why does this cardigan exist?

on me:

thoughts: Okay, so I get why it exists. It creates a layered look. But it does nothing else. The weave is incredibly open, so it adds no warmth and no coverage. I'm still a little surprised that I even received this, since I specifically requested no layering/outerwear pieces. Once I added it to an outfit, I liked how it looked, but I just can't add it to my wardrobe. RETURN. 

Dahlya Steval Swing Knit Top ($58)

first impressions: Ooh, stripes! (Stripes are my love language, I think). And a nice casual shirt. Awesome!

on me:

thoughts: No. No no no. The bottom of this shirt just doesn't work. The front is so high that if I lift up my arms at all, my belly pops right out. And the difference between the front and the sides is just a little too drastic for my liking. Plus, the whole cut just did zero things for my figure. Super boxy. Sorry, stripes -- you cannot save this shirt. RETURN. 

Laila Jayde Darcie Knot Front Maternity Top ($28)

first impressions: Kind of plain. Looks kind of short. The color is nice.

on me:

thoughts: I could almost pass off as not pregnant from a front view in this shirt, which is incredible. It is short, like I feared, but the knot in front kind of keeps it in place. It's cute, lightweight, and different from anything else I own. I think it'll also work post-baby, which is always a plus. The downsides are that there's not much that is super WOW about it, and it's just barely see-through, so I might be self conscious about it since it looks funny with an undershirt. The price is right, but I'm still UNDECIDED. 

Tart Maternity Delanee Maternity Dress ($118)

first impressions: Holy expensive. Super pretty color and pattern, but unsure how it'll fit. Not sure if I really want it to work, or really don't want it to work. 

on me:

thoughts: Dang, guys. This color looks goooood on me. (Does that sound cocky? Whatev.) And the pattern is so cute! And the top actually works, but is still unique! But alas, I don't think this was meant to be. If it was two inches longer, we'd probably be in business. But remember my aforementioned garments? They are seriously right.there. at the hem. Any sort of lifting, sitting, bending, etc., will show them off. Oh, and the arm holes are actually kind of big, so any lifting of my arms will show off, too. Basically, any scenario other than this photo isn't going to work for this dress. However, dear dress, if you and that maxi above ever want to hook up and create a dress baby in that cut with your print, I'll be all over that. RETURN.


Well, this box was a tiny bit of a letdown, since there wasn't anything that is a super-clear keep. I'll probably end up keeping the knot-front top, since it's so cheap and I'd hate to lose my styling fee. But I'd also hate to keep something just to keep it, you know?

Was this box bad enough to turn me off from Stitch Fix? Absolutely not! I'd definitely still recommend them to anyone who needs help shopping for one reason or another. (Speaking of my recommendation, the links to Stitch Fix in this post are referral links, so signing up through them gets me a little sumpin-sumpin from Stitch Fix. Just in the interest of full disclosure, you know.)

All right, so what do you think about those undecideds? Help a sista out!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Trying New Things: March 2015

I have something of a weakness for new things. I'm a sucker for a new product to try out (within reason, of course) and if I buy something over and over again, it means that I really, really love it.

I thought I'd try putting this weakness of mine to good use by sharing with you a few of the new things I try every month. They could include food, beauty products, cleaning supplies, kitchen gadgets, apps...you get the idea. They might not all be winners, but hopefully we'll at least enjoy ourselves exploring some new things together!

So let's try this out, shall we?

First up for this month is Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara.

Mascara is my absolute favorite makeup product, and I've been trying out new mascaras for years. I have tried so, so many. In fact, I've tried enough that I've actually settled on two favorites that I'll buy repeatedly (this drugstore mascara and this high end mascara, if you're curious). So I mostly keep it to those two and don't buy many new ones. But a full size of this Rimmel one came in my Walmart Spring Beauty Box, so I tried it out.

I was actually pleasantly surprised!

The mascara gave me good separation and length, though not a ton of volume. It also didn't weigh down the curl, so that's always good. Separation is my number one requirement for a good mascara, so I'd say I'm a fan!

My biggest gripe with this is that it goes on pretty wet, which can make application a little tricky. You can see in my after picture that I even got a little bit on my lash line, even though I was being super careful. It wipes off easily though, even with a dry q-tip...er, cotton swab.

This mascara also claims to help your lashes grow faster. I haven't been using it long enough to say anything one way or the other on that!

Overall, if you're looking for a good, affordable mascara, I'd definitely recommend this one, especially if my beloved LashBlast doesn't work for you (some people hate it!). I'll use this tube, for sure... but I'll probably stick to my LashBlast.

Next, let's take a look at GoPicnic On-the-Go Meals and Snacks 

This was about as "impulse buy" as you can get. I literally just saw these on the shelf at Target, thought they looked interesting, and went home with three different varieties. I'm all about convenience when it comes to lunch nowadays, and all too often, that means either a drive thru or an incredibly lame meal at home. So these convenient little boxes, with everything planned and portioned out, seemed like a great fit for me.

GoPicnic's meals and snacks require no refrigeration, and they boast no trans fats, no artificial flavors/colors, no high fructose corn syrup, and no added MSG. They offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, which don't apply to my family, but cool. The calorie count is low, too -- they advertise that everything they make is under 500 calories.

Taste wise, I approve. This salami and cheese variety was my favorite. A cracker with some of the cheese spread and a slice of salami on top? Yum! It also came with a small bag of a fruit/nuts/yogurt mix, and some "chocolate pillows" which were pretty yummy. All pretty small portions, but surprisingly filling. Certainly enough for a small lunch for me, though certainly NOT enough for a small lunch for my husband.

Unfortunately, looking at the nutrition facts, and based on my limited knowledge of nutrition, I'd hardly call these healthy. The variety I liked best was pretty packed of saturated fats and sodium. I guess since it was replacing a whole meal, that could be acceptable, especially if you're not watching what you eat at all (--raises hand--) but anyone wanting an exceptionally healthy lunch might be disappointed. Some of the other options might be better.

I also tried the "turkey slices and cheddar" variety (just okay), and I had my three-year-old try the "peanut butter and crackers" variety. Charly loved the "special lunch in a box" thing, and she liked and ate most of the food, but surprisingly, she absolutely hated the fruit snacks they included. She actually used the word "disgusting." So there's that.

Overall, if you're looking for something super convenient that is probably a better, cheaper choice than most fast food, I'd say these fit the bill. I can totally see us buying these for our kids (or even for myself) for long car trips or future airplane rides. And I might keep some on hand for lunches on busy/tired days, too.

Aaand finally, let's talk about John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Curl Perfecting Spray.

Oh, my hair. In its natural, air dried state, it's weirdly flat at the roots, frizzy/poofy in the middle, and just blah at the ends. It has serious curl in some places, gentle wave in others, and is pretty straight in a few random spots. Seriously, guys, it's a gigantic mystery.

So I end up blow drying and either straightening or curling it into sort of submission, which I'm sure causes all kinds of damage. It also takes waaaay too much time to do. So I've been trying to embrace my hair for what it is, to help minimize the damage to my hair and my schedule. I've been on the hunt for products that will allow me to air dry it and then just touch up with the hot stuff, hopefully ending up with some nice waves.

Well, I've tried an awful lot of products, and I'm pretty comfortable saying that this is the best one so far!

It helps a ton with the general frizz that seems to pop up as my hair dries, but it doesn't ruin any of the natural curl. It doesn't dry crispy (a huge plus for a curly hair product!) and doesn't add any weight to my roots. I also love that it's a spray, which makes it easy to distribute evenly through my hair.

I've used this a few times. In fact, I used it this morning, and it pretty much gave me exactly what I wanted. I let my hair air dry and ultimately spent literally three minutes touching it up with my flat iron and curling wand. I am so impressed!

(got to love the weirdly backlit, at-the-office selfie, taken seconds before your husband walks in for a work meeting. #winning)

So there you have it -- three new things I tried in March! Did you try anything new? Anything I should check out?