August 23, 2017

NYC Here I Come!

The day has finally arrived! I'm on my way to NYC and I seriously couldn't be more excited. 6 amazing days exploring the city with my best friend. I'm.Freaking.Out! I would love to hear any last minute tips you may have. Neither one of us has been before so we are open to all suggestions. Leave them in the comments or shoot me an email!

I just created an Instagram page, so be sure to follow along!

I hope everyone has the best week and weekend! I will be back next week with a fun birthday post!

August 22, 2017

14 Things I Didn't Know About Breastfeeding

Are you pregnant or a new mom completely overwhelmed with breastfeeding? I was too and you are not alone. Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful and challenging things I have ever done. In honor of August being national breastfeeding month, I wanted to open up on this very personal topic and share what I learned. My hope is to give you more insight to breastfeeding, and help you be more prepared than I was.
When I was pregnant with Kona I knew I wanted to breastfeed. Giving him formula never really crossed by mind. Mainly because my Mom nursed me and my friends nursed their children. I also worked for an organization that was supportive of breastfeeding mom's and many clients I worked with nursed their children. I was surrounded by mom's who nursed, so I figured that's what I would do. I was completely naïve, and didn't have a clue about the struggles I would be faced with while nursing. I assumed everything would go smoothly. My milk would come in, Kona would know how to latch on right away, and everything would be perfect. That's what I thought I saw was happening with my friends, coworkers and clients, so why would my story be any different? What I didn't know was their experience wasn't as flawless as it looked. They were also faced with challenges. The ups and downs that come with breastfeeding, I just didn't know it because I didn't ask and I couldn't really understand even if they would have told me. Like most things with parenting, you don't really get it until you experience it firsthand.

I read baby books, took classes at the hospital and talked to family and friends, so when it came time to deliver I thought I knew what to expect. When the doctor laid Kona on my chest for the first time, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. When it came time to nursing Kona for the first time, I was so scared. I remember being unsure of myself and my decision. What I assumed would be easy and natural turned out to be full of challenges. I'm proud to say that I nursed both of my kids, but I'm the first to say it wasn't perfect. It was extremely rewarding and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, but there were many times I doubted myself my decision and if my body would be able to do it.
  Baby Kai being nursed right before our newborn pictures. :)

How much I would leak.
The amount of nursing pads and shirts I went through on a daily basis blew my mind. I swear I was constantly changing clothes. Make sure you stock up on nursing pads, because running out in the middle of the night is never fun.

Latching on can be difficult.
A baby latching on isn't always the easiest thing on earth. There is much more to it than I ever realized. If your baby is having a hard time keep trying, ask for help and remember it takes time.

Nursing will make you cramp.
Nursing helps your uterus contract, but no one tells you just how painful it can be.

Baby can be tongue tied.
Most of the challenges I faced with breastfeeding came from the boys being tongue tied. Kona had a larger tongue tie than Kai, but they both had to have their tongue clipped. Because I didn't know what to look for and Kona seemed to be latching on okay it wasn't caught in the hospital. It wasn't until his 3 day check up that they realize something was going on. By the time they realized it, he had lost a lot of weight and we all went into panic mode. I had to feed him, pump, and syringe feed him for a few days until his weight came back up. With Kai, I was hyper aware and made the hospital check several times. My mommy instincts knew something wasn't right and requested to have a specialist look at him. They determined he had a slight tongue tie and got it clipped. Thankfully both boys were able to nurse successfully after having their tongue clipped. If you are concerned or have questions please ask your doctor, and follow your mommy instincts!

Plugged milk ducts are painful.
With both boys being tongue tied, they didn't latch on correctly the first few days of their life. With Kai I had to hold him and my breast just right or he would come off. Because of this, my milk ducts weren't draining all the way and caused them to become plugged. It was painful and I would dread the next feeding. Now looking back, I should have called the hospital right away, but I waited until our next appointment. By the time our appointment came around I was miserable. Take it from me, if you are in large amounts of pain call your doctor. Pain like that isn't normal and is a sign there is something else going on.

Cabbage can help reduce milk supply.
Due to the tongue tie and plugged milk ducts I was really engorged. As part of the solution, the lactation consultants at the hospital told me to use cabbage leaves to help reduce my milk supply. When they first told me I thought they were off their rockers, but it totally worked! My milk supply decreased just enough to help with my engorgement and plugged milk ducts. If you would like more information, check out this article.
Disclaimer: this is only my personal experience and what I was advised to do. Please talk to your doctor, for medical advice that is geared towards you, if you are concerned with engorgement and plugged milk ducts.  

The boppy pillow isn't for everyone. 
When I was pregnant with Kona, everybody would tell me how amazing boppy pillows were and how I had to have one. I couldn't wait to get one, scrutinized over which cover to get and made sure I took it to the hospital with us. I couldn't wait to use it and experience what everyone was talking about. The first time I nursed with it, I hated it. I found it to be so uncomfortable and in the way more than anything. I tried to use it many times with both boys, and each time I had the same feelings. Regular pillows and a large oversized chair worked the best for me! 

There are different nursing positions.
When I first started nursing Kona, I had no idea there were more than one nursing position. Get familiar with different nursing positions so you can learn what works for you and baby.

How much I needed to drink and eat.
Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories, which made me super hangry (just ask my husband)! I found it helpful to have protein bars in my bedroom and the nursery. That way I had something to snack on during those late night feedings.

It's beneficial for mom's health.
I had no idea there were so many different health benefits for the nursing mom. According to WebMD breastfeeding burns calories, releases the hormone oxytocin, lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and may reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

It takes practice.
Getting the hang of nursing takes time and patience. Don't expect to leave the hospital having a good grasp on it. Keep trying, ask for help, read articles, try different chairs, pillows and nursing positions. You and baby are new to this, give yourself some grace and keeping trying.   

It can feel lonely and frustrating.
I can't begin to tell you how many times I felt frustrated that my husband got to sleep and I was awake all night nursing. I loved nursing and I don't want to sound like I was miserable, but I did have hard feelings at times. Kai wasn't the best sleeper, so a lot of my frustrations came from that. I was extremely sleep deprived and took care of both boys during the day while J.D. was at work. I remember driving home from the store one day and called J.D. crying. I tried to go shopping for some snow boots, because I didn't have any and wanted to play outside with Kona. We got ready, drove across town, got into the store and Kai wanted to nurse. No matter what I did I couldn't get him to calm down long enough to try on a pair. I put everything back, got our things together and headed home. I felt so alone and frustrated in that moment. The smallest errand now became a big deal. It was hard to always feel like my needs were pushed to the bottom. Being a mom can be lonesome at times, and being a nursing mom can feel even more isolating. I don't want to scare anyone away, I just want to speak honestly. I wish someone would have been honest with me so I could have been more prepared. I felt like a horrible parent and wondered what was wrong with me for feeling bitter at times. But the truth is, being on-call 24 hours a day 7 days a week can take it's toll.

How many amazing resources there are.
There are so many resources to help, guide and support the nursing mom. If you are struggling with nursing check these out. Your local hospital or doctor's office, Kelly Mom, La Leche League & Breastmilk Every Ounce Counts. I used these resources all the time and found them extremely beneficial.

Nursing isn't for everyone.
Breastfeeding is a very personal choice and for many, many reasons it doesn't work for everyone. If it wasn't for you or didn't work, don't stress about it. Only you know what's best for your family. You are an amazing Mom whether breastfeeding worked or not.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and letting me open up about such a personal experience. Sharing something so intimate isn't easy. I hope this post was able to help, support and encourage you.

I would love for you to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest.

August 18, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!
How has your week been? We have had a great week, but boy has it been busy. Between running errands, grocery shopping, enjoying the last days of summer, fighting off a head cold and J.D. out of town, this week has left me feeling worn down. I've been working on a breastfeeding post all week, but with headaches and a fuzzy head I haven't finished it. I will get it done this weekend and post it before I leave for NYC on Wednesday! (If you have any NYC recommendations or tips I would still love to hear!) So if you're pregnant or a new mom, make sure you come back next week to check it out.

Now to the fun stuff! I'm linking up with Andrea, AprilApril, Lauren and Katie today to share our Friday favorites!

A few weeks ago I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Momfessionals, and she mentioned using Witch Hazel as part of her morning makeup routine. This sparked my interest because I had never heard of it before, and immediately goggled it. I was so surprised to read about all the benefits and how much people love this product. After reading all the reviews I couldn't wait to get some. I've been using it for two weeks now and I love it! It makes my skin incredibly soft and has helped even out my skin tone. For $10, this product has blown me away and I get so excited to use it every day. I highly recommend adding it to your beauty routine!

The state fair is in town, which is a total highlight of the summer! The fair always comes the same week in August, and I remember as a kid counting down the days till it opened. I would also make my Mom drive by the fair grounds, the days before it opened, so I could see the rides being put together. Being at the fair with my kids takes me back to my childhood. The excitement, anticipation, the smell of fair food, all the lights and entertainment. The fair coming to town marks the end of summer and will forever hold a special place in my heart. I love creating these special memories with my kids, and hope they will always cherish them.
The look on Kai's face is priceless!

The final pool days. All of our city pools close this Sunday and it makes me so sad. It feels like it was just a few weeks ago that they were opening. We have plans to have a picnic in the park and go swimming one more time. I'm just not ready to see the summer go.
In-between swimming, my sweet boys picked me flowers and pretty rocks. They completely melt my heart!

Look who got his first haircut! I have been holding off on this as long as I could. I knew once we cut his hair he would look like a little boy. I also waited as long as I could when it came to cutting Kona's hair. There's just something about a baby getting their first haircut that makes me all sentimental.
Kona got this fingerprint doodle for his birthday and he loves it! You know I love making handprint art with the boys, so this is right up my alley. Kona get's to be creative and make a fun keepsake. A total win-win in my book! If you are looking for a birthday or Christmas present, check it out!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! What are your plans? I would love to hear!
If you want to see more of what were loving and up to during the week, make sure to follow us on Pinterest and Instagram. I just created a Instagram account (am I the last person on Earth to create an account??) and I'm super excited! So be sure to check it out!

August 13, 2017

Mommy Moments

Welcome to Mommy Moments! It is a blessing to look back on the past several years with all of our co-hosts, guest hosts, and community of moms linking up to encourage and challenge one another. It's worth so much to know that moms have been blessed and maybe felt a little less alone in doing what God has called them to do. Thank you all for using your writing to be a blessing to me as well as to the hundreds of other mamas who are reading it. I'm thankful for each of you who have made this link up possible!

It's no secret that motherhood has its seriousness and frustration as well as its joys. That's why we are here. Life is much easier when traveled with companions! So mamas, let's join together in the spirit of motherhood and share our moments together. We want to hear the happy, sad, tough, terrible, hilarious moments that make being a mother the best job in the world!

 The featured post this week belongs to Dani from "Paulette's Papers" and her post Bible Journaling. I have been seeing and hearing so much about this type of Bible Journaling so it was fun too see some beautiful examples! Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Dani!

Now, link up your post!
Post can include anything related to mommy-hood, children, homemaking, pregnancy etc. If you aren't a mom yet, feel free to link up your preparation for motherhood, your journey as you try to conceive, or even a post that would be encouraging to the other moms in the party!

Then, explore some of the other posts in the link-up and say hello to some new blog friends! 

Please, pretty please, we'd love it if you would tweet or share the link up on Facebook so we can all make even more friends! Use the hashtag #mommymoments to help us all stay connected!
We would also love it if you could add the Mommy Moments button to your post or blog so everyone knows where you are linking up! If you are not able to copy/paste the code on your page, please e-mail one of us and we would be happy to send you the code!

August 11, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! The weekend is here and we are super excited! Tonight we are celebrating my Aunt's 40th birthday, tomorrow we are going to one of my best friends going away party, and Sunday we are going to our state fair! It's going to be a full weekend with lots of memories.

I'm linking up with Andrea, AprilApril, Lauren and Katie today to share our Friday favorites!

Slowly but surely I have been adding new décor to our house. I can be a little particular about what I buy and don't want to purchase things just to finish a space. I want items in our house that are special to us, things we love and want to display. There is a wall in our living room I have been trying to find something for and this week I found it! I was on Pinterest one day and this free print popped up. I loved it right away and knew the large size would be perfect. I got it printed at Office Depot for $13, it was 50% off that day, and got the frame at Hobby Lobby for $24, using my 40% off coupon. So for $37 I got a beautiful poster sized farmhouse sign that I absolutely adore. If you are looking to fill your walls with some farmhouse décor go check out this site, there's so many amazing signs to choose from.

On Saturday, the boys and I went to the farmer's market and had a blast. Coffee, donuts, crepes and live music, is one of the best ways to spend a Saturday morning.
I found these overalls a couple months ago in the clearance spot at Target. They have easily become one of my favorite pieces in my closet. They are so comfortable and easy to thrown on, but I feel put together. I can't find the same pair, but you can find a similar pair here.
 This little boy was in donut heaven!
These crepes are the best and I look forward to them all year! 

Does anybody else buy wine because of the label? I do! And this time it paid off. A friend and I drank it on Monday, while we watched the Bachelorette finale, and we both loved it. This wine and my coconut mojitos are my new favorite drinks.

This week Kona and I made salt dough dinosaur bones and had so much fun. I make them last year as well, and both times we have had hours and hours of fun. The day we made them, the boys played with them for over two hours! If you have a dinosaur fan in your house, they will love these bones.

My 30th birthday is at the end of the month, and my best friend and I are going to New York City to celebrate!!! We have never been and are beyond excited. In college we would watch Live with Regis and Kelly and talk about going. 12 years later we are making one of our college dreams a reality! But since we have never been, we need your best tips, tricks and recommendations. Anything that you feel would be helpful we would love to hear!

I can't say thank you enough for all the kind words on my post, how to support a grieving friend. Putting my heart out there makes me feel completely vulnerable. All of the love and support makes me want to continue writing heart felt posts and help those who are grieving.

August 8, 2017

Salt Dough Dinosaur Bones

Kona has been a big dinosaur fan since he was two and I am always on the hunt for fun dinosaur activities. Last spring I was searching Pinterest when I found the cutest idea, salt dough dinosaur bones. I knew Kona would love to help me make them and pretend to be a paleontologist. Making them takes a little time because they have to cook for so long, but they are super easy to put together. The best part is how long they kept Kona entertained. Since we hadn't planted our garden yet, I hid them all in the dirt with the tops of them sticking out. Kona would find them and dust them off using a small paintbrush. I also traced the bones on a piece of paper so he could match them and put them in order from longest to shortest. This seriously kept him entertained for days. It was a sad day when they got left outside, and were ruined from the rain.
Since Kona had such a blast last year, I decided to make them again this week. While Kai was napping on Sunday, Kona and I got busy making bones and he loved it! He poured, mixed, rolled out bones, and played with a little bit of left over dough for about an hour. It was such a fun afternoon spending some one on one time with him. After they were done baking and Kai woke up we headed outside to hide and find bones. With it being summer and our garden already planted, I hid the bones all over the yard. The boys had a blast and played for over two hours! We've also played with them yesterday and today to. Making them might take a while, but it's well worth it when it costs next to nothing and keeps them entertained for days! #everymomsdream

1 cup salt
2 cup's flour
About 3/4 cup water

Add flour and salt in a mixing bowl and lightly stir.

Pour in about half of your water and stir. Continue to add water little by little, until your dough becomes flaky. If you add too much water, it's no big deal. Just add a little bit more flour until all your water is absorbed.

Once your dough is flaky take it out and kneed it on your counter. You should end up with a ball of dough like this one.

After your dough is made, it's time to start making the bones!
This time around, I made the bones by rolling them out and by using these molds. They are the same molds I used to make Kona's birthday party cake and his cake on his birthday.  I have definitely gotten my $14 out of them!
Once you have your bones made, turn your oven to 250 and cook them for a few hours. If you're not in a big rush, you can also leave them on your counter to air dry.

Time to start hiding and finding!
If you have a dinosaur fan at your house I would love to hear what fun crafts or games you play!
If you make these bones I would love to see pictures or hear stories of your little one loving them!

To see more kids crafts check out my Pinterest page!

August 4, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! The weekend is here and we are so excited. We have plans to go fishing, enjoy crapes and live music at our farmers market and spend some down time at home. I'm helping one of my best friends pack today and my heart is so sad. I'm so happy for her, but I can't help but be heart broke. She has stood by my side through everything and I will miss her like crazy. Love you Chelsie!
 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and spend time with those you love!

I found this print yesterday at Hobby Lobby and couldn't get it in my cart fast enough. I love it so much and can't wait to hang it up.

The other day we took a walk to the park, and Kai walked around with his hands in his pockets the whole time. (Which is the cutest thing ever!) When I asked him to smile, this is the look he gave me. I mean, look at that smirk and little leg stuck out. I sure love this little boy and his big personality.

Going for a walk with our neighbors was a favorite part of the week. I know I've said it before, but we are truly blessed with amazing neighbors. They are the best and the boys adore them.

Stopping to smell the flowers was also a favorite moment this week!

My dad took us to a baseball game the other night, and Kona was in awe. When we sat down his eyes were as big as they could get and he couldn't take everything in fast enough. We took him a few times last year, but he wasn't as in love with baseball then, and was more interested in eating ice cream. :) He made sure to bring his mitt and was pretending to catch all the balls and get the players out. It was the sweetest thing ever and definitely a highlight of the summer.

Finally, I wanted to share a post that is so dear to my heart. Last week I wrote about 12 ways to support a grieving friend. When my Mom passed away my friends rallied around me and are some of my biggest supporters. From text messages, flowers, cards, and coffee and donuts on her death date, I don't know where I would be without them. If your friend or loved one has a heavy heart this post is for you. I can't thank you enough for taking time out of your busy day to read. It means the world to me! XOXO

Linking up with Andrea, AprilApril, Lauren and Katie

August 3, 2017

Coconut Mojitos

With summer slowly coming to an end, we're making it a point to soak up every last evening, with drinks on the patio. I have been trying to get out of my comfort zone and make new drinks. I don't know why, but I have always felt so intimidated by making drinks. I think it's because there are so many different options at the liquor store and I'm unsure what to get. No matter what my apprehension is, I'm determined to experiment more and get comfortable with making something other than our trusty margaritas. :)  So, when I stumbled upon coconut mojitos I knew I had to give them a try. I love all things coconut, and oh my goodness this drink didn't disappoint. It was so good!

On Tuesday J.D. and I decided to have an at home date night and these drink were perfect. We sat under our covered porch, with a drink in hand and watched a rain storm roll through town. It was a wonderful evening and I can't wait to make these again.

8 Mint leaves
1 tsp. Sugar
2 oz. Lime (1 lime juiced)
2.5 oz. Rum
1 oz. Crème of Coconut not coconut milk
 Sparkling water
Lime wedges and basil for garnish

Using a juicer, squeeze about 2 oz. of lime juice and add it to a cocktail shaker. Add mint leaves and a teaspoon of sugar and muddle the mint. I used the back of a wooden spoon to muddle the leaves. Make sure you stop before the leaves get torn or your drink will get bitter. You want the leaves to be slightly bruised and fragrant. Add rum, crème of coconut and then fill the glass 3/4 the way full with ice. Shake, shake, shake! Pour your coconut mojito into a glass and top with sparkling water. Finally, add lime wedges and mint for garnish. Enjoy!

August 1, 2017

11 Ways For Moms To Spark Creativity

I have always had a passion for creating things, painting, interior design and fashion. Creating, decorating and expressing myself through fashion has always driven me and made me feel fulfilled. Even though I'm not the best painter, or always like what I create, I'm drawn to it and feel a little void whenever I'm in a creative rut. I have noticed that now more than ever it is so important for me to fuel my creativity. At times I can feel lost in the day to day activities of life, and need something to make me feel like me again.

 Having a creative outlet is important for many reasons, but is especially important for moms. Not only does it relieve stress, it is also therapeutic, boosts your mood, gives you to time for yourself and gives you a sense of accomplishment. As a stay at home mom, some days it feels like all I do is clean up messes, change diapers, cook meals and do laundry. I know I'm doing much more than that, but these days, where I give 100% of myself to my family, can be hard. I have noticed that on the days I fuel my creativity I feel a sense of accomplishment. It feels amazing to have done something for myself and know that it's not going to get ruined or have to be done again tomorrow, like laundry or sweeping. Now I know you might be thinking, "When am I going to do a project, some days I don't even get a shower." I know exactly what you are talking about, but just like self care you have to make it a priority. Squeeze in some time while your kids play, eat, or create something of their own. Some days Kona and I sit down together in the afternoons, when Kai is sleeping, and paint. It is one of my favorite times of day, and I'm able to face the afternoon with a rejuvenated mind.

One. Read Books
Reading books or looking threw magazines always gets me excited to create something. I especially love going to Barnes & Noble to get some coffee, sit in their oversized chairs and look through some amazing eye candy books.

Two. Listen To Music
Turning on some music and having a little dance party with my favorite boys is not only fun, but helps me think better.  

Three. Doodle
Doodling is so fun and makes me feel like a kid again. I mean, who doesn't remember doodling all over their notebooks while the teacher was talking. :)

Four. Search Pinterest
Pinterest is hands down the best place to go when looking for inspiration. I can get on there with no ideas in mind, and by the time I'm done looking, I have so many different projects I want to do I don't even know where to start. :)

Five. Go For A Walk
Get outside, breath in the fresh air and enjoy natures beauty.

Six. Have A Cup Of Coffee
Energize your mind and get your creative juices flowing.

Seven.  Look To People Who Inspire You
Do you have a favorite blogger or Instagram account that always has drool worthy pictures? Looking through their old blog posts or Instagram feed may be just what you need to feel inspired.

Eight. Make Lists Or Vision Boards
 Making lists or a vision board helps me stay focused and is such a wonderful resource for when I'm in a creative rut.

Nine. Try Something New
Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things, is a sure fire way to feed your creativity. Even something as simple as taking a new route to work or eating at a new restaurant can do wonders.  

Ten. Watch Your Favorite Movie Or Show
I don't get to watch a lot of adult movies because a.) most of them aren't appropriate for my kids and b.) by the time the kids go to bed I'm so tired I fall asleep mid movie. #momproblems The funny thing is though, my kids Disney movies always make me feel inspired. The animation, bright colors and amazing music makes me want to grab my paints and create something.

Eleven. Make Crafts With Your Kids
Crafting with my kids always makes me feel inspired. I love how they create whatever their heart desires and don't put limitations on themselves. I can get hard on myself at times trying to make the perfect project, but hanging with my kids helps me loosen up and create something more naturally.


I hope this helps anybody who is in a creative rut or wants to start a new hobby. What are your favorite ways to feel inspired and get creative? I would love to hear!!
If you are looking for some additions inspiration, check out my Pinterest page!