Our poopy, milky, HILARIOUS trip to Old Navy

So, I went to the mall last Thursday with my personal stylist….my best friend Meagan.  She’s always talking about style on the blog, and I needed her more than ever to pick out new work clothes for my 10-week-post-baby bod.

You see, Meagan and I have been the “shop till you drop” type since we were in seventh grade and our moms took us on 12 hour sprees a few times a year.  It was crazy, and fun. Things are a little different these days with my little man in tow, but we still have a great time.

The day consisted of a lot of spit up, diaper changes and laughing and I got what I needed and feel confident about going back to work.  There was one instance, though, that definitely showed how my life has changed.

When we were in Old Navy in the family dressing room, Miles got fussy and wanted to eat.  I wasn’t thinking that we would be at the mall for six hours, and had only brought one bottle with me.  That was long gone.  So, I sat down in the dressing room and got ready to breast feed.  It was nothing Meagan hadn’t seen, anyway.  Just as I let a girl out of her cage, milk started shooting every where like a fountain.  Meagan and I were already in hysterics when Miles took the noisiest, stink-filled poop I had ever witnessed in my 10 weeks of motherhood.  WE JUST LOST IT!  We just could not pull ourselves together no matter what!  After he was done eating, I changed him and Meagan took him to burp him and he hurled spit up all over the floor.

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Had she not been with me, maybe I would have been laughing by myself, or maybe I would have been crying.  I’m just really glad someone was there by my side, and It was someone who could laugh with me.

Is it Fall yet?

It’s no surprise that we’ve already started thinking about Fall.  The past few days have brought with it cooler weather to Western PA and that can only mean one thing that Fall is right around the corner.  That brings apple orchards, flannel shirts, anoraks, boots, shorter  days, and the impending Winter on the horizon.  Before Summer is over I wanted to make a list of some fun things that are still going on and few things to look forward to in Western PA.  We still have a few weeks of warmer weather and we need to take advantage of it (as we can all remember last Winter and negative wind chills…boo!)  I am jam packed these next few weeks but these are some things I’m hoping to squeeze in and also things I’m looking forward to doing!  Cheers to End of Summer!  

Must Do’s (if that is even a correct phrase)!  

  1. Pirates Game – I have no gone to one single baseball game all summer!  What kind of Pittsburgher am I!!
  2. Kennywood – This is very unlikely and I don’t really for-see this but I thought I would put it on the list as something I like to keep in the back of my mind because I’ve never been there.
  3. Falling Waters – I have heard some many amazing things about this place, I think this could be a Summer or Fall activity
  4. Hiking, Hiking, Hiking! – We were on a pretty good role with Mike and Rachel during the earlier months of summer.  We have both gotten so busy but I would love to explore more of Western PA.
  5. Trax Farms – This place is supposedly an amazing Fall spot for pumpkin picking and enjoying the cooler outdoor temps.
  6. Gateway Clipper  – This is a “steamboat” that carries you all over the three rivers.
  7. Host more Fall parties – We love to entertain and the best season is Fall, it always revolves around food!

Enjoy!! Check back next week as I give you the run down of the Gwynnie Bee subscription!

Gallery – Wall to be!

I lust all pins about gallery walls and it has been my dream to create one in our home for over a year now.  We painted our living room colors that we love- and well, that was it.  We never completed the room by adding art to the walls that represent who we are.  I have slowing been collecting pieces.  Pictures, posters, and custom to help us remember all of the states, cities, and countries we have lived between the two of us.  Hometowns, college towns, Maryland, Chicago, Germany, Slovakia, Mexico- between us the list is long!

My fear was less about the project itself and more about the results, or my vision.  I was afraid there would be no sense, no flow, that the pieces wouldn’t fit together.  At the same time- I wish to be a bit eclectic.  Looming over my head is the thought that there is a difference between being eclectic and just completely random.   With my honey by my side– I am pretty happy with the outcome 🙂

We need just a few more pieces to complete the collection:  Art that represents Michael’s home Bedford, PA.  Art that represents my home Lancaster, PA.   We need to print a few of Michael’s photo’s from his stay in Mexico.  Lastly I need a real diploma frame.  Once I  collect these few items, a new coffee table is all I need to FINALLY have one room in our home complete – from thought to finish.

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Practice your layout on the floor

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This is wall 2 in the making. I plan to paint “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” in black script on the piece of reclaimed wood.

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Use templates that are the exact same shape and size to help with the spacing on the wall itself.

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My man in action!

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Trying as hard as possible to straighten these things out!

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Chicago, Germany, Slovakia, Ny, Pittsburgh, Baltimore 🙂

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All done for now!

Full-Time Butterflies

I have always been someone who put their career first. My life wasn’t all about my job, and I felt I had a good work/life balance, but at the end of the day, my career was what mattered.

Even when I was 10 months pregnant I was wondering how I would fill my time on Maternity Leave, and if I would be itching to get back to work….cue sarcastic laughter…..Yep! Little did I know I would spend every waking second taking care of the love of my life, my first born son, and dreading the inevitable day my Maternity Leave would end.  I miss this little bird when he’s in his swing, and can’t imagine being 11.2 miles away for nine hours a day.

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My thoughts seem to follow the same mourning process over and over. When I think about going back to work and putting Miles in daycare full-time, I’m angry, then sad, then accepting. The process keeps reeling in my brain like a rerun of Full House, seen for the seventh time.

First, I’m angry.  Why can’t we be a family who can afford to have one income?  Why are U.S. Companies so stingy with their maternity leave? Why can’t I just drop my career, move into a small apartment with my husband, son, and two dogs, and eat Campbell’s Soup?

Then, I’m sad.  I’m sad the little guy will be growing up so quickly infront of someone else’s eyes.  I picture him crying and needing me, and my never knowing he was in distress.  I picture someone else watching all of his “firsts”, and not mentioning it.  It all brings tears to my eyes.

After a few tears I come back to reality, and accept that this is our life.  I cannot give up what I have worked so hard for, for the last 8 years, and I will be a great mom when I am with Miles.

One day last week, I decided to tell my boss how I was feeling.  We had a quick phone conversation and she gave me the reassurance I needed to know that my schedule will be flexible and I can make this work.  I even got approval to work Friday’s from home with Miles.  Plus, the little bit of work talk brought me back into my professional self.

I also went into the daycare with Miles to check it out again.  I hadn’t been there since I was six months pregnant.  We sat on the floor with his teachers and the other kids in his class.  I was delighted to see Miles was smiling and cooing with the other babies.  I had no idea he would get so much out of the experience.

Now I am feeling much better about the circumstances, and am not excited, but not dreading the first day as much as I was last week.  September 8 marks the first day of my stay at home mom status changing for a while, and I know we can make it work!

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It’s the end of an era…

For the past three years I have been beyond blessed to be a stay-at-home-mom. I’ve been so lucky to have a husband who worked his butt off so that I could be home with our girls. I’ve also been lucky to work for a company that has been nothing more than accommodating while I worked part-time from home.

About two months ago, my husband and I started talking about me going back to work full-time. Not only would it take some pressure off my husband, but it also would allow me to get back into the work-force. I was hesitant and unsure if it was the right thing for our family, but shortly after we began talking about it, a full-time position opened up at the company I work for; needless to say I jumped on it.

The past few weeks have been a roller-coaster of emotions about our decision, but I am happy to say I feel very good about it and I’m excited to get my “groove back.” I’m excited for my girls to learn and grow and make friends at their preschool. I feel great about leaving them with their amazing teachers that love them and will take amazing care of them. I’m excited to hear all the playground stories and receive dozens of art project that will cover my refrigerator. I’m excited to help provide for my family. I’m excited to grow and learn in my position. I’m especially excited to have adult conversation…every.day.!

But there are many things that I will miss too…I will miss being able to snuggle my girls whenever I want. I will miss watching them discover new things and learn. I will miss eating lunch with them and talking about dreams after nap time. I will miss our Friday morning Target run. I will miss them driving me nuts and I will miss looking at the monitor at nap time hoping they wake up soon.

With all the things that I will miss I know there will be so many benefits and this decision is the best one for our family. I’m excited to begin this new journey! Check back in two weeks for an update on how everyone is handling the change!!

Gwynnie Bee!!

Lately I have been so excited for Fall and in my pursuit to purchase all of the fall items on my wish list I have not had the time to get to browse my favorite stores.  Rachel has tried to convince me for years to sign up for Birchbox , and even a trip to Soho didn’t convince me.  I love makeup, accessories, and clothing but I just didn’t know how much use I would get out of the subscription.  Maybe some day I will try it but to curb my craving I found another monthly club.

I first saw Gwynnie Bee on different ads all over my Social Media, they are a monthly box subscription of women’s apparel pieces that are geared for sizes 10 and up.  I knew what it was but didn’t pay too much attention and just went about my business. Recently I found myself complimenting my Director on her adorable dress and tell her I loved the print and the shape and how flattering it was, and she said she got it from Gwynnie Bee.  She said she started out with just getting three different pieces a month and then with prepaid shipping labels was able to send items back as many times as she wanted and get new ones.

This was some time ago and sure enough I was browsing through my newsfeed and up popped the ad!  It was a sign they had a free one month trial.  The subscription for three pieces is normally $84 bucks for one month, which seems pretty steep but they can turn around a package in 72 hours!  I have created my closet now I just wait for my items to ship.  The other added benefit is if you love an item you can purchase it at a discounted rate.  I think that this subscription will curb my appetite for an entire new Fall wardrobe (well for the time being).  Check back to see what came in my first subscription!

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Daycare Options 

Well, today officially marks the last day of summer vacation and the end of my maternity leave. Cue the tears, second guessing my decision to return to work, and the worry that I’m going to miss my jellybean all.day.long.

The decision to get to this point was not an easy one. My husband and I had many conversations about what was best for Ainsley and for our family overall. It was a hard choice…it still is a hard choice.

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When we started researching our options for daycare, we considered two choices: a commercial daycare and an in-home daycare.

  1. Commercial daycare was the first option we started to research…and yes, I mean research.  We have several commercial daycares in our area, but the two that were on the top of our list were U-Grow and Chesterbrook Academy.  Both daycares were close to home and had a solid curriculum which is VERY important to two teachers.  🙂
    • Suggestions:
      • Put your name on the waiting list as soon as possible!  Infant rooms fill up quickly in our area so we scheduled a tour of the facilities when I was 5-6 months pregnant.
      • Come prepared with questions: On the tour, we were able to meet the teachers and see first-hand how they cared for the children in their classrooms.  We also had an opportunity to meet with the daycare directors, which is when I asked all of my questions.  (Here is where a pulled most of my questions from.)
      • Take notes: I’m blaming it on my pregnancy brain, but I had such a hard time keeping track of the prices and options for each school.  I found it to be really helpful when I jotted down a few notes that I could reference when we got home from the tour.
  2. In-home daycare was our number one choice from the start, but we struggled to find one that had openings for an infant.  It took some digging, but we’re happy we invested the time and energy.
    • Suggestions:
      • Ask family and friends for suggestions or possible leads.  Searching for an in-home daycare can be challenging.  Care.com is an option, but we lucked out and found someone through a connection at my job.
      • Again, ask questions!  When we scheduled our visit, I was ready with my notebook (yes, I took a notebook) and a list of questions/concerns.  I pulled questions from this list.
      • Call references: I can’t stress how important this step was in our decision making process.  We asked for 3 references, past clients AND current clients, that we could call for feedback.  They were very open to answering our questions and provided honest feedback about their experiences.

In the end, we decided that an in-home daycare was the best fit for our family.  Ainsley’s caregiver is a retired teacher who has three children of her own.  Her two oldest children are in school full-time so Ainsley will have one 5-year old playmate to spend her days with.  As an added bonus, her son attends the preschool program where I work.  This gives me the opportunity to see her for a few minutes in the middle of the day….something that really puts my mind to ease.

Returning to work is certainly a hard, but I have complete faith that Aisnley will be well cared for.  She spent a half day at daycare this week and loved it.  She’s still adjusting to the added activity level of a new home, but she’s happy when I leave, and even happier when I return.  🙂

  

Let’s Go Bucs !!

I have always enjoyed a good baseball game.  I was never a devote follower or a true loyal fan to one team :/  I just loved to be around the excitement, the commitment, the ballpark foods, smells, and sounds.

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A good old American Ball Game has never been as fun as it has been since becoming Pittsburgh Pirates “Buccos” fan!  Michael is  a die-hard, in fact growing up just right outside of Pittsburgh- his entire family is.   Learning the game, the players, and how to develop opinions on a sports team has been a really great way for us to share in one of Michael’s true loves and hobbies.  He is a know-it-all too 😉  So I am lucky to have an incredible teacher.

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It would have been that I should be a huge sports fan, had my father not passed when I was 11.   He was the kind of dad where the entire family proudly wore Cowboys (or whatever sport was in season) gear from head to toe and there was little-to-no talking when a game was on (unless it was yelling or cheering of course).  I was the quintessential Daddy’s-girl.  I would follow that man anywhere in a baseball cap and a ratty ponytail just hoping to please him.  After he passed, sports fell to the wayside– and so it is not that I grew up not enjoying sports- but I had no connection because I had little understanding.  My teacher was gone.

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Tonight we will go to possibly our 10th game of the year?  We are so lucky to be a ride down the “Incline” and walk across a bridge (well- TWO) and just 30 minutes later we arrive at PNC park where one will find one of the most breath-taking views past the outfield that a ball park has to offer.   PNC has an incredible pre-game.  Most tailgates require parking lots packed full of cars that are packed full with coolers and tables and all your pre-game supplies.  Instead here in Pittsburgh the city closes federal street and just for a few hours allows all the fans to flood in front their beloved stadium and Roberto Clemente Statue and enjoy a few pre-game brews.   The federal street “Block Party” is one of my favorite Pittsburgh perks.

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Tonight I will put on my brand new “Gregory Polanco #25” t-shirt that my Fiance bought me to satisfy my love of the new player.   Meet his wonderful parents for a Pittsburgh Downtown dinner at one of many amazing restaurants that our city has to offer.  Then we will walk across the Clemente bridge to our favorite block party at our favorite stadium and happily cheer : “LETS GO BUCS!” and pray for another sweep!

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Getting Fit While Feeding!

As I’m finishing Miles’ daycare applications, I’m starting to think about my professional life.  I don’t want to try on my work clothes because things barely fit before I got pregnant.  I gained over 30 lbs in our first two years of Happily Ever After by indulging in our most favorite foods.  I easily lost the additional 30 lbs I gained during pregnancy simply by breastfeeding.  But the truth of the matter is, my curves are in different places and my body is more out of shape than it has ever been.  I’m turning 30 this month and don’t want to think the days of my being happy with my body are behind me.

It’s time for me to get back on the wagon.  I don’t expect to work out five days a week and eat no carbs at all.  I have an infant to feed, and am worried about losing my milk supply.  What I want to do is make healthier choices and work out with Miles and Lance.  Lance agrees that we need to make a lifestyle change as well.  So, this is what I intend to do.

  1. Pledge to get healthy exercise at least three times a week.  I want to go for walks with Miles while Lance runs, and also look up some lifting exercises and yoga to do while I have him with me.  He weighs 14 lbs, so lifting him is a workout!  I also have a yoga gift card to use!
  2. Pledge to make healthier choices by cutting out most of the bad things I am eating from my diet:  ice cream, frozen yogurt, pizza, pasta, ritz crackers, bagels and cream cheese, cereal, and grilled sandwiches.  I need to replace these things with protein-packed meats, nuts and dairy as well as fresh fruits and veggies.  I still need at least 1800 calories a day to keep my milk supply, so I will still be eating when I am hungry.

I started researching how to lose weight while breastfeeding, and The Bump has a lot of information to offer through various articles!  Here they are!

This is me, now: 

This is me, now.

This is me, now.

This is my happy zone, and this is where I would like to be when we have our next baby:

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Maybe you have some of the same feelings as I do.  I hope you can get to your happy zone as well.  I am going to try to be realistic and stay positive.  I love myself, and I respect my physical limitations and dietary restrictions right now.  I also want to make sure I am as happy as I can be.  Wish me luck!