Giving Birth & Bouncing Back

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I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t feeling (or looking!) my best a mere 8 weeks after giving birth to my son. Heck, 8 months later and I’m STILL NOT back to normal. I saw this article about Kristin Cavallari and couldn’t believe how awesome she looks only 8 weeks after giving birth to son Jaxon in May.

Why is it that some moms, especially celebrities, can look so amazing so soon after having a baby? Is it because they feel “pressured” due to the media? Maybe. Regardless, there’s no way I could have felt so amazing and looked so beautiful in so little time after having O.

It’s been just over 8 months since I gave birth and, although, a lot of the weight has come off (I gained a lot!) and my emotions and hormones are back in check, I still don’t feel like I did before I was pregnant. It will probably take at least another year for me to get the baby weight completely off (but I’m striving to lose more!), and I’m totally okay with that. Sure, I have days where I just wish the pounds would melt away or days when there isn’t enough makeup in the world to make me feel beautiful. But, again, it’s ok.

If you’re a mama struggling to get the weight off quickly after having a baby, take your time! Of course Kristin and other celebrities look and seem to feel beautiful, I’m sure they have their days where they would rather not leave the house – we all do! Plus, don’t even get me started on airbrushing (in magazines)! We all know they do it. Regardless of probably airbrushing on Mrs. Jay Cutler, she looks amazing.

Tell me about your struggle (or success!) in losing those pregnancy pounds in the comments below. I’d love to hear your story. If you feel more comfortable emailing me, please feel free to do that instead.

Stay healthy and fabulous, Mamas! -themidwestmama

My 1st Mother’s Day

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day – my first as a mom! – and might I say IT WAS FANTASTIC! We actually had an entire weekend of fun, starting on Friday evening with a trip to the mall.

Hubs and O didn’t know what to get me for Mother’s Day (not that they needed to get me anything!) so they wanted ideas. Thus, we all headed to the mall on a Friday night (mistake?). We walked around a bit and stopped in to a few jewelry shops. I found a ‘Mom’ necklace and some earrings I liked, but couldn’t justify both. We decided to have dinner and talk it over before making a purchase. We ate at the food court, which was actually pretty good (we ate at a place called Schoop’s). After we ate, hubs picked up O because he was getting fussy. He was “standing” on Dad’s lap when he reached down, grabbed the 20 oz. fountain drink and brought the straw straight to his mouth. Obviously, he can’t suck through a straw at 6 months old, but he tried! We about died laughing. Did I mention the drink was over half full? Crazy! We ended up going back and getting the earrings I liked. I wear them 24/7 proudly!

On Saturday morning we were invited to our friends’ home for an evening BBQ. We didn’t have plans, so we went – and had a really great time! It happened to be their little girls’ 1/2 birthday (6 months already!) so we brought her a pink sock monkey & a balloon. We also brought our friend a nice tulip plant and ‘Mom’ balloon. At dinner, O had his avocado puree while we chowed down on burgers, corn, baked beans, and green beans – and apple pie for dessert! We stayed until after 10, which is unusual for us since we go to bed quite early. O went to sleep in their pack n’ play around 930 luckily. We had great food & conversation with wonderful friends.

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On Sunday morning, hubs let me sleep in a bit and then him & O brought me my Mom’s Day cards in bed (awww!). We all got ready & took a quick trip to the store to prepare for our afternoon BBQ with O’s “Auntie.” We got some Diet Vernors and vanilla ice cream to make my favorite childhood treat – Boston Coolers! When we got home, we made our treat and took O outside while hubs grilled. “Auntie” brought over a beautiful hydrangea plant for me (pretty!) and a pack of MLB Baseball Cards for O (his first!). We had a wonderful time hanging out, eating and talking.

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Mother’s Day weekend was a wonderful one – one I will never forget. It is so rewarding being a mother and I can’t wait for the years to come.

I hope you had an amazing Mother’s Day, too! I would love to hear about it. Feel free to tell me below, or in an email! Have a wonderful week! -themidwestmama

Friday’s Quote of the Day

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Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are.

– Cheryl Lacey Donovan

Top Ten Tuesday: Pregnancy Books

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While I was pregnant in 2013, I read A LOT of pregnancy books, blogs, magazines, and articles. There was so much literature out there, it was nearly overwhelming. I’ve compiled a list of pregnancy books I found most helpful during my pregnancy and I hope these will work for you, too!

  1. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. This book was awesome because it chronicled the entire nine months of pregnancy week-by-week and included information on trying to conceive and labor & delivery. It was an all-in-one pregnancy necessity! This book is probably the most well-known and most-read pregnancy manual. What to Expect is not only a book series, which includes What to Expect the First Year among others, it’s also a brand! Heidi Murkoff created the books, a website and social media accounts for expectant mothers (and moms in general!) to refer to as needed. It’s a one-stop-shop for everything pregnancy, baby and motherhood! **Be sure to obtain the latest edition of the WTE books to get up-to-date information!** (WTE Before Expecting, WTE Eating WellWTE Expecting, WTE First Year, WTE Second Year)
  2. The Pregnancy Journal: A Day-to-Day Guide to a Happy & Healthy Pregnancy. Some may not consider this a book, but it really IS a book + journal! I used this throughout my pregnancy and I was able to journal about my experiences AND read information day-by-day on my growing baby! It’s a wonderful daily guide to your baby’s growth! Highly recommend!
  3. Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week. I used this book from the start as well. It was fun to read each month and learn how my baby was developing and how my body was changing – and what to expect in months to come!
  4. The Pregnancy Bible: Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy & Early Parenthood. As I said, I ready A LOT of pregnancy books while pregnant. Even though this book mirrors a lot of other month-by-month pregnancy books, they’re all different. This one contained information the others didn’t. I really enjoyed this read!
  5. The Mother of All Pregnancy Books. As their tagline states: “The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth & Everything in Between.” That’s what this is – an all-in-one guide to getting pregnant, being pregnant, and giving birth. I read this from cover-to-cover as well! Definitely recommend!
  6. The Pregnancy & Postpartum Anxiety Workbook. Although I didn’t find this book until after I gave birth, this would have been at the top of my must-read list during and right after pregnancy. I suffered from a bit of PP anxiety in the month following O’s birth and this looks like a great tool to assist with anxiety before and after birth. This is a book I would definitely purchase in the future!
  7. Your Pregnancy & Childbirth: Month-to-Month. This is a great read, written by The American College of OB/GYN. Another month-to-month book, it gives information on every month of your pregnancy from experts!
  8. Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother’s Soul. This is a great read for when you’re expecting. It tells stories of expectant mothers, expectant fathers, veteran moms and more! Warning: emotions may become uncontrollable while reading this book. 🙂
  9. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. Written by the pregnancy experts at the world-famous Mayo Clinic, this book chronicles the ways in which to have a healthy pregnancy. It provides tips on exercise, eating right & which medications are safe for pregnancy – among many other topics relating to pregnancy! A wonderful read!
  10. Relieving Pelvic Pain During & After Pregnancy. As I’ve already mentioned in a previous post, I suffer from Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction. Unfortunately, I was not aware of this awesome book until recently. If I had this book during pregnancy, I may not have suffered such a painful labor and continuing pain thereafter (and still today!). Most women DO suffer from some kind of pelvic or pubic pain during pregnancy, but generally it goes away or is relieved after birth. A small percentage of mother’s continue to suffer for months and years after pregnancy. This book is a great resource for relieving pelvic pain and maintaining a healthy pelvic area.

Which books on pregnancy did you enjoy reading while pregnant? Let me know! I’m always looking for amazing pregnancy reads to pass along to friends, family & my readers! -themidwestmama

Healthy Children’s Expo 2014

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Our family and some friends attended the wonderful Healthy Children’s Expo in Chicago in early March and we had an absolute blast! I had been to other children/baby expos in the past and was less than impressed. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, but because it was put on by the American Academy of Pediatrics, I had high hopes. Boy, were those hopes met! Not only did the have excellent exhibitors, they offered several seminars and talks on different topics relating to safety (baby proofing), teething/dentistry and general health for kids and moms. We received a lot of informative literature, great samples, freebies, and tips on keeping our baby healthy as he grows.

There were so many great exhibitors who took part in this expo, including:

  • Enfamil
  • Chicco
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Happy Family
  • American Dental Association
  • Family Circle
  • Feeding America
  • Meredith Parents Network
  • Parents

We attended a talk on baby proofing and were blown away by the new information we received. We have read up on baby proofing in the past and thought we were pretty knowledgable on the subject, but there really was a lot of information we didn’t know about. For example, magnets (specifically bucky balls) are a horrendous hazard to littles because, if swallowed, the two magnets can attract one another and cause a blockage in the esophagus, intestine, stomach, etc. I knew magnets in general were bad, but having that happen is scary! There won’t be any magnets around for O to find, that’s for sure!

The best part of the expo? Meeting Heidi Murkoff, the author and creator of the What to Expect brand! She was so welcoming – she hugged us upon meeting, loved on O, talked to us like we’ve been friends forever, and even signed my “What to Expect the First Year” book! It was such a blessing to meet her and connect. She even follows @themidwestmama on Twitter! What an honor.

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I would highly recommend attending this expo or something similar if it comes to your area. It was well worth it for the samples and information alone! A wonderful expo I will visit year after year with O to keep up on the ever-evolving information that is childcare/healthcare.

Have you attended this expo, or one similar? Have you met the amazing Heidi Murkoff? Tell me about your experience! -themidwestmama

Top Ten Tuesday: Diaper Bag Essentials

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At first, I thought I needed everything from home in my diaper bag when going out. It was stuffed to the gills with way more than I ever needed! After several outings in those first few months, I realized that I really only need the essentials to get by. I could always purchase something I needed more of or didn’t have, but that hasn’t happened yet. I’ve always been fully stocked and I’ve never run out of anything. In my experience, the items below are the absolute essentials to stock in your diaper bag. Of course, this is in my experience and your needs may differ. 😉

  1. Diapers + Wipes (the obvious, but definitely necessary!)
  2. Diaper Cream
  3. Changing Pad + Liner (swaddle blankets work well for this!)
  4. Change of Clothing for both baby and mama (or dad!)
  5. Baby Food (either bottles + formula or pumped breast milk with bottles – just in case!)
  6. Snacks and beverages for mom + dad (and baby if old enough!)
  7. Toys (great distractions from diaper changes or for when they get fussy!)
  8. Pacifier and/or Teethers.
  9. Hand Sanitizer and Clorox Wipes (great for cleaning on the go!)
  10. Bibs (we usually pack at least 5 – we have a drooler!)

I also think, though perceived as a luxury item by some, diaper sacks are a necessity because they come in handy, not only for dirty diapers, but also for soiled clothing and dirty bibs! These will also come in handy if you use cloth diapers – they make a great place for those soiled diapers to go until you’re home.

Until next week! -themidwestmama

Top Ten Tuesday: Mommy Blogs

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I adore Mommy Blogs. They provide insight, opinions, reviews and more on all-things baby, Motherhood and parenting. I love to hear what works for other moms and what doesn’t. I follow quite a few on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and I still can’t get enough! I do have several that I follow religiously that I want to share with other moms and moms-to-be out there. These blogs are fun, informative and best of all real.

  1. Scary Mommy One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Scary Mommy creates a positive environment for moms without judgement. It’s been called a blog “where mothers don’t have to be perfect.” Jill  Smokler has also written a NYT bestselling book titled “Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverant Look at Motherhood – The Good, The Bad, and The Scary.” I just ordered it from Amazon and I can’t wait to read it!
  2. First Time Mom & Dad I recently found this blog, but absolutely love it because it’s very, very real. April, the owner and blogger, is hilarious and fun.
  3. Hot Mess Mom Absolute hilarity on this blog! She writes about the realities of motherhood – and tells it like it is!
  4. Baby Cheapskate Self Explanatory: This blog is all about baby deals, sales, freebies, and more! It’s wonderful for finding amazing baby stuff on the cheap.
  5. Baby Rabies This blog is inspiring. It’s real. It’s opinionated. It’s awesome.
  6. The Confident Mom A blog dedicated to “empowering moms, strengthening families, and embracing God’s design.” Although this blog is Christian-based, there is a lot of information and wisdom that doesn’t involve religion. I can’t say I am a big religious person, but I absolutely love this blog! Susan is phenomenal!
  7. A Diary of a Mom This blog is great because that’s just what it is – a diary of a mom. She chronicles her life as a mom and posts her experiences and opinions openly.
  8. Rookie Moms This blog is all about ideas on making motherhood and life with a baby FUN! It’s a cheerful, upbeat blog written by the lovely Whitney and Heather.
  9. Alpha Mom This blog is fantastic. They help moms and moms-to-be become more confident in raising their children. The best part? They don’t believe in just one type of parenting style. They welcome all styles of parenting and don’t judge! Fabulous!
  10. Mom Central A wonderful website/blog that “engages moms.” Their mission: “to build strong, passionate, enduring relationships connecting influential Moms and brands that inspire action and create loyalty.”

Those are some of my favorite mom blogs; what’s your favorite? Please share! Have a wonderful Tuesday all! -themidewestmama