Wednesday, December 5, 2018

PREGNANCY FAVES.


I'm no expert. Anyone else could make a way better (and probably a lot more helpful) list than this, and actually - I loved the majorty of this stuff prior to being pregnant, but here are my PREGNANCY FAVES 23 weeks in.

I'm the kind of person who doesn't need a lot of stuff. I want a lot of stuff, sure, but in my opinion being pregnant isn't super different than not being pregnant and I don't think you have to change your entire life around for it. Obviously take your prenatals and know you'll outgrow your clothes, but you don't have to buy into everything. (This also goes for baby things in general, but let's talk about that when the time comes.) I think there's a huge market for those of us in the maternity and baby world, and so much advice about what you need, or don't need. But everyones world is different, so this isn't that. It's simply the top 5 things that I love and can't live without this pregnancy. Don't buy into it if you don't want to.

But, IF you do want my advice (kidding, lol).....

THE SNOOGLE.
Literally, buy this the minute you find out your pregnant. Especially if it's your first pregnancy because then the minute you're ever pregnant again, you'll be bringing it back out. I originally got mine at 10 weeks with Emily because I'm a hardcore stomach sleeper and it's always soo hard for me to learn how to sleep on my side. I feel like my bones are just knocking eachother, and I can't fully stretch out so it's like I'm cramping up, and I hate it. And still, many nights I wish I could just roll onto my stomach - but this makes it 1000% more comfortable to sleep on my side. You can lay with the long side supporting your front or back (I sort of alternate between the two) and you can even prop yourself up in bed, which is nice if your name is Emily...





^^ basically Emily, lol. You really never know what kids will like and decide they're obsessed with.
(Or is that just my kid?) She drinks all her milk, and watches all her shows from the snoogle now. I'm begging John to get her the "junior" version for her new "big girl bed" that's will here after Christmas because I think it might entice her. (More to come, but omgpleasepray.)

I got mine on Amazon, but I think the prices look pretty comparable everywhere. Worth it, worth it, worth it. (And this might be my very best advice here, which is why I've listed it first.)


This is where someone will no doubt tell me that this stuff is full of junk or something, but we're entitled to our own favorite things. And this pregnancy, I love this junk. It's something I actually started using AFTER Emily was born because my doctor told me it would help "tone down" my c-section scar (sry), and when I was nursing I was terrified my usual tiny b-cup's would get stretch marks (sry again). And I started to really like it, so now I slather it all over my entire body after I shower each night and I feel like this.


It doesn't smell particularly great, but neither does coconut oil day after day after day and I know a lot of people use that. (But again, my world, my opinion.) I get mine at Walmart because I found it's the best price. And because I'm trying to stay out of Target.


COUNTRY HEAT.
Yes, I just linked my Beachbody site - BUT HEAR ME OUT. If you don't have Beachbody on Demand, you need it. Pregnant or not. But if you happen to be pregnant, this is my favorite!

Imagine...





Except me, as a turtle.

FUN, RIGHT? Really though! I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I did the whole 30 day program during my second trimester with Emily, and I'm choosing not to commit to anything like that right but I try to incorporate it in at least once a week. Twice if I'm having a good week. The reason why it's the bomb is because:

A) it's low impact.
B) it's fun. (Like, so fun.)
C.) Emily doesn't scream when I turn it on.
And  D.) because as much as I hate to say it, I have to say it. It's a calorie burner. Meaning I can still eat whatever I want. Because I will eat whatever I want.

There's a few other workouts that I love for pregnancy too, but this is a must try.


THE BLACK VEST.
Every pregnant women will know what "the uniform" means, and this is mine. I've always been pregnant in the winter, so I don't know what it's like in the summer, but it's important you find your uniform because getting dressed each day can get incredibly frustrating as nothing fits. I don't have a ton of maternity. But because I'm home 99.98% of the time, I don't need a lot. I have about five pairs of maternity leggings (all of which I got on sale), two bras that currently fit, and then I get away with tight fitting shirts and either my old converse or my Costco slippers. But whenever I do leave the comfort of my home, it's in this vest.

It keeps me warm enough during these mild Texas winters. But also because walking around pregnant is what I imagine being famous is like. You get a lot of looks and I feel this somehow gives me some privacy. Like I'm sheilding my baby and also saying, "don't talk to me."

And it also doubles as a muffin top concelear, lol.

Same thing could be done with a kimono or a long duster sweater, but I really think it's key to have that little extra layer (of protection, lol). And when you can't see the muffin top, "you're all belly." Which is what every pregnant women wants to hear, FYI.



Hands down, HANDSDOWN the thing I cannot live without right now. Take my snoogle, TAKE IT ALL. But I may die without pizza. It's my favorite food, and a big deal because there's nothing else that has been a huge "craving" of mine this time around (I blame intuitive eating, lol) so a lot of the time nothing sounds good at all - which is frustrating. (Apparently typical for learning how to intuitively eat.) But pizza is the one thing I will jump up and down for. I can eat it any time of day, and love it just as much cold, if not more.

And it's not even that Little Caesars itself is the best pizza ever - I know this, but the fact that it's always available, is a pregnancy must. Nothing worse than craving something but knowing it'll take too long to make, or it's too far away or will cost too much. Little Ceasars is only a five minute drive, pizza is always "hot and ready" and waiting for me - ANDDD only $5. You can't beat it.


I told you, helpful right?

What were your favorites while pregnant? What couldn't you live without, or what do you suggest to everyone you know? (For me, it's the snoogle. You've gotta have it.)

Monday, October 29, 2018

17 WEEKS, 17 MONTHS.


It's soooo crazy to me that when I was 17 months old, my Mom had my little sister...

I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE.

I guess it's like anything else though, you only know what you know. But, dang. I think I got lucky getting pregnant when I did since these two will be just under two years apart, so Emily will be (hopefully) talking more and basically acting like an adult by the time this baby comes. I mean, I'm kidding. But not really. She's such a big girl, that's actually what I call her now. "Big girl." (In a super small body because she won't eat, UGH.) She still needs me a lot, but mostly just because she can't drive or reach the shelves in the pantry.

(I know it will still be terribly hard, but I have plenty of time to not think about it, lol.)

I'm really random at doing updates, on both Emily and pregnancy, but seemed right being that today is that last day that I am 17 WEEKS pregnant and Em's is 17 MONTHS (for a few more days, lol). So, let's just roll with it...

BABY:

Guess I'll start with me + baby since I really don't have much to update on. I can't feel the baby move yet, so just walking around with a huge belly hoping there's actually a baby in there. I don't know why I've been so worried this time around. But it's hard for me to imagine that I'm actually pregnant some days. Besides the belly, I feel pretty much normal and at my 15 week appointment, my doctor could barely find the heartbeat, so I was like...ok, cool, THAT'S REASSURING...lol. Apparently the baby wasn't staying still, which is again - not very reasurring because THEN WHY CAN'T I FEEL HER YET?

John and I are 99.899999% sure on a name. And no, we're not telling. (But like "Emily," it's not anything shocking.)

My boobs are huge, and killing me. I was talking the other night about how exhuasted I was and I went, "I don't know why. I'm just so, so tired today." And John goes "probably because your body's growing those boobs." LOLOLOL. I totally expected him to end that sentance with growing a "BABY."

I can't sleep on my stomach anymore, which is the worst. By the end of my pregnancy with Em's I was obsessed with my snoogle and convinced I would sleep with it forever, but right now, I just want to sleep on my freaking stomach and I can't. (Or I can, but then I start to worry - "am I crushing her? Can she breathe? Does she breathe???)

Still eating all the fruit. Lots of breakfast food, and fruit.

(Still going through some weird spiritual experience.)

And then, um...the end, lol? Truthfully that's about it at this point. Things will get more exciting soon, I think. (That or second pregnancys are really just not as exciting to talk about as the first.)

EMS:

Ems, Ems, Ems. Where do I even start...

Still going mostly by Ems. "EMILY CLARE" when she's being a shit and running away from me in the store - which is her new favorite thing. I can get her to stay in the cart if I'm lucky at first, but she apparently likes to shop. I lost her for a whole minute today at Target (felt like 100) and found her helping some woman pick out sports bras. The only way to really distract her is with snacks, so I usually go down the snack aisle and let her pick something out herself. So now our pantry is full of shit like Paw Patrol cookies that she won't even touch again.

*Side note: I have no idea how I'm going to do it with with two.

She has ZERO clue there's a baby coming, but can say "baby" now and knows what a baby is, so that's a start.

Other words she's saying lately: jump, dance (which sounds exactly like jump?), apple, MAMA and party? I don't actually think she's saying party, but I still find it funny to respond "Emily, no parties." I heard John from the kitchen the other day go, "what? Lipgloss?" Basically we just guess what she's saying, lol. But, omg - MAMA, finally! She doesn't say it lovingly or anything...it's more like when she's upset about something and she'll yell, "MAMA" in an Italian accent like..."MUH-MUH" But, I still love it and will do anything she says now.

Has a sixth sense and it's seeing and hearing dogs before anyone else. She'll point out a dog to me from miles away, and will let me know the dog across the street is barking with a, "woof woof."

Still surviving on a diet of mostly whole milk since she's apparently never hungry for real food. She'll eat apples, oranges (from a cup), blueberries, yogurt, a single bite of toast, pretzels, pistatchio shells and M&M's. Just kidding, she eats a few more foods - but that covers what she had yesterday. She for sure has a sweet tooth though, and when she see's anything chocolate goes, "mmmmmmmmmmm." Meaning, "gimmmmmmmme." I tried to open a peanut butter cup yesterday as quiet as I possibly could from behind the kitchen island and I hear this, "mmmmmmmmm" coming at me from around the corner, lol. Her hearing is just too good.

Was a late baby signer. But just picked up "more," which is fun because now instead of throwing a book at my head, she just signs more. But like all the other signs, she does it the lazy version and only uses one hand.

Drags this little kitchen stool all around the place now. It's just a small two-step that's ACTUALLY MINE since I'm so short, I've always needed it to reach the high cabinets, but now she's stolen it for herself. So now we're not only pulling everything out of the lower cabinets, but also the drawers. She's sort of obsessed and I have to hide it from time to time.

*No, we probably still won't baby proof. But we did just order the converter piece to her crib since I give it until the end of the year before she climbs out.

And then, most important guys. She sleeps. A lot. Like 12 hours at night, and then 2-3 hours mid-day. IT'S GLORIOUS AND I WILL BE SOAKING IT UP FOR THE NEXT HOWEVER MANY MONTHS BEFORE I SPEND ANOTHER YEAR NOT SLEEPING.

LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF NAPS HAPPENING.

So, we good. Really, really good!

*And in case I have barely said anything about my husband (since baby #2 + Emily + myself basically live life like one person), he's good too.


Just trying to understand what happened and how he got stuck with all these girls.

(Kidding. I think.)

x.

Friday, October 19, 2018

MY (VERY NEW + VERY AMATUER) MEDITATION PRACTICE.


This is a story all about how I sit on the floor of my closet each morning, next to our laundy basket, door cracked juust enough to let some light in (so I'm not scared of the dark, you know) and how I close my eyes for 10 minutes a day and it's legit, changed MY LIFE. I'm never dramatic, unless it's something that I just REALLY, REALLY think everyone should be doing too (ask John) - and this is that, so sorry!

But, OMG.

MEDITIATION.

The first time I tried it was about a year ago actually. We got some guided meditations on Beachbody on Demand, and I liked them. But really didn't feeeel like I had the time each day, and definitely didn't understand what I was supposed to be getting from it. I thought meditating was like..waiting for a sign from the universe, or something. And I was into that idea, for sure, but sitting around and waiting for a sign, can take forever. I had read a book once, a long time ago, about this hippy guy who mediated for like, DAYS in the woods and his whole message was - like, 'just let life happen.' And he actually became some kind of millionare, but he'd just mediate all day, every day and then just walk into all these perfect oportunities in life and met all the right people, just by - like..."letting life happen to him." (That's me eye rolling, lol. Even though, YOU MAY BE EYE ROLLING AT ME TOO.)

So, when I started mediating, I think I was trying to find guidance specifically. And there were a few times that I thought I got a message, from like - somewhere within me. (From that person that I'm always trying to get a hold of, the one that's the best, most smartest, happiest version of me.) But most of the time, not much would happen except me getting frustrated at myself for not being able to shut up. I overthink, sort of on the obsessive side. And my brain looooves to make up stories, and dwell on things that have happened in the past, or conversations that never happened. Et cetera. 

And I can't explain it...but something within the past few months has brought me back. And this is SO MOTHER EARTHY of me, but I swear, it's the new baby. I feel this crazy spiritual change happening within me, and I think it all started with her. For one, the night I found out I was pregnant, I was meditating. I had run around all day long, was crazy exhuasted from traveling with a toddler, and had an hour in-between the ceremony from the wedding I had just been at, and the reception. I was sitting in the car in the church parking lot (alone, John was in the wedding party) and decided to just, sit and breath for a while. I reclined the seat back, put a timer on my phone and closed my eyes. It definitely helped relax me, but the thing I kept going back to were how uncomfortable my Spanx were. They felt super restrictive, and I had this weird, instinctive feeling that they were, like harming me. (In a non-dramatic way, ok.) And that's when I knew I was pregnant. I drove to Target right then and there, bought a test and took it at the reception, lol! (Also, bought a new pair of underwear so I could ditch the Spanx, fyi / tmi.) Another reason I knew? The Target was on Joy Road, and "joy" was this word that kept coming up over, and over again. I couldn't really explain why. And THIS is super embarrassing, ok - but over the summer Costco was taking donations for the Childrens Hospital, and I'd donate like, every week, because I was there every week. And every time, they would have me sign this ballon thing that they were decorating the store with. And after I had signed, "John, Morgan, Emily," and run out of names...one day, I wrote down..."Joy." (crazypersoncrazypersoncrazyperson.)

I didn't even tell John that, because hello, CRAZY PERSON. But I really do think it's all connected.

The baby, the meditation, joy.

For as long as I can remember, I've been fighting to learn how to just BE happy. And there have been times where I've convinced myself that I was, but I think it was mostly a cover - more like, controlled happiness. Like, if I SAID I was happy and looked the part, then maybe I was? A fake it-till you make it approach...

But I mostly wasn't. It's hard for me. And earlier this summer, I REALLY, REALLY wasn't. I hit this wall where pretending I was happy, was only making me more unhappy. And I had realized (through personal development people) that I was doing it to myself. I was trying too hard, and reaching for shiny things and looking for my self-worth and approval in other people. I was putting in what I thought was all this work to BE HAPPY. But I was really waiting around to be good enough to be happy. And I think it all really hit me after Emily turned one and I started to look back on the past year, and I realized that I spent a whole year of my life just fighting with myself. Not that all the other years didn't matter, but this was a year that was / is going to be pretty important in the grande scheme of my life. And instead of just being happy because like, what in the world did I have to be unhappy about, I spent so much of it mad at myself for not being happy enough, while also trying to ignore the fact that I wasn't and convince myself that I was. (This is complicated, ok lol..) Through my resistance to become "just another Mom" and even on my journey back to my "pre-baby" body - it was a lot of me, fighting for what I thought I needed to be happy.

I started to see all these Facebook "Timehop" reminders of moments when I looked happy, but I wasn't...


And this one in particular one day, really choked me up.

I remember trying to convey that I was this inspirational and strong SUPER MOM who could fit in her jeans 6 months postpartum and was just, super cool + laughing my way through this new Motherhood thing. When in real life, I was just playing a part. Showing up on social media with a big smile on my face to prove I was "so happy," while I was really only trying to prove to myself that I was happy by my size, and I was irritated that Emily wasn't cooperating so I threw her over my shoulder like this so you couldn't tell she was actually crying.

...which makes me cry now.

I tried so hard, for so long. (Long before this too.)

So, what was THE FUCKING SECRET???

Where did happiness come from if it didn't come from, forcing it? Or buying it or waiting for someone, or something else to present it to you???

MEDITATION. 

Lol, #dramatic but it starts there. After my experience over the past month, I AM SURE OF IT. What I never got from meditation before was that it's not about waiting for anwers, it's more about releasing the bullshit. Ok, maybe not "releasing" it, but...silencing it. It's learning to shut off the conversations in your head THAT ARE NOT REAL. All that lingering guilt you carry around from the past, and anticipation about the future. (For me, not being good enough.) That's what will kill any hope for your happiness right now.

Because, I think it's all about the now. 

I've spent so much of my life in fast forward, worried about the next thing. What can I do next to be better? I think it's unconciously why a few months ago, I vowed to stop making to-do lists. I realized that I was just chasing them down, and then feeling inadequate when I wouldn't finish them. Then I slowly started to throw away all my planners, and notebooks that had any kind agenda in them. I stopped using an alarm clock, and started working out on mornings that I FELT like it, instead of planning my life around it. (This is debatable, but also, I'm twisted so I could argue it either way.) And on the contrary, I think I probably think more about the past than the average person too. Just today, as I was driving home, I caught myself practicing this huge apology speech to someone that I wronged TEN YEARS AGO. (NOT in my life anymore.) And I do that shit ALL THE TIME. I think it has something to do with guilt, and regret..and me thinking I'd be happy "if only" I had this perfect past and never wronged anyone, or made a bad choice. Blah, blah.

So, essentially - I've RARELY spent any actual time being present, until recently.

It's like, have you ever looked forward to an event / date / concert / wedding, whatever. And it just wasn't as much fun as you expected it to be? (In your head, lol?) And then have you ever done something totally random and last-minute, that turned out to be one of the best nights of your life? THAT'S IT. It's when life happens. (Like the old hippy man said, LOLOL EYEROLL OK.)

It's when someone tells a joke, and you actually LAUGH. It brings you into that present moment, completely. Not thinking in the past, or in the future at all. That's fucking joy. And can you imagine living in THAT kind of present moment all the time? Sure it won't always be laughing and jokes - life is messy and hard too. But, that's part of it. Letting those moments happen when they do, and having the mental clarity and energy to deal with them. (Without avoidance or alcohal or food, etc.)

I first noticed a difference one afternoon when I was sitting on the kitchen floor with a whiny Emily, and while normally I would have been super annoyed and had little patience with her (because I had things to do), I was CALM. And it was wild to me! But I didn't have anywhere else to "be," and I had no other (real or imaginery) agenda. And, as we sat there and I stared at her, it was almost like I was seeing her for the very first time in a weird (sad) way. Without rushing through the moment, or paying half attention to some thought or story line in my head, I was actually there with her. Happened again when John and I went out for our anniversary last week. I slowed down and enjoyed every single second of it, in a way that I never would have been able to before. Even on the drive there, through horrible downtown traffic, instead of zoning out and just waiting to get there, I stayed completely present and tried to enjoy the hour we had together. In meditation you learn it's not always about the end result (the "answers," etc), but what happens on the way "there."

SO ANYWAYS.

Meditation! It's the secret! Start there, and you'll learn what's keeping you from living in happiness. It's why I backed off the social media scene. I realized it was a huge part of what was keeping me from living in the present, and disconnected me from my own life. (Other people, storylines, me judging myself harshly against everyone else, in my head, all the time = just not good for me.)



And since I got into big time, backstory / story-telling mode - I'll keep the actual "practice" short here. Which is pretty easy because I'm extremely new to this, and don't have all the answers. But here's what I do!

- I meditate for 10 minutes, every morning after I get out of bed and make sure that I'm actually awake enough to not fall back asleep. I usually chug some water, and at least brush my teeth. Sometimes, I'll put the coffee on so I have an incentive to hurry, lol. For me, ten minutes is golden. But, I suppose that probably changes in time.

- I've noticed the biggest difference when I do it first thing in the morning, so I really try to make that happen, but if I can't, I take whatever is my first opportunity. (Sometimes, it's putting on Sesame Street and walking away, lol..) Night time is not good for me. It brings me too much into the now, and I all of a sudden feel too aware, and almost itchy to sleep.

- I personally think sitting on the floor works the best, since I'm not toooo too comfortable. Some people can meditate on the couch, etc - but that doesn't work as well for me. I have a bad back, so I sit up against the wall, my middle back lightly supported and I usually just keep my hands on my knees.

- QUIET SPACE. Closet is probably your best bet if you're a Mom or live with a spouse who thinks you're a hippy.

- Also, darkness helps.

- And then I think the biggest game changer for me was finally pulling the trigger and getting the Headspace App. It's pricey (I think) at $13/month, but I can say now that it's 100% worth it. It has a ton of beginner series as well as everything from pregnancy meditation to coping with cancer to happiness (bingo), and what I find super helpful is that there are these little cartoon animations you watch, where you can sort of visualize what meditation is. I had no idea how to not attach myself to the thoughts that came up until I watched this animation where they showed how it was like sitting on the side of the road and watching cars go by. You can chase them down and try to jump in, or you can just sit back and watch them drive by.

And lastly, CONSISTENCY!!! I think it took me a week of doing it every morning before I noticed a difference. And give yourself a lot of grace. You won't be instantly healed, and you won't be perfect. (I cursed at Emily tonight, lol.) But it's the brain, it's pretty much a muscle. (It's actually not, lol.) I think it's hands down, the best learning tool I've had to deal with the actual roots of my depression, and like I said - it's not about the end result, because WHAT IS THE END EVEN? But it's what happens on the way there, all that 'in the now' stuff.

Try it, xx. 

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