Don’t forget to look out for number one….

I mentioned in my go-get-your-flu-shot post that we as mothers are so busy with our babies — feeding, changing diapers, running around for their doctors appointments, etc. — that it’s easy to forget about our own health and well-being. I had been dancing up to four times a week, 1-2 hours a day right up until the day I gave birth, and went I back at it at 5 weeks postpartum feeling great. Then 4 months later I suddenly became extremely exhausted after just one hour, to the point where I would be so inexplicably dehydrated until I went to bed. If I didn’t get enough water into my system (which was hard, because my stomach was literally sloshing around with all the water I was guzzling), I would wake up the next day with a migraine at 8am, throw up nothing but water at noon, and be out of commission in bed until about 5pm. That happened three times to me — once when my parents decided to visit so they were able to help me with the baby, and twice I just brought Winter into bed with me all day and she did fairly well.

A kind parent-baby instructor approached me and asked if I was feeling ok because it looked like I’d lost a lot of weight. A couple months after giving birth, the scale revealed I’d dropped 10 more pounds than my pre-pregnancy weight. I was wearing some perhaps not the most flattering clothes that day (skinny jeans and a baggy shirt that made me look like a Tim Burton claymation character), but I told her that I hadn’t been feeling awesome and I had been thinking about booking a physical. She encouraged me to do so. I contacted my gynecologist, but they didn’t want to see the whites of my eyes until a full year after delivery for a physical, and when I mentioned my migraines, they didn’t want to touch it with a 10 foot pole. I thought surely, it would be post-partum related? Maybe the baby, being older, was nursing more, and I needed more fluid intake to compensate? I made an appointment with my doctor, which involved a month wait. I went in for some blood work ahead of time, and got a call a few days later that everything turned up normal.

Ever since I was in college I drank water like I lived in the desert, to the point where one doctor warned me that I could deplete all my electrolytes and die like some athletes have. Yes, he told me I could die! And I was anything but athletic in college. I drank tonnes of water, and peed more than anyone I’ve ever worked with. Before I became pregnant, I dreaded how much more I’d have to consume and expel once I was pregnant.

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Children’s Books Every Adult Should Read

It’s no secret that I love children’s books. I love picture books, children’s chapter books, and young adult fiction (yes, I’m totally one of those embarrassing Harry Potter and Hunger Games fans!). I often prefer reading books geared for younger audiences because they are quicker-paced (I barely have time to read and need to read books that move quickly enough for me to keep up with), cleaner, and often have great, focused storylines.

Once in a while, I’ll read a children’s book that I want to shout about from the rooftops. Something about the story, the characters, and the way its written make the book something magical that should be read by not only children, but also by everyone else on the planet!

Here are some of my favorite children’s book must-reads:

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Transitioning to Daycare

A little while back I shared that Miss H will be transitioning from her nanny share to a daycare. When I wrote the post the changes still felt so far away. Now, we’re at less than 2 weeks away from big changes! Time is moving too fast.

Backpack on and ready for school!

When I originally shared about Miss H’s new daycare, it was still a very new center. So new, in fact, that it wasn’t even open yet! We’d made our decision based on how passionate the center director was about what she was going to do there, and how comfortable Mr. H felt with her (as I wasn’t able to visit). I’m excited to share that the center has been open for almost 2 months now, and a couple of weeks ago Mr. H and I were able to drop by for a visit.

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The Tutu Stage

Have a little girl? I can’t guarantee it, because I’m sure not all little girls in the world will find their cute selves in this stage, but for the most part The Tutu Stage, is real and alive. There seems to be many stages that most kiddos pass through as they grow — the pink, princess, the superhero, the pajamas all day (this is a favorite also) — and of course the tutu stage. Since I myself have fallen witness to this very adorable stage, I thought a full post on this adorable moment in time was required.

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Little Piñatas Favorite Books: His Second Year

This is my first “favorite book” post so far. A lot of that is because Little Piñata has quite a large book collection and for the most part it took him a while to communicate to us what his favorites were. Even though we read to him just about every night his first year, he never really showed preferences for which books he liked best. But, that has definitely changed now! There are some books I have read 3 times in a row at bedtime for so many days straight that I now have them memorized. He definitely loves “pull the flap” and other types of interactive books, and even though many of those flaps are now missing, a lot of those books have stayed in his list of favorites over the past year or so.

So, I have put together a list of Little Piñata’s favorite books so far.

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Feeding our Family for $300/month – Part 3

Previously in this series I have shared how we decide what we will eat all month. Now I want to get into the important part – the shopping.

I mentioned before that even though I plan monthly, I shop weekly. I try to do my grocery shopping on Friday or Saturday, when I can go without Little Lion in tow. I typically have to go to at least 2, sometimes 3 stores, so having him with me makes this take considerably longer. If I go alone I can be done in about an hour (plus, solo time out of the house is always a win when you are a SAHP!)

Once I have my meal plan in place, I create my shopping lists. These are crucial, and I try really hard to not buy anything that isn’t on the list (this is probably the MOST important part if you want to stick to a small budget!) Week 4 I accidentally went to Trader Joes without my list (for shame!) and you can tell there are a few things on there that I normally wouldn’t have bought. (Dark chocolate peanut butter cups? Don’t mind if I do…) I try not to make a habit of this, but toward the end of the month if I know I am pretty close to being within budget, I may splurge on a few things and not feel bad about it. I try to avoid this in the beginning of the month completely. This month, by week 4, I had come in under budget so far for the month, so I knew we had a little more wiggle room.

I am pretty old school when it comes to my grocery lists….I like to use a simple note pad. I know there are a lot of fabulous apps that you can use, but for me it is a million times faster to just write it down. I pull off one piece of paper for each week, plus a list for Sams Club. In total I will have 5 shopping lists. This month I actually needed to go to Sams Club twice (apparently LL cannot get enough of mandarin oranges!) so I had a 6th list this month.

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Birth Months

When Mr. Chocolate and I were thinking about starting a family, we sat down to discuss what would be ideal for us  as far as timing.  Mr. Chocolate is a teacher so he mentioned how many of his female co-workers often tried to have babies from April to June so they could roll their maternity leaves right into summer vacation, and maximize time with the baby. At the time I worked as a nanny and also had a similar schedule, as my kids went away for summer camp from June through August. As a nanny I didn’t have any form of maternity leave built into my job, and if I didn’t want to leave the  family I cared for in the lurch with my pregnancy, trying for a baby right around that schedule made the most sense for me as well.

Mr. Chocolate and I were very fortunate and lucky, as we know that it’s not always easy to time a pregnancy, when we had Drake in early June. I was able to have three months off in the summer with him as a newborn before returning to work in September with him in tow. When we decided to try for Juliet, we once again figured that June would be best to allow me to work for the longest time possible, as I did not think I would be returning to work the following September, and we were extremely lucky to have another June baby.

While I am not ready to have another one right now, I still like to dream ahead like I did when I used to plug in my period date to find out when a baby would be due.

I really like June for many reasons:

  • Parties can be done outside and you don’t have to worry about anything worse than a rainstorm.
  • It’s a summer birthday but school hasn’t ended yet, so kids will still be around to attend parties.
  • Our town doesn’t have a cut off date so it wouldn’t have affected Drake or Juliet either way, but June isn’t too early or too late to worry about cut off dates or red shirting.
  • June is 6 months from Christmas so it’s nice spacing and better on the wallets for mom and dad too!

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