Tummy Time with Baby K | newborn | stay at home mom | sahm | quit job to stay at home | life change
Aside

New at this

“Why can’t someone else watch him?”

The question hung there for a moment – I was unsure how to answer. Not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I wasn’t sure what would satisfy the person who asked.

I’m a new mom of a 4-month old, and I’d just told a client at my job that I was leaving to stay home with my son. It was a hard decision to make, and the honest answer of why is simply because I want to – I want to have the privilege of staying home with my son to watch him grow and learn.

It was hard to answer that question, though, because I loved my job (well, most days I loved it). I felt it was meaningful work, paid well, and had good benefits. I liked the office I worked in and enjoyed the time with my coworkers. I feel I was lucky this way. Why wouldn’t I stay?

I know many parents don’t get the choice like I had. Many parents have to go back to work. Some parents do have a choice and want to go back to work. I’d always thought I would be one of those parents, but at some point during my maternity leave, I started to wonder…

I got to spend 12 full weeks on leave to care for my son. It was hard adjusting to life with a newborn – the first few weeks especially. So much harder than I was prepared for (not that anything can really prepare a new parent for all the challenges a newborn brings). But, then it seemed to get a bit easier, little-by-little, as we settled into a routine.

Now, while I know it was so hard, I cling to all the sweet moments – it’s amazing to think how much this little person has grown and changed in just four short months.

I still struggled with the decision to stay at work or stay at home, but ultimately I knew what I had to do. I submitted my notice, and now I’m staying at home to raise my son.

I’m a bit nervous about this decision. It’s such a huge change. But, I like to look at this time I get to spend with my son as a gift. I’m so new at what this all means for my life, and unsure a lot of the time. I anticipate that routines are going to constantly be changing and I’m going to learn a lot as my little one grows. And I’ll need to find ways to find personal worth outside of a job – I didn’t know how much a job meant personal value to me until I didn’t have one anymore.

Ultimately, my hope for this blog is to preserve the memories I make during this time. Also, to share my experiences with the hope that it will help another parent out there who is perhaps new at this, too.

Eventually, I’ll go into deeper detail about the decision making process I went through and my experiences so far as a new mom. Please feel free to reach out and share your experiences, too. I welcome the feedback and discussion.

In the meantime, take care.

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first vacation with baby | road trip | kansas city trip report | tips for traveling with a baby

Trip Report: Our 1st Family Vacation

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” — Lin Yutang

We’re back from our trip to Kansas City, Mo! It was fun to make memories on Baby K’s very first vacation. 🙂

We stayed near County Club Plaza, a really cool area full of shops and restaurants (but it was too rainy to do much shopping).

The main attractions we went to see were the Arabia Steamboat Museum (a museum that has pre-Civil War items on display — from fine China to carpentry tools to children’s toys to the world’s oldest pickles — that were salvaged from a steamboat that sank in the Missouri River in 1856), and the World War 1 Memorial.

We also ate at the original Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que (yum!), and had yummy macarons from Bloom Baking Co.!

There are so many more places in Kansas City that will be great to visit once Baby K is older (like the zoo, aquarium, Hallmark Crown Center, and Legoland Discovery Center).

 

Unfortunately, Baby K also got his very first cold while we were there! He’s still recovering from that, and my husband and I both caught it, too.

But we did manage to have a good time away, and learned a few things that we’ll remember for our next trip.

Tips We Learned From Out First Family Vacation

  1. We decided to have a leisurely morning at home, and then leave right as it would be time for Baby K’s first nap of the day. This worked so well for us, as Baby K has no problem sleeping in the car. This made the first two hours of driving very easy as he slept.
  2. We used Google Maps to plot all the little towns along the highway so that we knew where and how far each potential stop-off is. I’d also added notes to our list of what types of gas stations/restaurants would be available at each stop. This was a lot of pre-planning, but came in so handy. When Baby K woke up from his nap, we could more easily decide where to stop to let him out of the car seat, and have his bottle.
  3. I kept a few important items handy in the back seat, instead of packed away in the trunk:
    ~A small bag full of small toys that we could rotate throughout the drive when he was awake
    ~Baby K’s diaper changing supplies (a changing mat, diapers, wipes, cream)
    ~A bag with enough bottles, formula, puree, burp cloths, and bibs to get us through the drive
    ~A cooler with an ice pack and Baby K’s teethers to keep them chilled (hes’ teething sooo bad right now 😦 ).
  4. We booked a one-bedroom suite hotel room so that we could keep it similar to being at home with a separate sleeping area for Baby K. I think he got more peaceful sleep at night this way (and we could continue to have lights on, watch TV, etc. in the separated bedroom area). We also liked having a kitchen area with a refrigerator (for keeping Baby K’s teethers cold) and a sink for washing bottles.
  5. Baby K’s cold taught me to never-ever-ever forget to pack a thermometer and baby medicine (we have the Little Remedies New Parents Survival Kit, and I forgot to pack it!). Who would have thought he’d catch his first-ever cold while we were on vacation? That was a bummer! But, thankfully, these items weren’t too hard to find at a nearby Walgreens.
  6. As this was our very first road trip with Baby K, I’m glad we planned a low-key vacation that was relatively close to home (only a 4.5 hour drive, that ended up being 6 hours with stops). We only picked two must-sees, and we were able to accomplish that, despite drizzly weather and catching colds.

I hope this post will be helpful to others. Do you have any tips for road trips and vacations with little ones? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

In the meantime, take care! 🙂

My New Favorite Baby Books: Indestructibles

I recently found the best books ever for babies, and wanted to share for any other moms out there who may be interested.

It’s a super cute series of books made just for babies, called Indestructibles by Workman Publishing. I found a rack of them at our local Barnes and Noble, and it stopped me in my tracks. LOL!

These books look just like any other paper book, but are rip proof, chew proof (made with non-toxic materials), and are washable. Plus, the story is cute, and the pictures are bright and adorable. (I love the sea otters on the cover of this one!)

baby books | reading | Indestructibles | baby toys | baby play | story time | chew proof | baby proof
I recently found the best books ever for babies, and wanted to share for any other moms out there who may be interested.

I was a bit skeptical, but Baby K has had this book for two weeks now, and he’s loved “reading” it. And, as you can see, it’s quite crinkled, but I haven’t had to worry about him destroying it like I do with his board books!

I’ve bought cloth and plastic books, too, for Baby K to play with. But, this one has held his interest much longer.

What are some of your favorite baby-proof toys? I find that EVERYTHING goes in Baby K’s mouth right now, so it sometimes feels like a challenge finding toys he’s interested in, but also that are safe for him to play with!

Let me know about any favorite baby finds of yours.

In the meantime, take care! 🙂


Please note: The following contains an affiliate link from Amazon.com. This post is not sponsored, but I may receive a small amount if you make a purchase using the link in the text or photos. All links I include are for products I have used and recommend, and adds no additional cost to you. 

Indestructibles: Love You, Baby


 

 

 

SAHM | stay at home mom | baby | newborn | mom goals | 1st Halloween | family travel

Gratitude and Goals: November 2017!

“Don’t wait until the fourth Thursday in November, to sit with family and friends to give thanks. Make every day a day of Thanksgiving!” ― Charmaine J. Forde

November 2017 Goals:

It’s November! This time of year always makes me want to stay inside and curl up with my Kindle and hot chocolate. We’ll see how often Baby K allows me to do that this year (haha)!

For this month’s goal, I want to focus on gratitude and everyone and everything that I have to be thankful for. So, my goal is to do the 30 Days of Thankfulness Challenge that Livestong.com is hosting.

I won’t post daily on here, but will do a recap post at the end of the month — hot chocolate and good books will definitely be included!

Recap: October 2017 Goals

1. Baby Weight, Be Gone!

I’m doing OK with this one, and am at least maintaining. My planning for healthy lunches was a lot more on track this month, and I just have to stick with it.

For November, I really want to try and get more exercise in during the day. I’ve looked up a few free YouTube indoor walking videos that are quick workouts and aren’t boring. I also have a couple yoga and exercise DVDs that I plan on using more often.

2. Baby’s 1st Halloween costume!

Baby K’s first Halloween was so fun! Even though I know the holiday was completely lost on him, he really seemed to enjoy the day.

His diaper box Batmobile was fun and easy to make and he looked so cute dressed up like Batman (you can check out the super-easy DIY Batmobile tutorial in my previous post). I also put together a basket of Halloween goodies, including a board book about the pumpkin patch, a package of Gerber’s Pumpkin Banana puree, and two Halloween-theme containers of banana puffs and veggie crunchies.

We also went to the story time at the library, with spooky-themed books, and he loved seeing everyone all dressed up for Halloween.


 


3. Plan our first family vacation!

We’re all set with plans for our first family vacation, and I’m soooo looking forward to this trip to Kansas City, Mo.

We picked out two main attractions we want to see, and also used Google Maps to plot all the little towns along the highway so that we know where and how far each potential stop-off is. We plan to stop several times to give Baby K some “wiggle time” out of the car and his car seat.

I’ll post a trip report later this month, and include any little tips and tricks for traveling with babies that we discover along the way!


Have you ever participated in a “30 Days of Grateful” challenge? I’d love to hear what you’re all most thankful for, and am excited for what this month of November will bring.

Also, if you have any advice for road trips with babies, please let me know!

In the meantime, take care! 🙂

Crawling | Clapping | Baby's First Halloween | DIY Batmobile | Halloween Costume | Baby | Milestones

Crawling, Clapping & Baby’s 1st Halloween

“Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.” ― Gordon B. Hinckley

Crawling and Clapping

This past week has been a huge change of pace for our family, as Baby K turned eight months old and started crawling!! It’s been so amazing to see all his hard work at tummy time lead to such a big milestone for babies.

For awhile now, he’s been able to move a little by pivoting around. He could get pretty far that way, but only slowly, a little bit of distance at a time.

He’d get up on his hands and knees, too, and rock back and forth. One day, he seemed to take a little hop forward while doing that. And, then we saw him do it a couple more times.

Then, last Friday a week ago, he’d pushed a ball across the room, and I saw him take a few clumsy crawls forward to chase it! I couldn’t believe my eyes! He didn’t realized he did it, I don’t think. But, I had tears. It was so cool to see!

And, goodness, fast-forward little more than a week, and he can crawl pretty fast now and it’s keeping us on our toes! And, I feel like I need a few more pairs of eyes to keep closer watch on him during the day. 🙂

Crawling | 8 months old | Baby Milestones
Baby K is Crawling

He’s now starting to pull up on things, too, so baby-proofing the house is in the full swing as we learn with him.

Baby K also just started clapping, and I love it! He doesn’t really make clapping noise yet, but he’s got the motion down!

Baby’s 1st Halloween

I also completed Baby K’s Batmobile for Halloween! I think it turned out pretty cute, though, I may still add some yellow wheels? Not sure.

Here’s a list of the supplies I used:

  • large diaper box (I used a box of Pampers size 4 diapers, 104 count)
  • scissors
  • black electrical tape
  • printed batman logo
  • yellow and black crayons
  • yellow construction paper
  • double-sided tape

First, I took a large diaper box, and then cut the flaps into a Batmobile-ish shape.

Next, I covered the outside and some of the inside with black electrical tape.

I then found clip art of the Batman logo online, pasted it into a Word document, and printed out two large-sized logos for the sides and one small-sized logo for the front.

I colored them in, cut them out, and used double-sided tape to attach.

For the headlights, I cut shapes out of yellow construction paper and used double-sided tape to attach.

I added a black blanket to the inside that Baby K will sit on. If he were older, though, I think I’d cut a hole in the bottom and add suspender straps so that he could wear it. 🙂

And, voila! We have a Batmobile for Baby K’s first Halloween costume!


Baby K’s Batmobile!

 


Is your family all ready for Halloween? Any costume ideas you’re excited about? Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime, I hope you have a fun-filled week and take care 🙂

Easy lunch ideas | healthy eating | quick lunch | toasted sandwiches | homemade Panera | stay at home mom | sahm

Easy Lunches for a Stay-at-Home Mom

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words, like ‘What about lunch?” — A. A. Milne

I have stood in my fair share of lines at Panera, and I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to their Frontega Chicken Panini. That, combined in a You Pick Two with their Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, is my ideal lunch out.

But, as a stay-at-home mom, lunches out are rare. I don’t have time (nor, really, the budget) for yummy Panera lunches as often as I’d like. And, preparing lunch at home is usually a rushed situation during the week.

So! Instead, I’ve crafted two panini-ish recipes that have been making my lunch feel a little more fancy lately. They are also very quick and easy to throw together, requiring minimal preparation and only a toaster and microwave.

Preparation that is short and easy rather than long and difficult is definitely a better way to do lunch in my situation! 

Here are the details:


1. Toasted Sriracha Tomato and Chicken sandwich

For this sandwich, I toast two slices of bread. Then, I add one slice of cheese and slices of Roma tomatoes. I then add a mixture of 4 oz. shredded chicken, a bit of mayo, and Sriracha relish (you can use your judgement based on how much of each you like).

I then microwave the assembled sandwich just long enough for it to heat through and get melty (about 20 to 30 seconds).


2. Toasted Cheddar and Apple sandwich

For this one, I toast two slices of bread. Then, I layer one slice of cheddar and thin slices of apples (here, I used chipotle cheddar, which ended up being a delicious combination of sweet and spicy). I microwave the assembled sandwich just long enough for the cheese to melt and apples to get tender — about 20 seconds.


Now — I know these are never going to be mistaken for Panera-made paninis. But, they are far from dull microwavable meals or PB&Js (no offense — I love PB&J! Just not every day. 🙂 ).

And, if you love gorgeous food photography, please excuse mine! ==>But, I will instead point you to Rachel’s Healthy Plate for some amazing food photography and clean-eating meal ideas, if you like. And, while her meals look stunning all put together, they are made with healthy ingredients that are so quick and simple to prepare.

Her Instagram account is one of my favorite places for finding healthy meal ideas. One idea I especially love has been combining several things for a “snacky” lunch. My go-to’s have been choosing from items like: hard-boiled eggs, celery sticks spread with peanut butter, carrot sticks, olives, cheese cubes, nuts or trail mix, crackers, melon slices, and grapes.

All of these ideas together help make a relatively healthy lunch that I can throw together in almost no time, while keeping a watchful eye on Baby K. These lunches could be easy enough to make in an office setting, too.

I hope this post has been helpful for lunch time ideas. Do you have any go-to super simple lunch ideas that you love, or social media sites that are great for healthy eating ideas? I’m always looking for ideas, so feel free to share in the comments.

In the meantime, take care 🙂

*This post is in no way sponsored, and all thoughts and ideas are my own. 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Traditions | New Parents | Baby's 1st Christmas | Halloween | Thanksgiving | Fall Memories

Little Pumpkin: Starting New Holiday Traditions with a Baby

This past weekend, it felt to me like the holiday season has officially begun!

new holiday traditions | new mom | new family traditions | pumpkin spice | it's fall y'all | cozy |
~ Starting New Holiday Traditions ~

Our little family went on a fall scenic drive, and started work on the Batmobile for Baby K’s Halloween costume.

It’s exciting to think that these are the types of family holiday traditions — fall drives and homemade Halloween costumes — that we’re starting as a family of three this year.

The first stop on our drive was an apple orchard and pumpkin farm, where we took a picture next to a “How Tall this Fall?” sign that had a measuring stick for little kids to stand next to. It’s amazing to think how Baby K will be able to stand on his own by that sign next year (and I wonder how tall he’ll be!). He’ll also be able to toddle through a corn maze, and we’ll be able to pull him in a wagon to pick out a pumpkin.

little pumpkin

And, this is just a start of the holiday traditions to come!

When my husband and I started dating, that was the start of blending holiday traditions from our two families. I got to learn about Diwali and other Indian holidays and festivals that his family celebrates throughout the year. And, he joined my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

This also was the busiest time of year for me at work, so the holiday season always seemed to fly by in a whirl of never-ending tasks and responsibilities. As a stay-at-home mom, I hope the holiday season seems to take its time this year.

It will be fun to see what new traditions are started this year. I also look forward to slowing down with life, and savoring all of the “firsts” this holiday season will bring for us.

Here are a few holiday traditions that I hope we’ll get to do this year with Baby K:

  • Celebrate Diwali
  • Go on lots of fall walks to play in the fallen leaves
  • Decorate the house with pumpkins and fall decor
  • See spooky Halloween decorations, and visit family with Baby K dressed up for Halloween
  • Lots of holiday baking!
  • Watch a Thanksgiving Day parade
  • Gather with family for Thanksgiving dinner (and let Baby K try pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce for the first time!)
  • Take a family picture for Christmas Cards
  • Hang stockings and decorate the Christmas tree (adding Baby K’s First Christmas ornament)
  • Buy gifts for an Angel Tree recipient
  • Take Baby K to see Santa Claus
  • Drive around town to see Christmas light displays
  • Bake cookies for Santa
  • Read “T’was the Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve
  • Open presents and visit with family on Christmas Day
  • Reflect on all that’s happened in the past year, and celebrate the coming New Year
image (2)
~ Holiday Books ~

I wonder what sort of holiday traditions we’ll add as Baby K gets older. It will be fun to see how his joy of this season changes over time.

I hope this is the start of a wonderful holiday season for you and your family. And, I’d love to know: What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Have you already started with any this year?  Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime, take care! 🙂

SAHM | stay at home mom | baby | newborn | mom goals | 1st Halloween | family travel

Goal Setting: October 2017

“I have been younger in October than in all the months of spring.” — W. S. Merwin

It’s October! I absolutely love this time of year, and am definitely recognizing the start to fall weather now that it’s turning a bit chilly outside in the mornings and evenings. I’ll admit: I’m one who gets excited about pumpkin-flavored everything, along with hot chocolate, s’mores, and cozy sweater weather. And I look forward to sharing this first fall with Baby K. 🙂

And, with the new month comes a new set of goals — I chose some fun ones this time around because that’s what this month calls for, I think.

First I’ll recap how last month’s goals went, and then dive in for October’s goals.


Recap: September 2017 Goals

1. Baby Weight, Be Gone!

My plan was to focus on healthier meal planing, continued daily stroller walks, and moving more during Baby K’s naps. Honestly, I didn’t do great with this goal, as far as meal planning. And it got really hot for a few weeks, so stroller walks were fewer, too. This one will be ongoing, so I’m not going to lose motivation on it!

2. Unplug during the day

I aimed for mindful phone use, and reading an actual book or magazine instead of reaching for the phone when I get a quiet moment to myself. I did well with this goal, and finished a book (The History Chanel’s 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America by Steven M. Gillon)!

I need to choose the next book to read now. Any suggestions? 🙂

3. Create a professional writing portfolio

I planned to compile writing samples to create a writing portfolio, which I have the beginnings of.  I plan to write a few blog posts over the next few weeks that I can use to add to it.


October 2017 Goals:

1. Baby Weight, Be Gone!

I’ll continue with my same plan from the previous month, aiming to write up a healthy menu plan in advance to stick to.

I started a Pinterest Meal Planning board here to keep recipe ideas organized.

2. Baby’s 1st Halloween costume!

We’ve decided that Baby K will be Batman for Halloween! A friend gifted a Batman theme onesie that he’ll wear, and I found a picture online of a Batmobile someone made out of a diaper box.

So, I will be spending the next few weeks creating our very own diaper box Batmobile. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! I’ll be sure to post about the final creation here. 🙂

3. Plan our first family vacation!

family travel plans
~ Kansas City, Mo. ~

We haven’t done any overnight stays anywhere with Baby K yet, so we’ve decided to plan a quick family getaway to Kansas City, Mo. next month. We like to travel, and Kansas City is one place that’s within a five-hour drive that my husband has never been. I’ll need to:

  • Research a few baby-friendly activities for us.
  • Get a packing list together for Baby K, and
  • Have Baby K practice sleeping in the Pack N Play again, as  I’m leaning toward taking that with us, rather than using a hotel-provided crib.

Wish us luck!

What are your goals, and ways you’ve found to motivate yourself to make them less of a challenge? And do you have any family travel tips for vacations with a baby, or fun Halloween plans? Please feel free to share any tips or encouragement.

In the meantime, take care. 🙂