My Mom Uniform

Good morning!

Today I’m once again joining Erika & Shay‘s monthly Let’s Look link-up (which will actually be tomorrow, I’m just posting a day early) and this month’s topic is your favorite “outfit of the day” or OOTD. 

If you’ve been around for a long time, like 5 years ago before my blog’s hiatus, you know that this space started out as a place to share lots of teacher outfits. My Instagram used to be exclusively dedicated to sharing my teacher ootd and I would share simple, everyday looks that were professional, comfortable, and affordable. The outfits are all still saved under my closet archives but here’s a little sampling of what my professional wardrobe used to be:

 

I loved mix-and-matching basic pieces in different ways – I loved little details like a fun ruffle, statement jewelry, or unique shoes and I enjoyed finding fun ways to layer. I still enjoy dressing up like this if I have the occasion to!

Now that I am no longer teaching and stay at home with LJ all day, it would be super easy to live in sweatpants, but I still try to get dressed every day. I don’t mean get dressed up, I mean just get dressed in anything other than the same old sweats.  It is literally JUST as easy to throw on a basic striped shirt as it is to throw on a sweatshirt, and it may seem silly but it affects my overall confidence and happiness. I’m way happier bumping into a friend in the grocery store if I’m wearing a “real” shirt. I’m way more confident kissing my husband when he comes home if I’m not in the same sweatpants I was wearing when he left for work in the morning. When I feel like I look even just a little bit put together, I feel better about myself and a happier, more confident Sarah is honestly a happier, more confident wife and mom.

All that being said, I don’t have the same about of time to piece together a daily outfit like I did when I was teaching and even if I did, there’s no real reason to go to that level of thought and effort. My days usually include pushing a stroller on a walk or running around my backyard or reading books on the floor so the heels have taken a leave of absence. Plus, many days I end up with yogurt on my pants or have a strawberry thrown at my shirt (thanks LJ) so I stick with basic, easy to clean clothes. I have a “mom uniform” of sorts that goes something like this: easy top in a classic pattern (stripes, plaid, etc), one piece of simple or statement jewelry, skinny jeans, and flats. It maybe takes an extra two minutes to pull these items from my closet instead of reaching for sweats, but the minimal amount of extra effort makes a huge difference.

All of those outfits were super easy to thrown on, and I felt so much happier and more confident heading out the door. And they are all still comfortable and easy to “mom” in!

Now do I also take the time to do full-on hair and make-up everyday? Heck no. I’m often in a messy bun with maybe a few swipes of bronzer and mascara. And of course there are days where LJ and I are in jammies and sweats all day long. But I really do try to put at least a little effort into getting dressed more often than not.

I also want to address that now that I’m pregnant, my wardrobe is reduced and comfort is the name of the game, but I still try to look put together. I’m rocking a comfy, simple top, skinny jeans, and my Converse most days.

Also, since it’s approaching summer, we’re outside playing a lot now so I’m often wearing some form of athleisure.

My favorite OOTD is one that is comfy, cute, and requires minimal thought and effort while still staying a step or two above my ratty college sweatshirt. By keeping a simple “mom uniform” in mind, it’s easy for me to feel put together every day.

What’s your standby, go-to outfit that makes you feel put together and confident?

20 Week Baby Update!

Yesterday we hit the 20 week milestone and I was singing Bon Jovi pretty much all day long (“oooooooooooh halfway there….”). This pregnancy seems to be going so much faster than LJ’s and I think it is because I’m now busy spending my days chasing around after a toddler. I’ll take it though – I can’t wait to meet this baby!

20 weeks seemed like a good time to have another blog post with a few updates on how the pregnancy is going. If you’re curious about how the first trimester went, you can check out my blog post about it here.

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Symptoms/How I’ve Been Feeling

I always say this part is the “sweet spot” of pregnancy. My nausea is finally gone (it lasted until about 15 weeks) and my fatigue has diminished. I feel great, I have energy, and I don’t feel like puking all the time, but I’m not swollen and uncomfortable yet. Sweet spot!

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Energy/Workouts

The second trimester brings an energy boost for me, and I’ve been taking full advantage. I’ve recovered from my knee injury from several weeks ago so I’m back to my normal level of functioning and I’m back at it with regular Expecting and Empowered at-home workouts. I also attend a weekly cycling class at the local YMCA which is a great cardio boost.

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We’ve also been experiencing nice weather lately and LJ and I have spent a lot of time playing outside or going for long walks, so I feel like I’m incorporating a lot of movement into my days. Exercise gives me more energy and it’s a great cycle to get into: I have more energy in the second trimester, so I’m moving/exercising more, which gives me even more energy, etc. It’s a big reason why I’m feeling great these days!

Food Cravings & Aversions

I haven’t had many aversions this time around and there is no one food that I’m not able to handle right now. I do crave sweet and salty things and I’ve worked to curb some of my sugary cravings. I definitely don’t deprive myself, but I’m trying to be conscious of making the “better” choice. For example, if I’m craving a little something sweet, I might drink a glass of Naked fruit juice instead of eating a piece of chocolate.

I also find myself to be hungry quite often so snacks are key for me! I honestly start to feel pretty awful if I go more than 2 hours without a little something. I keep things like string cheese, clementines, Rx nut butter packs, etc. on hand at home and make sure to always have a granola bar in the diaper bag when I leave the house. It helps tremendously!

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Sleep

I have really been trying to get lots of sleep at night, but I do have difficulty getting comfortable. My trusty Snoogle helps a lot but there are still nights where I toss and turn, and I’m getting to the point where I often wake up and need to go to the bathroom. Sigh. Overall, I feel like most nights I get a good amount of sleep and I wake up feeling refreshed.

What I’m Looking Forward To

I can feel tiny little baby kicks now and it’s just the sweetest thing, but I’m looking forward to when Justin can feel them too!

Baby1

Boy/Girl Predictions

If I *had* to make a guess, I would guess another boy, but that’s mostly just because I don’t have any marked differences between this pregnancy and when I was pregnant with LJ.  I went to my 20 week anatomy ultrasound on Tuesday and the tech did a great job of not revealing anything so I remain clueless with the gender. I am so excited for either possibility and I can’t wait to meet this little boy or girl in a few more months!

LJ’s Awareness

Oh my gosh. So Justin and I have been working with LJ on body parts (where’s your nose, where’s your feet, etc) and we started asking LJ “where’s the baby?” and he will now pat my stomach to show where the baby is. It is the cutest thing and it makes me want to ask him where the baby is all the time. Now, does he actually get what that means? No. Does it still melt my mama heart every time? Sure does!

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Misc Stories

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned her on my blog before, but I really enjoy following @ameskiefer. She’s a fellow blogger, mama and co-founder of my workout regimen Expecting and Empowered and bonus, she is also currently pregnant. She has a very motivational and down-to-earth platform and I especially love her Instagram. So one thing she talks about frequently is how she never weighs herself during pregnancy except for at OB appointments and instead focuses on what she eats, her exercise, sleep, how she feels, etc to gauge her health. I love this and have adopted this mentality this pregnancy and it has been incredibly freeing. Weight gain is just one aspect of pregnancy and while you don’t want to just go crazy (you’re not really eating for two, you’re eating for one adult and one very tiny human), it’s not worth obsessing over the number on a scale. I gained way more than I expected with LJ, but I had a healthy pregnancy, he had a healthy birth weight, and I was back to my pre-pregnancy size in less than six months. There was no need for me to freak out just because my goal was to gain 25 pounds and I gained 45. So this time around, I’ve decided not to keep track of it and I don’t even really look at OB appointments. I feel so much better just focusing on eating, sleeping, and exercising and as long as my OB-GYN is happy, I’m happy.

I feel like once I hit 20 weeks things always start to feel a little more “real” – the bump is out, I feel baby kicks, random strangers start to notice I’m pregnant. It’s fun to feel the anticipation build and I’m looking forward to the next 20 weeks!

Breastfeeding: a complicated journey

The end of an era is upon me.

After 13.5 months, I can feel LJ and my breastfeeding journey is drawing to a close. For a few months now, LJ has become more and more interested in food (and eats a ton!) and less and less interested in breastmilk. My supply has naturally adjusted and dwindled. We’ve gradually been dropping feeds and for the past month have really only done morning and night feeding. Recently, he’s become obsessed with all things daddy so Justin has been putting him to bed and the night feed has faded. Now we’re only consistently feeding in the morning and even that is becoming a 1 minute event before he’s ready to go downstairs for breakfast. My parents are watching him this weekend and I’m not going to pump or anything. I have a feeling this may signal the end of the road for breastfeeding.

While it’s a little bittersweet, I know LJ and I are ready for this. It’s been quite the journey for us and if I’m being completely honest, my feelings towards breastfeeding have been complicated. I am so grateful that I was able to do it so long and don’t take that for granted. But while breastfeeding is awesome and beautiful, it’s also freaking hard and brought about a lot of contradictory feelings. Today I just wanted to take a look back at some aspects of my experience. This post is mostly to help me process that it’s drawing to a close but also to offer encouragement to anyone who might be breastfeeding as well. For the record, I in no way mean for this post to shame other moms who make different feeding choices for their babies. This is simply what my personal journey looked like.

Things I wasn’t expecting

How awkward it felt in the beginning. I just expected LJ to pop on and go to town and it just be a natural thing. Nope. Didn’t work like that. It was awkward and stressful and took several weeks before we got into a good, comfortable routine.

My supply to tank around 9 months. All of the sudden, I barely had enough milk to keep LJ satisfied, which led to stress and panic, which obviously did not help my supply. I started using supplement mix and eating lactation cookies (I bought these and also made some using a recipe I found online) and this greatly helped boost my supply. It was a stressful month though!

How isolating it was sometimes. We went to a minor league baseball game and the stadium seats are not exactly the most comfortable place in the world to breastfeed (and it was like 90+ degress that day). Luckily, our local stadium has a little room for breastfeeding moms. I was so thankful to have a much more comfortable place to sit and feed LJ; however, it meant that I had to remove myself from the company of my family for half an hour and that was a bummer. This scenario repeated itself often – there would be a more comfortable place to breastfeed, but it meant I had to leave the conversations that were happening with friends, family, whomever. I sometimes resented the fact that for me to do what I needed to do comfortably, I had to choose to leave the company of whoever I was with.

How hungry it made me! I had heard that breastfeeding burns calories but man, I was not expecting for it to make me want to eat all. the. things.

Letdown. It’s a really strange, hard-to-describe feeling when your milk lets down and I just wasn’t expecting that!

Things I’m SO glad I did

Utilized the *FREE* resource center at my local hospital. I met one-on-one with a lactation consultant in the first two weeks when his latch was super painful and it made a HUGE difference. I also attended their weekly breastfeeding support group. I made some great mama friends and got SO much support, not only for breastfeeding, but also for transitioning to solids, sleep questions, travel tips, and general mama wisdom. I think it is so important to look at what is offered within your community and take advantage of any available resources to help make your experience with feeding the best it can be!

Kept a nursing cover in my diaper bag. I used this one and appreciated the stretchy, breathable fabric. I know some mamas prefer no cover and that’s 100% fine – there were times I didn’t use one as LJ grew larger. But I think it’s so important that both mama and baby be comfortable during feeding and this cover significantly helped my comfort level as a new mama feeding in public.

Used a nursing pillow. My boppy became my best friend during nursing – it made the experience so much more comfortable and I took it with me on all trips as well.

Things I hated

Middle of the night feeds. I will be the first to say I am not someone who functions well on little sleep. I need my sleep and I’m very cranky when I don’t get it. Until he started sleeping through the night, it was really hard for me to deal with getting up at 2 am, 4 am, etc to feed.

Pumping. Oh my gosh. I even had a pump that I loved, but I just did not enjoy having to be hooked up to that machine for 20 minutes. I would use a hands-free bra, but that meant taking off my regular bra first and I often ended up having to apply pressure to certain parts of my boobs to get all the ducts going anyways. Plus rinsing all the parts is a drag (although Justin often did the actual washing later and that was so helpful), then you have to label milk, reassemble parts again, store everything…it’s just a big process to repeat. I know it sound like I’m being super whiny about this, but it felt like a lot of work every time and was just not enjoyable.

Being the only parent who could feed. LJ originally took a bottle well, but that meant I had to pump, and you know how I felt about pumping. In order have enough pumped milk for Justin to regularly feed LJ  and keep up a big enough freezer stash to have what we needed for babysitters/emergencies, I had to pump daily. It also meant sometimes I’d  breastfeed LJ and then pump afterwards, which is absolutely no fun. It’s like feeding two babies in one go! Or Justin would use stored milk to feed him, but I’d have to pump anyways because I was so full so that wasn’t actually a break for me. All this meant I didn’t pump often, which led to not a ton of stored milk, which meant Justin could not feed LJ often. I’m not proud of it, but this was something I resented at times. Every other aspect of parenthood was shared with Justin but feeding was something I had to be the one to do 6-8 times a day and somedays this was frustrating.

Things I loved

Knowing my body was providing nourishment for my son. There is something really empowering about that feeling!

The sense of accomplishment when we finally hit our stride a few weeks in. LJ had a very painful latch at first and I worked with an LC to learn how to help him learn a proper latch. It felt amazing when he finally started latching correctly without any intervention from me. I wanted to throw confetti I was so happy!

When he was super little, breastfeeding almost always made him fall asleep. It was so cute to see him become more and more sleepy until he would finally drift off, curled into my body. ❤

Quiet morning moments when he’s still a little drowsy, his salt lamp is casting a glow around the room, and we’re just rocking softly in the recliner in his nursery as he feeds. There is something really magical about starting a day in such a way and I will miss these moments.

When I think back on breastfeeding in the years to come, I hope I don’t put on the rose colored glasses and only remember the good parts. I also hope I don’t become cynical and only remember the hard parts. The truth is, breastfeeding was both beautiful and challenging. There were days I was so thankful to be doing it and then days I strongly resented it. It’s bittersweet to be ending this journey but I also kind of want to throw a party. I hope to always remember this experience for what it truly was: wonderful, difficult, complicated, and life-giving.