Nursing Friendly Dresses For Spring and Summer

If you’re a nursing mama like me, then you know how important it is to wear clothes that give you quick and comfortable access to the goods 🙂 . Today I rounded up six affordable and adorable nursing friendly dresses you can purchase this season.

J.Crew Stripe Tie-Waist Shirt Dress

Madewell Button Front Easy Dress

Aerie Smocked Button Down Dress

Old Navy Waist Defined Button Down

Old Navy Chambray Shirt Dress

Abercrombie Button-Up Cami Midi Dress

Continue Reading

Five Things I Do Daily To Stay Healthy

Being intentional about my health is one of my biggest goals for this year. I have a huge task at hand – building a business while caring for my family – and the only way I’m going to succeed is if I’m at my very best. Pregnancy takes its toll on your body and mind and I was at a very low point with both last year.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that my mental health is just as, if not more important than my physical health. In fact, the two are so intertwined that the word ‘health’ to me is so much greater than it was when I was younger.

I want to be a healthy mom and good example for my kids, so I have started doing these five simple things each day that have made a tremendous impact on my overall well-being.

Take a vitamin.

I started taking a prenatal vitamin right after I found out I was pregnant with Finn. I took one daily until I stopped breastfeeding him at around 8 months old. I didn’t take one for the year between that and when I got pregnant with Reese and I doubt I’ll stop taking them ever again.

Not only am I sick less often, but when I am sick, I’m not as sick and for a shorter amount of time. Even better? My skin, nails and hair are all so incredibly healthy, it’s insane. I’ve never had my hair longer than I do right now and I’m obsessed with it. It’s so strong and silky and I contribute all of this to taking a prenatal vitamin. I get comments on my hair a lot and when I do, I always mention that it’s the vitamins! I recommend any woman of child-bearing age, whether you are planning on getting pregnant or not, to take a prenatal vitamin. There is magic in those things.

Drink my weight in water.

I recently heard a stat that felt like something I could totally get on board with – my daily intake of water should equal, in ounces, half of my body weight in pounds. For example, if I weighed 100 pounds (which I promise I haven’t weighed since about sixth grade) then I should be drinking 50 ounces of water per day. Challenge accepted.

Since I’ve started doing this I can tell a positive difference in my energy level, in my mood, in my skin, and in mental clarity. I’m also eating less, which is awesome! It’s fairly easy for me to make this happen, too. I found a jug that was given to me in the hospital when I had Reese and if I drink about three full jugs per day, I’ve more than reached my goal.

Move.

Once upon a time I was a college athlete and was running six miles per day. Now, I’ve got absolutely zero time to myself, but I know how good I feel when I do get out and move. Since having Reese and quitting my job, I’ve made a habit of getting out of the house and walking four miles at least three times a week. For the days that I don’t go walking, I do a twenty minute YouTube workout.

I used to work out to be fit, but these days I work out for the mental benefits. I usually have an audiobook or podcast playing or completely let my mind wander. It’s in these moments that my creative juices get flowing and I feel the most energized.

Count my blessings. Literally.

I’ve fully accepted that the power of attraction is everything in life and whatever attitude you put out into the world is what you will get back. I have started making a habit of taking time out of every day to reflect on everything I have in life. However, I try not to get too big with my thankfulness. For example, of course I’m thankful for my healthy and happy family, but I try to find a single moment out of the day that made me smile.

  • Reese napped so well today and every time I went to get her out of her crib she had that goofy smile.
  • Finn told the funniest story about his friends at school. He is learning new words every day!
  • David brought me coffee in bed this morning and texted me out the blue to tell me he loves me. Gosh I’m lucky!

By focusing on the little things throughout the day, I find myself stopping in those moments to take them in. I go out looking for those small moments that I’m grateful for, which in turn creates more of those moments!

Rest.

I allow myself to rest. I have to. I need it. My body and my mind need to be completely distracted from motherhood and work and laundry and bills and every other aspect of crazy adult life. If I don’t rest, I burn out. It’s just a tendency I have. I become complacent and start to procrastinate and things start to fall to the wayside. I have been intentionally giving myself permission to take a break every single day. Nothing good was ever accomplished by forcing myself to do it.

How do I rest? Well, sadly I’m not a napper, because that would be my first choice. But I do love a good reality tv show. I watch way too much garbage tv to even care to admit, but by getting wrapped up into a world of ridiculousness, I’m so far away from my to-do list that I come back to it feeling fresh and ready.

If you are in some kind of rut in your life right now, I highly recommend taking a break from whatever it is that you have been doing and rest. It’s by far the best thing you could do for yourself.

What do you do to stay healthy?

Continue Reading

What Are Your Weaknesses?

Last week I wrote about knowing your core competency and why it’s so important to understand what you are good at. Today, we’re flipping the coin. It’s equally as important to know what you aren’t good at for plenty of reasons – most importantly, so you can give yourself a little grace when you find yourself struggling.

The Journey To Understanding Your Weaknesses

I’m going to start with a little story – in high school, I was one of those people who was pretty good at everything she did. I played sports, sang, did musicals, was in advanced placement classes, joined all the clubs, graduated seventh in my class and got along with mostly everyone. I don’t say this to brag, it was just my reality.

It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that it was only in my high school setting was that going to be the case. I went to a very, very small school and felt comfortable trying new things, or things I wasn’t great at, because I knew everyone involved. I also had a greater chance at being good at something comparatively just because there were less people going out for things. Had I gone to a bigger high school, I would have likely specialized in one thing or not even given it all a chance.

That being said, this situation didn’t exactly set me up for success. Once I went to college and became a small fish in a big pond, I could no longer be the jack-of-all-trades that I was in high school. I went from being above average in most things to just one of the masses. I had to start thinking about these things – what am I really good at? What am I really interested in? What am I really not that great at?

The first time I remember failing, hard, was in an accounting class in college. It was the first time I really struggled at understanding something. It was such a strange moment for me – I thought I was good at everything. I thought being “smart” would just be enough. It wasn’t until long after that class that I felt okay with the struggle and failure. I cannot and will not be good at everything, and only recently can I say I’m okay with that!

My Weaknesses

I struggled with accounting because I’m just not a numbers person. I was confused by this at first because I really, really enjoyed calculus, but looking back I can chalk that up to having an exceptional teacher! In my previous job, a lot of the work required reports and analytics. It was not that I couldn’t do or understand the work, but it took me twice as long to do those things as everyone else around me.

I’m also not great at detail. I’m a big picture type of person, so I’m the person throwing out big ideas in a brainstorm meeting, but when it gets to the nitty gritty about how we are going to accomplish those things, I shy away.

I have other weaknesses as well. I’m not very organized. I get overwhelmed with the thought of organization and putting things in order so usually I just choose not to. I also get incredibly awkward about meeting new people and would rather sit at home than go to a new place.

Weaknesses Are Just Opportunity

The good thing I’ve discovered about my weaknesses is that they are usually someone else’s strength and if you ask for help in understanding things, you are in a perfect opportunity to learn.

I have learned that I have a tendency to just duck and hide instead of facing my weaknesses head on. Because of this, I’ve made it a point this year to be intentional about learning about things I usually suck at! I’ve been reading, taking webinars and asking people I know excel in these areas for better explanations. I also recognize that when numbers or the “nitty gritty” have to get done, I need to truly focus. I know it’s going to take me longer because it doesn’t come naturally to me.

I also recognize that some of my weaknesses come out of insecurity or uncomfortable situations. I have to be intentional about getting uncomfortable, because it’s outside your comfort zone that you truly grow as a person.

By understanding your weaknesses, you are only setting yourself up for success. Not everything will come easily because we are all built differently. Do you know what your weaknesses are?

Continue Reading

Life Lately – March 22, 2019

My jaw just dropped as I wrote that date. OMG! Where has March gone? It certainly feels like my days are flying by even faster now that I am self-employed. I love that I can do what I want and what I need to do with my days, but now more than ever it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Life lately has been a bit transitional. I think it’s the weather to be honest. Some days are warm and bright and others are cold and gray. I have a feeling this is going to be my new normal in my journey as an entrepreneur as well. Some days I feel on top of the world and like I have my shit together, and other days I’m like what the hell am I doing?!

My New Work Life

I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago telling you all about Scout Creative, my digital marketing agency. My days are pretty full with work to get Scout Creative rolling. I’ve been attending networking events, taking webinars, writing content, reading about launching a business, etc.

I have been getting out of the house with Reese so my days don’t look the same. I’ve also been doing a lot of work on Simple & Inspired both on this blog and over on Instgram. (Go follow me!) Keeping my creative juices flowing with Simple & Inspired has kept me motivated with Scout Creative. It’s a new balance I’m trying to figure out and it’s been fun so far.

Family

Our little family of four (five with Juneau) has gotten into our groove the last month or so. We are at a point where we can’t really remember life before Reese. Finn and Reese are so cute together! Finn loves his sister and is so proud to show her off. I love being their mama!

Reese and Finn go to bed around the same time each night which gives David and I time to hang out together. We were even able to sneak out for our first date night since Reese was born a few weeks back (thanks Aunt Tori!) and it felt so good. David has been crazy busy with work – both in the office and traveling a bit. It’s only going to get crazier as spring continues, so I take whatever I can get with him!

Coming Up

Next month we are making the trek up to New York to visit my parents. It will be just me and the kids and I’m already gearing up for a looooong car ride! But these are the types of trips I wanted to be able to take with the freedom of owning my own company, and I’m so happy to be able to do this.

The whole family is headed to Colorado in May to celebrate my older sister’s graduation. She will finally her PhD! I’m excited to see my sisters and the rest of my family and see Finn and Natalie play together. Wish us luck flying with our crazy kids.

Our Life in iPhone Photos:

Bath time for my monkeys!
Nothing sweeter than a sleeping baby!
Hashtag Dad Life.
Crappy photo but the best date night with my love!

Continue Reading

Creating A Toddler Sleep Schedule

Finn has been a fantastic sleeper since about nine weeks old. It was around that time that I went back to work and getting on a normal schedule certainly helped him start sleeping through the night. As Finn got older, he continued to be a great sleeper. As crazy and unpredictable as he can get throughout the day, I can always depend on an afternoon nap and an 8pm bedtime.

Routine Is Key

I get asked a lot about how we got Finn to stick with this routine, and honestly, I think we just got lucky! Of course we don’t really make nap time or bedtime an option, it’s just something he knows is going to happen.

About an hour before he goes to sleep, we remind him that it’s almost time for a nap or for bed. We continue to remind him by saying things like, “After you eat lunch, we are going to take a nap” or “We’re going to bed after this show.” We get him changed into his jammies around this time and put on a movie for him to unwind to.

Of course there are moments when Finn fights us, but ultimately, he does give in. Now that he’s a bit older, we’ve given him some autonomy. He likes to put the toothpaste on the toothbrush by himself and he likes to climb into bed alone. This gives him the independence he craves and gets him excited about going to bed.

We still give Finn milk before bed. Just a little bit in his sippy cup, solely for comfort. We’ve started not giving it to him unless he asks for it, but he usually does. I know this will have to end at some point, but for now, it works.

David and I both tell him stories or read him books before bed. We don’t make it drag on, usually only about five minutes apiece. Then we kiss him and say our goodnights. If he is fussy or tries to fight it, we give him something to look forward to the next morning. We will say, “Do you want to see your friends at school in the morning? Then you have to sleep so we can wake up and see them!” This usually does the trick.

Timing Is Everything

It’s been difficult to stay regimented at times, but we do our best to have Finn in bed before 8pm every night. This has creeped later into the evening as he gets older, but we will likely keep it there for a while.

This means that our dinner is eaten early, baths are taken before seven, and we get to watch cartoons for a bit before bed. If we are out and about, we make it a priority to be home before his bedtime. We’ve stuck to this rule so strongly, I believe it makes bedtimes easier. Since it rarely fluctuates, he knows it’s coming.

We also do the same thing with naps. For the two years or so, Finn has napped every afternoon. We usually get him down between 12:30 and 1pm, and his naps are typically two hours long. This means our days are broken in half, but we are usually needing a break from parenting around the same time, so it works out well 😉 .

Avoid Bad Habits

I made the mistake ONE time in my almost three years as a mom, and I won’t do it again. Finn woke up early one morning, around 4am. I was pregnant with Reese at the time, and so exhausted I just scooped him up and brought him into our bed. BAD IDEA! He kicked and squirmed and asked to watch movies, and eventually I gave up, made a pot of coffee and decided to start my day.

That night, bedtime was awful. He screamed and fought us the whole way, wanting to “sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed.” We finally got him down and I swore he’d never sleep with us again. Yes, it was easier than trying to get him back to sleep in his own bed, but in the end, it created an expectation that we had to break.

Transitions

Over the last two years, Finn has been a rockstar when it comes to change. I know not every kid is like this, but he is totally a go with the flow type of kid.

We transitioned him into a big boy bed the very same night we moved into our new house. We never set up the crib, so he didn’t ever think to ask where it had gone. We set up his bedroom, got him excited and he has slept in that bed every night since.

I’m a firm believer in going cold turkey with kids. We did the same thing when we switched from bottle to sippy cup – he got whole milk in it instead of formula, and he drank it without any fuss.

I realize that this is just our experience with our one child. Already, things are so different with Reese. However, I wanted to put it out there since I get asked about it! Toddlers are crazy little monsters, but getting them on a schedule has been a game changer when it comes to sleep!

Continue Reading