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Lessons learned the first year of motherhood

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I did it! I survived the first year (almost) of motherhood. I kept this tiny human alive for just about 365 days (he turns one next weekend). There were many tears, laughs, sleepless nights, large quantities of coffee consumed.  But here's what I learned:

1.) Throw your plans and schedule to the wind, just go with the flow. 

2.) I never knew a turkey sub could taste so good!

3.) That first bowel movement after a c-section can make you feel like your insides are going to fall out. 

4.) I can function on very little to no sleep. 

5.) Breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks. 

6.) Speaking of breastfeeding, it doesn't matter how you feed your baby.  

7.) Flexibility is key. 

8.) No one tells you that being a new mom can be depressing and somewhat isolating at first.

9.) But it does get better.

10.) "Sleep when the baby sleeps" is the biggest piece of BS advice. 

11.) But the laundry, dishes, cleaning and everything else can wait. 

12.) Just when you think you have something figured out, your baby will switch it up on you.

13.) Take lots and lots of photos and videos. Babies grow and change at an alarmingly fast speed.

14.) But don't spend too much time with your face behind a screen. Be in the moment. 

15.) My body is amazing. 

16.) My husband is even more amazing! Not that I didn't appreciate him before, but after being up at all hours of the night together and seeing him with my son, it's a whole 'nother kind of love.

17.) There's nothing wrong with co-sleeping. Seriously when you just need sleep you'll do whatever you have to do and I don't regret a single snooze Maxwell has had on my chest, not a single one.

18.) Don't sweat the small stuff- sh** literally happens, so does spit up for that matter. 

19.) You realize what's really important. And everyone has their own priorities and that's fine, I have my own too. 

20.) I'm more comfortable speaking up for myself and my family. 

21.) Everyone's going to have something to say but you know what's best for you and your baby.

22.) Whoever said daytime tv sucks was horribly wrong. I could watch Dateline for hours and hours. 

23.) But sitting at home for 24 hours a day gives me anxiety.

24.) I'm not meant to be a stay at home mom. I need a little adult interaction.

25.) A nice warm shower and brisk walk sometimes are the best medicine.  

26.) And when that fails, there's nothing a solo trip to Target can't fix.

27.) Speaking of solo trips to Target, I need my "me-time" and have learned to try to do one thing for myself each day because you can't give from an empty cup.

28.) Whoever invented yoga pants is seriously the smartest person ever. #momuniform

29.) Sometimes you still just need your mom. 

30.) Leaving your child with someone else eventually does get easier.

31.) Your relationship with your partner will change, try to make time for each other even if it's just a little date night at home.

32.) Your sex drive will change. Thanks hormones and exhaustion.

33.) It's ok to cry.

34.) It's also ok to ask for help.

35.) Find a good group of mom friends. 

36.) Every kid is different.

37.) There's no "right way" to be a good parent.

38.) Comparison is a thief.

39.) If you feel like your sucking, you're probably a good parent.

40.) Don't buy so many toys. Babies can entertain themselves with boxes and containers for hours on end. 

41.) But do buy lots and lots of books.

42.) Baby smiles and belly laughs are better than any antidepressant.

43.) There is nothing quite like seeing your parents become grandparents.

44.) You can never be fully prepared to be a parent, you figure it out as you go.

45.) I can live with the shirt on my back and pasta every night as long as my kid is healthy and happy.

46.) There is no greater joy than watching your baby experience something new for the first time.

47.) But it is also bittersweet because you realize they are getting older.

48.) Mama bear syndrome is real - I'm getting better I think ;)

49.) I always felt bad for moms of boys but being a boy mom is pretty cool.

50.) Just when you think you can't love your child anymore and your heart may explode, you love them even more.

 



I have been nominated for the Liebster award!

I am so excited and honored to have been nominated for the 2017 Liebster award.  The lovely Wendy Lemeric of Times With Kai - A Mommy Blog selected my blog as a nominee. Wendy is a pharmacist turned mommy who left her job to enjoy being a mom to her sweet little boy Kai and to grow her love of writing. She shares motherhood tips and and her daily adventures with Kai on her feed.

So what is the Liebster award?  As stated by the Global Aussie "The Liebster award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers as a way to support the blogging community" and recognize new bloggers.  (You can read more about the award here)

Since the award is all about recognizing bloggers, I'm going to feature a blog that I love and think everyone should love too:


Meet Stephanie from The Darling Mama


Stephanie is the face and mama behind her blog The Darling Mama. I found her page on Instagram and like me, she is a wife, furmama and new boy mom to sweet little Jacob. Not only are her photos beautiful, but her page is so inspiring. She shares her experiences on entering motherhood and how it has changed her. As new mamas, I think its helpful to connect with each other to share our stories so that we can see what others are going through so as to feel that we are not alone.  What I love about Stephanie's blog is that she has created a "Thankful Thursday" post where every Thursday she shares things that she is grateful for and she will also publish others affirmations if they would like to share as well. Motherhood and life in general can be hard sometimes and I think this is a wonderful reminder of all we have to be grateful for. Go check out her blog and follow along!


Ten Random Facts About Me:



1.) I am left-handed and I think my son is going to be a lefty too!
2.) In high school I was voted "most likely to be a soccer mom"
3.) I once had a patient name her daughter's middle name after me, coolest moment as a labor and delivery nurse ever!
4.) I could live off of watermelon, cheese and crackers and ice cream!
5.) My celebrity crush is Channing Tatum - Jenna's a lucky woman!
6.) My husband and I met in Boston, we lived in the same apartment building in college.
7.) I want to one day travel to Bora Bora to stay in one of those overwater huts and Africa to go on an African safari.
8.) I am a cancer through and through - emotional, intuitive, protective, homebody
9.) When I was younger my dream job was to be a marine biologist.
10.) The most rewarding thing about blogging for me has been connecting with other mamas and women and all supporting each other.


As part of the challenge I have to answer Wendy's questions. 

1.) What is the most fun thing about traveling? I love meeting the people, hearing their stories.
2.) What is the most extreme thing you have ever done? Hmmmm, I'm not the extreme type. I'd have to say I quit my successful job as a sales/marketing director and went back to nursing school while my husband and I were newly engaged and in the process of house hunting. I'm lucky he's super supportive!
3.) Bike or Train? Bike
4.) What's the most unique dish you ever tasted? - Squid ink pasta!
5.) Batman vs. Spiderman who do you think will win? Batman
6.) How long would you survive the zombie apocalypse? ummm not long, I hate zombies!
7.) When do you find time to blog? I'm my most productive self in the morning so usually in the morning when the babe is still asleep I sit down with a cup of coffee and write.
8.) If you were going to be a character in someone else's book who would you like to write it? Elin Hildebrand. I love the way she intertwines stories between the characters and all of her stories take place on gorgeous Nantucket.
9.) What is the scariest thing you have experienced while traveling? I don't like flying it makes me very anxious and one time I was on my way back from a conference by myself and I woke up on the plane and we had hit alot of turbulence and I thought we were crashing.
10.) If you could give someone $1,000,000 who would you give it to? My parents. They are such amazing parents and have worked so hard to give my sisters and I the best childhood and everything we could ever need.
11.) Apple or Samsung? Apple

My nominations:

1.) The Darling Mama - Stephanie
2.) The Refined Mama - Courtney
3.) My Beckett List - Keenie
4.) The Millennial SAHM - Kermilia
5.) Hugs & Messes - Katie


 My questions for the nominees:

1.) How do you start each day?
2.) What is one blog post you are most proud of and why?
3.) Coffee or Tea?
4.) Favorite place you've ever visited?
5.) What has been one of the most challenging things as a blogger?
6.) If you could see one musician or band, one dead, one alive who would it be?
7.) What is your favorite TV or Netflix series?


If you have been nominated you will have to follow a few easy rules, you can find out more here.

I had so much fun with this challenge! Be sure to share your Liebster award post in my comments section below and in the comments at The Global Aussie. I think it's an awesome way to get to know each other and support each other's journey in blogging and motherhood!



My newest obsessions and Jord Watch Giveaway!

The name says it all so let's get right to it:

1.) Chicken Apple Sausage - I have never ever been a fan of sausage. But the other night I was over my parent's for dinner and my mom made this yummy dish with chicken apple sausage, sweet potatoes, and roasted brussel sprouts - Delish! And super easy, and now I'm hooked.

2.) White Pumpkins - they give such a classy, glamorous look to the traditional orange pumpkins.

3.) Making my own cold brew at home - yeah I know it's fall but it's been so hot and to be honest, I love iced coffee year round but cold brew has such a richer flavor. To make your own: I make mine in my french press but you can use a mason jar. In my french press I put 2 scoops of coffee and 4 cups of cold water (I like a strong coffee). Stir well and then let sit overnight in the fridge.  In the morning I plunge to separate the grounds from the coffee and then serve. If you use a mason jar, strain so that you can separate the grounds from coffee.


4.) Rodan & Fields eye correcting cream - because #momlife and co-sleeping = mom bags. The lovely Miranda over at Miranda Southern was a gem and sent me this little goodie.  She is a guru on all things taking care of your skin (I mean her complexion is radiant!!!) so be sure to check her out here.

5.) This Nail Polish - You will only see me wearing two colors on my fingernails - light pink/white in the spring and summer and this dark burgandy "Carry On" in the fall/winter.

6.) Thieves - Because back to school, germs, and a teething baby that puts everything in his mouth. Put a drop on your tongue and touch the roof of your mouth for a minute or two for some extra immune boosting punch. We also love to diffuse and it smells like Christmas in a bottle.

7.) Jord Watches - So you may have seen these beauties all over social media. My husband is a huge watch fanatic so when Jord reached out to me about partnering and offering a giveaway to my readers I was ecstatic! And these wood watches are so perfect for fall fashion right now. One of the reasons we love Jord so much is because they "value sustainability, efficiency and experiential living" and all of their watches are made from raw materials.






I gifted hubby this Delmar series in dark sandalwood and blue carbon (https://www.woodwatches.com/series/delmar/dark-sandalwood-and-blue-carbon) for his birthday and it is easily his favorite out of his whole watch collection. The sandalwood is hand finished and scratch resistant. And the blue carbon fiber face is perfect for those "dark and stromy types".  This is great for a casual night out for some beers or dressed up for a wedding or event. They also have a gorgeous collection of women's watches as well.  You can browse their whole collection here.


From now until October 10th, 2017 you can enter my giveaway for a chance to win a $100 gift for your very own. All who enter get a $25 gift credit courtesy of Jord. (Gift codes must be used by November 26th, 2017).

Enter giveaway here!!!
https://www.woodwatches.com/g/ourtiny_nest


So now I want to know what are some things you currently can't live without?

Learning to love my postpartum body



We were on our first vacation as a new family of three.  I was getting ready for the beach and putting on my new one-piece bathing suit when my husband said to me "You look so beautiful." 
"Seriously can you just stop?" I replied as I gave him a look of disgust. 
"I wish you were more confident in yourself and could see how incredible you are" my husband said to me.  Looking back, I have always struggled with poor body image.  I've never been comfortable being in a bathing suit or wearing shorts. Even when I was fit and toned when I was younger and in high school, I had pictures of thin celebrities plastered everywhere as a "motivator" to myself of how I should be.

Now motherhood has made my skin sag in certain places, I have a permanent scar on my bikini line from my c-section, my stretch marks on my breasts are like a road map, and I still have lumps in my behind from all those fertility injections.  I remember being freshly postpartum and feeling how jiggly my belly was, grabbing my skin that hung over my incision and thinking "I hope breastfeeding sucks me back in".

But I am learning to love this new body and starting to change my perspective. 

Instead I look at all the amazing things this body has done.  For 9 months it was a vessel, growing and nurturing a beautiful life. 

Instead I see my postpartum body as a beautiful reminder of my strength, all that I went through to get pregnant and bring my precious son into the world. 

When I look at my saggy tummy I remember how incredible it was watching my belly swell as life grew and how it felt to feel life moving inside.

My breasts deflated and nipples calloused are reminders of the sleepless nights nourishing my baby and the sacrifices I made.

I see selflessness of a mother and how I continue to put the needs of my son first. Instead of sessions at the gym I'm home doing endless loads of laundry, preparing meals or snuggling my sweet boy.

But I think the most important thing about learning to love my postpartum body is I can teach my son to respect women's bodies and that this is what normal looks like - not those photoshopped images of women in magazines.  I can be an example of a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and for that I am grateful.







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Boost sensory play with homemade play dough and essential oils

One of my favorite memories as a kid was playing with play dough - molding it in my hands, the variety of colors, and I still remember that distinct smell.


There are many benefits of letting your children play with play dough - it builds fine motor development, builds creativity, and can in fact be therapeutic.  Essential oils can further enhance the benefit by promoting aromatherapy.

Here is my easy DIY to make your own homemade play dough with essential oils.  We made ours with Lavender and Stress Away to help promote feelings of calm.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water
  • Essential oil of your choice
  • Food coloring for color 
Directions:
  • In a mixing bowl mix together flour, salt and water until a dough forms.
  • Add in 5 drops of essential oil and food coloring if you desire. 
  • Store in air tight container.

Pumpkin chocolate chip energy bites


The day after Labor Day my mind immediately goes into fall mode - chunky sweaters, scarves, apple picking, warm soups and casseroles, boots, and pumpkin everything! (Can you say basic?) But with the change in seasons it's still super dark out when I wake up in the morning. In addition to my morning coffee I find myself needing a little extra boost because #momlife!

I love these pumpkin chocolate chip energy bites. They're super easy to make, no baking required, and perfect for that basic girl that loves fall!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of cashews (roughly chopped)
  • 3 tsps of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of raw agave
  • 1 cup of pureed pumpkin
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1.  Mix oats, chia seeds, chocolate chips, cashews, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a bowl and mix all together.
  2. Add in vanilla extract, agave and pureed pumpkin. Mix well. 
  3. Roll into balls. (At first the batter was a little wet but the chia seeds will absorb the moisture)
  4. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. 


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Chicken rolled in goat cheese and carmelized onions

This girl right here loves her some goat cheese, I mean it's practically one of my love languages, I can sit and eat a whole log by myself in one sitting. Paired with some carmelized onions and a little balsamic dressing, this makes a delicious filling rolled up in some breaded chicken. The sweet onions pairs really nicely with the tangy crumbly goat cheese. I love to serve it with a nice salad with some dried cranberries and candied walnuts for the perfect fall meal.

Ingredients 
  • 2 vidalia onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsps of butter
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 log of goat cheese
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive oil for frying

Directions
  •  Preheat oven to 360 degrees
  • Melt butter in a pan over medium heat
  • Add onions to the pan, stirring every couple of minutes until soft.
  • Once onions are carmelized, add balsamic vinegar to the pan. I like to add a dash of sugar to the pan to help cut some of the acidity of the balsamic vinegar.
  • Let the onion/vinegar mixture cool.
  • Stir in goat cheese mixing well.  This will be your filling for the chicken.
  • Beat chicken until thin 
  • Add a generous amount of goat cheese mixture to each breast and roll up.
  • In a large bowl add flour and whisk in eggs.
  • In a second bowl add panko bread crumbs
  • Dip rolled chicken into flour-egg mixture, then dip into bowl of panko bread crumbs.
  • Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat
  • Add chicken to the pan and lightly brown on each side.
  • Finish baking chicken in the oven (about 25-30 minutes)
  • For a little extra flavor, drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top. 
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