Top 3 Things to Get a Second Time Mom

Thank you, 9 to Nest, for sponsoring this post, Top 3 Things to Get a Second Time Mom. I was selected for this opportunity by 9 to Nest; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

9 to Nest

One of the things that I love about being pregnant is all the new items out there special for moms! However, as I head to the end of my second pregnancy, there is definitely less that I need this time around. With two littles being so close together, we are adding a second nursery to our home, but repurposing many things from Ollie’s room that we no longer need as he is growing up. My maternity wear has changed a bit due to the seasons being different this time around, but there are still many things that are being recycled from pregnancy #1.

I had some friends asked about throwing me a sprinkle the other day and I cannot be more excited, but as I try to gather somethings for a registry, I am struggling. Even with a different gender and a baby born in a different season, there is a whole lot that we just need. At the end of the day, each pregnancy and family is different, but I compiled a list that will not steer you wrong. Here are my top three things that you can buy for a second time mom.

1. Diapers and Wipes

This sounds simple, right? But this is honestly one of the most over looked gift in my opinion. People want to buy blankets, clothes, cute and cuddly stuffed animals; however, what new parents really need at diapers and wipes and lots of them. We were so thankful to have a great supply when Ollie came, and now we will have two in diapers at the same time. Yikes.

There are a lot of great diaper brands out there, but many newborns have tons of skin sensitivity issues. I love some of the organic brands; however, at the end of the day, my go-to for newborns is Pampers Swaddlers. They are great and gentle on babies and by a well-loved and well-known brand name. They are easy to find at the nearest grocery store or Target and they will pretty much always be well accepted by even your more natural moms out there.

Things we really don’t need:

  • Diaper Rash Cream (We still have a lot of it from Ollie’s birth)
  • Wipe Warmer
  • Diaper Pail (This is questionable per family; we never had one with Ollie either.)

2. Nursing Supplies

As I was going through what I used the most, nursing supplies hit the top of my list. Things like disposable nursing pads for the beginning days of nursing, nipple cream, and breast milk bags are super important because you cannot necessarily reuse or recycle these things from child to child. They just get used up like diapers and wipes would. Other great ideas could include healthy frozen dinners with ingredients that support milk production (and help mommy out after birth), lactation cookies or tea, or a fresh Boppy cover that matches the new baby’s room.

3. Monthly Gift Subscription boxes (like 9 to Nest)

I love these monthly subscription boxes for new moms because even though your second time mom may have many of the things that she needs, getting a present in the mail every month showering her with love as she prepares for another addition to the family is such a great time. I don’t know about you, but I love getting mail throughout my week. Packages that show up from Amazon are usually just household products for our pantry and I still get excited when the UPS guy rings the door bell.

Monthly subscription boxes is such a hassle-free way of sharing in the excitement of a new arrival with expectant parents regardless if it the first baby or the fourth! When I received my 9 to Nest box this past month, I was so excited to open up the package. Each box is filled with products that are BPA free, PVC free, and phthalate free for our little Lillie’s health safety. Our box included a bath time theme with all things so perfect for adding a new girl into our home.

Each baby gift box arrives in a beautifully packed gift box with an entertaining poem that counts down each month until that much anticipated delivery date. The number of gifts in the box corresponds to that of the particular month, and you can send a new mother-to-be multiple gift boxes throughout their pregnancy. For example, if the mother-to-be is 4 months away from delivery, the box will contain 4 items; 3 months away from delivery, the box will contain 3 items. Needless to say, the more months the gifts are sent, the more fun and excitement it will bring to that expectant momma when she receives her numbered box. Also, all fabric items in each box are machine washable making care of the products super easy which is so important for any mom.

I really excited for my gifts inside of my 9 to Nest box this month. They are honestly gifts that I would have probably not added to my registry for my upcoming sprinkle. Lillie would have been the product of a “Second Child” and had blue wash clothes, a monkey hooded towel and a bath time duck that has taken up the job as a police officer. Thankfully, we now have some “girlie” things for her bath time fun and I cannot be more over the moon about it.

9 to Nest is such a great small company to support and you know that I love small shops across the globe. It is a great way to have a gift be more personable and regardless of the individual gifts inside, new moms everywhere would be so happy to receive a present at their door step when they are least expecting it. It is the smile that the porch present gives during a toddler meltdown or when a dinner that has gone array or just a long day of pregnancy.

9 to Nest

9 to Nest

9 to Nest

9 to Nest

Here is a little bit more about Jan, owner of 9 to Nest:

How did you get your shop started?
My family was a huge contributor to the start of 9 to Nest. I was never intending for this to become a business when it began. My daughter-in-law, Lindsey, was just pregnant with her first baby. When she and my son announced the exciting news, I knew it was going to seem like an eternity until I laid eyes on my first grandchild. To help pass the time for the little mother-to-be and myself, I decided that I would mail her monthly gifts until the baby’s arrival. The baby gifts were sent with a poem that helped countdown the months until delivery. Baby number two soon followed and she asked if I would again mail the gifts.

With encouragement and help from my family I began to investigate the possibility of an on-line subscription business. The best tool that I found was Cratejoy. Crate joy is a business that helps to build your subscription business, manages billing and has a wonderful support team. I also was lucky enough to have a son-in-law who was able to help me with the website and get me started with Cratejoy.

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
The most difficult part is being accountable for everything. There is just so much more to owning a business than the mailing of packages. That’s the fun part! Finances, bookkeeping, inventory, marketing, distribution are all ongoing jobs within the business itself. What I thought was going to be a somewhat part time job has become a full time endeavor.

What is one thing unique about you?
I have been an educator most of my life. I taught in our public school system, served on the board of education and owned my own preschool. Teaching preschool for 10 years was one of my most happy times. When grandchildren began joining our family, I wanted a little more freedom to travel and visit them. I am from a small town and knew that I would need something to keep me busy while at home. 9 to Nest provides me that opportunity.

What is the best part of owning a shop?
I am the one and only decision maker and I find that to be very exciting and challenging. Also, meeting new people is always enjoyable for me. Getting to know a customer through email or reconnecting with friends through 9 to Nest has been wonderful. I get excited when I learn of the birth of a 9 to Nest baby!

How did you get your shop name?
There was quite a bit of debate and suggestion from my family over the name. It finally came down to 9 to Nest, which was suggested to me by a friend. 9 to Nest means 9 months of nesting-the theme to the subscription countdown.

What is one way that you keep organized?
I work on 9 to Nest every day. Some days may mean an hour of work while others may have me work most of the day. I just make sure to never leave anything undone.

How do you balance family life and work life?
I always try to stay ahead of the work; therefore, it doesn’t interfere with family time.

My Goals for 2018: How I Plan to Nourish My Life

Picking “a word to 2018” isn’t just about doing it and never looking back. It’s about planning, goal setting, and following up on progress. I have learned a lot about goal setting and little-by-little progression, and maybe I will try and share that one day, but today I wanted to just share a bit on my 2018 goals and how I plan to nourish my life in the year going forward.

I have spent a ton of time on these and although I am sure they will alter and adjust throughout the year as our family grows and molds into something new with the addition of our little girl in March, I can confidently say that this is some good goals to cultivate what matters for me in the coming year.

It is not about perfection, but progression. And honestly, this is going to shock you coming from me (especially if you know me personally), it is not about completion, but cultivation. It is not a checklist but something to always grow in grace.

1. BE A GOOD STEWARD OF OUR FINANCES.

We have been learned a lot over the years about our finances and how our backgrounds and upbringings have taught us about communication around money. We can budget and have finance meetings until we are blue in the face; however, at the end of the day, we are still the typical American family that has too much student loan debt. We are determined to figure it out. Along with that, we know that adding a new baby into the mix adds pressure on our pocketbooks. We are starting the Dave Ramsey’s Financial Freedom classes at the end of the month to educate ourselves even further on the matter and we cannot be more excited about it. I know this will make a huge impact on the things we want to invest in in the future and can also reduce our need to work more if we are simply saving more.

2. PRIORIZE SELF-CARE OVER ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS.

This is directly in line with my word for the year. I want to nourish my own soul, body, and mind. I do not feel like I can give well if my spirit is not being filled as well. I need to step back, say “no” more and devote time to myself.

3. BUILD UP PERSONAL ENDEAVORS.

This is really referring to you all. My blog and my Young Living business. Over the past year, I have strayed in and out of a regular routine of writing, started (and stopped) a t-shirt business, invested heavily on educating myself around essential oils, crafted for the sole purpose of selling, and many other things. It has caused a lack of direction and focus. More so, it does not allow me to focus deeply on one thing and watch it grow. I know that to help with our finances, we will need to bring in some extra income and although I never want to blog only to produce a financial gain, I want to be honest with you as well. Part of successful blogging involves compensation, and if I can focus on this and educating others around oils, we are praying that we will be blessed in these areas.

4. NOURISH MY SOUL TOWARD A MORE OBEDIENT LIFESTYLE.

This really speaks back again to my word of the year, with a focus on health and nutrition. Work outs need to find root as we add another baby into our family and I want to be strong throughout my pregnancy and postpartum journey. Additionally, this highlights the need to dive deeply in His Word, study more, read more, listen more. The regular routine of this I believe is key as we create new habits for nourishment.

5. INVEST IN OUR MARRIAGE.

Dusty and I have learned a lot about our marriage in the past 5 years; and one thing is for sure, we need time together. The more time we spend together, the better we communicate and function like a team. When Ollie was born, we were in a great routine of date nights, family days, “get-stuff-done” days, sabbaths, etc. All of these days helped us thrive throughout the week. However, it has been really clear that 2017 did not always include these things and have added stress and anxiety to our marriage. We want to take a step back, invest in our marriage more, and understand when it is important to do so.

6. FIND ROOT IN OUR COMMUNITY.

We have spent the past three years attending a church a few towns away. We love our church community and friendships that have formed through it. Thankfully though, we have landed on hosting a local community in our home for the past several months now on a weekly basis from that church. Folks that all travel 20 minutes on Sunday morning, but live their day-to-day lives in the surrounding neighborhoods. Because of this, it is now time for us to take more root in our hometown and local events. We have spent months and months traveling to other town’s festivals, parades, and concerts to be present in somebody else’s community and we cannot wait to see what it looks like to take root in our own.

7. MOLD INTO A FAMILY OF FOUR.

This is the one that is so unclear to me because I just do not know what it looks like. How do we continue to invest in our own nourishment while raising a toddler and a newborn? How do we flourish in our marriage when two littles need us so much? I know the answer will come with the birth of our baby girl, but there is so many unanswered questions.

8. DISCOVER TWO NEW LIVING-GIVING FRIENDSHIPS.

Again, I do not know what this looks like at all. I have failed in the friendship department the last few years. I have tried to connect with ladies that on paper should be my friends because of social communities or expectancies. These ladies are great but their lives are in another community, each living too far away to just “drop by” on a weekly basis. Their jobs are different, allowing them to enjoy Wednesday morning brunch while I’m sitting in my home office working. They see each other at the grocery store and the library and make Friday night movie plans. And here I am, trying with all of my effort to connect, but falling short. I do not say this to talk badly about any of them, because I honestly LOVE these girls; however, I need a few friendships that give me life, do not give me a false sense of deep connection and then allow me to feel disappoint. I, unfortunately, have put some real friends on the back burner thinking that the friendships I was investing in would replace, and it hasn’t. So, I am praying about who God wanted me to invest in in 2018 and felt Him leading me to 2 friends, one known and one unknown, and we will see what this year brings.

9. LEARN MORE.

I’m a do-er and a tasker, which has lead me to why I feel like others needs are usually more important than my own. However, as I have repeated a few times now, it has left me feeling depleted and malnourished. So I plan in learning more over the coming year. As a learning professional by trade, you would think this would come easier to me but it honestly requires habits and persistence. Reading more. Creating more. Writing more. All of these things will not only help fill my soul but keep me relevant in my career and passions.

10. BE STILL AND QUIET.

I tend to find myself busy, far too busy. Part of my nourishment is scheduling in 2018 quiet times for listening, reading, creating, writing, and reflection and enjoying the silence.

Keeping Warm with our Car Seat Poncho

Thank you, Marie Rose Designs, for sponsoring this post, Keeping Warm with our Car Seat Poncho. I was selected for this opportunity by Marie Rose Designs; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Let’s just talk for a few moments about the winter cold and car seats. They honestly do not mix. Thankfully, this momma has blood that belong in Florida so we just keep the cold exposure to a minimum in our home. The midwest can bring ups and downs for a typical wintry season, but this is the first year that we have had to challenge the deep bitter cold with our Ollie in a convertible car seat.

Last year was easy. We bundled up the infant car seat, clicked him in and out of the car seat base, and travelled with ease. We maintain a warm and healthy baby, while still being on-the-go throughout the winter months. This year — well, a new issue arose. Car seat safety and winter coats. For a few weeks, I was the mother picking up my child at daycare without a coat. Why? Because it seemed so silly of me to pick him up (pregnant and all) and struggle to put on the coat to walk ten steps to my car in the daycare parking lot to take it off again. I even had mothers comment to me about where my child’s coat was; however, I bit my tongue when it came to their child’s big puffy coat wedged underneath their harness straps in the car. I know I probably should have educated them a bit, but I was just trying to not judge the judgmental momma in backlash…

Then it happened. I walked into Target one chilly day in November and saw it. A car seat poncho. At first, I thought this mom had it altogether somehow holding two infants in her hands while racing in through the Target parking lot, both children successfully covered with blankets that were not falling off. After proper stalking — I mean, inspection, I realized that they were not blankets at all, but each of her children had on these car seat ponchos.

Keeping Warm with our Car Seat Poncho

So I rushed home and found Marie Rose Designs and her car seat poncho, and let me tell you… It is a pure miracle. Not only does it slip on and off with minimal effort, it is hooded, reversible, and made with super warm fleece material. Marie Rose Designs car seat ponchos keep Ollie one warm in the car and can be worn out and about in the cold weather. They are designed to allow you to buckle in your child in their car seat, then place the poncho over them to wear as a blanket/hood in the car, or wear as a regular poncho outside. Owner, Karen, designs them in an array of colors and prints, along with options for ears (like ours), fringe, and arm slits. She customizes them and ships really quickly. Furthermore, and above all else, she is a doll to work with.

Our car seat poncho has been such a huge blessing this year. Not only has it helped us still make our mommy and son Target runs, but it has allowed me to go many places solo with him without the fear of a toddler meltdown in a freezing cold parking lot while pregnant. This alone has kept us from not being cooped up in the house too much during some of the lowest midwest temperature in years. Another great thing is that we will be able to take our poncho with us for winters to come! We ordered the 12-24 months size so that our little runt can sport his car seat poncho this year and next, and then we can gifted it to Lillie the following two seasons!

I am so thankful for our car seat poncho; it has been a lifesaver. It keeps our little boy toasty warm in the chilly Illinois winters, while keeping him safe in his seat by eliminating the need for unsafe puffy coats in the car seat or other after market products that interfere with the seats harness. Not to mention the standard solid grey color matches all wardrobe decisions. Warm, yes. Soft, yes. Safe, yes!

Great news for you; head over to my Instagram today for a quick store credit giveaway to Marie Rose Designs shop so you can invest in your own car seat poncho!!

Also, if you have not researched or heard much about car seat safety in the winter months, please, please, please do your research. I saw this Rossen Report on NBC while I was pregnant with baby Ollie and was mortified. Yes, Jeff Rossen can be awfully dramatic in many of these reports, but it is a great example of why you should not ever put your child in danger and interfere with the car seat harnesses with a puffy coat!

Keeping Warm with our Car Seat Poncho

Keeping Warm with our Car Seat Poncho

Keeping Warm with our Car Seat Poncho

Here is a little bit more about Karen, the owner of Marie Rose Designs:

How did you get your shop started?
A few years ago I started making non-slip grip hair bows for my girl’s baby fine hair. Every clip I’d buy for them slipped right out and I needed to find something that would actually stay put – even when they tried to yank it out! My friends began to ask me to make bows for their kids and eventually other accessories (bow ties, headbands, party hats, tutus, hats, scarfs, etc.). My business just expanded that way organically.

This is also how I got the idea to start making ponchos. A friend of mine asked me to make her daughter a car seat poncho and I’d never heard of them before but thought they were so practical and cute! I made up my own pattern for her poncho and I loved making it so much that I decided to make more and put them into my Etsy shop.

Ever since then I’ve been sewing. I’ve watched my Mom sew all my life, but have never done too much sewing until I got hooked making ponchos and working with fleece. I literally taught myself to sew making my friend’s poncho and now here I am making all sorts of things for people across the country. I couldn’t love doing what I do any more!

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
I’m a Work From Home Mom and often find it challenging to juggle my business, my girl’s schedules (5, 3 and one on the way!), household chores, shopping for my entire household and trying to be a good wife, friend and daughter all at the same time. Wish there was some way that I could excel at all of the above at the same time!

What is one thing unique about you?
While I’ve always been creative, I have a Master’s degree in Microbiology and an MBA and started my working years in a hospital doing clinical research. Working in a hospital never felt like a good fit for me and I always felt like I wasn’t getting to use my creative side enough. After starting my shop I’ve never been happier with my work!

What is the best part of owning a shop?
While it’s also the most challenging part, I love being able to work from home so I can work on my own schedule and be there for my family when they need me. Also, I love having the creative freedom to make new designs when I get inspired to. I love to learn how to do new things.

How did you get your shop name?
Marie and Rose are my daughter’s middle names. I wanted my shop name to have meaning for me, but also easy for customers to remember.

What is one way that you keep organized?
My husband. His friends lovingly call him the “spreadsheet guy.” He keeps track of all my sales, expenses and the rest of the nitty gritty details so I can focus on the creative, marketing and customer service side of my business.

How do you balance family life and work life?
We just moved to Lynchburg, VA (our second new state in 4 years!) for my husband’s job so we take a lot of family time on the weekends to explore our new area with our girls (5 and 3, and one more on the way!). We all particularly enjoy hiking and playing outside so we often drive out to the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.

Keeping Warm with our Car Seat Poncho

Bump Date :: 29 weeks

Anyone else feeling this way or is it just me? 😉

Week 29 Bumpdate

size of the baby :: Cantaloupe

total weight gain :: 14 pounds.

gender :: Baby girl.

maternity clothes :: Layers and maternity clothes just don’t mix. I’m ready for some warmer air.

movement :: Still bouncing in there.

sleep :: Okay, I guess. I’m starting to wake up in the middle of the night more and it’s just harder to get back to sleep.

missing :: Nothing much.

craving :: Chocolate ice cream and milk; however, I’ve been holding off… a lot.

symptoms :: The heartburn is back and the leg cramps are here to stay. Oh and I had to complete the 3 hour glucose test this week, because somehow I failed the first one. Geez…

duston is :: Struggling. Ha. Supposedly I am much more emotional and moody this time around with this pregnancy. I really think we both need some good ol’ sunshine and vitamin D. 🙂

looking forward to :: Some normalcy. I feel like I was at this stage during my last pregnancy also. The house is dust due to remodeling. There are still boxes piled up from Christmas and holiday gifts.

best moments :: We built our crib! Yay! 🙂

What I’m Loving Right Now: 2nd Trimester

What I'm Loving Right Now- 2nd Trimester

Guys, I cannot believe I am already in the midst of our third trimester. I know people say the second time around just flies by and goodness, that is so true. There is this constant struggle to stay present with Ollie as our final days as just “mommy and son” come to an end and also be able to full sit in the moments of pregnancy.

If I am being honest, pregnancy is not my favorite. I love bits and pieces of it, and I adore the outcome of it… but the aches, pains, heartburn, weird kicks and jabs… I was not made out to be that mom of 9+ kiddos, pregnant always women, and that’s okay. In the midst of this season, I am doing the best I can to love the stage of where we are at and the joys of pregnancy.

Because this, I would love to share what brought me great joy during my second trimester. My second trimester has been cold, full of holiday chaos, and consumed by a basement remodel (as most of you know), but even in the winter, bitter cold season, there has been a few things that has really gotten me through.

What I’m Loving Right Now: 2nd Trimester

1. Young Living Lavender Hand & Body Lotion + Organic Shea Butter By Sky Organics

In our hopes to remove more and more chemicals out of our home, I feel like I am scanning everything on the Think Dirty App these days. Think Dirty is a mobile app (iPhone or Andriod) that rates how many nasty chemicals are in your home. Do you know how many of our products that we use daily is full of parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, talc, bismuth, nanoparticles, lead (yes they actually put this in makeup among other things), mineral oil, synthetic colors and fragrances! This means what I’m putting on my countertops, floors, in my hair, and on my skin (which then goes into my body and affects it) is not necessarily clean, pure, and could be actually toxic, disrupting my hormones or increasing my chance of diseases.

Thus, we are starting to ditch these nasty chemicals and switch to cleaner options. I cannot get through pregnancy (or any winter really) without a good moisturizer and so this time around I have been adamant about making sure what is going on my skin is safe and clean. On a daily use, I have been loving the Young Living Lavender Hand & Body Lotion. It smells so great and a little goes such a long way. It does not leave any greasy feeling and is keeping my belly, legs, and beyond full of moisture!

On the super dry weeks, I have been lathering up with Organic Shea Butter By Sky Organics which is a unrefined, cold-pressed option. It turned into a liquid when you rub it onto the hands or skin, but kind of leaves a bit of a film for 5-7 hours. I love to turn to this more in the nighttime to sleep with when the temperature has been dropping under the freezing mark.

2. Wool Dryer Balls + Monday Laundry Days

Even in the midst of a busy season, I have thankfully had the pleasure of some rhythms to keep me a bit grounded. One of these things is my Monday Laundry Days. My family knows it. My coworkers know it. Mondays are the days I do laundry.

I hate laundry. I hate carrying down the heavy basket of clothes. I hate have wet sweaters laying out throughout the house. I hate sorting through socks not knowing if its match is in the load I just took out or another load elsewhere still dirty. I just hate it, so I try and tackle it all on one day. It sounds like a lot; however, with a work-from-home gig, I can easily swap my loads in and out during and in between conference calls and emails and knock it out in one swoop.

Wool Dryer Balls have also been my saving grace. Again with the eliminating chemicals, dryer sheets have just tons of chemicals in them. So I have invested in wool dryer balls this season. Wool Dryer Balls not only reduce the chemicals I am using on our clothes that we wear everyday, but it also helps reduce the drying time overall and decreases static in each load. I also have been dabbing a bit of Young Living’s Purification essential oil on the balls every week or so to help cut out the nasty smells that linger from the gym. I’m loving it!

3. Maty’s All Natural Acid Indigestion Relief Antacid

If you have noticed on my weekly bump dates, my pregnancy heartburn has been in full swing this trimester. Although the taste is not my favorite, Maty’s All Natural Acid Indigestion Relief Antacid has been a lifesaver. A sip of this concoction and my heartburn is gone so quickly. I wish I would have invested in this a little sooner during the holiday food fun, but thankful that I have it now.

4. Coffee + Crumbs podcast

The winter can sometimes get lonely at a work-from-home job. Everybody has been busy with the standard holiday rush, and it has been far too cold to even make my typical midday run to Target. With little to no real interaction with my girlfriends throughout the week, the days have started to run into one another and get really quiet and lonely.

Thankfully, I have been podcasting like it was my j-o-b and loving the Coffee + Crumbs podcast. I use to read their blog religiously and have kind of fell off as Ollie grew. The podcast is great to get other motherly prospective while I’m cleaning or cooking dinner in the evenings prior to Dusty joining us after work. Their ideas, opinions, and souls just fill my heart and I love it.

5. Expecting and Empowered Pregnancy Workout Guide

During my pregnancy with baby Ollie, my aches and pains were pushed aside by my doctor as “typical pregnancy hurts”; however, after eight months of postpartum physical therapy, I now know that these were not common aches. My aches kept me from doing my daily workouts during my first and I am on a mission to share not only my story but also stay active during these months of pregnancy.

Thankfully, I discovered the Expecting and Empowered Pregnancy Workout Guide which is a comprehensive pregnancy fitness guide for each trimester of pregnancy! With the partnership of these workouts, my physical therapist, and my chiropractor (I have had a lot of issues), I can honestly say that this has been the best decision of my entire pregnancy. There are definitely still so aches and pains; however, they have been so much less this time around. I feel stronger and more motivated to keep staying active as well. I know post-delivery I will be able to recover faster and bounce back into the summer months with confidence as well!

6. Teavana Passion Tango Tea at Starbucks

If you have been following my Instagram, you know that I have been living at Starbucks these past few weeks. In between the cold, holiday chaos (and mess), and construction in our home, I have not been able to focus much in my home office. To help with this, Starbucks has been a lifesaver for an afternoon or two of concentration. Going into the new year though, I have limited myself on how many expensive coffees I can actually afford. If we want to be serious about our finances in 2018, I have to put my frappuccinos and mochas at bay. Thankfully, tea is such a healthier option for pregnancy than the caffeinated, sugary stuff. I hadn’t tried Teavana’s Passion Tango Tea until recently and I just adore it.

7. Bao Bei Maternity ProBUMP belly band

I have been a huge supporter of Bao Bei Maternity and their belly bands since I was pregnant with Ollie. I wear them nonstop. Originally designed to give you the proper support with prenatal movement during an active pregnancy, these belly bands are great to use as an every day band. They are slim, fit underneath my clothes without showing, and feels like somebody is helping me lift my belly all day long. I cannot do my workouts with these, but as the weeks pass, I’m not sure I could even make it a day without slipping one on. They are that magical.

5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym + Pregnant

Thank you, The Locked Box Boutique, for sponsoring this post, 5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym. I was selected for this opportunity by The Locked Box Boutique; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym + Pregnant

Gyms can be really freaking scary. I didn’t ever really realize this until (and I know this will sound silly) I went to one. It was really not until after college that I made my steps into a real gym and committed to a consistent workout routine. I was shocked to see tons of super-strong looking people lifting weights, running at seemingly lightening speed, and sweating all over each other. My first go-around was with a girlfriend and it made the experience so much easier to learn how to use the equipment and get acclimated to the whole experience.

Then my husband and I moved to the city and found a nice, super quiet gym attached to our apartment complex. This is really what caused my anxiety from here on out. It was this gym per say; however, every other gym since then has just not seemed like the right fit. This gym was quiet, empty for the most part and private. I loved it and became super used to its atmosphere. When we purchased our home back in the suburbs, we shopped around the best gym for both of our workouts and ended up with a membership at Gold’s Gym.

I honestly can say that I love Gold’s Gym now for multiple reason; however, for someone who doesn’t know their way around, the scene can be pretty frightening. And that’s not even taking into consideration the whole locker room situation that happens after your workout is over or before it has even begun. Then there is the cinema room, classes, free weight area (with guys grunting and yelling)… Yikes. With all of this in mind, it’s no surprise that “gymtimidation” is an actual thing that gets in the way of people’s ability to exercise with confidence.

I felt really comfortable there until my first pregnancy and then the anxieties happened all over again. I went from feeling like the girl that was attempting to “walk off” my “beer gut” aka first trimester belly to the girl that was really pregnant and just got the basic “she’s-at-the-gym-do-you-see-how-pregnant-she-is” side eye. Regardless, neither was comfortable for me.

So I have put together my list of five tips that have helped me be more confident at the gym during my pregnancy, and hopefully they will help you maintain a fit pregnancy, too!

1. Invest in a belly support band.

This is my number one thing when feeling good about myself at the gym while pregnant. Why? Because during my first pregnancy, I would feel self-conscious even showing up and then I would manage to finally get there in the frigid temperatures of winter to discover that my hips were hurting or my belly felt too heavy. It was super defeating for me. This would quickly force me to end my workout early and feel ashamed, regardless of the reality of the situation. I would also struggle more the next time around.

I highly recommend getting yourself a belly support band to help with this. I wear mine from Bao Bei Maternity almost every day, even not at the gym. I own a Cool Mesh band and a ProBump band which are both great. They support the abdominals, take pressure off the low back, and eases common discomforts of pregnancy especially during a workout!

2. Do not worry about consistency.

This was a huge issue for me. The perceived judgement from those fit girls that work at the gym behind the counter just killed me. I knew that as soon as they would scan my badge they would know that I hadn’t been in over a week or two and it would make me not want to go anymore. I also would 100% get in my own head about the folks around me. I always think that the people working out next to me is thinking “Where did this girl come from?” or “I haven’t seen her in weeks!”

But let’s be honest. I do not think that much about the people around me. Additionally, the gym is just one way to workout during or outside of pregnancy. What has really spiked my confidence level is switching up my game at home with my Expecting and Empowered pregnancy workouts and checking in with my Tone It Up community. Believing in myself and truly knowing that I am staying active has helped me put these thoughts at bay during that check-in process at the gym.

3. Find a podcast or book that you enjoy.

Once you are at the gym, keeping my mind off of my pregnancy has been a major help. This allows me to ignore some of the minor aches and pains as well as the occasional stare from the person walking by who is trying to determine if I really am pregnant or not. I prefer podcasts because I can get too lost into a good book; however, I know books help tons of people stay motivated to stay on that treadmill an extra ten or twenty minutes. Some of my favorite podcasts are Coffee + Crumbs, Drops of Inspiration, Risen Motherhood, The Mom Hour, The Next Right Thing, and The Simple Show.

4. Join a pregnancy support group.

Joining a pregnancy support group was great for me during my first pregnancy but has really, really helped me stay motivated during my second. Not only do you have folks to regular check in with and encourage through those workouts, but you also have a new set of friends that are pregnant alongside of you! One of my favorite things about completing the Expecting and Empowered pregnancy workouts is the online Facebook group that you get to be a part of. This group helps you understand the workout guide if you need it, support you through aches and pains, and is there to answer questions if you have any around having a fit pregnancy and beyond! It really makes a different seeing folks of all different shapes and sizes investing in themselves and their babies during their pregnancies.

5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym + Pregnant

5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym + Pregnant

5. Wear your wedding ring.

It sounds simple, I know; however, I feel so much more confident in the gym with my wedding ring on. I have never been one to wear my ring at the gym; I did not want to lose it during a workout nor did I want to have it damaged along the way. Thankfully, I found the most reasonably priced silicone bands at The Locked Box Boutique recently and they have been great. They come in multiple colors, shapes, and sizes to fit your style and have allowed me to stay confident throughout my workouts.

These rings are perfect for the pool, gym, or wherever you please really! They are designed to protect your fingers from a ring avulsion injury, are made of medical-grade silicone, and are far from boring! The best part about it is it lessen my “gymtimidation” inside and outside of pregnancy. Having the ring on during my workouts have lessen the annoying “bro-who-lifts” walk up to me during my workout and try to have a “casual chat”. (I’m rolling my eyes a lot here.) Let’s be honest, nobody wants the additional pressure of being hit on during a workout and especially if you are pregnant. Although the further along in my pregnancy, the less this happens, wearing my silicone wedding band has boosted my confidence level immensely! My husband says the same thing about wearing his!

On a side note, I highly recommend checking out Locked Box Boutique for other cute, adorable items. I have their Hinged Ring Holder Necklace paired with their Wave Ring that I love. It is perfect for date night and will be so ideal if my fingers swell in my last few weeks again where I cannot wear my wedding ring. I have been also eyeing up the Hinged Ring Holder Necklace for my girlfriends that can’t wear their rings because of their nursing jobs.

5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym + Pregnant

5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym + Pregnant

Want to learn more about The Locked Box Boutique? I sat down with the owner, Sarah, to have her answer a few great questions around her shop.

How did you get your shop started?
When shopping around on Etsy for my wedding, I realized there were a lot of jewelry items I could make myself, as I have been in the industry for over seven years and also take bench jewelry classes on the side. After doing some research and purchasing a variety of tools, the Locked Box Boutique was born. I later branched into some additional divisions, including AquaDazed — which specifically designed around my silicone wedding bands. However, in order to simplify, we have now consolidated all of our shops into the original Locked Box Boutique.

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
I would say the hardest part is trying to keep up with all of the designs. I am inspired on a daily basis by everyday things, so I may have a brilliant idea that I’m certain I’ll remember… but if I don’t jot down some notes or draw a simple sketch, then when the time comes to make it, I draw a blank. Another difficulty I’ve had is setting aside the fun designs or production stuff to actually do important (but more boring things) like bookkeeping. When you open a small business, you think there is no way you could be this busy.. because you may not take in a massive amount of orders every day — but frankly, there is always something that needs to be done, no matter “how busy” the production side of things are.

What is one thing unique about you?
I would say one unique thing about me is my experience. I started in the retail side of the jewelry business, and actually still work full-time in this area. However, I am so enthralled by the jewelry industry, that I am literally trying to soak up every little thing I can. I am studying at GIA (the Gemological Institute of America) to be a Graduate Gemologist. I take regular classes at my location visual arts center to better my bench-jewelry skills, and I am constantly trying to learn new crafts online. There isn’t much that you can’t get through the Locked Box Boutique, and everyday I am working to expand that even further.

5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym + Pregnant

5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym + Pregnant

What is the best part of owning a shop?
The best part of owning a shop is seeing people genuinely enjoy your work. I never thought I would be where I am today, and to think things have moved along simply because people truly loved my handmade items… it’s simply amazing.

How did you get your shop name?
When I originally opened, the only person who knew of my plan was my baby sister, Morgan. I remember sitting on my bed with her going over possible shop names. I wanted something simple, so it would be easy to remember. I honestly cannot say there was some awe-inspiring moment, but when I said the “Locked Box Boutique” out loud, it just felt right. When I later opened our separate silicone wedding band department, AquaDazed, the name was inspired by our first child that I’m currently expecting. He is due in March and his birthstone is Aquamarine.

What is one way that you keep organized?
I have to keep a “to-do” list. You go in thinking, “oh this is important, there is no way I will forget about it”, but later you realize that describes literally everything you need to do! If I don’t write it down, I will forget. Not permanently, but it will slip through the cracks for a day or two. I also have to give credit to my husband. He really helps to keep my shop tidy with the inventory neatly put away. My best friend, Kaaryn, has also been very helpful in keeping me organized.

How do you balance family life and work life?
This has been a learning process for me. When I originally opened, I was a few months away from my wedding. Darrell (my husband) and I got married in late October, and we came back from our honeymoon to dive head first into holiday orders. I was so excited for the business to be doing so well, but didn’t always recognize that I was coming home from work and going straight into my shop, not leaving much room for quality time. However, I was able to figure that all out, as my husband goes into work easier than I do, so I try to get up with him and accomplish what Locked Box needs for the day. That way, when I come home from my other job I can spend time with him!

5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym + Pregnant

5 Tips for Being More Confident at the Gym + Pregnant

My Word for 2018: Nourish

Nourishing our health, wealth, spiritual life, emotions, physically, our home... everything. I want to work towards fostering a life-giving home that has a table full of stories, healing, and hope. I want to raise up a family that yearns to learn something new everyday. I want to nourish my mind, body, and soul more with self-care and quiet. I want to travel more, invest in music and reading, get outdoors, and tend to us as a family so that when others need us, we can give our full selfs to them. I want to cherish, foster, keep alive our family and our souls, and live in a healthy state that is provided by enough good food and nutrients (fitness, finances, creativity, health, learning, etc.). I want to nourish more.

Each January, I feel like I am anticipating the new year. I just flourish with the idea of setting goals and making a plan for the upcoming adventure that the next few months hold. I spend hours daydreaming, imagining, and predicting what life could be… the what-ifs, but in a very good, good way.

However, this year was a bit different. I am not really sure why but the idea of goals and a new year just overcame me like a rush of water. It felt like I was literally drowning. It brought more anxiety than hope and more worry than wonder. It paralyzed me and the unexpectedness of it numb me a bit if I am being honest.

I went through the motions. I checked on my last year’s goals and thought about the why behind them. I had so many successes and so much of God’s grace that was sprinkled throughout the year, which posed the question even further? Why am I so anxiety stricken and why is my heart not feeling the blessing that have been bestowed upon our family? It just did not make sense on paper what was happening in my heart.

I have been dealing with some fairly severe anxiety through this entire pregnancy and have been blaming hormones and such. While it may be some hormones, as I worked through my aspirations for the new year, I realized that it was something so much more. I needed to work on myself more. I needed to prune, tend, and ultimately, nourish my life more.

In 2016, I strived to be present through the changes of the seasons. With Ollie being added to our little family, I wanted to learn how to be more in the moment and not attempting to be in fifteen places at once. I think we are all still striving to do better at this but I feel like I made some great strides that year. In 2017, I pursued the idea of savoring. Savoring the moments and not letting them pass by without fully experiencing them. Saying more yes’s to friends, family, Ollie, Dusty, experiences, travel, opportunities… There were so many moments this year that I sat in the moment and allowed God’s grace to consume me during the simple times, the moments on the front porch learning how to kick a ball or the never-ending summer with a splash table and bathing suit.

But with both of those things, expectations also crept in. Expectations of showing up. Being present. Saying yes. Expectations of what our family should look like as leaders in our church. Expectations of what our marriage should be. Expectations of what pregnancy should be like, what a fit pregnancy should look like to other. Expectations of motherhood. Expectations of hosting and being a good friend should look like in the midst of motherhood. Expectations of having it all together, overcoming sorrow of a miscarriage, of having a stay-at-home career, travel and being still a good mother, serving others, being flexible, generous, grateful, hospitable, listening, loving… I feel like the list could go on and on.

I wrote in my Powersheets this past month about this.

It has been so obvious through the past months that we have been giving as a family more than we have been receiving. This is nobody’s fault but our own. We have responded to false expectations, expectations that we fabricated on our own. Expectations that we allowed to be present in our home. We have give in to expectations, comparisons, and guilt. We have neglected our values, souls, bodies, friendships, marriage, community, and finances and replaced them with others’, attempting to mimic theirs — assuming their way was better or we would be accepted more by mirroring their attributes. We have diluted our identities in these fabricated expectations and have withdrawn from the self-care and quiet that fills our souls. We give into connections and communities that our outside of our calling and we are not being patience in God’s providence. We need to reflect more on ourselves in the mirror. We need to make our soil at home rich again. We need to tend to our minds, bodies, and souls as a family, couple, and as individuals. We need to rediscover our purpose, remember who God made us to be as a unit and nourish that. We need to say “no” more and define better who we are so it is more clear on who we are not.

I know that for everything there is a season, but my goal of “be everything to everybody” has worn on me. My eyes and expectations for myself have been wider than my bandwidth. And I am often too busy when I long for simplicity and quiet. It has led me to be discontent, unhappy, sad, anxious, and more with the new year. As I started to write out all of the things that I wanted to do for others… well, I kept asking the same question “what about me?”

I know this may sound selfish at the surface, but I am honestly at the point where I do not know who I am anymore without taking some time for self-care. Self-care is trendy enough but when we look at the actual doing self-care, many folks don’t because of all of the expectations. Well, not this year. Not for me.

2018 is the year to NOURISH

Nourishing our health, wealth, spiritual life, emotions, physically, our home… everything. I want to work towards fostering a life-giving home that has a table full of stories, healing, and hope. I want to raise up a family that yearns to learn something new everyday. I want to nourish my mind, body, and soul more with self-care and quiet. I want to travel more, invest in music and reading, get outdoors, and tend to us as a family so that when others need us, we can give our full selfs to them. I want to cherish, foster, keep alive our family and our souls, and live in a healthy state that is provided by enough good food and nutrients (fitness, finances, creativity, health, learning, etc.). I want to nourish more.

Whoa, that’s a lot. I hope that is helpful to hear more of the background of my One Little Word for the year!! Now time to share, already picked your word for the year? Share below!!

Also, if you have not been able to sit down and figure out your year yet, I strongly recommend Val Marie’s steps to how to figure out your word for the year and tap into some of Lara Casey’s Powersheets. Both are magical and ideal take an afternoon and make this your best year yet.

Bump Date :: 28 weeks

Week 28 Bumpdate

size of the baby :: Bunch of Bananas

total weight gain :: 14 pounds strong.

gender :: Bouncing bubbly girl.

maternity clothes :: I’m honestly in maternity clothes for the rest of the game. Good thing I am loving all of my items from PinkBlush!

movement :: Tons. I think she has taken up Zumba.

sleep :: Fairly decent here and there. I would like to think that I’m sleeping better this time around but maybe I’m just permanently sleep deprived with a toddler and being pregnant.

missing :: Deli meat. So much that I ate a sandwich and love it.

craving :: Chocolate ice cream and milk. Thankfully, with the start of the new year, we are kicking it in high gear with our nutrition. So oatmeal this morning for breakfast instead of ice cream…

symptoms :: Heartburn. Charlie horses. Headaches. Pelvic pain. Yay.

duston is :: Resting. The holidays bought on a lot of to-do’s and I know the upcoming weeks will be full of busyness with our remodel and prepping the nursery. So thankfully, we rested a bit this weekend.

looking forward to :: Getting my glucose test over with. For whatever reason, I am uber concerned about it. I was on the high side last time and now that I am having it right after the holiday season, I’m afraid that my sugar is higher than normal.

best moments :: New Years Eve and Day. We have the best friends that threw a fantastic NYE party. It was complete with a toddler rave/dance party with a DJ, lights, and balloons. It was so much fun to watch Ollie enjoy himself. We also was able to spend all day on New Year’s Day with a day date. Some shopping, Mexican food, and Coco was the perfect ending before the chaos that is to come.

10 Verses About Trusting the Lord

10 Verses About Trusting the Lord

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:10

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. – Isaiah 43:2

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. – Psalm 56:3

Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. – 2 Samuel 7:28

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? – Matthew 6:26

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. – Psalm 13:5

Bump Date :: 27 weeks

Week 27 Bumpdate

size of the baby :: Acorn Squash!

total weight gain :: 14 pounds.

gender :: Obviously a strong healthy girl.

maternity clothes :: Holiday sweaters and oversized, warm anything. It’s cold and this baby is not keeping me warmer…

movement :: Loads and loads.

sleep :: Decently enough with all of the holiday chaos.

missing :: Deli meat — with all of the holiday plates this week, you start to realize really quick how limited you are.

craving :: Chocolate milk

symptoms :: I’m over this heartburn. 🙂

duston is :: After a week full of holiday fun, we are back at it with the basement chores. We really want to be able to take some time during January and just be at home, which means for us prepping the basement in it’s final steps and moving onto the nursery. I would love love love to see most of it done prior to our trip to San Francisco at the end of the month, but that is coming up so quick!

looking forward to :: Decluttering and goal setting. Doesn’t the end of the year mean that for everyone? I think it is funny that we spend 4-6 weeks buying “all of the things” to the next few weeks of getting ride of “all of the things”. I poke fun at it but it is really is true. Although we try really hard to be a minimalist family, especially with Ollie and his toys, Christmas has overran our house and it is showing.

best moments :: Of course the holidays! It was stressful. It was full of cooking and cleaning and wrapping and traveling. But it was still the holidays!