May the Fourth Trimester be With You…

What? You’ve never heard of the “Fourth Trimester“? Well, it’s a relatively new term I suppose, so I’ll let that slide for now.  Since you’re reading this post, I would like to give you a little insight on what it is, so you will be informed and understand.

The Fourth Trimester is basically the first 3 months after birth.  I will not be getting too technical here, because I’m no expert, but I do think it is important to know some basics.

First, babies don’t magically get used to their new environment when they’re born.  It just doesn’t happen folks.  So your baby is going from a warm, dark place where she was automatically fed nutrients she needed and had minimal changes from day to day, to… I mean, look around you!

Next, babies are developing at an amazingly fast rate in the womb, and that only continues on the outside!  Have you heard of the Wonder Weeks?  I recently purchased their app, but they do have a book as well.  Babies go through neurological developments, or “leaps” that can change their behavior from the norm.  The first couple of leaps are the most significant, and also happen within the first few months of life.  Pretty interesting stuff, if you ask me.

And lastly, the new mom.  There are so many changes that go on when a mama is pregnant, and they continue to change after the baby is born!  Body parts that were moved are trying to find their home again, hormones are changing from growing a baby to sustaining a baby with breast milk, and us moms are trying to adjust daily life that must now revolve around a new baby for a while.  It. Is. Tough.

Lack of sleep, food, bathroom breaks, and understanding are all things that the majority of moms have to deal with. We’re exhausted, and trying to figure out how to adjust just as much, if not more, as our babies!  Let us not forget us moms who have other family members as well.  Sure, they will also do some adjusting, but let’s face it, the moms do the most.  Even more, if baby blues or postpartum depression and/or anxiety arise, things can really get challenging!

So, what is one to do?  If you know of a new mom, or live with one, offer as much support as possible!  She will probably resist, because in this society it can be difficult to ask or help.  I know for me, I have a hard time accepting help!  But when I do, I never regret it.  So if you meet some resistance, maybe be more specific with your offer.  Even telling the new mom how you’re going to help would work wonders because I can almost guarantee that inside the mama is screaming for help!

If you are a mom, ask for help.  Let me say that again; ASK FOR HELP! You need it, and people are willing to give it, so just let it happen!  If you have the means, hire a postpartum doula.  This is something I wish I would have known about when my toddler was born because once my mom left and husband deployed, I had very little support.  Thank goodness for my oldest daughter, without her I don’t think I would have made it!

Another avenue to getting help is seeking out a therapist!  Even if your not feeling super depressed, it is really helpful to talk with someone who’s job is to listen!  I find that when I’m struggling with something, just talking about it with someone who is really listening can help me sort through it.

Okay, there you have it!  Some Fourth Trimester stuff to think about!

What other things can you think about that might make it on the Fourth Trimester timeline?

Thanks for reading!

Jenn

ps- checkout my Facebook Page here!

pps- stay tuned for some reviews of some products I’ve been trying out!!!

 

Baby, Baby, Baby…

Hello there!  Yes, it’s been a while folks.  While I love to write, I have been very distracted these last few months with the beginnings of pregnancy.  It is for a good reason, though it’s hard for me to not get on here and babble my thoughts on things when I have them!  Since we are making plans and getting ready for our third young lady to join us in a few months, I though I would write a post about baby stuff!  You may remember a post I wrote about being pregnant before, this is more focusing on actual baby products.

I am not looking to by too many more things for this one, since we still have a lot from about 3 years ago (gasp!).   I did create a baby registry online, and I am sharing some of the things I added after doing some research, and asking around some of the mom groups I belong to online.  I am also letting you know why I added them.

Let’s start with this little guy, the NoseFrida.  I had never heard of this thing until when our youngest was a baby and had a cold.  I posted something about her being sick on social media, and a friend brought one of these over to me.  I admit, when I first looked at how it worked, it grossed me a bit.  What. On. Earth.   Then, I decided it was worth a shot if it meant my baby (and I) would have some relief.   The result: it worked like a charm!  Baby was no longer stuffy, and was able to nurse and nap better.  While I managed to find some of the parts to my last one, I’m thinking it works better with all the pieces, so I’ve added it to the list.  🙂

Next up, the Boppy Nursing Pillow.  This is another item I discovered with daughter number two, and I in fact still have one, but here’s the deal: we live in a two story house.  So anything that saves me from having to go up and down the stairs, especially carrying a little one, is a winner in my book!  These things are so convenient for positioning baby while nursing!  I also love that they have removable and washable covers.

Now, let’s talk about the Boba Baby Wrap.   I have not ever owned this brand, however, I have owned 2 other wraps and I loved them!  They were well used though, so I’m thinking a new one would be wise.  I hadn’t really ever wore a baby before like this prior to my last baby.  I had used a carrier briefly with my oldest, but it was a lot different!  Things can really change over 18 years, right?  Whew!  They make multitasking, or really any kind of tasking, so much easier with an infant/baby/toddler!  Think laundry, grocery shopping, going for a walk, using the bathroom… the possibilities seem endless!  I do like other types of carriers, but this type is my favorite!

The last thing I’ll talk about here is the infant car seat/stroller combo by Britax that I added.  I didn’t use a stroller at all with our youngest, due to wearing her everywhere, but with a toddler and a baby and the amount of traveling we like to do, I thought it might be convenient to have this time around.  I love the idea of the car seat fitting right into the stroller.  I’m thinking about things like airports and such with this one!

By the way, I don’t get any commissions or anything from anyone buying anything from these links, though it might be something I add in the future.  I would let you know.

So tell me parents, what would you add?  What is something that you have discovered that you wish you had or use that you couldn’t imagine life without when it comes to baby stuff?

Thanks for reading!

Jenn

Shake Your Love; I Just Can’t Shake Your Love…

Well, wouldn’t you know that things are a changing again in my household?  My oldest have moved out, my husband has been working back at shore duty, and my youngest and I have developed somewhat of a routine in our day.  So I feel I have a bit more peace, and am also heading on a road to better health.

Speaking of health, and lets bring wellness into it, I have discovered a training course for something that I had not given much thought to before; becoming a Wellness Coach!  If you have been a reader of my blog since the beginning, you might remember that I had been studying to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner for a while.  It is still something I am interested in, however the program I wanted to do ended up doubling its tuition by the time I had the time to do it.  No matter at the time though, I had enough on my plate anyway, and was starting to enjoy being a stay at home mom, which has been a lifelong dream of mine!  I decided I would just focus on being a mom and wife for a while, and bask in the glory and chaos of it all.

In the meantime, I had come across another training program several days ago that caught my interest.  It was for becoming a Wellness Coach.  What the heck is a Wellness Coach?  Is it like a Health Coach?  I was curious, so I started to check it out by doing what I love to do, research!  Turns out, it is something I have been dreaming about doing for a while, and I didn’t even realize it.  It combines what I love to do, which is to help people, with what I love to study, which is nutrition, health, and overall wellness!  So it goes beyond just nutrition, but involves lifestyle and even spiritual health as well!  Oh my goodness, I am so excited!

It turns out the tuition for this program is less than the former program I was looking at, and involves so much more!  I feel really confident since I have already studied a lot of the material for the Nutritional Therapy Program, and I know I will continue to learn more in that area, so it makes so much sense to get all the additional training to really help people change their lives for the better.  I have even started my business plan!

So what about being a stay at home mama?  Well, the great thing about being a wellness coach is that with a good foundation, I will be able to work from home on my terms.  I am aware that it will take time to build a business, and will be getting training on that as well, but it is okay! You remember my posts on money?  My husband and I are in a pretty good place financially, and have a good financial plan in practice, so we are able to maintain a great lifestyle whether or not I am making an extra income.  It may take a while anyway to save up the tuition, but I am hopeful that we will be able to so in a timely manner.

So there you have it folks, the next step in my journey has begun.  I am so excited to see what God has in store for me in this season of my life!

Thanks for reading!

Jenn

Road Tripping With a Toddler: What Works and What Doesn’t

I had written previously about how we were planning a big, fat road trip a few months ago, and I am going to share with you what things worked well and did not work so well for us so you can use this info yourself.  I am going to provide you with links to some of the items I like, but I am in no way affiliated with any of the companies, and don’t receive anything from them for sharing the products with you.  I may share a link to a friend’s affiliate link, but do so only with permission.  So here we go y’all.

First thing’s first.  The best and most recommended item to have, if you don’t already, is a minivan. We own a small SUV and a compact car, so for the trip we decided to rent a minivan for a few reasons: space, space, and space.  There is nothing like the freedom to not have to worry about packing too much, not having to worry about where to put the cooler (more on that in a bit,) and the ease of getting a toddler in and out of a car seat quickly.  My daughter is still rear facing, because it’s safer (and you should still be rear facing your little one too) so it was nice to not have to climb in and out of the car to get her… Especially with our frequent stops.

Next, Packing Cubes!!!  What the heck is a packing cube you ask?  Well, it’s a tool to help you organize your packing so you don’t have to pull out every stinking thing from your suitcase to find that one tank top you swore you packed.  They may look silly to you, and that’s okay.  Just ask my husband, they are amazing!  In addition to using packing cubes, we also used Ziploc bags for our toddler’s clothes.  The advantage?  We were going to be in 3 different climates, so it made it simpler to separate the three different clothing types.  Another awesome thing about packing cubes is you can put them in your hotel drawers and put your suitcase in the closet so you have more space in your room.  I’m tellin ya, these things are cool, and you should probably buy them.

Coolers.  How many of you loooove traveling with those big, bulky coolers that take up so much stinkin space and are hard to get to because you can’t just turn around and reach into on without jeopardizing your safely and flexibility as the car is moving?  Check out the slim cooler!!!  I was skeptical of this for sure.  Would anything fit inside?  Would it be difficult to maneuver while the vehicle was moving?  Let me tell you, this thing not only fit between seats like a glove, but it was super convenient as well.  It is more compact, so it may not hold the whole fridge, but I highly recommend getting one, even if you’re not leaving on a roadtrip.

Next on the list is a dvd player.  More specifically, one with a remote control and swivel so it can be mounted on the headrest of the seat in front of your child.  This way, when the movie is over, you can just hit play again (because what toddler doesn’t like watching the same movie over and over?). Oh this was a really good addition indeed!  Now, some of you may want to invest in headphones, but for us, it didn’t need to be very loud for our little one to enjoy it.  We had also purchased a few dvds to bring along, though she watched one in particular about a fish looking for its family for most of the trip.

Now besides the obvious snacks, drinks, toilet paper, portable oil diffuser, scissors, paper towels, wipes, and umbrella (ella, ellla, ella, eh, eh, eh… anyone?), the last thing I highly recommend is a grabber.  What is that?  Well, when was the last time you were in the front seat, and your toddler accidentally drops their stuffed toy for the 7th time and needs it right away?  Of course you are not going to risk your safety and that of those around you by unbuckling your seat belt to reach said stuffed toy.  So what can you do?  If you have a grabber, most of your reaching stuff while traveling 65 miles per hour problems are solved!  Of course, we forgot to pack ours, but thankfully, on our last visiting stop of the trip, my loving father happened to have an extra one and let us have it.  And it came in very handy!

So what about what didn’t work?  Well, we had bought a travel desk type thing, but it didn’t stay put for very long.  Maybe when she’s older.  Also, adding dryer sheets to our packing cubes didn’t really do much.  Probably because we use the kind with all natural ingredients, so they weren’t super smelly. Also, I think we could have packed her activities better.  I think we may have relied a bit too much on the DVD player.  This “organizer” fell apart before we could use it.  Oh yes, and when you make a packing list, be sure to review it before you leave so you don’t leave behind anything major, like birthday presents for your nieces.

A few honorable mentions; mess free coloring/ painting books, Zora bars, and extra sunglasses.

All and all, we had a successful trip.  I felt we were well prepared for most things which made dealing with a couple major disappointments a little easier.  We saw a lot of family and friends, and if I could ever convince my husband, we will do it all over again!

What about you?  What types of things are a must have for your road trips?

Thanks for reading!

***UPDATE***

I can’t believe I forgot to mention one of my favorite things that we brought, which is still handy to this day!  A trashcan.  Just line with a grocery bag, and start stuffing away!  What I love most about this, besides the fact that it keeps trash contained, is that it also keeps smells contained (uneaten food anyone?)!  So we packed a few extra grocery bags so when the ‘can’ got full, we could just swap it out and start fillin again.

Another thing that I didn’t mention was the oils I used in the diffuser.  I get carsick.  So I diffused a few drops of peppermint and ginger, and tickle me mad I didn’t get carsick. Not one bit.  Even while doing my word searches, which was amazing because typically I start feeling even more sick when I’m not looking out the window.  I also diffused lavender in our hotel rooms to help us relax and help take out some of the hotel ‘smell’.

Alrighty then.  I’m sure I’ll think of some more things after this next trip!

 

Jenn

 

Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey…

Ahhh, a month of no drama…  Can you imagine?  It has been wonderful!

If any of you followed me personally, or on my JJTL page on Facebook, you might have noticed that I have been absent for a while.  It’s been a little over a month actually.  There are a few reasons why a break was much needed, which I will share in a moment, but what I will also share is something that surprised me:  I have had little to no drama in my life.

Facebook has its very own culture.  I had never really thought of it that way, but it does.  A lot of it is made up of fakeness (is that even a word?).  This brings me to why I needed a break.  Here are some of the top reasons:

  1.  I was getting too emotional about the posts I was reading.  I’m sure some of you can relate.  You are scrolling through pictures of your friends adorable kids, hilarious memes, and delicious meal videos when something catches your eye… someone posts an editorial news story that presents itself as fact.  UGH.  If you have read many of my other posts, you know that I love to research things.  Mostly health and food related, but just about anything is fun for me to gather facts and information on so I can understand it more.  I used to think that journalism was similar.  Nowadays, almost any news/media I see is made up of people’s opinions passed off as fact.  So annoying.  And articles were getting shared left and right about topics that didn’t make any sense.  It made me upset because I expect people to be like me, and want to know the facts about something, and not let other people form my opinions for me.  To me it is just plain common sense.
  2. I was spending way too much time online.  I know a lot of you can relate to this one.  Constantly checking to see if I had any notifications, no matter what they were from.  Scrolling over and over every few minutes looking for something new to (waste my time) look at.  Checking over the ‘people you may know’ to see if anyone interesting pops up that I most definitely won’t be sending a friend request to, but might accept if they send me one.  Oh, and of course Facebook stalking.  You know you do it too. 😉
  3. It had become an addiction.  Ouch.  This one really made me take a step back.  Not only was I spending a lot of time on Facebook, it was one of the first things I checked when I woke up, one of the last things I looked at before going to bed, and it was taking precious time and attention away from my loved ones.  Not cool.

What has changed since taking my break, and what can I do differently to prevent those negative things from happening to me again?  I have found that I have a lower level of stress, and more joy since taking this break.  The first thing for me to do to make a change was realize I actually had a problem.  Sound familiar?  The second was to take a break, and not make a big deal about it in a Facebook post… ahem.  Yes, I’m talking to you.  Next is to decide some guidelines for myself such as setting time limits, or even certain times of the day to “check in”.  And lastly, to delete some “friends” that I don’t really need to have anyway, and they most likely don’t really need me on their list either.

So, there you have it folks; another blip on this journey of mine.  Thank you for reading!

 

Jenn

 

 

On The Road Again…

Image from one of our last road trips... Can you guess where it is?

Image from one of our last road trips… Can you guess where it is?

I just can’t wait!  In a couple of months, my husband, youngest daughter and I will be taking a road trip to see some family.  I’ve been traveling a lot lately, only it has been by plane.  While that way is easier (for me) with a toddler, it can get fairly expensive if you’re not willing to travel super early or late.  Been there, done that, and not only lost more precious sleep, but also the toll of a weeks worth of trying to get back into a routine is just not worth it.  So this time, we are driving.

I am not a stranger to driving on or taking long road trips.  With a family of eight growing up, it was the norm for us.  I never really knew different.  There were a few plane trips here and there with a couple family members, though for the most part, we drove.  Whether it was a few hours, or a couple of days, we would drive drive drive.

I have pretty much driven most of the time since.  When my youngest was born, it became less convenient to stop and nurse every couple of hours, so we started flying more often.  Again, I don’t mind flying, and it was more cost effective with a free baby, but now shes over two so we have to pay for her again.

We have a little more vacation time coming up and my sister is having her next baby, so we have decided that it is most cost efficient for us to drive.   Say it with me… “Road Trip”!   I am getting so excited for it!  I do have a few things that I’ve been researching though, like how to keep a toddler entertained, but even the planning part has been entertaining for me!  I hope that my youngest daughter can get used to road trips like my oldest, and they are something that she can treasure like I do.

This whole planning part has been surprisingly enjoyable.  I have made a list of stuff to pack and things we might consider purchasing, and have been scouring the internet and Pinterest for ideas.  I’ve planned a route, ordered a few visitor guides, booked some hotel rooms, and I’m deciding on which road atlas will be the best to purchase.  The most random thing I have done is create a spreadsheet, which is not like me at all!  I really don’t like the particular program use to create spreadsheets, but thanks to my former job, I know some basics.  My husband thinks it’s hilarious.

So tell me, do you like to take road trips?  What are some things you love or hate about them?

Thank you for reading!

Jenn

Love Stinks, Yeah Yeah…

I mean, it can. Especially during those awkward puppy love preteen years when you sweat profusely just thinking about your crush whom you would someday have the guts to actually say hi to… On the last day of school, in eighth grade.  Or how about right after you’ve had a baby and you experience the extreme pit of despair that you hope and pray doesn’t cause your baby to not want to nurse. Or even worse, it becomes the smell your baby associates with her mommy! The horror!  In the ladder situation, I found myself searching again for something to help take care of the putridness that had taken up residence pitside.  I needed something without nasty chemicals, such as aluminum, that could save the noses in my home, but at the same time be ready made because mama didn’t have time to whip up a batch of the homemade stuff… Or maybe she just kept on forgetting.

Before I get to my solution, let me first explain why I don’t use conventional deodorant/antiperspirants.  The antiperspirants is an easy explanation; our bodies are meant to sweat.  (See, I did learn something in my 12 plus years of school!)  It’s our body’s way of cooling down, and who doesn’t wannabe more cool?

What about deodorants?  One word folks; chemicals.  Not just any chemicals, but icky ones.  For example, one of the more popular brands contains cyclopentasiloxane, which has been shown in studies to correlate with endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, and even cancer (source). I looked it up on the FDA’s website, and couldn’t find any thing in the cosmetics search engine containing the word “cyclopentasiloxane”.  Well that gives me piece of mind… NOT.

How about added fragrances? Most or the brands I’ve looked up don’t list what makes up their “fragrance”.  How will I know if it will irritate my skin?  Could I be allergic?  Could someone in my family be allergic?

Speaking of family, I will have a toddler before too long.  Believe it or not, some toddlers find themselves getting into things they shouldn’t, despite all efforts by their parents to toddler-proof their home. Now, suppose my future toddler outsmarts a preventative mechanism and gets a hold of one of my anti-stink products?  Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about my smartypants ingesting icky chemicals in the first place by not bringing them in my home?

So, since I no longer have much free time, I decided to try a few more pre-made options. Since I’m so picky about what I put on my body, my options of all natural/organic/affordable/crap free skincare are limited (see my post about making a change in skincare products here).  I had come across the Moody Sisters Natural Skincare line and decided to try out some of their products out.  I fell in love with their Sweet Pear Whipped Body Lotion, wanting to gnaw on my arms after applying it for the first time, and I decided to try out their deodorant line. The hope wasn’t that I would want to also gnaw off my armpits, though it would be funny to watch, but I needed something that would eliminate the stink.  It just so happens that what I found with the Moody Sister’s line were affordable options!  I currently use 3 different deodorant products.

Why spend the extra money for three different products?  First of all, the products work like they say they are going to.  I mean, that’s pretty important.  Second, the products are made with high quality skin loving ingredients that you can pronounce, and won’t need an internet search engine to figure out what they are.  Third, I can customize them to make them work how I need them. I have sensitive skin and I can’t use the baking soda formula every day, so I can use the baking soda free formula for most days.  If I am going to do something s little strenuous like vacuum, housework or work out, I can apply the powder deodorant on top for an extra layer of protection.  If I’m going to have a busy day full of running errands and such, I can use the regular cream formula.  The final reason, they just smell wonderful!!  I love the Dreamy Orange, and the baking soda free has a lovely light vanilla scent.  So as you can see, I’m not using all three products every day, so it is a sound investment.

Over all I have been pit stink free for several months now, and I am so happy to have found a solution to my smelly problem!

Thank you for reading my post today, folks!  I hope you have learned a little more about why it matters to pay attention to what we put on our bodies, and why it is just as important as what we put in our bodies.

Jenn

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