Bytes of Love

Working mommy. Startup daddy. Rascal toddlers.

Category: Pregnancy (Page 1 of 2)

Life Hacks – Pregnancy to Preschooler

When Dilan was born, Anil and I didn’t ask for much help. We worked through most of the infant days ourselves. In hindsight, that wasn’t the worst thing. We quickly learned that we just didn’t have the time to do everything that we needed to get done. Enter life hacks. With Anil’s startup, my career, and two kids who are two years apart, finding some ways to make life easier, more fun, and more efficient was / is a must. Here are some of our favorite hacks that were born around the same time our babies were:

1. Chux. You can find these gems on Amazon. If you’ve been through labor at a hospital, you’ve most likely seen these. Though they aren’t environmentally friendly at all, they are amazing for when you’re on-the-go with an infant. We often used them instead of diaper changes pads, especially at airports. Why? Do you really want to clean up a reusable diaper pad after a diaper blowout on the road? Nope. You only really needs these in the beginning, not forever. We like the Northshore 17×24 ones. I still have one in my car.

2. Candy. If you’re in labor, I think candy of any kind (but especially chocolate – duh) is a nice touch for the labor nurses or midwifes who spend most of the time with you. It’s not an easy job and they log some long hours. Of course, I bought candy for the nurses both times I was in labor and forgot to take it with me to the hospital….twice. I blame pregnancy brain. I did send my main nurse an Amazon gift card and a pic of Asher a few weeks after he was born…even though I’m still mad at her for not giving me my nap and making me push instead <insert eye rolling emoticon>

3. Thank You cards & blank post cards. Two things I always stock up on when I visit Target are thank you cards and blank post cards. You’ll write a ton of thank you notes after your baby shower, after the baby is born, after the first birthday, and so on. Having these available saved a ton of time. I use the blank ones all the time for when I don’t have birthday or sympathy cards at home and don’t have time for a Target run.

4. Baskets. The other item I love shopping for are baskets. I don’t even know how many we have in our house, but they’re currently all being used. Our weekday morning routines used to be pretty hectic, until we started thinking about why exactly that was. We wake up before the kids do, but somehow still had a hard time getting out of the door. Since we don’t wear shoes or socks at home, it dawned on me that I was running back upstairs to grab socks every single morning. So, we found a better spot for them on our cabinet next to the back door and our breakfast nook. I filled up one basket with bibs for Asher (to use during breakfast) and another one with socks for both boys. So much easier and they don’t look too bad, right?

baskets

 

5. The laundry game. Here’s our solution to the never-ending pile of laundry : the laundry game. The laundry game consists of us taking all the clean laundry that needs to be folded, dumping it on the kids (which they think is AWESOME), and then slowly starting the sorting and folding process. We usually have fun music blaring and everyone just has a blast (as much of a blast as you can have folding laundry). It’s the best way to do Anil’s and my laundry on the weekends. I wash a load of kids’ laundry every single day and fold those separately. I hang shirts and throw shorts and pants in large baskets. Works like a charm.

Alright, your turn! What life hacks do you use on a daily basis? I’m all ears :-)

Taking care of yourself with Nurturico

Guess what I recently got to try? A bunch of amazing goodies and healthy snacks from Nurturico. Kiran, who has a beautiful 3 year old (who I have yet to meet!) sent me these from the Bay area, where she lives with her family. Full disclaimer here: Kiran is distant family, on Anil’s maternal side. However, you guys know how much I love startups, and cool, innovative companies . So, I would have done product reviews of her fantastic snacks regardless, really :-)

A few things to note about Nurturico: even though I’m not pregnant or nursing a whole lot, these are the categories that Nurturico’s snacks are designed for. Why? If you’ve ever had a child, you probably know how hectic that first year can be. You do the very best you can to take care of your new baby, but often forget to take care of yourself. You guys also know how much I hate that. Moms need to take better care of themselves. Period. They also have zero time to whip up something healthy in the kitchen. That’s where Nurturico comes in. Here’s what Kiran sent me:

Finger Millet Cookies – These are devoured in the first day. SO GOOD. I shared a few with the kids, but honestly mostly ate these myself. What I liked the most about these are that they aren’t overly sweet, nice and crunchy, and contain only 7 ingredients. Way more nourishing and healthier than any cookies you can pick up at the grocery store. Millet is also a great ingredient to use at it contains tons of vitamin B, calcium, iron, and much more great nutrients that are really helpful when pregnant or nursing.

Nut crumble – This was my second favorite snack. Made with ingredients such as ghee (clarified butter), pumpkin seeds, and organic raisins, these small balls pack a powerful and energetic punch. You could just snack on a few of these between meals and feel so much better than eating junk food. As a nursing mom, I would have loved to have this handy because like Kiran, I often struggled with trying to figure out what to eat right after giving birth.

Date muffins – These small goodies aren’t muffins in the traditional sense, but that’s actually a good thing. They’re not messy at all because they’re made out of mostly nuts and dates. After doing the Whole 30, you can imagine that I’ve been pretty weary of added sugar in all foods. The wonderful thing about these is that because of the dates, you really don’t miss the sweetness of sugar. Another great snack I would have loved while pregnant / nursing.

Peanut Butter Oats Banana Smoothie Mix – Are you kidding me?! A smoothie mix that tastes like chocolate – LOVE this! When I gave birth to Dilan, my mom was here for about a week to help me recuperate and take care of Dils. She would make me drink these nutrition drinks like Boost and one from Carnation, whose name escapes me now. They were wonderful after having gone through the exhaustion and exhilaration of child birth. This smoothie mix reminds me of that, except for that it’s completely natural and contains NO added sugar – hurray! A really great way to get some nutrients mixed in with your almond milk, coconut milk, or whatever type of milk you’re in to.

As I was saying before, one of my biggest pet peeves is being a mommy martyr. You shouldn’t have to suffer and give up your entire life just to raise children. I’m a firm believer in this. Taking care of yourself before and after you give birth is so, so important. And if that means taking lots of short cuts, then I say do that. Nurturico recognizes this and delivers on healthy snacks that make you feel human again. I’m so proud of Kiran for starting a company that delivers on this concept. Although Nurturico currently serves the Bay area, they will expand beyond that in the near future. I highly recommend giving them a try – you won’t be disappointed!

nurturico snacks

Mommy’s Must-Haves #4

Alright. I’m back with some new parenting / toddler / just plain awesome products I love. You wouldn’t think of putting these on your baby registry, but trust me, they’re great. So great that we have multiple ones of two out of three of these:

  1. Himalayan Salt Lamp. I know this sounds hippie and it kind of is, but hear me out: I’ve done hours of reading about how night lights can have a bad effect on sleep cycles (ironically, most of the reading was done right before bed on my iPhone…). However, most new parents know that some toddlers just HAVE to have a night light, or they need one in their own room so they don’t step on Legos during nursing duty / diaper changes etc. Enter the Himalayan Salt Lamp. It creates a natural amber light, which, according to my research, is the only type of light that only minimally interferes with sleep cycles (pure darkness is best). As a bonus, it has a dimmer and also purifies the air by counteracting positive ions with negative ones. This cleans the air and can help with allergies / headaches etc. Although neither toddler is currently sleeping with these lamps, we have one in the hallway and one in our bedroom. Great gift for any new parent…or anyone really!
  2. Silicone travel mats. Though I can’t find the exact one that we bought 3 years ago for Dilan, there are many of these out there on Amazon. Some people prefer to spoon feed their kids, especially when out and about, but being the classic Montessori parents we are, we try to strike a good balance between spoon feeding for convenience and giving our kids independence when it comes to almost anything. When we’re eating out, I like to take the mat along so Asher can have it in front of him and eat whatever finger foods we cut up for him (bring food scissors with you as well!). The mat is great because we don’t have to worry about Todzilla Asher throwing dishes on the floor (one of his favorite pastimes). I bring our mat along in a plastic bag and carry it home in the same bag after it’s been covered in food. Works like a charm.
  3. Books by Mo Willems. There’s only so much “Goodnight Moon” you can read. I know this goes for any book, but lately, we’ve really been enjoying books by Mo Willems. They may seem long, but each page has just a few words – perfect for toddler attention span. They’re cute and funny and all have a great message. My favorite is “Waiting Is Not Easy!”….because it’s just not. Especially not to toddlers.

PS – This picture: Asher & I just waking up from a nap. Messy hair, crankiness, and lots of cuddles. That pretty much sums up parenthood. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. #keepinitreal

messy

Newborn Things to Love

I can’t say things aren’t super hectic right now. We’re in the final stages of packing up our house and getting ready to move to our new house in the next week or so. On top of that, I’m at home feeding the newborn about 14 times a day, while changing an average of 14 diapers a day as well. Daddy is back at work and is traveling for work a week after we move and our two year old is as busy as he can be and just picked up the word “nasty” from somewhere…oh dear.

Amid all the chaos and fun, I couldn’t help but share some of my favorite newborn things right now. You may have seen my Top 20 Must Haves for a new baby that I created when Dilan was born. I did come across two new things the second time around. Aside from the amazing baby smell and cute noises Asher makes when he nurses, here is what else I’ve really been enjoying:

My Brest Friend nursing pillow. You probably have a Boppy pillow or some other type of pillow to help support you if you’re breastfeeding. I thought the Boppy was pretty great until my lactation consultant introduced me to the Brest Friend. Not only do I love the nice and geeky name, I really like the firmness of it as well. There is no gap between your belly and the pillow and it wraps around you to provide some back support too. It’s made all the difference in my posture. The best part is that you can rest your gadgets on it while nursing. My MacBook Air is actually sitting on top of it right now while I’m feeding Asher and writing this post. Totally worth checking out if you’re planning on nursing for a while. Definitely worth the money and you can get it shipped to your house from Amazon if you don’t have time to go to the store to grab it.

Minted.com. Have you heard of Minted yet? If not, go add them to your Instagram account right now! Minted focuses on outstanding design by hosting ongoing design competitions. The Minted community then votes on the best designs and those are the ones that are sold on their site. You can find the cutest announcements and invitations, stationary, decor, and custom art work. I’m actually looking at getting our birth announcement through them. We love magnets because they’re easy to stick to the fridge, of course. Here’s what I’m looking at: the birth announcement magnet by Jennifer Wick:

ashernew

I’m usually more of a crisp and clean font person, but I kind of like the different fonts Jennifer used here. It makes the announcement unique and adds an artsy flair to it. I would love for you guys to help me pick a final design, though. Take a look and let me know what appeals to you. In the meantime, I’ll go look for some more and newer snuggly baby pictures.

So there you have it, just a couple of my favorite things right now. When things get hectic and you’re trying to fight your way through the sleep deprived haze, don’t forget to  enjoy the small things (besides your small baby ;-)). They may just make those rough newborn days a bit brighter :-). Signing off now to do some diaper changing. I’ll talk to you guys soon and stay tuned for our official birth announcement coming soon!

All The Small Things

I’m sitting at my desk in my dorm listening to this Indian boy telling me how my music collection sucks. He downloads a handful of sappy songs instead and then continues with “All The Small Things” by Blink 182. “You don’t even have that song?!” Who cares about small things, I think in the back of my head. I don’t even like Blink.

Fifteen years later, that Indian boy is still there. He’s holding my hand this time around, helping me through contractions in our Labor & Delivery room. We’re about to have our second baby boy. He’s an IUGR baby, which means that he’ll be very small, though not a single doctor has been able to tell me why so far. I gained an acceptable (for my body size) 30 pounds and we had only made one doughnut and one fried pickle run during the entire 9 months. I can’t say I didn’t try to be healthy. It was nerve wrecking.

What made things worse is that we’re trying to watch “Back to the Future” (one of my favorite movies of all time) to distract me from contractions. I normally love Biff, but MAN is he annoying during contractions and the transition of labor part. After about an hour of telling Biff to go to hell, I decide that I’ve been at it long enough and ask for the epidural. I didn’t have one when I gave birth to Dilan. Everyone who’s had one tells me it’s amazing and you’ll be able to nap right through those contractions. Sounds good to me! I finally get one in and am about to lay down, so ready for my nap when I hear a silent “shit” from our L&D nurse. She’s looking at that screen that graphs your contractions and the next thing we know, she’s pinging my doctor and the delivery crew. The contractions are getting worse and I can still feel them. I SO do not have the energy to push out a baby and beg for my nap. Yeah, right, not happening. The special crew is called in, just because the baby is expected to be small. Twenty minutes, that annoying oxygen mask, and a lot of pushing later, Asher Anil Chawla is born:

Weight: 4 lbs, 6 ounces
Height: 19 inches
Head size: 32 cm

His name (Asher) originates from the Sanskrit word for “happy”. And that is exactly what he’s made us. There was no need for the NICU, he was breathing on his own and did not need any special care. I was floored. Since then, he’s been battling jaundice and some really bad reflux. He still manages to nurse like a champ and is growing slowly, but surely. Our pediatrician has told us twice already that he’s very feisty and the strongest little 4 pounder she’s ever met. We tend to agree. We’re not completely out of the woods yet, as he does need to grow more and shake off the breastfeeding jaundice, but every single day, things look more promising. Asher is small, but mighty.

I must send out a special thanks to Dilan. I know it’s tough to not get all the attention anymore, but just think of it this way, Dils: if it wasn’t for your awesomeness, we would have never thought of having an Asher in the first place. You’re going to be an amazing big bro. As for me, I will never take small things for granted again. My music collection back in the day might have sucked, but thank goodness it did, because it introduced me to a pretty amazing daddy who knows how to create some darn cute kids :-). Small things are growing on me. Heck, I may even like that stupid Blink song one day.

 Asher

28 Months & 36 Weeks

I know I said the same thing last time, but I truly believe that this age, 28 months, is just the best age EVER. Who cares about terrible twos and tantrums? Sure, it isn’t easy to go anywhere with a 2 year old without him obsessing or going crazy about something, but guys, the words and phrases that are coming out of his mouth are just ADORABLE. Anil and I talk about how cute he is every single night. Here’s what else is going on with Dilan:

State of the Dilan

Sleep is great as well right now. He sleeps from about 8:30 PM – 7 AM, which is just about perfect for us. Ok fine, I do miss the days when I could sleep in until 9, but those are never coming back, are they? I expect some major sleep regression when the baby is here, so we’re savoring good sleep right now. We had to work on sleep with Dilan big time over Christmas break since he wanted Anil to sit in his room and hum for a full hour or two before he would attempt to sleep. Now, all he needs is his night light, Bobo in his toddler bed, white noise, and the door slightly cracked open to fall asleep by himself. Works for us. He’s been dropping naps on weekends for the last month or so (grrr), but whenever possible, I try to get him to nap in our bed on weekends. I don’t care how bad that is from a consistency perspective, I just want to nap with him, smell his hair, and stare at his beautiful lashes. It’s precious time that we won’t have very soon.

Dilan still eats up a storm every day. Pizza, pancakes, crispy Kale, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, meats, rice dishes and strawberry or raspberry yogurt are among his favorite foods right now. The latter ones have become a food jag since he asks for it at dinner every single night. I’m thinking it will pass soon enough, but if it doesn’t, at least it’s not candy or cake he’s asking for. We haven’t had a well check in a while, but I’m guessing this is where he’s at physically:

Weight: 30 lbs
Height: 36 inches at least?
Head size: No idea

He’s still in speech therapy once a week and will be getting some help with fine motor skills as well. He’s not terribly behind with either, but I’ll have to explain our whole rationale for putting him in therapy in a separate post. Everyone keeps telling me that he’ll catch up and I know he will, but I don’t feel bad about the extra help he’s getting since he’s in daycare and it’s helping him thrive there and at home.

In terms of potty training…he has zero interest. I’m not worried about that one either (someone reassure me here!) and am not going to start it now with a baby and move coming up. All in all, we’re just crazy about him right now. He constantly tries to push the limits, pushes his wants and needs until he’s red in the face, and watches too much Peppa Pig, but it’s all part of being two. He has an opinion about absolutely everything and although it’s annoying at times, I have to give him credit for sticking to his guts and not being easily swayed. It’s a quality that will pay off later in life :-). He also makes split second decision about things, which I think he gets from me since I’m very much the same way. I don’t spend too much time on any given decision, unless it’s majorly affecting other people’s lives somehow. Our favorite Dilan phrases are: “What’s that noooose (noise)?”, “Tapitty (strawberry) yogurt”, and “Bobo get it” (get Bobo for me). You’ll have to hear them in person to fully appreciate these.

Dilan_28months

State of the Mommy

I am a pretty good blend between a nervous whale and a calm and focused mom right now. We’re most likely having an SGA baby and that definitely makes me nervous and worried at times. But then again, nothing has been found wrong with me or the baby, which makes me think that maybe we’re just part of the standard deviation with the small baby that someone has to have. A few more weeks (or days) and we’ll know for sure. I’m not afraid of labor pain (18 hours without meds the first time around will toughen you up), but I just want a healthy boy who can breathe on his own. I couldn’t care less about his weight, as long as he’s healthy. In the meantime, I’ve been super slammed at work and will probably continue to be until I go into labor. It’s all fine with me. Our house is getting packed up, we’re getting things ready for a newborn, furniture is getting sold, and we’re closing on our new house in the next two months. Things are SO exciting right now! I keep facing the sun instead of the shadows and telling myself that it will all work out. Cross your fingers for us, ok?

MommyandDilan

State of the Daddy

I don’t think Anil has ever been busier than he is right now. He’s actively working on growing his team while selling and buying new furniture and appliances with me and convincing Dils to brush his teeth (takes about 20 mins on average). He just moved into a new office and continues to do work almost every night until the lights go out. It’s nuts, but he somehow has it all under control. He brings me a giant bowl of Chex cereal every night and to me, that’s just the sweetest thing. I know cereal is about as unromantic as it gets, but when you’re starving at 10 PM, it’s just the nicest thing to have brought to you in bed. It’s really all I want for Valentine’s Day.

DaddyandDilan

7 Ways to Beat the Busy

Ok, I’m not going to lie…I’ve been daydreaming of someone getting Dilan dressed in the morning while I eat a sea salt sprinkled pain au chocolat and get 10 minutes to myself. You guys know how it goes. The third trimester is just tough. You’re running at the same speed as everyone else while you’re growing an entire human being. Sounds simple, but it’s actually pretty amazing…and exhausting. On top of that, I’ve been running behind a (sometimes tantrummy) 2 year old, packing for our move in April, trying to keep things awesome at work, and getting everything ready at home for a newborn. It’s hard not to drop the ball somewhere, but instead of beating myself up about it, I know better these days. I’ve got 7 tips for how to beat the busy…whether you’re moderately busy like me, crazy busy like I hope I’ll never be, or just trying to get your everyday tasks done.

1. Plan your meals ahead. We usually plan dinners for at least the 5 work days of the week, but many times for the weekends as well. This does not mean that you have to cook religiously every day. We do “take-out Tuesdays” and pick a healthy take-out option. It breaks up the week and gives me a break as well. The hubs wants to do “Wine Wednesdays” after I give birth. See why I married him? Sounds awesome, though this mommy really wants to nurse for a while first. We’ll get there eventually. The point is that you won’t feel as stressed when you’ve planned ahead. No one wants to be HANGRY.

2. Grocery shop once a week. Having the time to shop multiple times a week sounds amazing, but we really just don’t. I do one large trip for the entire week. This obviously requires that you’ve taken care of step 1 above. Want to know something else that’s awesome? If you’ve got a Harris Teeter around, you can shop online for a small fee and they’ll bring the groceries to your car. It is by far the best thing ever and I wish every store would do this. I can see this becoming super useful with multiple kids in car seats (and diapers).

3. Simplify breakfast. As I’ve mentioned before, we make healthy smoothies almost every single morning. It’s by far the easiest breakfast you can make because you’re simply throwing ingredients into a blender and that’s about it. You can drink your smoothie on your way to work (or play) and if you get your hands on a good blender, it’s super easy to clean up too. Frozen fruits are life savers, especially during winter.  Added bonus: most toddlers dig fruits and you can sneak in veggies too! Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

4. Purge one area per week. After living in the same house for 8 years, I’ve learned one thing: crap piles up. It just does, unless you are really diligent about purging cabinets and dressers. I’ve also learned that it can take ages to get through those plastic cups that used to sit in your dorm room and the useless kitchen gadgets your mother-in-law thinks you have the time to use. The best way to get through it all is to select just one room or cabinet a week and focus on that only. I wish I had done more of this over the years. It sure would have made moving a lot easier.

5. Use a great planning tool. We love Trello. We actually did drop the ball and stopped logging freezer meals a few months ago, but we picked it right back up last weekend. We also log things like furniture findings and purchases, car maintenance, and new home to-dos. It’s great to get that stuff out of your head. Let me know if you need any Trello tips once you try it out.

6. Get house cleaning help. This one is sooo controversial. I had a tough time with it for a while because I CAN DO IT MYSELF, DARN IT! I soon came to realize that getting our house cleaned from top to bottom is one of the best investments we can make. It would take me at least 6 – 8 hours to properly clean on a weekend, but now, I get to spend time with my 2 year old and husband instead. Uh-mazing. Seriously worth considering, especially if you’ve got a household with two full-time working parents. We still clean plenty in between. Don’t believe me? This is roughly what we’re cleaning up on a daily basis and it’s plenty for me:

mess

giant_mess

7. Nap while you can. Nap time is time-out for adults. It gives you a chance to re-set, maybe think about what you’ve been doing with your life, or maybe just pass out in less than 10 minutes while you drool on your pillow. I think that once you become a parent, you get to appreciate naps much more than you did before. I don’t feel bad about napping on some weekends over the last few months. I know these are some of the last few weeks that I’ll be able to since we have just one child right now. I’m a better mom when I wake up because I had a chance to calm and slow down and sometimes even snuggle up with the 2 year old. And what could be more amazing than that?

Moving On

I can’t believe we’re at the very end of 2014. The first half started out nice and organized. We got Dilan into a fantastic waking-eating-daycare-bedtime schedule that worked like a charm. Lots of work travel for daddy especially, but we worked it all out. Our routines and schedules were just perfect. The BEST part for me was that I finally started waking up a bit earlier a few times a week (5 AM) and running outside. Nothing beats fresh air and being active so early in the morning. I absolutely loved it and can honestly say I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in. Fast forward to August and I had to give it all up.

At 8 weeks into my pregnancy, I started cramping and was told to discontinue all exercise and not spend too much time on my feet. You’re asking a toddler mom to do this?! Impossible. In the end, I did give up all the running and when the nausea started to settle in right around that time, I never picked it back up. I’ve beaten myself up about it so many times this year. I beat myself up about not exercising enough while pregnant, not cooking as much as I’d like to, and not folding the laundry right when it comes out of the dryer. These and many others are such silly little annoyances in the grand scheme of things. So I decided to move on and celebrate instead.

I’m celebrating a healthy toddler. One who doesn’t know his ABCs yet and isn’t potty trained. But he smiles more than any other child I know and he’s as healthy and happy as he can be. I’m celebrating my husband, who always knows when to extend a helping hand, every single day, at the times I need it the most. And I’m celebrating me. I may not be able to exercise as much as I like, may look like a whale, and may not have the energy to make it through a 2 hour movie. But I do have the energy to kick butt at work and come home to be a smiley and patient mom and wife (ok fine, most days, certain days I’m just HANGRY).

We’re physically moving on as well. Not an easy decision, since we have the best neighbors you’ll ever find and we know we’ll never meet amazing people like them again. But with an upcoming family of four (::squeal::), we just need more space. They just poured the concrete for our new house this week and we talk about how fantastic it will be to finally have a fabulous, brand-new home every single day. It makes me beam with pride because Anil and I both worked so very hard to make this happen.

Most end-of-year posts talk about how to get and stay motivated for the new year. I’m all about a fresh start, but this time around, I’m more about celebrating than anything else. Sometimes you’ve got plenty of motivation and accomplishments…but what’s missing is actually enjoying it all. 2015 will be full of amazing milestones and challenges for us. And by amazing, I mean moving in the middle of potty training a toddler, with a newborn in tow, while having to go back to work. Yep, we like our challenges. It’s what makes life fun and exciting. So before you beat yourself up too much about setting new year’s resolutions you can’t keep, think about the ones that you CAN and already have made happen. And then move on. It’s what I’ll be doing next year.

sold

 

Five Must-Have Pregnancy Products

I am one of those people who is super picky about what I put in and on my body during pregnancy. I have to admit that the second time around, I’ve let loose a little, but I’m still pretty conservative when it comes to what I eat and use. Here are my top five favorite pregnancy products. Some of these make great holiday pregnancy gifts as well (except for #1 and 5), so guys, take note for your future mamas:

1. Belli anti blemish facial wash & acne control spot treatment – You know those ladies who have that gorgeous pregnancy glow on their face? Yeah, I’m not one of them. I break out, way more than I normally do and I refuse to use regular acne products due to the scary ingredients in them. Sure, they *should* be fine, but I’d rather not take a risk and choose to go the natural route. The Belli skin care line was specifically designed for people like me and it actually does help clear up my blemishes. A bit pricey, but you can find it at Buy Buy Baby or Amazon, which means you can use coupons or get Prime Shipping 😀

2. Gap maternity pants – I have a neighbor to thank for these! I had not shopped at the Gap when I was pregnant with Dilan and now wish I did. These pants are the ONLY ones that fit right for me, without making me look larger than I already am. They’re pricey (I’m a bargain shopper when it comes to most clothes), but worth the splurge, especially if you have to look decent in the office or are looking for comfy skinny jeans. I bought a few pairs and will be wearing them all winter. A  great option for maternity tops that don’t cost a fortune is Old Navy.

3.  Honest Organic Healing Balm – I originally used this for Dilan’s adorable booty, since it makes a great diaper cream. The best part is that it’s clear, so it’s not as messy as some other diaper creams. Now that we’re entering winter (or at least, that’s what it feels like), I started using it for my own booty belly as well, and all over my skin really. It’s very thick and feels greasy at first, but then sinks right into your skin and makes it SUPER soft. I love it and you can now find all Honest products that I adore at Target.

4.  Honest Organic Breathe Easy Rub – Like Baby Vicks, but more natural and VERY soothing. I’ve had a stuffy nose since I got pregnant and a good night for me is when I can sleep past 4 AM because my nose isn’t completely clogged up.  This lovely rub keeps my nose clear for most of the night and I don’t have to worry about any chemicals that I’m putting on my skin. I use this on Dilan every single time he’s sick as well. Oh and for you Neti Pot lovers: yes, the saline rinse is wonderful, but not good enough to cut through all my snot. Pregnancy snot is a whole different ball game, y’all.

5. Toms Long Lasting Deodorant in Unscented – All-natural, aluminum-free deodorant that actually works pretty well, especially in fall and winter! You can find this at Target, Walgreens, all over the place really. It’s the only deodorant I found that’s both natural / chemical & preservative free and easy to find.

There ya go! What products do you guys love to you use when you’re pregnant or trying to watch what you wear?

bigbellyme

The Impatient Gender Reveal

I’m probably the most impatient person you’ll ever meet. Really. I finished college 6 months early just so I could skip to the money making phase (seemed more fun at the time). Did it work? Of course not. I graduated early and worked a retail job for the next 6 months. I also volunteered at a soup kitchen during that time. Both great experiences, because they taught me how to stay humble and kind (I try, at least). I then landed my first real job and quickly became stir-crazy again. I got into business school, but attended it part-time in the evenings, while working my full-time job. I simply didn’t have the patience to “waste” those precious early career building years by continuing my education full-time.

My impatience has decreased a lot since having a child (it kind of has to), but I still refuse to squeeze the toothpaste until the tube is entirely empty and I won’t shop at stores where the check-out lines are too long. All this impatience and stubbornness did pay off over time. I do believe you need a certain amount of it to propel you forward in life and make you realize that every single of the 1,440 minutes in the day count. Anil isn’t much better with the impatience. He quit his very comfy job to try his hand at a start-up and you’ll never see him wasting time, not even during the weekend. He’s generally better than me, though. I’m tough to beat.

So there we were at 15 weeks into my pregnancy. Two very impatient parents trying to figure out the gender of our second baby. We just had a 4D ultrasound done and asked the technician to jot down the gender on a piece of paper for us. We waited SIX HOURS to find out, by handing that piece of paper to a local bakery, getting two identical looking cakes made, and then picking up one of them to take home and cut into. It would be either pink or blue inside.  No big party with tons of people for us, because honestly, I simply didn’t have the time to organize anything fast enough. Anil had been traveling and my work load had been taking its toll on me a bit.  Fast forward a few nerve wrecking hours and after dinner, with a bunch of family Skyped and Face-Timed in, we were finally ready to cut the cake. We had our camera rolling so we could capture our reactions.

Boy or Girl?

I am all about balance and would have loved a girl to round out our family. But as we cut that cake down the middle, I suddenly thought of what I’ve really known all along. Dilan is 100% boy. All tractors and bulldozers and wild games. He creates a constant mess and chaos in our house and I secretly love it. He would do so much better having a baby brother and that is exactly what he’ll get :-)

It's a...

I may not get the opportunity to be the girl-power role model I would like to be. But in 20 years, I’ll be the mom who will tailgate at football games with my boys. I love beer and football and anything stereotypically boy-ish. I grew up as a tomboy, climbing in doors and playing loads of video games, while my parents reminded me not to scrape up my knees too much. So as we cut that cake down the middle and saw the blue icing amid the chocolate cake, a sudden sense of calm came over me. Surely, it won’t be easy being outnumbered. Dirt and noise and tons of boo-boos. But what a great opportunity to teach myself more patience as our family is growing. And knowing all that I am and all that I’m capable of…I think I’ll fit right in.

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