Friday, October 24, 2014

In An Attempt To Ditch The Daily Yoga Pants...

Recently I've been trying my hardest to get dressed every day. I know to most people that task seems simple enough (like, heller, just wake up and throw some clothes on idiot!) but after having three babies in four years, I can't just waltz into my closet, pull something off the rack and be ready to take on the day. 

That scenario looks much more like "Open closet door. Stand there for several minutes trying to remember why you walked into your closet in the first place. Leave and nurse crying baby. Break up brotherly fight. Return to closet. Pull four pairs of jeans from hangers. Throw two on the floor of the closet after only being able to pull them up to your knees. Throw one into the hamper because of an indistinguishable stain on the knee (spit up? frosting?). Jump up and down forty-seven times to pull on the fourth pair. Contemplate maternity jeans... And already an hour has passed and you're sweating, still topless and it's time to make lunch." 

Therefore, pouring myself into black yoga pants, a nursing tank and an open cardigan (also known as The Uniform of The Nursing And Exhausted Mother) became my Normal. But now I'm tired of that normal and I've begun to notice that kind of normal day in and day out isn't good for my sanity. 

I guess what I should have said is that I've been trying my hardest to get dressed up every day. And I've been trying my hardest to do this because it makes me a better wife and a nicer mother. 

Now, it's taken me quite a few months to get to this place. Not only did I have to emerge from the dark and foggy haze of Newborndom where I could hardly put one leg in front of the other each morning let alone put those legs into something other than yesterday's yoga pants, but I also needed to get to a place where I felt comfortable and confident enough with my post-baby body to want to show it off in something other than forgiving cotton. 

After two months of completely re-hauling my eating habits, I emerged on the other side of the funk. The funk that comes with being in that middle place after having a baby. The one where Tired meets Nothing Fits and Hormones occasionally comes to crash the party. I dropped the extra post-baby weight, old clothes started fitting again and I was less exhausted. Still tired, mind you, but not so exhausted each morning that I wanted to drown myself in my mug of lukewarm coffee. 

Getting dressed in the mornings became easier. Instead of having only two pairs of pants to choose from, I now have five or six. My options are still a bit limited when it comes to shirts and tops because I am still nursing frequently throughout the day but I try to remind myself that this is a good problem to have- that I won't always have lopsided porn star boobs and one day I won't have to judge my t-shirt purchases by how easily I can stretch the neck down to whip a breast out.

What I've realized about getting dressed up each morning is that it makes me a better wife and mother by giving me the motivation I need to go out and get shit done. I'm much more inclined to finish a lengthy to-do list if I'm dressed in something other than pajamas. For example, I won't cringe as deeply when I run into my child's pre-school teacher at Kohl's when I'm wearing something I can't sleep in. Sure the bags under my eyes might give her a good scare but at least I won't walk away from our encounter trying to imagine the myriad of questionable thoughts running through her head. 

I also seem to yell less when I'm dressed up. Why? Because chances are I've taken the boys somewhere fun which means they've spent less time in the house, less time driving each other crazy, less time throwing Legos all over the family room and crunching up Goldfish into the floor and more time expending energy and making a mess somewhere else. Preferably somewhere where I didn't have to vacuum up after them. 

And it's kind of nice to see my husband's face light up the way that it does when at the end of a long day he walks through the door and sees me in something other than what he saw me in ten hours ago when he left the house. 

As I said earlier, my transformation didn't happen over night and I still have plenty of days where I reach for yoga pants over something a bit stiffer and muffin-top-accentuating. Yoga pants days are good for my soul (and the circulation of my lower half) too but even on those days I realized I don't have to walk around looking homeless, which is pretty much how I looked for the first three months of each of my kids' lives. 

On those days I'll wake up a bit earlier, despite how painful that might be and spend a little extra time on my hair and make up. It's on those days that I remind myself of that age old saying, "a little goes a long way." A little mascara, a little bronzer and a touch of lip color make a big difference and won't send friends and neighbors running in the opposite direction. On these days I don't mind running into friends at the park or opening the door to an annoying and unexpected salesman because I know my appearance won't have them questioning whether or not they need to call child and family services. 

If you're curious as to what's got me kicking ass and taking names most days, here's a few staple wardrobe pieces I've been wearing on heavy rotation lately as well as my go-to face products! 
Fall Style Staples

* * * * * 

Quick and Easy Face

Speaking of quick and easy, I've recently become a major fan of Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes. Whether I'm spending the day in yoga pants or boyfriend jeans, it's become a staple addition to my morning routine. Even my husband noticed the difference and that's saying a lot because, as he says, "guys never check out a girl's eyelashes." 

Check out the difference below in my own Before and After's! 

The application process took a little bit of practice until I could figure out the right balance of my own mascara, transplanting gel, fiber application and gel reapplication. The more I played with the product, however, the longer and fuller my  lashes became! With a price tag of $29.00 I feel it's absolutely justified because not only will it last a long time but it eliminates having to wear liner and use a lash curler most days! At the end of the day I simply use warm water and a dab of eye makeup remover to take them off. 

Like I said, quick and easy! 

I didn't receive any monetary compensation for this post and will not receive any compensation for the Younique Fiberlash party hosted by Molly, the Mascara Lady

She has graciously offered to give away all of the party rewards (Ycash and half-priced items earned to ONE lucky ILYMTC reader and winner who makes a purchase during the party!) Entries are simple! 

One entry: ANY purchase, big or small. Even a $10 pigment!
Two entries: purchase over $50
Three entries: purchase over $100
Four entries: purchase of any collection 

The party will close at midnight on November 2nd.
Click here to shop!

Happy Shopping and Good Luck to those who enter!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

The World Is Their Oyster - Letting Our Babies Grow Boldly

We’ve all heard the stories about second, third (and fourth and fifth..) babies. These are the babies that learn quicker, grow faster and seemingly have no fear of anything or anyone whatsoever. They are the babies for whom we no longer pack large diaper bags, often throwing one or two extra diapers and a pack of wipes into the stroller basket or back seat of the car and saying a quick prayer for the best. They are the babies for whom we no longer consult the depths of parenting books, turning instead to our mother friends who have gone before us, our own tried and true wisdom of babies past, our proverbial Internet Friends on Twitter. These second, third (and fourth and fifth…) babies are the babies for whom we no longer worry as much about because we know how resilient babies can be.
However, no matter what number baby it is, one thing remains the same, and that is the incredible gift it is to witness that baby grow and explore the world around them. As the saying goes, “the world is an oyster” and it is especially true for the brand new.
Even though Collins is my third baby and I’m no spring chicken when it comes to the dance of motherhood, it still blows my mind, just as it did for the very first time four years ago, to witness the rate at which he is growing, learning and exploring the world around him. To see the wonderment in his eyes as he watches the leaves sway in the wind, the shock spread across his face the first time he rolls himself over, very much to his surprise, the contentment he must feel as that sly smile spreads across his face the first time he pushes up on all fours, mere weeks away from the world of mobility.
I can remember distinctly each of these moments as they happened with my first baby and then with my second. The newness of it all and the celebrations that ensued when milestones were reached. The highs of mothering are so very high and accordingly, the lows are so very low.
Along with the first roll, the first tripod seat, the first crawl came first shots, the first boo-boo and with two older brothers, inevitably the first cold. These are the faux milestones no mother wants to reach but they are the reality of motherhood, of allowing your babies the freedom to explore and to venture out into the world around them. As much as we mothers may wish to keep our babies in bubbles, shielding from the world around them, we know it’s silly and ultimately a disservice to their inquisitive minds.
While we as mothers equip our babies with the tools they need to explore, Babyganics helps make their world safer, healthier, and a place for them to grow boldly. They believe the adventure of a lifetime starts as early as birth and because of this belief, created a line of products to make that journey safer, healthier, and happier for both mom and baby.
As we creep, quite literally, into flu season, one Babyganics product I do not leave home without is their Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer (Mandarin Scent). One pump each is all we need to keep those germs away and I love that this particular hand sanitizer doesn’t dry out our hands or leave behind that eye-stinging, lingering alcohol scent. Before we even leave the walls of my oldest’s preschool, everyone gets a pump. It’s the perfect size to toss into a purse, diaper bag and glove compartment.
Another favorite Babyganics product that I rarely leave home without is the Face, Hand & Baby wipes. I consider these our “emergency wipes” because they can be used all over baby- from their face down to their bottom. These wipes have a permanent home in the back seat of our car and travel everywhere with us- from the park to the pool, to school and home again. Strong enough to handle the messiest of messes, I worry less about leaving the house with all three when I know these wipes are tow.
Understandably so, it's near impossible to keep both baby and his toys off of the floor. Using Babyganics Toy & Highchair spray, a non-toxic cleaning spray, allows me to rest easy knowing that baby has a safe surface to eat from and play on. Unlike soap, it's rinse-free -- I just spray it on, wipe it down and let dry. Collins can immediately place the toy sprayed with Toy & Highchair spray into his mouth. I love this spray so much that I’ve started bringing it with me to my monthly Mothers of Preschoolers meetings and using it on the communal toys. 
Similarly, their Foaming Dish & Bottle soap is another Babyganics product I love having on hand in the kitchen. With a crisp citrus scent that isn't overpowering, and a formula that rinses clean without leaving behind any residue, it's perfect for rinsing the kids' dishes and occasional baby bottle. 
As we wind down with bath time each night, the last Babyganics product in my arsenal is their Daily Moisturizing Lotion in Chamomile Verbena. Bath time is a favorite time in our house and I tend to look at it as washing away the day's exciting adventures and gearing up for another day full of exploring and fun. Whether Collins was rolling and creeping along the floor with his brothers or out and about running errands with me, bath time is a welcome necessity. Babyganics moisturizing lotion absorbs into baby's skin without leaving that behind greasy residue and its all-natural scent is both soothing and comforting without being overwhelming. It's gentle enough to be used even on eczema prone skin.
As mothers, there is very little we don’t worry about, even if it is our third baby. We practically live in a constant state of worry, in turmoil over everything from, “Are they sleeping enough?” and “Are they eating enough?” to “Is that a red rash?” “Is it getting bigger?” and “Did he just make a funny noise?”
With Babyganics, we as mothers have one less thing to worry about, allowing us to shift our focus and enjoy the moments. Even if just for a handful of minutes each day, we can put our worried minds at ease and rest assured that we're equipping our babies with the love and attention they need to grow boldly. After all, the world is their oyster.  
How does Babyganics ease your motherhood worries? Leave a comment for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card.

Sweepstakes Rules:

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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

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2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 10/16/2014 – 11/15/2014.

Be sure to visit the Babyganics brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Three Is The New Two. {5 Reasons Having 3 Kids Is Awesome).

Growing up it was a rarity that a friend or friend of a friend or friend of a friend's cousin had more than one sibling. Two kids seemed pretty standard back in the early 80's if you weren't an only child. I'm one of two, each of my cousin's are one of two, my childhood best friend is one of two, my babysitters were both one of two- the list could go on and on. 

Today it seems as if the social norm has shifted. Three seems to be the new two as not only have we dove head first into the waters of three but a few of my girlfriends have also taken the plunge along with the few that are currently testing the waters (or playing with fire, depending on how you look at it). Many of my peers on social media have also eagerly joined the ranks of three (many also under the age of five).

I've been quite open about how our transition to three affected me. In summary, one week in and I was seriously questioning our decision, as if there was anything I could do about it with a sweet, intoxicating newborn on my chest. It felt as if all my fears about altering the delicate happy balance of our family were materializing and there wasn't a whole lot I could do except be a witness of my own train wreck. Three weeks in and it wasn't looking any better. It wasn't until we hit the three month mark that I really felt like I'd hit my stride as a mom of three and nearly six months later, I can hardly remember our life before our third was born. It's as if somewhere between months 2 and 3, a switch was flipped and I'd begun to surface from the depths of insanity. 

Sure we still have our days (don't we all?) and for anyone whom I might've caused to seriously re-think their decision to have a third, I want to take a moment to say how truly awesome having three kids is. 

Before I do that, however, I want to make it clear that I am much more aware that with three (or four or five) comes more of the not so great stuff. More responsibility, more financial obligations, more time to spend less one on one time with each of them, and ultimately more to worry about. I get that. I'm living it but while all of that rings true, I think by the time you decide to have three kids, you tend to be better equipped at handling those circumstances or you learn very quickly how to make it work. As it is, you've already adjusted to surviving on less (less time, less sleep, less resources per child). Adding a third just means even more less.

You shouldn't let someone else's fears dictate the number of children you decide to have. Yes, our first few weeks were scary. Horrifying if you were to ask the sleep-deprived side of me. Our world was knocked on its side with the arrival of our third but that doesn't mean you'll have the same experience I did. I want to take some time to reassure you that despite any fears you may have, you will survive having a third baby and perhaps become a bit better for it.

Here's (my) five reasons why having three kids is awesome:

1. Mommy Wars are inconsequential at this point. By my third baby I've ultimately become confident in my abilities and decision-making as a mother. After my first baby, I wore this confidence like a dress-up costume. I wanted people to believe I was confident in my decisions but I questioned them as much as my neighbor. After all, just like necessity is the mother of invention, insecurity is the mother of the Mommy Wars. After my second, I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing but I still let judgment creep in. Three kids later and not only do I not have time for the Mommy Wars but I can look at my older two and confidently say, "I've got this." 

2. More kids means more to love. This may seem obvious but it's true. Yes, the boys are dirtier, louder, messier and some days three times as obnoxious, but there's so much more love in our home because of our third baby. The boys can't get enough of him, we as his parents can't get enough of him and when I see my older boys and my husband reduced to puddles of mush over the third baby, I love them even more. It's kind of like a giant love fest every single day. And when my kitchen floor is coated in goldfish, Cheerios are flung around my house like nerf balls and the baby won't nap? I just remind myself of those moments. 

3. Zone Defense is fun. What? No one has ever said that before? Some nights my husband and I like to play "Rock, Paper, Scissors" in the kitchen while all three of the boys melt down simultaneously. We like to think this kind of game keeps us sharp and on our toes. It's especially fun if you try to guess why each one of them is melting down. The answer in our house always seems to be, "there's too much cheese sauce on his macaroni." We also sometimes like to play Eenie Meenie Miney Mo which is especially helpful when you have three, although your kids may find it mildly irritating. 

4. Running Errands Feels Like A Party. Actually, scratch that. Any outing which involves the lot of you feels like a party. When you have three kids as close in age as I do, you roll deep every where you go. Whether it's to the barber shop, the grocery store or to the local cafe for coffee and chocolate milks, it feels like a party. Even bed time most nights feels that way. It could be because someone, usually the middle child, is always singing Happy Birthday. 

5. A wise somebody once told me, "you'll always regret the baby you didn't have, but never the one you did." And truer words have never been spoken. If you're really on the fence about adding a third (or a second or a fifth), think about it that way. For us, there was never really a question about having a third baby. I never knew I wanted three but once I had my second, I knew I wasn't done yet. I don't for a second regret having our last little baby and I'm not sure I could have lived happily with myself had we not taken the plunge. 

Ultimately only you (and hopefully your significant other) can make the decision as to whether or not a third baby is best. Sometimes that decision is made for you. Sometimes you have to trust the higher powers that be know something you don't. And just sometimes, you may surprise yourself at just how much more you can handle. At just how much more you can love, laugh and cry. At how many more balls you can juggle. 

And in my household, just how many more (sets of) balls you can raise. 

What can I say? I have three boys. There's much more potty humor where that came from.

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