Mommy Monday: 36 weeks pregnant with number two - cerclage removal!

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Ok, I've come to a conclusion: GETTING A CERCLAGE REMOVED SUCKS. haha I had hopes that this time around would be a more pleasant experience than last time, but - it wasn't really. Which leads me to believe that cerclage removals just suck in general. And that's that. haha And that's fine. It is what it is.

Bottom line is, MY CERCLAGE IS OUT, hooray!! And this time around, the doctor was able to get the entire stitch out, versus last time part of it was still left in because my doctor couldn't get it all. So I am very thankful that the entire stitch was able to be removed this time! My doctor showed me the stitch after it was taken out and it was much different looking than I was expecting! It was HUGE and thick and black...I was expecting something daintier and less horrifying looking haha.

Anyways, the removal was painful and unpleasant, but it's done and I am so happy to have the stitch out and to be completely "normal" and ready for this baby to come! :)

After removing the cerclage, the doctor checked my cervix and said I am 2 cm dilated and about 60% effaced - about exactly what I was after I got my cerclage removed with my first pregnancy.

Oh, before I forget: last week I had an ultrasound to check the baby's growth and position. Everything looked great! Baby boy is head down (woohoo!) and was estimated to be about 6lbs 6oz. James was a big baby at 8lbs 11oz when he was born, and the doctor said she thinks this baby will be not *quite* as big, but still over 8lbs. His belly was also measuring big, but the doctor said "not in a concerning way...in a CUTE way!" haha Which I think is adorable. I can't wait to kiss that big belly!

I've been really stressing out about going into labor and about getting to the hospital on time and about being able to get an epidural in time - and MOSTLY about having to leave James when I'm in the hospital. I've never spent a night away from James, and I know he'll be fine with my parents (they're coming to stay with him at our house). But I'm still stressing about it and so sad to have to be away from him!! I was "induced" in that my water was broken with James, so I never experienced going into labor on my own, unexpectedly. I'm pretty nervous for that! I hate when things aren't planned out and I just hope it happens at a convenient time and that I realize what's happening in time to get to the hospital!! I'm stressing big time, guys!! Prayers please! I'm really trying to just trust God and put it all in His hands and NOT WORRY. It will all be fine, I know. :)

Also, I know I express a lot of fears and worries and discomforts here in this blog, but I want you all to know how genuinely grateful I am for this pregnancy and for how smoothly it has gone and for my healthy baby boy. I thank God every day that we made it this far without any complications or scares! I am so thankful to have been able to experience a more "normal" and worry free pregnancy! I'm praying the duration of this pregnancy and the labor/delivery/postpartum recovery go just as scare and worry free!

Ok, on to this week's survey:

How far along: 36 weeks 3 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up around 40lbs.

Maternity clothes? Yes! Living in my maternity leggings and big t-shirts!

Stretch marks? So many above and below and around my belly button!

Sleep: Insomnia, frequent peeing, stress...it's been rough! But it's all part of the journey!

Best moment this week: Having my cerclage be OUT!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: SO MUCH! He's a very active little boy, and he particularly loves punching and head butting my cervix and pelvis area while simultaneously kicking my ribs. haha

Food cravings: Doughnuts, pizza, fruit...

Anything making you queasy or sick: No.

Have you started to show yet: Yep!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Back pain, period-like cramps, Braxton Hicks

Belly Button in or out? It's pretty much flat now.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy for the most part! But definitely moody and cranky and emotional as well.

Symptoms: Upper back pain on the right side - super horrible, pelvis/hip/groin pain, leg cramps at night, frequent peeing, heart burn, light-headed, out of breath, THIRSTY, stretch marks, spider veins, EMOTIONAL, hormonal, feet starting to hurt if I stand on them too long, tired, achey...

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Mommy Monday: 31 weeks pregnant with number two!

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Happy Monday!

I hit the 31 week mark on Saturday, and I am so incredibly thankful to be feeling so well still! This pregnancy has been such a blessing...easy, fast, "normal"... I can't stop thanking God for this experience.

Today, James was sitting next to me on the couch and I felt the baby kicking. I asked J if he wanted to feel the baby, and placed his little hands on my stomach. James felt kicks and looked at me with this really amazed smile on his face and his eyes gleamed. Then, he laid his head on my stomach, and wrapped his arms around it, and just held his baby brother...it was seriously so special and so sweet. But THEN, as if that wasn't adorable enough, J jumped up, ran over and grabbed his water cup. He brought it over and held it up to my stomach, giving his baby brother a drink. I almost died, it was the most precious, sweet thing I have ever seen. I'm so proud of James...he's a truly one-of-a-kind little boy and he is already the best big brother!

James and I made no-bake toddler cookies and they turned out so yummy! James had so much fun making them and he did a really great job. He was very focused, haha. Baking is serious business! You can get the recipe we used for these cookies HERE

Now, for this week's survey:

How far along: 31 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up nearly 30 lbs as of my last appointment 1.5 weeks ago.

Maternity clothes? Yes!

Stretch marks? All around/above my belly button.

Sleep: Not great!

Best moment this week: James hugging his baby brother in my tummy and sharing his water with him. I mean, what more could a mama ask for? :)

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much! :)

Food cravings: Peaches

Anything making you queasy or sick: No.

Have you started to show yet: Oh boy, yes haha

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Lots of Braxton Hicks.

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out...it looks kind of like a unicorn...haha

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy. But a little cranky. And A LOT emotional. haha

Symptoms: Leg cramps, at night heart burn, light-headed, out of breath, THIRSTY, hungry all the time, stretch marks, spider veins, EMOTIONAL, hormonal, feet starting to hurt if I stand on them too long.

Thanks for following along! I love all of the e-mails and messages that I get from you guys! This is such a fun community, and I am so grateful to have connected with each of you!

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Mommy Monday: 29 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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This is going to be a quick little update because:

1. Today was busy and it's currently after 10:30pm and I'm TIRED.

2. There isn't all that much to report! Which is GOOD! Still an uneventful pregnancy!

This past week I washed all of the newborn clothes and got my hospital bag *pretty* much packed! So exciting! I still need to add a few things in like toiletries, snacks, chargers, etc...

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On Saturday, we took James to ride/see/meet Thomas the Train! It was our birthday present to him (a week early) and it was such a fun experience! James loved riding on the train! So thankful for this sweet family of mine!

Tomorrow is Ben's and my 10 year wedding anniversary! <3 I'm planning on getting a special post up here tomorrow for it, so check back! Then on Wednesday, it's Ben's 30th birthday! Such an exciting week! :)

I have a doctor's appointment on Friday, so next Monday I'll have more updates for you guys!

Here's this week's survey:

How far along: 29 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19.4 lbs as of last appointment. Will update this next Monday, as I'll be weighed at my appointment on Friday!

Maternity clothes? Yes! Just got some more of these maternity t-shirts which are the best thing  ever! Click here for t-shirts

Stretch marks? All around/above my belly button.

Sleep: Getting up like 5 times per night to pee, but other than that really well!

Best moment this week: Watching James on his first train ride, sitting on his daddy's lap!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: All the time!! :) Love this active little boy!

Food cravings: Fruit and doughnuts :)

Anything making you queasy or sick: No.

Have you started to show yet: Yes! At that point where I'm like... how could I get bigger? 11 weeks left!! I'm scared! haha

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Lots of Braxton Hicks.

Belly Button in or out? The top part is out, the bottom part is in. Still.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly happy this week!

Symptoms: Leg cramps, heart burn, light-headed, out of breath, THIRSTY, hungry all the time stretch marks, spider veins, EMOTIONAL, hormonal, feet starting to hurt if I stand on them too long. Same as last week, nothing new really!

I never cease to appreciate the fact that I"m having such a smooth pregnancy this time around! So thankful!

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Mommy Monday: 28 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

Giving his baby brother hugs and kisses!

Giving his baby brother hugs and kisses!

28 weeks! Another milestone reached, and still feeling so well!

A new symptom I've been dealing with has been really intense leg cramps at night. These cramps are no joke and they hurt so badly! They are in my calves and ankles primarily, and I've read that this is a common symptom...any of you experience this?? I didn't have it with James!

I'm officially in the third trimester now, which I can hardly even believe! I was looking at my calendar and realizing that we are seriously so booked and busy for the next couple of months and then...the baby is due! Aaahh!! Where is the time?! I can't believe how soon he'll be here!

The craziest thought is that I get my cerclage removed at around 36 weeks, and POTENTIALLY the baby could come at that time...so only 8 weeks away! That's nothing!!

I keep thinking of everything I need to do before the baby comes, meaning over the next two months...the next 8 weeks!!

Here is my to-do list:

  • Wash all of the baby clothes
  • Pack hospital bag (I'll be doing a blog post on this so stay tuned!)
  • Set up the Snoo in our bedroom
  • Set up all of the old baby toys like the swing, the play mat, etc...
  • Prepare freezer meals
  • Deep clean the house
  • Get my hair highlighted and trimmed
  • Get a manicure and a pedicure

What else am I forgetting??? Let me know in the comments below!

Ok, onto this week's survey!

How far along: 28 weeks 2 days - Third Trimester!!

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19.4 lbs as of last appointment.

Maternity clothes? Yes! Basically all...except for a few cute non-maternity pieces I've found like THIS DRESS

Stretch marks? All around/above my belly button.

Sleep: Horrible, haha I've been getting up to pee at LEAST once per hour the past few nights. This baby is hanging out right on my bladder, haha

Best moment this week: Taking James on a mommy-son date to the theater to see a play of Goldilocks and then running into friends from music class!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much! I don't remember James being this active, but he probably was! Just feels like this kid is ALWAYS MOVING! So fun! :)

Food cravings: Doughnuts, ice cream, berries, peaches

Anything making you queasy or sick: No.

Have you started to show yet: Yes feeling whale-ish! haha

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Lots of Braxton Hicks. I had so many with James, I think I have irritable uterus.

Belly Button in or out? The top part is out, the bottom part is in. Still.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Moody and happy. haha

Symptoms: Leg cramps, heart burn, light-headed, out of breath, THIRSTY, hungry all the time stretch marks, spider veins, EMOTIONAL, hormonal, feet starting to hurt if I stand on them too long.

Next weekend we're taking James to this fun event that I can't wait to share with you guys! Ben and I got tickets to it for James'  birthday present and I am SO EXCITED to see James' reaction and face when he sees where we are going!!

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The above are pictures from our mommy/son date to the theater yesterday! We saw Goldilocks and it was so much fun! We also ran into a little girl and her mommy from music class there and so we got to sit with them and get coffee after and it was SUCH a fun day! I love my little man so much!

Have a great week friends!

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Mommy Monday: 26 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Click here for my robe . It is THE BEST. So comfy and pretty, I've been living in it.    Click here

Click here for my robe. It is THE BEST. So comfy and pretty, I've been living in it. Click here

26 weeks...woohoo!

Still feeling great! I had my doctor's appointment today and all is well!

I got my rhogam shot and my tDAP shot, and I took my one hour glucose test. To be honest, I just have this strong feeling that I'm going to fail this one hour test...haha. We'll see! I should get results back in a day or two, so I'll keep you guys updated! If I fail the one hour test (which I did last time with James) I take the three hour test (bleh!). I passed that test when I was pregnant with James (barely) and so hopefully I would this time too. Anywho...one step at a time. Fingers crossed that I passed this one hour one!

This past week was seriously so hard. I was out of control, hormone-wise/emotions-wise, PLUS James is going through a nap strike and was waking up at around 5am. It was ROUGH. But, he is sleeping in a bit later now - even until almost 7am for two days!! So, that was very helpful in getting my mood back under control. I'm feeling a lot better now, but I wont lie...it was DARK there for a few days!!

Alright, on to this week's survey!

How far along: 26 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19.4 lbs as of today's appointment.

Maternity clothes? Yes! Pretty much exclusively, at this point!

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: It's been ok, just not enough of it! :)

Best moment this week: James kissing the baby (aka, my belly)

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much!! You can SEE it now, which is so much fun!

Food cravings: Fruit! Pineapple, specifically. And doughnuts. ;)

Anything making you queasy or sick: No.

Have you started to show yet: Oh yes. No mistaking it now: I'm DEFINITELY pregnant. Everywhere I go strangers are asking me when I'm due, etc...

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? The top part is out, the bottom part is in. STILL. haha It's so weird looking!

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: MOODY

Symptoms: Achey pelvis, light-headed, out of breath, THIRSTY, hungry, stretch marks, spider veins, EMOTIONAL, hormonal, tired. Fun times!! haha

Sorry for the lack of pictures this week! As I said, it was a rough one and I wasn't really in the mood to take a bunch of pictures! I'll leave you with this fun comparison though:

Around 8 months pregnant with James, about 11 months postpartum, and now at around 6 months pregnant with baby number two! Women's bodies are INCREDIBLE!!

Around 8 months pregnant with James, about 11 months postpartum, and now at around 6 months pregnant with baby number two! Women's bodies are INCREDIBLE!!

I'll be posting a 4th of July Outfit guide in a couple of days, so check back for that!! Have a great week, friends!

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Mommy Monday: 25 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy Monday!

I'm feeling so incredibly thankful this evening!

Here are a few things making me feel so so blessed:

  • An uneventful, normal, run-of-the-mill pregnancy and healthy, growing baby
  • My sweet little James
  • Ben getting safely home from London
  • My amazing parents
  • My grandparents
  • My loyal, gentle little old dog
  • My beautiful garden
  • My home
  • My health

What are YOU feeling grateful for right now?

This is going to be a rather boring Mommy Monday update. Not much to report, other than the fact that I'm quickly turning into a hormonal, emotional wreck! :p

James and I spent a night at my parents' house this weekend because Ben was in London for school. It was so nice being able to play in the lake and be with my dad on Father's Day! But we missed Ben terribly! It's so good to have him home!

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I swear, James is growing up so quickly right before my eyes. Every morning when we wake up he looks bigger and seems more grown up to me. It's going so fast, slow down!!

My belly is growing, my stretch marks are multiplying, my feet are starting to hurt, and my back is a little achey, and baby boy number two is kicking up a storm. It's the absolute best. :)

I have my next doctor's appointment in one week, so I'll have lots of updates and stuff for you guys in next Monday's post. I'm having my glucose test and my rhogam shot, so stay tuned for all of that!

Here's this week's survey:

How far along: 25 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19 lbs so far as of my last appointment. Will update this after my next appointment!

Maternity clothes? Yes! Pretty much exclusively, at this point!

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: It's been ok!

Best moment this week: Surprising my grandpa on Father's Day!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much!!

Food cravings: Fruit!

Anything making you queasy or sick: No.

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? The top part it out, the bottom part is in. haha

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Emotional!

Symptoms: Light-headed, out of breath, thirsty, hungry, stretch marks, spider veins, feet feeling really sore and burning by the end of the day.

Thanks for reading, and thank you, as always for your continued prayers for a safe, healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery!

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Mommy Monday: 24 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two! Viability!!

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Happy Mommy Monday!

I just have to say, I can't believe I got up THREE blog posts last week! Who am I? haha I have been *struggling* to get even one post up a week for the past year, and all of a sudden I just have this new drive to get back on the blogging train and get consistent content out. I'm not making any commitments or promises, but my goal is going to be to try to get 2-3 posts up per week. I'll do my best and we'll see how it goes!

Oh! Also, as you can see in my pictures, I have taken up gardening! I just got bit by the gardening bug and I am diving in head first! I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'm LOVING it so far! Send any tips, inspo, etc... my way, please!

Saturday I hit 24 weeks - the first viability milestone!! Hooray! Always such an exciting point in pregnancy!

I'm still feeling so great! No scares, no changes, no real major symptoms, other than light-headed-ness and dizziness occasionally. I am incredibly thankful. What a blessing to be experiencing a healthy, "normal" pregnancy! I can't even express how happy I am. Our sweet boy is growing and kicking away. He has been moving so much!

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I've been trying to explain a bit more to James about the fact that his baby brother is growing in my tummy. I think it's a really difficult concept for a not-quite-two-year-old to grasp, so I'm not sure if he understands. But he does point to my tummy sometimes and say "baby", so something is registering! I'll keep working on explaining everything to him. If you fellow mamas of two+ have any tips for preparing a toddler for a new baby sibling, please share!

You guys, my stretch marks are so bad! haha I honestly am at a point in life where I don't care...well, a little bit obviously!! But not very much. But, I'm just surprised at how bad they are this time around compared to with my first pregnancy. With James, my stretch marks didn't show up until AFTER I gave birth. They were around my belly button, and they faded a lot over the course of a year and a half. But this pregnancy, my stretchmarks are back in full force, and SPREADING. They are mostly all above my belly button, which is such an odd place to have them I think! haha I use Biooil and Palmer's Cocoa Butter, but honestly I know it's mostly genetics. Oh well. Of course, SO WORTH IT!! But just thought I'd share because I'm amazed at how many I have now!!

Alright, I think that's all. Here's this week's survey:

How far along: 24 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19 lbs so far as of my last appointment. Will update this after my next appointment! (Side note: next appointment is my gestational diabetes test, and rhogam shot due to having a negative blood type. Big appointment!)

Maternity clothes? Yes! They are so comfy. I shall live in maternity clothing for the rest of my life.

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: Still working with a 5:15am wake up time, so pretty beat! haha

Best moment this week: James pulling Ben and I in for family love hugs before bed! He is the sweetest and he loves to hold onto Ben's and my necks super tight and bury his head in our chests in a family hug. It's the best thing in the world!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much!!

Food cravings: Doughnuts! Watermelon!

Anything making you queasy or sick: No! Well, bad smells are REALLLY getting hard to stomach.

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Mostly out...haha still not quite all the way there yet!

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy but MOODY. But happy. BUT MOODY.

Symptoms: Light-headed, dizzy, tired muscles, thirsty, hungry, stretch marks, spider veins. :)

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Mommy Monday: 23 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy Monday! Less than one week until viability - WOOHOO!!

That was SUCH a huge goal/landmark/accomplishment when I was pregnant with James, and even though this pregnancy isn't scary or high risk, it still feels great to be almost at that critical point!!

This has been a really great week...time spent with friends, quality family time, a doctor's appointment to hear the heartbeat, etc...it's just been a good one! :)

I'll keep this brief, but some highlights from the past week have been:

-A bbq playdate with James' friends from music class

-Family day at Ben's work and getting to see the building he works in

-A doctor's appointment and checking in on little man numero dos

-Taking James to his first play and him scooching his way up to the very front... he loved it!

-Family walk over the weekend

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My dress was sent to me by a company called Beachcoco and it is the COMFIEST, prettiest maternity dress. I love it A LOT. You can click here to get the dress ... it comes in 14 different colors and is under $25!

Here is this week's survey (and yes, I finally have a weight gain number for you this week haha):

How far along: 23 weeks 3 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19 lbs so far

Maternity clothes? Yes! Like this dress, for example: click here

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: James is waking up at around 5am these days...so that's not ideal. haha But I'm sure it's just a phase...RIGHT!?!?!?!?

Best moment this week: Seeing James having so much fun and making new friends at the play this morning! He is so much fun and so confident and SO sweet! I just love him!!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Yes, a lot!

Food cravings: Savory things! Pasta, cheesey things, gravy, meat...

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really! Thankfully!

Have you started to show yet: Yes, getting bigger and bigger by the day!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still... haha

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy AND veeerrrryyyyy moody. haha I alternate between so serene and happy and pleasant, and then a cranky raging grouch. So, it's been fun.

Symptoms: Hungry aaalll the time, shortness of breath, thirsty, tired. Not too intense in the symptoms department, which I'm thankful for!!

Thanks for reading and for following along on this journey!

OH! Before I go: Ben and I are now leaning towards having the boys share a room. We'll have the new baby sleep in our room in the Snoo for the first three to six months. But after that, we're thinking of just moving the baby right into James' room. Any other parents have experience with a toddler and a baby sharing a bedroom/any tips? Thanks in advance!

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Mommy Monday: 20 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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I hope all of you mamas out there had a wonderful Mother's Day!

We headed to the family cabin in Montana and unplugged for a long weekend...it was so refreshing and nice. We spent time reading, hiking around, and breathing in the fresh mountain air. No phones, no internet, no e-mails, no work. Just being in the moment with each other.

I'm 20 weeks pregnant now ... half way through this pregnancy and I can hardly even believe it! This pregnancy is FLYING by! It's seriously going so fast, I kind of want time to slow down a little bit. We aren't planning on having any more children after this, so this is my last time being pregnant and it is bittersweet. I feel so blessed to be able to experience pregnancy - TWICE! And I feel so incredibly blessed and thankful that this pregnancy is going so smoothly!

Ok, can we just talk about spider veins for a quick sec?? Um, I have gotten SO MANY lately! I only got a few after my pregnancy with James, but this time around my legs (particularly my knee area) is covered with them! Oh the joys of pregnancy symptoms. I'm not complaining...like I said I'm really thankful for every single part of this experience. I'm more just throwing that out there for those of you who may be experiencing the same thing. I am covered with spider veins and ever-growing stretch marks. But hey, my boobs are bigger so there's that!!

I've been feeling the baby move so much over this past week! It's really fun! I can feel his kicks and rolls getting stronger and more substantial and I think we'll be able to feel them from the outside any day now.

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I'm soaking up every second with my sweet little James. I'm so excited for him to have a little brother. I know adding another baby to our family will only add to his life, rather than detract from it. But it is still a bit sad to think of him not being the only baby any more. I know it will be an adjustment for us all! I am so excited to see James as a big brother!! He'll be so sweet with the baby, I just know it.

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Here's this week's survey:

How far along: 20 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  To be honest, I've lost track. I'll update this next time I get weighed at the doctor!

Maternity clothes? Pretty much exclusively!

Stretch marks? Some new ones...all of my stretch marks are around my belly button.

Sleep: Fine!

Best moment this week: Playing in the mountains with Ben and James.

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Yes, feeling a lot lately.

Food cravings: Mexican food, fruit

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, getting big!

Gender: A boy! Hooray!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!

Symptoms: Spider veins, stretch marks, bigger boobs, heart burn, always thirsty, congested, lower back is sore

Have a great week, friends!

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I know I look horrendous in this picture, but I just LOVE how James loves giving me kisses! He is seriously the sweetest!!!

I know I look horrendous in this picture, but I just LOVE how James loves giving me kisses! He is seriously the sweetest!!!

Mommy Monday: 15 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two, Cerclage!

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Hi there, friends!

Friday I had my cerclage put in. I was so nervous for the surgery, even though it was planned this time and the whole thing was very relaxed. As of Friday, my cervix was still very long and normal looking, so that was great to hear, and I'm so glad that we did the cerclage before anything started changing or going south.

Even though I was super nervous, I also felt overwhelmed by a sense of peace and the knowledge that everything was going to be ok. It was such a great feeling - all of the prayers were really felt, so thank you to everyone sending them our way!

As I was waiting in the hospital room to be taken to the OR, I was overcome with emotions. I felt so incredibly thankful that I was able to have this surgery and that I was able to go through all of the scary hospital stuff in order to protect my new baby and keep it safe before anything went wrong.

Also, when I first checked in to the hospital, they sent me to the lab to get blood work done. I am a Certified Medical Assistant and have tons of experience drawing blood, but let me tell you - I HATE having my blood drawn. Like, HATE IT. I get so anxious and nervous and sweaty and so I was dreading having lab work done. Well, I got to the lab and check in, and the phlebotomist came out and said, "sorry to disappoint you, but you don't get to have a blood draw today!" I WAS SO HAPPY!! Already my second cerclage experience was going amazingly! haha

Then, I met with the anesthesiologist to discuss options and a game plan. With my first cerclage, I had a spinal, where I was numbed from my waist down and couldn't feel a thing. But I was wide awake and totally aware of what was going on and so stressed and nervous the whole time. The anesthesiologist this time said he could put me under with general anesthesia, or do a spinal. Although, he said that there was a nation-wide shortage of the medication they usually use for a spinal, so he'd have to use a different medication that takes a couple of hours longer to wear off. I told him whatever he thought was best for the baby. He decided to do the spinal, but said he'd give me something to help me relax too.

Well, whatever he gave me, the last thing I remember is being wheeled into the OR, rolled onto my side on the operating table, and the OR nurse rubbing my back as I *think* they gave me the spinal. The next thing I remember is being wheeled into recovery. I asked the anesthesiologist, "did I just fall asleep on my own or did you put me under?!" and he laughed and said, "I helped you out a bit!" haha I was SO CONFUSED!! I thought I had slept through the whole thing! I remember nothing! What I now think happened is that he gave me a sedative, so I probably was awake but just so relaxed and don't remember? I don't know, haha But it weirds me out to think that I was maybe chatting away saying who knows what during the surgery and don't remember ANYTHING!! HAHA

But, I am totally fine with whatever they did because it wasn't scary at all since I wasn't aware of what was happening and I don't remember a thing. I just remember going into the OR and leaving the OR, haha. Very pleasant!

I then had to wait a few hours for the spinal to wear off and to be able to move/feel my legs again. Then I got to go home. The whole thing was very easy and really no big deal. SUCH a different experience than the cerclage I had with my first pregnancy!! I'm so thankful for how everything went the day of my surgery and for my wonderful husband and my parents for taking such good care of me and of James during all of this!

Now, I'm 15 weeks pregnant, and everything is going well and I'm praying that the rest of this pregnancy stays as normal and uneventful as it has been thus far!!

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I've just been taking it easy the past couple of days. I'm feeling great, just sore. My back hurts a bit from the spinal, but it's getting better every day. I'm waiting on a call back from my doctor today to give me the "OK" to start lifting James and resuming my previous activity level. I'm dying to get outside and go for a walk around the neighborhood!

Yesterday afternoon I started having Braxton Hicks which I had basically MOST of my pregnancy with James (I think I may have irritable uterus), but since they started happening so soon after my cerclage I was of course freaking out a little. But they stopped and there was never any pain or bleeding so I'll mention it to my doctor when I talk to her today, but I'm pretty confident it's nothing to be concerned about. Braxton Hicks are oh-so-fun and I'm just preparing myself for  a lot of them over the next few months!

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Time for this week's survey!

How far along: 15 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  6 lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes, some!

Stretch marks? No new ones yet!

Sleep: Pretty good at the moment actually!

Best moment this week: Watching James and his little friend on their play date!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Yes! I've felt a few thumps over the past few days!

Food cravings: Pineapple, crunch wrap supreme, doughnuts :p

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really!

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Yes, but still not announcing quite yet!

Labor Signs: Some Braxton Hicks over the past day or two since the cerclage.

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy/ EMOTIONAL!!!!

Symptoms: Congested, round ligament pain, emotional, peeing all the time, haha.

Thank you, again, for all of the prayers and positivity being sent our way! Please keep them coming!

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Mommy Monday: 13 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy Mommy Monday!

As I mentioned in last week's post (read last week's post here), I met with Maternal Fetal Medicine on Wednesday for a "pre-op consult" because I am getting another cerclage this pregnancy. You can read about my whole scary experience with finding out that I needed an emergency cerclage during my first pregnancy here.

This time around I was told right away: "Once a cerclage, always a cerclage". So, I got in the mindset. Last time around was so scary and unexpected and urgent and complicated. THIS time will be calm, planned, relaxed, no big deal, and not *necesssary*, just a precaution. As of my appointment on Wednesday, my cervix was still over 4cm which is GREAT - super long. At my 20 week scan during my first pregnancy, my cervix was down to 1.2cm, which is extremely short. I was SO relieved that my cervix was still so long at this week's scan!

So, basically, the doctor gave me two options:

1. Get a cerclage done in the next week or two as a precaution. That way, we make sure the cerclage is done under calm and controlled circumstances and that my cervix is super long and we wont have to worry about it the rest of the pregnancy.

2. Monitor my cervix every two weeks and if is starts to shorten, put a cerclage in.

With option two, I potentially would not need a cerclage at all if my cervix does not shorten - which sounds super appealing! BUT, my cervix could possibly shorten super quickly before it is caught and I could lose the baby. And a really short cervix like I had before makes a cerclage a lot more risky (ie, bleeding, puncturing the bladder, etc...) So, I decided to just do the cerclage now. I'll be scheduling it for in the next few weeks, so I'll keep you all updated on that!

Definitely not looking forward to it, BUT this time around will hopefully be a lot more relaxed and pleasant. :)

In other exciting news: WE FOUND OUT THE GENDER!!

I'm not going to say much more about this yet because we aren't going to publicly announce for awhile. The ultrasound tech asked me if I was going to be doing genetic testing, and I told her the ONLY reason I would do it would be to find out the gender sooner. She said, "Well, I can just look and see if I can tell" and I was like, oh YES. haha And she could. And the doctor confirmed. It's REEEAAALLLY early - like, usually you can't tell on an ultrasound until at least 18 weeks and I was only 12. But they were PRETTY confident. :)

So exciting. I can't wait to announce to you all when the time comes! Go ahead and post your guess in the comments below: Is baby Cohen number two a BOY or a GIRL??

Also, I have gotten a few requests about items that I think are necessary vs. unnecessary for a new baby. I'll try to put together a blog post soon going over all of this! If you have any specific questions feel free to leave them below and I'll answer them!

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Yesterday, Ben, James, Gunner, and I went for a drive into the National Forest where we live. We went exploring and Ben shot his bow and it was SUCH a beautiful day! Days like that make me so thankful for this growing family of mine! I am truly blessed!

Who else is doing the Knocked Up Fitness prenatal program with me?? Comment below and let me know so that we can hold each other accountable! And be sure to follow me on Instagram (@annamcohenblog) so we can check in with eachother! Click here to learn more about the Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Program!

Ok, now for the weekly survey:

How far along: 13 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Last Wednesday I was 116lbs at the doctor's office - but that's with clothes and shoes on. When I weigh myself at home I usually don't wear clothes, so that's where I got my pre-pregnancy weight of 107lbs. From here on out, I'll just use the weight from the doctor to make it easier and since I don't have a scale any more anyways to weigh myself at home. :)

Maternity clothes? A few pieces! Maternity leggings and pajamas are LIFE!

Stretch marks? No new ones, but I feel like my old ones are stretching back out. BOO!

Sleep: Oh my goodness, CAN'T GET COMFORTABLE. haha I'm scared. If I'm having trouble getting comfortable this early on, I don't know what I'm going to do come third trimester! Also, the insanely weird, horrible, detailed, REAL-feeling dreams are just getting worse! haha You guys, they are so bizarre!!!

Best moment this week: Hiking with my family in the mountains!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Not yet!

Food cravings: Crunch wrap supremes and sub sandwiches.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really!

Have you started to show yet: Yes, and I feel like I popped even more over the past day or two!

Gender: We know! But we're not announcing yet! ;)

Labor Signs: No.

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? On, but I'm going to take them off and put on my place holder ring soon because I already notice them getting super tight and it makes me claustrophobic.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy and emotional!!

Symptoms: Weird dreams, dry skin, acne, tired, congested, aching pelvis,

I'll see you guys back here next Monday for another update! And check back later this week for another non-mommy-monday post!

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One Year Old Update...We Have A Toddler!

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Hi friends!

Long time no talk! Life has been so crazy busy/wonderful lately, and I have SO much to fill you all in on (life update blog post coming soon!!)!

But, in today's post, I'll be focusing on one of the biggest things that's happened recently: James turned one year old! Isn't that so crazy?! The past year has gone so fast.

His birthday was July 23rd, so he will be 14 months old here in a week or so. He started walking around 13 months, and now he walks EVERYWHERE! It's so much fun! He seems to love the freedom that walking gives him and he always has the most proud look on his face when he is toddling around. It's so cute!

He has 10 teeth, including two big molars, and his hair is getting longer although it is still blonde and whispy. :) Just like mine was! I didn't have real, substantial hair until I was two. It was so blonde you could hardly see it, and that's how James' is.

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James LOVES water. Ben was away in Idaho hunting for elk the first two weeks of September, so James and I stayed at my parents' house on the lake. James had so much fun playing on the beach and wading, and he even stuck his face in the water and splashed around as I held him out in the deeper water. He loves it!

He is fearless and SO curious about everything. It's so different from how I was as a child and am today...I've always been timid and scared of getting hurt or getting in trouble. James has no fear...he charges ahead with enthusiasm and bravery and excitement, and it is so inspiring!

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Next Tuesday, James and I are starting a music class at the local children's museum! He really enjoys music and clapping and dancing, so I think he is really going to love this class! It's every Tuesday morning through December and I'm hoping we can make some mommy and baby friends!

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A year later and I FIIIINALLLLY feel like I have this mom thing figured out! I've totally fallen into stride and I've got a handle on things and life is just so beautiful and fun and relaxed now! :) I love being a mom so much, and James is just the most fun, wonderful, smart, sweet little boy. I'm so lucky to be his mommy! I love trying new things with him and watching him learn and explore. He is so friendly and bold, and it pushes me out of my comfort zone. Every time we go out in public, he makes friends! He waves and smiles at and chats with EVERYONE we pass, which forces me to come out of my shell a bit, because I'm so shy and like to fly under the radar, normally. It's good for me to be around James. I have a lot to learn from him! :)

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Anyways, I'm happy to be back blogging again. It was a much needed and very nice break, and like I said, I'll tell you ALLL about what I've been up to and why I stepped back from blogging/social media for a bit in my next post! Look out for lots of newness in the next few weeks, and LOTS of exciting collaborations and projects which I've been working on!

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Mommy Monday: 10 Month Old Baby!

James is 10 months old tomorrow...how did this happen??

This is for sure my favorite age so far! James is so much fun!! He has the BEST personality and has quite the sense of humor. He laughs and giggles and gives me a sly smile when we're in on a joke together. He makes funny noises and cracks himself up. He feeds off of my laughter, which in turn makes me laugh more until we're both a big pile of giggles.

He's CONSTANTLY exploring and on the move. For a few months, he was army crawling and scooting around on his stomach, pulling himself around by his arms. He was FAST doing this!! But now he officially crawls, and oh my goodness, the kid can cover some serious ground!

James has been pulling himself up to stand for a couple of months now, and has recently started letting go of whatever he is holding onto. He falls pretty much right away, but always pulls himself right back up. He'll be standing on his own and walking before we know it. His pediatrician guessed within the next month or so.

Speaking of his pediatrician, he went in for his 9 month check last month. All is well and on track! But it was hilarious: they couldn't get a measurement for his length because as soon as we set him on the table and tried to get him to lie down still, he would start screaming and thrashing around. The minute I picked him up and he would grin and giggle and give us a sly look. hahaha It was hilarious. Then we tried to get his weight, and again as SOON as I set him down on the scale he was screaming and thrashing and rolling around. We had to weigh him by having me hold him and then having ME get on the scale. Then I set James down and they weighed me along and THEN subtracted the two weights. Not super accurate, but according to that he was almost 20 lbs.

Anyways, when the doctor came in she said, "so I see here that the nurse put that the patient was combative and we couldn't get a length for him." HAHA Ben and I are pretty proud that our nine month old was labeled "combative" in his medical chart. So freaking funny! And James was just grinning and laughing at us...he knew exactly what he was doing. We're going to have our hands full!!!

James eats pretty much everything that we eat. He eats "table food" and has never eaten baby food. I've always prepared everything he's eaten. I made our own purees out of fresh fruits and vegetables and meats, and now I cook him healthy, whole foods for his meals.

Would you guys like more information on the types of foods and meals that I make James? I could do a sample menu post or something like that, just let me know!

James loves music, playing peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake, walking around non stop holding onto his walker or our hands or the furniture, playing with Gunner (he throws the ball for him, it's SO cute to watch them play together!!), being outside, playing with blocks and buckets, and he LOVE LOVE LOVES BATHTIME!! He sticks his face under the water and giggles and splashes and just has the best time! :)

As far as how things are going for me 10 months postpartum, here's an update:

I feel like my old self. My tummy is tightening up more and more as I continue to focus on exercise and healthy eating. I still have stretch marks and my belly button is all droopy, haha, but I've learned to love those parts of me because of how I got them!

The one main update is about birth control! I have been on the mini pill since my postpartum exam at 7 weeks pp. Over the past few months, I've gotten HORRIBLE ACNE, which I have never had an issue with before in my life!! It's been so frustrating, and I tried everything - different cleansers, new makeup, NOT wearing makeup, changing my diet, supplements ...everything! Then after doing some research, it hit me: THE MINI PILL. My HORMONES were the issue, and the mini pill is the culprit. So, I went off of the mini pill a couple of days ago and switched to a new birth control pill. We'll see if things start clearing up!!

I'll keep you guys updated. I was also having SUCH irregular periods...like, having one for three weeks off and on, then skipping a month, then only having one for a day, etc...seriously messing with my body. I've read horror stories about the mini pill...any of you have any experiences with it??

OH! And I had my first Mother's Day!! Well, first one with James out in the world, that is! :) It was so special, and we got to spend it with my parents too! It was fun to celebrate my mom AND me being a mom this year!

Alright, that's it for our 10 month update! Let me know if you have any questions!! I'm planning things for James' first Birthday already. I don't think we'll have a party...maybe just a SMALL get together with close family. I definitely want to bake him a healthy smash cake (let me know if you'd like me to post the recipe!!) and I have a few other things planned for him!

Have a great week, friends!

How To Be Happy: Lessons From My Son

His little face is still all chapped from his cold, but I lovelovelove these photos of my sweet, blue-eyed boy. James is such a joy - always smiling his big, bright-eyed, tooth-y (he has FIVE teeth now!) grin that lights up the room, as well as the hearts of everyone who sees him. He is a happy baby...people tell us that everywhere we go. He loves life and loves people and just always has so much fun, no matter what we are doing.

It's contagious!

Watching my happy, cheerful, bright baby boy, I can't help but admire his optimism and joy. I want to capture some of it and infuse it into my own life.

Everything is new and interesting and exciting and wondrous to baby James. As we grow and have more and more experiences, some of that newness and wonder unavoidably and inevitably fades away. We discover that, along with the amazing and fun and beautiful, life also holds many unpleasant things. We learn what it means to feel pain, betrayal, disappointment, and fear. We become disillusioned, losing that innocence, blind trust, and curiosity.

But watching James, I see that he is the perfect example of how to be happy. Here are some things that I've learned from my son:

  • Try new things, new foods, new places, new activities. Step outside of your comfort zone - new things challenge us, thrill us, scare us, and teach us. We grow mentally and physically by doing new things. The mundane can be depressing, discouraging, boring...no growth takes place there.
    But to try something new...that is what puts the excitement in life. That is the adventure of it.

  • Trust. Dare to trust. Dare to give people the benefit of the doubt. With age comes wisdom and intuition and good judgement. Use those. But also, try to let your guard down and trust. Take a leap of faith.
    Time can harden our hearts...try to let yours soften and see what happens.

  • Ask for help. When James wants a toy that he can not reach on his own, or when he wants to go somewhere that he can't get to, he turns to me and makes it clear that he would like help. He has no pride that gets in the way of receiving help when he needs it. Our pride often stands between us and our goals, and at times, even our needs. We become so intent on independence and self-sufficiency, which are important things, without a doubt. But it is also important to recognize the times when we would be better off and more successful by asking for help. There is no shame in acknowledging that we can not or should not do something on our own.

  • Appreciate the little things. My son takes such pleasure from the very littlest of things. Tickles on his tummy, a funny sounding voice, a silly word, birds chirping, a squirrel standing on a path, splashing water, a spoon banging a pot, his dog licking his face... watching him giggle and experience SO MUCH GENUINE JOY from the simplest of things makes my heart swell and yearn to be so easily HAPPY. We should remember that happiness, joy, and grace can be found in the little things...the things and events and items and experiences that maybe we have come to take for granted.
    Try to be consciously and intentionally grateful for the little things.

  • Show more affection. Cuddles, slobbery, open-mouthed kisses, gentle caresses of the face and arms and chest, a warm bright smile, holding hands...these signs of affection are second-nature to James. He shows his love so openly and so honestly. That kind of love is so rare. Life lends itself to heart-ache and each of us has - or will probably - experience betrayal, hurt-feelings, or heartbreak at some point. Experiences train us to be guarded with our emotions and with our feelings. We hold back, even at times when maybe what we should really do is rush into someone's arms and give them a big smile and kiss. Sometimes it is right to be unashamedly in love, enamored, and infatuated. Sometimes we need to cuddle, to touch, and to openly, genuinely adore...in all of the vulnerability that that entails.

My son is honest, kind, grateful, curious, loving, vulnerable, trusting, and brave. He has so much joy and happiness in his heart, and he has already, in his short little 8 months of life, been the greatest teacher I have ever known.

How To Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

My Sweater: Nordstrom

This will be James' first Easter and I was SO excited to dye Easter eggs with him! I was interested in finding a way to naturally dye the eggs rather than using the store bought dye kits. I played around with some ingredients, and I am really happy with the results! The eggs turned out beautifully, and James was so intrigued by how colorful they are! :)

Also, his poor little face is chapped in these pictures because he has a cold and his face is so dry from having to wash it and wipe it off so much. Poor baby! But, he is almost all better...it's the tail end of the cold. It is the HARDEST THING EVER when your baby is sick. I just want to make him feel all better. :(

Anyways, here is how to naturally dye easter eggs:

Ingredients

Brown and white hard-boiled eggs - the brown eggs will come out a lot darker and different shades of the colors, so it's fun to do brown AND white! 

For pink:

2 cups of water + 2 cups of chopped up beets + a couple tablespoons of vinegar

For orange:

2 cups of the peels of yellow onions + enough water to fully cover + a few tablespoons of vinegar

For yellow:

2 cups of water + 1 tablespoon of turmeric + a couple tablespoons of vinegar

Here's What You Do:

Bring each set of ingredients (minus the eggs and the vinegar) to a boil, then turn it down and simmer for about a half hour. The longer you let the ingredients simmer, the more concentrated and darker the dye will be.

Remove each set of dye from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Strain the dye and then pour it into bowls or mason jars. Add the vinegar to each bowl of dye.

Add the hard-boiled eggs to the dye and let them soak until they reach the desired color. The longer they soak in the dye, the darker and more vivid the colors will be.

That's it! I hope you have fun trying out these natural ingredients for your Easter eggs! :)

Mommy Monday: Balancing Exercise, Health, and Motherhood

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Ok, let's be really really honest here for a second: making time for exercise and health as a mom is hard. It takes work and it takes a lot of mind power. Being a mom is such a rewarding and challenging task in and of itself, that sometimes the thought of doing a workout when I could instead be taking a few minutes to relax seems crazy.

But, then I remember how much BETTER I feel - both physically and mentally - when I get in a workout. When I break a sweat, it makes me feel proud and strong and like I am doing something to further my progress towards my physical goals.

It's far too easy to let a day slip by without squeezing in a workout. From there, it is a slippery slope. One day turns into one week...then one month... The next thing you know, it has been months since your last real workout, and your body feels weak and you don't know how to dive back in. Where to start? How to get that strength back? You are so much further from your goals.

Believe me, I get it. I get how it can happen. I've certainly gone a week or two without getting my exercise in, and man, is it hard to get back into a routine. You know what I've found to be the ONLY way to start working towards your goals again? To just simply start. Even if that means a short walk the first day, squeezing in a 30 second plank when you can, powering through 50 squats while your child plays, and then turning on a Yoga or workout video on YouTube during nap time.

Slowly but surely, squeezing in what you can each day, you will start to build up your strength - physical AND mental, because half of it...no, even MORE than half of it is mental.

As mothers, it is so important for us to be healthy...to not only take care of our bodies, but of our minds.

Our little ones see what we do to better ourselves. They watch as we make healthy food choices, and as we meal prep and prepare nutritious food for the week ahead. They see when we spend our free minutes doing lunges or jumping jacks or burpees. They see a woman, strong and proud and conscious of her physical condition and doing something to further her progress towards a goal and towards a healthy life.

I remind myself that it is not just for me that I make the (sometimes very difficult) decision to do a workout rather than sit down and put my feet up. It's for my son. It's for my husband. It's for my mind. It's for what I want to look like and feel like. It's for wanting to be healthy and strong and able to do all the activities that I love to do.

So, one step at a time, little by little, day by day, as mothers, we make the choice. We choose to be healthy. We choose to be an example. We choose to be strong. We choose to eat healthily. We choose to do what it takes. Is it easy? Nope. Important? Very. Worth it? Yes Yes Yes.

What are your tricks for staying fit, strong, and healthy as a mama? How do YOU make time for a workout and for healthy food choices? Be sure to share in the comments below!

What topics do you want to see on the blog? Send any ideas, questions, or comments to info@annamcohen.com! And be sure to subscribe below to be notified whenever there is a new post up!

 

Mommy Monday: Best Baby Toys

*I am aware of all the news stories about Sophie the Giraffe and the mold - James JUST started using his and I plan on throwing it away after a bit before it gets gross. :)

My apologies that this Mommy Monday post is going up on a Tuesday. All I can say is... Mom Life happened. :)

James is going to be 7 months old on Thursday! I know I sound like a broken record whenever I write about how old he is, but I mean, HOW IS HE 7 months old?? It's insane how fast it goes. What in the world!

Over the past 7 months, I've come to see what types of toys and gear are MUSTS...and which ones we probably could have done without.

I thought I'd share our baby toy must haves today, because we've found some really great ones! And I know how hard it can be to sort through AAALLL of the STUFF out there to find toys that are actually of value and quality. 

So, without further ado, here are some of our must-have, James-approved toys:

1. Noggin Stick

This toy is kind of ugly, it's hard, it's expensive...but man oh man, it is James' FAVORITE TOY, and has been since he was a newborn. I don't know what it is about this rattle, but it is the best and my number one MUST have baby toy!

2. Indestructibles

These books are indestructible, and are the BEST for babies! James loves to play with his Indestructibles, and yes, they truly are INDESTRUCTIBLE!  They don't rip, tear, desolve, bleed...anything. You can even wash them. They are sososo great. Highly recommend.

3. Munch Mitt

When your baby starts teething, you'll WANT THE MUNCH MITT. Trust me. It Velcros onto their little hand so that they can munch away and soothe their aching gums. Plus, it wont fall onto the floor.

4. Kick & Play Piano Gym

This play mat is the BEST. It has a piano keyboard that can either go vertically or horizontally, so your baby can either kick it while lying on the mat, OR he can sit and play the piano with his hands. The keyboard also detaches so that an older baby can carry it around with him.

5. Bazillion Buckets

James got these buckets for Christmas and they are seriously one of his FAVORITE things to play with! They can stack small to big or big to small, and James LOVES to drop the little buckets into the bigger buckets. They keep him busy and entertained, and they are good for mental development!

6. Alphabet Activity Cube

James love his alphabet activity cube! It play songs, teaches him numbers, letters, animals, and colors, and has so many interactive things for him to do. AND, he LOVES to stand at the cube by himself like a big boy! :) Definitely one of his favorites!

7. Octoplush

This octopus always makes James smile! He ESPECIALLY loved this toy when he was a little bitty baby. It plays different classical music and also teaches colors.

8. Mozart Magic Cube

This is James' newest toy and he LOVES it! He rolls it around the floor and wiggles after it. It plays different Mozart songs and each side of the cube is a different instrument. It's the best!

Those are our top all-time favorite baby toys, as of almost 7 months old.

I hope that this list is helpful for you when sorting through AAAALLLL the toys out there. These ones are all winners! At least in James' book they are! :)

Have a beautiful week, friends!

Mommy Monday: 4 Months Old and Our Daily Routine

These pictures are from a fun walk we went on the other day! James loves being outside so much. He was staring around all wide-eyed! Ben and I love taking him new places and giving him new experiences!

James will be four months old on Wednesday...geez louise!! Time goes so so fast - you don't realize just how fast until you're a parent! It's true what they say, "the days are long but the years are short".

Being a mom is seriously THE BEST! I love it so much and I LOVE getting to see James learn and grow each day. He is so smart and strong and funny and easy-going. He can roll from front to back and from back to front. He can grab things and hold things on his own. He loves standing (with help, of course!) and can totally bare his own weight. He would stand all day if he could. He can almost sit up all by himself too. He constantly has a smile on his face and he loves chatting! He "talks" so much. He is just the best!

I've posted on Instagram a few times about putting James to bed, and I've received countless messages marveling at the fact that James has a bed time already. I've gotten so many requests, that I thought it would be fun to share our daily routine, including bed time. Because we are finally settling into a routine and it works really great for us!

Around 7am: James wakes up and coos in his crib for a bit until I wake up. I turn off the noise machine, turn off the Owlet, open the blinds, and then I pick him up. He smiles so so so big and is so happy to be awake and to see me and to start the day. We change his diaper, and get him dressed for the day, then head back into my bed. I feed him breakfast and read the news out loud to him while he eats. When he's done eating, he tells me about his dreams (babbles very excitedly and importantly).

Around 8:30am: We get out of bed and I put him in his rock'n'play in the bathroom with me while I get dressed and do my hair and makeup. We chat the whole time. Then, we change his diaper again and head down stairs and he plays on his play mat while I make myself coffee and breakfast and workout.

Around 10am: Naptime! James has a bottle and goes down for his first nap of the day. During this time, I meditate (a non-negotiable for me...this is a PRIORITY), and then I work on blog posts and client work until James wakes up.

Around 11am: James will wake up from his nap and we'll change his diaper and then play. He will do tummy time, play on his play mat, practice standing and sitting up, we'll sing songs, read books, listen to music, etc

Around 1:30pm: James will have a bottle and then we'll change his diaper and go for a walk. When we get home we'll play some more.

Around 3pm: James has another bottle and goes down for his second nap of the day. During this nap I will get more work done.

Around 4pm: James wakes up from his nap and we change his diaper and then play and read some more.

Around 5:30pm: We head upstairs for either a bath in James' bath tub (which we do about twice a week), or a sponge bath (which we do every day that we don't do a real bath). Then I'll put on his lotion, a clean diaper, and his Owlet sock. I put him in his jammies and his sleep sack, turn on the noise machine and turn out the lights. I feed him while I sing to him. He is usually asleep by 6pm.

After James is asleep I clean the house, do the dishes, finish up any work I have, and make dinner. Ben usually gets home from work around 7pm or 8pm. We eat dinner together and watch a show and then head to bed by around 10pm.

Things are falling into place and I am just having so much fun with my little family! :) I hope this schedule is helpful. This is just what works for US. Every baby and family are different of course. But our routine works wonderfully for us!

I hope you all have a great week!

Mommy Monday: Pregnancy & Postpartum Q&A, Part 1

Sweatshirt: ILY Couture

Yes, it's Wednesday...not Monday - I know, I know. First off, let me apologize that this post took SO LONG for me to get up! I'm sure any other mama will understand how it can be challenging to find the time to brush your hair every day, let alone write blog posts consistently...but regardless, I feel bad. I miss blogging regularly, and I'm working really hard to get back into the swing of things. But the truth is, this little man has taken over my life and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Jammies: Kickee Pants

So, if for a bit my posts are inconsistent, or even a little baby-heavy, please hang in there with me. I PROMISE I'm still here and I'm working hard to get back to a regular posting schedule. :)

Alright, without further ado, here is my pregnancy/postpartum/new mom Q&A! I'll do a few of these because I got SOOO many questions. Here is part 1.

You all sent over some GREAT questions. I told you nothing was off limits or too personal, and boy I got some tough questions! I'm excited to answer them, so let's get to it!

*Also, if you are a guy, or if you just aren't interested in reading some TMI stuff, then you best turn away now! :)*

How did you handle the daily anxieties of having a not so smooth pregnancy?

Meditation was HUGE for me during my pregnancy. I would meditate twice a day, and I would spend A LOT of time in prayer every day as well. Praying and meditating REALLY got me through all of the fear and stress and worry and frustration of being on bedrest and of my situation.

What pregnancy symptom surprised you the most?

EXHAUSTION!! I was blown away by the utter and overwhelming exhaustion that I experienced, particularly in the first trimester. Bloody noses were a surprise too.

I'm scared of childbirth and of tearing! How was your experience with this?

Believe me, I was SO SO SO SO SO scared of child birth. The thought of tearing freaked me out SO badly. I seriously had anxiety about the entire thing. I had an epidural (BEST THING EVER - I napped while in labor!) so I didn't feel a thing. Seriously, labor and delivery didn't even hurt at all for me. I HIGHLY recommend epidurals. If you choose to go natural, more power to you! That takes a lot of will power! But for me, not having any pain was just a huge blessing!! So, my point is, that I didn't even notice that I tore a bit. I had a 2nd degree tear which is the most common degree of tear. It's not a big deal and I got a few stitches which fell out on their own within a few weeks. It was REALLY sore and stung for weeks after giving birth, but healed up totally fine and was not a big deal. Now, I hear that some women tear REALLY badly - but luckily that was not my experience.

What has been the biggest challenge physically for recovery?

I have Diastasis Recti which is ab separation. Mine is so minor - less than a finger tip. But, that means that, while I got the ok to start working out again, I have to hold off on doing any ab work until my abs have come all the way back together. My doctor said that should be in about another month or so. It's been hard to not be able to do ab exercises because I'm really eager to get my core toned up.

Another huge challenge physically for recovery was just the bleeding and pain for the first six weeks or so postpartum. Basically, your whole uterus has to heal and empty itself of all of the fluid and everything as it shrinks back down to it's pre-pregnancy size. So, there is a lot of bleeding, a lot of discharge known as lochia, and a lot of pain, burning, itching, and stinging as things heal.

What are your postpartum must-haves?

Listen carefully... STOCK UP ON THESE THINGS:

~Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads

~Sitz Bath Spray

~Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray

~Colace

~Bio-Oil

~Peribottle (They should send you home from the hospital with one of these, but if for some reason they don't, GET ONE NOW!!!)

~Jumbo pads. Or adult diapers. The bigger the better. :p

How do you balance breastfeeding and working out?

I breastfed for the first two months, and during that time I wasn't cleared yet to work out at that point, so I didn't really have to deal with this. My breastfeeding and working out only over lapped for a week or two, and I wasn't really doing anything strenuous at that point. But, I've read that breastfeeding before working out, or pumping right after working out and discarding the pumped breast milk can help if a baby doesn't like the taste.

I would love to know the diet you are eating while breastfeeding?

While breastfeeding I didn't follow a particular diet - I mostly just focused on eating healthy foods and avoiding alcohol (but I don't really ever drink anyways so that wasn't very hard!!).

Once in college a professor told us after you have a baby you never feel quite like yourself or the same ever again. That always stuck with me as odd. Surely you feel different, but never the same again? I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

I definitely still feel like myself after having a baby. It's not so much a matter of not feeling like myself, it's just that my LIFE and circumstances and body have drastically changed forever. THAT is the challenging and scary and disconcerting bit. I feel like the same person who has just been through something life altering: something scary and wonderful and absolutely incredible. And now I am someone's mother and that is my life now - me, Anna, the same person I have always been, just with a whole new view on life. And one that I am SO thankful for and excited about!

Maybe that doesn't make any sense. I'm not sure I articulated my thoughts very clearly there. Bottom line - I feel like me, but my life is different. My day to day activities have changed completely. My body is different. It's been a big adjustment, but I am loving my new life and I feel like the very best me, like my purpose in life is being fulfilled! :) And I am starting to figure out how to fit the things I love doing back into my new life (like blogging... ;), as well as enjoying the new things that I love doing, such as playing with my son and cuddling with him and caring for him night and day.

Alright, that is all I have time for right now. But at least I got some of the questions answered, FINALLY, right?? I'll do Part 2 sometime in the near future. As always, continue to send me any questions you may have and I promise I'll get around to answering them!

xo, Anna

 

 

Mommy Monday: Two Months Old!

Happy 2 months of life, baby boy!

Can you believe that James is TWO MONTHS OLD?? Wow! I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. He is SO much bigger and more alert than he was when he was born, obviously. But it really is just so cool to see how he is growing and developing! More and more of his personality comes out every day, and he is the sweetest, most calm, good little boy. He's so good natured and fun and his smiles are the absolute best thing in the world! When he wakes up in the morning, he just lays in his bed and coos until I come over to get him and when he sees me he smiles the biggest smile. It makes me feel like the most amazing, important person!

James had his two month check up on Friday and he is 12lbs 4oz and 23 inches long! He's healthy and strong and growing just as he should be! He got his vaccines and he did so well with them. Of course he cried a bit while he was getting the shots, but he calmed right down afterwards!

He can roll over from his tummy to his back (he's been doing this since four weeks) and he can hold his head up (he's been doing this since the day he was born...he's SO strong!! Even the doctors and nurses are amazed by him!). Some of his clothes are already too small for him - he's starting to fit into the 3-6 months clothes. He has been sleeping for six and seven hour stretches at night *hallelujah*! He likes being read to and he loves music and bath time and he really really loves being outside. He's just the best. :)

I can't wait for James to experience all of the holidays this year! Ben and I are going to take him to a pumpkin patch soon, which will be so cute! I couldn't be happier...I feel so blessed and I am so in love with my little family!!

Have a great week!

xo, Anna