In a Little Over a Week…

…Jimmie will be two. Two! When he gets older, we are going to tell him we bought him a house for his second Birthday. It is still pretty crazy around here. Believe it or not, we still haven’t even taken a obligatory family photo in front of our new house! I wish the weather would get better so that we could play in the yard again. Last week was perfect. Here are some more moving week photos for you to enjoy!

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Happy Friday! Enjoy you weekend. Even if it will be rainy, like ours.

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Fit Snack April 2016 Subscription Box

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April has brought a lot of changes to our family. The biggest one being that we bought a house. With the craziness of the move, I was able to get my Fit Snack subscription sent to our new place. It was nice to have healthy snacks on hand while we were unpacking; we sure did need some good energy!

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Heath Warrior Chia Bar: Superfood protein bar that is made with chia, quinoa, and oats.

Wilde Chicken Bar (sweet Thai basil) and Wilde Turkey Bar ( turkey cranberry): Made with lean-meats and 100 calories per serving. I’m not a fan of meat bars, but Jim seems to enjoy them. He said they taste like good MRES. So, there’s that. Gluten-free! Great for individuals who are watching their cholesterol.

Betty Lou’s Smackers: I wish this didn’t have nuts in it because it sounds so good!Contains 13g of protein and yummy ingredients like chocolate, caramel, and nougat flavoring. Gluten-free!

Betty Lou’s Nut Butter Balls: My mother-in-law really enjoyed this snack! Since it is obviously made with nuts, I didn’t try it. Just like the Smackers, this bar contains up to 13g of protein and is gluten-free.

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Vintage Italia’s Pasta Chips: These were SO good!  It was like eating a bread stick in chip form. I wish the bag was bigger.; I gobbled them up.

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Purely Elizabeth Granola: Granola that nut-allergy suffers can eat. Yay! Made with organic and natural ingredients.

Life Aid Recovery Drink: Made with no artificial sweeteners or colors. I didn’t like the smell of this drink, therefore I didn’t drink it. I’m not big on workout supplement drinks.

Chinook Seedery: Sunflower seeds with a bit of spice. I do love sunflower seeds. Nice treat instead of the reoccurring nut packets in the boxes.

I love trying new, healthy snacks from Fit Snack every month. As a busy mom, trying to eat healthy is easier said than done. I like not having to worry about shopping for healthy snacks since I get a ton each month in the mail. Not only can you have your Fit Snack box sent to your house, you could also send it to your work. You can stick the box right into the desk for easy snacking throughout the month. Nothing beats not having to go to a vending machine for a bag of chips.

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If you have never heard about Fit Snack, please check out another one of my posts about the amazing subscription box company based out of Colorado. I love how each box comes with new exercises, workout tips (this month was a body sprint workout), and coupon codes for some of the snacks in the box.

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For your chance to WIN a free Fit Snack box, head on over to their contest page here. There is a chance to win every month. Enter today so that you can start snacking healthy tomorrow!

I was sent a Fit Snack box in exchange for an honest review. All of the options are my own. Thanks Fit Snack!

 

Book Review: Here’s the Plan. Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenting. By Allyson Downey

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Here’s the Plan.  Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenting by Allyson Downey is for women who want to continue to work after they have a baby or want to start working during their pregnancy or shortly after. Included in the book are tips to let your employer know you are pregnant, how to handle discrimination if it happens, how to deal with paternity leave, and how to get back into your career without losing too much speed. Allyson Downey states in the introduction how her book is a a “choose your own adventure book.” You can pick and choose which chapters apply to you and which ones don’t. There is no need to read this book cover to cover (although I did) if you can only relate to some of the advice. With that being said, I learned a lot from Allyson Downey’s debut book. Maybe I have been living under a rock, but I had no idea what struggles pregnant women faced in the workforce. Of course I assumed it was difficult to get a new job while you are pregnant, which is why I didn’t look for one when we returned from Korea. And of course I knew that women (and men) do not get nearly enough paternity leave. What I didn’t know was how many working women struggle with the decision to tell their bosses and colleagues that they are pregnant in fear that, in the long run, they will lose their jobs.

I was shocked to see how much you may need to think about (depending on the company) when it comes to announcing your pregnancy. Allyson Downey suggests just casually mentioning it and reinforcing the the fact that it will not affect job production, although ultimately it will. I tell people all the time that “mommy brain” is real. Just yesterday I couldn’t think of the word “credit.” Such a simple word, but my brain felt like mush trying to think of it. Allyson Downey states that your brain’s “cognitive capacity” (pg. 201) will return, eventually. She gives plenty advice on how to become more productive and how to remember simple tasks after returning to work. She also gives on advice on how to task out your responsibilities while you are away on paternity leave.

Currently, I do not work. I was interested in this book because I am planning re-entering the workforce in the fall. Allyson Downey encourages the reader to let their future employer know that they do have a child or children when they are looking for a job and to ask about paternity leave policy in the interview. You want to be up front in your interview and not hide the fact that you do have (or want) a family; finding a family friendly company is ideal. Allyson Downey also gives suggestions about pumping at work and protocol for pumping rooms. There are laws that protect pregnant women and mothers, but many of these laws have flaws that I was never aware of before reading, Here’s the Plan.  Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenting.

The “Finding a Caregiver” section in Allyson Downey’s book is very helpful for anyone going back to work or anyone that needs to find a childcare after they have been a stay-at-home mom for any amount of time. Allyson Downey  talks about daycares, nanny’s, and au pairs. There is also quite a bit of information in Allyson’s Downey’s book about postpartum depression and how you need to take care of yourself after you have a baby. This particular section of the book hit home for me. I wish I had read it before I had my little guy. I really liked all of the personal experiences collected from real moms. One that had me tearing up and nodding my head is:

Your brain is a jungle, with tall grass and tangled vines. There’s a path through it, but it’s full of snakes. You’re terrified of that path, but everything else seems impenetrable. Walking down that path is the only choice, even though the snakes keep biting you. In real life, that path is prompting scary thoughts like, ‘I’m never going to feel love for my baby, or What if I drown the baby while giving him his bath?’ Pg. 210

What is interesting is that while I was reading this section, I reflected on the past two years of motherhood and thought, “I don’t feel that way anymore.” It was like looking back into a dream that was starting to fade. It was helpful, scary, and reassuring all at the same time. On the next page, when Allyson Downey talks about making time for yourself, I wanted to scream YES, YES, YES, as I read this line: “I daydream about being able to stay in bed with my coffee and a newspaper. It sounds totally ridiculous to people who don’t have children.” Pg. 212 I thought, “She gets me. She really gets me.”

Since I am not working, as I stated above, I could relate most to the loneliness of staying home, more than other parts of the book, but that doesn’t mean other chapters and advice won’t help me in my near future.  I also want to state that every working mom (or dad) are not going to have the same experiences. It was hard for me to understand how women feel the need to hide their pregnancy for so long, when it is natural and a miracle. My world includes many friends and family members who are teachers who have wonderful support systems at schools and receive great paternity packages.  This profession that was not mentioned in the book. I hope that one day, my child will live in a world where women and men won’t have to choose between family and career. We read so much about how we women can’t have it all, but I beg to differ, and so does Allyson Downey, we can have it all, and we will.

Allyson Downey is the co-founder of Weespring, a website that givens parents, friends, and family, detailed reviews on baby products. I know I had trouble deciding which baby tub to buy, which swing, and which baby monitor to purchase. This website was created to help with those decisions. You can purchase Allyson Downey’s newest book here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Home

Normal posts will resume shortly. Until then, here is what happiness looks like…

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Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart. -MLK Jr.

Book Review: Forever My Little Boy by Karen Kingsbury, Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

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What a sweet, endearing book about raising a little boy. When I first saw this book, I thought it was a children’s book, but it is the opposite. Forever My Little Boy: Loving Your Son for Now and for Always by Karen Kingsbury is a beautiful short story for moms, dads, and grown-up little boys. The story begins at the birth of your little boy and continues through adulthood. I was in tears by the end; it was the ugly kind of cry. The small boy changes right before our eyes, on each page, just like our own children do. It really did make me pause and think how fast Jimmie is growing. As you know, the old saying goes, “The days are long, but the years are short.” This book is a reminder of that. From first steps, riding a bike, playing football, driving a car, and getting married, Forever My Little Boy takes the reader on a memorable journey.

Throughout Forever My Little Boy there are lovely illustrations by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. The boy with the backpack waving goodbye is where I started to get choked up. When I think of Little Jimmie growing up, that is what I see in my mind. Him standing on his school steps, waving goodbye, on his first day of kindergarten. There are also bible verses and little prayers throughout the entire book that reflect different stages in your son’s life. The line that made me shed my first tear is, “The mother knew that she had to share her love for him with someone else.” This line is on the page where her little boy is falling in love.

With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day quickly approaching, this book would be the perfect gift for a new mom or dad. It would also be a great gift to give your own parents or your own child that has their own children. Whoever your purchase this book for, I would include a package of tissues to go with it.

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. 

You Color My World

Little man has been sick for a few days. Since it has also been cold and rainy, we have been stuck inside. Trying to pack, occupy a sick toddler, and stay sane is easier said than done. Moments like these, though, make me one happy momma.

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It’s funny because we all get so wrapped up in milestones that we forget how little they really are. I have been trying to get Jimmie to color (and not eat the crayons) for at least 6 months now. I’m glad we can finally enjoy some quiet coloring time together. It would have been a perfect time for me to relax, too. But, unfortunately, I already packed up my adult coloring books.

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Those tiny hands. They get me every time.

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Even though we are moving, we still have time to display Jimmie’s first masterpiece that he colored all by himself. #proudmom