Potty Training Tips

My daughter never ceases to amaze me. When Chloe turned 31 months old, she decided to potty train herself. Literally, She turned to us one day and said, “I don’t want to wear my diaper today.” (cue eye rolling from me) Well that was that. We now have a closet full of Size 4 princess Pull-Ups that Ryan will indeed be wearing someday.

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Honestly, Dean and I did next to nothing. Sure we had the potty chair out, and we occasionally asked her if she’d like to use it, but other than that, it was all her. So while I am the one writing this post, it should actually be Chloe who is writing it.

First of all, while yes it is gross, I recommend a potty chair that sits right on the ground. The only way your kid is going to start using the “potty” (potty is in quotes because I now find myself saying, “I have to go potty” all the time, and my husband makes fun of me.) regularly is if they can reach it on their own, especially in the beginning. I started keeping dish soap under the sink in her bathroom for a quick clean up of the potty seat.

I chose Chloe’s potty seat because it is purple. Chloe loves purple. Chloe hates ELMO. Choose a potty seat that your child will love.

Second, STICKER CHARTS. I am a firm believer in sticker charts. That comes from being both a mom, and a kindergarten teacher. Kids. Love. Stickers. Even the boys. You’d be surprised how many little boys I know who love pink scented stickers.

Chloe got a sticker every time she used the potty. In the beginning, you can start by offering stickers for sitting on the potty, pulling up pants, washing hands, etc. The more you offer them, the more successful you will be! Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the sticker chart because Ryan ate it. But it served it’s purpose.

Third, Pull-Ups and easily removable clothes. Sorry Moms, no more rompers. Poor Chloe always wants to wear her purple romper to daycare but I know she’d never be able to get it off herself when she needs to go the bathroom.

Fourth, make the bathroom a place your child wants to be, and have them try to go frequently! We have toys in there. We would bring in books when Chloe was first learning to sit on her potty chair. Sometimes it takes a little time before they actually understand what they are supposed to do on the potty chair. Books help pass the time, and who doesn’t love books!

Last, and most important, don’t rush it! Honestly, I was in no hurry to get Chloe out of diapers. Now every time we leave the house, I need to know where the closest bathroom is.  She also now wakes up super early some mornings (i.e. 6:00am) because she has to pee, and has trouble going back to sleep. So that’s fun.

When your kid is ready, they will potty train easily! If it’s killing you, take a break and try again in a few weeks. No one child is the same.

Or you could hire Chloe to help. I think she charges by the hour 😉

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Shedding the Baby Weight

Being pregnant with my son completely destroyed my body. By the time I actually gave birth, I think I weighed close to 150 lbs. That was almost a 40 lb weight gain for me. Wah Woo Wee. That’s a lot of weight on my 5’1″ frame.

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I really have no idea why it happened though. I was eating well, still exercising a few times/week, working full time, and chasing a busy toddler. Ryan was also a relatively small baby. Water weight?? Needless to say, it happened. And after 6 weeks postpartum, I was weighing in at 131 lbs, and feeling pretty bad about myself. I had never weighed so much in my life (without a baby in my belly), none of my clothes fit, and I was unhappy looking at myself in a mirror. I felt sloppy and squishy. I knew I needed a change but didn’t really know where to start.

With Chloe, my body bounced back pretty quickly. With Ryan, it wasn’t as easy.

(Please be kind)

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That’s when a friend of mine, who had also recently given birth, convinced me to do the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology with her. I had been reluctant to try it for many reasons. The first one being – it sounds like a scam. It’s also not cheap. And I’d never had success working out with videos before – why would they work now? Well, I ultimately gave in and purchased a 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack. It couldn’t hurt, right?

What is the 21 Day Fix? It’s a portion controlled clean eating plan that includes 30 minutes of exercise each day that you can do from the comfort of your own home. I also chose to get a Challenge Pack which includes Shakeology. Shakeology is the most nutrient dense protein shake on the market. Best part is, they have a 30 day money back guarantee. You can even return a full bag! So why not give it a try? Shakeology has really helped curb my cravings for the junk I had been eating. I do love my sweets but when I drink Shakeology, I don’t think about them (as much 😉 ). Shakeology can be used as a meal replacement but since I am a nursing mom, I use it more as a snack or a recovery drink.

The Fix also includes 8 different workouts: Total Body Cardio, Upper, Lower, Pilates, Cardio, Dirty 30 (my favorite), Yoga, and 10 Minute Abs. Having always been an avid exerciser  – I love running, pilates, and HIIT, I was worried that the videos would be too easy for me. THEY ARE NOT! I also love that if I have time, I can do 2 videos instead of just 1. I started The Fix using 3 lbs dumbbells, now I’m using 6 lbs. I’ve found that increasing the weight, increases the results.

By following the Fix and drinking Shakeology, I had lost 11 lbs and 10 inches by 11 weeks postpartum. That was only 5 weeks of doing The Fix! I had a great support system – a group of postpartum moms all in the same situation. We were all doing the Fix together. I modified a little to take into account that I am breastfeeding exclusively. I don’t limit my heathy fats. On any day, I’ll eat hummus, peanuts, cheese and avocado, etc. If I feel my supply is a little weak, I’ll eat a scoop of ice cream. I was sick a few weeks ago and couldn’t eat. My supply went way down. When I started to feel better, I ate ice cream for a few nights, and my supply was back to normal in 2 days.

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By 15 weeks, I had lost 5 more lbs, bringing me within sight of my pre-baby weight.

(Check out my shoulder definition 😉 )

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By 16 weeks, I was able to button ALL of my pre-baby pants.

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The 21 Day Fix and Shakeology has completely changed my life. It has helped me to subconsciously make healthier choices. Even my husband has started losing weight from me making healthier choices. I do still have cheat days. But if I know I’m going to have pizza for dinner, I’ll make a big salad to go along with it so I fill up more on greens and less on cheese.

I also workout EVERYDAY. I’m up before the sun because that’s what I need to do to fit it in, and I feel better all day for it. I’ve never been a morning person but my health is a huge priority in my life right now. I want to set a good example for my children, and be around for a good long while.

Granted, my body is different than it used to be. Birthing a human will do that. But I am slowly getting back into better shape than I was before I got pregnant with Ryan. I can’t wait to see where I am in another 3 months.

Want to try a meal plan that allows you wine and chocolate, where you can exercise form the comfort of your own home? Comment below or email me through my Beachbody site, and I can help you find the program that is right for you!

Bandana Bibs

I was sent some bandana bibs to try but all opinions are my own.

Bandana bibs have been all the rage in baby fashion this year, and why not? They are cute AND purposeful! Chloe has been out of the bib stage for quite some time, and Ryan is not quite there yet. He is just starting to blow bubbles though, and I know those puddles of drool soaked shirts is coming up fast. So I was really excited when Pippsy sent me some bandana bibs to try.

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Not only are the bibs super cute (they are great for a girl or a boy) but they are soft and comfy too.

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Pippsy Bandana Bibs are made of extra absorbent 100% soft knitted cotton on the front and cotton fleece at the back so they are soft on baby’s skin.The material is extra absorbent and you can be sure that dribble, food and stains will never reach your baby’s clothes so you won’t have to change them all the time!

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There are also 2 adjustable snaps at the back which provide different sizing as baby grows. The snaps are tight so your baby won’t be able to pull them off. These bandana bibs can also be used as a cute & stylish neck scarf for your baby. These bandana bibs would make a great gift for baby showers or 1st birthdays!

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Bandana Bib c/o / Play mat

“Pippsy strives to provide only the best baby bandana bibs that will make yours and baby’s life a little easier.”

A Late 2 Month Update!

Yikes! I’m late on this post! I had meant to post a 2 month update on Ryan but at that time we were dealing with lots of sickness in our household. I had a 103 degree fever that lasted 5 days. It was not fun. Chloe was sick, then I got sick, then Ryan got sick. We just can’t stay healthy over here. Does anyone else feel this way? Last winter, when I was still nursing Chloe, she got sick one time. This winter, sans breastmilk, she has been sick every other week for the past 3 months. Then I catch it, then Dean and Ryan catch it. Vicious cycle. So anyways, I’m late on the 2 month post.

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(Poor guy was not feeling too hot when I took these.)

/ Ryan’s Splendid outfit, sold out, similar here / Jellycat elephant /

Here’s where we are now.

Ryan is almost 11 weeks old, and the sweetest baby there ever was. When I found out that I was pregnant the 2nd time around with a boy, I was nervous. Chloe had been the perfect angel baby; nursed easily, slept great, never cried. I had no idea what to expect from a boy, and frankly, after some horror stories I was told, I was terrified. But Ryan, knock on wood, has been such a calm, good natured, easy going baby. He smiles constantly, and I swear he is attempting to laugh. He eats every 3 hours from 8am to 5pm, cluster feeds from 5pm to 8pm, and then we give him a big bottle of pumped milk around 9pm. Then he sleeps from around 9 to 4 or 5 in the morning. I dream feed him for 10 minutes, and he goes back to bed until 8 am (of course, he still has the occasional waking every 3 hours to eat like last night). When I go to get him out of his Rock n Play in the morning, he is all smiles. Yes, he sleeps in the Rock n Play. And he will until I feel comfortable putting him in the crib. It makes me nervous having him sleep flat. Chloe slept in the Rock n Play until about 5 months, and she is the BEST (I just jinxed myself) sleeper – goes down in her crib without a fuss and always has, sleeps for 12 hours overnight, self soothes, and takes a 2-3 hour nap each day.

During the day, Ryan takes regular naps earlier in the day, and is awake much more in the late afternoon and early evening. He likes laying on his back and kicking around, he loves watching his sister, getting his diaper changed, car rides and the stroller, and he’s all about the charm if you talk and sing to him. He doesn’t mind tummy time if I prop him up on my legs (a suggestion from our physical therapist).

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(That face though)

We recently took advantage of the warm weather and enjoyed a zoo day. I brought my Phil and Teds stroller which folds up easily for the car, and nursed on a bench with my Cover Me  Poncho Nursing Cover. Chloe loved the lions and the crocodiles. She was not too sure about the snow leopards and the peacocks who tried to steal her chicken nuggets. Ryan enjoyed looking around at all the new shapes but my January baby wasn’t too keen on the sun in his face.

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Chloe’s pink Nikes / Chloe’s jacket / My Nikes / My purse, sold out, similar here /

As for me, I’ve been working out everyday. I’m running again, attending Shred 415 and pilates classes, and doing Beachbody workout videos when I can’t run outside or make it to a class (My favorites are the Total Body Cardio Fix and Dirty 30).

I. Love. To. Sweat.

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I’ve also lost about 8 lbs. I’d like to lose 5 more. That would get me right back at my pre-baby weight. I’d love to lose 10 more but know that with nursing, I’ll probably hang on to that extra 5 for awhile. I’m still not comfortable in my pre-baby clothes. I swear, my body bounced back so much faster with Chloe. Moms of 2 kids, why is it so much harder with the 2nd? My body is just so…different. None of my clothes look right on me.

And I go back to work in a few weeks. So I’m savoring every last moment with my precious baby boy; soaking in his scent as much as I can, kissing his perfect sweet cheeks. I am excited to see my colleagues and my students but cannot even imagine being away from Ryan. Although I will miss him something fierce (and truthfully, I already do), I am most anxious about my pumping schedule at work. When you teach, you can’t just walk out of the room when it’s time to pump. I figure if I pump before work (but how do I time that with needing to nurse Ryan??), and then pump twice more at work (but when???), I should hopefully be ok. The thought of my supply going down causes me major heartache.

Moms: How do you make it work??? I’d love any suggestions!

Every Mom Needs A Good Nursing Bra


I was gifted a nursing bra to try but all opinions are my own.

Finding a good nursing bra, is like, shall I say, ‘finding a needle in a haystack’. I have tried out so many different kinds and brands of nursing bras that they now barely fit in my drawer. And out of all those bras, I don’t love any of them. They either don’t provide enough support for day to day activities or they are too complicated to get undone. No one wants to be struggling with clasps and strings when you have a starving baby screaming in your lap.

Enter the best treat for new mommies – Mamaway’s nursing bra.

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With Mamaway’s aim to provide the best products to moms, the Mamaway Seamless and Comfortable Maternity and Nursing Bra was developed. This makes mom’s life easier when nursing the baby. It provides great support to the breast, and gives perfect access to baby when feeding.

The bra fits seamlessly under your clothes, and provides comfortable support with easy access to feed your baby. It is so comfortable, it feels like you’re wearing nothing! Stretches up to 3 cups while providing great structural support, this bra also comes with removable padding and one hand drop down clips for easy nursing.

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Mamaway Nursing Bra – c/o

(I am wearing a size medium. According to the size chart I am a S-M but I went with the larger size.)

The Mamaway Nursing Bra was designed using an elastic band so that weight is evenly distributed on your chest. It is supportive but not too tight. It can be conveniently worn and taken off with one hand. It is also super soft which is my favorite feature!

I highly recommend this for any pregnant or nursing mother!

Terrible Twos, Maternity Leave, & Where We Are Now

Remember that Luv’s Diapers commercial  where “2nd kid, every mom is an expert?”

When Chloe was a baby, if we were leaving the house, her diaper bag became an arsenal of every possible thing we could need; whether it be a grocery store run or preparations for the zombie apocalypse, we were ready. I had everything from diapers to wipes to paci wipes to lotion to hand sanitizer to water bottles to blankies to burp cloths. Anything you can imagine was in my diaper bag. With Ryan, I throw a diaper in my purse, and we are out the door.

It’s a funny thing how much more relaxed you are with the second kid.

We initially thought that our newborn would be the tougher to handle, the more difficult of the two kids. We quickly discovered how wrong we were. Remember, newborns sleep an average of 16 hours/day. Newborns are easy to drag around in a carseat. You can easily plop a newborn down in bouncy seat, or wrap in a Moby, and get dinner on the table. Our two year old, however, is an energizer bunny combo Tasmanian devil. She. Does. Not. Stop. Moving.

And the terrible twos are real. It is an intense and heartbreaking time. I feel like I am walking on eggshells around my kid – you never know what might set her off, when she might snap. Maybe you poured the apple juice into the wrong cup; lets scream for 20 minutes. Maybe I refused to rub oatmeal in my hands; lets hit mommy and throw things.

Now, we all know just how EXCELLENT maternity leave in this country is. I love my job. The thought of not working never really crossed my mind. And I’ve actually found that I am a better mother when I am working. But with the job that I love comes 60 work days of unpaid maternity leave. If I do not return to work after those 60 work days, I lose my beloved job. Wah Wah.

If I’m going to be home for three months with the baby, wouldn’t I also want to keep my daughter home with me as well? Three months is not a very long time when we are thinking about a lifetime. Am I a horrible mom for preferring to continue to send her to daycare so I don’t have to deal with the Tasmanian devil while nursing Ryan? Doesn’t it make sense to keep her home for 3 months and save quite a bit of money?

We decided it was best to continue to send Chloe to daycare for many reasons. First, I need time to bond with Ryan. I was lucky enough to have almost a year home with Chloe before I decided to go back to work. It was wonderful. I learned what to do to make her smile, what every cry meant, I knew exactly what she needed. She became my whole world – the air I breathed. I also need this time, uninterrupted, with my son. I need to learn him inside and out.

I do find solo time for Chloe when I can. I’ll pick her up from daycare sans Ryan, and take her to Starbucks for a treat. Yes, I have a child who requests Starbucks. But in her defense, she also requests Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds. She’s very well rounded 😉 …and I’m up for mother of the year.

Second, I need to rest and recuperate after all that my body has been through. I need to nurse in peace and quiet. I need to watch daytime tv in the same sweatshirt I’ve worn for three days in a row with my son asleep on my shoulders, and not feel guilty about that. I need his scent to linger with me, long after I’ve put him down to sleep. I need to be able to shower without someone screaming at me to find Mother Goose Club on the iPad.

Last, my daughter needs her routine. She needs her friends and her teachers. She needs to play and paint and count and sing. She needs all of those things she would not be getting at home with me right now. She doesn’t need to hear, “Mommy’s hands are busy” more times than she already does.

 

After 7 weeks, Ryan and I are slowly settling into a routine. He is beginning to sleep longer stretches at night (wahoo). He has periods of quiet alertness during the day where he enjoys just watching me and looking around. He rarely fusses (fingers crossed). He is a great eater, and is up to 11 lbs! He smiles a lot at us, especially his big sister, which she loves.

And I’m beginning to feel more like myself…slowly. I’ve finally begun working out again and eating clean (more on that later). I’ve started to lose some of the baby weight. I’ve been wearing something other than my same gray sweatshirt, although I’m still only wearing yoga pants. I’ve put on makeup a few times.

Chloe is happy and excited to go to school each day which makes mornings so much more enjoyable. She is also showing signs of wanting to potty train (yikes). She helps bathe Ryan at night and sings to him. She gives him kisses whenever she can.

My two babies, I hope you know how much you are loved. You are so loved.

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Squishy man and Chloe Bear, first day home as brother and sister.

My Favorite Nursing Accessory

I just recently discovered Cover Me Ponchos, and they are something that every nursing Mom needs! I was never one to nurse in public until I discovered Cover Me Ponchos. I avoided leaving the house when I was nursing Chloe for fear that I would have to stop and feed her in the Nordstrom bathroom or on a park bench. But it’s much harder to avoid leaving the house with your second kid, so I sucked it up and purchased a Cover Me Poncho for nursing Ryan. Best decision I have made! I recently wore it when we had friends over for dinner.

I’m not a fan of the traditional nursing covers – they are stiff and heavy, and make the baby (and Mom) hot and sweaty. The Cover Me Poncho is the exact opposite. It’s light weight, stretchable, breathable, and does not look at all like a nursing cover. I’ve actually had a few people ask me where I got it when I was wearing it as a poncho. The Cover Me Ponchos come in lots of colors and patterns, and 2 sizes, making them super versatile. There are also multiple uses for them.

It can be worn as a poncho:

I am wearing the “plus” size because I wanted the extra length. Great post-partum wear!

It can be used as a nursing cover:

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It can be used as a car seat cover:

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And it can be used as a mini blanket for your baby:

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Purchase your Cover Me Poncho here!

 

Pink and Purple Everything

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Pink Top / Striped Leggings (old, similar here) / Purple Hunters / Bow (old, similar here)

Chloe is becoming a very opinionated two year old. Don’t pour her water into the wrong cup – trust me on this one. These days her style is all about pink and purple EVERYTHING. You can often find Chloe enjoying a pink cake pop from Starbucks. Although, she will settle for chocolate if they need to “buy new” pink ones. She will also only eat pink or purple fruit pouches. Her Grandma had a good laugh at Chloe carrying a large purple bag of prunes around the grocery store.

On this day, I told her to go upstairs and pick out her clothes, and this is what she chose. She was also very excited to pose for these pictures.

You can see more of Chloe dressing herself, and her purple striped leggings here.

Next stop, potty training! 🙂

 

What a Weekend

This post comes from a hard green chair in my son’s hospital room, as I keep watch like a hawk, that I haven’t moved from in 48 hours.

As a mom, there is no worse feeling than when your child is sick. You feel completely helpless. When your child is admitted to the hospital, it’s a whole other story. Your world stops.

It started with a little cough on Tuesday. By Wednesday, you could tell Ryan wasn’t feeling up to par. He was coughing a lot, and he was uncomfortable. Each cough made him cry, and getting him to eat was a challenge…that was a huge red flag for me.

I was able to get Ryan to eat about 1 oz around 8pm, and then I put him down to bed. He woke up around 12:30, soaking wet everywhere. He had thrown up all over himself. I cleaned him up, fed him again, and about 20 minutes later he threw up all over again. And I mean everywhere. After we cleaned him up, and couldn’t rouse him from sleep, we called the pediatrician around 3:30 am who told us to go to the ER. So at 4:00 am we headed to the hospital for our first ever middle of the night ER visit. There they tested him for flu and RSV – both were negative, and he wasn’t running a fever so they sent us home with strict instructions to come back if a fever of 100.4 develops. Infants don’t usually have high fevers because they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight infections yet. Because infants can’t fight infections, a diagnosis of fever is almost always a hospital stay (including x-rays, spinal tap, blood and urine cultures) to determine what is causing the infection and provide supportive care.

Ryan spent most of Thursday in a sleepy state. Sometimes he would cry out in his sleep or cough but I couldn’t get him fully alert. He also hadn’t eaten, and you could tell he was becoming dehydrated. I took his temp around 1:30 when I noticed he was feeling warm, and got the dreaded 100.4 reading. Our pediatrician sent us immediately back to the ER.

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(Waiting patiently in the ER)

We spent about 4 hours in the ER, where it took 2 different teams of NICU nurses to successfully inset his IV (he was so dehydrated). He got X-rays, they put a catheter in, checked his temperature and oxygen levels numerous times, and after 3 failed attempts at the spinal tap, they finally gave up. Our poor little guy was so brave. He had lost his voice so his little cry was barely a squeak. I cried a few times during all of this and had to leave the room.

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(Sound asleep for X-rays)

They decided to admit us for observation and supportive care as is protocol in a baby less than 60 days old. Seeing our little man hooked up to tubes and wires in a hospital bed broke my heart. It was hard to hold him with all of his tubes, and his back was sore from the attempts at the spinal tap. He wanted to cry but had no voice.

By Friday, with the help of IV fluids, he had started to perk up a little. His eyes weren’t so sunken, his face had some color to it, and he was slowly starting to want to eat again. We found out that this time, he tested positive for RSV. We had a sign on our hospital door; we were put in “Containment Isolation”, and everyone who entered need to wear a gown and gloves. It all seemed very scary but at least we were starting to get some answers as to what was causing all of this.

Ryan mostly slept. He would wake long enough to nurse for 10 minutes, and grunt and groan a little.

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(Brave, sleepy boy)

By Saturday afternoon, his IV was stopped to see how he would do without the extra fluids. We anxiously awaited results to see if we could go home.

At 5 pm they had good news for us. Ryan’s test results were negative…we could go home! And it was pretty amazing how much better Ryan seemed once we got home – smiling, eating.

Unfortunately, we were discharged just in time for Chloe to start running a high fever. Oy vey. On to the next one…

 

 

Our First Walk

Bring sun, and temperatures in the 40’s to the Arctic and the coats come off, the shorts come out. That was the situation yesterday. I, for one, was not hardcore enough for shorts but it definitely felt spring-like. It was time to take Ryan for his first walk.

I have not been given the green light from my doctor to start working out yet but she did tell me I could start walking and doing light abdominal work. I have 10 lbs to lose to get back to my pre-baby weight. Ideally, I’d like to lose 15 but I’d be happy with 10. To ease back into it, I’m going to start by walking 2 miles/day. I’m also doing planks and light ab work to strengthen my pelvic floor (more on that later). I’m still dealing with some postpartum back/hip pain, and just started seeing a chiropractor. Fingers crossed that I am back to normal in a few weeks and ready to start running again.

I gained more weight with Ryan than I would have liked. With Chloe I gained 23 lbs. With Ryan, I stopped looking at the scale once I passed the 30 lb mark at around 38 weeks. I’m not exactly sure why I gained more. It was definitely more difficult to workout with the 2nd pregnancy (exhaustion, pelvic pressure), and I felt a lot sicker for more of it (think: bread, bread, and more bread). 

For our walk, I bundled Ryan in this Gap quilted one-piece (old, similar here). I absolutely love my Bob stroller, and use it all the time for walking and jogging. The wheels are rubber and air which makes for a super smooth ride. The front wheel swivels nicely, and really helps makes turns easier when jogging. It’s really easy to pop the car seat in and out of it when the baby is tiny with the car seat attachment. I also kept Ryan warm and snug with the JJ Cole car seat cover.

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We recently purchased a Phil and Ted’s double stroller but have not used it yet. I love that it was voted “Safest Double Stroller” and that it is compact. It seriously folds up so small! It also has a smooth ride (although I don’t think anything can beat the Bob). I’ve heard that people jog with it because of the air and rubber tires but you are not supposed to…

My happy boy slept our entire walk. I enjoyed the sun and fresh air on my path through the woods. I did not enjoy pushing a stroller through snowmelt – mud, mud, and more mud. But it felt great to get up and out and moving again! I had so much more energy for the rest of the day – I cleaned, did some laundry, organized Chloe’s room…much more productive than sitting on the couch waking reruns of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and writing this blog 😉

I’m also excited to start the 21 Day Fix with some new moms in a few weeks. Need some motivation to lose the baby weight? Join us here!