Some Things I’m Really Loving

Finances:

You Need a Budget – we’re now going on 5 years of using this wonderful resource. It has helped us as we navigated poverty/low income, medical expenses, two huge cross-country moves, three new kids, and our everyday life and future goals. (Use the link for a FREE month of YNAB!)

Turbo Tax – we no longer have 1099’s requiring CPA help, just 2 W-2’s and simple finances. This makes taxes really easy.

Fitness:

Studio Bloom – this is THE MOST thorough and AMAZING postpartum program I have ever committed to (I’ve tried two other programs, and I also went through 6 months of pelvic floor physical therapy). I finished their Core Foundations series, and now I’m on Week 5 of their coREHAB series. They also have prenatal programs.

Homeschooling:

Our Preschool Life – this is such an amazing help and resource for me. I work full time from home without any childcare help (my husband does so much for me in the mornings and evenings so we can make this work), and so having this homeschool help is wonderful. I love how there aren’t any lesson plans, just simple ideas and activities I can add into my day with the kids (I have 3-year-old twin boys and a 1-year-old girl). Each month we receive a box of new supplies, books, resources/ideas, and then throughout the month, we receive many additional digital resources. This is a Charlotte Mason inspired resource, and the price runs us around $59 per month for a subscription for two kids.

I was really hesitant about the cost initially, but we live minimally, don’t buy toys or clothes often, and so, we’ve been able to make this cost a reality for us. Our main goals for our kids right now, foremost, are free play and outside time (I love the Nordic view on preschool and early childhood education); and secondary to that, I love sprinkling in reading, singing, crafts, rhymes/poems, games, etc. from this subscription.

Personal:

The Libby app and my Kindle – I can check out books through my phone, and then read them on my kindle. They also have audiobooks.

The Legacy Scripture Reading Plan – there are no set readings for each day. Instead, it has set books for each month and a set number of Proverbs and Psalms for each week. With this plan, I don’t get overwhelmed with reading or “checking off” multiple verses for each day. It flows really well with me, and I love focusing on one book at a time.

Work:

Andy Beverly Insurance School – I’m currently taking an online certification course, and I’m absolutely loving it.

Accounting Coach – I’ve always wanted to gain a better understanding of accounting, financial, and bookkeeping concepts, and this resource is stunning.

Newborn Essentials

All babies are different and different things work for different babies. I highly recommend starting out with minimal supplies, and to then modify and purchase items as time goes on and as you find what works best for you and your baby. Babies really and truly don’t need that much! In the words of my husband, “Really, all you really need are a bed of some sort, diapers, wipes, backpack, a few blankets, and onesies. Everything else is extra.”

For bathtime:
Body wash
Hooded towels (1-2)
Washcloths
Baby bathtub – not essential, but if you find yourself giving your baby a lot of baths then this will be helpful.

For bedtime:
Crib
Crib mattress
Crib sheets
Crib mattress protectors
White noise machine
Cotton or muslin swaddles – not essential, but it was nice to have these on hand and see if my babies would be “swaddle babies”. None were, so I was then able to use these swaddles as blankets/burp cloths. If it was a different story and they loved being swaddled, *then* I would have purchased the more expensive swaddle products (like velcro swaddle wraps, sleep blankets, etc.).
Baby blanket – you won’t be putting blankets in the baby’s crib, but it’s nice to snuggle baby with a blanket, and you can even use it for laying baby down on the floor for play time.

For cleaning:
Unscented, natural laundry detergent
Natural stain remover

Other things:
A swing and/or bouncer
Pacifier – we never used pacifiers with our kiddos, but it was still nice to have on hand for just in case.

For clothing:
Set of onesies (size newborn, and 0-3 month)
Set of pajamas (size 0-3 month)
A newborn and/or 0-3 month hat and newborn socks
Clothing storage – right now, baby is in our room and her things are stored in a few of our dresser drawers. We’ll purchase a dresser or closet organization system for her when she moves out of our room.
Once baby is born and you know what size he/she is, then you can buy more clothing as needed. In all honesty, I use around 2 pajama outfits, 2-3 onesies, and 2 “nicer” outfits for each size my babies go through. I also do one load of laundry per day so this works quite well for us.

For diapering:
Diapers (size newborn, and size 1)
Wipes
Diaper cream
If you want to try cloth diapering and don’t know where to start, Green Mountain Diapers is a wonderful resource
A basket/organizer for diapers (this could be a basket or even a dresser drawer)
Changing pad – a fold-able, more “flat” pad is nice for changing baby anywhere: bed, floor, couch. I found that we didn’t need a changing table or a large changing pad at all.
Diaper pail – not essential (you can use a regular trash can), but I still found this helpful.

For feeding:
Set of bottles – good to have on hand, even if you find you’re able to exclusively breastfeed and don’t ever use them. I’ve heard great things about Comotomo baby bottles, and I currently have Avent glass bottles on hand.
Burp cloths
Nursing pillow – good to have on hand; I found that I didn’t need to use this for nursing, but it also works as a great pillow to prop your baby up on when doing tummy time.
You’ll find more breastfeeding and pumping resources on my postpartum essentials post here.

For getting around:
Stroller
Car seat with base
Carrier or wrap – not essential, and I have yet to even use one, but this is still great to have on hand even in the very beginning.
Diaper bag with travel changing kit

For health:
First aid kit
Nail file and/or clippers
Thermometer
Brush and comb
Outlet plug covers
Toothbrush

For mother:
Please see my postpartum essentials post here.

For play:
Start out with some simple toys for the newborn-three month age, then purchase items as time goes on.
I just found out about Lovevery and oh my goodness! I so wish I would have known about this before my kiddos were born.
A teether is great to have on hand from the very beginning.

Things to consider:
Will you have baby in another room right after he/she is born? Or do you live in a larger home? Then a baby monitor will be helpful.
Will you be traveling a lot with your baby? Then a pack and play or travel bassinet will be helpful.
Is it hard to fit a crib in your room? Then a bassinet or mini crib will work well until you move baby into a larger crib in the other room.

Helpful resources:
The Minimalist’s Baby Registry: What You Actually Need | Mother Mag
Reading My Tea Leaves – Newborn Essentials, Baby Clothes, A Simplified Diaper Bag
Babylist Guides – great for researching!

Postpartum Essentials

Items we deem as essential are very personal as everyone has different preferences. I had a c-section with my twins and exclusively pumped for 16 months; with my daughter, I had a natural delivery and I’m currently breastfeeding. Following are items that helped me immensely during the early postpartum period:

C-section:
Belly Bandit – really helpful in managing your c-section scar

Natural delivery:
Donut pillow
Peri bottle
Tucks medicated cooling pads
Perineal spray
Squatty potty

Pumping:
Pump
Pumping bottles of various sizes
Flanges
Pumping Bra
Nipple cream
Nursing pads
Nursing cover – for pumping on the go
Mason jars
Breast milk storage bags
Hot/cold packs

Pumping Resources:
Exclusive Pumping

Breastfeeding:
Manual pump
Nursing pads
Nipple cream
Nursing cover
Burp cloths

Breastfeeding Resources:
Kelly Mom
Schedule a consultation with a lactation consultant.

For mama:
Prenatal or postnatal vitamins
Large water bottle
Raspberry tea
Cranberry Juice
Lots of water and fiber – want to help your bowels!
Large comfy underwear
Comfortable nursing bras
Nursing tops
High waisted oversized pants and/or skirts
Nursing nightgowns
Bellefit – I’m actually reconsidering my thoughts on this being beneficial, as research is showing intra-abdominal pressure can wreak a lot of havoc on your body. I’ve never used this, personally.
Maxi pads – overnight, extra overnight
Small notebook or phone app to mark: feeding times (or pumping times and milk output), water intake, medication taken, diaper changes, etc.
Ibuprofen & stool softener (colate)
A Kindle – so nice to have and so easy to hold when breastfeeding!

Motherhood resources:
Motherly
Risen Motherhood
The Mama Notes
The Everymom
Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman
Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae
Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home by Gloria Furman

Things to be familiar with (It is good to be aware, and I don’t mean to frighten anyone – but normally you don’t hear about these things until it happens to you, and then you’re not sure what to do. As a reminder, always consult with your doctor):
C-section scars re-opening
Retained placenta
Endometritis
UTI’s
Pelvic organ prolapse – bladder, uterine, bowel
Postpartum blues, anxiety, and depression

Normal postpartum things to be familiar with (always consult with your doctor):
Normal lochia colors
Passing clots and normal/abnormal clot sizes
Leaking, constipation, and bowel movements after birthing
Perineum swelling/pain & bruising
Sore and stretched muscles & tendons after pushing a baby out
Vaginal laxity after pushing a baby out
Night sweats and shivering during the newborn phase
Gas pains
Postpartum hair loss

Pelvic health:
Discuss your pelvic floor health with your midwife at your postpartum checkup, and see if you can make an appointment with a pelvic floor specialist. Kegels, posture, and correct core engagement are really good things to work on.

Prenatal & Postnatal programs:
Mutu System
The Bloom Method
Restore Your Core
Hannah Bower The Functional Core
One Strong Mama
FemFusion Fitness
POP UP

Pelvic floor devices:
Pericoach – a kegel exercising device
Elvie – a kegel exercising device

Helpful Instagram accounts:
Get Mom Strong – Instagram account, pelvic floor & diastasis recti specialist
Our Fit Family Life – Instagram account, pelvic floor & diastasis recti specialist
Hannah Bower – CPT pre & postnatal, creator of The Functional Core listed above
The Bloom Method – helpful content in addition to their program listed above
Lauren Ohayon – creator of Restore Your Core listed under programs

Logistics:
Schedule an appointment with a pediatrician 3-5 days after the baby’s birth.
Schedule your postpartum appointment for 4-6 weeks after delivery unless you need to see your midwife sooner.
Know how to receive baby’s social security card and birth certificate.
Add the baby to your health insurance.
Add the baby to your life insurance policy.
Make sure your estate planning includes all of your children.
Always confirm medical bills with your insurance before paying.

Household:
Walmart Grocery Pickup – save $10 using this link
Paper plates, bowls, plasticware, garbage bags, & paper towels (sorry environment, but not having to wash as many dishes postpartum is SO nice)

Fertility Trackers:
The Buzziest New Advances in Fertility-Tracking Tech – a list of fertility trackers from Well and Good

Here are a few other articles about postpartum essentials:
10 ways postpartum mama can thrive in recovery – Motherly
Recovering from birth requires these 5 universal needs – for every woman
5 truths about postpartum recovery every woman should know – Motherly
20 Postpartum Essentials Every New Mom Needs – The Mama Notes
Postpartum Necessities – Katie Prouty
These Are the Biggest Postpartum Issues for Moms – The EveryMom
The Postpartum Things No One Warned Me About – The EveryMom
Baby Proof: Gifts for New Parents – Reading My Tea Leaves

And most importantly: REST

I know how hard it is to do this. I know. You have toddlers to take care of. A house. Bills to pay. Meals and snacks to prepare. Obligations. Chronic conditions or illnesses to manage. New postpartum emotions and changes. Doctors appointments to prepare for and drive to.

But if you’re in a position to take a leave of absence, please do so. And if you have any family who doesn’t have job obligations and are able to help many hours during the day – please ask them to do so. Rest. And enjoy your newborn.

We need to support mothers more. My dream is for every mom (and father) to one day have the support and means to take a full year of rest after having a newborn.

Wouldn’t that be absolutely wonderful?

a sweet girl

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I had an inkling that I was carrying a girl, but never wanted to say anything because I couldn’t quite compare this pregnancy to my first one, a twin pregnancy. But alas! We are having a sweet girl, Nienna Mary. Nienna, pronounced nee-en-uh, is a name both Jared and I adore and is from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion. Her middle name, Mary, is in honor of Jared’s great grandmother on his mother’s side. I am so excited for Beorn and Cirdan to have a little sister, and to see Jared with our daughter.

Here is a quick pregnancy update:

Cravings – peaches, berries, coffee, baked crispbread with swiss cheese and tomatoes

Due date – february 15, 2019

Wearing – swing dresses

Enjoying – yoga

Hallow’s Eve

 

  1. Two tier burlap happy halloween garland
  2. Fall lighted garland
  3. Decorative scary bats
  4. Halloween bat treat bag
  5. 45″ large halloween broom
  6. 16″ large harvest tobacco basket
  7. Black and red scary rose stems set of 2
  8. Vintage happy halloween garland
  9. Willow branch string lights
  10. Vintage halloween hanging poster kit set of 3
  11. Spiderweb dress with oversleeves

Simple, spooky halloween decor (as well as an alluring, mystical medieval costume).

This post includes affiliate links (on amazon linked items). I might earn a small commission on goods purchased through those links.