Family, Traveling

“I think breastfeeding is GREAT! But only if…”

“I’m all for breastfeeding, but only if…”

No, stop right there.

If you find yourself telling a breastfeeding mother that you believe in breastfeeding, but ONLY:

  • If she covers up
  • If she does it away from everyone
  • If she is sitting on a public toilet hiding away
  • If she stops when the baby has teeth
  • If she stops when the baby reaches x weeks/months/ years old

… then I shouldn’t have to say that you are NOT actually for breastfeeding.

The only thing worse than someone that is against the most natural thing on the planet… the thing God designed our bodies to do– feed our babies– is someone that acts like they’re okay with breastfeeding (or worse, tells everyone they support it), but has all kinds of stipulations and fine print associated with their statements.

I’m in complete awe over the lack of education and support in America in 2018. I really thought we would’ve gotten it together by now. I’ve had blankets thrown over my baby’s head while he’s eating, all because someone else has felt uncomfortable. What’s the shame in him eating? If I had a bottle of formula in my hand, would you still throw a hot, heavy blanket over him on a sunny day, putting him in the dark and away from fresh air and seeing his mom’s face, all because you feel what we are doing is obscene and pornographic? What if I told you this was a woman that did this wholeheartedly believes she was supporting me and insists that she believes breastfeeding is great? This was after asking if I would rather sit on a public toilet and lock the stall door because everyone else was eating and I was “making a scene”.
Would you like to eat your lunch in a public bathroom or with a blanket over your head? I didn’t think so.

To all mothers and caregivers: do not be hesitant to feed your baby. Breast or bottle, in public or private, feed and comfort your baby. You do not need to cover up or hide away, unless YOU want to. Don’t let someone that “feels uncomfortable” stop you from giving your little one exactly what you know they need.
Mamas, please feed your babies WHATEVER you want, HOWEVER you want, WHENEVER you want, and WHEREVER you want, for AS LONG AS YOU WANT. You know what is best for your child.
The law is on your side, and no one can make you stop because they feel uncomfortable. Let’s be brave, encourage each other, and educate those around us of the many wonderful benefits of nursing our babies to normalize the beautiful art that is breastfeeding.

These (unedited) photos were taken by my supportive husband on our first vacation as a family of three, when Ben was 6 months old. We had just hiked the steepest mountain I’d ever been on, and the view from the top was breathtaking. It was incredibly hot and Ben was getting hungry, so I decided to skip the cover, even though there were people all around. The confidence I felt after a difficult hike and giving my son the healthiest, most natural food for him, with a view like that, was invigorating. When a woman nearby saw us and smiled, telling me what I was doing was beautiful, I felt so proud. Someone could’ve easily ruined that memory for me right then and there, but thanks to her encouraging words, I’ll never forget that moment.

The happiest baby is a FED baby! 🙂

Cooking, Family, Health

My Favorite Dairy-Free Snacks (& treats)

Happy Monday!

Brandon left for a work trip early this morning, which leaves me at home in chilly January with a wild little toddler!  We wanted to go with him, but since he was only going to be gone for 5 days, spending the money on a flight, rental car, and to board our dog didn’t make sense.  We are a little sad, but trying to make the most of it!

Saturday, I went to my mailbox to find a care package from a lady I met a few weeks ago.  She was asking if anyone had any extra breastmilk they would be able to donate for her twin granddaughters coming into town from out of state for the holidays.  I am very thankful to be able to produce enough milk for Ben plus enough for our freezer, in case of emergencies.  As our breastfeeding journey continues, I haven’t needed to dip into the stash very much (and he prefers getting his milk from the tap!), so I’ve been able to give it to (now) 4 babies that also need it.  It brings me so much joy to be able to do so.  Anyway, this care package was unexpected, but included a kind thank you note, a photo of the adorable little babies, and a roller of an essential oil mix that she called, “Happy Mama”.  It smells so pretty and I’ve been using it to help me relax while he is gone.  It really does make me feel calmer, and knowing how much they appreciated my milk makes my heart smile so big!  I love nothing more than unexpectedly showing true gratitude.  I could tell she genuinely appreciated the gift when she came to pick it up, but this gesture went above and beyond, making my whole week.

Today is a rainy one, so we have decided to stay in our jammies and spend lots of time snuggling while Dad is gone.  Ben takes after me in his love of snacks, which I’ve stocked up on for this week!  Dairy unfortunately upsets Ben’s belly, so we have cut out snacks and treats with butter, milk, and cheese from both of our diets, since it travels through my breastmilk to him. It was a little tough to remove dairy from my life.  I’ve ALWAYS enjoyed milk, cheesy/buttery meals, ice cream, yogurt, and milk chocolate.  You don’t realize how many things contain dairy until you start looking at labels.  The good news is that it has gotten significantly easier.  I have found so many dairy-free and vegan treats that I have found to taste similar, or even better, to their COWnterparts (get it?).  Since so many people I know have babies with sensitivities like Ben, or are realizing the adverse effects of dairy and are adapting to the dairy-free lifestyle like me, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my favorite snacks and treats that contain zero dairy (and SOY)!

SNACKS

  • LÄRABAR has been a favorite of mine since before Ben came around!  They have over 20 flavors with minimal ingredients, are all natural, and are individually packaged, making them super convenient for diaper bags and purses.  I always have one with me!

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  • Nuts are another great, natural treat.  My husband’s favorite are the mixed assorted nuts from Aldi.  They are perfectly salted and contain lots of healthy fats and some protein.  I keep a little container of them in my car while I’m running errands so my hunger doesn’t get the best of me and lead to bad decisions (I see you, Chick Fil-A!).

Specially Selected Deluxe Mixed Nuts with Sea Salt

  • Apples seem like such an obvious choice, but I have a new appreciation for an organic apple, sliced, with a little peanut butter.  Sometimes, I’ll put the slices on a plate, sprinkle them with cinnamon, and will warm them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.  It tastes so much like apple pie without all the added sugar!  Bonus: Ben loves them too!
  • I came across THESE Maple Walnut & Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins from Healthy Life Redesign when I was looking for a healthy snack for our vacation last summer.  I made them for hiking snacks, and Brandon and I devoured them all!  They are totally amazing and provided us with a lot of much-needed energy to hike with our 6 month old in the mountains along The Blue Ridge Parkway, and didn’t come with any guilt or a sugary crash later on.  I’ve made them several times sense, and they never last long!

 

TREATS

  • Theo Peanut Butter Cups are my newest obsession!  Reeses are made with milk chocolate and lots of added chemicals I don’t want to consume.  These guys are organic, vegan, fair trade, and are shaped like hearts (which I’m totally convinced makes ANYTHING taste better!).  They are the perfect treat without being too indulgent.

Image result for theo peanut butter cups

  • SO Delicious Dairy Free Bars are also so incredible.  It’s so difficult to find a treat to satisfy my sweet tooth that doesn’t taste really coconut-ty or contain dairy or soy.  For the times you want to totally indulge, these are perfect and creamy.  SO Delicious has several flavors of treats I can’t wait to try, but these double chocolate ones are my favorite!

Double Chocolate Delight

  • “Nice Cream” is what I call the dairy free ice cream I make at home that is so healthy and yummy!  I peel a few ripe bananas (the more ripe they are, the sweeter they will be), break them into 3 or 4 pieces each, and pop them in the freezer.  When you are ready for a treat, take them out of the freezer, put them in your blender or food processor (I have a Ninja chopper that does a perfect job), add a little almond or cashew milk, and blend!  I’ve also made this with cocoa powder and peanut butter powder to make different flavors, depending on my mood, but it’s so good as is.  My picky husband wasn’t sure he’d like it, but when I gave him a bite of mine one day, he ended up finishing the whole bowl!
  • Chocolate chip cookies are one of my all-time favorites.  But with all the butter in the usual recipe, I can no longer enjoy them like I’d like.  I found THIS recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron on Pinterest and have made them many times.  Not only are they dairy and soy free, but they are gluten free and low in sugar, as well.  No funky chemicals here.  When made with dairy-free chocolate chips like Enjoy Life brand, you can enjoy a few after dinner without the guilt!  I’ve made them as stated and also as double chocolate by omitting the cinnamon and adding cocoa powder.

I’m always looking for healthy and yummy treats for Ben and I to enjoy.  Do you have any favorites I should try?  I’d love to hear what you think about these ones!

Health, Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolutions (2018)

Even though it’s so predictable, I try to set resolutions at the start of every new year. For the sake of not sounding so cliché, let’s call them goals.

I know a lot of people hate these things. The way I see it, there is a brand new year unfolding in front of you. This year, that also happened to be a new week, as well. There’s something so refreshing and invigorating about the new start that excites me to change my life. These changes, while often small, have led to some great habits that are now simply a new way of life for me. I never flossed until a few years ago (eww, I know, not my proudest confession), but thanks to a new years resolution (and one too many cavities at a dentist appointment 🙊), I can proudly say I haven’t skipped a day of flossing in over 2 years!

I am determined to make 2018 my best year yet. That says a lot, since 2017 was pretty darn amazing! Here are some of my goals for the new year.

  • Drink more water. I’m still nursing Ben, but I’m also now chasing him around the house! Both require more water consumption, but I also feel much better when I’m hydrated.
  • Read more books. Ben’s little brain has been like a sponge lately, and he’s learning something remarkable every day. I want to make time to read out loud to him everyday.
  • Be more mindful.  I want to spend less time in front of a screen and more time with my family, making memories, and spending time in more meaningful ways.  I think this is my biggest goal for the year.
  • Juice and/or salad every day.  I am trying to also make this year my healthiest one yet.  Brandon and I bought a juicer and have been juicing organic produce in it nearly every day.  We are trying to eat more of a plant-based diet, and this is definitely a delicious way to fill our bodies with healthy micronutrients!
  • Daily devotions/prayer/meditation.  It’s so easy to wake up and become quickly engulfed in everything going on around us.  All too often, the first things we hear in our day after checking social media or turning on the news is that something terrible has happened in the crazy world we live in.  I find I get so caught up in it all and often find myself stressed and anxious.  There’s no need for that when just a few quiet moments with deep breathing and God are all I need to set my mind straight and have an amazingly brighter day.

I’m working toward becoming a better ME in 2018.  Have you set some goals for yourself for the new year?  I’d love to hear about them!

Family

Self Love for Mamas

Today’s post is about self love. They say you can’t pour from an empty glass. As a new mom, I’m realizing more everyday just how important this is. So many new moms I hear talk about how they don’t have time to take a shower or even brush their teeth, but I think it’s more important to take care of yourself now as a fulltime caregiver than it ever has been.

I’ve been working on eating healthier, working out, and pampering myself more routinely. As a result, I feel more beautiful and powerful than ever, which is helping me to be able to take care of my family like they deserve. It’s so important to make yourself a top priority. On a strict budget and being more sleep-deprived, some days may feel like taking care of yourself is the last thing on your mind and the least important part of your day. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve included a few simple ways that you can take show yourself some love today without breaking the bank.

  • Face mask– Pinterest has so many great ideas for natural, homemade masks!
  • Mani/pedi at a salon or in your bathroom
  • Read a magazine or book
  • Deep breathing– even 5 minutes of slow, peaceful breaths can slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and calm your mind.
  • Prayer always helps me feel better and brings me back to remember what matters.
  • Working out after your doctor gives you the okay. Start slow!
  • Stretching– try it with your little one!
  • Writing in a journal, a blog, or a book of the day’s events. I use THIS book and recommend it to all of my mom friends. I make it a point to take 5 minutes every night before I fall asleep and jot down the adorable things Ben did or said that day. I know I will love looking back on it in 5 years from now, because I already do (and I’m super sentimental like that). It also makes a great gift!
  • Go for a walk solo or with the stroller. I like to bring a bottle of water, put some good music on my phone, and explore my neighborhood! Apps like My Runkeeper can help you set goals and see how far you’ve gone in one day, week, and even the whole year!
  • A warm bath treating yourself to a new bath bomb or a good smelling soap will make you feel like a new woman!
  • A cup of coffee or glass of wine, which, contrary to what you’ve heard, are both totally fine for breastfeeding moms! No need to dump that liquid gold after all!
  • Call a friend, your sister, mom, even an old college roommate. Catching up with someone that makes you smile is sure to lift your spirits.
  • Go on a date with you husband. Don’t have a babysitter? Most of my dates with Brandon involve Ben (we’ve only been away from him once, for about 2 hours, in his whole first year of life!), but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Making memories as a family is what I love for, and going somewhere to eat means I don’t have to cook, clean, or do the dishes after, especially with my favorite people, which ALWAYS rejuvenates my spirits!

These are some of my favorite ways to fill my glass back up. What do you do to make sure your mama heart is cared for?

Happy Sunday, Friends!

Family

Twelve Days of Christmas

 

*I just found this post from almost 4 years ago that I never hit “publish” on!  With it being December 8th, I thought it would be a perfect time to post this festive post to help you show some love to your favorite person!  Funny how life changes, and how sweet it is to look back on how things have changed over the years.  I’m excited to do this again with my little man when he is a little older.  Merry Christmas, everyone!*

Happy New Year!

The chaos and enchantment of the Christmas season has left us so soon.  It seems like we have all spent months planning, weeks worth of paychecks, days wrapping, and hours in the kitchen preparing for Christmas, and it leaves so suddenly.  Now we are all conflicted with wondering when to take down our lights and trees that have been warmly glowing our homes since Thanksgiving.

This year, I didn’t want it to seem so short, so I gave my husband a series of twelve gifts, one for each day before Christmas Eve.  I started on December 12th with the “first day”, and ended on the “twelfth day”, which fell on Christmas Eve.  Each day, he was surprised with a small gift hidden and wrapped around the house for when he woke up.  Some of those days, our dog, Jack, would deliver them to him bright and early.  Other days, he found the gifts in the refrigerator, on his night stand, or even in plain sight.  It was not only exciting for him, wondering what the next gift would be or where he could find it, but it was thrilling for me to watch him open the gifts, even though I knew what they were.

Each day of Christmas had a gift theme that coordinated with that day’s number, and were labeled with a tag that read: “On the ____ day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”.  I quickly realized how expensive that could become on the later days, like 11 or 12, but I was creative enough to keep it inexpensive, while still giving him something he would enjoy.  Some days were more expensive than others, and some gifts were larger than others.  Nevertheless, I think he liked them all, and I still left him a few larger gifts to open on Christmas Day.

Here is a breakdown of the twelve days of Christmas in the Pospisil House:

1- Carton of eggnog (He had been craving some, and I thought it was the perfect start to our Christmas-y festivities.)  This day happened to fall on the day after his last final exam of the toughest semester he has ever had, which I believe made it better.  He found it in the fridge when he was making breakfast (hense the bedhead and sleepy eyes!).

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2- Two Twix bars. This was a smaller gift, but it’s one of Brandon’s favorite chocolate bars.

3- Pair of boxers.  His favorite kind.  You can never have too many.

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4- Tubes of ChapStick.  Also his favorite kind, since he is kinda picky, but they always seem to go missing.  I figured having four of them would last awhile.

5- $5 Gift card.  He loves Taco Bell, and $5 there goes a long way.

6- 6 Chocolate chip cookies.  These lasted one sitting, but were delicious with a big glass of milk!

7- “It’s your lucky day!” 7 scratch-off lottery tickets– he won $11! Wooh!

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8- Season 8 DVD of ‘How I Met Your Mother’.  Our favorite show!  We haven’t missed an episode, and can now say we have every season to watch whenever we want!

9- Breakfast in bed. I will admit that as the numbers got higher, it required a little more creativity.  I was challenged by number 9 and couldn’t think of anything (but I’d love to hear your ideas!), so I surprised Brandon by making him breakfast and delivering it to him as he woke up.  He loved the sweet surprise!

10- A trip to our local ice rink. Our town park transforms into a beautiful ice rink every winter.  The tickets are super cheap at only $5 each, making for an inexpensive ($10!) and fun date night; much needed after a stressful semester.

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11- A new CD. One of our favorite bands has a new CD out that I’ve convinced Brandon we don’t need (of course, we DO need it, but I didn’t want him buying himself anything this close to Christmas!).  It happens to have ELEVEN songs on it.  Perfect for day 11!

12- A dozen reasons I love you.  Okay, this may seem a little cheesy, but I wrote a Christmas card for him and in it was a list of 12 reasons I love him.  Christmas season or not, I believe an important part of a healthy marriage is always reminding your person that they are perfect for you and making them feel loved every day.

Christmas and the end of the year is the perfect time to start new traditions and reflect on the past.  I hope this post has inspired you and has shown that it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make someone feel like they matter.  Brandon let me know that he certainly felt loved with this thoughtful gesture, and I think I will be making this a fun new tradition, now that we are married.

Will you be starting new traditions this year?  I’d love to hear about them!

Family

9 Things They Don’t Tell You

(‘Birth and Being a New Mother’ Edition)

As a new mama, I’m learning all the time. You can read all the books & blogs you want, but until you actually experience it for yourself, you will be caught by surprise and will have many unexpected adventures.

Here are a few things I wish someone would’ve mentioned to me before having a baby.
1. The doctor isn’t there for most of labor.

In movies and shows, as soon as you start to push, the Dr comes in and is there for it all. Not real. Your nurses will be by your side through it all. You push with them. They are the ones you lean on. I pushed for about an hour and a half, and even saw Ben’s head for at least 20 minutes, before the doctor arrived, swooping in to “save the day”. He was gone again as quickly as he arrived. Lean on your nurses. Tell them what you need, how you are feeling, and ask them any questions you may have.

2. You don’t need the classes.

When you’re pregnant, you’ll find that everyone talks about breastfeeding classes, birthing classes, Lamaze classes, etc. Save your time money. I recommend taking a tour of the birthing center or hospitals you are interested in giving birth at, but for the same reasons as number 1, your nurses will teach you all you need to know about breastfeeding, breathing and pushing during labor, how to swaddle your baby, and everything in between. When asked by my OB what classes I would be taking, I nervously told him I wasn’t going to take any, expecting a lecture.  It was very comforting when he told me he was happy to see a first-time mom that made this decision (for the very reason I mentioned!). Save your hard-earned cash for diapers, and skip the classes.

3. Breastfeeding HURTS.

Breastfeeding is so beautiful. But for many women, it’s also so painful that it literally makes your toes curl. You will tear up, if not completely cry your eyes out. But it’s not just your nipples– you have contractions for the first few days every time you nurse, which causes you to bleed more. It’s like you’re in labor again, while your uterus contracts to shrink back to normal size. Yes, breastfeeding is beautiful, but for the first few days, you’ll want to give up and crawl in a hole and cry.  There are a few lucky women out there that don’t have this issue.  But if you aren’t one of them (like me), my biggest advice is to stick with it. It’ll get much easier and less painful before you know it, and it’s totally worth it.

4. The nurses get very… personal.

Every few hours for the first couple days, your nurses will come in and check you. They will check your bleeding while pushing on your swollen, sore belly. It’s uncomfortable, yes, but after what you just went through, you aren’t shy about letting anyone see you do anything. Housekeeping even saw my boobs on at least one occasion (true story). If your nurses are as wonderful as mine were, they will give you privacy while still making sure to do their normal checks.  So if they aren’t there when something important or out-of-the-ordinary happens, make sure to let them know right away.

5. Night sweats.

I had never read about these being completely normal post-partum, so when it happened to me, I thought our house was too warm and turned down our thermostat… in December (my poor COLD husband!). You’ll wake up pouring sweat for the first couple weeks and will just feel SO gross, like you’ve never needed a shower more… every. single. morning. It’s due to the extra water your body retained during pregnancy, which means that, unfortunately, you’ll just have to sweat it out.  Try to avoid deodorants with antiperspirant, which prevent your body from releasing the sweat that it need to. Thankfully, it’s only temporary, but it makes every shower feel like a spa day, so enjoy the sweet (and rare) few moments of quiet!

6. The first poop.

*TMI ALERT* The first time you have to poop after having a baby, you’ll feel like you’re giving birth to a bag of glass shards wrapped in barbed wire. A warning about this would’ve been nice, although you can drink gallons of water and take all the stool softeners you want; it won’t matter. It’s inevitable. I was sitting on the toilet crying and feeling bad that my husband was going to find me dead on the toilet and would have to raise our brand new son alone (my postpartum hormones made me overreact a tad). Sorry, no advice here. Just know this is how it will be for a little while. Thankfully, this too gets better with time. STAY HYDRATED!

7. “Just sleep when the baby sleeps.”

Looking back, I wish I would’ve done this more, since this is probably the number 2 advice every mother gave me when they saw my growing bump.  However, my hormones were still crazy and I was irrationally nesting and cleaning EVERYTHING.  I seriously couldn’t sit still, which caused my post-partum healing to take a lot longer than it should have. But your opportunity to get anything done means doing it when the baby sleeps. If you’re one of those people that has lots of help, bless your heart. Otherwise, use the baby sleeping as your opportunity to get things done, while still sleeping when you can. Forget this old saying and try to aim for as much sleep as you can while still maintaining your sanity.  But be a little extra forgiving with yourself, Mama. Everyone will understand if you’re a few loads behind on laundry or have some dishes in the sink.  Sleep is important, too.

8. You will be judged.

Being a new mom is hard and confusing and scary, but that doesn’t mean everyone and their brother won’t have something to say about every thing you do. I experienced this during pregnancy. I was always “too big” while being “too small” and “I didn’t start showing as early as you” or “wow, I’m glad I never had morning sickness”. Everyone will make you feel like there must be something wrong with you or your baby, so by the time your baby is born, you’re probably used to people giving their unsolicited advice. I was told everything from, “your baby shouldn’t be cross-eyed and will need surgery to fix it” (newborns go cross-eyed because they are trying to focus their undeveloped eyes on something. Totally normal.) to “well, my baby was already *insert verb* by that age” (milestones vary and are not exact for all babies.), or “I lost all my baby weight by the time I left the hospital”. Everyone will also add that their niece/ nephew/ sister/ son/ uncle was a bigger/ stronger/ better baby that only ate from the breast of their glistening, organic, grass-fed, unicorn-of-a-mother, and that that’s clearly the only option for your child because, well, why not? Listen, motherhood is hard enough without the extra judgement. Let’s all realize that each parent knows what’s best for their own baby, and that advice shouldn’t be given to a pregnant woman or new mother without her asking. Be nice. Tell her she looks wonderful and that she’s doing a great job.

9. This is the best adventure you will ever go on.

Okay, you’ve probably heard this one. But in all honesty, being a parent is the most amazing experience one could ever have, and you can’t even begin to comprehend the love you will have for such a small person until you are holding them in your arms. There’s nothing like it. It is rare that your days will be easy or perfect, but try to take it all in. Soak up that newborn smell, take lots of pictures, and try to remember that while the days may seem long, the years will go quickly.

Do you have any advice for expecting mothers? Feel free to post below!

Uncategorized

It’s Been Awhile

It has been years since my last post, but after much thought and a few large life changes, I’ve decided to get back into blogging.

2016 was a fantastic year for my husband and I.

February – we went on the trip of a lifetime to Italy

March- we paid off all of our student loans, and I was officially down 20 lbs!

April- we found out we were pregnant!

May- I turned 24, and we celebrated 8 years together

June- we remodeled our kitchen

July- we found out our baby is a healthy little boy!

August – Brandon turned 25, and we celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary

September- we became godparents and built a new fireplace

October- we bought me a new car, went on a baby moon to Maine, and had my beautiful baby shower

November – we built a crossfit gym in our garage, and I FINALLY finished my mammography requirements

December- we welcomed a perfect little baby boy!

We also welcomed 4 new neices & nephews, went to countless celebrations (my parents celebrated 30 years of marriage!), and made so many wonderful memories along the way.

I’m not the same girl I was in 2013 when I began this blog. I’m excited to talk about my adventures in marriage, motherhood, homeownership, money saving, travel, and fitness with you.  I’ve got SO much to say, and I hope you’ll let me know what you want to hear from me!

Happy spring!