Lactation Bites

Lactation BitesHi, all!

After a nice long 16 weeks of maternity leave, I started back to work last month. Luckily, I get to work from home, but that can definitely get interesting with a baby along for the ride. I cut back my work hours to help manage it all, but that’s left little time for blogging still. I think eventually we will get into the swing of things over here, but for now, I’m barely keeping afloat with work and Henry! Does anyone have any tips or is it just one of those things that gets better as your kiddo gets older and requires less attention? Or does that just bring on a new set of challenges? Time will tell!

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Anyway, I don’t make much of anything from scratch in the kitchen anymore, but I have been making these Lactation Bites (or Boobie Balls, is what my husband calls them) all the time. Anything that requires minimal ingredients and no baking is a win in my book. When I started pumping to try and build a stash for times I’m away from Henry, I realized quickly that I definitely do not have an oversupply of breastmilk. How was I supposed to feed him AND have extra to save? After talking to a friend, she suggested making these bites to help build up my supply. I do think they help give me a little boost and I now have a small freezer stash of breastmilk which is a big victory in my book! There are a zillion different recipes for them out there, but I thought I’d share how I make them. The oatmeal and flaxseed are the two big important ingredients here in helping your supply.

lactation bites

 

  • 2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup flaxseed
  • 2/3 cup raw honey
  • Combine all in a bowl. Wet hands and roll into ball size of your choice. Set in fridge to cool!

Ta-da! That’s it! Believe it or not, I have messed these up. Sleep deprivation is SO real, my friends. Luckily, Henry has been sleeping through the night for the last month or so (::knock on wood::), so the world is becoming a little less blurry again. We are at about 5 months of exclusively breastfeeding, which I’m super proud of! Breastfeeding is something that I knew would have its challenges, but it’s so rewarding. I also feel very fortunate we’ve been able to go this long. Stay tuned for a blog post in the next month or so about our experience as I’m making the super tough decision to probably stop soon. Oh my goodness, I got teary-eyed typing that. Okay, more on that topic another time. Have a great week!

Xo, Anna

6 Tips for Online Dating

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Hi, guys! Happy Tuesday! So February is one of my favorite months because it’s just such a LOVE month.  Not only is there Valentine’s Day, but it’s also the month that Nick and I started dating AND got engaged (he would want me to tell you that it wasn’t all on the same day). Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, Nick and I actually met online! I know, crazy, right? I still can’t believe it. We always get a million questions after someone finds out. I’m pretty sure it’s because we are normal adults (kinda) and we found love on the internet. Online dating seems to have a negative stigma sometimes and it can be overwhelming, frustrating, but also very rewarding! It’s not for everyone but it is for you if you want a different way to meet people. It’s 2017 and we use technology for just about everything else, why not this? An algorithm gave Nick and I a 97% match. Mind. Blown. And my biggest reason you should try it is simple… What if it works!!!

Here are my 6 tips for a successful online dating experience:

  1. The username
    • You finally talked yourself into this and now you have to think of a username? Eek. Don’t stop here. Because I would constantly delete and remake a profile, I used a few different names. The last one that I used was song lyrics that I liked at the time. I was “LittleTalks” and it was one of my better ideas because it attracted people that liked the same music as me. Try thinking of a hobby or interest you like when coming up with a name.
  2. How to pick your profile photo
    • Use current photos! Catfishing is real, folks. You can ask Nick about his story. Thankfully, it never happened to me.
    • Don’t go overboard. Post one head shot, one body shot, and one with family/friends.
    • Keep your clothes on ladies and gents if you’re looking for the real deal.
  3. What to say about yourself
    • Don’t give everything away! This makes it easier to ask questions in messages so that you can get to know one another.
    • Be honest! I remember rolling my eye’s at Nick’s profile when reading that he taught his grandma how to golf, funny story… he actually did!
    • If you have a sense of humor, try to show it! If you’re serious, show it!
    • If there are questions offered from the dating service, answer them. This is how their algorithms work in finding you the best matches.
  4. Messages
    • Who messages who first? Blah, I know. If you’re interested show it, but be a little creative in your first impression. If you can sense their sensor of humor and you’re attracted to that, compliment it. If they are a foodie, ask what their favorite place to eat in the city is.
    • Don’t overthink it, just be yourself.
    • This is the point where it’s okay to be picky! If you met everyone you messaged with, you’d be very busy.
    • If you’re not interested at any point, let them know.
    • If you’re interested after some messaging, get their information for one of their social media accounts if it makes you feel more comfortable. No, this isn’t creepy, they shouldn’t have anything to hide. Add them on Facebook, that way they can see you’re somewhat normal too.
  5. Meeting
    • Are you still not sure about this whole online dating thing? I wasn’t either. Though I knew I was interested in Nick, the whole idea of meeting him was very intimidating. So I highly recommend Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, whatever to see each other’s faces and talk for a bit. This makes the first meeting feel so much more normal.
    • Don’t meet someone unless you are comfortable with it and genuinely want to meet them. This makes the whole experience way more fun!
    • Be smart! Go to a public place and tell a friend what you’re doing, ya know, just in case… or have your sister stalk you on the Find my Friends app (Heather!).
    • Grab a coffee or a cocktail. Don’t commit yourself to an entire meal or activity for the first time meeting. If cocktails lead into dinner, then perfect, things are going well!
  6. Happily ever after… or not… but maybe!
    • Be patient, your dream man or women isn’t always online waiting for your profile. It’s like real life dating still, you’re just using a website to help introduce you to people. If it doesn’t work out for you, at least you tried!

Are you considering online dating, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet? Here are some other things you should know:

  • Online dating can be like a second job. There’s a lot of people out there. If you’re serious about it, it can take a chunk of time to weed through the masses.
  • Do you want to wait until you meet someone in person? Yea, I did too. But, just do me a favor and keep in mind that when you meet someone at a bar you know nothing about them. When you meet someone from online, you at least know something about them! It should be less intimidating.
  • Try a free online dating website to see how you feel about it. There is no harm in canceling it.
  • You are going to see someone you know on the site, maybe even an ex… and maybe even your ex’s best friend who will message you. That’s a true story. But, get over it, everyone wants to find their love!

I want to conclude and give a special thank you to OkCupid for allowing me to find the man of my dreams!

Have you had success with online dating or not so much? What advice would you share?

XO, Anna

The Unknowns of Motherhood

The Unknowns of Motherhood

Where are my mama’s at? As I think about the last three months with Henry, I can’t help but giggle sometimes. I think about all the different things that nobody told me about having a little one. I’m not sure that I would’ve listened, cause ya know, preggo hormones, but still. Join me in finding some of the humor that is motherhood.

Nobody told me…

  1. The amount of lint in hands and toes. Seriously, where’s it coming from and why does it keep coming back!?
  2. Be quick or you may be dodging pee… or probably just getting peed on. #boymomproblems
  3. You will never go to the bathroom or eat a meal in peace again if your child is awake.
  4. That you will analyze every color of their poop.
  5. You are now a germaphobe. Wash your hands before touching my baby or else… but seriously, I’ll send you the hospital bill. #fluseason
  6. You are also now a walking side show. Everyone, I mean everyone, is trying to sneak a peek at your baby in public.
  7. Whether it be pee, poop, or breastmilk, you’re always smelly now.
  8. That a very tired babe does not sleep go to sleep without a fight. May the odds be in your favor!
  9. How hard, yet satisfying breastfeeding is. And you’ll be in the kitchen at 2 am looking for a snack after that middle of the night feed.
  10. The cute outfits spend most of the time hanging in the closet. Sleepers always win. Bonus points if it has a zipper!
  11. You will be comfortable sucking boogers out your child’s nose with your mouth. #nosefrida
  12. That the nurse hotline at the pediatricians office will be on speed dial.
  13. You will probably cry as much as your babe while they get their shots.
  14. That a stretch of 3 hours of sleep can suddenly feel like you slept for 8. The sleep deprivation is so real, you’ll feel a little crazy.
  15. The love you feel for them is so intense it can bring you to tears thinking about it!

What are some of the things about having a baby that nobody told you? Comment below!

Xo, Anna

Style Your Mind

Style Your Mind

The new year always feels like a fresh start, a good time to reflect and then set new goals. As the years quickly go by it’s so easy to lose sight of your motivated thoughts and fall into the same routines. I wanted to share with you guys one of my favorite books that helps keep me on track. When I need a little pick me up I thumb through the pages and always end up feeling a little more empowered and inspired.

Stripped

The book I’m talking about is called Stripped by Cara Alwill Leyba. She dedicates it to “Every women on the edge of change.” It’s 100 pages full of inspiring poems and writings for us ladies. She breaks it down into four categories, Wish, Evolve, Love and Surrender. All which are so important in making a change, finding your potential and celebrating your life. If you want to get your hands on a copy of the book for ten bucks, you can find it on Amazon at this link!

To-Do

This is one of many amazing things Cara does! She is a master life coach and author of many other books I still need my hands on. I also follow along to her Podcast, Style Your Mind. This podcast is a podcast “for women who want to design their thoughts, empower themselves, and build a beautiful life”. My favorite episode is short and sweet, but really resinates with me. It’s Episode 20: Finding Peace Through Releasing Expectations of Others. Check it out!

A Beautiful Thing

Anyway, if books and podcasts aren’t your thing, follow her at @thechampagnediet to get some daily inspo. Now go get ‘em ladies!

All of You

Xo, Anna

Winter Fashion Essentials for New Moms

 

Winter Fashion Essentials For New Moms

Fashion or just generally feeling put together has always been one of my favorite things.  Nowadays becoming a mom is my new favorite thing! I quickly came to the realization that merging the two is challenging some days with an abundance of baby spit up and the shortage of time. Somedays I’m not getting dressed until right before I head out the door, but pro tip, I do have my outfit planned in my head or laid out already. To help you eliminate the fashion trial and errors of a new mom, I put together a list of fashion essentials this winter!

Hats

I’ve always been a hat girl, and boy has it come in handy lately! The days of showering and getting ready right before you need to be somewhere are long gone for now. This calls for dry shampoo and a hat. This winter, I’ve been wearing my floppy hats on days I want to be a little bit more fashion forward. My current favorite floppy hat is a vintage wool hat that was my mom’s, but I linked something similar at Nordstrom. On my more casual days I’ll throw on my Love Your Melon beanie which is an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer in America (win, win). Regardless, if you’re not a hat wearer, become one.

Delicate Jewelry

I haven’t seen my hoops or statement necklaces in awhile, but I’m always wearing my stud earrings and initial necklace. I actually leave these on all the time since they are so delicate, making it even easier to wear an accessory! My favorite earrings these days are the classic crystal studs by Sabika. I talk a little bit more about my initial necklace on a previous blog post that you can find here. Having some sort of jewelry on helps me feel a little bit more put together.

Button up shirts

Where are my breastfeeding mama’s at? Say hello, buttons! I’m constantly in a nursing tank at home, but when headed out, I layer on a button up. I have a love of plaids and chambray in general, so these pieces are constant staples before and after pregnancy. My current favorite is from Target (surprise, surprise).

Pockets

This was one I didn’t think of going into the whole mom thing. I constantly need an extra pocket! Whether it’s to hold an extra pacifier or my phone, they are always all in use. When you are carrying a carseat, diaper bag and coffee, you’ll be glad to have an extra pocket to throw your car keys in, trust me. My go to right now is this cardigan from Loft.

Leggings

Whether you’re a week postpartum or months, leggings are your best friend. Heck, they are always your friend, baby or not! I found the perfect leggings at Loft this winter. They come in petite which is essential for me, but also are soft, thick and hold everything in when you’re feeling a little loose!

Backpack Diaper Bag

Listen, I don’t know how some of you ladies carry around super cute diaper bags that look like purses! I love having a diaper bag I can just throw on my back to free my hands for Henry and head out the door. There are a ton of cute options out there, mine is from SkipHop. It’s almost crazy how functional it is!

 

Winter Fashion

Now go out there and be your new mom self while feeling good! Been there, done that mom’s… what am I missing that you can add to the list?

XO, Anna

2017 Highlights

F6BE8632-F535-4FDE-8F33-47C31617E0D8Well, well, well…Happy new year! I know, I’m late, per usual on the blogging front. This blog has been a little hobby of mine for years that I end up picking up and down, starting over and over. But, I’d like to make it more consistent for 2018 as I really do enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts! I often find myself getting discouraged with all the bloggers out there and their beautifully curated feeds. I have to remind myself that’s just not what this blog is for me, and I’m okay with that. Whatever this becomes, it will become. I’m figuring it out as I go, so thanks sticking with me and for following along!

My brother recently did a highlight reel of his 2017 and I thought, hey that’s a good idea! And honestly, I needed some inspiration to get back into the swing of things. With that being said, I’d love to share the highlights of my 2017 to reflect on everything that was and move forward into the new year.

Life Highlights… officially adulting.

Henry was born. Which is the highlight of my life, let alone my year. He’s growing so fast already and it’s been such a rewarding experience being his mother. I’m constantly going between wanting him to stay little forever and being excited about all the things he is learning daily!

We bought a house. We’re homeowners and have a kid now so basically we are officially real adults. We took on a house that needed a little bit of love, but it was so worth it! The paint choices and work in this house were, um, interesting to say the least. By giving it a good scrub with the family, refinishing the floors and a lot of paint, it has really has become home.

Our first wedding anniversary. One year down, forever to go! I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life. 2017 was such a whirlwind with being pregnant followed with the first few months of being a mother. Nick has tied my shoes when I couldn’t bend over, wiped my tears when I was scared, gotten me fresh water about a zillion times, and so much more. He has taken care of me when it was honestly so hard to take care of myself. Gosh, I love him!

Adventure Highlights… with a large belly.

Blackwater Falls, WV. This was a place I stumbled upon a few years ago and finally got around to exploring it this summer. The falls were gorgeous and the mountainous view on our hike was breathtaking! The town of Thomas, WV is so artsy and quaint, it doesn’t get enough credit. I talk a little bit more about it in this blog post.

Niagara Falls, Canada. I guess the kids these days call a trip like this a babymoon. I still can’t believe I had never been to the falls with it being so close! We wanted to take a weekend to ourselves after a crazy summer of moving/renovating pre-Henry and I’m glad we took the time to do so. It was so fun! The falls are were a sight to see and Niagara on the Lake is calling my name now that I can drink all the wine.

Bruno Mars concert. It had been a lonnnng time since I had been to a concert. I love live music, but stadium concerts are always put on the back burner for whatever reason. Lucky for us, my mother in law bought us tickets because she had seen Bruno live and swore it was one we couldn’t miss. She was right! He is unbelievably talented and entertaining.

Fashion Highlights… the year of comfort.

Target Maternity Tank dress. When I think about what I wore the most this past year, I think of the Target maternity tank dress. I wore it all spring, summer and fall. It was seriously the easiest thing to throw on and head out the door. Not to mention it was so versatile to dressing up or down depending on the chosen accessories. I loved it so much that I had it in three colors!

Loft Leggings. Post maternity, I live in these leggings. During the Black Friday sales, I scooped up them up for 50% off and ended up buying another pair when they carried that sale on longer. They are soft, thick and hold everything in. Oh and they come in petite, aka perfect!

My “H” necklace for Henry. It really never comes off my neck! It’s small and simple for my new life as a mom. It helps me feel a little bit more put together. I had told Nick I wanted something like this for Christmas and my longest friend, Annie, had beat him to the punch and sent it as a gift after Henry was born. She had no idea I had been wanting one just like it! It’s from Geo Supply Co. which has a ton of super cute jewelry items.

I want to thank you again for reading and following along! I can’t wait to share more of my life, adventures and fashion with you in 2018.

Xo, Anna

Henry’s Birth Story

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Time has flown by since Henry has made his appearance into the world. It’s been such a whirlwind and I can’t believe he is already two months old! This blog post is partially for selfish reasons, so that I can be sure to remember all the moments leading up to his special arrival. I was inspired by another bloggers birth story and I wanted to share mine!

My pregnancy was pretty standard. I did have a few hiccups though! At our 20 week ultrasound, when we found out that Henry was a boy, we were also told he was measuring small. The doctors questioned family history and a few other things, but never really did come up with an answer on why he was so small. This lead us to check in on our little man every month to check his growth with ultrasounds. Luckily, he was growing and two months later they decided there was nothing to worry about since he may be small, but was growing at a nice rate. Whew!

Then on a Thursday afternoon at about 34 weeks, I had an appointment with my OB. Nick (my husband) travels a lot during the fall. This year his travel was all planned to end by September so just in case Henry would should up early (not that we ever thought that would actually happen), he would be around! I brought my mom with me for some company and so she could hear Henry’s heartbeat. We planning on going shopping after to finish up his nursery. This appointment shook things up as my blood pressure was much higher than it normally is and I learned how serious they took this during pregnancy. I was told if it was a couple points higher I would’ve been sent right to labor and delivery… and Nick was away!! They hooked me up to a stress test, and he seemed fine and gave me a lot of tests for preeclampsia. Thank goodness my mom just so happen to be with me that day! I tested negative for preeclampsia and was diagnosed with gestational hypertension with a chance of preeclampsia developing as the weeks move forward.

The following few weeks my blood pressure was monitored very, very closely by my wonderful doctors. It was a little overwhelming as each appointment we heard a different story of when he would come, but one thing stayed constant, they wouldn’t let me go past 39 weeks. At this point we knew there was a chance that I could end up in the hospital after any of these appointments, so our bags were packed and ready to go!

Since my blood pressure was on the fritz, I was checking it twice a day at home. They gave me a threshold and if it reached that, call them ASAP. Well sure enough on a Saturday night, that threshold was met and they sent me right into the hospital. I was such an emotional mess because I felt like it was too soon. We got there and stayed in triage while they monitored him and gave me those preeclampsia tests again. Ultimately they sent me home once everything checked out, but told me as soon as I get to 37 weeks, it’s probably going to be time.

That Monday I had yet another doctor appointment and in the back of my mind I kind of knew what was coming. The OB gave me two options… head into the hospital now or schedule an induction ASAP. I opted for the “scheduling” (I put that in quotes because they call you when a bed is ready) so that we could catch our breath and that I could have my husband with me! I called him in the parking lot bawling my eyes out. Why I was crying, I’m not exactly sure why. I think because it was all becoming really real and I just wanted both Henry and I to be okay!! We took the evening to “relax” and enjoy one last date night. As we were out, another hiccup occurred… I felt so sick. My throat was killing me! Lucky for me, I got a cold right as I was about to get induced into labor, haha!

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Right before our date night!

We then waited for our call to go into the hospital. We were told anywhere between 9 pm to midnight (yawn), but could be later than that. As we were anxiously waiting, midnight hit and I said I quit, I’m going to bed. A second later, my phone rang! We jumped into the car and got to the hospital by 1 am. By time we were in our room and the induction was started it was about 2 am. Oh and I still felt so sick and now I wasn’t allowed to eat anything. Shoutout to my Dr who ultimately felt so bad for me and my sore throat and let me have some chicken broth and jello!

Now my body wasn’t exactly ready to be in labor yet. I wasn’t dilated or effaced or anything! So basically, I had to go through a ton of steps before the actually induction started. They kept telling me that this process can take days… yes, DAYS! Ugh! Thankfully, my body responded beautifully to all the different steps they took to get my cervix ready and I didn’t have to repeat any. Finally, I was 5 cm dilated sometime in the afternoon. I had contractions coming and they were getting stronger but, bearable. The doctor said it was time to getting the induction started and she wanted to break my water, as well as, get the Pitocin IV going. I wanted to get my epidural before then, which was a not so fun experience for me. They had trouble finding a good spot in my spine as I have a little curve and I think that may have been the scariest part of my labor! Let’s just say I was poked at too many times during that process where I was about to say forget it and deliver naturally. But, they got it (finally) and I’m SO thankful for modern medicine and that they finally found a good spot on my back to inject it. Mad props to any moms out there that have done this without one! After every step of this process they kept telling us, “it could be a few hours, get some rest”. I’m not exactly sure how I was supposed to sleep, hah! At this point we have gone through two sets of nurses and the doctor on call. The next doctor on call was my favorite! I was so excited that she would be the one probably delivering our baby. She got in and checked me out telling me that I was at 7 cm dilated, but it’ll still be a few hours. At this point my parents were too anxious to be at home and were already in the waiting room and Nick’s parents were on their way in from Michigan. Nick went out to give my parents an update and holy moly the pressure that came upon me was unbearable. I told the nurse I think it’s time and she laughed telling me the Dr was just in here saying you have a few hours, I’ll get the anesthesiologist in to get you more pain medication. Well the anesthesiologist came in and tried to talk me when I literally could not speak and said she wasn’t going to give me any more meds because she thinks it’s go time and to get the doctor back right away! Thank goodness for that women! Oh wait, Nick wasn’t in the room because he thought we had a few hours. I’m so happy my phone was on me and I texted him saying “Get back now!!” All I remember from there is him running back into the room and the next moments were such a blur. I remember the doctor coming and telling the nursing staff and me that it’s go time! I’ve never been so motivated and pushed my little heart out, listening carefully to the nurses instructions, screaming (so loud that my Mom heard me out in the hallway, heh!) and squeezing Nick’s hand. What felt like 5 minutes later, Henry Alan Hinkle was on my chest (it was actually 30 minutes). They announced October 18th at 8:02 pm as his time of birth and I couldn’t believe it, he was finally here!!! I was flooded with emotion and love in an instant. It’s truly such a magical feeling that is hard to describe. He was healthy as can be and I felt like super women! Nick cut his cord and there we were, a family of three. Nick and I just looked at each other and him over and over again with big, goofy, tired smiles on our faces. As they wanted to take Henry to get his measurements, he had a strong grip and wouldn’t let go of me… that is a moment I will never forget. He wanted his momma, and that was me.

 

 

Xo, Anna

 

*Disclaimer: Please don’t judge any typos or grammar with this post! Things need to be done much quicker with a newborn in your arms!**