Pregnancy Update + Baby Name Announcement

Hi, everyone!

I wanted to pop in and give a little pregnancy update now that I’m officially in my third trimester! I appreciate everyone asking and checking in on me. But whew, this pregnancy has been a doozy pretty much right from 6 weeks. Thankfully my nausea has really subsided, though I still take some over the counter medication for it because when I don’t, I’m in for a rough day …still! I still have some weird food aversions, but I can actually cook again. Now it’s mostly just the exhaustion and standard aches/pains of growing a human. If you’ve been following for awhile, you know that my pregnancy with Henry took a turn with a spike in my blood pressure toward the end landing me with a gestational hypertension diagnosis then leading to an induction 3 weeks before his due date. Hopefully this time my BP stays level stable, though there’s about a million more other outside stressors happening in the world today!

Navigating pregnancy during Covid has been a little more anxiety inducing than I had originally anticipated. Some days, it’s just a lot trying to know and feel confident in the right decisions to make for our family. All while trying to work, entertain a toddler, grow a baby, and keep the household running with little help from the outside world. Thankfully, I have a super supportive, level headed husband that I can tackle these challenges with! So when I say I’m tired, it’s pretty physical and mentally. There is so much unknown with the virus, especially with pregnant women and the baby. What we do know is that the virus gives me a higher risk to complications and my doctor advised us if we have the luxury of staying home, with the high amount of cases this winter, we should do so. So we’ve been basically staying to ourselves as much as possible, to keep us safe as possible. In the mean time, I’m starting to feel those nesting vibes so the baby clothes are already washed and put away in the smallest sizes, haha! With all that being said, we are obviously so excited to meet our next little man.

With no baby shower to share the name with our closet family and friends like last time, we decided to share on social media! Our immediate families already know, of course. We had a short list of names going in to the 20 week scan when finding out the gender and once I heard “it’s a boy!”, I knew he was Jack. The same kind of feeling happened when we found out Henry was a boy, I knew he was Henry! I never really feel if it’s a boy or girl like a lot of people do, so it feels kind of special to have this. After a day or two of “thinking” about it with Nick, it kind of just became his name naturally in conversation. Plus, it helped that we would run names past Henry and “baby Jack” stuck with him. If you’ve happen to talk to him he probably spoiled his little brothers name to you, haha! We had already decided if it was a boy, his middle name would be Joseph as a representation of my family. My dad and brother’s name is Joseph, so it feels really special to pass that down! As we’ve grown our family we realized middle names are what we prefer to use as the more meaningful names. As for first names, there isn’t much behind it beside that we just go with names we like!

So that’s that! I’ll be here washing baby clothes, laying low and anticipating the day we get to meet Jack. Thank you all for all the support!

Xo, Anna

2020 Christmas Activity Calendar

Hey guys!

With 2020 being a weird one, I wanted to make it a little extra special with all the time we will be spending safely at home. What started with wanting to put a few activities in Henry’s advent calendar (mainly things we already do) it quickly turned into an activity a day so we wouldn’t rush through all the fun! Also, it makes typical things I give him (like Christmas stickers) more intentional. I kept things VERY simple because, let’s be honest, pregnancy has my energy pretty low and I don’t want to commit too much! You can always add a little something more to the activity. I’ll include some ideas I have for that possible spike of energy. Everything that requires an activity is something we just already have laying around or I’ve already bought for the season so I’d assume other parents might too. Full disclaimer, a week a go I did a huge holiday Target run, because with covid on the rise, I wanted to limit my trips so I came out with allllll the Christmas things that are just sitting in the basement already. So let’s get to it!

Here is our official calendar along with a blank one! Printable PDF file (click here):

Use these ideas to make your own calendar in what fits in your schedule, you’ll notice some are even easier than others or the things on weekends are more fun with both parents present! Here is my full list of ideas along with some explanations.

  1. Play with Christmas stickers

2. Get out and read all of the Christmas books

3. Decorate something (I have window clings to decorate front door)

4. Bake cookies (Pillsbury ready to bake dough, anyone?!!)

5. Build and decorate gingerbread house (bought a premade set at target)

6. Make a Christmas craft for gifts, I ordered this set! (I put this early in the calendar because his attention span usually doesn’t allow for him to knock out the same activity multiple times, so we have all month to work on them)

7. Make paper snowflakes

8. Learn about Christmas colors (red/green) and color a picture

9. Read the Polar Express then watch movie

10. Find the hidden candy canes (will put them around the house) then eat one!

11. Drive around to look at the neighborhood lights

12. Set up the train under the tree

13. Learn about how another country celebrates Christmas (I grew up celebrating St. Lucia Day the Swedish Christmas tradition)

14. Write a letter to Santa

15. Find and count all the trees around the house (meaning all the decor), you could easily add some sort of Pinterest tree craft to add in here like this one!

16. Talk about Jesus and the nativity set

17. Finger print light activity (like this)

18. Christmas music dance party! (or you could do karaoke depending on your kiddos willingness to preform)

19. Drive thru Christmas lights (we have tickets to the Pittsburgh Zoo for this)

20. Build a fort by the “fire” and drink hot chocolate (I’ll put on the TV fire screen saver)

21. Have a Christmas movie marathon

22. Find and count the snowmen around the house (mean all the decor again), you can add on cotton ball snowman activity to this like this one.

23. Make reindeer food (oatmeal, red/green sprinkles)

24. Open one gifts! (we always do this Christmas eve)

Some extras weather/covid dependant:

-Decorate cookies

-Sled ride in snow

-Build snowmen in snow

-Donate toys

-Donate food

-Visit Santa

-Christmas Pjs all day

I hope you found this helpful and not too stressful. Be sure to tag me if you plan on joining the fun! Merry Christmas!

Xo, Anna

A Year In Review, I’m 32!

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Here we are another year has gone by. If you would’ve told me last year that we would be in quarantine this year I would spit out my drink laughing…. ha! Celebrating will look a little different this year but I’m excited to spend the day with my two favorite guys. As I’m always reflecting around this time I want to dive into what this last year has brought for me and what’s to come!

My blogging has gotten turned up a notch as I’ve landed some fun collaborations with some of my favorite businesses, reached over 1k Instagram followers organically (it was a goal I set to achieve by the end of the year) and I’ve continued to network with so many inspiring women in this industry that I now call friends!

Though my school loans are nearly paid off and I’ve been out of the sales/marketing field full time for a minute in a sense, I’ve had a passion for social media marketing reignited in me with constant research and learning with my website/blog. I am now brainstorming ways that I can circle back to the roots of my first internship and help educated small businesses in it someday.

As a mom, I’ve grown in my confidence and have enjoyed toddlerhood wayyyyy more than the newborn stages. Whether its the anxiety settling or just experience, give me a tantrum over a mystery crying baby anytime!

I was feeling like I was missing mom friends in my life that were local and I am so glad to say that I found some that I can enjoy a mimosa with while the boys run wild or call when I need out of the house ASAP! I can’t wait to see where these friendships go as we also watch our kids grow together.

In the home front, we’ve conquered more projects from new doors to finally hanging some art on the walls! Henry is day potty trained and is making this home feel smaller with his big personality and endless energy. We plan on sending him to a 2 year old preschool in the fall because I’m legit boring him he’s so smart! Nick and I also decided we want to low key expand our little family so we will see if/what happens with that adventure. 🤪

I had my four year anniversary with Stitch Fix and continue to be extremely proud of the company I work for. Raising Henry and working at home can have its tough moments but overall it is worth it!

We traveled to Philly for our family vacation, Deep Creek half a dozen times like usual, New York to celebrate my grandmas 90th birthday (which was so special) and Michigan to see family which is always a good time. Hopefully, this virus will allow us to take a few trips we had in mind this year now that Henry is a little bit more mellow and flexible!

Thanks for your endless support with reading my blog, liking my posts and supporting me on and offline. It means the world to me!

Off to blow out the candles to begin another year,

Anna

My Morning Favorites

 

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Hi, all!

Awhile back when doing a poll on my Instagram feed many of you voted to see more of my favorite everyday products. Truthfully, I’m so used to using the things I use that I forget to share! I keep things pretty simple around product-wise. I usually try to wake up before my son to get some work done and enjoy a silent start to the day. It takes a bit of adjusting, but it really helps me start my day off calmer and at my own pace. As I was thinking of my morning routine every day, I came up with five products that I’m always reaching for.

Cheers

  1. Vital Proteins
    • Guys, I swear by this stuff! It’s helped my hair grow after all the postpartum nonsense and now I can’t stop using it. I feel like I have pregnancy hair without pregnancy. I put it in my coffee each morning and it’s simply become part of the routine. You can find it by clicking here.
  2. Yeti Mug
    1. Lucky for me, I got this in a Christmas gift exchange and I was SO pumped! I love this mug. I haven’t used any of my other mugs since I got it. It’s perfect for mom life with its lid AND keeps your coffee warm for so long. It is perfect for a gift to yourself or a fellow mom trying to drink warm coffee more often! Find it by clicking here.
  3. Robe
    • As soon as I wake up, I’m always reaching for my robe. I have a rotation of a few knit robes I grab to keep me cozy in the cool mornings. I have two versions of this one from Target! I love how soft it is… and pockets! Find it by clicking here.
  4. Water Bottle
    • Okay, so this may be kind of silly to have to this list, but I seriously walk around with a water bottle all day every day. I’m sensitive to migraines and making sure I’m hydrated is a huge factor in this. I don’t use anything too fancy, just this one I found at Target and have been loving it. It’s lightweight, spill-proof to a curious toddler and holds 28 oz of water. You can find it clicking here.
  5. Quip Toothbrush
    • I always wanted an electric toothbrush, but they always take up so much room and our bathroom is tight. When I saw this, I was so excited to try it! I’ve been using it since Christmas and love it. They also send you new toothbrush heads as a subscription so you don’t even need to worry about it. You can find it by clicking here. 

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll keep sharing more of my favorite products in the weeks to come!

Xo, Anna

*Links are an affiliate for me to earn a small commission but none of the products are sponsored, just truly products I use every day!*

An Ambulance Ride

When the newborn sleepless fog began to lift, Henry was about 4 months old. We headed to my parents for my dad’s birthday party. For whatever reason, Henry flipped. Like no other flip out before. Not a colicky thing, it was so much more intense… He would not stop crying, okay more like screaming, for anything! For like a really long time. He wouldn’t nurse, he wouldn’t sleep, he was just screaming. I couldn’t soothe him, Nick couldn’t, my mom couldn’t… and at one point I just broke down with an overwhelming fear something was wrong. This was the first of his episodes (it’s what we would end up calling them). These episodes would continue to happen in the next week or so and I was just chalking it up to just a really fussy baby with some clueless first-time parents.

Then the day of Henry’s four-month well visit came. It happened again… in front of the doctor… and he couldn’t stop… and I couldn’t calm him down. I was helpless. The doctor kept coming back into the room, telling me “I’m sorry if you can’t calm I’m down soon we need to talk” and she kept checking his pulse and heart rate. I knew something was wrong. He screamed his lungs out for probably an hour. His pulse and heart rate were scary high. Our doctor needed him to be check for a heart condition ASAP and an ambulance was on the way.

I was so scared. Not to mention I was so upset that even all of these nurses and doctors couldn’t do anything else but just pitying me and my screaming baby. Nothing anyone could do could was calming him. But wasn’t I supposed to know how? I’m his mom. But I didn’t…

Just as the ambulance pulled into the doctor’s office he had worn himself and fell asleep in my arms. This episode had finally ended. The doctor was still extremely concerned that he had this type of heart condition that essentially is that his heart rate would get so high it literally didn’t know how to slow down in these moments. Which obviously isn’t a good thing and would need to be managed.

Then there before my eyes was my baby was on a strapped to a stretcher going into an ambulance. A sight I will never forget and I know has shaped me into the kind of parent I am today.

Once we were at the children’s hospital, we had a pretty crappy experience but the most important part Henry was fine. His tests came back negative and we were diagnosed with a really high strung baby who would eventually grow out of it. Which as difficult as he was as a baby, thank God, that’s all it was.

I spent the rest of the year on eggshells trying to not set him off one of his episodes because truthfully, I couldn’t bear not being able to calm him. It was so embarrassing to me, let alone in public. Eventually we figured out what would likely set him off and got him on a strict schedule because it was the only thing that actually helped. He couldn’t be overtired and he liked knowing what to expect. Which left little time for outings and forget leaving him with a babysitter.

Throughout the year I’d say he was just a fussy baby. But really we had a fussy baby, I mean, we had a really fussy baby. Gosh, he even freaked the doctors out. He was freaking tough. Only a few people witnessed these episodes, just family really, who can attest to his stubborn screaming fits.

As time went on, he mellowed out. Like a lot. It’s like as soon as he could start talking he felt more comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, he can still throw an epic crying fit but more like the standard toddler would not the medically threatening kind.

Not too long ago, I started to feel myself relax and be able to enjoy things as thoroughly as I should without worrying so much. I think back and wonder if I did have postpartum anxiety … I think probably so. Did I realize it at the time? Maybe, but those stupid forms I had to fill out with a screaming baby in my arms didn’t do anything. Did friends hint that I should mellow out? For sure. Did they know the whole story? Would the even get it? Probably not because I wouldn’t go around anyone with him to witness it.

Why am I sharing it now? Truthfully, I don’t know. I just know writing it out was therapeutic, like a weight has been lifted and I will share it in case it can help even one person. Some days I find myself slipping back to that heavy weighted feeling in my chest and it’s hard. I know to most people I have outwardly seemed like I have it all together as a mom (maybe?😅) and it’s most certainly not true. We all have stories that shape us and this is part of mine.

Xo, Anna

Easy Valentine’s Day Craft

Any other mama’s out there to a taby? Yea, that is not a typo! A taby is a toddler-baby aka a one year old. It’s a word I discovered while scouring the internet in how to entertain my newly walking, stir crazy kiddo this winter! If you’re in my shoes you know that the attention span of a one-year-old is crazy small, their motor skills still need a lot of work anddddd if they are anything like Henry… want to chew on everything. Mainly wanting to chew everything is our main obstacle with activities over here. One thing that has worked for us is stickers! Okay, so he isn’t the greatest at it, but with a little help, it keeps in occupied for a solid 5-10 minutes (sometimes, haha). To get in the Valentine’s Day spirit, I grabbed some festive stickers for Henry to “make” his very own Valentine’s Day cards!

What you’ll need:

  • Construction Paper
  • Stickers (I found these cute ones at the Target dollar spot)
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie Pen

Feel free to use your creativity here, but I just happen to cut rectangles on a whim out of construction paper, then had Henry go to town with stickers. Cutting the paper into hearts if you actually plan in advance (unlike myself) would be super cute! I still have to peel the sticker off, but let him pick ones he wants off the sheet and help put them on the paper wherever he wishes. After that, I wrote a little message and viola… homemade Valentines and easy taby entertainment. You can see ours in the photo below!

Happy Valetine’s Day, mama! Enjoy!

 

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!**

Get to Know Me

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Hi, guys! Happy Friday!

Why not start off the weekend with something fun!? I was challenged by Erika from Living Los Angeles with the Get to Know Me tag. She is actually a co-worker of mine, that I’ve never met in person since she’s across the country! Isn’t the world of tech wild sometimes? Basically, this tag means I get to take a survey like we all used to do on Myspace, which sounds like fun to me! Anyone else remember doing those?

Share your profile picture: A wedding photo still because that day was the best, and it was the only day I ever had a glam squad. Just seems like an obvious choice to have for an entire year straight, haha! Or my portraits that I made my husband take for my blog!

Who are you named after? My name is a total family name. My first name is from distance relatives on both my dad and mom’s sides, and then I share my middle name with my grandma and mom!

Do you like your handwriting? Sure! It’s my own with it’s cursive and print combo.

What is your favorite lunch meat? Turkey, hands down.

Longest relationship? My hubby!

Do you still have your tonsils? Sure do, and I get a sore throat at least once a year!

Would you ever bungee jump? Nah, no interest. Now skydiving, you may be able to twist my arm to try.

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Sometimes? Just kidding, I looked up to see my converse on the floor… still tied.

Favorite ice-cream? Mint chocolate chip, all day, every day.

What’s the first thing you notice about people?  Usually, their smile, people that don’t smile at all make me a little uncomfortable.

Football or baseball? Um, I feel neutral about both. Neither are my favorite, but I do like going to Pirate games in the summer!

What color pants are you wearing? Black leggings, standard work from home uniform.

If you were a crayon what color would you be? Turquoise!

Favorite smell? Coffee, fresh flowers or freshly baked cookies, mmm.

Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? It’s usually Katy, yep… It’s Katy!

Hair color? Naturally brown that lightens up in the summer, but have some blonde balayage right now

Eye color? Brown

Favorite food to eat? I love a lot of food, but my favorites would be pasta, cheeseburger or scallops. Hence why I don’t have a fitness blog.

Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings! I have no idea why people want to be scared for fun. It actually blows my mind that scary movies are even a thing! Give me all the rom-coms!

Last movie you watched? I can’t remember? Been hooked on The Office and finally at the last season, so there is no slowing me down!

Favorite holiday? Christmas! I love giving, decorating and spending time with family.

Beer or wine? Wine, please!

Night owl or early bird? Early bird.

Favorite day of the week? Saturday! No work, all play.  

Three or four bloggers you want to learn more about? Laura at The Wexford Housewife and Erin at The Almond Eater in case she wants a break from posting  delish recipes annnnd Nick at Naretto Creative…. all my other blogger friends did this already!

Thanks for taking the time to get to know me a little more! Do we have anything in common that you’re surprised about?

Have a great weekend!

XO, Anna