Still crushing the {Rookie Moms} Challenges – Part 2

Leslie crushes her #rookiemoms challenges with Baby BrooksHi – I’m Leslie from And Her Little Dog Too and my little man, Brooks, is 4.5 months old.  I’ve been working hard at crossing items from the Rookie Moms 52 Week Challenge off my list – Check out Part 1 of my Journey – And I’m back today to share more of how I’ve spent the last 4 months with my son!

13 – Hit on another Rookie Mom

Leslie crushes her #rookiemoms challenges with Baby Brooks
I got lucky with this challenge because I live in a part of the city {of Philadelphia} that is full of young moms who are out and about all day long. I make it a point to get outside with Brooks a little bit each day – we take our dog, Jackson on {at least} 3 walks each day but now that Brooks is more active & alert {and the weather is nice!} we have been spending time scouting out playgrounds & meeting some new moms in the area. It’s so much fun to ask moms about their kids & it’s a great way to find out about other local {kid friendly!} happenings.

Side Note: Other fun mom spots I’ve found include coffee shops & grocery stores – all great locations to make some new mom friends!

23 – Build Muscles at Bootcamp
Leslie crushes her #rookiemoms challenges with Baby Brooks: bootcamp!

I recently found out about a local Stroller Strides group from a new mom’s group I am a part of. I had been on the hunt for exercise/fitness classes that are baby friendly and taking part in a Stroller Strides class was the perfect fit for me – since I love to workout & Brooks loves the fresh air & napping in the stroller – It’s a win, win for us both!

Leslie crushes her #rookiemoms challenges with Baby Brooks: bootcamp!

I love being able to do something for me while also including my little man. I’m still on the lookout for more baby-friendly fitness classes!

27 – Take Your Baby Swimming

Swimming baby and other #rookiemoms maternity leave adventures

I was so excited for this challenge – I had been looking forward to taking my little man swimming since the weather got warm! Luckily for us, we had a trip to Disney planned and then Summer was upon us which meant weekend trips to the beach {and the pool!} Brooks is totally a water {and beach!} baby – he has always loved bathtime and generally loves being in the water. The first time I took him in the pool he was more curious than anything else and he only recently has started “playing” in the water – meaning splashing & kicking & flailing about!

Side Note: My water baby is a bit of temperature snob. He prefers heated pools to chilly ocean water, but hey, can you really blame him?

Leslie crushes her #rookiemoms challenges with Baby Brooks

41 – Test Drive Free Music & Movement Classes

Leslie crushes her #rookiemoms challenges with Baby Brooks

This was checked off our list accidentally a few weeks ago – Brooks & I were running errands and went into one of my favorite local shops & there was a story & music time class going on – starting in 5 minutes! It was free & Brooks LOVED IT! He loves reading books & anything musical so it was a blast & we met a few new local moms too – This takes place once a month & we will be sure to come back for it, it was a great little outing for both my little man & myself! I can’t wait to check out more free {baby friendly} options in the area!

49 – Run or Walk Errands

Leslie crushes her #rookiemoms challenges with Baby Brooks

This is an easy one for me because, as I mentioned in #13 above, we live in the city so we are always out and about. I love alternating between baby wearing & packing up the stroller so Brooks always has a different viewpoint. I have been packing him up & taking him out and about with me on errands since the first week he was born – so he’s used to it! Because it was such a cold winter {being pregnant during the Polar Vortex was no joke} I make a point to get out in the fresh air everyday.

50 – Launch Camp Grandma
Leslie crushes her #rookiemoms challenges with Baby Brooks: camp grandma

While we haven’t had been away overnight from Brooks {Side Note: He just started sleeping through the night – Win!} we have launched a lighter version of Camp Grandma! My in-laws live close-by so we have started a weekly tradition where Grandma comes over every Thursday & I get 2-3 hours to get out of the house by myself, take a workout class, run errands sans baby & get things done. It’s been awesome to have a consistent time where I can plan my schedule around a few hours to myself. The time away goes by quick, since Brooks is exclusively breastfed, so I need to be back home before he starts to get hungry, but it’s been an awesome weekly treat!

51 – Meet Your Friends Out for Errands

Leslie crushes her #rookiemoms challenges with Baby Brooks

This is another fun {and easy – for me!} challenge – since living in the city, packing up everything baby & throwing it in the stroller has become second nature to me, as it has for my other city moms. And with the gorgeous spring & summer weather, it’s been a joy to meet up with other moms to run errands, go out to lunch or just take a walk outside soaking up the sunshine!


What Rookie Mom Challenge are YOU working on this week?


Leslie crushes her #rookiemoms challenges with Baby Brooks

[All photos by Leslie Brinkley, all rights reserved]

Rookie Moms Challenges -- weekly adventures for moms and babiesFind more baby activities with the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges.

If you’re already participating, use hashtag #rookiemoms on instagram or twitter so we can cheer each other on.

I’m crushing the {Rookie Moms} Challenges – Part 1

Leslie and Brooks have done 16 rookiemoms challenges so far

Hi – I’m Leslie from And Her Little Dog Too. My little man, Brooks, just turned 4 months old and while I have been spending the past 17 weeks getting used to my new role as a mom, I’ve also been hard at work crossing items from the Rookie Moms 52 Week Challenge off my list!

I had an initial goal of writing posts from each challenge and sharing how it all went with you, but that was a little bit ambitious for me as a first time mom. I apologize for my posting delay, but today, I want to play catch up and share with you my progress!

I’m proud to say that with my 17 week old son, I have been able to tackle 16 of the challenges so far. Looking back at the past 4 months together, I am more than excited about all the progress we have made. Today I want to share with you a little recap from our first 8 challenges, with a recap on the remaining 8 in a follow-up post {part 2}.

her little dog too with new baby boy, brooks #rookiemoms

Here’s how Brooks & I have been spending our time crushing the 52 week challenge his first 11 weeks:

#1 – Push the Stroller Out the Door & Pretend We’re In Paris

This was way easier said than done considering Brooks was born in the worst winter EVER. Getting out the door in general without crazy amounts of snow on the ground or it being incredibly cold was a challenge. So at the first sight of Spring, we took advantage of soaking up as much sun as physically possible and enjoyed a coffee outside. People watching for me, nap time for Brooks. We both win if you ask me.

Maternity leave challenge: pretend you're in paris #rookiemoms

{Our challenge: Pretend I’m in Paris}

#2 Grab a Buddy & Go On A Recon Mission

My parents live in Virginia so they aren’t as local as I’d like them to be. When it came time for the baby to soon make his arrival, my mom offered to come up and stay with us for two weeks after my husband, Charles went back to work. This was the most amazing thing ever because life at home, alone, with a two week old, would have been tough for me. Having my mom there to help was amazing and I took advantage of her being there by making the effort to go out into the world as much as possible. I wanted to get used to being out and about with my little man {and all the bells and whistles that go along with a new baby.} During that time we ran errands, walked the mall & went out for lunch. It was great to spend time with my mom, amazing to have her spend time with her new {and first!} grandbaby and invaluable practice for me to feel comfortable out and about with baby!

Maternity leave challenge: go on a recon mission #rookiemoms

{Our challenge: Go on a reconnaissance mission}

#3 Join a New Mom’s Group

One of the first things my pediatrician told me to do was to join our local breastfeeding support group, and so I did! Brooks and I went to “class” together, once a week for the first 6 weeks of his life. It was such a great experience for me to have access to a group like this from the get-go. The first 6 weeks of breastfeeding were super painful & difficult for me, so it was nice to have support – plus it was a great way to make new mom friends in my neighborhood!

Maternity leave challenge: join a new moms group #rookiemoms

{Our challenge: Join a new mom’s group}

#5 Go to the Grocery Store, For Practice

We took baby Brooks to Whole Foods at one week old. Since we live in the city {in Philadelphia} we walk to the grocery store & hit it up frequently. At the time it sounded more intimidating to do than it actually was – I think it was good that I started taking Brooks out and about so early on because now he is used to being out {and sleeping through} the city noise!

Maternity leave challenge: make your first grocery run EASY #rookiemoms

{Our challenge: Go to the grocery store for just one thing}

#6 Paint Your Baby’s Feet

Brooks was born 2 weeks before Valentine’s Day so I found a cute little arts & crafts project for us to do that would be cute to give to the new grandparents & aunts and uncles in our lives! With a little Pinterest inspiration – we created Baby Hand & Feet Love Prints {which turned out pretty well considering Brooks was still clenching his hands together at this point!}

Maternity leave challenge: paint baby footprints on a keepsake #rookiemoms

{Our challenge: Paint my baby’s footprints onto a keepsake}

#8 Get a Pedicure

Confession – Pedicures are my JAM! I’m obsessed with them, especially the back massage chair! I’ve had 3 in the past 4 months, which I think is pretty good for a new mom. I hope to have more in my life with the warmer weather now upon us. It’s a great way to treat myself to a little pampering {and a little ME time!}

Maternity leave challenge: get a pedicure #rookiemoms

{Our challenge: Get a pedicure}

#10 Plan A Mom’s Night Out

This was more like a mom’s afternoon out, but it still counts since it was the first time I left my husband alone with the baby for more than 30 minutes! It was nice to get out with some friends for the afternoon and I think it was equally alone to leave my boys at home alone together for some quality bonding time. I need more of these in my immediate future.

Maternity leave challenge: plan a moms night out #rookiemoms

{Our challenge: Plan a mom’s night out for some friends}

#11 Interrupt Someone’s Workday

This was a fun excursion for me & the husband. I took Brooks to visit my husband at work {aka show him off} after he had his first round of shots at 2 months. It was a nice little excursion for me to get out and about and it as a great treat for my husband at work.

So that’s a little peek into how we’ve been spending time {& crushing challenges} these past first few months together -> Stay Tuned for Part 2!

Maternity leave challenge: interrupt someone's work day #rookiemoms

{Our challenge: Interrupt someone’s work day}


What Rookie Mom Challenge are YOU working on this week?


[Photos by Leslie Brinkley, all rights reserved]

Rookie Moms Challenges -- weekly adventures for moms and babiesFind more baby activities with the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges.

If you’re already participating, use hashtag #rookiemoms on instagram or twitter so we can cheer each other on.


Maternity clothes that don’t suck

Aside from seeing my baby bump grow and change each and every week, a favorite part of pregnancy these past 9 months has been dressing my belly.

Maternity clothes that don't suck

Showing off my bump has been a fun fashion challenge throughout my pregnancy. From the minute I found out I was pregnant, I was on bump watch – waiting for my belly to finally POP! I think around week 25 –  my bump went from looking like I ate too much lunch to looking like an actual pregnant belly that I could flaunt!

The first time a random stranger asked about my pregnancy, I was so excited to be “showing” I wanted to jump up and down! I made it a priority to purchase clothes that were comfortable, would last throughout the 9 months, and {if possible} were on sale. Maternity clothes paired with {stretchy} non maternity items as well as fun accessories have allowed me to feel excited about dressing my changing body.

Here are my favorite pieces and tricks for finding maternity clothes that don’t suck:

  1. Confidence! I have been ALL about highlighting my bump from the very beginning, as early as possible. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops that I was expecting and didn’t want there to be any confusion about it. The majority of my maternity wardrobe consists of clothes that show off my bump – I have enjoyed wearing fitted tops that flatter my new and expanding form. This tank top from Target with its side ruching has worked for most of my pregnancy and will work post-partum too. I bought it in all three colors!
    Finding maternity clothes that don’t suck

My favorite Target maternity tank with Oia Jules necklace

  1. Timing is Everything – I live in an area that is home to all 4 seasons, and I have been pregnant during {technically} all of them. Though I only started to really need new clothes for the Fall/Winter months, it was so important to plan ahead while doing my maternity shopping. Since the weather was going to go from mild temperatures to severe winter weather, I have spent the last few months in lots of layers. I made sure to buy maternity clothes with some serious stretch {and length}. During this last month I have found that a few of my favorite pieces no longer cover my belly!

Maternity clothes that don't suck

What I wore to my baby shower in Virginia: a Pea in the Pod teal lace dress / BaubleBar necklace / Anthropologie wedges.

Maternity clothes that don't suck

What I wore to my baby shower in NJ: a Pea in the Pod leopard print fit & flare / Bridier Baubles necklace / Clarks booties.

  1. Beg & Borrow {Don’t Steal!} – Within minutes of announcing our pregnancy to the world I had messages from new mom friends offering up their maternity wardrobe to share. I said, “YES!” and I was able to get some really great pieces from friends. I can’t wait to pass along the favor once I no longer need my maternity wardrobe.

Finding maternity clothes that don't suck

A favorite Gap maternity tunic  / DuBarry boots worn during our trip to Chile

  1. Shop Smart – Aside from a few key pieces for special events, I did not purchase any maternity clothes unless they were on sale. There were always so many great deals available. Knowing I wouldn’t be be pregnant forever, I didn’t want to spend the money on things I would only wear for a short time.

Top tips for dressing a baby bump
Cozy sweater borrowed from a friend

  1. Mix & Match – Luckily, my pre-pregnancy style consisted of a lot of loose & flowy tops, tunics and longer sweaters. I have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of clothes I can still manage to work into my outfit rotations that aren’t even maternity. When my belly started to really grow, I went through my closet & packed away everything that would be way too tight/fitted for a growing belly, but kept the rest – it’s been fun to combine some of my old favorites into my wardrobe from time to time.[Editor’s tip: Store your clothes in reverse with the stuff you outgrew first on the bottom of the heap]

Finding maternity clothes that don't suck

Non-maternity jean jacket & leggings paired with a Target maternity top

Styling your baby bump with non-maternity stuff too

Non-maternity tunic from Shop Hopes paired with Motherhood Maternity Secret Fit Belly Jeggings

I am going to miss dressing my baby bump for sure once it’s gone, but I also can’t wait to get back into some of my favorite clothes that have been hanging out in my closet for way too long! It will be nice to get my body back but it has been so much amazing watching my body grow these past 9 months – I know at this point we are so ready to meet our little man!

Now it’s your turn:  What are your favorite tips for finding maternity clothes that don’t suck?

Related: Style your baby bump through all three trimesters, tips from Ain’t No Mom Jeans.