Nourish by BeliBea is my favorite nursing pumping bra

I have been nursing and pumping for 13.5 months so I consider myself an expert in nursing bras and while I’ve tried a variety of them throughout the course of my breastfeeding relationship, the Nourish by BeliBea bra is by far my fave.

After months of nursing and pumping, my once perky, full-of-milk boobs had started to get a little deflated and saggy. Even though I was still nursing I was about to go out to Nordys and throw myself at the mercy of the sales gal there and beg them to help me find something to make the girls look good again.

Nourish by BeliBea bra while nursing

But then came the Nourish by BeliBea bra. I’d been chatting with the company for a bit so I was well versed on the story behind it: a new mom was unhappy with the available bras out there so she created her own, a bra she could both pump and nurse in. I was a little skeptical at first. I’d tried other pumping/nursing bra combos and the bras never seemed to get tight enough to hold my breast shields in place. I often times pump on the way to work in the morning so I really need a bra that requires so hands or fussing. [Read more…]

Hitting the trails with your baby {Rookie Moms Challenge #16}

The directions for this challenge say to take your baby in a carrier but I broke the rules and we took our bob stroller. And we didn’t exactly hike through a mountain…but we still went into nature so I’d say this counts.

Hit the trails with your baby

We live in SW Portland, Oregon. Very much in the city limits but we also live about 1.5 miles from an amazing park that makes you forget you’re just 15 minutes from downtown Portland. Gabriel Park is a 90-acre park that includes 2 dog parks, tennis courts, a skateboard park, softball fields, basketball court, picnic areas and more. Chris and I have loved this park since we moved to the area. We’ve spent hours on walks and runs through the trails including many hours during my pregnancy and maternity leave. However, on Saturday I walked on a new path that I’d never been on and it was absolutely beautiful.

We’d just made it through a crazy ice storm and the sunny morning was such a treat even though it was freezing. Chris and I agreed to go on a family walk so we got ourselves bundled up and then I suited up Garrity. She was already in long pants and a long sleeve shirt but I put her in her new fleece suit. I got this a couple of weeks ago and I love it. She looks so cute in it. I also broke out the matching hat. It was a little big but I knew I wanted something to keep her warm. I also wanted to install the weather protection shield for the Bob but I’ve read the directions quite a few times and it just seemed so complicated. I was planning on having Chris do it but by the time everyone was ready we just wanted to get on the way so I tucked a blanket around her and called it good.

Hit the trails with your baby

We ended up walking about 5 miles, 3.5 miles to the park and back, plus about 1.5 miles in the park. Once we wound through some of the trails, we ended up at the winter dog park and decided to let our dog play for a while. I went into the park while Chris held Garrity and talked about the dogs. After about 15 minutes there we headed home.

Hit the trails with your baby

Overall it was a great Saturday to check out nature. Garrity was perfect; she barely even made a peep. I kept hoping she’d fall asleep but this little girl loves to watch the world around her and she just took it all in. We lucked out this time and didn’t need the weather shield but I know the weather is going to start getting bad here in the Pacific Northwest and I want to make sure we can keep having walks like this so this week I’m making it a point to figure out how to get it on the stroller. Let me know if you have any tips on how to do it.

Interrupting MY work day {a twist on Rookie Mom’s Challenge #11}

Ok, I’m going to put a slightly different spin on this one. Now that I’m back at work I can’t really go interrupt someone else’s workday since I have my own workday to take care of. So instead of talking about how I interrupt someone’s day, we’re going to talk about how Garrity interrupts mine (but in a really, really good way).

Daddy at the farmers market

Playing at daycare with my baby

Playing at daycare with my baby

I’m incredibly lucky to have Garrity’s daycare on the same campus where my husband and I work, which means it’s very easy to go see her every day. In fact, since she started daycare on September 2nd, either myself, my husband or both of us have gone to her class at least once. Most of the time I go over at lunchtime just to play with her but there have been a couple of times where they have scheduled events we’ve gone to.

My favorite has been music class. It’s every Monday at 10:30, which means I drop Garrity off in the morning, go back to my desk and work for a while before heading back to daycare to sing some tunes.

Garrity has 9 kids in her class and most of the kids are 2nd kids meaning that a lot of the moms are “pros” as far as singing class. They’ve been through this program with their older kids so the 1st day of music class was pretty intimidating. There were 4 other moms at music class the 1st day and I swear they all knew the words while I sat there having no clue. I did my best with Garrity to follow along but I think both of us were a little out of our element.

Chris came with me for class number two and that time there were a couple more dads there who seemed to be newbies so I felt much more comfortable and the songs were starting to get a little more recognizable to me. This past Monday was my 4th music class and now I’m starting to feel like a pro. I’ve almost even memorized some of the songs. I love getting to do activities like this with Garrity even though I’m working full time. The class is only a half hour so I usually stick around after and basically take it like a lunch break.

Garrity’s class has also gone to the farmers market on campus and I wasn’t able to meet up with her but Chris was. My office is slightly off campus so it makes it harder for me to get to things like this but I’m so glad my husband can. He said he even teared up when he had to leave her.

And my favorite way to have my day interrupted is going over to play with her at lunch. We also have a gym on campus and pre-baby you could find me working up a sweat every day at noon but since having Garrity I’ve traded that in for baby cuddles. No matter what kind of day I’m having, it’s instantly better the minute I walk into her classroom.

Being a working mom is tough but having my daughter so close to me is the best case scenario and having the ability to interrupt my workday to go see her has been the perfect way to transition back to work. And as long as my schedule allows, I plan to keep it up, at least until she starts to get too cool and just wants to play with her friends instead of having mom hanging around…cue the waterworks now.
Playing at daycare with my baby

Playing at daycare with my baby

Lipase in my breastmilk or why does my breastmilk stink?

Heather asked me to share my story with you because we hope to help out lots of frustrated mothers who have tried everything else to get baby to take a bottle!

Excess lipase wasn’t something I read about anywhere and was a little blind-sided. Luckily there are some great resources for nursing moms out there: lactation specialists and the website I consulted both and learned what to do.

I’ve been pumping since my daughter Garrity was about 2 weeks old. I started because I had oversupply issues and Garrity was basically choking on my milk, so at the suggestion of a lactation consultant, I would pump for a few minutes before every feeding in order to empty out my boobs a little, so she wasn’t drinking from a fire hydrant. Because I was still on maternity leave and still 100% nursing, I started storing this pumped milk for emergencies.

When Garrity was 3 months old, I decided to pull out some frozen milk to test out a bottle — and it reeked! The milk smelled like weird soap, and I immediately dumped it out. I thought maybe I hadn’t frozen it correctly or it was rotten, so I tried a couple more frozen bags from my stash, but all of them smelled the same way. I was stumped; I had no idea what was going on, but there was no way I was going to give this stinky milk to Garrity.

I mentioned this to my lactation consultant, and she told me I probably had high lipase in my milk. Lipase in an enzyme that breaks down the milk fat, and having excess means it breaks down faster in my milk, which makes it smell. She said the milk is fine, that most babies don’t mind the mild change in taste and will usually drink it, but I was freaked out. I had a freezer of high-lipase breastmilk, and while I’d never actually offered Garrity a bottle of it, I didn’t want to get stuck with that being her only option.

I asked if there was any thing I could do to get rid of the lipase. I learned that there was nothing I could eat or drink to change it before it came out of my body, but I could scald it after I pumped. What is scalding, you ask? It’s heating up the milk to inactivate the lipase and stop the process of fat digestion. Basically it would make the milk not smell but would make it slightly less nutritious.

I was incredibly overwhelmed when I first heard about this new step I had to add into my feeding process. Pumping, nursing and now scalding!? But turns out it wasn’t that hard.

What to do about lipase in your breastmilk or when baby won't take a bottle [Read more…]

Baby adventures in a swimming pool {Rookie Moms Challenge #27}

Baby and Mommy swimming pool challenge
Hi Rookie Mom’s readers! Remember me? I’m the long, lost rookie mom who started out strong on her challenges and then went back to work and life kind of got in the way of writing. But I’m happy to say we’re finally in a decent routine and no one is sick (at least for this week) so I’ve got a couple of challenge recaps to share with you.

Up today: Challenge #27 – Take your baby swimming!

My husband, Chris, and I are big fans of water/oceans/lakes and it was important to us that Garrity got started in the water early, so as soon as she turned 6 months we put her swim lessons. Our class is every Wednesday from 5:10 – 5:40 for 10 weeks and there are about 8 other kiddos in our class (ranging from 6 months to two years). So far, we’ve been to 3 lessons. [Read more…]

My first time at moms’ group {Rookie Moms Challenge #3}

Our first time at moms group

{Our challenge: Join a new moms group!}

This was one of the challenges I was most excited about.  I’ve heard so many of my mom friends rave about their mom’s groups that I couldn’t wait to find one of my own.  I’d been trying to get after this challenge for a couple weeks.  I’d found one group through and had actually RSVP’d for a lunch but then some family ended up coming into town and I didn’t go.  At a friend’s recommendation I learned about a new mom’s group offered through the hospital I delivered at and decided to give it a go.

The group meets on Mondays from noon to 2pm had about 20 women, all with babies 6 months or younger.  It was led by an awesome doula named Kimberly who immediately made me feel at home.  You could just tell that this was the kind of place where no one would judge you if you came in wearing your jammies and your baby was screaming.

Most of the women had their babies lying out on blankets and a ton of them were doing tummy time and not crying, which immediately made me feel like Garrity and I were inadequate.  She hates tummy time!  But then when we all went around and introduced ourselves and our babies I realized the babies I was comparing my daughter too were a good two months older than her.  Phew.

Our first time at moms group

After introductions everyone had a chance to ask a question. While most of the questions were directed at Kimberly, each question did go out to the group to see if any of the other mamas were facing a similar situation or had gone through something and had advice.  It was great.  It was so nice to hear these other mamas dealing with the same things I was.

I was even able to offer some advice to a mom whose milk has too much lipase in it — I scald all my milk after pumping.

Garrity did ok.  Even though I’d nursed her before we left she got fussy about 30 minutes in so I whipped out my boob and nursed her.  It was so nice to be able to nurse in public and not have to worry about covering myself up!  After that she started to get tired but she is in this fun no-nap stage so ended up crying rather loudly for a good 10 minutes.

I tried to comfort her in the circle for a bit but that didn’t work and I ended up having to get up and walk around.  Eventually she fell asleep and I put her in her car seat and we were able to rejoin the group.  Even though I was totally stressed out for those 10 minutes and was embarrassed that she was causing a scene I don’t think anyone really noticed.  Everyone else was so concerned with their babies that mine didn’t even faze them.

Our first time at moms group

We made it through all the ladies in just about 2 hours. Normally I would have stayed after and tried to strike up some conversations, but I had errands to run so I ducked out but I will definitely be going back.  I’m looking forward to trying to connect a little more with the mamas next time and hopefully can make some new friends out of the group. Maybe I can even hit on one and cross off my Rookie Mom challenge #13 :-)

[Photos by Whitney Mattocks; All rights reserved]

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Bikini at 3.5 months post-partum? Yep! {Rookie Moms Challenge #35}

The Rookie Moms Challenge #35 is Buy some new jeans but I switched it up because I needed a swim suit. I should also probably claim credit for taking a baby swimming, but I’ll tell you more about that later.

Ok so I confess, I headed out to Old Navy about week 2 postpartum because I simply could not handle wearing maternity clothes post baby but I didn’t realize it was a challenge and I didn’t take any pictures or really document anything. I wanted in and out as fast as possible and luckily I succeeded and found a pair that has lasted me these past 17 weeks (although they are super cheap and leave blue dye everywhere I go). But since I didn’t take any pictures and I don’t need another pair of interim jeans I thought I’d put a little spin on this challenge and talk about the time I had to go bathing suit shopping.

Yes. Bathing suit shopping 3.5 months after I had a baby.

We’d had our Maui vacation planned for quite some time and a few weeks before we were to leave, I thought I’d try on my old bikinis just to see if there was any chance I’d fit into them. Um. Yeah right. While the bottoms weren’t horrible, the tops were completely inappropriate. I normally have a B cup and wear a small/medium. Now, breastfeeding…well, lets just say in my old bikini tops, I looked like I should have been filming a porno. There was no way I could wear them in public so off to Target I went, 3 days before leaving for vacation.

Trying on swim suits 3.5 months after babyI knew I wanted to stick with a bikini. I have never been a once piece suit fan and I wasn’t about to start now. My body may not be where I want it to be, but I had a baby so there’s no reason to be ashamed of it. So I start grabbing suits…I figure a size large in bottom and top should cover it. I also grabbed some shorts and skirts for vacation in a variety of sizes and by the time I got to the fitting room I think I had about 30 things to try on. Thank goodness the fitting attendant let me take it all in!

So it became pretty clear from the start that my boobs were not fitting in a size large top. At first I thought it was just the suit I was trying on but after trying on about 5 different kinds it became very clear that it wasn’t the suit, it was my giant milk machines. Luckily I had brought in one size XL top because it was on sale and low and behold, it fit! And I actually felt pretty good about myself in it – major plus! None of the shorts fit which was disappointing but I found two skirts.

I also went back out and grabbed another suit in size XL and bought it without trying it on. It was the same brand as the one that had fit so I assumed I’d be good to go. I got home and got the approval from the husband and packed up my bags.

Rocking a bikini 3.5 months after babyWhen we got to Maui I proudly rocked both of my bikinis and felt awesome. I’ve never been a gal with big boobs so it was kind of fun to get to walk around the pool deck and get some stares hahah. I even got comments on my Instagram account about how good my boobs looked! Little did most people know these were just temporary and I was really just carrying around lunch for my daughter, but man it was a nice confidence booster.

By the time we left I felt so confident that I even walked around with no cover-up! Although not sure if that was all due the great fitting suit, or the happy-hour mai tais but does that really matter?? :-)

Rocking a bikini 3.5 months after baby

[Photo credit: Whitney Drew — all rights reserved]

Rookie Moms Challenges -- weekly adventures for moms and babies

Find 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 tried to workout with my baby #fail {Rookie Moms Challenge #23}

My efforts at baby bootcamp #rookiemoms challenge
As a fitness blogger, this is a challenge I’d been hoping to attempt every week since I was officially cleared for exercise at Week 6, but it took me until Week 11 to get it done. And, unfortunately, I think it was a bit of a fail. See, my daughter Garrity is in this major mama’s girl phase. As in all she wants to do is be held by Mama. And on top of that she got her rotavirus vaccine the day before we did the class and I think that made her extra needy. Not a good combo when she needed to sit in her motionless stroller for most of the hour. Maybe a bad time to attempt an exercise class, but I just figured I needed to rip the Band-Aid off.

But let’s start with logistics.

The Beaverton Baby Bootcamp class is M-F from 9:30-10:30, located at a rec center about 15 minutes (with no traffic) away from my house. I wanted to leave my house at 9 to give myself plenty of time to get there, park, and unload everything.

Except that Garrity tends to eat right about 9am. But by some miracle she was hungry at 8:15 and I thought, “Yes! we’re going to make this.” So I fed her and sat her in the Rock & Play in my bathroom while I threw on my workout clothes.  I picked her up, tossed an English muffin in the toaster oven and changed her diaper while it cooked — I’m awesome, right? — and then she started rooting, so I sat down and fed her for a few more minutes. I put her in the swing and added peanut butter and jelly to my English muffin and then loaded up the car with the stroller, came back in, made sure the dog had water, gave him a treat, grabbed Garrity and we made it in the car by 9:10! Not bad!

We have arrived!
I’m still on time as I enter the parking lot, but I had no idea where to find the class, so I continued circling until I saw moms with strollers. Bingo. (By the way if I had read a little more about the class online it clearly says where to meet).

Most of the moms had already started their warm up while I signed in and met the instructor. I hate being the last person, so I hustled through the walk/jog warmup up a hill and made it back to the class only a little bit late.

Trying to get a workout with a baby
(My new best friends are way up there!)

There were probably around 15-20 moms there, and Garrity was the second-to-youngest baby. The kids in strollers went up to about age 4. The instructor was awesome. For each exercise she offered option 1 (for preggos and mom’s 16 weeks postpartum or less) and option 2 (for more experienced moms). I did a mix of both options.

Things started out great. I made it about 20 minutes into the class before Garrity started crying, and then it was all downhill. Basically for the rest of the 60-minute class she cried. At one point we were doing squat jumps and mountain climbers on this rock wall so I ended up taking her out of her stroller and holding her while modifying some of the moves (step-ups and squats) and when I did that she was great, babbling and laughing; girlfriend just did not want to be in that stroller.

Core workout with a baby

Later we moved to a different area and did some core work and I tried to get her to lay down on her blanket while the class did abs and arms but she wasn’t having it. Non-stop crying ensued, so eventually I sat there with her for a bit while everyone was still going, but then I just gave up and left, probably with about 10 minutes left of class.

So overall, not a total fail. I did get a great workout for the portion of class I actually completed, but I don’t think I’ll be back. I love being with Garrity and I love working out so it would be great if the two would go hand-in-hand but I think with the exception of jogging with the stroller (which my body is just not quite ready for) it’s better for the both of us if Mama gets her workouts on without her.

Core workout with a baby

[All photos by Whitney Mattocks, all rights reserved]

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Baby at the nail salon {Rookie Moms Challenge # 8}

Today’s challenge: Get a pedicure with your baby in tow.

Bring your baby out for a pedicure #rookiemoms challenge

Confession: I needed a pedicure in a bad way. The last time I had even thought about my toenails was 1 week before my due date when a friend treated me to a girls’ day. So keep in mind that I had my daughter 11 days past my due date and that she is now 6 weeks old and that makes over 2 months since my toes had seen any grooming action.

And they were gross, with nails so long that they were actually snagging my socks!

I was so disgusted with them that the day before I got this pedicure I stole 5 minutes of alone time and hastily clipped them sitting in the middle of the bathroom floor (don’t tell my husband) and I thought I’d done a pretty good job of cutting them short…um not so much because the first thing the nail technician said to me when she looked at my feed was “been a long time eh?” You got me…

But I digress. Let’s talk about how this challenge actually played out …

My little sister and Dad came down for a few days during my sister’s spring break and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for a little girly bonding time. Originally I was going to have my dad watch Garrity but she’d been particularly fussy that day. I think we’re going through a bit of a “I only want mama” phase so while my dad said he’d give it a shot by himself I decided I didn’t want to torture Grandpa and ended up taking Garrity along.

Bring your baby out for a pedicure #rookiemoms challenge

I risked it and went to a new-to-me nail salon because the one I normally go to was pretty small and I wasn’t sure where Garrity was going to sit and I totally lucked out. The place I went to was super spacious! My sister and I got chairs next to each other and I got the one on the end and sat Garrity on the floor next to me in her car seat.

She was sleeping when we got there and only woke up once the whole time!

I did my best to enjoy being pampered (the chair massage might have been my favorite part of the whole ordeal) but I’ll admit I spent most of the time focused on the sleeping baby next to me and planning what I’d do if she ended up getting fussy.

If she had started to freak out my plan was to pull her up on my lap but luckily I didn’t need to.

Bring your baby out for a pedicure #rookiemoms challenge

All in all, another easy challenge. I’m glad my sister was there to help distract me. Having her to talk to kept my mind a little more focused on why we were there and allowed me to disconnect from mama-mode and actually enjoy my pampering. I think if I had gone by myself I would have done nothing but stare at Garrity and watch the clock. I’m also glad I knocked this one out of the park because now I have the confidence to go again. And now that it’s just about summertime (aka sandal season) I need to make sure I have good looking feet. :-)

Bring your baby out for a pedicure #rookiemoms challenge

[All photos by Whitney Mattocks; rights reserved]
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Taking my baby (and dog!) to the store {Rookie Moms Challenge #5}

First, before I get into my challenge recap, let me just say that being a mom is the absolute best thing ever! I am so in love with Garrity and absolutely treasure every moment that we have here at home together. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect little girl!

So here we go, challenge number 5: go to the grocery store for just one thing. This turned out to be an incredibly easy challenge and I’m happy to report that it was completely uneventful which might not be the most interesting thing to read about, but it’s exactly what this new mama hoped for.

We’re on an approximately every 3 hour feeding routine so I made sure to time our outing right after she nursed so as soon as she’d eaten and I’d gotten a good burp out of her I got her into her car seat and made sure her diaper bag was ready to go.

I know I didn’t need the whole bag for just the grocery store but it’s much easier to toss my wallet into the diaper bag and sling that over my shoulder than to try and carry the car seat plus the wallet. I haven’t yet ventured out with the stroller on any of our outings because I feel like that would be way more work than just carrying her in her seat. Plus I like the arm workout!

The first time taking my baby (and dog) to the grocery store #rookiemoms challenge complete!

So I’ve got Garrity in her seat, the bag ready to go and then Chance (our 100 pound dog) starts getting excited. Probably one of the hardest parts of our new-baby transition has been giving less attention to Chance. He was been our baby for 6 years and the guy is totally use to being with us all the time so it’s hard to balance he and Garrity. To help ease some of his anxiety we’ve been trying to include him as much as possible which means anytime I go anywhere with her, I try to bring him along.

The first time taking my baby (and dog) to the grocery store #rookiemoms challenge complete!

…and my other baby…

The first time taking my baby (and dog) to the grocery store #rookiemoms challenge complete!

So I take Chance out first while Garrity stays in the house. Get him in and then go back for her. We have her car seat base installed in the middle seat because I read it was the safest so I have to hop up into the 4 Runner and do some maneuvering to get that installed all while Chance is breathing down my neck (and drooling all over the seat) from the back. Then I toss the diaper bag in, go back and lock the house and we’re off (like a herd of turtles).

The first time taking my baby (and dog) to the grocery store #rookiemoms challenge complete!

After all of that the grocery story is literally a 5 minute drive from my house so we get there and I toss the diaper bag on me and grab Garrity (who is now asleep) out of the car and put her seat and all into one of the carts and we’re off.

The first time taking my baby (and dog) to the grocery store #rookiemoms challenge complete!


I only came to the store for a mailing envelope but while I was there I tossed in some extra D batteries (can’t let the swing stop working!) and some Aleve for Chris (who was dealing with a foot injury which happened during labor) and some Shout (hello baby spit-up). So I get all my goods and check out with no issues. Garrity didn’t make a peep through the entire thing. I get everything/one loaded back into the car and head home. Phew. Easy. Although I may or may not have worked up a sweat :-)

The first time taking my baby (and dog) to the grocery store #rookiemoms challenge complete!

Even though this challenge went off without a hitch, I am so glad I did it and so glad that I just went for a couple things. I’ve now realized that there is no way I could do my regular grocery shopping with the baby in the cart. There would be no room!

How do you moms do it? Am I missing something?

Since this challenge I’ve made quite a few more outings to the store, Target being my go-to spot and while I still can’t figure out how to get more space in my cart I have figured out how to utilize the cart handle for hangers so at least I can still go clothes shopping :-)

[All photos taken by Whitney Mattocks. All rights reserved]

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

5 things I can’t wait to do on maternity leave

I am expecting our first baby, a girl, any day now. Heather asked me to share the things I can’t wait for, so here goes:

Drink a beer

Or maybe a margarita. It’s not so much the alcohol I’ve been missing, as much as the ability to bond with my husband over a drink. It’s not like the two of us can’t hang out sober but there’s just something about sitting and chatting for hours while sipping a delicious beverage that kind of makes time stop. Everything/everyone else around seems to disappear and it’s just the two of us, totally focused on each other. And while we’ve definitely gone on dates throughout this pregnancy, it hasn’t been the same. I mean, I can only drink so much water.

5 Things I can’t wait to do on maternity leave

And I’m not so unrealistic to think that getting away, and focusing on just the two of us will be as easy as it was pre-baby but I’d like to try. Continuing to strengthen my relationship with Chris is incredibly important to me and even if our date nights have to include a baby I’m fine with that. It just means we get to find some new favorite baby-friendly drink spots.

Eat Avocados

Ok, so this is a little weird but I’ve hated avocados this entire pregnancy and normally I love them. I’m really, really hoping my love for them comes back. I can’t wait to have my favorite 2 egg, avocado and sriarcha breakfast again. Although that would mean I’d need my taste for sriacha to come back too… Basically what I’m saying here is that I’d like my normal palate to return. Things haven’t gotten too crazy this pregnancy, no weird cravings or anything but I just haven’t liked some of my favorite foods and I’m really excited for my taste buds to go back to normal.

5 Things I can’t wait to do on maternity leave

Break a sweat

I’ve been lucky with this pregnancy in that I’m 36 weeks along and still getting to the gym almost every day but the intensity with which I exercise is way less than normal. For most people, this is probably fine but it drives me a little crazy. I love to sweat – not so much for weight loss but more for peace of mind. Exercise is just something that’s a part of my life – I just like doing it. My husband and I each wrote lessons to our daughter – and one of mine was, “make exercise a lifestyle not an event” and I can’t wait until she’s old enough to understand that.

To know that mama isn’t working out because she feels bad about her body, but rather working out because she loves how strong it makes her feel.

5 Things I can’t wait to do on maternity leave

I know it’s going to be challenging to take care of a tiny baby and get myself back in shape but I’m going to figure out how to do it. Somehow. So here’s hoping that baby girl enjoys long walks in the Ergo and slow jogs in her stroller. Or that she gets on a lunchtime nap schedule so I can drop her off with Chris for an hour while I hit-up a class at the gym.

Go on vacation

Let me let you in on a little secret – Chris and I love to travel! We have this big travel map in our guest room pinned with places we’ve been and where we want to go and we recently ran out of pins! We have too many places to see. And I can’t wait to take baby girl with us and start having adventures as a family. Sure, packing a stroller and car seat and baby things is going to be an adjustment. We’re pretty light packers so I know we’ll be completely overwhelmed at our 1st in, and we’ll want to run and hide when she cries for 6 hours of a 7 hour flight.

5 Things I can’t wait to do on maternity leave

But I also can’t wait for her to grow up knowing there’s so much more to life than Portland, OR. I want her passport to be full of stamps and our walls to be littered with pictures – memories of places we’ve all explored together. And we’ll start with Hawaii. In June.

Become a family of 4

Is this cheating? Can becoming a family really count as something I want to do on maternity leave? I hope so because it, more than anything, is what I’m most excited for. Chris and I (and Chance) have been together for almost 6 years and we’ve got a pretty good thing going. I couldn’t ask for a better life – for a better partner to share it with. I am so lucky to get to spend every day with my best friend.

5 Things I can’t wait to do on maternity leave

And yet I can’t wait for the next chapter.

To see him hold his daughter has probably been the thing I’ve been most excited about this entire pregnancy. To see what our life becomes with this little human who will be half him and half me. I know this adventure is going to be full of ups and downs but I can’t wait to experience every single moment.