Postpartum Goal v. Reality: The First Forty Days

Goal: 40 days to heal and bond with out the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning or having to leave the house. 

Reality: Neil is lucky enough to work for a company that provides 8 weeks of paternity leave that can be used in the first year of babies life. At this time we are looking at him taking 3-4 weeks so that being said 40 days automatically gets cut to 21-28 days.  He will take the remainder of his leave a different point in the next year. 

In addition to 40 days not being realistic for us we also already have two children and life does not pause for a new baby. While I am hoping to spend at least the first week completely horizontal, eating nourishing foods and nursing a new babe I know that might not be completely possible for the entirety of Neil’s paternity leave.  

Also Edith is turning five in two weeks so baby and I will be leaving the house to get out and celebrate her special day. This is a non-negotiable (unless my midwife says differently). 

Game Plan:

  • Be Flexible. 
  • Spend as much of the 2-3 weeks as I can relaxing, healing and bonding. 
  • Prep as many meals as I can before this babe arrives (this has successfully been accomplished and our teeny freezer is filled to the brim).
  • Create a meal plan with easy to prepare recipes for Neil and kids. 
  • Utilize meal services such as Splendid Spoon, Green Chef, and Terra’s Kitchen. 
  • Avoid food delivery ($$$$)
  • Take advantage of help when it is offered.
  • Keep outings for me and the baby to a minimum. 

What has your postpartum experience been like or what are your plans? Any tips? 

 

Motherhood.

Motherhood is rewarding, enlightening, fulfilling, and just overall incredible however it can also be lonely, isolating, challenging, frustrating and overwhelming. I entered motherhood with my husband by my side but without a strong group of mothers around me. I was the first of my close friends to get married and have children and while becoming a mother was incredible and I was thrilled those lonely, isolating, overwhelming feelings easily took over. 

For me moving to Portland was such a shift and really helped to change my perspective in life and motherhood. I was forced to seek out opportunities to meet new people and when you have a 6 month old that means moms groups. I met other women just like me, new to motherhood and just trying to make our way through. I became more confident as a mother and as person and began to seek out more opportunities to meet people and that’s when I found Portland Bloggers and met some amazing creatives many of whom are women and many who are also navigating motherhood while following their passions. —

As I enter motherhood for the third time I am feeling anxious as we add another little human to our family but I am also comforted knowing that I have an amazing community here in Portland. I was reminded just how supported and lucky I am this past May when my girlfriends through an incredible succulent themed baby shower for me. It was more than I could have ever expected and it left me feeling so full of love, life and light. This baby will be entering the world filled with so much love and I feel that this time around (the last time around) I will also be entering motherhood with the love and support that I desired all those years ago.


Photo credit: @jennibost
Party Planner extraordinaires: @jennibost & @thisbeautifulday

Pregnancy | The Third Trimester Checklist

Throwback to 28 weeks pregnant with Edith

I don’t know how it happened so fast but this last pregnancy is coming to it’s end and I am feeling the push to get things ready for this little ones arrival. My pregnancy with Edith had me preparing months in advance and anxiously waiting her arrival. The weeks ticked by so slowly and by the end we had our short list of names picked, the nursery furnished and decorated, and a stocked fridge and pantry ready for her to arrive at any moment.

With Alder we were way more relaxed but again prepared with the things we needed for his arrival Earth side and meals were prepared in the fridge and we had a line up of a few friends who offered to bring by meals.

This time around however we have two very lengthy lists of baby names, our small home never seems to stay clean and “ready” for the baby (because we all know the baby cares), and overall I just feel a bit anxious (and of course excited) about this babes arrival. 

To help ease the anxiety I have created a list of things still to do to prepare for this babes arrival. 

  • Stock My Pantry
    • Fill with nutritious snacks and easy to make meal ideas for postpartum and for my husband and littles.
    • Make a batch of granola.
    • Organize teas and infusions from The First 40 Days into jars (also buy jars and ingredients for infusions).
    • Prepare labor aid beverages.
    • Have easy snacks and meals prepared for birth (we are doing a home birth so food that is easy for my littles, husband and midwives to each).
  • Fill My Freezer
    • Batch cook broths, soups and hearty stews. <– this one I can almost check off! Today I made immune boosting broth, a kabocha red lentil soup and a batch of quinoa and green lentils that I will cook up with some broth to make a porridge. 
    • Put together some healthy freezer meals for the family like these dairy free stuffed shells that have become a postpartum freezer essential over the years. 
  • Put together easy lunch and dinner meal ideas for my husband 
  • Get this baby to flip —> chiro, acupuncture, spinning babies (taking suggestions)
  • Create My Nest (aka get our room ready for baby)
    • Ask Yourself: What do we need for the space(s) in our home to be comfortable? 
    • A safe place for baby to sleep <– check
    • A chair to bounce/rock baby <– check
    • Diffuser for bedroom <– check
    • New Sheets 
  • Confirm Placenta Encapsulation (need to do this ASAP)
  • Prepare postpartum oils, salves, ect. 
  • Put together my birth kit of essential oils
  • Decide whether or not we she hire a postpartum doula
  • Talk with hubby about the questions that might come up
    • How will we divvy up baby/littles responsibilities?
    • Social Life Expectations – what does this look like?
    • Plan out dates/ways to connect in and out of the house 
    • How can we (I) be more compassionate and gentle especially when lack of sleep and stress come into play? 
    • What postpartum needs/expectations do each of us have? What do we expect from others? 
  • How can I honor myself?
    • Where/how will I fit time into my day/week that is for myself? (ie connecting with other mothers, meditating, fitness, quiet alone time) 

What is/was on your third trimester to do list? Anything you think I might be missing? 

CURRENTLY.

Doing: Cleaning. Call it early nesting or just an a lack of keeping up on household chores but I feel like I spend most of my time purging and cleaning our house. We have a tiny house and with two kids I feel like we just keep accumulating more things without letting go of things. I recently went through boxes of kids clothes and shoes that I had been holding on to simple out of laziness. Finally I set up a consignment appointment and was able to get rid of a bunch of things and the remainder is being donated along with a massive amount of my old clothes that are either too worn or I just know I won’t be wearing in the near future when considering pregnancy and postpartum time. 

I must be doing other things than cleaning though right? I have a really great and FREE Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Postpartum and Babies that starts next week (pssst there is still time to join us) and I am working on a Spring Detox starting the first week of April – I’ll share more when I create the group. 

In other ‘doing’ news we went to Seattle for Neil’s birthday at the start of January and then we went to Vermont to visit family at the end of January. As for February the month just flew by and was mostly spent catching up on life after the holidays and all the snow that literally shut down Portland. 

Thinking about: I am constantly thinking about all the things I want to get done before this baby arrives. I’m also thinking about what we need for when this baby arrives because after Alder was born we had decided on having no more children so we sold everything and now all we have is a carseat and a few swaddle blankets. I know babies don’t need a lot but for us we would like to get a nice reclining rocking chair, a bassinet, a new stock of cloth diapers and eventually we will need to figure out clothes for this baby. I (of course) want a new wrap and ring sling – what can I say it’s the babywearing educator in me and knowing that I will be wearing this baby most of the time. Comment below if you have suggestions for newborn products. 

Watching:  Moana. We took the kids to see Moana as their first theater movie when we were in Vermont and since then we have been watching it at home at least every twice per week and when we aren’t we are listening to the soundtrack. I have to say I would watch this movie and listen to the soundtrack even if we didn’t have littles – it is just so good. I also re-watched/finished Haven on Netflix and Neil and I have been watching Top Chef and This is Us on the weekends. What have you been watching? Any suggestions? 

Looking forward to: I am looking forward to this weekend. We have no major plans except Edith’s ballet class and doing a big declutter dump, recycle and donation drop off. Otherwise we are just enjoying the weekend and I’m hoping I can get a bit more organizing done and some work. I am also looking forward to having a mama’s night out to see Matilda at Keller Auditorium. Apparently it is “The best musical since The Lion King” according to TIME Magazine. I have seen broadway production of The Lion King and it was pretty amazing so I am hoping that this lives up to TIME Magazines claim. For those of you who are in Portland the show is running 2/28-03/05 if you want to check it out for yourself. 

Reading: I have been reading Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies by Stephanie Fritz aka The Essential Midwife. This book has been one of the resources for my upcoming class series and I have been reading it for my own pregnancy since this is my first really using essential oils. Otherwise my reading has been limited to kids books but I am taking suggestions if you have any.

Loving: Hu Chocolate that I buy off Thrive Market because it is the best deal and the best chocolate I have ever had.I could probably do an entire post on my favorite food items right now – would that be of interest to you? Not food related I have been loving my snoogle and eye mask because without them I don’t think I could sleep. Urban Oreganics Baby Balm that Neil got be for Christmas. This baby balm is wonderful for babies but also expecting mamas and really anyone who could use a really wonderful moisturizing balm. I use mine on my stomach post-shower to help with stretch marks and to soothe my itchy belly.  

What are you currently doing, thinking about, watching, looking forward to, reading and/or loving?

As always this post is inspired by Sometimes Sweet.

Recipe | Celebratory Black Bean Soup (Panera Copycat)

On March 9, 2015 our dear friends K. and J. welcomed their second baby girl into the world. To say we are over moon thrilled for them and big sister K. is an understatement. I am missing those squishy newborn days so I can’t wait to head on over today to finally meet baby L. (as I type this I’m wondering if they planned on sequential first initials…hmm? Anyways of course I am bringing over a new baby dish for them and yesterday afternoon I said wait a minute I should share this recipe with you all! 

Running With Tongs - Panera Dupe - Celebrate

So K., J. & little K. are lovers of Panera, specifically the black bean soup so I thought why not attempt a copycat of one of their favorite soups? I have to say it turned out delicious and I am planning to make it again soon for ourselves.

Running With Tongs - Black Bean Soup - Panera Dupe

Celebratory Black Bean Soup (Panera Copycat)
Serves 6
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 Teaspoons Grapeseed Oil (or oil of your choice)
  2. 3-15oz Tins of Reduced Sodium Black Beans, drained
  3. 1 Medium Red Onion, diced
  4. 2 Large Carrots, diced
  5. 2 Celery Stalks, diced
  6. 1 Bell Pepper (Red, Yellow or Orange), diced
  7. 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  8. 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  9. 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  10. 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  11. 2 Heaping Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  12. 1 Vegan Chikn Boullion Cube
  13. 2-3 Cups Water, depending on how thick/thin you'd like your soup
  14. 1 Teaspoon Umiboshi Plum Vinegar
Instructions
  1. Heat oil a heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery and bell pepper, sauté for 7-10 minutes until soft.
  3. Stir in the garlic and spices.
  4. Stir in the black beans (drained not rinsed), tomato paste, boullion and water.
  5. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to medium-low to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  6. (Optional) remove 1/2-3/4 cup of soup and puree until smooth; return to pot and stir.
  7. Stir in the vinegar and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
  1. You don't have to use umi vinegar but I recommend it. I use it in basically every soup and sauce that I make because it just makes such a difference. Don't believe me? Try your soup or sauce before adding and then stir it in and taste again- taste the difference?
http://runningwithtongs.com/
I am pairing this soup with Beanitos aka my favorite corn-free tortilla chips, a Porter (beer) because L’s middle name is Porter, a session IPA (low alcohol for mum if she so desires), a dry soda and a batch of fresh lactation cookies and some for the freezer because who doesn’t prefer warm cookies straight from the oven and honestly it’s super easy to do. Hoping they enjoy this basket of goodies!

Running With Tongs - BabyMeal- Panera Dupe

Interested in more vegan recipe copycats? Let me know in the comments below!

What’s your favorite soup? I love a really good “cream” of tomato with crusty bread (obvs).