#babyprep: What I used, what I didn’t

I’ve heard people say you’re never truly prepared to have children.

After having a baby, I say: “Fair statement.”

I did try to prepare some things — if not myself completely — for my baby’s impending arrival, such as bedside snack and diaper stations, freezer meals and smoothies. I also stocked up on diapers, wipes, burp clothes, pumping and milk storage supplies and coffee.

Lots and lots of coffee.

Here’s what I found useful and what I didn’t end up using:

Diaper, Snack and Other Stations

bedside-diaper-station-snack-station-nursing

My son sleeps in our bedroom in a bassinet next to our bed. Why? Because our bedroom is on the second floor of our house and the baby’s bedroom is not. I’m not walking up and down stairs in the middle of the night, half asleep and sleep-deprived, to change a baby’s diaper or feed him.

Danger is not my middle name.

I knew I would need diapers, wipes and burp clothes nearby in the middle of the night — hence, bedside diaper station, replacing the Ansel Adams print and handmade decorative bowl I put bobby pins and hair ties in that I forget to take out before bed.

Now, it doesn’t really matter what’s in my hair before bed — bobby pins, baby spit, barf — nbd.

I originally included diapers, wipes, burp clothes and nursing pads. I actually use diapers, wipes, burp clothes and a changing pad.

The changing pad is necessary. Trust me.

Guess what you don’t need in the middle of the night? Nursing pads. You won’t care.

While I also have a drawer full of water bottles next to my bed, I don’t have a bedside snack station. That’s downstairs where the majority of the feeding and pumping occur. I’m not sure if you know this, but breastfeeding (and pumping) is hunger-making.

I am hungry all. the. time.

Snacks are required.

My favorites include Cashew Cookie Larabars, trail mix and string cheese. The cheese stays in the refrigerator, of course.

snack station for breastfeeding moms

I set up a diaper station here, too, but I ended up never using it — just took the baby to his changing table in his room when I am downstairs with him.

I also set up a snack station in the nursery thinking I’d be doing a lot of breastfeeding in there. Turns out, I don’t do any breastfeeding at all in the nursery because the television is in the living room and, sometimes, mommy wants to watch Law & Order while baby eats.

With an extra basket floating around, I was able to set up another needed station: bath.

baby bath time station

Add a Command hook and we have here a space-saving bath time storage solution!

One station I hadn’t prepared but definitely needed is in the kitchen: dishes.

baby dishes station in the kitchen

Between pacifiers, bottles, droppers and pumping supplies, we’re scrubbing dishes two or three times a day.

Bottles

Speaking of bottles…

I purchased the Kiinde Twist Feeding System Starter Kit and an 80-pack of storage bags because it was so cool. I loved the idea of what it offered: a system for direct pumping to storage bag to bottle to baby without the need for milk transfers.

Perfect!

Except for just one thing…

The baby.

My son didn’t like the Kiinde Twist Feeding System bottles or nipples. He didn’t seem to care that they were designed specifically to reduce air intake and gas (so maybe his tummy troubles would be less troublesome). He didn’t seem to care that I had purchased the starter kit, pre-washed the pieces and was unable to return any of it.

Eye. Roll.

So I put the bottles and nipples into storage, filled all the bags (and ran out of room in my freezer so I can’t use the storage shelf anymore) and, now, all I use from this system is the bottle/bag/jar warmer that I purchased separately.

kiinde kozii warmer

A friend of mine warned me not to buy a bunch of bottles for the baby because the baby might not like the bottles I pick.

I should have listened instead of being sucked in by the cool-ness of this product.

We use Munchkin Latch bottles now. The baby loves them.

Sigh.

Clothes

Babies, turns out, don’t stay small for very long. ALL my newborn clothes got maybe two wears and only got those two wears because two things got worn each day (sometimes three, babies are gross). I now have overflow of newborn clothes that will never again be worn by my son.

(Including his lamb-y jammies, and I’m not OK about that. They’re still in his drawer so I can look at them.) <– This. This is why mom’s are weird.

newborn clothing hand-me-downs

A friend of mine told me the sizes on baby clothes are bonkers anyway…

If you’re OK with buying adorable things your child won’t wear more than once — unless you have a normal-sized baby, I guess, mine was large — go ahead and go crazy with the newborn outfits. They’re so small and precious and the pants are so tiny omg it’s not ok.

Smoothies

The baby requires a lot of attention early in the morning — he’s hungry.

Well, mommy is hungry in the morning, too, and smoothies are easy to spin and sip while caring for an infant.

I prep fresh or frozen berries, spinach and bananas and add extras like frozen juice or milk cubes, Greek yogurt, chia seeds and ground flax. Then, I mix them up in plastic bags and blend as needed.

smoothies in the freezer

Right now, I have Strawberry-Avocado with berry juice cubes, Blueberry-Spinach with coconut water cubes and Peanut Butter-Banana with oats and flax. I’ll add orange juice, coconut milk or almond milk to these when I blend them for breakfast or lunch.

breastfeeding breakfast
Blueberry-Spinach Smoothie featuring coconut water, coconut milk and Greek yogurt

Sometimes, they’re consumed alongside a cup of coffee and a bagel or toaster pastries. (These aren’t the Pop-Tarts brand so I’m calling them toaster pastries. These are organic toaster pastries so I feel less bad about eating them. I do not feel bad at all about drinking coffee.)

Freezer Meals

I am not emotionally prepared to tell you about the freezer meals I prepared, but I will try, and I will also try not to use a bunch of words not suitable for ears or eyes.

Here goes.

freezer meal prep ingredients

In December, I prepped 13 crockpot meals and stored them in our deep-freeze. These freezer meals were to feed my husband and I without requiring us to go to the grocery store, cook or order pizza.

crockpot freezer meals

I cannot tell you how many times we ordered pizza.

Honestly, I don’t know what I did wrong.

So far, every chicken meal has been bland or… just… wrong. If the freezer didn’t ruin the food, the crockpot did (and the crockpot is 9-1 against the freezer). Some food, such as the tomato-based soup with Italian sausage and tortellini, was OK. Other food, such as the chicken noodle soup, Mexican chicken soup, turkey chili and chicken pot pie, among almost all the other ones, either could not be consumed or tasted so bland no one wanted to consume it anyway.

When I read about crockpot meals, when I see my friends and family talk about their crockpot cooking, when I see entire cookbooks dedicated to the art of the crockpot… I just want to know the secret.

What’s the secret? Tell me, world!

I am occasionally successful at a crockpot meal, but nine times out of 10, I made something so inedible that we end up ordering pizza, takeout or subs to go.

While waxing woefully about my crockpot culinary challenges, a few of my friends shared their own.

Remember the Lampoon’s Christmas? How the turkey was so dry it kinda poofed into dust? Did that with some chicken in the crockpot. — K

I liquefied cheese. And before you say cheese is already liquid… no. No, it’s not. Not like this. — T

I’m glad I’m not alone.

I forced a few of the chicken soups and chicken chilies down my face. Hunger and sleep-deprivation are great motivators for eating whatever you have. Some of the meals, though, I just… couldn’t.

*hork*

One of the roasts turned out OK so I’m hoping my other two roasts also turn out OK. I also have a Honey Dijon Pork Loin I’m not confident about, but we’ll see.

One thing is for sure: I am never doing that again.

(I’m also never doing pregnancy again or childbirth so hopefully I won’t need to! Ha!)

Banana Nut Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

Yesterday’s smoothie was so disgusting that I refuse to share it with you. In a disappointed and gagging manner, I drank nearly the whole thing.

Blegch!

I made up for the nastiness today with my…

Banana Nut Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

Banana Nut Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 handful organic spinach
  • 1 medium organic banana
  • 6 strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 organic broccoli florets, stems removed
  • 1 spoonful-ish almond butter
  • 1 smaller spoonful-ish ground flax seed
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup almond milk

Directions
Blend and enjoy!

The taste of this smoothie surprised me! I almost expected it to taste a little green-y because of the spinach and broccoli, but my pallet only picks up the banana and the almond butter. Super delicious plus super nutritious!

I changed the look of my blog! What do you think? It was the same for so long, I thought it was about time for a change.

Pomaveggie Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

Naming my spinach breakfast smoothie this morning was difficult.

When you make a smoothie with several berries, you have a “berry” smoothie. When you make a smoothie with oranges and grapefruit, you have a “citrus” smoothie. When you make a smoothie with peanut butter… well… you get the idea.

What do you have when you make a smoothie with apples and pears?

fleshy smoothie?

Gross, no.

So I looked it up. Apples and pears are part of the pome family of fruits. Hence!

Apple-Pear-Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

Pomaveggie Spinach Breakfast Smoothie (a.k.a. Swamp Thing)

Ingredients

  • 1 handful organic spinach, chopped
  • 1 organic apple, peeled
  • 1 organic pear, peeled
  • 3 organic broccoli florets, stems removed
  • 1 cup organic orange-carrot juice
  • 1 spoonful-ish ground flax seed

Directions
Blend and enjoy what I describe as nearly-the-same taste and texture of applesauce!

I searched the grocery store for carrot juice. I don’t have a juicer, and carrots don’t really… blend. Couldn’t find simple carrot juice without fruit in it so orange-carrot juice it is.

I can only do so much.

Organic Orange-Carrot Juice

However, the next time I have to peel apples and pears, I’m doing this.

Strawberry-Broccoli Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

I eat a cup of Greek yogurt with granola nearly every morning.

Eating the same breakfast gets boring so some mornings I cave to cravings for something different and get… Pop-Tarts… out of the vending machine.

Bad, Shae. Pop-Tarts are bad… except, maybe, these hand pies. They look both delicious and adorable.

One of my coworkers comes to work every morning with a smoothie, filled with fruits and greens, for breakfast, which has inspired me to update my breakfast routine.

So I tried to mimic my healthy coworker and bring a smoothie to work for breakfast but kept running out of time in the morning. A cup of yogurt and granola are so easy to grab when you’re in a rush.

So I took some inspiration from the Lean Green Bean and did a Sunday Smoothie Prep!

Sunday Smoothie Preparation for the Week

Sunday Smoothie Preparation for the Week

I pre-prepared my weekly smoothies on Sunday for quick and easy morning preparations!

I chopped up spinach, broccoli, apples and pears, mixed them with frozen fruits, almond butter, ground flax seed and a variety of Greek yogurts.

Yes. Broccoli. I knew you were thinking it.

Broccoli is my favorite green food. I ate nearly half a pound (I’m not joking) of raw broccoli on Thursday.

Over the next five days, I will share my spinach smoothie recipes!

Strawberry-Broccoli Spinach Smoothie

STRAWBERRY-BROCCOLI SPINACH SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • 1 handful organic spinach, chopped
  • 3 organic broccoli florets, stems removed
  • 6 strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 spoonful organic almond butter
  • 1 smaller spoonful of ground flax seed
  • 1 cup-ish organic almond milk
  • 3 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt

Directions
Blend until smooth… smooth-ish. I have spinach and broccoli chunks in mine… (I need a Vitamix!)

Now, even though broccoli is loaded full of nutrients in seriously high doses even in relatively small servings, I know there are people (like my husband) who hate broccoli.

Sub another handful of spinach, some baby spinach, kale or carrot juice and reap the vitamins and minerals you need without the broccoli you hate.

(But you should seriously try the broccoli. You can barely taste it.)

Eat more than 300 calories for breakfast

Have you seen Jimmy Dean’s “Eat Like a Bird” commercial?

Sun is just amazed by her “under 300 calories” breakfast. She’s eating bird food!

Quick question: Why in the world would anyone eat less than 300 calories for breakfast?

If I don’t eat at least 350 calories for breakfast, I am starving by 10 a.m.! Starving. (And I still have a giant apple at 11 a.m. to keep myself from pigging out at lunch and dinner.)

That apple was the size of my coffee cup…

Additional question: Why would anyone who wants to lose weight eat less than 300 calories  for breakfast?

According to a study conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University, a person will feel less hungry throughout the day, even at lunch and dinner, if he or she eats a larger breakfast.

In my experience, I will over eat at lunch and dinner if I do not get enough breakfast. (See above. Not kidding.)

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Sleeping is fasting, and the body needs fuel when it wakes to get going again.

Every aspect of your life will be better if you eat a healthy filling breakfast. You’re body will work better, internally (metabolism) and externally (less lethargy). You’re brain will work better (more focus).

You will notice the difference in mental and physical performance almost immediately. I promise.

Unless you have been told by your doctor to eat less than 300 calories for breakfast, I believe you should aim for a 350- and 500-calorie bfreakfast broken out between fiber, fat and protein.

So whip up these EatingWell Waffles. Cover them with berries and bananas, and perhaps a bit of syrup or jam. Fry up a couple of eggs, salt and pepper to taste. Drink a glass of milk, a glass or orange juice or several cups a cup of coffee.

…probably skip the sausage links and ham…

Be full.

Feel fueled.

Have breakfast.

A most pleasant morning

Let me tell you about a wonderful morning…

Woke up at 6:15 a.m. to find my cat using me as a pillow.

Ah-dohr-a-ble.

Shocker Fitness, bright and early, at 6:45 a.m. beginning with the usual warmup. I read some where, probably Twitter, that if you find a good warmup routine, then you should stick with it.

(I’ll never remember where I read that…)

I love our warmup routine: butt kicks, high knees, skips, jogging, arm swings and hamstring, hip and quad stretches up and down the track. We finish with three warmup runs, and when we’re done, we are definitely warm!

The Workout
200’s for 12 minutes

standing strength circuit
Usually we get down on the track for abs, too, but it was wet from the rain.

2 full stadiums (on stairs)
Because, again, wet rainy slippery metal seats?

It was a really great workout. I do prefer sprints, but I must build my endurance for that marathon I want to run.

Breakfast

I tried to eat primal, but the loaf was over and the ends of the bread are my favorite.

Egg, scrambled with hot sauce

Toast, buttered

Soup, tomato w/ a sprinkle of Parm

I’m so bad at following diets ;)

Dana said she’d post a review of the Paleo dietstyle when she gets a handle!

How was your morning workout? Fantastic! (Really? Holy cow.)

After workout refill? I love eggs.

Conquer defeat, build motivation

I woke up (not so motivated) at 6:15 a.m. and hurried (read: trudged) to the track for my Shocker Fitness workout.

Sometimes, especially when I am sleepy, I’ll tell myself that I won’t push myself, that I won’t work too hard, because, honestly, I do NOT want to be at the track at 6:45 a.m.

Too early. Read here.

I am mentally defeating myself before the workout has even begun.

During a quick warm-up lap around the track, I tell myself that I can go slow, plod along instead of pushing myself. It is the warmup, after all.

However, after moving through the rest of the warmup, I stop listening to the little voice in my head and just let my feet hit the track. I feel like I can push myself harder.

Today, I did.

We ran 150’s, which, to say the least, are not my favorite workout. I like short sprints and relays much more than 150’s up and down the track. (Running for endurance is not my favorite exercise, either; I much prefer running for speed, and then promptly pooping out.)

However, after the running part of the workout, even though I was tired, I pushed myself during the strength-training part of the workout. I did real pushups today! No knees, please. :)

After the strength circuit, we moved to stadiums, and I pushed harder again.

I love stadiums, I really do, but I am not a fan of just climbing to the top and walking back down the stairs.

One: I am pooped out 2/3 of the way up, and two: I do not want to go up again once I get back to the bottom.

Instead, I ran up 30 seats, about halfway, and walked down slowly, and then repeated that five times. Much more enjoyable. More sprinting!

(Secret Goal: I want to run up the entire stadium in one setting, no breaks, just sprinting and climbing. I know, once I get to the top, I will fall down dead, but I still totally want to do it. Look at me and my fitness goals! Doing sooooo well.)

Sorry, my point…

Every morning I wake up as a defeatist, mentally destroying my motivation and my ability to do well before I even set foot on the track.

But the track and the group do something to change that.

When I am on the track, I do not think (mental break!), I just go.

Ashley told me to do this during a workout when I was feeling especially nasty toward the thought of exercise. I tried it, and have been using the method successfully ever since.

Also, exercising in a group, Shocker Fitness members, and with coaches, Em and Nate, increases my motivation and my ability to do well even when I am silently defeating myself inside.

Have you ever suffered from the same motivation defeat? Do you mentally destroy yourself before a workout?

It’s OK. I understand.

I used to destroy myself before every workout. I was anxious about every workout. I was anxious about the whole process of getting fit and healthy. I had no confidence in myself… mentally. Read here.

It took me a long time to realize that I just needed to have confidence in my body. If I tell my body to do something, it won’t argue, it’ll just do it! The mind talks back, but the body is obedient.

(I think that also has something to do with willpower.)

I am not anxious about fitness anymore. I am not worried about failing. I have confidence in my body, even if I have to tell my brain to shut up in the morning.

The workout is not painful, mentally, any more. My workout is something I make. I make my workout.

And that is the best advice I could give anyone working toward a healthier lifestyle. Do what you made, and you’ll succeed, even when you feeling like you’re failing.

…again, straying from the point.

After the work out this morning I was STARVING. Sooooo hungry.

I ate a giant bowl of Multi-Grain Cheerios, pretty sure it was at least 1 1/2 cups, and one whole, huge banana.

Breakfast!zomg. It was so good.

After breakfast, I read a bit o’ Burke, and then took a power nap before getting ready for my day. I love morning naps.

Husband and the cat were playing video games when I woke up.

Hobbes the CatWe have such a cuddly kitty cat!

How do you conquer defeat?

Morning fuel? Cheerios are the shiz. :)