5 Favorite Self-Care Items for Fall

It’s scary how easy it is to let self-care fall onto the back burner once you become a mom. My days (and let’s face it, my nights too) are filled with taking care for others. It’s a 24/7 job.  

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^^ need to take care of myself so that I can take care of them!

It may have taken me a little over two years, but I’ve realized that when I neglect to put myself first sometimes, I really don’t function at my best. That’s why I’m making a point to spend time taking care of me this fall. 

As much as I wish that this self-care involved a full day at the spa or weekly trips to the nail salon, reality doesn’t permit that. Instead, I’ve got to find ways to take care of myself at home.

I’m sharing my 5 favorite self-care items for fall that are helping me get that much-needed “me” time in hopes that it can inspire some other mamas who are in desperate need of some too.

Our Skin Cares

OUR Skin Cares Anti-Aging Serum. The sweet people over at OUR Skin Cares were gracious enough to send me a bottle of their Anti-Aging Serum recently in exchange for an honest review. I have been using it for a few weeks now and, honestly, I could not be happier with it. I’ll admit, at first I felt a little silly using an anti-aging product because, well, I’m not old šŸ˜‰ BUT I had been feeling like my face had been looking old lately (i.e. looser skin, larger pores, etc.) and that was starting to bum me out. 

I started noticing a different right away, especially in the fine wrinkles around my eyes but the most noticeable difference to me is in the tone of my skin. The OUR Skin Cares Anti-Aging Serum has started to even out the sun-damaged skin on my face and neck – something that this Hawaii mama is very thankful for! 

Something else that I am thankful for is that this company has put a huge emphasis on giving back to children in need around the world. For each bottle sold, they provide 2 children with a months worth of meals through their partnership with Food for the Poor. Amazing right? I love when good products are backed by an even better cause. 

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^^ two thumbs up for a great product with a great cause

The new addition to my skin care routine is a great daily dose of self-care. Other ways that I’m investing in myself include a new bottle of nail polish (I’ve decided navy blue is my color for fall), a nice blend of “fall” essential oils running through the diffuser, wearing lemon halves on my cracked heels to help get rid of dead skin (got this idea here – the jury is still out on this one), and by listening to encouraging podcasts whenever I have a spare minute (I’ve been loving the archives of Sally Clarkson’s podcast)

How do you make taking care of yourself a priority? I would love to hear your ideas!

Fall Bucket List 2016

It honestly feels like yesterday that I posted last years’ fall bucket list. I can’t believe what a tiny peanut Lyla was. This year, Simon has taken over the “tiny peanut” role although, he’s about to turn ONE! 

Anyways, we crossed almost everything off of our list last year – we never made it to a football game, so it’s back on the list this year. 

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I’m excited to get working! Follow along on Instagram and with #fallohawiththebyrds

What’s on your fall bucket list?

Preparing For Date Night After Baby

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FormulaForHappiness #GerberTarget #CollectiveBias

We are nine months into this whole “two kids” thing and Alex and I are totally due for a date night. I think that dating your spouse is so important, especially after having kids, but it’s hard. There are a lot of moving parts to figure out. The three biggest obstacles I find are time, sitters and letting go.

TIME || As your family grows, the amount of time that you have to spend with your spouse shrinks. It takes some serious effort to carve out a few hours amid the never-ending cycle of mealtimes, chores, laundry mountains (yes, mountains – piles are a thing of the past) and bedtime routines.

LAST DATE NIGHT

^ us on our last date night before Auntie left for the mainland

SITTERS || Once you finally find the time, you have to find a sitter. While we don’t live near any immediate family, we are lucky enough to live on the same island as my auntie and uncle. They are so great, and the kids love spending time with them. My auntie has been on the mainland since late April so we have been sitter-less so far this summer and it has really made me realize how hard it is to find someone to watch your babies – you can’t leave them with just anyone!

LETTING GO || Found time and a sitter? Awesome. The rest is easy, right? WRONG. Leaving your baby for the first (OK, and the second. And maybe the third…always?!) time is hard on a mama’s heart and takes some major mental preparation. No matter how badly I need the break, or how much I am looking forward to alone time with Alex, I still have a hard time leaving our babies.

One of my biggest worries is feeding Simon. He has started on solid food (boy loves to eat) but still gets a majority of his daily calories from breastfeeding. I have a hate-hate relationship with the breast pump so I really haven’t used it this time around. No pump = no frozen supply = no breastmilk bottles for Simon.

We’ve started using GerberĀ® Good StartĀ® Stage 1 Gentle for Supplementing Infant Formula for those times when Simon needs to take a bottle. The formula is designed to supplement breastmilk which makes it easy on his tummy. It is made for tiny tummies (birth to 12 months). It’s made with no GMOs which also puts my mind at ease. Gerber has made this change across all of their formulas, and now  offer non-GMO products to moms with a wide variety of needsā€”those who want the base product, those who supplement with breast milk, those with babies who need a soy formula, those who have babies with tolerance issues, etc. We send a bottle with him when he goes to the nursery at church and he has no troubles with it.

Knowing that he is happy supplementing with a bottle from time to time is a huge relief for me and makes the idea of leaving him with a sitter a lot easier.

Once you’ve jumped the hurdles of finding time, arranging a sitter and figuring out how to let go of some of the control, all that’s left is to enjoy your date. OK, and maybe kiss your babies cheeks a few hundred times before walking out the door. Am I the only one that does this?!

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Gerber Good Start Target

Gerber sent us samples but I also stocked up at Target. You can find GerberĀ® Good StartĀ® formulas in the baby section at Target. Here is a great Cartwheel offer good from 9/4- 9/17. 

When did you go on your first date after baby? What is your favorite date night activity? I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

Don’t Be Afraid, Mama

A photo by Pineapples. unsplash.com/photos/Q7PclNhVRI0

Too often I hear other moms tell me that they are afraid to take their kids out on their own. Whether it be on a trip to the grocery store or a day at the beach they will wait until they can go with a friend/spouse/on their own. 

To an extent, I get it. I really do.

Toddlers are overwhelming. Wiggly babies who don’t want to sit in the cart while you shop are frustrating. Simple errands take double, maybe even triple the time that they used to.

It’s hard. 

But mama, don’t be afraid…

…of being outnumbered || Before having Simon I wondered how I would ever go out in public with two babies. Two of them > one of me. I’m not very good at math but I know I at least got that down. I quickly learned that it is very unrealistic for me to wait until Alex is home to do things like grocery shopping while still being able to prepare meals and enjoy time together as a family so, I just dove right in. Sometimes, we double stroller. Sometimes, Lyla walks and Simon is in the Ergo. Sometimes, I’ve got a crying baby pulling my hair on one hip and a limb-flailing toddler on the other…you know, whatever works. 

…of your kids crying || Kids cry. This isn’t news to anyone. They cry in their carseats. They cry in the stroller. They cry because their shoes aren’t sparkly enough. They cry because they hear other kids crying. You get the picture. As long as you’ve made sure they are fed, changed and not in any sort of pain just try to drown it out. Easier said than done, I know, but sometimes you’ve just gotta let the choir sing! 

…of tantrums in the store || Gosh, these can be embarrassing. You will probably get some looks, maybe even a comment or two, but hey – tantrums happen! It’s part of the game. This is your chance to teach your kids what sort of behavior is acceptable in public and what is not. Are they going to listen the first time? Probably not (unless you are really effective, and in that case, sign me up for the first copy of your parenting book!). Will your child throw another tantrum the next time you don’t let them open three bags of Goldfish before you even leave the snack aisle? Probably. Just take a deep breath, stick to your guns and roll with it. 

…of being tired || It took me two and a half years but I have finally resigned to the the fact that I will never feel rested again. Between the kids and the house and the dog and the husband (kidding, babe) there are simply not enough hours in the day. It’s easy to brush off invites to fun outings or playdates when you are feeling “tired” but don’t let that be a reason for missing out on life anymore! Yes, you are tired. So is every other mama, so pour yourself a mug of coffee and get out there. At least you will be in good company šŸ˜‰

…of being unprepared || One of the hardest things for me about having two kids is how disorganized I feel ALL THE TIME. On a recent outing, Simon had a huge blowout. No big deal, right? Right. Until I realized that I didn’t have any diapers OR wipes in my backpack. I was carrying around this big backpack, that I swore I had packed full of essentials (and backups…and backups for the backups) that morning, for no reason because it was empty. So, I took Simon into the ladies room, wet some paper towels to wipe up the mess and then made a makeshift diaper with a bunch of wadded up toilet paper. Definitely not my proudest moment as a mother but it did get the job done and did not interrupt our family fun time. 

…to ask for help || I am not superwoman. You are not superwoman (I don’t think so, anyway). Sometimes you are going to need help. In those moments, you are going to be cursing under your breath wondering why you ever tried to get out in the first place. You are going to vow to never do it again. But, in these times don’t be afraid to ask for help. Wherever you are, chances are that a lot of the people around you are parents too. They get it. They want to help. Don’t be shy. 

Don’t let the fear hold you back.

Get out there. Enjoy life. Embrace your gifts.

Laugh off the crazy. 

This season of life is going fast. Too fast. Before you know it, we will be meandering through the aisles at Target alone and wishing we had some little crazy people in our carts (OK, maybe not – solo Target does sound pretty fab šŸ˜‰ )

Make memories. Take photos.

Smile, laugh, and dance with your kids.

Thank your spouse for these beautiful gifts. For this precious time. 

Lean on your friends when you need some help. We all do. 

Don’t be afraid, mama. You’ve got this. 

 

DIY Floral Step Stool

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PottyTrainTogether #CollectiveBias

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Here at the Byrd house it’s potty training time. We have great days and we have…well…not so great days. It’s definitely a learning process for all parties involved. Luckily, Lyla has been pretty enthusiastic by the whole thing, especially once she realized that “big” girls get to wear Pull-UpsĀ® Cool & LearnĀ® Training Pants with princesses on them. 

Like a lot of little girls, Lyla is enthralled by all things princess. If she had it her way, she would never take off her dresses or crown so, like any good mom would, I use it to my advantage when I need her to do something šŸ˜‰

Need to do her hair? I ask her to sit still while I make her hair just like [insert favorite princess of the week here].

Want her to eat a few more bites of dinner? Tell her that meatloaf is food fit for a princess. 

Girlfriend is motivated. 

So, with potty training, I’m using the same tactics. 

On a recent trip to Walmart, I picked up a package of Pull-Ups with Disney’s Princess Sophia on them. Lyla oohed and aahed  at them in the cart, in the car and when we got home. (I told you, she loves princesses). To build excitement, I didn’t let her open them on the first day, but kept talking them up – letting her know that we would open them when she was ready to use the big girl potty.

The Pull-UpsĀ® Cool & LearnĀ® Training Pants have a built-in cooling system that helps teach kids when they are wet. They also have easy-open sides for when you need to help with the changing. 

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Of course, a big part of potty training is learning what to do after you go. You know, the whole flushing and washing your hands thing. So to make that special for her too, I decided to make a floral step stool fit for a princess. 

Back at Walmart, I picked up a plastic step stool and some faux flowers. I love getting my flowers from there because they are so affordable. Less expensive = I can buy more and really make a statement. 

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Lyla was pretty excited to see this step stool come to life so she happily helped me remove all of the flowers from the stems and we collected them into one big pile. 

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Since hot glue and toddlers do not mix (safety first, y’all) Alex kept her entertained with some highly sophisticated hand-puppet action while I got to work on gluing the flowers to the stool. 

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When I was done, my trusty assistant helped me clean up all of the extra flowers while we let the glue dry. Then, we were off to the bathroom to give it a try!

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Find out which type of potty training character your child is at this link. Lyla is definitely a squirrel so I think our approach of making the potty and hand-washing routine a princess game for her is going to work really well. 

Wish us luck!

Ready to start on your potty training adventure? Use this coupon at Walmart for $2 off any package of Pull-Ups (or GoodNights) at Walmart from 8/28- 10/8.