mommy blogger struggles revamped

At the start of my blogging journey, I wrote a post about mommy blogger struggles:

As I sit here looking at my notepad of ideas, I am stumped what to write this week. Nothing is inspiring me, and I am having difficulty finding the time to sit down and write. Charlotte is requiring a lot of mommy attention: she’s teething, crawling, climbing stairs, and grabbing onto anything to help her stand (last night she stood up holding onto her car seat and it ended up rocking and knocking her over.) Needless to say, my baby girl is a little needy lately, by the time she’s napping or down for bed I have other to-do’s that take priority over writing my blog…read more HERE

I chuckle a little bit because time is still an issue today as much as it was for me 2 months ago (with blogging and being a mommy at home) but the struggles are a little different.

blogger struggles

I don’t have trouble sitting down and writing (and I’m getting more confident blogging about myself!) It’s the time required on social media to promote my blog posts that take more time. 2 months ago, I never would have thought that I would have an Instagram account or Pinterest account for my blog in addition to my Facebook page. But, here I am trying to find people through social media who enjoy reading my blog to help drive traffic to my blog posts.

I also discovered mommy blogger support groups through social media. When I started blogging, I had no idea there were groups out there that helped encourage and mentor bloggers, as well as help drive traffic to blogs. This has been huge! It’s been less than a month since I’ve started participating in groups, and my Instagram followers went from very few (less than 50) to 306! I also just started using Pinterest this past week and now have 165 followers (I started around 60). Not to mention, my Facebook page now has 199 likes (I started around 50 before participating in groups.)

Not only do the groups help drive traffic to my blogs, but I am learning something new everyday!  Yes, it has required more time from me but it has been worth it. I have big dreams for my blog, just like everyone else who is participating in these groups, so it is awesome to be surrounded by like-minded people.

(If you’re interested, the groups I’ve joined are Naptime Nation, Growing Social Media for Bloggers, and Blogging on Your Own Terms.)

I mentioned 2 months ago that what my readers enjoy is what inspires me to continue blogging, and this is definitely still true! I also said that “I try to keep the topics versatile” which is something that I am trying to move away from. You could say I have been searching for my niche.

Thankfully, now that I have 40 published posts and an increase in my number of readers, it has been a little easier to narrow-down 1) what I enjoy writing and taking pictures of and 2) what gets a good response from readers.  From what I’m learning, “go niche or go home” is very important, so I am definitely still working on this! But, for now I’m happy to focus on food, crafts, and making memories.

It’s still true that I’m enjoying blogging, so even when I feel these mommy blogger struggles I try to focus on why it is important to me. Trust me, my baby girl is still needy and she deserves my attention when we are home together, so lately it’s been a constant struggle with not having enough time to do everything.  But, I am working everyday on the blogging/life balance to make it possible.

Thanks for reading my blog post! Please remember to follow me so you get the first update on new posts as they are published.

blogger struggles

taco bar

Taco bars are easy to prepare and delicious for the entire family. Putting together a taco bar is one of my favorites for a house party or family gathering because there’s something available for everyone to enjoy!

My mouth waters over all the fresh veggies you can chop-up and use.  One day we will have a backyard garden that grows all of these for us (fingers crossed!) My favorites include:

  • onions
  • tomatoes (I’ve been using grape tomatoes lately)
  • green peppers
  • green onions
  • lettuce

Other must-have extra toppings include:

  • shredded cheese
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • guacamole
  • sriracha or hot sauce

I always try to have multiple taco meat options.  You can mix taco seasoning with shredded or ground chicken, turkey and beef.  My latest taco bar I offered ground turkey with taco seasoning and ground beef with taco seasoning, green peppers and onions (after browning the ground beef, I sauteed 1/4 cup of chopped onion and green pepper in honey for 5-7 minutes and added the meat back in with the taco seasoning, it was a spicy/sweet kick!)

I usually opt for taco seasoning packets (hot & spicy!) But, I am inspired to make my own taco seasoning at the next taco bar!  I was provided an awesome DIY taco seasoning recipe from a fellow-blogger (A Hopeful Happenstance) in their post about Meal Planning Basics (check it out HERE). The DIY taco seasoning recipe was included at the bottom of her blog post exclusively for my readers!

So, we have the meat, the toppings, the extra toppings…all we need to complete the taco bar is some eating vessels: hard and soft taco shells and some tortilla and corn chips. 

Once everything is out and ready for taco-fixin’ it doesn’t last long, so enjoy!

Did I miss anything that you would include in a taco bar?

taco bar 1
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mommy goals

I have always been a goal setter.  It was ingrained in my brain during college from a combination of the health & fitness classes I took and the personal training work I did on the side. Everyone seemed to have a goal to lose weight, but we had to take a deeper look and make the goals SMART:

For example: lose weight = lose 10 lbs in 10 weeks

No matter what the goal is, the end result is to meet the goal and be rewarded.


I set a lot of personal goals for myself, but I also gave up on a lot of them. The one that really stands out to me is when I participated in an altitude training class. We drove 22 hours to climb a mountain in Colorado…and after climbing for hours, I turned around with the first group that couldn’t make it all the way to the summit. This class had a goal for us to make it to the top of the mountain, and first chance I got I gave up.

Fast forward a few years…

The week leading up to my daughter’s due date was very thought-provoking, to say the least. One night I had bad stomach cramps I wasn’t able to sleep (probably that whole medium pizza I ate) but I was in so much pain, all I could think was: if labor and delivery are more painful than this I can’t do it.  

I had to have a pep talk with myself: having my baby is something I can’t back out of. It will happen whether I want it to or not! I can back out of climbing a mountain, but I can’t back out of childbirth.

Well, I am happy to say, I had my baby: goal met!

My baby girl is almost a year old, so I have taken time recently to reminisce (read her birth story HERE.)  But, I’ve noticed my goals within this past year have been easier to meet than ever before!  Did having a baby make me superwoman?  Probably not, but the goals I’ve been setting are mainly ART goals: 

They may not be SMART weight loss goals anymore, but goals geared for stay-at-home-motherhood.

My main focus is have realistic goals. Being a mom has me all over the place sometimes, it’s important to allow more than enough time to meet a goal and allow for flexibility.  Also, not using time or energy to beat myself up about missing goals is important.  Life goes on, and goals change.

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my first baby

Every mother has a birth story. This is mine.

It was 5 days after my due date.  My husband and I arrived at the hospital a little before 6 pm and went straight to the birthing center to check in. We were actually pre-checked in, so they were expecting us and took us straight to the room.

I would be induced at 6am.

The night was…uncomfortable. Bed not so comfy, tubes connected to me were awkward, and I had to get up and pee a lot.

I was hoping for any sleep, and I got about 3 hours.

I was already awake, so they induced me a little earlier than 6am. It was an easy morning. Easy for me meant: no contractions (that I could feel) and I was able to stay amused watching tv with my husband. I kept being told by the nurse, “No changes, we’ll just keep upping the Pitocin.”  I was dilated barely a 3 all morning.

The doctor came to check on me at 1pm, and my water broke.  “We’re having the baby today!”

I still wasn’t feeling any contractions, so I was hoping dilation would speed up and I’d start feeling something.  My husband and I decided to watch Disney’s Frozen. I hadn’t seen this movie yet, and we’re having a baby girl, so why not?

We made it about halfway through the movie before my contractions got very bad and frequent, I was on the waiting list to get an epidural…stat!

This was about 3:30 pm.

My husband was asked to leave the room while I got the epidural. This was the first time we were apart from each other since we arrived at the hospital. The contractions were so strong (and happening every 30 seconds) the nurse had to put her forehead against mine and tell me to breathe before they could poke me with the big needle.  

I am happy I decided to get an epidural!  It went from pain and tears to no pain and being able to talk on the phone with my mom about how to turn on streaming tv shows at my house.  
This means family was starting to arrive, and they were all patiently waiting for baby girl to make her arrival.
Right around 5:15 pm I could feel an enormous amount of pressure, like I needed to start pushing!  The nurse checked my dilation and I was finally ready, so they called the doctor to come back to the hospital.  
Every contraction was time to push.  It was my husband and the nurse coaching me through it…there was one time the nurse left the room and it was just my husband and me. We looked at each other like: what if the next contraction is the push where the baby comes?  Luckily, it wasn’t (and I’m sure the nurse knew that) but the realization was that this baby is coming and we were not ready to do it on our own!
About an hour went by.  It felt like I was doing a lot of pushing…I was tired, running out of energy, and looked forward to the rest time between contractions.  But, this is one thing in my life that I was not able to give up on, so I held onto every positive thing my husband and the nurse were telling me.
Eventually another nurse was called in, and around 6:30 pm my doctor arrived.  This must mean the baby is coming soon, right?
I kept being told her head was visible during my contractions, then it would disappear when I wasn’t pushing…how frustrating is that!?  Putting my frustration aside, there was a moment during pushing where everyone was cheering and the doctor looked ready…this was the moment my daughter was born.

Charlotte Jean was born on August 21, 2015 at 6:53 pm, weighing 8 lbs 12 oz, and measuring 21 inches.  Labor was a total of 13 hours, and I pushed for about 1.5 hours.


It was an experience I will never forget.  Sharing the details is hard for me, because I do not usually share these things, but having a baby is something to be proud of!  If sharing my story can help another mother or expecting mom get through their own birthing story, I’m all about sharing it! 


What makes me even happier?  
This birth story is only the beginning of our lives together.

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body changes: preparing for baby 2

I made a list of changes to help me prepare for baby 2 in a blog post (read it again HERE) and I’m determined to mentally prepare myself for all these changes before we begin trying for baby #2.  Planning may be the starting motivation I need to go through a whole 9-10 months of pregnancy again!

One of the changes that will be the toughest for me is body changes.

My belly will get big, my back will hurt, my feet will swell, my head will itch (just to name a few.)  At least these are some of the body changes that took place during my first pregnancy…there is honestly no telling if my second pregnancy will be the same. The rule of thumb is every pregnancy is different!

A lot of changes are out of my control, but I’ve been looking into tips for what I can do before trying to conceive to help my body get ready for pregnancy:

1. Cut back on alcohol and caffeine, drink more water! This is a hard one because I’ve enjoyed cocktails a lot this summer! But, alcohol and caffeine can make conception harder and is nothing but empty calories for me.  I’m all about starting right now gradually cutting back on alcohol and caffeine, and drinking more water to stay hydrated.

2. Eat more healthy food choices.  I haven’t really paid attention to the types of food I’ve been eating lately, but I agree that providing my body with nutrients is very important before pregnancy.  Stocking my fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables, eating foods high in calcium, and eating a variety of protein sources is what I’m committed to going forward.  I need to say bye-bye to fried foods, saturated fat, and calories with no nutrients!

3. Lose weight. This will go hand in hand with cutting back on drinking alcohol and eating more healthy foods.  Aiming for a healthy weight will not only make conception easier, but may help pregnancy body changes feel less severe.  I am right around the pre-pregnancy weight I was at before my first pregnancy, so I can’t help but wonder if starting at a lower pre-pregnancy weight will make it easier?  I’m up for the challenge!

4. Exercise more.  This is another thing that will help compliment losing weight! My first pregnancy caused a lot of foot and back pain, so exercising more before my next pregnancy will make it easier to have a fit pregnancy.  Since I don’t exercise much right now, I will ease into walking more and aim for 10-20 minutes a day.  I will eventually work up to 30 minutes of moderate exercise with resistance training most days of the week. Bring it on!

I also like front-carrying my daughter when I’m walking around, it’s like I’m practicing for the extra weight that will be there when my belly grows again.

 

5. Visit my dermatologist.  Yes, I want to see my dermatologist!  The last few months of my first pregnancy my scalp itched very bad it was painful…I was not able to use any hair product or conditioner, I simply washed my hair daily with itchy relief head and shoulders. It was miserable. My daughter is almost 1 year old, and my itchy scalp has gotten better since giving birth, but it still gets itchy sometimes…so, I can’t help but wonder if it will be worse my next pregnancy or magically go away? Either way, I want to discuss with my dermatologist what I can do or what medication I can take during pregnancy (if any) to help alleviate an itchy scalp.

I definitely have a few plans to put in action now, wish me luck

Is there anything you would add to this list?

Read about Family Changes: preparing for baby 2 HERE