Emergency preparedness: Prologue

Broken A.C.s, storms, hurricanes, evacuations, and zombies. OH MY. Everything is so much scarier when you are a parent.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to work together at getting ready. Actually getting ready. Really putting things together. The plan is out lined below:

  1. Clean a space for the emergency bags and bins
  2. Gather bags: Ziplocs, backpacks, grocery bags, waste bags, and permanent markers
  3. Papers. print lists, make copies of important documents
  4. Clothing
  5. Hygiene
  6. Mental health, stimulation, and comfort
  7. Water
  8. Food
  9. Survival Gear
  10. Pets
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5 Baby shower gifts that will actually get used

This post contains affiliate links. So, if you purchase from one of my links, I get a small commission. I don’t know how much. I’ve never done this before.

  1. Vitamin D drops, $20. I had no idea I was supposed to get these and use them for the first few months. In the USA, most pediatricians recommend using Vitamin D drops for the first 6 months if the baby is breastfed. In cloudier areas, they can be recommended up to 2 years!

2. Rohm sound machine $20. This is portable, so not only can you use it anywhere in the home, but for car rides and hotels too! Sound machines help to lull babies to sleep, and also allow mom and dad to do housework without worry of waking the baby. Get it for them and they will be so grateful!

3. Skip Hop Bandanna Buddies, $11-16. Something fun you can buy the happy family, any of these adorable Bandanna Buddies! My toddler has the unicorn, I also recently bought a friend the fox version and another the dinosaur version. Skip Hop is a pretty solid brand to get fun items from!

4. High contrast baby board book, $5-7. Young babies cannot really process colors, so the high contrast of the black and white will give them something interesting to look at. This will ideally engage baby long enough for the parents to eat a hot meal, or keep the baby entertained enough for the parents to talk about the book to the baby and help those budding language skills!

5. Haakaa, $13. This one is more for mom, but she will be grateful! I found it worth while to go brand name with this. Mom can use it on the opposite side when the baby nurses to catch any drips – it is liquid gold after all. It’s also handy if mom gets stuck in traffic and needs to pump, or is camping or travelling where there’s no electricity. It’s always handy to have this manual pump around!

Mama Monday: Trying to Conceive and Trying for a Baby (TTC and TFAB)

Everything about babies is hard, including trying to make one. Here are 5 useful products to help!


1.) Royal Jelly. This super sweet honey is great in teas. Both parents should take 1 tablespoon once a day. Not only is this super food handy for fertility, but its properties are great for overall health including the possibility of reducing inflammation.

2.) Maca Root Powder. I love taking this in powder form since it makes it easy to blend with smoothies and shakes. It almost tastes like butter scotch, the it is subjectively palatable. It is believed that Maca root helps balance hormones and energy levels.

3.) Fertility tea. Why not? Brew a Pink Stork cup of fertility tea and add in a spoonful of royal honey.

4.) Easy@Home ovulation testing strips and pregnancy tests. I love the multi-pack available on Amazon. It gave me plenty of ovulation tests to track for months, and pregnancy tests to take after the two week wait.

5.) Emily Oster: Expecting Better. There is so much fear and information out there about pregnancy and fertility. Emily is a mathematician who uses number to reassure you. This book is perfect for the mama who loves research.

View the list here on Amazon: http://a.co/1tSfrkI

There are plenty of other handy tools out there when you are TTC. Those are the 5 things I could not live without!

What did you find useful while you were TTC or TFAB?

To the mom struggling with birth trauma: I see you

Not all births are traumatic. Not all births are perfect. This post is to the mom who is struggling.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours everyday

I want you to know your feelings are valid. Your birth experience doesn’t have to be a bloody emergency for it to be traumatic (to those moms I give you all the hugs). It is absolutely OK to accept that your delivery was traumatic, even if it’s on a scale. If you feel traumatized, it was traumatic.

My delivery was traumatic. Not a crazy you’re-going-to-die- blood-everywhere kind of traumatic but it’s on the scale. I struggled to bond with my baby. When I was pregnant, so many parents told me that the moment you hold your baby you’ll experience instant love. While logically I knew it was ok and that not everyone had that- it still hurt that I didn’t get that. This lack of instant bond squeezed my heart to death.

Here I am almost 18 months out and crying as I write this article. I’m doing it because it’s personal and I think its important to me and others. That’s why I want to put this out there.

To the most part- in the early days I did not think much about it. I was too present in parenthood and tired to remember. But there were moments. Those quiet moments when I was in the shower and I would touch my c section scar and my eyes would well up with tears. There were moments when I would scroll through Facebook and happen across a video of dads holding their baby’s for the first time and I would feel that crushing guilt wash over me. Or those moments when I would look down at this sweet, smiling baby -who I now have that immense love for- and break down.

Why wasn’t my love instant? Where did I go wrong? Am I not enough? She deserves a better mom. Why couldn’t I stop shaking? Why couldn’t I hold her? I am such a bad mom. Why can’t I breastfeed? Is pumping enough? I HATE THIS PUMP. UGH. Why do I NEED Zoloft?

It wasn’t just the guilt of bonding that crushed me – it was the entire thing. my last trimester was very borderline problematic. We rode that roller coaster for weeks; going between “everything is great,” to “let’s send you to the local children’s hospital.” We were induced 4 weeks early. We had little time to prepare for that. We spent 50 hours of various techniques trying to convince our baby to come out… she was not convinced. It was 50 hours of walking, squats, pills, balls, pitocin, Foley Bulbs, shaking and vomiting, and being constantly monitored for blood pressure (I was never high, but again – borderline). Just before midnight we had the surgery. I threw up in the OR. I didn’t stop shaking for 2 hours post surgery.

I still feel pangs of guilt. I think about how I didn’t get to hold my baby, how I was shaking too much to control my arms. I was so drugged up and tired to weeks. breastfeeding was a failure at first (we eventually got it around 3 months). I struggled a lot with anxiety and depression, and anger for months. My scar hurt – which to me was a cruel reminder of my guilt.

As I found the time, I embraced meditation. As baby fell into her sleeping routine I picked up relaxing baths with face masks. I took time to take care of myself and forgive myself. Sometimes I’m still surprised to feel those tears well up every now and then. It’s getting better. Our love grows every day. I have that love – it wasn’t instant, but it’s there.

Mama, I want you to know that if you are struggling with the trauma and guilt that you are valid. Those tears that well up? Let them. Our experiences may not be the same or may vary on any scale, but damn this is hard. It can be hard to reconcile your emotional state with your logical thoughts. And that is ok.

If you’re looking for advice, I don’t have much to offer. Time can help. It won’t heal it completely, but as you fill your heart with memories those dark ones will lessen. Take care of yourself. Figure out what you need. Let yourself cry and then dry your tears and kick some booty.

The first time I held my baby. I was still shaking, numb, and swollen.

Got a story to share? Tell me all about it mama.



5 ways to reduce plastics in the kitchen

5 was to reduce the plastic in your kitchen. These are things you can do today that will have a real environmental and economic impact to you.

One huge reason I’m becoming an advocate for cutting back plastic is realizing just how much water plastic consumes. Take this NPR article for example:

 The results, released this month, show that for North American companies, it takes 1.39 liters to make one liter of water.

That’s less than the global averages of a liter of soda, which requires 2.02 liters of water. A liter of beer, meanwhile, needs 4 liters of water, wine demands 4.74 liters.

NPR. ORG

Here is what you can do:

  • Reusable straws. I personally love silicon straws. They are soft, large (perfect for smoothies), and easy to clean. Some prefer metal straws which are beautiful, but they hurt my teeth. Sensitive teeth have me reliant on straws, but I can be better with silicone straws!
  • Reusable K cup. K-cups create so much waste. However, to some -especially sleep deprived parents- the convenience of the brewing beast tops all. You’ll have more control over your coffee flavors, help reduce waste, and the coffee grounds you have left you can use for your garden.
  • Soap dispenser refills. Keep your dispenser full, and cut back on buying new soap bottles. I use my original soap bottle rinsed out between refills. I usually buy the Softsoap Aloe formula. At Target, you can get 50 OZ for $3.99, which breaks down to $0.07 cents per ounce. Compare this to your standard bottle (7 oz, @$0.99) at $0.13 cents per ounce. A 50 ounce bottle will last my family of 3 for almost a year. Not only do I save on plastic, I cut back on trips to the store!
  • Reusable, mesh produce bags. Ok, imagine you’re at a grocery store, and you are buying bananas, onions, and garlic. Each gets its own plastic baggie. When you get home, that bag goes in the trash, or you leave your produce in it and they go bad. This is wasteful to the environment and your wallet (if you are throwing away food that goes bad). Switch it up. Get these mesh bags. They list the tare on the tag, so you can always account for that weight at checkout. They allow your produce to breath with helps some items stay good. This pack has so many that I keep some in my car in case I forget them on a grocery run. You get 9 bags for $18, just under $2 each.
  • The ol’ reliable reusable water bottle. Don’t pay for drinking water. I got my set of Contigo bottles on clearance at Target. I prefer them because they have a straw which helps protect my sensitive teeth from cold drinks. If you reduce drinking your calories (soda, and alcohol), that will already save your waist and the planet.

Comment below, and share what steps you’ve taken to reduce plastic. Did anything surprise you?

TheHappyBoxes.com

Mama Monday: How to stay on top of the cleaning

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

It never ends. The dishes, the laundry, the dirt. The list of cleaning to dos is endless!

In order to prevent burnout, I spread out my cleaning. This way, something productive gets taken care of each day. I also give my self a lot of grace. If I can’t get to something on Monday, it’s ok. I will get to it later.

One thing I want to put out there:

Clean laundry and dishes do not define you as a parent.

You are not a bad mom or dad, husband or wife just because something is dirty. Not let’s get to work.

1.) Write down your chores and break your house down by room. Picture below:

Laundry, dishes, trash, clean out car, water plants, landscaping. Front room, office, hallway/ laundry room, guest room, guest bath, kitchen, dining room, nursery, master room, master bath.

2.) Divide the chores up. For me, I aim to get 2-3 things done a day. I work 10 hour days with a commute so I factor that in as well. I write it on the calendar in the kitchen so both my husband and I can get the chores done. Our cleaning schedule for a week looks like this:

Basic Cleaning schedule

Make a schedule that fits for you and leave what doesn’t! What have you found useful?

3 ways to reduce plastic in the bathroom

I used to think plastic was the way to go since it was recyclable. I never felt bad about buying plastic bottles until I learned more. Having a child has made me more purposeful in how I treat the environment. It has also made me tighten my purse strings. Often going green and saving money are best friends.

  1. Bamboo Toothbrushes. What makes bamboo toothbrushes a good option is that bamboo is a renewable source. The bamboo handle will eventually breakdown, unlike the plastic handle on traditional toothbrushes. They are currently selling for $7.99 for 4 brushes, So just under $2 a brush. Most dentists recommend changing out your toothbrushes every 3 months. That means, you will spend just under $8 for toothbrushes for the year.

2. Razors. You can choose to go natural and embrace all of your hair. However, that’s not always our preference. The advice here- that you may already heed- is to avoid cheap plastic razors. Instead, get a straight razor or just replace the blades. Less plastic waste and a better shave here. I found the below Solimo razor with 20 cartridges on Amazon for $14.24. That breaks down to $0.72 cents a cartridge. That is a steal! I suggest getting the one for men because the one for women has less cartridges. Another tip to make your razor last longer: Once you’re done dry it off. It takes a moment and you help prevent rusty, dull blades.

4. Rethinking periods. If you have a regular monthly flow, you may currently use a variety of pantie liners, pads, and tampons. Each of those has their own wrappers, backings, and plastic tubing to hygiene purposes. Personally, my birth control leaves me without a period, and that works for me. My cousin loves the menstrual cup. These usually run in the mid $25 range, but they last a long time! I used to spend $60 a year on various one-time use menstrual products, so the cup would pay for itself within a few months. The downside here is the need to pay attention to sanitation – boiling the cup and washing hands. Another great option is Thinx underwear or a reusable pad. I liked reusable pads after I had my child. To clean: just soak in cold water, then add to your regular laundry load. I love the designs on Amazon. The pack listed below contains 5 pads and a wet bag for $14.99. That makes the pads about $2 each! They would pay for themselves in a month or two.

Reusable pads

None of the links are affiliate links, so I make no money off of linking these items.