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My Favorite Spinach Smoothie

This smoothie is HANDS DOWN, the best smoothie I have ever had!
It's the easiest way to sneak 2 cups worth of greens into my diet... not to mention, into GAVIN'S diet! SCORE!

So, here's how it's done: 

The other nice thing about this smoothie, is you can swap out the fruits. I've tried it with pineapple instead of mango... you can also use kale instead of spinach!
It allows for all kinds of variety, which is always fun.

Try it out...

Breast Milk Queen

This is my deep freeze, full of nothing but breast milk.

If you're like me, and you want a freezer full of breast milk for your baby, keep reading & I'll fill you in on how I did it!

My disclaimer: I am in no way a breast feeding expert. I didn't read any specific breast feeding books before giving birth.  I didn't even take a breast feeding class, BUT, obviously what I did worked, and it was nothing crazy, so I'm hoping it will work for other mamas who want to give it a try!! :) 

So here's a little background....From the day I found out I was pregnant with Gavin I knew I wanted to breast feed him.  Just from what I had heard from other moms, and what I had read about in my baby books, I knew it was what was best for my baby!  My husband is a chiropractor (huge into nutrition), so to be honest, in the beginning he probably knew more about the benefits of breast feeding than I even did!  My advice to any mom who's not sure whether they want to breast feed or not- RESEARCH!!! Read about the benefits of breastfeeding, not only for your baby, but for YOURSELF (hello! easiest way to burn calories post-baby!!)! 
Make your own educated decision, and don't rely on just what everyone else says!

Fast forward a little bit to when Gavin was born! (YAYY!) :)  I expected breast feeding to be a breeze... you always see all the breast feeding pictures where the mom looks so beautiful and relaxed, and it just looks perfect.  SO NOT THE CASE FOR first anyway! I cursed breast feeding.  A LOT. Sometimes I felt like I couldn't get Gavin to latch on good... IT HURT... My nipples cracked (rewind to my pre-mama days, and if I would have heard a woman say her "nipples cracked", I wouldn't have even known how that is possible..ouch, and ew!?) A few times during the night Gavin would over eat, and spit up... A LOT.... (of course all over my side of the bed because that's where I fed him), so I would automatically curse breast feeding and swear that I was going to just give up! Thank God I knew better, and I stuck with it, because by about the time Gavin was 2 months old, I felt like a breast feeding pro! :)  (Mixing a brand new first time mama, with not very much sleep, and topping that with off the wall hormones... it's no surprise I was so quick to "hate" breast feeding!)  I knew I had to stick with it, because it was best for Gavin...and now my life was all about what's best for HIM!

So now that you know my background with breast feeding, that was initially my motivation for stock piling a crap ton of milk. So I could quit breast feeding as soon as possible... but still give Gavin breast milk until he hits the 1 year mark! 
It's funny now looking back at it (since now I enjoy breast feeding), but at the time I was so desperate to stock up my milk, because I just wanted to be done breastfeeding!! 

So now the whole reason you're reading this post... HOW DID I DO IT?!

I don't have a bunch of secrets.  It's all just stuff I read mostly online, in a couple of my baby books, or in one of my many baby apps I had on my phone. ;)  

So here you go: 
I eat very healthy.  
I drink a lot of water.  
I never stopped taking my prenatals.  
I pumped like a crazy woman (at first).

I'll break each of these up and give you the details on how I did each below!

MY DIET: My husband and I eat extremely healthy about 95% of the time. Organic foods, not very many processed foods, lots of protein, veggies..etc. I really try to stay away from sugar the best that I can.. (that being said I'm a huge sucker for Oreo cookies and must admit- I do give in to my occasional craving for them....!) I really think having a good diet that consists of key ingredients needed to produce breast milk helps a ton..not to mention, more yummy nutrients for your baby! 

WATER: This part is simple, and there's not a whole lot that goes into it besides... DRINK A TON OF WATER!! I was NEVER a big water drinker before being pregnant...and wow, once I learned of all the crazy awesome benefits just from WATER....I was hooked.  I feel so much better staying as hydrated as I do! It helps with my energy levels, I don't feel as hungry throughout the day and I always end up noticing a change in my skin (clearer, brighter..etc.)! So water is truly your best friend! I even got fancy for awhile and would flavor my water with some fresh strawberries, cucumber, or lemon(this definitely helped me start drinking more water in the beginning)! YUMMM!! Currently, I try to drink about 100 oz of water every day.  (I personally, go by the rule of thumb to drink 1/2 your body weight (in ounces) in water. So I weigh about 125lbs, so I should be drinking roughly 60-70 oz of water daily, and I add in an additional 30-40 oz since I'm breastfeeding). I finally purchased a nice big 32 oz water bottle from Target about a week ago, and LOVE it! For whatever reason having a big water bottle helps me drink more water... way easier than having to refill a glass, or a small water bottle all the time! 

PRENATALS: I never stopped taking them.  I still take them every day! Click on the "prenatals" link if you're interested in the ones I use.

PUMPING: Oh boy, here we go. I have a Medela Pump In Style Advanced Pump that was pretty much by my side for the first 2 months.  After Gavin was born, around the time he was about 1 week old I would pump for maybe 5 or so minutes, right after feeding him (only during the day)! I would literally get done feeding him, burp him, lay him down next to me and pump.  I never got much out of it, but I was able to start slowly stock piling it away! :) I pumped right away after feeding him just to get my supply up- there were definitely some feedings that I wouldn't pump after, but for the most part I tried to pump as often as I could.  So after roughly a couple months of that, I already had good stash going so I slowed down on the pumping.  I would pump first thing in the morning (because Gavin was sleeping through the night at 6 boobs were sooo full in the morning I would just pump, and Aaron would give Gavin a bottle) and I would also pump at night- right before bed.  I would breastfeed Gavin for the last time at night around 8 or 9, lay him down and then pump before I went to bed (again I wouldn't get much from it, but I'd stash away whatever I got, and it would help keep my supply up!)  When Gavin was about 4 months old, I went down to just pumping in the mornings! Why? Honestly, I just got sick of pumping at night! I had plenty of milk stocked up that I didn't really have a need to pump at night anymore! Fast forward- Gavin is 5 months old, and I only pump one time, first thing in the morning.  (I have always gotten consistently between 20-22oz every time I pump in the morning).  My morning supply hasn't changed at all- I still get the same amount every time.  Every morning I get to stash away about 4 or 5 bottles!! (Your supply is usually highest in the if you want to try to get as much as possible, try pumping in the morning)

This is how much I pump in one sitting (15 minutes), first thing every morning.
Another big tip I have for pumping- I NEVER miss a feeding (ok, maybe I've missed one?..but literally, that's it).  If Gavin is going to be getting a bottle- I'm pumping! It's not often that I'm away from him for a feeding- but if I know I will be, I take my pump and I don't miss it.  I think it's important, because as soon as you start skipping feedings- your body doesn't know that the baby is getting a bottle..your body thinks "baby's not as hungry, and doesn't need as much food" and your supply starts to decrease! Don't let that happen, until you're ready for it to happen! It's easier to keep your supply up, than to have to try and get your body back to producing more! 
(If you do need to increase your supply...make sure you're drinking enough water, and pump more often! It essentially signals to your body "this baby is hungry, we need to produce more food!"..give it a few days and you should see an increase)

*Like I said earlier- I am in no way a breast feeding expert.. I just did my research, and educated myself on the topic.  What I did, worked FANTASTIC... for ME! Everyone's different, but I believe if you put in the effort and the time, (and stick with it!!!!) you'll be filling freezers just like I am!*

December Life

Not gonna lie... Christmas decor went up early this year... How could I possibly wait until AFTER Thanksgiving when I had this gorgeous, new Floating Shelf to decorate...

A beautifully, and perfectly balanced ornament, placed by
yours truly... Gavin.
Being that this is our first Christmas with a mobile, destructive (in a loving way) 1 year old, I have been lucky enough to re-decorate the bottom 1/3 of our Christmas tree every night after Gavin is in bed. He loves to pull off the ornaments and play with them, and of course throw them around, which is why it's a bonus to have cheap, plastic ornaments! ;) 
I guess buying Target's cheap box of ornaments worked out for me in the long run....

It's December 16th, and so far we have only had a dusting of snow. Which is CRAZINESS for us here in Wisconsin. There were people out golfing a couple days ago... that just isn't supposed to happen at this time, in this state! (but hey! I'll take it!)

Other than the every day madness, that we now know as "life"...
we have really just been enjoying a slower paced December.

I have put off finishing our kitchen project... (the tiny bit of white paint that still needs to be finished). After a marathon project like that, I notice I tend to take my time with completing all of the "finishing touches". With Thanksgiving, birthdays, Christmas, and a 1 year old on top of it all... I figure I can focus my energy somewhere else in the mean time. ;) It will all get finished... eventually.

I hope you are having a December full wonderful craziness, just like we are!
I will continue to spend my days wishing for a beautiful Wisconsin blizzard so we can have a dreamy, White Christmas, wrapping presents, and sipping my coffee while listening to Christmas music!!

....Oh, and I'll also be spending the majority of my time chasing after Gavin, changing diapers, picking up dog food (that Gavin has spilled...and tried to eat), and repeating all of that, more or less, my entire day.
Would I have it any other way???
I couldn't have you thinking my life was all Christmas cheer, blissful perfection... yuck!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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