Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lil Snapshots of Life Lately

L's room. (faux) taxidermy via Near & Deer
Couple bits of Blair's room
"Cheese mom!" A couple pics taken by Landon. He's so artsy.
Cozy by the fire. (Sweater by Baby Boden and knot headband by The Lil Cupcake)
Pretty typical bath scene. She'll get him back for all his tricks someday. 
Winter walks. Darling head bow by The Lil Cupcake (use coupon code CUPCAKE03 for 10% off)
bundled babe
Sneaky children
New arm candy from Dylan James Kids (Enter our GIVEAWAY going on now for your own custom piece!)
She really likes food now.
Really really love the fact that Landon loves reading his Bible together every night before bed.
My dad just sent me this gem he took when he came out to visit last month. Can't even handle all the sweetness going on here. And is that all Blair's hair blowing in the wind?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Monday! A Review + Giveaway - Dylan James Kids!

Oh my gosh you guys we are soo in love with this shop and am so excited to be hosting a giveaway for Dylan James Kids' adorable, handmade jewelry for your little boy OR girl!
We love wooden everything in this home (especially for the kids) as well as monogrammed everything, so we are head over heels in love with this custom wood bead bracelet for Blair with a beautiful pink flower and letter B. (It totally reminds me of Rifle Paper Co!)
We also got her a little baby flamingo necklace because this one day at a zoo in Florida Landon likened her to a little baby sister flamingo and I never got over it. Although Landon has sort of claimed this one as his own.
absolutely adore their new Fruit Basket Collection and am also absolutely obsessed with their dream catcher necklaces - I'm actually pretty sure Landon needs one of these instead of the pink flamingo :)
love how they have cute stuff for boys too! A lot of their items are actually totally unisex, so perfect if you have one of each or want to keep as a hand me down. These pieces are also so special because they can be customized with either your child's name, their initial, birthdate, horoscope sign, or something they love (milk, juice, candy, mermaids!). They would be such a great one-of-kind, special birthday or Christmas gift to give out. But the best thing about Dylan James Kids is that the shop owner, Melissa is so sweet and carefully crafts each and every piece handmade with love for your little one.
All this being said, I was so excited that Melissa teamed up with me to offer one of you guys to win one of your own Dylan James Kids piece!!

All You Need To Do to Enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post, telling me which item you would choose if you're the lucky winner.
To Gain Additional Entries:
1. Share a link to this post on Twitter (Easy way to do this is just to hit the "share it" button at the bottom of my right sidebar)
2. Share a link to this post on Facebook.
3. Follow Mumma's Corner (either via google friend connect, bloglovin', or subscribe to posts by email)
4. Share this giveaway on Instagram by taking a screen shot of your favorite item, tagging @lisab3 and include the hashtag #DJKMCgiveaway

*Please leave a separate comment on this blog post for each additional entry, letting me know your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram username if applicable, and be sure to leave your email address on each post so I know how to contact you if you're the lucky winner!

**Giveaway will run for 1 week from today and will officially close at 12:00pm cst on 11/23/14.

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Opening Up: Post-Partum Body Image

(photo credit: Landon)

Am I really going here? I have never once posted anything about my body, let alone post-partum body, but let's be real, a woman's body image, and specifically post-partum body image, is something she probably thinks about, if not obsesses over, every single day.

I am going to be completely honest and say that I definitely struggled with my post-partum body image after Blair. Although I gained 20+ more lbs throughout my first pregnancy with Landon, I was also 26 years old. After his birth, the weight just seemed to naturally fall off without much thought or effort on my part and after about 3 months I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. And that's also how I measured everything back then, by the numbers on the scale. Now, exactly one year post-partum from Blair's birth, and I am still physically feeling the aftermath of her pregnancy and birth. I still have serious lower back pain every day. I still have the dark line that runs down from my belly button. Even my belly button has not completely turned back 'innie' yet. My breasts feel and look saggier, due to her (still) constant nursing and grabbing and suckling. With breastfeeding, (due to many allergies and acid reflux when we attempted to start solids -- an entire 9 months of exclusively breastfeeding), my appetite was, and still is, absolutely ravenous. They say you burn 500 calories a day nursing, so I thought the baby weight would fall off even faster and more naturally than when it did with Landon. Boy I could not have been any more Wrong! For every calorie burned I think I would stuff my face with about 100 more. In an extreme sleep-deprived, starving Ethiopian, zombie-like manner. I'm sure my husband thought it was super sexy.
During these many, many accumulated dark quiet hours nursing through the day and night, I needed an outlet. As any mama knows how much more difficult it becomes to go out with friends, let alone talk to friends or family on the phone post-pregnancy - especially with an exclusively nursing baby who wakes at the drop of a dime. So - bored, and longing to stay connected with the outside world, I would, and still do, scroll through my phone during these long nursing sessions. I'd say 99% of my blog posts the past year have been drafted during these quiet times on my phone nursing. I'd blog, go through my photos, answer text messages from earlier, and I'd scroll through Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. I had been following some "fitness"and "women's health" Instagram accounts, in an effort to stay inspired and curb some of my post-partum breastfeeding binge eating. (I put "fitness" and "women's health" in quotations, as most of their borderline pornographic images are really not honest representations of a female or post-partum body). I'd see these women's accounts post a side by side photo of a very pregnant body with one a couple weeks later holding their newborn with a flat tummy and toned everything. I'd see these self-proclaimed "fit moms" showing off their abs 2 weeks post-partum and their visible ab progression throughout their post-partum weeks and months. Pictures they also made sure to capture their baby in, captioning, "no excuses!" I'd watch videos of these women doing crunches, holding their little baby up in the air with each crunch ....planking and push ups with their toddler on their back. Captioning things like, "What's your excuse?" It just made me want to throw up all over their picture-perfect square post. But I'd also see subtle posts, of new moms in a very flattering angle, in a bikini or short shorts or back in their skinny jeans just a couple weeks after having their baby, probably after editing and cropping and finding the perfect filter and light contrast to make their muscles pop and look more defined. Maybe you have not seen these particular type posts on your feed, but you have surely seen the same on magazine covers of celebrities "getting their bodies back" immediately after having a baby.
Why do we live in a society that idolizes - and obsesses over -- a fit post-baby body??
I admittedly and frustratingly tried too hard to get my pre-baby body back. After getting the 8-week "okay" from my OB, you better believe I hit the gym. And you better believe I cried when they wouldn't let me back in because my baby was too young for the child center. Still determined to "get my body back," I ordered a high-impact/high-intensity home workout program I could do from home. I went from Cardio Queen / Yogi to jumping up and down with weights in my hands. And I didn't do the recommended one a day, I would sometimes do multiple videos a day. And I badly injured myself not once but twice, setting myself back even more weeks back from my goal on my race to Operation Pre-Baby Body.
So what is the point of this post? It's to take an honest look at a new mother's post-partum body and to take a minute to actually just glorify that. It's to stop idolizing the women on the fast track to 'losing the baby weight'. It's to shed light on some of these "fit mom" posts and quite honestly very sad, 'pre-baby body' obsession. It's to really just encourage and preach a more gentle, kinder and accepting approach to new moms out there. One year after my baby's birth and I can't preach about my abs being back. I can't even tell you that my belly button is back. But I can tell you I am happy with, actually amazed, by my body.
A body that grew two babies. That formed within it, their beating hearts, their little organs and little limbs and soft wispy little baby hairs and tiny little fingernails. A body that has the strength to pick up and hold my baby when the only thing that can comfort her is being held close to my body. A body that has the strength to carry my child for hours on end while unloading the groceries, cooking, vacuuming, and carrying a heavy basket of laundry in the other arm.
A body that completely, by the nature of itself, has sustained and nourished the life of my child for the entire past year. A body that has donated over 200 ounces of breastmilk to critically ill, premature infants in the NICU.
All of these things are so much more beautiful than my pre-baby abs. That is what we, especially as fellow mothers, should be focused on and praising ourselves and others for. Whether our abs are back and whether we can fit back in our skinny jeans (nevermind whether celebrities or other women are) should be the last thing on our mind during the entire first year - if not longer -- let alone those precious first few weeks home from the hospital.
At the beginning of this month, I rejoined my gym and started going back to my yoga classes. I still do the home videos at home (these are p90x3 in case you were wondering) but I don't do them every day, only on days when 30 minutes from home is all I can manage. I've nixed the eliptical and I picked up my yoga practice right where I left off, and feel like a new life has been breathed into me. I haven't owned a scale for the past 6 months, and I let the way I feel judge how I'm doing.
Just to be clear -- I am all for the 'clean eating' and healthy and fit lifestyle, and if you've spent any time here on my blog or with me in person, you've aways known that about me. It just took me the better part of the past year to understand and comes to terms with the notion of moderation and balance being the key. And every so often, going ahead and treating yourself to something nice.

So one year post-partum with my second child, and here you have my "transformation":
These two photos were taken within 5 minutes of each other this morning. Just to shed some light on some of the transformation pics or body pics you see. It's easy to suck it in, catch a better angle, pop a hip, flex your muscles, and bam. I could have even taken this a step further and applied a filter, adjusted the contrast, lighting, or sizing, (and what if I knew photoshop!) but you get the point. Anyone can very easily make themselves look better and make others feel worse about themselves.

If you guys are looking for some good women's health IG accounts to follow, check out where I got this "fake transformation" inspiration from - melvfitness and mamalionstrong and also check out YourGymGF, co-run by one of my best friends from college. They post real videos doing pull ups, push-ups, squats, healthy recipes, as well as post pictures eating ice cream, going out for a drink, funny gym bloopers, & they don't contort their bodies into weird shapes in their underwear so that mass amounts of people will like and follow and feed their ego.

& In case you were wondering where I got that cute yoga gear at the top of this post, it is from Boden's new yoga line, which is hands down the best, most comfortable and movable and flattering yoga wear I've ever put on my body. Anyone go to sleep in the clothes they want to wear the next day? Since we're being real. Well these are also perfect for that. (You guys can use promo code YOGA to receive 20% off your order plus free shipping now through Saturday).

Cord Blood Banking With LifeBank USA & A Graco 4Ever Car Seat Giveaway!

I blogged about cord blood banking about a year ago (here) and am back today with another follow up post to tell you about our experience and to also re-emphasize the importance of cord blood banking. 
We had a really wonderful great experience using LifeBank USA to donate Blair's cord blood last year. They were awesome to work with, we got our request and paperwork processed super fast, and the process at the hospital to donate the kit was so unbelievably easy. All I had to do was bring the cord blood kit box in with me to the delivery room, and the nurses completely took over with all the instructions from LifeBank. Basically all they did was take 4 vials of blood from me, check off a few administrative notes, package up the tissue, placenta, & cord blood after delivery, and then all I had to do was call LifeBank within 2 hours of her birth to have a representative come pick up the box. I was a little stressed out about the whole process beforehand but everything turned out to be very simple and uncomplicated and very easy on me.
If you don't know anything about it, there are soo many reasons to preserve your baby's cord blood, or otherwise donate it. Through cord blood banking, you can collect and preserve potentially lifesaving stem cells, and doing so could one day save the life of your child or a blood relative. The ability of stem cells to save lives via cord blood banking has proved successful for replacing abnormal or diseased cells, and treating life-threatening blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. In fact, 1,988 stem cell transplants have been used to treat some 80 diseases.
You can bank even more stem cells by collecting them from 2 usable sources of stem cell-rich blood: the umbilical cord and the placenta. This service is called Placental and Cord Blood Banking and it is available only through LifeBank USA. Whether you choose Placental and Cord Blood Banking or Cord Blood Banking alone, there are still many other reasons to choose LifeBank: LifeBank is the only company that offers cord blood, placenta blood, and tissue banking, and they are also the first to release placenta-derived stem cells for a successful transplant. They have been absolutely wonderful to work with and they will collect cells from anywhere in the US. Another reason to bank with LifeBank? They include tissue banking (tissue from the placenta) for free. Placental tissue contains mesenchymal (MSCs) and MSC-like cells. While stem cells found in cord blood and placenta blood have been used to successfully treat patients, there are currently no approved uses for stem cells derived from the umbilical cord or placenta tissue. Possible therapeutic applications are in early research stages and LifeBankUSA's parent company is actively involved in their development. LifeBankUSA will store the placenta tissue for you as part of their banking package using their cryogenic tanks for long-term preservation. In the event your baby's tissue cells are ever needed for future therapies, the tissue may then be processed and cultured using available technology at the time. Banking with LifeBankUSA will definitely give you peace of mind, knowing that this stem cell-rich blood can be used to treat certain diseases in the future.
Along with peace of mind, LifebankUSA is also now giving away THREE Graco 4Ever Car Seats in a random drawing. A $300 value each!! You can enter the contest HERE. Good luck!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sponsor Feature: The Lil Cupcake!

Today I am thrilled to feature these sweet baby headbands from The Lil Cupcake
When Blair was born this was one of the first things I ordered for her when we got home from the hospital, as all the little headbands I had received for her were elastic banded with some type of flower or jewel at the top, and really agitated her  sensitive little newborn head. These Knot & Bow Headbands from The Lil Cupcake are not only more fashionable for your chic boho baby, but completely solve the problem and guilt of that elastic 'red head.' They are handmade with 100% organic cotton and are unbelievably soft and comfortable for your little one's fragile head. 
She just added a ton of adorable new winter prints in the shop - a few of my other favorites are this one & this one.
They are also very reasonably priced, ranging from only $12-$14 a piece, and you guys can use coupon code CUPCAKE03 for an additional 10% off your order! 
Stock up now for birthdays and those Christmas stockings!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Family Photos!

Just got our photos in from our session a couple weeks ago with Megan from Lemon Twist Images and are absolutely over the moon with how they came out!! Megan did such an amazing job and I can't believe how many great shots she got, especially with photographing all of us together and with two squirmy littles! We shot these at Vehe Barn in Barrington - a gorgeous location for those of you in the area thinking about an upcoming photo sesh :)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Homemade Protein Balls!

Yum yum - you are going to love this healthy, protein packed sweet treat. After getting frustrated with constantly buying and paying the very high price tag on (at least the good for you) bars like Quest and Larabar, (about $2.00 a bar or $30 for a box of Quest) I tried making some of my own with only healthy, real ingredients and am obsessed with how these came out. And they are so incredibly easy to make and are also no bake! Great to keep stored in a container for a pre- or post-workout fuel, a quick (and much healthier) fix when your chocolate craving hits, to take with you on the go for busy days, or just to have when hunger strikes instantly (you know this fellow breastfeeding moms).
What You'll Need:
You can honestly eyeball ALL of these ingredients and really no need to measure anything out, but for those of you who need the numbers:
- About 10 soft pitted dates (I used and love Made In Nature's organic dried dates)
- About 10 pitted prunes (used organic dried prunes from Made In Nature)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (used Salba Chia seeds, the "smarter" chia)
- 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder (I have only tried chocolate which tastes amazing, but let me know if you try and like something else!)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- About 3/4 cup coconut flakes 
1. Combine all ingredients into blender and pulse until everything looks well mixed.
2. Scoop out small handfuls, roll into little balls, and coat/roll in the coconut flakes.
3. They're ready to eat! Place remainders in an airtight container and keep out at room temperature. Enjoy!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014!

Every year is just seriously so much more fun with kids. This was Blair's first Halloween (Landon's fourth..second year really understanding it and super stoked about it) and their first (of hopefully many more) sibling duo costumes. Also my first year making their costumes (minus Landon's mask), so I was super proud because I mean, they totally killed it! It was super cold out this year so we all bundled up and only went out for a short bit, but I was sure to be a camera freak and get tons of photos of their first Halloween together. 

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