Blog: Momhood

Life is Beautiful. I love serving the world by capturing beautiful family memories, encouraging others to believe in life’s greatest possibilities, and inspiring others to realize their full potential. Everyone has a story... make it a beautiful one.  

How a Breast Feeding Journey Can Inspire

As I look back 6 years ago, when I had Ethan to today, life is so much different.  How we have been blessed with social media as a platform to help each other out with our day to day struggles.  Moms today have resources and other moms supporting them every step of the way, something that I wish I had after Ethan was born.

I haven’t really talked much about my breastfeeding story before but I thought today I would share it with you and introduce you to a good friend I met through social media as she also shares her recent story with you today.

The first few days for Ethan and I were not easy.  After an emergency c-section I was taken to post op were they monitored me for hours.  I didn’t know quite was happening, but something wasn’t right.  I had lost a lot of blood after surgery, and I had very low blood counts.  Meanwhile, Ethan was taken to the nursery until he started turning blue and they rushed him to the NICU to get him on oxygen.  Both our circumstances led us to be apart for the first 48 hours of birth.  I was so weak in the bones, even breast pumping was a chore.  My body because of all the trauma just wouldn’t produce the amount of breast milk needed to get to Ethan in the NICU.  They took whatever I was able to pump to give him something, but it was hard.  Hard because I was so weak I couldn’t hold him, and how we were separated within those first hours that are so important for a mom and baby to connect.

I was angry that doctors where ignoring my current state.  I was angry that I couldn’t see my baby in NICU because I couldn’t walk… All I needed was a blood transfusion.  After receiving a transfusion 3 days later, I was strong enough, to get on my two feet and walk to see Ethan in the NICU and hold him.

As I tried to breastfeed the guilt started coming in when I realized he wanted nothing to do with me.  He wanted the bottle.  I tried so hard to get him to latch, but he just wouldn’t budge.  Even then, my body still wasn’t producing the amount I needed even with pumping and knew I was going to have to supplement, but still I was determined.  We were recommended to a lactation consultant, she even told me there was nothing she could do to help.  I felt my $200 I gave to her was waste.  After a month, he finally latched.  Even then it was short lived for about 3 months. I know that I did my best and Ethan is a healthy boy.  In the moment as a mom, its overwhelming.

My hope from sharing this post with you today is to know that if you are a struggling mom with mom guilt or breast feeding you are not alone. There are so many incredible resources now that help moms going through journeys that they never expected.

Today I had asked a good friend of mine to share her most recent breastfeeding journey with her twins.  We were chatting about our stories with each other and thought it be great to bring awareness to the struggle it really is.  Thank you Britt for sharing this story with us!

Hi there! I’m Brittany and I run the motherhood account over on Instagram @britt.maloney and I’m so honored to be sharing a glimpse of my breastfeeding story with my twin boys today on Beimomenti blog!

Until now I’ve kept my breastfeeding journeys pretty much to myself. I’ve always been very open about that fact that I breastfeed but not a lot on any of my social platforms. I’m a huge believer in fed is best and I would NEVER want to make a mama feel less than for choices in feeding, or open a wound of a mama who struggled/struggles to breastfeed exclusively. But when Amber reached out and asked if I would like to share my journey with my twin boys I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to be more open.

When I found out I was having twins I was completely overwhelmed thinking about how to exclusively breastfeed two babies and I put it in my head from the beginning that formula and bottle feeding would be the journey we walked with these boys. I didn’t want to have high expectations for a successful BF journey like I had with my first, because I wanted to avoid any feelings of failure if it didn’t work out, for whatever reason. But with all that in mind I knew I wanted to try!

Fast forward to my labor and delivery, everything was different than I ever imagined it being, and honestly I felt like the odds were against me. My baby A was born a whole pound smaller than expected and because his weight was of great concern, along with working to get him to latch, it was required that he take donor milk from a bottle at every feeding during our hospital stay. That sparked a lot of fear within me that he would end up only wanting the bottle. On top of that my baby B was immediately rushed to the NICU in respiratory distress and wasn’t even able to receive milk for days and then it was only through a feeding tube.

His feeding journey was long and very difficult. 18 days of his life went by before I could even try to breastfeed him so I continued to feel those odds stacked against me. During his time in the NICU my life was a blur of getting to know my baby at home and feeding him on demand while also pumping round the clock to be able to provide my NICU baby with exclusively my milk. It was one of the most exhausting periods of my entire life but I felt so proud of my body for doing what I never thought it could do. Everyday was practice, learning, and getting to know each other. All three of us. Holden and I had to learn how to reconnect. Everyday as he felt a little more familiar and safe I could feel our journey becoming a little more successful. One day at a time. One feeding at a time.

What you need to know though is our journey up to now has not been void of tears, exhaustion, frustration, feelings of failure and inadequacy, and wanting to quit. Breastfeeding is HARD. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am proud of where we are in our journey but not because of any length of time, but because of the fight. If I had breastfed for one month, one week, one day, I would still feel proud because I fought against every odd looking me dead in the eyes and overcame.

So that’s my message to any mom or soon to be mom reading this. You are not defined by societies definition of successful breastfeeding. You are not defined by the any length of time you chose, or you were able to breastfeed. And you are NOT defined by how you feed your baby. Period.

You are defined by your love, and that love makes you resilient. That resilience makes you a fighter. So if breastfeeding is a journey your heart wants to take, fight. Fight the odds. Fight what anyone tells you you can’t do. Fight the exhaustion. Fight the pain. Fight. But also fight that urge to feel trapped by it. Fight that urge to feel defined by what society and social media says about success in breastfeeding. Your success is your fight. Your success is your love.

There is so much power in united motherhood, and I want each of you know I am your safe space for encouragement and support in whatever your feeding journey may look like. My inbox is always open to you so don’t ever hesitate to reach out.

Xo, Britt

@britt.maloney

Thank you so much again Britt!  You are an inspiration to the modern day mama!

 

Be Awesome,

Amber

PS I am so excited that I was able to take these beautiful photos of Britt and her baby for Mothers Day! Mothers Day is just around the corner and I have partnered with some incredible moms to bring you a beautiful mothers day mini session experience with a 25 min session, 8 edited photos, florals for mom and little me, mini make up session before your session, and custom cookie box May 8th and 10th! to schedule your mini session contact me here.

 

 

10 Reasons Why Working Out at Home Is Awesome

I became an avid crossfitter after my first son was born. I thought at home workouts were silly, a waste and didn’t work. Growing up, The Richard Simmons Collection collected dust by our VHS player so of course I grew up thinking at home workouts were a bust (I later realized you have to use them to work ha!) I believed if you wanted to get fit with muscle, you had to go to gym.

After my second son was born, going to the gym became more and more non existent because I was tired and spending more time finding someone to watch the boys than I was at the gym!

It was a tough transition for me because I knew that taking care of my health was important but I was finding more excuses why I couldn’t take care of myself because of the time and energy I was spending just to find a moment to go to the gym.

I had an opportunity come to me during this time trying to figure out my gym dillemma to work out at home… it was a silent blessing that I would realize later.

I decided to give it a try. I look back when I first started how I thought people where making fun of me working out at home. I felt so insecure about it. Three years later, I may have had the nay sayers but now they are all for it because I am in the best shape of my life.

I have learned through my journey of becoming an avid gym goer to an avid working out at home mom that I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a lifestyle I truly am blessed to have.

These are my top reasons why working out at home is better than going to the gym:

 

  • Save time and money. When I was going to the gym, I spent two to two and half hours going to CrossFit class. From dropping kids off, going to an hour gym class, picking up kids, and sitting In traffic going home. I wouldn’t get home until 6:00 just for a 4:00 gym class. Working out at home made me realize how much my time was valuable and 2 hours to go to the gym wasn’t effective.
  • Gym schedules. I found over the years that if I’m going to stay accountable, I needed the help and group classes seemed to be the perfect fit. Following the gym schedules though was always a pain since at the time I was working and finding a time that worked for me was always a struggle. Working out at home I am able workout on my schedule. I don’t have to worry about working around other people schedules.
  • Germs. I remember having to take a few extra minutes after CrossFit class to wipe down all the equipment I used. I secretly rolled my eyes about it ha! At home germs are in my own terms and I don’t have to worry about smelling others sweat either!
  • Recovery fuel just a few steps away. After an intense workout I always had to stop at the gas station right next door to grab a protein bar because I was so hungry and I always forgot to pack an after gym snack in the morning as I was juggling myself and two kids out the door for work (more time. More money!). Now after a workout, I can grab a snack in my own kitchen.
  • Make all the weird faces or grunts you want. I always felt weird at the gym. That I was making weird faces or noises and other people could hear me. The beauty of being at home, you don’t have to worry about the the noises you make.
  • Leading by example. My kids see me working out everyday. I am teaching them healthy habits. Working out at home allows your family to see the progress you make everyday as you lead them to healthier lifestyles.
  • The Environment is your own. Play the music you love. No walking into a the over abundance of sweat smell from other gym goers… the one thing I don’t miss. The use of your own equipment and not having to share it get irritated if someone take your favorite wall ball.
  • Focus on your own workout and not having to feel like you need to compare yourself to others progress.  After each crossfit class we had to write our daily numbers on the board wether it be reps or times.  Some days I wouldn’t write them down because I felt the insecurity that my numbers weren’t good enough.  Even though that was my problem, its been such a relief to measure my progress against me and now one else. Less pressure.  I can modify if needed without looking like a whimp to others or I don’t have to do box jumps and look like an idiot when I fall.
  • You can do workouts you enjoy and that you can have fun with. I remember showing up to the gym rolling my eyes because I couldn’t stand the workout we were doing.   Because I have a library of incredible programs at home that fit my lifestyle, I get to choose the workouts I enjoy to do.

Working out at home may not be your thing and thats okay!  I just have found it as a great option for me and it works around my crazy mom life schedule. It’s given me more time and less stress.

If you would like to know more of the tools I use, hit me up here and lets chat!

Be Awesome,

Amber

 

10 Ways to Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine

Spring is in the air and days are getting longer and warmer! Now is the time to refocus and get motivated back into your routine as we get back into the heated days of summer… finally!
Kick off spring and summer the right way by cleaning your pantry, gear, and motivation to get moving.
Here are some simple ways you can get started:
  • Set a schedule. Set aside the time you want to workout out each day and make it a committed appointment to yourself to show up each day at that time.
  • Team up. Getting in shape is always fun when you can team up with an accountability partner with the same goals as you. You can join a virtual group with like minded people who will help cheer you on. Want to know more on how you can join a community to keep you on target? Contact me and lets chat!
  • Upgrade your gear. It’s time to put away your colder weather gear and freshen up with lighter layers. Mornings and nights can still be a little more cooler, a lighter hoodie or light long sleeve will do. I love the swiftly tech long sleeves from Lululemon (find them here) they are a perfect transition layer! Also check your shoes it might be time to replace them. If more than 50% of the bottom is smooth trash them. I recommend a local running store that can help you find the perfect fit.
  • Clean out your pantry of all processed foods and replace with healthful items such as superfood shakes, whole grains, nuts, and dried fruits. Clean out your fridge and replace with fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
  • Protect your skin with sun protection as you enjoy the outdoors more with at least a SPF 15.
  • Pump up your playlist with some fresh new favorites to get you motivated to get going.
  • Stay hydrated! So important as it gets warmer outside so you don’t get dehydrated. The more you sweat the more you loose water. Replenish after your workout with a hydrate supplement to get electrolytes back into your body.
  • Replace a day of working out with a day with hiking or swimming enjoy the great outdoors and some vitamin D.
  • Change your mindset. Setting goals when it comes to health and fitness can get overwhelming to the point we loose sight and give up. Instead of worrying about the number, ask yourself how you feel, how you are feeling about yourself is far more important than the number. Plus muscle weighs more than fat. Instead of counting calories, look at it as portions instead. I have been using the portion control system for years and it’s made it so much easier to eat healthier with my on the go mom lifestyle.
  • Self care. Don’t forget to show yourself love for the hard work you’ve done! Treat yourself to a message or a salt bath to treat your body because it deserves it!
It’s the perfect time to spring clean your routine just in time for beach weather. If you would like to know more on how you can clean your routine contact me and we can get you on the perfect routine!
Be Awesome,
Amber
PS Want to know more how you can spring clean your routine?  Contact me to find out more how you can join me in one of my virtual groups where you can get the accountability and help that you need to feel awesome this spring and summer.

10 Tips To Plan A One Year Birthday Party

I am so excited this week to to have my awesome friend Amanda owner of Sugar Pine Paper Company in Reno, Nevada, as a guest contributor on the blog!  Amanda and I met about a year ago through social media.  She has helped contribute to several parties I have had through out the last year with cake toppers and super cute garland banners!

She asked me about doing one year photos with her little Coen and asked her if she would contribute some tips about how she planned Coen’s first birthday party! Today we are celebrating this little dudes birthday with making pancakes and eating cake too!!  These are some of the tips and tricks from Amanda:

 • Pick your theme a few months in advance. The earlier you pick a theme, the more time you will have to figure out exactly what look you’re going for. I chose Coen’s Party Animal theme about 3 months before his first birthday. I then spent about two weeks browsing Pinterest, Instagram (searching various hashtags), and party blogs for inspiration.

Hashtags searched:

#partyanimalbirthday

#partyanimalparty

#firstbirthday    

#wildonebirthday

#wildoneparty

I originally thought I wanted Coen’s party to be monochrome with pops of color only on his party favors and balloons, but after browsing through various inspiration photos, I decided to go with loud, bright colors everywhere!

  • Create an inspiration board. This will help keep track of all your ideas. Pinterest is great for this, but I also really like creating a shared photo album on my iPhone. This way I can easily add photos of things as I buy them, or things that I see in stores and may not buy right away, but want to remember.
  • Ask for help. Once you have picked your theme and created an inspiration board, I suggest asking a few friends / family members to keep an eye out for deals on cute decorations. For example, as soon as had some inspiration photos put together, I invited my mom and best friend to my private Pinterest board (I set this board to private because I like to keep some element of surprise with parties I’m hosting), as well as the shared iPhone album I created. My best friend lives on the opposite side of town as me, and my mom lives 30 minutes away, so even though we all shop at the same stores, we often shop at different locations. Target, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, Michaels, Hobby Lobby – all of these stores often have awesome clearance items, but each store tends to have a different selection. Having eyes in all of our local store locations helped me find deals that I wouldn’t have seen on my own.
  • Keep your receipts! Most stores will take back items for 90 days after purchase with tags and a receipt, even clearance items. I always buy things as I find them, and as the party gets closer I weed through everything and decide what I am going to keep and what I am going to return. For Coen’s ‘Party Animal’ party, I knew that I wanted a couple of plush animal heads to hang with a Happy Birthday banner or letterboard in between them. I originally bought two on Targets website for $19.99 each because that was the best deal I could find; however, I ended up returning them when I found similar items at Hobby Lobby on clearance for only $4.99 each!! I also found plates I liked at Target, but ended up finding ones I LOVED at Walmart.

  • DIY – DIY – DIY !! This will save you so much money! Have you looked at how much it costs to have someone make you a balloon garland?? I have… and it is not cheap! But you can order everything you need on Amazon for less than $15. All you need is balloon tape, balloons and a hand pump! It is a bit time consuming, but worth the nearly $100 saved (if you’re reaction to that number was WHAT!?, you are not alone). I also knew that I wanted to have my décor second as party favors, so I bought cute jungle animal figurines at Target and added my own DIY party hats to them. I bought scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby that matched the colors of the party (less than $1) and found a party hat template on Pinterest. It took me about 30 minutes to cut all the hats out, add mini pom-poms and hot glue the hats to the animals. Easy-peasy, incredibly cheap, and super cute décor / favors.
  • Keep the food simple. Trust me, the last thing you want to be stressing out the day of a party is the food. We chose to order pizza, make a salad, have fresh fruit cups, and have a variety of prepackaged snacks for the kids (applesauce pouches, string cheese, etc.). One, this saved us a ton of money. Two, we had barely any dishes to do after the party. Three, everyone LOVED the pizza!
  • Gift registry. Hear me out on this one… I know creating a registry can often make guests feel required to bring a gift, but to help avoid this, I left the registry off of the invites. However, when someone would RSVP and ask what he wanted/needed, it was nice to be able to send them the registry link. Thinking of items off the top of your head, or keeping track of what you have told who, can be tricky. Creating a registry allows your guests a simple and easy way to get something they know your child will like.
  • Saying thanks. I’ll admit it, I am the WORST about sending out thank you cards. I always buy the cards and two months later realize I never wrote them. I have found that if I buy the cards AND address them ahead of time, I’m more likely to get the card sent out within a few days of the event!

  • Set up. If possible, don’t wait until the day of the party to set up. I always like to set up the night before. This takes the day of stress of hosting a party from a 10 to a 2, and gives you a little bit of time to grab any last minute things you need (serving spoons, ice, a rectangular tablecloth because you accidentally grabbed an oval one…).
  • HAVE FUN!! Make sure to enjoy the day, and spend time with the person you are celebrating!

 

Be Awesome,

Amber and Amanda

Overcoming Mom Guilt

Mom guilt has been on my mind lately and something I’ve personally have needed to work on. I felt that I needed to write this post not only for myself as a good reminder, but maybe for someone who is struggling with it too.
I feel that with each new season we go through as moms, we shouldn’t feel guilty but we do. I know the discipline is good when done in a healthy way, but there are moments when it’s a struggle and as mom you just loose your ish. Then you feel guilty for loosing your ish but it seems to be this big crazy cycle that makes your brain explode.
I feel guilty when I feel that I am giving one child more attention than the other. Or when chaos strikes and one spills milk over the counter and another child makes a big water explosion happen out of the refrigerator simultaneously.
Or the time comes for your child to start kindergarten and you want the other to attend preschool and your options are all day preschool and your a at home working mom… guilt of leaving your child all day when you feel like he should be home with you but you know he needs this in his life.
You get the picture… mom guilt. We all have experienced it and today I needed the gentle reminder of ways to get over mom guilt because we just need to get over it and perhaps it will be a great reminder for you too.
  • Motherhood doesn’t have to be perfect. Set aside the idea that you need to be a perfect mom like Insta tells you to be. Realize there are messes and dirty bathrooms (you understand if you have boys) at all times.
  • Set aside time to connect with the kids unplugged. Play a game of Uno or Guess Who? Do some sensory activities. Snuggle on the couch. Go to the park. These are a few of our favorites.
  • Individual time with each child. I’ve been doing date night once a month with my oldest (6 years old) and he loves the one on one attention. It makes him feel loved and that he matters. He’s one that needs to have attention to feel loved. He’s my mom guilt extraordinaire because I don’t give him attention all day long. I tell him it’s okay to be bored or to play with your brother. Having one on one time every so often is a wonderful thing to have to let your child know you do love them.
  • Set aside time for yourself too! This is so important! Having time to yourself is essential to being a mom wether it is waking up early to have that time to focus and reflect on you, going for a walk or run, going to Target without the kids, having an exercise routine, or taking a bath before bed. It is true if you take time out for you it will pour out into all areas of your life!
  • Have grace with yourself. Motherhood is the hardest but most beautiful blessing.
Know that you are not alone. Mom guilt is total unnecessary. Let’s challenge each other to work on it this next week see what happens.
Feel free to contact me with how your week goes!
Be awesome,
Amber