fitness. motherhood. life & style.

Baby Arrival Checklist

Hey everyone!

I wanted to create a basic baby arrival checklist for those of us who are expecting and clueless. I did not anticipate how much planning and prep went into a baby's arrival. A nice checklist like this below would have saved me from making a few mistakes.

  • Find a good doctor. Don't skimp here, you'll be dealing with this person for almost an entire year and you want to make sure they meet all your needs so you feel comfortable during your pregnancy. Are they urgent enough for you? What about thorough? I like having a doctor I feel like I can talk to instead of one who makes me feel silly for asking (what they probably consider) dumb questions. You also may want a midwife instead because they have a different set of skills. Some hospitals can't promise what doctor will deliver you (unless you're high risk) but they can make sure the midwife you've seen the entire pregnancy, will deliver you.
  • Start thinking about saving money and time off of work. The US is actually super behind the times and a lot of places offer little to no maternity leave if you're a working lady. This means you'll want to start saving ASAP. You'll want to make a budget and figure out how long you are going to be away from work so you know what you need to keep yourself covered. Even if you don't work, you'll still want to save for things like hospital bills, unexpected baby expenses, items you may still need, etc. You don't want to wipe out your savings during this time because you didn't create a "baby savings". If you do get maternity leave, I would still save!
  • Do you want to breastfeed, bottle feed, will you pump, etc. How will you feed this tiny human? You may not even figure this out fully until the baby is here but if you are dead set on breastfeeding then you'll want to add breastfeeding items to your registry. If you want to use formula then you may want to research some formulas, etc. I just think it's good to have an idea here so you can again try to plan ahead for it. You may want to take a breastfeeding class beforehand so you know what to expect. Also, a lot of insurances will cover the cost of your pump which you can get towards the end of your pregnancy.
  • Create your registry (or registries) and research baby products. This took me some time because holy crap, for such a tiny human you need a lot of stuff. Luckily, Mario, my mom, and girlfriends who have kids were able to help me figure out what we need, or don't need to waste our money on. I still did some research on different items to try to best anticipate what I won't be able to live without. That extra money you saved is for what you don't know you need yet.
  • Schedule your maternity photos. If this is something you want to do then make sure to schedule them early! I believe a lot of photographers like to shoot the maternity photos around 30-32 weeks and a lot of professional photographers book up quickly. This was important to us so I wanted to make sure not to miss out!

  • Get your nursery ready! This is the fun part! Also, still time consuming. This was important to me but  may not be your priority. A lot of times babies sleep in bassinets in mom and dads room for awhile so this can be done at a later date. I didn't want to wait because I want to make sure I don't have much else to deal with besides the baby.
  • Buy a body pillow!! I skimped here and I'm regretting this now. I really need some belly and leg support. Luckily, I have a basset hound which is the next best option for a leg rest :)
  • Organize your baby clothes by size. If you get baby clothes ahead of time then you'll want them organized before hand (nesting problems). You may want to keep tags on in case you return some items or you may want to have everything washed and ready for the baby.
  • Have a game plan for your baby's insurance. Typically, you only have 30 days post baby to figure this out and there's probably going to be a lot going on in those 30 days. Be prepared so you know what insurance to get him or her on and you can do it right away. Babies have hospital bills too.
  • Take a birth class or educate yourself on birth so you're at least semi prepared. You can also tour the hospital if you'd like so you know where to go, where you'll be staying, etc.
  • Know your birth preferences like who will be in the room, will dad cut the umbilical cord, do you want pain relief, do you want a home birth, etc. Some people type out birth plans and some of us just want to decide before hand if we want an epidural or not. Either way, I would think about this before, not when you're headed to the hospital and have to stress over it. Also, everyone reminds me that labor won't go how I plan so I'm making my own birth preferences but keeping in mind that they may go flying out the window.
  • Have a game plan for how you're getting to the hospital, who you're calling, and what you're doing with siblings and/or pets.
  • Pre-register at the hospital. I'm not sure if all hospitals do this but I wanted to make sure to pre-register at mine so they can expect my arrival.
  • Pack your hospital bag. Just in case things happen fast, I want to be very prepared! I'll post what's in my bag next week :)
  • Put your last few items together like the bassinet, car seat, stroller, etc. Some items can be put together at a later date, like a high chair, but it's nice to have everything else set up so you don't have to deal with it when you get home.
  • It also doesn't hurt to start thinking about what you will do if you have to go back to work. Is daycare an option or will family members watch the baby? I'm sure the three months I'm off will fly by so I need to be prepared for that as well.

I'm sure I've left a few items off because baby brain is real these days, but at least this can get you started. Hopefully, you enjoy making lists and planning as much as I do!

katie lynn

Growing Self Love

Body image is something I think a lot, if not most, girls struggle with. However, not a lot of women want to admit to this. Whether it's just being overly critical or totally hating your body, it's miserable either way. I've struggled with this at different levels and now my body has taken on a very new round shape. A few years ago my body changing would have devastated me but working on self love has really helped me to love my pregnant shape. I actually feel pretty confident as a pregnant woman! I feel like I'll always be a little critical of myself but there are ways to get past the daily self shaming that I use to feel.

I can actually remember the day that I read a post from a girl (I wish I could remember who) that was about changing your own opinion of yourself. Most of us look in the mirror and criticize ourselves or think about what we wish we could change about ourselves. She wrote about how that kind of activity had to stop and the first step to loving yourself started with how you looked at yourself. Instead of looking in the mirror and degrading yourself, look in the mirror and find something positive. It doesn't matter if it's small or big but focus on that and take pride in whatever it is you like about yourself. Then walk away from the mirror, just walk away! Everyday she said she did this and everyday it was easier on her to love herself and realize that she was unique and she wouldn't want to be anyone else. I feel like that post changed everything for me and I really wish I could remember who posted it!! I started practicing my own positive daily reinforcement and it completely changed how I saw myself and has still helped me today.

Another thing I see women do all the time is openly criticize themselves. Whether we just feel better saying we feel "fat" out loud or we are looking for the "no, you're not fat" comment, it isn't healthy. I know I have done this for both reasons! I think it's okay to discuss how you feel with your loved ones because sometimes if you get it off of your chest then you can work on not feeling that way. But I feel like constantly, openly criticizing yourself is really unhealthy and just makes whatever you are feeling, worse. I tried really hard to keep these thoughts to myself so I didn't start to feel negative about how I looked and that's another huge thing that helped change my thought process. Your friend compliments you on your dress, don't say you feel fat just take the compliment and realize that most of the time you're probably being hard on yourself. The picture below is from when I was in Spain three years ago (crazy how time flies) and I remember thinking I looked HUGE. Now I look at this picture and I'm like WTH???? I would probably assume my friends had that same what the hell thought when I said I looked fat that day. I read a quote that said something about how everyone deserves to look at themselves the way their loved ones look at them. 100% true.

I think it's okay to be somewhat critical to keep yourself motivated. However, most of us are down right shameful of our bodies. Even famous women who we may see as perfect have openly shared their body shaming issues. I also think social media plays a huge part in women's self esteem struggles. I remember I use to follow all of these fitness girls that just looked (unrealistically) amazing all the time. I say unrealistically because a lot of these women probably don't have social lives and spend a TON of time working on their bodies, meal prepping, etc. That lifestyle isn't realistic for the average mom, working woman, etc. Not to say you can't be fit but take into account that it's probably not worth losing your lifestyle over it. Following those type of accounts made me just feel like I was not fit enough. I had to stop following a lot of these girls and instead I found some great women on Instagram who are REALISTIC about how they look and feel and they're fit but they're healthy and live normal lives. Find some positive inspiration, not just something pretty to look at.

I'm sure men struggle with self esteem issues as well but I think it's a lot more prominent with women. I think self love is really important and very hard to come by. Hopefully, some of these things I shared will help to guide you on your own journey to a positive body image and self love! Also, listed below are a few awesome girls to follow on Instagram for a realistic and honest approach to self love, fitness, and body image.


katie lynn

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Pregnant

A lot of little girls, like myself, think about one day becoming a mommy and as you grow up you learn the basics of what that entails. How babies are made (stork delivery isn't real), pregnancy is nine months long and painful at the end, being a mom is great, you will waddle and crave weird things, pretty much the obvious things. However, what no one tells you is that pregnancy is one of the biggest mysteries/learning experiences that you may ever go through. I've used Google and baby books so much in the last few months that I feel like I'm working on a third degree. I've had a lot of mommy support around me but I wish someone would have just rattled off a list of things I don't know and really would like to know before pregnancy goes any further. So even though I'm not a pregnancy expert and every pregnancy is different, I figured I can make my own list for some of you newly pregnant and totally lost mommas out there. This is a pretty simple list but hopefully it gives you a place to start your pregnancy journey!

  1. EVERY PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT! So many people tell me pregnancy stories, some of them good and most of them scary (not sure if I appreciate the honesty or would rather not know) and it makes you think that if your pregnancy isn't like someone else's then you're doing it wrong. I'm at the point that I'm supposed to have Braxton Hicks so everyone is asking me if I feel them and I. don't. feel. a. damn. thing. So then I start thinking that Mia is going to be in there forever because I haven't had them yet. Finally, I hear a story from one mom who said she never felt hers either and she had her baby right on time (hallelujah). She also told me what to look for if you don't feel anything and, turns out, I have been having Braxton Hicks. The moral here is to listen to everyone's experiences but know that you can't base yours off of anyone else's so don't be hard on yourself for that.
  2. Labor is nothing like the movies. Your water doesn't break while you're in public and you barely make it to the hospital, all the while screaming, and then having the baby as soon as you arrive. It sounds silly but believe it or not (since I've never been pregnant or looked into pregnancy) I thought your water broke and that meant baby was coming so you better get to the hospital ASAP. Easy peasy. Turns out a lot of water's don't break and there is A LOT to learn about labor and delivery. Don't skip this section in your baby book!!
  3. You need a baby book. There are tons out there so you'll have plenty to chose from. My mom bought me, "What to Expect While You're Expecting" and I took a look at this big book like when am I going to have time to read that? Luckily, she did buy it for me because I wouldn't have and it's become my bible. It lists all the odd symptoms you will experience and not expect. It talks about everything from baby's size to the fun term "lighting crotch". Yes, it's a thing.
  4. Be prepared for a lot of planning. Again, these sound simple but they are not things you think about if you've never really been around babies or haven't had one of your own yet. I have spent a lot of time at the doctor, pre-planning for baby, making lists, making phone calls, making more lists, etc. If someone offers to help you, let them. I'll share my baby planning checklist in another post soon :)
  5. Baby registries will take you hours to compile, if not days. There are so many options for babies that it'll make your head spin. Luckily, a lot of stores have a handy online check list to help you create that registry. You may just want to do your own research on different baby products so you know what the heck you're looking at. Also, ask for advice here. Ask other moms what they've used and not used so you can limit the amount of useless crap that companies try to sell you.
  6. People will give you tons of "advice". Just smile and nod. I found myself getting a little cranky with this in the middle of my pregnancy because sometimes it comes off as pushy advice. Really, people just want to help so take it all in with a grain of salt but make your own decisions. It's your body and your baby.
  7. Try your best to continue a healthy lifestyle but also cut yourself some slack. I so badly wanted to have a crazy fit pregnancy and squat my way into 40 weeks while still downing grilled chicken salads. However, back pain threw the squats out the window at the end of my first trimester and instead of cravings I have food aversions and grilled chicken is one of those aversions. I've remained pretty active (a lot of that has to do with my job too) and I still try to eat nutrient dense foods. However, if I'm tired and just need to get some calories in then I'm going to sit on the couch and eat whatever doesn't gross me out. I've been pretty hard on myself for this but luckily I have girlfriends who remind me that I'm growing a human and that's a lot of work in itself!! Do what's best for baby and what feels best for momma at the time. But also, don't use this as an excuse to fly off the handle because your baby gets the nutrients you get!
  8. Don't forget about your medical bills. Again, this sounds super silly but it just was not the first thing on my mind. Mario and I saved for the baby and I almost forgot to include possible medical expenses. After researching costs, you'll be surprised at what you may end up paying. You can call your insurance company and get an idea as well.
  9. It's totally normal to feel scared/nervous. A baby is a big deal! When I first started to feel scared, I felt guilty for feeling that way. How can I be scared of having my own baby? At first I thought it was age (I'm 25) but my mom had me at 32 and said she had the same fears I did. It's also probably a combo of your raging hormones and mood swings that makes these emotions more intense. I've had moments of excitement but I've also had moments of fear that my life will never be the same/I won't be a good mom/etc. From what I hear, your life never is the same but it's a lot better and you don't completely lose yourself or lose your mind just because you had a baby. You will also figure everything out as you go and motherhood really is an instinct. All of this advice has kept me from having many meltdowns and I've felt a lot better as the pregnancy goes on.
  10. Just be open minded and realize your body is being shared. Lose your expectations. Nothing is going to go as planned and it's not always fun but it will be very rewarding to have your very own human being. Emotions are real and sometimes it really feels like your body is not your own. Google away and take care of yourself. Enjoy what you can because the time flies by! 

Photos by: Maura Jane Photography

katie lynn

End of Summer Style

Like most stores, I'm starting to get ready for fall (football) and fall style. Even though summer is technically nearing its end, New Mexico heat likes to hang out for awhile and delay some of that fall fashion. Also, as I get larger, my wardrobe is getting smaller so instead I'm trying to finish out the summer with some fun accessories! Below are some things I'm loving right now and a few items that are still maternity comfort approved. And affordable!

Bright Colors and slides!! I'm actually a lot more of a neutral color gal but I'm still trying to get out of my comfort zone and incorporate some fun summer colors like red. I'm also all about comfort for my feet as my belly grows and these slides are the comfiest pair of sandals I own. I love that these are now in style and have become more of a fashion statement instead of just sportswear slides you can slip on after a workout. Also, we are on a tight budget getting ready for baby and after reading Total Money Makeover (more on that later) so don't let these brand items fool you!! My mom gave me the purse and I ordered these wonderful shoes for under $10 at (thank you Jenny and Camille for finding this wonderful place). Just keeping it real here! Purse from Cole Haan.

Turtleneck/sleeveless tops and a comfy heel. And a dirty mirror, oops. Anyways, I've always loved these tops as summer turns to fall because I feel like they're a mix of both seasons and can be very sleek and flattering (and luckily this one still fits me). Also, if you're still trying to rock heels while pregnant, go for something secure with a thick heel. Your balance is thrown off so don't chance a skinny, loosely strapped heel unless you're brave. Found these boots at and this website has shoes that replicate expensive designer pieces (like the Yeezy heel) for awesome prices. These shoes can also transition well into fall but they're light weight enough for summer heat. Again, with the neutral colors here.. I can't help it! Top from Forever21. Both items are older and may not be available.

Kimono's and chokers. Two of my most favorite trends!! The Kimono's are good for the warm weather and still fit a pregnant body. I also feel like with the right colors they can transition well into fall. Believe it or not, I found this one at the Motherhood store! Also, if you're a 90's kid, chokers are the best thing ever and I think they easily dress up any outfit. I can't remember where I found this choker but most likely it's from Forever21.

No matter what your style is I think it's always good to have affordable key pieces and I also love that I see a lot of women still dressing up while pregnant! There are fun ways to look cute no matter your size and you can still stay comfortable. Enjoy the last bit of summer wear while you can and I hope this post helps you come up with some fun looks of your own!

katie lynn

Feeling Stuck in Life?

Hey everyone!

I can't believe it's August 1st! 2017 has flown by and we only have five months left in the year. With that being said, getting closer to the end of the year had me thinking about my yearly goals. My fiancé and I both write down our goals at the beginning of each year to make sure we have something to strive for throughout the year. This has always helped me if I'm ever feeling like I'm not where I want to be in life. I've been hearing from a lot of people that they feel like they are stuck in a rut in life and I've even felt that way. I feel like it becomes more common in the middle of the year when New Years excitement has subsided, the holidays still won't be here for a few months, summer is ending, etc. It's more common than you think and it happens with work, personal life, fitness, etc. With so many changes happening for us in 2017 (getting engaged, baby, the list goes on) I've decided I need to re-evaluate my goals (since my fitness goals didn't include a belly lol) to make sure I don't end up feeling like I'm "stuck in life".
If you're feeling stuck at some point in your life, I feel like there are many ways to get out of that rut. It's not easy but hopefully my advice can get you started.

  1. Writing down your goals is always a good start. You still have five months left in 2017 (and plenty of lifetime left) and it's never to late to go after something you've always wanted. For me, revisiting this years goals means giving myself some motivation for the rest of the year and keeping myself out of a rut. Some of my new goals are getting my body wedding ready post baby (or at least starting this process), spending more time on my blog, figuring out motherhood, and reading more. I've already hit a few goals this year like graduating with my MBA and that keeps me going on to the next set of goals. You can be general with your goals or specific, whatever keeps you going.
  2. Re-evaluating your goals is another way to make sure you don't feel down on life. Sometimes things happen and instead of punishing yourself for not hitting your goals, just re-evaluate them. I don't mean make excuses for all the goals you missed but for example, I can't punish myself for not hitting my fitness goals since I'm now pregnant, I just have to adjust! It keeps me motivated instead of making me feel down on myself.
  3. Get out of your normal routine! I find that when I get really, really set in a routine I lose excitement in life and I start to fall into a rut. Change isn't everyones favorite thing but sometimes even little life changes will do the trick. Since I was 15 I've been working and since I was 21 I've been working full time. I'm super excited to have time off with baby Mia but I'm almost a little scared to not be working because that's what's normal to me. However, I think it may be a good change of pace especially during the holidays and it gets me out of my normal routine until I go back to work. Also, baby bonding time :) Thinking positive here!!
  4. Thinking about what you really want out of life can be overwhelming but also life changing. If you realize you really aren't happy with something in life then what is stopping you from changing it? I'll find myself complaining and then I'm like why am I complaining when I have the sole power to change my own life? Even if you just make steps towards these changes you are headed in the right direction. If you don't know what you want out of the big picture (and this can be really stressful to think about) then start with the little things. Why keep doing the workout you hate when you can find something you enjoy that gives you the same results? Change up those workouts and change up your goals accordingly. Little changes can have big effects.
  5. Finally, you may end up in a rut after you've accomplished a huge goal. I remember I ended up in a huge rut (for many reasons) after I graduated with my Bachelor's degree. I couldn't understand why I felt this way because I had just accomplished a major life goal. One of the main reasons was that the anticipation and excitement surrounding graduation had subsided and I had decided to take a year off before pursuing my Master's degree. Now what was I supposed to do? I had a good job, what major thing was I working for? I had to do a lot of digging and I used a few of these tips to get myself out of a really bad rut. I made work and fitness goals that kept me going and I found some new things to work towards. Now that I know that I can fall into this trap after major life events, I try to prepare myself for that and have something else to focus on post goal achievement. If you're like me, you need something to keep you going!

Even if sharing my own "stuck in life" experience and advice doesn't get you out of a rut, it will hopefully get you started searching for whatever you're looking for! Make some last 2017 goals, write them down, and reflect at the end of the year and that alone may send you straight into an awesome 2018.

katie lynn
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