Traveling for Work as a New Mama ✈️

Two weeks ago I traveled for the first time for work in a LONG time. I have traveled a lot for work over the years and I don’t mind it too much… but this time was different.

I spent nights without my baby for the first time!

I was gone for approximately 65 hours. This meant I missed

  • 3 night times
  • 2 mornings
  • 3 day care pickups
  • 3 days without nursing my muchkin
  • AND a doctors appointment

Let me start by saying THIS WAS HARD. I have a rockstar husband and I knew Lincoln would be fine with his Daddy but the emotional attachment of being gone was not great!

And on a side note.. I was headed to Bismarck, ND, so not even a desirable location.

Now the logistical issues about pumping while on a work trip for all you moms who asked. I am blessed to have a freezer stash (approximately 3 days worth) so my goal was to replenish what Lincoln ate while I was gone.

I pumped 13 straight sessions without my baby and brought home 65oz of this liquid gold to replenish my freezer stash.

I pumped on the plane

I pumped in the airport

I pumped at my client

Willow (pumping) while I fly!

Here is what I did to prepare and what I encountered;

1) I brought a cooler /lunchbox and LOTS of ziploc bags (both gallon and quart size)

2) I made sure my hotel had a mini fridge (and luckily it had one with a freezer compartment)

3) In the airport I had food establishments fill my quart size bags with ice. I used the gallon bags to put the liquid milk bags in and I also put the quart size ice bags in the gallon bag (Important Note: The ice will melt and drip). – Bringing a plastic bag or other waterproof bag to put the cooler in would also be a great idea, but one I didn’t think of at the time.

4) When I arrived at the hotel I put the quart plastic bag with melted ice (water) in the freezer section to make solid ice blocks.

5) I flew home with 65 liquid OZ – I do have the Willow so my milk was in individual sealed bags.

6) TSA told me since they could not ‘test’ the milk and since it was not frozen I could go through but they had to search all my belongings and pat me down (even though I was TSA precheck this didn’t help).

This part was a bit much and I was flying through Bismarck (a small airport- who seemed to be stopping every other bag in the scanner). Not sure if this is the TSA protocol or just my luck!

My portable drying rack for washing pump parts!

All in all I was able to make it work and Lincoln my survived with Daddy for a few days and took the breast like he didn’t even know I was gone when I returned (I was worried he would refuse it after 3 days of JUST bottles)!

The trip was a bit stressful and although I dread any future trips away from my baby, I know both of us will survive when we are apart. It was a huge stepping stone!

Have you ever gone through TSA with breast milk?! I would love to hear your experiences!

XoXo Steph

Bad at Blogging!

So keeping it real over here…. so far I suck at this blog thing. Just realized I never posted a post I made from a few weeks ago, and then also realized it has been a few weeks since I even wrote a post.

All my time is spent snuggling with my peanut!

A lot has happened over the past few weeks, and one exciting thing for me is someone reached out to me about my traveling with a baby tips! I not only shared tips and advice but I gave her copies of my itineraries. Her response was so exciting… she said….

Really that just means one thing, I should finish my traveling with a baby tips and get those posted!

XoXo Steph

Sunday Mornings

That moment when you realize you didn’t submit your post from weeks ago 🤦🏻‍♀️!

I have always been one to wake up in the morning and want to get stuff done until recently. Well probably until I was pregnant at least. I enjoyed sleeping in the lazy Sundays rolling out of bed and grabbing brunch. Now with the baby I always hope he’s going to sleep in … because mama needs her rest, but it seems like he’s been waking up earlier and earlier.

My attempt to get Lincoln to stay in his crib longer 😂 – unswaddle, lights on, shades open

Last Sunday he was up by about 8 o’clock and this Sunday he decided to wake up at 7:15am. This may not seem early for some but for us it’s a bit of a change from our normal routine. Some mornings I have to wake him up at 8:30am just to get him ready for daycare.

Well last Sunday Lincoln and I decided to get our morning started early and we went out for donuts and coffee and then we went grocery shopping. It was actually amazing!

Lincoln got to take a little nap, we got to enjoy the grocery store before the crowds and it just seems like a very good Sunday morning routine. Then I have the rest of my day to relax, meal prep, and just enjoy the day without having to run errands all day.

Grocery Store nap last Sunday!

So today although I wanted Lincoln to sleep in a little more I was kind of excited. I knew once 8 AM hit I could get my workout in and then we can go about our Sunday morning routine.

Post workout Sunday Morning

This week was a little different because it was pouring rain but I got ready – threw on a sweatshirt post workout, got Lincoln ready and we headed to New Jersey to start the morning with errands.

Now I know I am lucky because sometimes planning to take a baby to run errands all morning can be difficult but the joy of breast-feeding is I can feed him whenever and wherever he’s hungry. I am the mom who fed my baby while walking around BuyBuyBaby, while walking down the street and even in the checkout line at the grocery store when the lines were so long and he couldn’t wait. 🤷🏻‍♀️ No shame in the public breastfeeding game here… although out of respect for others I usually wear a cover.

So here we are it’s about 10:30 AM and I am sitting in the café of Wegmans with Lincoln enjoying my coffee while he eats.

This routine may not be for everyone but I’m not in a hurry I don’t have any other plans and I don’t mind doing this. Surprisingly it is not stressful and makes for a good day and a good time of bonding with my son all getting errands done. And let’s be honest going grocery shopping at 10 o’clock is a lot better than going grocery shopping from 12 o’clock – 4 o’clock on a Sunday.

Lincoln people watching from the balcony! He was so intrigued!

What are your weekend routines? Are you a morning person or would you rather sleep in?

Lincoln’s First Halloween

This year for Halloween I didn’t quite know what I wanted to dress Lincoln as seeing as it was his first Halloween. I was hoping to do something cute… you know…. the quintessential adorable baby Halloween costume. I saw an avocado which was super adorable but I couldn’t find it in anything less than six months and Lincolns a little too tiny so that wasn’t going to work.

I ended up ordering a lion costume from Carter’s really just due to having to spend a certain amount to get extra shipping. I suggested that Rich be the scarecrow, I would be Dorothy and Lincoln can be the cowardly lion. What a cute family costume right? I thought the lion costume was going to be it, but then until my husband Rich had a better idea. I’m am not sure if he was really into his idea or if it was just a ploy Rich in the interest of saving money so that we wouldn’t have to buy more costumes. Either way, I took his idea and I ran with it.

Rich suggested recycling our costumes from 2015 when he was Marty McFly and I was Jennifer Parker. He suggested Lincoln should be Doc Brown. I LOVED the idea.

Fun fact: When I was pregnant we used the name Baby Doc (after Doc Brown) to refer to our baby, we didn’t use his name when he was in utero.

I love DIY costumes and I always have so I made sure I got the materials to make Lincolns costume. I just knew it would be epic. I spent about two weeks trying to get it just right but I have to say… I nailed it.

I bought a white jumpsuit from Old Navy which was perfectly crafted to match Doc Browns jumpsuit and even had a pocket. I bought a white mad scientist wig from Amazon and a white hat to help keep the wig on Lincoln’s head. I bought orange duct tape to help make the costume and I knew he had a Hawaiian shirt already in his closet from hand-me-downs. Lastly I bought science / steampunk goggles which were an essential addition to the costume.

The week before Halloween came and I decided to start making his costume. Friday was a family costume contest at his daycare and I was bound to win.

To make the wig fit Lincoln’s head I cut the wig and hot glued it to the baby hat. This was suprisingly not too difficult, but the dang wig is going to haunt me. It’s just like when you find pine needles in your house for 10 months after Christmas, I swear these white hairs seem to multiply all over my floors. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Crafting Lincoln’s wig!
The wig fit!

The day before the daycare Halloween party his white jumpsuit onsie FINALLy came in, and for over an hour I googled every detail of the outfit and put it together. I added the orange accents and created the details for the pocket. Since Lincoln is just a baby I worried about him getting one of the pen caps and choking so I took precautions by rubberbanding them together and shoved them in the pocket. It made it very hard to get them out, which means for Lincoln it was probably impossible. (I will add he is only 4 months old and couldn’t even touch/ grab it when it was on but I would always rather be safe than sorry.)

Finished product!

Once the costume was ready, I could not wait to put it on Lincoln the next day. He is definitely going to be the coolest baby!

Marty McFly and Doc Brown!

Our costume was amazing! I was so happy with how it turned out, and not to brag or anything but we won best family costume at his s daycare!

Luckily we were headed to a local Halloween festival the next day and got to wear our costumes one more time and of course show off Lincoln!

Family Halloween Costume!

Great Scott

Doc Brown

I would love to hear from some of you. Are you into family costumes? Do you like to DIY costumes or purchase costumes? What was your favorite Halloween costume?

Matching Outfits

Stripes for days!

Whenever I imagined having kids, I always imagined having boys. Before I knew what Lincoln was I was hoping for a boy too, until one day around Christmas. I was out shopping with my Mom and we saw the cutest little girl outfits. At that moment I imagined all the ‘Mommy and Me’ outfits that we could wear and I was excited.

Fast forward one week, and on December 30, Rich and I got the call. “Would you like to know the gender of your baby?” My heart was being out of my chest and when I put us on speaker phone and said yes, she said “you are having a boy!” At that moment I was just so excited but as months went on the thought of not being able to have ‘Mommy and Me’ outfits made me a little sad.

Well Rich and I were fortunate enough to get hand-me-downs from our sisters as well as a close friend. As I was unpacking the hand-me-down clothes I had a revelation, I knew I could still have matching ‘Mommy and Me’ outfits with my son. One of the shirts we got was a button up with anchors on it and it was so cute. I was immediately stoked because a maternity shirt I bought that was also breastfeeding friendly had anchors – I knew we could be twinsies.

Even though I am sure Lincoln and I will have many more intentional matching outfits I am also excited for Lincoln and Rich to having matching outfits too. I already have bathing suits picked out. 🙂 It is for sure the best of both worlds!

So far, Lincoln and I have had 3 matching outfits and the latest is matching pajamas. When I saw that Carters sells adult pajamas to match the kids pajamas I just HAD to have them. We will surely be wearing these every other night for the next month :-).

Matching Halloween Pajamas

Do you ever dress a like with your little one? How about your husband with your son?

Morning Meltdown 100

“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently.” – Marie Forleo

On September 23, 2019 – which is exactly 100 days from 2020 (sorry to be a buzzkill) I committed to 100 workouts through my online fitness program. I am now 21 days through my workouts so I wanted to do a brief review.

Committing to 100 workouts!

Let me first start by saying this program is not easy but I LOVE IT. Here is a little about the structure of this 100 day program:

  • The workouts are broken into 5 phases (20 workouts each)
  • Each workout is 20-30 mins long.
  • There are 10 workouts repeated 2x in a phase and they get progressively harder as you build your strength, endurance and fitness ability.
  • One of the 10 workouts is rejuvenation stretching and another is yoga, so not all workouts are intense.
  • There are modifications for EVERY move.
The workout tracker book and nutrition guide.

When I first received my MM100 information in the mail it was a bit overwhelming because I had so many things on my mind. Having to understand a workout plan was just not in the cards for me. However, once I took 5 minutes to read through the tools you get (workout tracker and nutrition guide) I realized it was easy to follow and there is no thought involved. The workout tracker book has a page for every workout to keep track of the weights you used – if applicable – your commitment level and your goals or positive intentions for the day. This makes it easy to remember which workout to do next!

This program includes upper body, lower body, abs, cardio, total body cardio, total body strength, mixed martial arts, high intensity interval training, yoga and recovery. The variety helps keep you from being bored in your workouts and helps your body from plateauing. What’s great is there is no thought required. Simply follow the workouts 1-100.

What makes this program challenging is there are moves I have never heard or seen before and they are tough. For example firecracker burpees, basically a burpee where you kick your feet out in the air when in plank position and then continue with the rest of the burpee. Try these 3x (phew). The modifications definitely come in handy, although in repeating this move in just 2 workouts over the course of 3 weeks I have already seen improvement.

Each of the workouts go by so quickly because they are not just challenging they are fun. This is not my first Beachbody program, I have also done 21 day fix and 21 day fix extreme before. Each of those also have 30 minute workouts but there is something that makes them feel longer.

The best part about the program is doing it as part of an accountability group. These groups are app based and everyone is doing different programs which match their ability and fitness level but there’s joy in knowing you are not alone. Think like a private Facebook news feed, but of you posting and sharing your fitness journey, successes, struggles and even healthy recipes. On the app coaches check in with you daily and provide motivation while you track your workouts and protein shakes. Seeing all the fierce women out there in the same boat I am and showing up each day definitely gives me that extra boost to ensure I show up and get it done.

To be honest, although MM100 comes with a nutrition guide, I have not followed the nutrition guide during these past 21 days. Yes I do try to eat relatively healthy but I still enjoy my beer/wine, takeout food and restaurant meals. 🤷🏻‍♀️

After just 3 short weeks of participating in this program I have:

  • Lost 6lbs (with the workouts alone)
  • Gained strength (now able to use 10lb dumbells when I was originally using 4lb)
  • Seen an improvement in my running since I began my postpartum running 2 months ago.

I love this program and the community so much that I have enrolled to be an online fitness coach and help others reach their fitness goals. I am hosting a private accountability group on October 21, 2019 and would love for you to join me on my journey while creating a fitness journey of your own.

There are many fitness programs available and I can help you tailor the plan to your availability and goals. Email me or drop me a message and I would love to discuss your fitness goals and how I can help you achieve success through consistency.

Thank you to everyone supporting me and my journey to strength. Postpartum fitness is challenging but so rewarding and doable! Stay tuned to continue following my journey.

Postpartum Fitness Journey

June 14th post CrossFit2St Bootcamp Class

After Lincoln was born I was eager to get back to working out. I felt ‘normal’ pretty quickly after birth and by my second week postpartum I felt ready to jump back in.

I think partially this was due to my fitness routine before giving birth. Although it was quite a bit less than my non-pregnant routine I was still doing my Crossfit Bootcamp at Crossfit2St once a week and trying to do two total workouts a week.

I ran a half marathon at 25 weeks and a 10 miler at 26 weeks! I was able to run until about 32 weeks when my feet just felt too heavy to go very long and decided the only running I would do is 1/4 mile laps as part of bootcamp.

The LoveRun Half Marathon with Richard at 25 weeks!
Cherry Blossom 10 miler at 26 weeks!

I listened to advice and waited 6 weeks before I started working out.

Well actually it was 6 weeks and 2 days. On August 1st I jumped backed into fitness by starting with some BeachBody on demand workouts. I did this for about 2 weeks before heading back to Crossfit2St. I got a few short runs in and worked up to 3 miles over the course of 5 runs and 3 weeks.

First postpartum workout!

I figured once I started working out the weight would shed. Well it didn’t. I was only down about 5lbs lower than my initial 20lb drop postpartum. As September was starting and we were gearing up for vacation I started to look into fitness options to plan my postpartum journey towards strength and rejuvenation of my fitness level.

I decided I wanted to try Morning Meltdown 100 using my BeachBody on demand. I bought the Challenge pack back in August and I was feeling less overwhelmed and ready to commit. I calculated the days until New Years and decided I would start on Monday September 23rd, 100 days until 2020. This also happened to be one week after returning from our vacation. Perfect timing!

Luckily I have a coach who was hosting a free accountability group starting September 23rd. I decided to join and now I am 20 days in and loving it!

Stay tuned for a review (so far) of MM100 and some recipes and meal prep I have done so far.

My History with Fitness

Overall, let me start by saying I LOVE working out. I have a lot of energy and I feel great when I work out. The endorphins are truly beneficial for me. I guess this was not always the case, but since 2012 it has been.

In 2012, my husband (boyfriend at the time) told me to get a hobby and I decided I wanted to do triathlons. Between 2012 – 2018 I have completed:

  • Several 5Ks / 10Ks
  • 12 Sprint Distance Triathlons
  • 10 Olympic Distance Triathlons
  • 3 10 miler running races
  • 15 Half Marathons
  • 4 Half Distance (70.3) Triathlons – Half Ironman
  • 8 Marathons
  • 2 Full Distance (140.6) Triathlons – Ironman

I am telling you this to disclose my background as it relates to working out and fitness as I do believe my past experience has a bearing on my postpartum journey which I will be sharing with you all.

In addition to running races / participating in triathlons, I love to attend fitness classes that involve cardio, strength and make me sweat. I have been a member of ClassPass since 2015 and I still thing its the best thing since sliced bread! Some of my favorite studios/ fitness gyms in Philadelphia are Flywheel, Crossfit 2 St, Unite Fitness, Ripped PHL, and Allongee. However, I have been to 50+ studios and over 300 classes since joining. If you don’t know anything about ClassPass, it basically allows you to buy a membership of credits and the credits can be used to attend various fitness studios in your city. I love it because it gives me variety in my fitness routine which prevents me from getting bored with my workouts.

Despite being ‘fit’ and loving to race I have never been fast and the only competition I have during these races is myself. I was in my best shape in 2015 when I was prepping for my wedding while training for my first Ironman.

I am now 16 weeks postpartum and no where near the fittest I have ever been, but I realize it is going to be a journey and I plan to share this journey with you all.

Morning Thoughts for Lincoln!

Note: I wrote this on September 25th but forgot to publish it!

As I sit here this morning feeding Lincoln I am reflecting on so much.

How have you been here for 3 months already? As cliche as it sounds time is going by wayyyy too fast.

9 Days before Lincoln arrived

After our feed I will get you ready to bring you to daycare, it’s only Day 3. Day 1 went surprisingly well. Daycare provided us with lots of updates welcomed you with open arms and despite being home I felt comfortable with you being there.

June 18, 2019 ❤️

Day two is a different story. I was getting ready to bring you we were hanging out in the kitchen getting the bottle ready and it just wasn’t in my heart I didn’t want to bring you. I had the mom guilt of why am I going to let someone else take care of Lincoln all day when I can be here. Well truth is I can’t because I’m working but physically I can be there.

Such a little peanut!

I started singing You’re gunna miss this, so I decided to play the song by Trace Atkins. ☹️cue the tears. I already miss this. I was just thinking yesterday about how Lincoln was so tiny when I was feeding him and now he is growing up and getting bigger.

3 days left vs. 6 weeks right

Motherhood is hard, unpredictable, emotional but amazing. I wouldn’t change this for the world!

Baby Passport

With approximately 6 weeks to our trip, we needed to get our son (who was 6 weeks at the time) a passport. I went to a CVS Pharmacy who advertises passport photos and I got the best advice I could get.

“Take the picture yourself” he said. “Put your baby on a white background, a sheet or towel, and take the picture on your phone. After bring it back and we will format it for the passport photo.”

I have to say I was hesitant, but I knew Lincolns eyes needed to be open and I read that both his ears needing to be showing. I read websites that told me to prop my baby up with pillows and drape a white sheet over the top, then take the photos. This was not very successful for me.

Lincoln loves his bouncer, so what I decided to do is put a white pillowcase behind his head in the bouncer and take a photo. 100 photos later I was sure I had at least a good one.

I ended up going to Walgreens (another Pharmacy who does Passport Photos) and they worked their magic. I uploaded the photo right from my phone and selected passport. The photo technician then used photo tools to make the white background stark white and printed the photo (see left). It was SO much easier than the horror stories I read with parents and their crying baby spending an hour plus trying to get a photo in the store by laying the baby on a poster board.

Remember for children (under the age of 16), both parents need to be present to submit a passport application. There are also no renewals for children. A new application needs to be filed for a new passport and the passport only has a 5 year expiration, unlike adult passports with 10 year expirations. We obtained an application from our local post office and booked an appointment. Here is the link we used to find a Post Office Passport Center.

We decided to expedite Lincoln’s passport since we had just about 5.5 weeks until our trip and standard processing is 6-8 weeks. We paid our $175, signed our application and went on with our day. Now it was just a waiting game. Of course his passport came in the mail one week later. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Lincoln got his first passport!

Keep following for information on our itinerary planning. I will share our itinerary and highlights from our vacation as well as all our tips on #travelingwithbaby. Follow me on Instagram @FoodFitFunMom for additional posts, highlights and tips.