Finding My Way Back…

I’ve been on “maternity leave” for almost 10 weeks now. I put the term maternity leave in quotations because being an entrepreneur doesn’t really grant you all of the perks that one might want or expect. Business has continued, thanks to my amazing team!! But, I still have to stay on top of the office stuff like payroll, emails, balancing the business account, etc. all while taking care of 2 kids under 2.

This weekend, I’ll be back to work at a wedding. While I’m not working the whole day because my staff has EVERYTHING covered, the few hours I’ll be on-site requires quite a bit of planning. Primarily, my extreme hatred of pumping means I’m working my hours around Baby Girl’s feeding times – thank goodness for an eating schedule that keeps me sane!!!!

So, I’ll pump once before I leave the house so The Husband will have a bottle to feed her while I’m gone and I’ll be back by the time she’s due to eat again. I’ll help with dinner and bedtime and then I’ll go back to the wedding to work a few hours during the reception.

Yes – I hate pumping! Although, I’ve somehow still ended up with over 600oz of pumped milk in my freezer. LOL

I’m really excited about this wedding. It’s a bride I’ve been working with for over a year. She and her mom were so gracious and understanding when I found out I was pregnant late last summer. My due date meant I would not be able to commit to being available for their wedding day and I’d have to hand off the planning torch to one of my staff to take over once baby came. They were so great about the whole arrangement and things have gone so well. My Associate Consultant, Whitney, has just killed it!!! So many fun things in store for this wedding and I’m so excited it’s going to work out for me to be there at least for the few hours that I can to see everything come together.

I’d like to dream more about this wedding at the moment but I can’t because Little Man is desperate to go play outside and I’ve got laundry to fold. How can I do both at the same time, you might say? Well, that’s because I have no shame folding my laundry on the driveway…underwear and all. Multitasking at it’s finest.

I also need to meal plan for the week and find time to get to the grocery store today. But that will have to come later…

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Weaning. Glorious Weaning.

Committing to breastfeeding Little Man to 1 year was huge. If I’m being honest, time has flown by. I mean, I can not believe he turns 1 in less than 2 weeks. It’s been a whirlwind of a year and I’m beyond grateful that I was blessed with the ability and time to be able to breastfeed him this long. I had to start supplementing with formula around 9.5 months old when my freezer stash ran out. But, even still, the vast majority of his liquid intake has been mommy milk and I’m proud of that accomplishment.

But, let’s be real, I’m so ready to be done. About a month ago I started to develop a love/hate relationship with nursing. It was very similar to the love/hate relationship I had with nursing in the early weeks of his life. But this time was different. I loved giving him this precious milk but nursing had grown a bit uncomfortable – 4 teeth equals nursing challenges (ouch!).

As of last week, the weaning process has begun. I am now down to nursing only in the morning when he wakes up and then pumping before I go to bed. That morning nursing session will be the last to go, but still, I’m looking forward to that first morning where I can continue sleeping while The Husband gets up and gives Little Man breakfast – I can’t even fathom what freedom I will feel on that beautiful day!

It’s been a journey. I’ve learned A LOT!!! Ultimately, I’ve determined that breastfeeding is one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done. But, I am sad to tell all of you first-time-moms-to-be, NOBODY prepares you for the challenge of breastfeeding. I did my research before Little Man was born. I read books. I read blogs. Still, breastfeeding ended up being 1000000000x harder than I expected it to be and I began to fully understand why so many women give up in those first 2-3 months (or less!). While there is no shame in formula-feeding, I do wholeheartedly believe that so many women give up too soon on breastfeeding simply because they aren’t adequately prepared for the challenge and reality of it all.

So, if you’re reading this and you are a first-time-mom-to-be, I want to encourage you: YOU CAN DO IT!! Power through those first 3 months and I promise you it gets easier. And when I say easier I mean SOOOOO MUCH EASIER!!! Between 3months and 10months old, I absolutely LOVED nursing. And, by that time, I was so close to my 1 year goal that I just pressed on even when it began to get uncomfortable.

I wish there was more honesty out there about the challenge of breastfeeding. I could go on but I don’t have all night. I have to pump and then I’m hitting the sack early!

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Baby-Free Celebrating!!!!

A working mom really welcomes any excuse to enjoy some social activities without a baby in tow. So, this past weekend, I was able to attend a Bachelorette Party for a close friend. I’m also a bridesmaid in her wedding this coming weekend. I’m talking about nearly 24 hours of FREE time to get gussied up, eat dinner and socialize with girlfriends.

Oh, what a glorious time it was!!! Major props to The Husband for being on Little Man duty from 3pm on Saturday till 2pm on Sunday. These duties included getting up and headed to church on Sunday morning with Little Man in tow all by himself…no easy task!!

The Bachelorette Party festivities included all us girls wearing our favorite little black dress and a neon-colored wig for a night out on the town. Then an all-girl slumber party in a hotel suite downtown. And things wrapped up with a relaxing yoga session on Sunday morning before we all parted ways. *throw a couple of pumping sessions into the mix*

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The wigs definitely got us noticed wherever we went which made the evening so much more fun. We must have had over a dozen strangers request to take a picture with us!!

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Good times were had by all. But, Monday brought me back to reality as the workload hit. The Husband and I are both in the wedding this weekend and we are performing a song at the ceremony – lots to prepare and get ready for Saturday. I think a mani/pedi is in order 😉

Then I have a wedding next weekend that I’m beginning to finalize details for. After my wedding on the 8th I have my longest break since my maternity leave. Just in time for Little Man’s first birthday….are you kidding me?!?!

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Gettin’ All Personal and Stuff

It’s no secret that praise & worship is a major passion of mine. Singing, leading, participating, etc. – all of it!! And some of my most intimate times with the Lord are had during times of spontaneous worship whether I am the one singing the lyrics or listening to somebody else – whether in a public church service or on my own driving in the car.

As I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this morning I came across a video from a Bethel worship service that was showcasing a recent spontaneous moment of worship. The words were simple, yet powerful enough to give me pause to take it all in: “This is the love that changes everything. He gives it freely.”

Often times we, in our selfish human nature, get so caught up in trying to be the best version of ourselves. We chase after our “destiny” instead of chasing after Him. We seek our “purpose” instead of finding our true purpose in Him. And I think praise & worship affords us the great opportunity of laying OURSELVES down and lifting HIM up. While earthly praise & worship will always be flawed to some degree because we are flawed humans, it is the purest form of God-seeking that I believe exists in the current church.

On a very personal note, there was a period of time not long after Little Man was born when I feared I wouldn’t be back on that stage participating in the praise & worship team. Which, I know, it really shouldn’t matter if I’m on stage singing or in the congregation. But, there’s a certain excitement and fulfillment that comes from being a part of something that you feel called to do!

We were in the middle of a difficult time of transitioning between churches: leaving one church that we had called home and served faithfully in for over 12 years. When that happens you begin to doubt your gut – that thing that told you it was time to move on. But, it’s just like God, to prove himself in a beautifully orchestrated way. We didn’t “shop” for a new church. We had one place we wanted to try and beyond that we had absolutely NO IDEA where else we would go if this place didn’t work out.

Thankfully, it just clicked. Not just that we enjoyed the service and the people, but the timing! Oh, how, perfect God’s timing was for this transition. The Husband and I, unknowingly, came into this new body of believers right in the midst of their own transition on the praise & worship team. This transition left us with an opportunity to jump in with both feet and get involved without delay. The Husband started playing guitar and I joined the vocals team. Since joining this team I have been privileged to be a part of some of the most powerful worship services of my entire life. There’s something about a room full of people all lifting up their praise to Jesus that gives me the chills. And those “chills” are my cue that the Spirit is moving and that song that’s stirring in my heart needs to be sung.

I suppose my encouragement to anyone reading this is to trust your “gut”. Sometimes it’s hard to hear His voice so we do what we think He is telling us to do. But I’m here to tell you that when He wants you to move in a certain direction He will find a way to get you there. The details of why we left our old church home don’t matter. That place will ALWAYS hold a very special place in our hearts and there are people there that we will never stop missing! But, the beauty in the newness of where we are now is refreshing and inspiring and has awakened things in both The Husband and I that have laid dormant for quite some time. Some we never knew were there in the first place.

We are exactly where we need to be: chasing after and seeking HIM and fulfilling our calling in the process.

And, just to be sure we get some Mompreneur stuff in this post, let me clarify that being a part of the praise & worship team is no easy task for a working/business-owning momma. On wedding weekends I work late, sometimes not getting home until 1 or 2 am on Saturday night. But I’m still up by 6:30 to get ready for church, feed Little Man and get him ready, and leave the house in time to be at church by 8:30 for rehearsal. Then it’s rehearsal time where I’m desperately hoping Little Man will catnap in the Ergo…most of the time he does. I drop him in the church nursery before service starts and then I go back to get him after praise & worship ends so that I can nurse him. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

When The Husband’s Away…

It took me a few days but I think I’ve finally recovered from my first wedding back this past weekend! It was as long of a day as I remembered from my pre-baby wedding days. The proof is in the leg work (I think it’s obvious which day was the wedding day)…

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But, it did feel good to be back. Except for the part where I forgot the boob attachment pieces for my pump so I couldn’t pump. Yyyeeeaaaahhhh…no bueno. I went over 12 hours between feedings/pumps that day. Never again. Never. Again.

Moving on.

Little Man and I did get in a really good nap time together on Sunday afternoon which was refreshing especially since he doesn’t usually sleep well when he’s not in his crib. But he actually snuggled with me for a nap in my bed for 1.5 hours!!! Then we all got up and had a wedding to attend for one of The Husband’s co-workers. It’s not often I get to be a guest at a wedding.

I don’t think I’ve introduced you to The Husband yet…

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The Husband was out of town on business yesterday and overnight last night so it was Little Man and I on our own. I already had plans to head down the highway for a few site visits I had scheduled for an out-of-state of bride. So, Little Man and I had a little road trip together. I know I won’t have the freedom to let him tag along with me to meetings much longer since he’s probably just a matter of weeks away from crawling. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

It is nice, on occasion, to have an evening completely to myself. It’s just in my DNA – I absolutely LOVE alone time!! So I got Little Man down for bed and then I had some pizza, diet coke and I veg’d on the couch while eating a really-bad-for-you dessert. Because sometimes you just have to, right? It was glorious indeed.

Today, back to the daily grind.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Houston…We Have Milk

I suppose the title should say Tulsa instead of Houston. I don’t live in Houston. I didn’t travel home through Houston. I’m getting off-track here…

I’ve returned home from our glorious 5-day vacation in Riviera Maya, Cancun with my breast milk 🙂

While I do believe the resort lost about 20 oz. of my milk, I’m not up in arms about it. I still came home with about 90 oz. of milk that is now stashed in my freezer and I’m confident my breastfeeding journey can continue for a few months to come because of it. For that, I am grateful.

It was a lot of work keeping up with pumping while enjoying an all-inclusive resort vacation. I mean, who wants to leave the beach to go pump in their hotel room? I didn’t want to, but I did.

Major props go to our personal concierge for being so nice about storing all of my pumped milk in the restaurant fridge for me. The mini-bar fridge, obviously, was not big enough so he came running whenever I called him so he could take it to the restaurant kitchen. God bless that sweet young man!!!!

Traveling home with 90 oz. of breast milk in tow was nerve-wracking to say the least. When I got all of my milk back from the restaurant as we were packing to leave I noticed they had stored it in the freezer instead of the fridge. So now I was faced with the task of keeping it frozen in transport. And, of course, the missing 20 oz.-ish was a little frustrating but, again, not the end of the world.

As I approached the security checkpoint in the Cancun Airport, my stomach was in knots. It was at least 100 times leading up to that spot that I read/heard (signs, intercom announcements, baggage check-in personnel, etc.) to discard of all liquids over the 3.4 oz. limit. While putting my belongings on the conveyor belt to be scanned I motioned for the security guard to come to me. As I read in the TSA instructions to do, I alerted him that the bag I was holding was full of pumped breast milk for my baby. Of course, he barely spoke English so we had a little difficulty back and forth before he understood. I think my hand gestures signifying “baby” (cradling arms) and “breast milk” (grabbing my boobs) really helped out here. Although, they may have looked a bit bizarre to any on-lookers.

I walked through the scanner and awaited the security team’s next move. The same guard came back to me and asked me where my baby was – another thing I had heard was a common question from security in traveling with pumped milk. I told him politely that my baby was home with grandma and grandpa.

My milk made it through the scanner and a different security guard brought the bag back to me and said he was going to have to look inside. Fine. I expected this. He dug around a bit – destroying my beautifully organized placement of milk to ice pack ratio but now wasn’t the time to throw a fit about that. LOL. He then called over the security supervisor. They spoke to each other back and forth in Spanish for a bit. I didn’t recognize a word of what they were saying except “leche”. But the supervisor gave me the go-ahead and I was on my way. WHEW!!! I’ve never been so relieved in my life!!!

I’m really thankful for this experience because it has given me full confidence in my option to travel in the years to come when I have a nursing baby at home. Something that I had previously thought would be impossible – or, at the very least, not worth the hassle.

On a related note, I’m so happy to be home with my little man! My heart ached for him while we were gone. Especially the last 2 days of our trip. I am at peace today. We’ve nursed. We’ve played. We’ve ran errands together. And he’s been all smiles the whole time.

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Little Man

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Mothering, Entrepreneuring and Vacationing. Oh My!

This week, the Husband (Russ) and I are preparing for our first real vacation since our son (Rory) arrived. Really it’s a business trip for Russ but he gets to bring a guest and it’s all expenses paid to an all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya Cancun so we’ll take it!!

But it’s requiring a lot of plan-ahead and organization on my part for 2 VERY BIG reasons:

1. Erica Weddings has TWO weddings this weekend, while I’m away.

2. I’m a nursing Momma. Need I say more? But I will…

The weddings taking place while I’m gone are not of huge concern to me. I have an amazing staff who I trust to get the job done and represent my brand well in my absence. But the breast milk issue. Has there ever been a subject matter more stressful to a working mom than the issue of breast milk? Keeping supply up, pumping milk, storing milk, keeping milk fresh in travel, getting milk through security (specifically in another country), etc.

I’ve done my research. I know the TSA guidelines. I’ve spoken to other mommas who have done this exact same thing and the vast majority of these women have nothing but positive experiences to share. But, if I’m being honest, I have this awful, dreadful nightmare on replay in my head that I’ll be watching over 100+ oz of my pumped milk being thrown in the trash as I try to get through security at the Mexican airport on my way home. Just the thought of this possibility makes me well up.

Why so emotional for me? Well the breastfeeding moms certainly understand…no explanation required. For everyone else, here’s some background. I’ve breastfed Rory from day one. He’s never had any formula (no judgment to the formula mommas!!). I built up a great freezer stash in the early months of his life which I’m so thankful for now as it’s gotten me through some dry spells AND it’s enabling us to take this baby-free trip. BUT, taking this trip will be wiping away my freezer stash completely. There’s no way I can breastfeed up to the 1 year mark as planned without coming home with a fresh stash of pumped milk to put in my freezer. Enter these 100+ oz I will be pumping while I’m in Mexico. THIS milk is critical to my sons nutrition – I need it to supplement in the coming months as my supply goes through it’s peaks and valleys. I know having to supplement with formula will not be the end of the world. It’s just not my Plan A.

Maybe everything will be fine and I’ll breeze through security on my return trip home. But, until it actually happens, I’m going to worry about it.

I’m fully prepared with my breast pump, pump supply cleaning materials, insulated carry-on bag, breast milk storage bags, travel gel-cool packs, print out copy of the TSA guidelines regarding this matter and a copy of Rory’s birth certificate (in case I need to prove I actually have a baby). But if any of you Mommas have any experience with this that you can share I welcome it!! Every positive story relieves my stress a little bit.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma