Coffee with Liz

Did you keep Charlie’s name a secret when you were pregnant with him? Is baby #2’s a secret? If so…how do you manage the pestering that EVERYONE asks about baby name? Or do you just tell? How you do deal with the judgements…or everyone’s opinions?

With Charlie we didn’t keep it a secret. We didn’t know what we were having so we had one name picked out for each gender. This time around we have a 2-3 names in the running and we have had a lot of opinions about a few we were considering. Now that we have narrowed it down a bit we are kind of just not talking about it. If someone asks we will tell them but to be honest, I don’t really care. EVERYONE is going to have an opinion. Maybe I have tough skin but all I really care about is if we like it and if it feels like a fit for our family. One of our biggest concerns was whether or not the name sounded like it could be Charlie’s brother (is that weird?) and I’m also waiting to see what this baby is like and whether or not he feels like one or the other. Maybe a new name will pop into our heads! Just remember that someone will always place judgment or have an opinion and all that matters is that you’re happy. 

Can you share any challenges you experienced having a baby and then toddler in the city?  Would also love to hear any benefits you thought living in the city afforded you and your family!

Challenges: Grocery shopping or runnings errands, getting our stroller up and down stairs, taking Webster and a baby outside when the weather was cold or rainy, parking the car, carrying more than one bag + a baby, having it take 30+ minutes to get anywhere in the car…We didn’t make it easy on ourselves by living on the third floor of a walk up with street parking. Other parents are probably smarter!

Benefits: SO much to do! Music classes, parks, My Gym, swim lessons, the best lunch spots, etc. Honestly, I loved every minute of living in the city with a baby and a toddler until I was totally over it. The fact that every time you walked outside it felt like you had a million friends walking around. There was always so much going on! I also found this inner mama strength that seriously helped me to carry a stroller, 2 grocery bags and a toddler at once (I felt like superwoman) but by the end of our time downtown, I was ready. It’s definitely something you should experience 🙂

I remember in one of your baby posts you said that you didn’t have Charlie on a sleep schedule for the first few weeks you had him.  How / when did you get him on a sleep schedule, and how has his sleeping been as he’s gotten older?  I’m struggling with sleep for my 4 week old and looking for any help!

Oh mama, the first three months are rough! I don’t think any type of schedule works until 8 weeks unless you have a super baby who sleeps through the night at 4. I mean the baby has to eat every 3/4 hours so I would definitely not bank on sleep stretches longer than that (sorry!). When we did start to find some routine with his sleep schedule I used this awake chart to figure out how long Charlie should be awake in-between naps/night time sleep. This eventually lead us to a nap and night schedule!

My question is about Elemis. You have posted about it in your instagram posts, stories & blog posts A LOT! I am so excited to try it because I can tell you really love it. It is a bit spendy, so could you please recommend the one thing I should try FIRST?

I love Elemis! I’m typing this as I just finished using their cleansing balm and superfood facial oil.  guess it depends what you feel your skin actually needs. My three favorite products are probably the Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (a cleanser and moisturizer in one!), the Superfood Facial Oil and the Pro-Collagen Eye Renewal Cream. I use all of these at night. If you are in need of a great face cream, I also can’t recommend their moisturizer enough (it smells like a DREAM). Perfect for daytime! Note to self: you can usually find deals on Elemis products on QVC!! For example, this and this are an INSANE deal. 

I bought a DSLR camera a few years ago and I find that it just sits in my storage closet until family vacations. I want to be better about bringing the camera along with me on days out in the city. Do you have any recommendations for simple and stylish camera cases or purses that hold cameras without feeling like you’re carrying an enormous (and heavy!) tote bag?

We use and love the Lo & Sons Claremont camera bag in grey!

I know with Charlie you posted four books you were reading.  Do you have any book updates on what you would recommend?  At that time, it was the Happiest Baby on the Bloc, Bringing up Bebe, Babywise and the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Any priority on which book you feel is the most important to read if you’re picking one?  I heard the Bringing up Bebe is good, but some of the things like one snack a day just aren’t realistic.

To be completely honest, I can’t remember one thing from any of those books. I also haven’t read one thing with this pregnancy, aside from The Bump app which reminds me how far along I am – ha. I will say there are two things that helped guide me through parenthood once I was already in it – What to Expect The First Year and The Wonder Weeks App. I’ve heard amazing things about The Wonder Weeks book, too. Looking back, reading those books didn’t help me because you don’t know until you know. There are so many opinions and ways to do things but the truth is you just have to listen to your baby and go from there!
 
How do you keep focus on raising a happy, curious baby when it feels like awful things are happening in our world more and more each day?
 
It’s hard but I have to focus on what my world revolves around and that includes being a good wife, raising a good kid and working hard to support my family. At this point I can’t explain what is happening in the world to Charlie so I really just try to focus on the positives and making sure that every day he feels safe and loved. 
 
Having a one year old, my photos and videos seem to be more previous than ever. I know I can’t keep them on my phone and camera forever, but the process of organizing them somewhere electronically and backing them up seems overwhelming. Do you follow a process for this? How often are you backing up your personal photos? Any recommendations for the best way to do this consistently?
 
Such a good question because this is definitely something I need to be better about! For my computer and images off of my camera, everything is organized and backed up to an external hard drive. I wish I could say I do this every day but it is usually once every 2-4 weeks (usually when my raw images are weighing down my computer speed). I use and love this hard drive (it is big but not portable!) for my images AND computer files. I also have two of these G-Drive portable hard drives that are filled with images. Much easier when you’re on the go! For my iPhone photos, I pay for a lottttt of storage on the iCloud and send images there whenever I get around to it. BUT, I still leave them in my phone for no reason at all except that sometimes I get sappy and go through every photo I have of Charlie. Definitely something I need to clean up before baby #2 arrives. But knowing they are on the Cloud makes me feel better. I’m trying to be better about printing out photos and having them in our home because that is where I really need to see them.
 
My boyfriend and I recently moved in together (awww,) and it’s made me want to up my pajama/loungewear game. I mostly just wear old t-shirts and stuff, which is fine, butttt it never hurts to look a little cuter, right? I’d love some recommendations for cute pajamas and lounge wear!
 
I feel you! Funny story, I have this pair of gap flannel pajama pants that my brother gave me for Christmas when I was in 8TH GRADE. They are the softest things in the whole world but so hideous. I JUST threw them away because Dave couldn’t take them anymore. Enter new pajamas!! Here are my favorites: I’m currently wearing these joggers and this top (so so soft) which I love because they are completely acceptable for 6am runs to the coffee shop, Nordstrom’s pajamas are an amazing price (Eberjey’s pajamas are very similar but a little more pricey), wash well and are super soft (I have the navy) and these are my cute silky pajamas.
 
How do you go about planning vacations? Do you pick attractions you want to go to first and then plan around that? And where would you like to travel next?
 
We usually start with location and go from there. I think our idea of vacation has changed so much that we are more attracted to doing less while we are away. Our schedule is so dependent on Charlie’s schedule that we usually try to keep things loose. We actually haven’t taken a family vacation since Charlie was born! He has traveled a bunch of times but it is usually to visit family or on family trips where we can really do what we want or lay low. Dave and I have taken two trips (both were 3 nights) just the two of us since Charlie was born and in those instances we did fill our time with activities. On my list to travel: Alberta and Banff, Amalfi Coast, London, Napa and Salt Lake City.
 
Your house is always so clean! How do you do it? A dog and a toddler yet your wood floor is shining!
 
When we had Charlie, we hired a cleaning lady. She comes once every two weeks and is our best friend. We love her so much and she loves Charlie so much! She really does all of the dirty work. I also clean, a lot, in between her visits. I’m kind of obsessive about vacuuming and cleaning counter tops. I highly recommend hiring someone to help with whatever it may be when you’re a mama. I love knowing that our house has been deep cleaned even though it usually looks like a mess. 
 
Will you take maternity leave from the blog?
 
Things will definitely slow down a bit around here once baby #2 arrives but luckily we have a ton of fun holiday content in the works that should fill up most of our days! I’m really working to get everything set before I check out for a bit to savor all of the newborn goodness. It may be quieter but I’ll still be connected to you guys!
 
My husband and I want to mini vacation together within driving distance of the city. Do you have any recommendations for places to visit? 
 
The American Club or Kohler Spa in Wisconsin, rent a house on the west coast of Michigan (we love New Buffalo and South Haven), Maxwell Mansion in Lake Geneva or I’ve heard amazing things about Galena, Illinois!
 
When you were pregnant with Charlie, did you or Dave find any helpful resources for new dads? Were there any helpful apps, books, etc. that helped him follow along during the pregnancy or prepare him for baby? All of the apps I use seem very aimed at moms.
 
NO. I think Dave had a hard time connecting to Charlie as a newborn because 1. the baby is attached to the mama’s hip (especially if you’re breastfeeding) and 2. he had no idea what was about to happen. It’s a tough transition and I wish there more we could do to help them prepare. Honestly, I don’t think Dave had a lot of interest in preparing like we as women and mama’s do. It’s such a different experience for men and women! Especially after carrying a baby for 9 months. Dave did enjoy hearing me read about each week of my pregnancy with Charlie. I think it is so surreal for them that we are actually growing babies in our bellies! 

I’m a fellow Chicagoan wondering if you can give some advice on healthy eating habits during pregnancy. I’m 11 weeks and already see my body changing. I know it’s natural and healthy to gain weight but I want to be mindful about it. You seem to have a practical approach and look great!

First of all, thank you so much! I think after my first pregnancy I learned what worked for my body and what didn’t. I gained 26 lbs with Charlie and lost the weight in about 4 weeks. HOWEVER, my body was so different after the fact. With Charlie I think I ate pasta or pizza or ice cream for dinner every night and had a bagel or croissant for breakfast at least 4 days a week. I lost a lot of muscle during my pregnancy because I wasn’t as active so when the weight came off there was new fat that lingered. This time around I have been way more active (especially with weight training) and have held off my cravings a bit. I’m also chasing a toddler which helps. With 7 weeks to go I’ve gained 16 pounds and I assume I’ll gain about 5 or so more. My exercise has slowed way down but I really try to get in at least a walk every day to avoid swollen legs. I think the best mindset to have is to not use pregnancy as an excuse! I definitely have some days where I completely fall off the wagon (for example, yesterday I had a Portillo’s cheeseburger and cheese fries for lunch) but most days are pretty healthy. 

Thanks for all of the amazing questions this week! Don’t forget to submit your questions for next week by emailing me at [email protected] with the subject – “Coffee with Liz.” xoxo!!

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