What to Pack for the Hospital (Mom and Baby)

As we prepare to hit the baby hotel aka the hospital for Teddys arrival, I finally got our bag packed! We went into pre-term labor at 36 weeks and all I had at the overnight hospital with me was a toothbrush, so learn from my procrastination skills and pack ahead. Thankfully Teddy didn't come at 36 weeks but the second I got home from the hospital I packed my bag for me and him.

Here's a sneak peek of what I included in mine. My first baby I am almost certain that I walked in with enough stuff for a 1 week stay, so this is my simplified list after 4 babies.

Scroll to bottom for video. Links for products under pictures

For Baby:
2-3 Outfits (they give you a onesie in the hospital so I usually let the baby trash that one and then I bring a few, along with a cute coming home outfit) The Oh Boy outfit can be found here at this boy clothing company USE CODE ALLIEDARR for 10% off and the One Handsome Fella is from Carters.

2-3 Blankets (they also give you one at the hospital which I love for those "hospital pictures" but then I love wrapping them up in cute ones for additional pictures. Hands down a must have is a blanket from Jennifer Ann personalized with their name. I went with Teddy and Theodore to cover all my bases. Jennifer also has a FB group where I snagged a few more items HALF PRICE!

Booties or Socks, my friends swear by these booties because they "stay put" on their teeny feet so I am giving them a whirl since I lose baby socks at a rapid pace. The booties are from Zutano. They snap on so hopefully they hold. I got brighter colors so I don't lose them.

Camera- I bring my more fancy camera for those first moment shots of baby, heres where I come up with ideas for those pictures.  Because when I look back every year on their birthday, these pictures of their tiny features bring me to tears. So capture those moments girlfriend!

Also along with camera....CHARGERS galore, for your camera, phone, computer, whatever you need.

For Mom:

Mom clearly needs a little more haha.

2-3 Nursing Tanks, these are a Godsend my friends, they keep you covered and feeling semi human after birth. And will also be a daily staple the next few months. My favorites come in a 3 pack of different colors and can be found here (amazon prime for the win!)

Toiletry Bag- Pack whatever you would need for a weekend away, toothbrush, hair stuff, make up, chapstick, face wash....all the stuff you need to put yourself together. I cant tell you how good showering and putting a little make up on feels the day after birth. 

SNACKS- I might be a rule breaker during labor and sneak snacks, but these are also awesome for late night feedings or late nights when you just stare at your baby. I pack protein bars and also Shakeology to give me a boost when I am feeling depleted. 

Nursing Bras- I am borderline obsessed with these bras in the picture. They are comfortable and easy access. They are "sleep bras" which I wear all day, because they are awesome! They were both less than $10 on amazon, I just buy the colors that are cheapest! Heres the black one and the $6 grey one.

Underwear that you can toss if need be. Since your body is leaking all sorts of wonderful stuff and you're wearing big pads, grab a pack of undies a size or two up. I grabbed some on amazon as well. Can you tell I don't like leaving my house for things haha.  

Postpartum Leggings- from BLANQI! GUYS these are actually my #1 pregnancy must have. I was nervous buying them because they are pricier, so when I first bought them they had the Postpartum leggings on sale, so I grabbed those for after baby. Well I put them on around 20 weeks pregnant and never took them off, they are FREAKING AMAZING. I now own 3 pairs lol, one of which is now in my hospital bag. They pull up high to right under your breasts and are SO COMFY, there is no digging into your skin, just pure heaven. You can get yours here and save 20% off! 

Sleep shirt that buttons up- These are so handy for being comfy and also feeling semi covered in the hospital. I grabbed one at TJ Maxx and got a size up, because nothing is worse than tight clothing after a baby, so size up and get comfy. Its easy nursing access as well and comfier than those hospital gowns. 

Going Home Top- This nursing sweatshirt is THE BOMB! I love that it doesn't look like a nursing shirt at all and is still stylish. Ive noticed a lot of shops coming out with identical ones to this grey one, but I got mine from Seraphine Maternity 

Lastly, cozy socks are a must!

Heres a video on all the items as well <3 nbsp="" p="">

Not picture are Car Seat and also since its December my favorite car seat over to keep them toasty!

Best EVER Healthy Brownies

I forgot how AMAZING these were until I whipped them up last week and they were gone in 2 hours. They are so addicting and also its kind of insane how little ingredients make them and they bake up just like brownies. Very fascinating to watch!

Like I always give as a disclaimer, especially when I say that the recipe is paleo, gluten free, dairy free, grain free, is that I WILL NEVER share a recipe that doesn't taste good. I have made so many that taste like cardboard and its just time and money wasted, therefore I will save y'all the hassle and only post things that are magical, like unicorns. I also am not a fan of reading books before getting to a recipe, so let's get to the real reason you're here. THE RECIPE FOR THESE BABIES!

The BEST Paleo Brownies:

Here is what you will need. ...

4 eggs
1 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup pure honey plus more 2-3 TBSP if needed after you check sweetness level
3 TBS coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

*HOLIDAY TWIST- You could add a drop or two of peppermint oil*

Melt the coconut oil and mix everything together, I did not even use my mixer, I just hand mixed it all, it was so easy. Pour it into a pan, I chose a 10 inch pie pan but a 9x9 or 8x8 would work!

((Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, mine was done quick so I would check it around 20 minutes!))

While its baking make the frosting, which is so freaking easy as well. The only downside is you have to let it chill for awhile before you whip it.

Here is what you need:
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup coconut oil
1-2 TBSP honey
1 tsp vanilla

Melt them over low heat in a saucepan.

Once melted place in a dish in the fridge for half hour, you could put it in the freezer to speed that up a little. After that whip it in your mixer on high until somewhat fluffy.

((it tastes like fudge, no joke!)

After its done baking let them cool, cut your brownies and place on a plate and frost them!

Enjoy for as long as they last in your kitchen!!! *hide some from kids if necessary*

Bread-less Stuffing

I am a stuffing-aholic at the holidays. My stepmom always made the best stuffing, with hams and apples which sounds weird but I legit craved it every year, and would savor every last bite of leftovers, hiding the stuffing from my kids and husband in the fridge. When I started hosting Thanksgiving a few years back, I carried on her stuffing tradition and its become a family favorite. Last spring though I discovered how much gluten wreaks havoc on my body and my first thought was "MY STUFFING", along with all the other wonderful gluten filled things I adore. This is why you see a lot of my recipes adapted to gluten free which is shockingly not as bad as I feared. 
Anyways, get back to the darn stuffing Allie. My friend Melissa sent me a recipe of a stuffing that included no bread and swore it tastes like the real deal. I wasn't sure to believe her or not, considering veggies and bread are nothing alike, but figured I would give it a whirl and if it wasn't great I would just eat it as part of my meal prepped veggies for the week. 

Well quite the opposite my friends, me and 2 of my littles demolished the whole pan in less than an hour. IT IS AMAZING! I made a few tweaks to the recipe which you can choose to skip, whatever you fancy. I then went back to the store, and got more ingredients to make a double batch, so I made 3 batches of this in one Sunday afternoon. And I will be enjoying it everyday til Thanksgiving and then will make a fresh batch for Thursday dinner!

You will need: 
(serves 3-4 so double for Thanksgiving)
4 TBSP butter
1 onion diced
2 carrots diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1/2 TBSP garlic minced 
1 head cauliflower diced
1 cup mushrooms diced
1 Granny Smith apple diced
1 cup ham diced
1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth
2 TBSP fresh rosemary
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 TBSP fresh sage

I chopped everything first so I didn't have to worry in between. 
Apples and Ham are something I added so it tasted more like the stuffing I personally love but Jordan and I agreed it was necessary and made it more hearty and filling, but feel free to skip if you're not a fan. Or if you don't like ham, you could do turkey or even chicken.
Saute butter, onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 8 minutes.
Add cauliflower, mushrooms, apple and ham, with salt and pepper and saute together for 5-10 minutes.

Lastly, add broth, and fresh herbs. Simmer together for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and serve! Enjoy every last bite! If you make it let me know how you like it! <3 nbsp="" p="">

Prepping for Childbirth...

You would think I would have this whole childbirth game perfected by now for baby #5 but I learned early on never expect it to go a certain way, just to have goals and to push for them.

All the boys births have been different but all ended how I wanted them to, in being natural. I am not a fan of pain of any sort, I cry when I stub my toe and purposely avoid hard workouts because I don't like the burning pain and feeling it all over, its just not my idea of fun. So its very weird that I opt to go through pain every single birth, its the weirdest thing. Ill try to give a quick baby recap and then wrap up with my goals for Teddys birth. 

What made my mindset be for natural births? Before our first son I watched the Business of Being Born and that's what sparked my interest, I was fascinated by everything childbirth and also the fact that 100s of years ago women had no option to have birth any other way and it sparked a fire inside me to learn as much as I could and try that route out. We toyed around with a home birth but when we asked them some scary questions like "what if I start hemorrhaging" we weren't comfortable enough being our first baby to try. So we instead hired a doula because Jordan and I had no idea what to expect and we read over and over The Bradley Method book. I went into the hospital with my "birth plan" all typed out, doula and "Bradley Method" husband beside me. It was the hardest, most rewarding thing I had ever done and it wasn't without pure craziness. My doula passed out while I was pushing, the OB on call kept telling my midwife to get me an epidural because I wasn't aware how hard it would be, they invited a team of interns in to watch me birth, and funny enough, after he was born I started hemorrhaging BAD, it was terrifying, I thought I was for sure going to die. Everytime they pushed down on my lower abdomen, golf sizes clots would come out, they had to quickly go back in and yank out a piece of my placenta that was freakishly still attached causing the massive blood loss. But in the end he was healthy, they stopped my bleeding and we succeeded in our first childbirth experience.  Heres his birth story.
After Vincent came Luke, where I expected his labor to be quicker and it proved to be much more mentally taxing than anything. I remembered the pain much differently and weirdly didn't feel as prepared with him, even though this was our second rodeo. Jordan was freaking amazing as a coach, and kept my eyes on the prize for a natural birth and praise the Lord, it was achieved. Here is Luke's birth story.  
My favorite birth of all time was Judes! My goodness if every labor could go this way I would be the happiest human alive. The only issue was that his birth spoiled me so much that I was stressed out badly nearing the end of Sams pregnancy and was in for a rude awakening. Jude came within 25 minutes of me stumbling my way into the hospital. My doctor wasn't even there yet and I delivered in my own clothes that I ripped off minutes before I said "I cant wait, I have to push". His full birth story is here and one that I will never forget. Its also one I still hope and pray will happen for Teddy.
And then came Sam, I was 125% certain his labor would be even quicker than Judes, so I was on high alert. We decided to be induced, because I was 3cm dilated and had huge success in the past with them breaking my waters and labor starting instantly for me. I was certain we would break waters and things would just FLY. WRONG. It was a painful 7 hours of walking, lots of hail Mary's, second guessing my decision and cursing. Here is his birth story.  

There's always a risk when you allow doctors to break your waters, I did it 3 times and thankfully each time it played in my favor and Pitocin was avoided. And then there's always a wild card like Jude tossed in there with a labor you're not even able to comprehend and before you know it, they are out.

Our 5th labor was Henry, at 20 weeks, and honestly this is the one that haunts me the most. If you didn't know in 2015/2016 we were pregnant with our 5th son, Henry. We lost him at 20 weeks pregnant. (you can read here) SO Teddy is technically baby boy #6 but because I don't feel like rehashing to every person I meet, I refer to Teddy as baby #5 so they don't wonder where the other child went. Clearly in my heart and mind, there is never a day that I don't think of Henry, he will always be my child. Back to the delivery, it was supposed to be semi-quick and not too awful physically. It was the complete opposite. Everything that could go wrong, did. They induce you and had to use the maximum dosage on me because my body just wouldn't go into labor. Everytime I thought I could push, it was blood clots upon blood clots. I lost 1/3 of my blood supply trying to deliver him, I begged the doctors to not let me die, and it was the most horrifying experience of my life. He finally arrived hours and hours later and I was crushed, crushed because I lost my child, crushed because my body was not functioning and it was horrifying. We had the priest in there twice, during labor because I was certain I wouldn't survive and needed God, and then at 2am after Henry arrived to pray over him. I had to stay a few days extra to receive blood transfusions which just made the crummy situation, even crummier. Even typing this brings flashbacks that are not fun as I sit here and cry.

Needless to say, I am VERY nervous for labor this time. As of now I have decided I wont be anxious to induce or break waters and I want to allow everything to happen as it should at its own time, no matter how anxious I get towards the end (so please call me out if I'm whining haha). I want to achieve another natural birth and my main goal is to get through this birth without insane blood loss or mishaps. This is also one of the reasons I am pushing to be as healthy as possible so I can go into this ready for the physical and mental battle that will be coming. I'm a whole ball of emotions, I am excited, I am eager, I am anxious, and I am terrified all rolled into one. 

SO I am going back to square one and preparing mentally as if this was my first birth, to go with the flow, listen to my body and keep my eyes on the prize, deliver a healthy baby when HE is ready. To be open to everything that could happen and to remember I am strong and capable through all of it. 

*I wont lie, I am glad I typed this out there, because I was holding a lot of emotions about this and its nice to lay them out there a little and see that I have delivered 4 beautiful healthy boys with no big problems and that with Henry we forced my body to do something it wasn't ready to do, to deliver a child 20 weeks early.

Now to cheer this post up and leave you some tips of what I have found helpful for my 4 natural births: 

1. READ EVERYTHING that you possibly can about natural childbirth.
I highly recommend Natural Childbirth- The Bradley Way and I did not read but have heard Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is excellent as well. ALSO a must watch is "The Business of Being Born"! I would suggest that even if I wasn't going natural. It is so informative. If you have Netflix, you can watch it online for free!

2. DOCTOR- Make sure ahead of time that your doctor/midwife supports natural birth, the last thing you need is your doctor and the nurses coming in telling you to get an epidural since your in pain...it is GOING to hurt obviously but having them tempt you is not cool or fair for your goal. I had the best midwives who supported me, the doctor on call tried actually ordered an epidural to my room, she claimed "She does not know what she is doing (since it was my first), she will want an epidural" When I heard that claim she enraged me EVEN more to do it naturally. It was so worth it! PS that doctor was a lady, that made me even more mad, where's the faith in fellow women??? lol

3. DOULA-/CLASSES I went with a doula over taking classes. (your choice) If you do not know what a doula is, it is a birth coach essentially. She came over and talked with us, kind of like a class, then she came the day of the birth to assist and coached us through it. This was so helpful with my first birth, she was amazing. If you think doula's are a bit pricey you can find a doula in training because they need to assist with a few births before they can be certified, that is what we did, I can not explain how helpful she was!

4. BE MENTALLY PREPARED- HAHA As if you could ever be mentally prepared for it. I mean have your head in the game when you go into labor. I honestly had envisioned the worlds moist excruciating pain the weeks before the birth and when the pain I experienced was not as intense it helped me put into perspective that I COULD DO IT naturally. (I am not saying that it does not hurt but I envisioned it as something way worse) Also I think it helps it you totally block out any pain medicines as an option from your mind, that is also another way I coped. I just told myself that there was no other option (I mean I knew there was, I'm not silly), it just helped me being in that state of mind!

5. PUT YOUR GAME FACE ON! haha Childbirth is not flattering, it is down right some crazy work! Just go with it, if you poop on the table, so be it! (Yes, I said poop on the table haha) Those things happen along with an array of other gross stuff, and things may not work out as perfectly as you had in your birth plan, but I can tell you that the minute you hold your baby any pain or drama during labor that you felt will be non existent! Every ounce of pain along the journey is well worth it!

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Another Gluten Free-Dairy Free- Sugar Free Recipe coming at you!! 

These little donuts were gone in about 2 hours from our house. All the boys, including the husband LOVED these little suckers!

My amazing friend Melissa comes up with the best recipes and when I saw this I knew I had to try it out. I used a silicon mini donut pan and also a silicon pumpkin one I had.

Whenever you are making recipes, I always remind people to adjust to their liking, sometimes when I try "healthier treat" recipes I don't find them sweet enough so I will add a little more honey or even more spice, so try the batter and make sure its to your liking. Nothing is worse than making something you won't eat.

You will need: 
5 eggs
1/2 cup almond milk *or whatever milk you fancy 
1/2 cup pumpkin 
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup 
1/2 cup melted coconut oil 
1 tsp vanilla 
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon. 

Preheat over to 350. Coat your pans in coconut oil to avoid sticking.
Mix together all the wet ingredients and then add the dry ones. 
Bake at 350 for 20ish minutes. 

Note: if you have never made donuts, like me, the batter is thicker than you would expect.
Cool on a cooling rack and then get fancy with how you top them! 
I chose to do:
Cinnamon/Sugar *which if you are sugar free use stevia or xyitol. 
Chocolate Frosting
Chocolate Frosting and Sprinkles

For the frosting:
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I love Enjoy Life mini chips- allergy free)
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp honey

For cinnamon/Sugar combo.....
melt a little butter or coconut oil and brush on before adding the cinnamon/sugar. 

*I added more and less of each til I got the consistency I wanted of this, play around until it works for you, allow it to cool to get a tad thicker as well if you'd like

ENJOY these as long as you can....they will leave that counter of yours insanely fast! <3 nbsp="" p="">