Loving life at 34 in Birmingham, Alabama.
BR: What do you love most about being a mom?
HG: I love watching Ellie grow and learn. She recently turned two and I feel like every day is a new adventure. It is so amazing to see the world through her eyes and I find myself constantly challenged to be a better person and example for her. She is the sweetest, most precious child and I wouldn't trade her funny looks, tender hugs, or silly sayings for anything in this world!
BR: In terms of nutrition, did you eat anything in particular while pregnant or while breast-feeding? Was there anything you eliminated from your diet? If so, what were they and why did you make these changes?
HG: When I was pregnant with Ellie, I never had one particular craving all the time, but would go through spurts where I just HAD to have certain things (and usually they were quite random). For example, I had never had Captain D's before, but I remember craving it so badly that I had to eat it immediately. So I did. Thankfully, that was a one-time thing! With my current pregnancy, I've craved ice cream pretty regularly as well as anything sweet (from fruit to candy). I try to moderate the amount of sugary foods that I eat, but my sweet tooth is in overdrive these days!
I didn't crave anything special when I was nursing (I was just hungry all the time), but I had to be careful with spicy foods because I could tell that they would make Ellie fussy.
BR: How did you stay in shape during and post-pregnancy?
HG: With Ellie and my current pregnancy, I was out-of-commission because of constant nausea and morning sickness during the first trimester. During the second trimester with Ellie I got back into my bootcamp routine, whereas with this one, I have really been into Zumba. I loved prenatal water aerobics with Ellie towards the end of my pregnancy and plan to start that again in the upcoming months.
BR: During and after pregnancy, were there any particular beverages you drank or eliminated from your diet? If so, what were they are why did you make those changes?
HG: I cut out diet soft drinks and alcohol with both pregnancies. I'm not a coffee drinker so, before I was pregnant, I relied on Diet Dr. Pepper for my daily caffeine fix. Now, if I feel the need for some caffeine I either drink hot green tea or unsweetened iced black tea.
BR: What are three key pieces every nursing mom needs in her closet?
HG: I'm a fan of a supportive nursing bra and/or tank. It really does make a huge difference and, besides, who really wants to look (and feel) super saggy all day? I also kept button-down shirts or easy-to-access tops on hand so I wouldn't have to strip every time I needed to nurse or pump. While I'm not sure if this would be considered a "piece," I wore fun necklaces and earrings to keep the attention and focus near my face and not my post-baby lumps and bumps.
BR: What do you and your daughter, Ellie, do for fun?
HG: We love to go to the playground on pretty days. Ellie is a climber and very adventurous, so this let's her explore and burn off some energy while allowing us to still have fun together. We also love to have tea parties in the playroom with all of her stuffed animals and babies. She has a play kitchen and play food, so we take turns giving everyone "bites." And, of course, dance parties are a daily occurrence!
BR: Between family and work, do you ever find time for yourself? How do you unwind?
HG: Free time (meaning I'm Ellie-free, the housework, laundry, and grocery shopping are done, and I'm finished with work for the day) usually consists of taking a nap or working out (in that order). I'm so fortunate to have my parents and in-laws in town so I probably have more free time than most and I certainly try to take advantage of it when I have it. While I want to play and "go" all the time, I still need to make myself rest since Baby #2 will be here before I know it.
BR: What is the one thing you wish you would have known before becoming a mom?
HG: Just how much space is needed for baby and toddler paraphernalia! From a swing, bouncy seat, exersaucer, etc., to now a toy kitchen, train table, toy box, and a dozen other big toys that have tons of pieces, I seriously need another wing of my house!
BR: What are your favorite mommy chic must-haves in your closet?
HG: Wow, not too sure I would call myself "mommy chic," but I definitely like to have a cute fitting pair of jeans, a great top, and a pair of comfy shoes (I just don't have the coordination to balance a baby bump, toddler in my arms, and stilettos). Because I took time for the extra baby weight to come off, I tried to accessorize with jewelry, scarves, and handbags. I also wear layering pieces that accentuate my curves, but cover certain areas.
BR: What is the number one way in which motherhood has changed you?
HG: By far, it has given me a whole new appreciation for all that my parents did (and are still doing) for my sister and me. I can never begin to thank them enough for the unconditional love they have shown me throughout my life.
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