Mother’s Day: Best Gift for Moms

her (1)

I am sharing some of my favorite products and brands here that I have been using and looking to buy. Since everyone is social distancing in May 2020, I have prepared a list that can be useful in current times. There is something for everyone here!

What I love about this list is that it can be referred anytime and for any occasion like birthdays, Christmas gifts, baby showers, weddings, graduation and more. I hope you like these gifting ideas whether you are gifting your mom, your wife, your friend or family member or even yourself.

  1. The perfect gift for the minimalistMark & Graham Monogrammed Card Case on Sale
  2. AM /PM Hydration MotivationWater Bottle with Time Marker Reminder, BPA Free Frosted Tritan Plastic, Leakproof and Drop Resistant, 1 Liter 32 Oz
  3. Update Home & Garden space with HOMENOTE White Ceramic Flower Pot Garden Planters 6/4.8 inch Pack 2 Indoor, Plant Containers with Marble Texture and Gold Detailing
  4. Family Portrait Illustration (Can be customized) I bought it for my  art wall and love it  – By Catepaper co Etsy store
  5. Homebody Must Have, stay cozy at home in this nigh/ lounge wear by  –H&M Pajama Camisole and Culottes
  6. Gift this limited Mother’s Day Gift set by Dyson to yourself or mom for the best hair days
  7. Give the gift of peace of mind. Tile helps find the things that matter most. Lost keys, remote, phone and even cats. I am planning to buy this for myself.  Special Tile Mom Edition .
  8. This Mother’s Day, whether near or far, treat her to an exclusive Venus ET Fleur® arrangement designed with the most beautiful high-quality Eternity® Roses. They last more than a year. I love mine!
  9. A hydrating, plumping treatment for when you or your loved one’s skin is extra thirsty. 12+Applications Versed Face Mask
  10. From the world’s #1 Facial hair remover, Finishing Touch Lumina Lumina flawless, comes flawless contour, a vibrating facial roller and massager in rose quartz
  11. Lightweight lenses with anti-reflective coating to reduce glare. Tijin Eyewear
  12. Mason Jar Garden, Grow Your Own Herbs Gift Set, Contains Rosemary, Basil and Sage Seeds with 6 Soil Pods by Thoughtfully Gifts.
  13. I love my  sterling silver Changeable Heart Charm Bracelet by James Avery . It  is crafted with alternating links of circles and elongated loops, and a twisted wire heart changeable charm holder in the middle. Press gently on the hinge in the heart to add or remove charms. One of the cutest bracelets I own,
  14. One of my favorite & most convenient rain wear piece the Golightly packaway jacket by Joule USA. the PU coating and taped seams make it 100% waterproof so you or your mom can take it anywhere.
  15. This Bamboo Bathtub Tray Caddy is expandable with Wine Glass Holder and Book Stand. Luxury Bubble Bath Accessories & Spa Decor.
  16. Premium Pink Floral Silky Kimono Robe On White With Pockets and can be customized too by The Knot Shop
  17. The Fawn Design Original is the perfect diaper bag, combining style, comfort, and ease and made with vegan leather.
  18. Simple & Modern 4 layer design Jewelry box available in 3 colors available on Amazon

I will love to know which is your favorite!

Happy Mother’s Day !!

Arushi (2)

Social Distancing and Working From Home With Kids.

img_5917_facetune_19-03-2020-17-42-20I recently shared the below tips with my entire office on working from home.  At my current role with my full time job in Account Management, I have had the opportunity to work remotely for last few years. It has been one of the greatest things to happen not just for my family life but also has brought immense productivity and efficiencies in my target driven sales profile.

I usually prefer to work from my shared office space or cafes , but with the given COVID-19 outbreak and keeping the social distancing rules in mind, I am now fully working from home and staying indoors. My son has been in daycare since he was 1 year old. Now having him home all the time and working is a new challenge.  Before making a colorful home school schedule for him I worked on a productivity driven schedule for myself.

Here are my Top 10 Tips I have been successfully implementing:

1.Maintain the routine

Every morning keep the same routine as before. Dress up in whatever you would but leave out those PJs. This will help you stay in work mode.

2.Have a dedicated work space?

A separate work space doesn’t have to be a dedicated office with a door that closes (which is often not an option in smaller living spaces). It should be an area that mentally prepares you for work mode, whether it’s a separate room, a small desk set up in a corner of the living room, or a laptop at the end of the kitchen table. It may take a bit of trial and error to figure out what area of your home is most conducive to getting work done.

3.Structure your day

When working from home, you’re your own personal manager. To stay on schedule, segment what you’ll do and when over the course of the day. If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks. Google, MS office calendar are a must. Using a journal makes it easy to list out tasks you want to accomplish each day. Check them off and keep making notes.

4.Continue to Interact with colleagues on apps and video meetings

Working remotely can feel isolating at times, so as part of your routine, try to interact with your co-workers regularly. Holding meetings over Zoom or another video app are two quick and easy ways to stay in the loop. However, you connect, don’t let email be the only way you interact with colleagues. Work What’s App groups should only focus on immediate information exchange and less memes and jokes for productivity.

5.Walk it out : Do this only if absolutely necessary. Always maintain 6 feet from people

Make time to get up and walk away from your desk at regular intervals to stretch your legs. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look away from your screen and focus your eyes on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. I personally walk on all my office calls in the house. You can also keep a step goal for the day. On some good days I end up moving around the house and clocking in 6000 steps between 9-5. Standing for few minutes every hour is also a good practice.

6.Schedule 30 minutes in the morning to prep some snacks

I’d recommend cooking enough dinner to have leftovers at least a couple times a week. Maybe you’re more creative than I am, but homemade sandwiches for lunch get boring fast. Smoothies, fruits, eggs, avocado smash toast, salad, pasta, poha, dosa , besan chilas, rice and dal or frozen parathas or meals are some meal ideas that I incorporate.

7.Use Siri/ Google/ Alexa as your personal assistants

 I use Alexa every day to help me remind for some immediate calls that I must make. The most relevant Alexa feature for the office is maintaining your calendar. Whether it’s a big deadline or a meeting you must attend, add it to your calendar using Alexa.

Listening to ambient noise or focus music helps create some background noise.

One of the best ways to stay on task, especially if you often lose focus easily, is by using a Pomodoro timer — or a periodic timer that reminds you to take a break every so often. You can set a timer to work for an hour and break for 10 minutes or any combination of intense work with periodic breaks.

8.Do Your Most Focused Work When the Kids Sleep

 With kids being out of school now and home bound, making sure working before they get up in the morning, working during naptime, and working after they go to bed at night. Yes, it’s disruptive, but yes, it helps you pack in needed work hours while spending less time distracted in the presence of your children. Schedule important calls and meetings online during their nap times or during screen time.

9.Communicate with your partner and switch out times for taking turns in the day.

If your spouse or partner is also at home caring for the kids, it’s essential that you communicate what your day is like so you’re both on the same page with your expectations and needs.

10.Stress less about extra screen time while on video calls.

Instead being concerned about how much our kids are exposed to screens , let’s focus on how they are engaging with it. I use educational apps like Reading Eggs and interactive games  to keep my son busy.

Also setting up virtual baby sitters like grandparents, classmates, friends and family has been extremely successful for us.

 

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I hope you find you working from home rhythm soon. Take care and be safe my friends

XOXO

Arushi (2)

How Busy Moms Can Train For Their First Half Marathon. A Beginner’s Guide.

Wow! A half marathon in the books at the beginning of the year is just the moral boost I needed to start my year strong. I never imagined I would ever run a long-distance race. It was NEVER one of my bucket list items. Yet on Aug 2019 training for my FIRST HALF MARATHON happened to land on my To-Do-List. I remember I was feeling extremely low around that time and needed a distraction.

I had been suffering from sciatica pain for almost 6 months since the start of 2019. (This pain had been bothering me for time to time since pregnancy.) I wasn’t active for all those months and gained 8-10 pounds! This period was by far my lowest state in terms of physical well being. However, that rest was important as I wanted to make sure the sciatica pain didn’t come back.

Once I felt better and could get back to a healthier and active lifestyle,  I made sure I wanted to work towards a fitness GOAL. The Chevron Houston Marathon & Aramco Half Marathon registrations ad popped up on my FB feed and my gut told me to sign up and just go for it!

The last time I ran a long race was a 10k, almost 3 years back right after my pregnancy. My goal then was to shed all that baby weight. But this time it was different. I didn’t run to lose weight, I ran for my mental and physical well being. I ran for a stronger me. I ran to challenge myself. I ran because I believed I could do a half marathon if I set my mind to it.

If you follow my Instagram, you must have seen me training on my stories. It is saved under my highlights section. I started preparing for the race around September 2019. This training also helped me get ready for a 2-hour trek on an active volcano- Mt. Batur in Bali, Indonesia. This training was turning out to be my therapy and a getaway from the daily mundane. I really made sure that I don’t over think or stress about the race. So, I made a plan and I tried to stick to it.

In this post I am sharing all my tips and tricks on how I prepared to run my FIRST Aramco Houston Half Marathon on January 19th, 2020 in Houston, Texas at age 34. 

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“It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” First Half Marathon ✅. l couldn’t have asked for a stronger start to 2020. So happy that I was able to share this journey of training for my race with my son. He has motivated me to be the best version of myself, so I can set a better example for him. I grew up watching my dad pick medals at different sporting events and that inspired me to be in sports throughout school and college while representing my university and state in basketball 🏅I hope to inspire my son similarly to be strong and hardworking. Because I do believe our children follow our example and not just our advice. 🙏🏽 . . #RunHou #HouHalf @chevronhoustonmarathon #HouMarathon #momswhorun #toddlermom #boymom #liveyouradventure #letthembelittle

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Finding a Race and Signing Up

The act of committing to a race and plunking down the registration fee can help to motivate you. Plus, you need to know exactly when the race is so that you can map out your training runs over the next few months. Click HERE to find a race in your state.

My Training Plan

Note that I was always able to run a minimum of 3 miles. So, I followed the program below, 4 months prior to the race. However, if you are just starting off, I recommend training at least 6 months prior to race and get yourself to commit to this plan.

I followed the Novice 1 Half Marathon Training Program by Hal Higdon. This is a great running plan if you can stick to it. Note- I was also flexible with my run schedules. Every week wasn’t the same. Some days I was running 3 days a week and sometimes 5 days a week. What I focused was on avg miles weekly and most importantly, a long run on the weekend. I never missed that.

race plan

Credit :  Hal Higdon (https://www.halhigdon.com/)

Time Management for Moms

Most important question I have been asked by my followers. How can you do it all? Be a mom, work full time and manage your home? Let me tell you there is no magic formula. It’s team work, better planning and commitment that helped me finish the half marathon.

Communicate with your partner/ nanny/ family members before you plan to race. Me and my husband worked as a team. I couldn’t have really done this without his support. We discussed the days he will be doing school picks ups and drop offs, so I could use those days for my short runs. This meant I got to wake up early and go for runs at the gym before work or finish work 30 minutes earlier once a week and head to the trail in the evening. We also planned 1 day in a week where my husband would come back early from work, so I could start training for my longer runs in the evening (6miles +). Evenings worked best for me as Houston weather is brutal and honestly, I am not a morning person. Weekends were the easiest to coordinate and I kept aside 2 hours for my training every weekend.

Running Gear

Shoes- I had two fresh pairs of shoes on hand when I started my training. It helps extend the life of each pair by giving them ample recovery time between workouts. I ran the race in Reebok shoes and trained with Hoka one. I highly recommend both brands.

Active wear– I ran in leggings and tank tops. Most important part gear for me after my shoes was having a good sports bra. I love the Reebok Pure Move bra, it is made with motion sense technology that reacts to your movement. Also, I highly recommend wearing active wear with in built belts or zipped pockets to store phone and keys. I love my Flip belt leggings.

Before race day I treated myself to a new running T shirt and running sleeves from the Chevron Marathon Expo when I went for my bib pick up. Highly recommend buying gear form the race expo. It will forever be special.

first half marathon

Fuel for workouts

Pre work snack- I always had limited time to plan my snack, so I would just eat a banana or a peanut butter sandwich and head out for short runs. On days I did my long runs I would make a smoothie, I usually added banana to every smoothie with some spinach, chia seeds, hemp seeds, berries and oat/ almond milk.

Post workout– I would have a protein drink, some Greek yogurt with berries and granola etc. I often had my premier protein shake or some slices of apples with almond butter or I would just have dinner as almost 80% of my runs were in evening.

Note- I was eating almost everything and didn’t diet or control my calories for weight loss. If your aim is too loose weight while training, I recommend planning your meals and doing calorie counting to get the best results.

Race day nutrition– Carb load a day or two in advance before the half marathon. I ate good carbohydrates like whole grain pasta, quinoa, brown rice or sweet potatoes. These foods can help your body store extra glycogen which one can draw on for quick fuel during the run. On race day I carried my Cliff  bar to snack after 10 miles, although I didn’t eat it at the race as I got bananas at every 5 miles and preferred eating that instead.

Hydration- While training I only hydrated myself with water and since I ran on trails, there was a water fountain every few miles, so I didn’t carry any water with me while training.  I didn’t use any gels, but I have heard great things about it and will be using them in the coming months. Read more HERE

Note on race day there is water + Gatorade so it is suggested you pick one and only hydrate with that to avoid mixing it up. I stuck with water.

Apps and Tech, I used for training

Recovery Days are Important

 The day after a tough workout, the most I wanted to do is jog lightly or do some form of cross-training, like cycling. You need a recovery day after a hard day. No exceptions. I usually took Epsom salt hot water baths after long runs and it helped my aching muscles a lot.

Injuries are common.

Getting injured while running is very common. Read about it here .The more miles I ran, the more stressful it was on my joints, muscles, and cartilage. And even though I felt so good pounding the pavement with the wind in my hair, the reality is that our body is made of tissue. I suffered with Achilles Tendonitis just 4 weeks before my race. I rested my leg for a week and later started to use ice packs for at least 20 minutes after each run. Anti-inflammatory painkillers helped too, but what helped me the most was the ankle compression sleeves I bought 2 weeks prior to my race.  I wore it and ran the race. I was comfortable running in to up to 11 miles. Post that I was in pain but was able to finish my race.

Tapering ( cutting back on running a week before the race) is crucial

It allows the body to recover from the training that you’ve put in, which sets you up for peak energy on race day. It helped me a lot especially after my injury. I did short runs of 3-5 miles in my tapering weeks. And did lot of stretching exercises and yoga.

 

Take the pressure off and say goodbye to any negative thoughts.

Before race day I was wondering what if I was not able to complete my race. What if my ankle pain gets worse. I would let myself down. But then I reminded myself – Hey I will still be me, and my family and friends will love me no matter whether I finish first, last, or even if I don’t finish. I can cover this topic in an entire post itself. I kept saying to myself that I am strong, I am brave and I have to do me! And above all, I wanted to  set an example for my son.

Honestly at the end of the day, racing does hurt. It is going to test your mental strength, and no amount of tips or tricks will make it hurt any less. However, that pain is what leads us to the moments of pride; because we know the struggle we have been through to get to that moment.

I would like to finish this post by quoting the legendary Kobe Bryant, who the world lost  tragically on 26th Jan  in a tragic accident .

“Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change.” – Kobe Bryant. 

Good Luck on your training! You can do it.

XOXO

Arushi (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Daily Bedtime Routine That Works for Us & Our Child


Tips for Travelling and Working Moms. Handling the emotional logistics while on a business trip (4)

This post was sponsored by JOHNSON’S, as always opinions are my own

Like many parents, I too strive for the perfect bedtime routine for my son. After all, we all want calm evenings and some time for ourselves and with our partners. And over the last 2 years I have realized having a consistent bedtime routine for my toddler has now become a cornerstone of our family routine.

I started to establish a sleep routine very early on with my son when he was as young as 3 months old. Earlier it involved crib training and getting him used to sleeping in his nursery. And now it is about maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, a relaxing bedtime routine and a soothing sleep environment to help my son achieve healthy sleep. He sleeps for an average of 12 hours every night and wakes up at 8am on weekdays and around 9am on weekends. Yes! We get up late on weekends.

We follow a routine that has been put together by a predictable sequence of events that we consistently follow in the same order every night. It has evolved as our son is growing but the basics remain the same.

Bath Time has been central to our bed time routine for the last 2 years. My son loves his bath time as it is calming, soothing and helps him relax. We love JOHNSON’S bath products and have been using them for the past 2 years. They are an integral part of our daily routine as well. Their products have been free from parabens and phthalates since 2015 and now all their washes, shampoos, lotion and creams are even gentler without sulfates and dyes!

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I love using the Head-To-Toe baby wash and shampoo. It is pediatrician-tested and pH-balanced to baby skin. Also, it is ultra-mild and gentler on my son’s sensitive skin and eyes and lathers well.  Containing over 90 percent ingredients of natural origin*, this sulfate-free and dye-free baby wash & shampoo is gentle enough to cleanse my toddler’s sensitive skin. The Johnson’s No More Tears formula makes it tear-free and as gentle to your baby’s eyes as pure water. In my previous blog post, I shared how you can make the bath time a fun and safe experience for toddlers.

After bath we move towards the wash basin to brush my son’s teeth and get him to try to pee one last time before he puts on his diapers and PJs. Somehow my son doesn’t enjoy getting his teeth brushed and it’s a struggle every day to get him to open his mouth and use the brush. I am hoping this chore will also become as easy bath time soon!

Vir is not yet potty-trained but he has started to use the potty seat sometimes. This is another experience I will hopefully share a post on soon with all my readers.

Once the bathroom chores are completed I massage Vir with JOHNSON’S baby lotion made with coconut oil. I love how it absorbs quickly and has a calming scent. I love to use it on my skin too. That fragrance makes me nostalgic.

At this age, our bedtime routine also involves the process of putting on PJs and Vir likes to select which color he wants to wear. We also love to read a good-night story and these days we are using the Moonlite story projector to make it more engaging. We make it a 20 to 30 minute special and exclusive time with my son for reading, snuggling, and being together. He loves to sleep with his stuffed toys Pooh and Pluto that provide him comfort in his crib and have been with him since he was a baby.  And when it’s time to sleep, I kiss and cuddle him once more before turning off the lights. We use a nightlight too so that his room is not completely dark.

Bedtime routines work best if you reserve the hour before bedtime for quiet play. This will lower your child’s activity level and prepare his nervous system for relaxation. Running, playing, tickling games, and even watching action-packed TV shows or videos make peaceful transition to sleep especially difficult.

Aside from relaunching their washes, lotions and haircare product, did you know JOHNSON’S recently launched a new collection, CottonTouch™? The lotion is made with real cotton and is lightweight in texture and absorbs quickly. The wash has a velvety lather that is easy to rinse and leaves no unwanted residue and cleans the skin without leaving the skin dry. I highly recommend getting these products from a store near you and experience it for yourself.

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetFor 125 years JOHNSON’S mission has been to create the gentlest baby products in the world. And recently I had an opportunity to go to New York and experience these products and the story behind them from the company’s baby care experts and scientists!  It was such an insightful experience to learn more about the company’s mission and their CHOOSE GENTLE campaign. No doubt JOHNSON’S has truly perfected products so gentle that they can be used for every age and stage of a baby’s life! I love their range and recommend all my readers to go and try the new redesigned washes, lotions and hair care products. To learn more visit www.Johnsonsbaby.com or head over to Target to shop JOHNSON’S latest products.

*Since there is no regulatory definition of “natural,” they follow the only independent international standard for naturals in cosmetics—the International Organization for Standardization. According to this standard, “natural origin” refers to ingredients that are more than 50% from natural sources, such as plants or minerals.

XOXO

Arushi (2)

 

Twinning: Mommy and Son Style

twinning post

Who says only girl moms can do matching outfits with their kids?  This boy mom is proving otherwise today!

Let’s face it: We only get a few years with our kids before they decide that dressing like their mom might be the world’s biggest fashion faux pas. So I am making most of these years with these absolutely adorable ways to dress up together. Being a boy mom I hardly find outfits that we can really twin in, similar to the vast variety available for  girl moms. So I started to color coordinate and find clothing pieces with similar style, patterns, designs and colors to play “Matchy Matchy” with my toddler .

Here are some of my favorite looks I created in the last 2 years from our basic wardrobe essentials without splurging too much. I am also adding some links to shops I got our outfits from and some styling tips. You will find these memories on my Instagram Feed. Hoping to send all boy moms some inspiration .

Jumpsuit Love

One of my favorite looks! I love Mien Studios Its my to go store for shopping soft, comfortable organic clothing.

Simple T shirt and Jeans Twinning with white shoes 

This was one of our first looks, it was a coincidence until I realized we were matching. You can take it a level further by matching the T shirts and wearing similar sneakers like the famous Adidas Superstar shoes or the Converse Chucks for baby and mama.

Matching Mommy & Me T shirts with some added humor. 

One of my recent looks from my IG Feed. T shirts from BonOrganik the store has some fun family matching outfits. I added a twist to it with a short  denim skirt. You can pair it with similar color bottoms.

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Keeping up with our energetic bunnies is a different skill set all together for us moms ! My spirited and strong willed kid seems to have extra batteries and honestly it takes a Herculean effort to get him to sit at the dinner table or settle him in bed! However, I promise to never tame his spirit since I believe our strong willed children will become adults who will change the world! Until then let’s keep charging mamas ! 🔌💓 . Loving our #mommyandme matching T’s from @bonorganik ! The store has some great designs and matching outfits for everyone! Click the link in bio for more ✨ . . #twinningtuesday #boymom #besties #momentsofmine #pixel_kids #LTKfamily #momootd #momstyle #mommyandmini #momsofinstagram#childofig #morecolorplease #holdthemoments #colormehappy #streetart #ltkunder50

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Color Coordination with a maxi dress and child vest or blazer

I created this looks for my son’s 2nd Birthday celebration. Looked great for photo ops. You can find our outfits at Masala Baby

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I never knew a love like this until you were born. It’s a love that can put the biggest smile on my face and make me cry tears of joy at the same time. One that makes everyday a great one, even if there has been challenges. One that continues to grow even though I don’t think my heart could get any bigger. It’s indescribably the best feeling in the world. It’s a feeling I will never take for granted. As you journey into the next year—which I’m sure will be the tremendous twos, with some terrible thrown in for good measure—I’m filled with anticipation to watch you become more and more uniquely you. Happy Birthday VIR ! 💕💕 . And Happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely Mamas ! 💕 . I had to share a twinning moment with my son on this special day and these beautiful #mommyandme outfits from @masalababynyc were perfect to capture our special memory. . #love #toddlermom #lethembelittle #mothersday

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When in doubt wear Denim

The most essential item in our closet. This is my go to look for boy moms. You can never go wrong with it. A denim dress is perfect way to twin with your mini me.

Twinning is Winning when in Pajamas

I love the variety available online and instore for family pajama sets. Be it for the holiday season or your daily precious moments. This is definitely one of my favorite ways to twin. Our pajama sets are from Target.

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SNUGGLE with me kiddo ❤ As parents we do everything we can to try and keep our kids from becoming ill or feeling pain. But sooner or later, no matter how hard you try, your kid will get sick, and it will suck. My sweet son is suffering from an ear infection and it is devastating to watch this happy, energetic child turn into a tired kid who would rather sleep than play😞 . While these sweet smiles, cuddles and snuggles when he wakes up are nice, I know he isn't feeling well and I would gladly trade his calm demeanor for his usual wild and energetic behavior if it meant he felt better😘 . For now we are enjoying the little things like twinning in our pajamas and playing peek a boo. And since he is not very excited about his food, I am trying to make it as much fun as I can while making sure he stays hydrated ❤ . How do you handle sick days at your house?💁🏻 . #thesnuggleisreal #twinningtuesday #toddlermom #parenting #mommyhood

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Ethnic style color coordination- 

It was my son’s 2nd Diwali and I wanted a color scheme for our house party. So we stuck to white and gold and bought these kurta sets for the entire family from Fab India.

 

 

Family Vacation Color Coordination

I wanted to wear my new dress I bought for vacation and definitely wanted some pretty pictures of our family trip. So I choose Dark blue and white color scheme to go with a beach background. It was easy to put together for me and my husband as he wore white shorts and a blue T while my son wore all white with some blue print. You can create similar look in different colors from your and your little one’s closet without additional shopping. Use colors that complement each other.

 

 

Fall is around the corner and I can’t wait to share more looks that I create in our winter wear. Keep Twinning!

Love

Arushi (2)

 

The Gift of Gentleness. How I am working towards raising a gentle and compassionate child.

 

J&J Post

This post was sponsored by JOHNSON’S ®, as always opinions are my own

 

“You cannot give your children what you do not have.”

– Brene Brown

 

This is one of my favorite parenting quotes and a good reminder for us to teach and character-build our children. This also include confidence, resilience, perseverance, kindness and self-esteem. But to teach this, we must first exhibit these characteristics ourselves.

When I was pregnant, I couldn’t stop myself from finding out the gender of my child. One of the biggest reasons was choosing the name early on. It was important to me to bond and connect with the life growing inside me. The feeling of having a child, a baby boy, became more real to us at that moment.

This also helped me prepare for a boy. I’d spent time thinking about how I’d raise a baby boy to be strong and gentle and to not feel forced into the super hero, big muscles and bravery stereotypes. For every car or truck toy I have given to my little boy, I gave him a color book or musical instrument.

While growing up my mom empowered me by laying emphasis on dreaming big and not be confined to society’s boxes. Similarly, I knew I didn’t want to raise my boy with society’s idea of a real man. I want to raise a little man who knows that it’s ok to cry; who knows what it means to respect others, including animals; that showing compassion and empathy is a good thing; and that if he’d rather play with a soft toy than an action figure, that it is just fine with me. Also, I remind myself every day that I too need to be gentle with his dreams and ambitions.

I can’t believe our baby is already a feisty two-year-old, and is growing, learning and exploring the world daily. We are ensuring he learns to be kind with actions and soon with his thoughts. Now that Vir is in full toddler mode, he has become incredibly enthusiastic about both exploring things and asserting his will. Kids at this age don’t understand that pushing and pulling can hurt someone and so we are teaching him how to be gentle to his friends at daycare and to his furry brother at home. By patting or caressing his hand, we tell him, “This is Gentle.” One of the best ways to explain to him this concept has been to practice it with his favorite stuff toy.

When a company too thinks like a parent, you know that they are doing something right. Like how I want to be gentle with my child’s dream and ambitions, and want my child to be kind and caring to the world, JOHNSON’S mission for last 125 years has been to create the gentlest baby products in the world. When I think of JOHNSON’S I think of pure. And for that reason, I grew up using JOHNSON’S products and today, my son is also growing up with the same. The brand recently redesigned all their washes, lotions, and haircare products and reduced the number of ingredients by more than 50%, including removing sulfates and dyes!

What caught my attention is that 96% of the ingredients in their products are naturally derived.

I wanted to share with you why JOHNSON’S new standard of gentle guided by the below five promises to parents struck a chord with me. Here are the 5 promises made by the company:

  1. Use Purposeful ingredients
  2. Never stop raising the bar
  3. Be open and honest
  4. Think like a parent first
  5. Help make the world a gentle place.

I want to use a brand in my daily routine that wants to make the world a better place. In our home we try to practice this in our daily life by choosing goods and services that give back to the community or care for our environment or even source raw materials that are fairly traded. This is the simplest ways to make sure a portion of every dollar or cent we spend goes to a better cause as well.

When I dug deeper to see how JOHNSON’S contributes to the community, I was glad to find that they partner with Save The Children on international efforts to provide healthcare, aid and education to families in communities affected by crisis or poverty. This promise resonated with me at many levels. One of the life lessons taught by my dad was to give back to the poor and needy. And every year on Diwali, we would visit an orphanage in Bombay and celebrate the spirit of Diwali with the kids by playing board games, sharing sweets and gifts and dancing to some Bollywood music. That life lesson did change the world for me and my brother when I was 11 and my brother was 9 years old. We have continued this tradition and have promised to give back to the community what we can, when we can. I want to continue this tradition with my son too and teach him the importance of being kind, generous, loving and help make the world a gentler place.

Here are few things we are working on at our home to make sure we teach our son the characteristics that we as parents can model first.

  • Think before reacting. This is something I am working on myself daily. As moms our patience get tested every minute however, I am trying to take the time to think about how my reactions and responses affect others, especially my kid.
  • React in a calm manner. Screaming only escalates the situation with my toddler, so I have realized approaching a situation more calmly is the best way to react. I sit down at his eye level and look right into eyes to let him know what he did was wrong or he needs to stop it. This is a work in progress lesson. It’s all about the tone in our voice, and so speaking softly is one of them.
  • Teach our kids to empathize with others. As I mentioned above, the best way to tell our kids to not end up hurting anyone is by being gentle. I often tell my son that please don’t give anyone “Ouchie” as it hurts, Mama doesn’t like Ouchies. He has started to understand and relate the concept and we are trying to ensure that there are no signs of hitting, biting or pulling expressed by our child.

  • Always Respond with kindness. Teaching our child ways to treat things with care helps him develop the understanding that actions have consequences. We are ensuring our son understand that he needs to share his toys with kids in the park. Also, I have started to say sorry to my son if I have been short tempered with him. All parents make mistakes. It’s how you address them afterwards that makes the difference. He’ll learn that everyone, even Mom, admits it when she’s wrong.

We have influence in fostering our child’s ability to empathize, with so much hatred and turmoil in the world today, it seems more important than ever to raise kids who can understand and be kind to other people.

Love

arushi

Tips for Travelling and Working Moms. Handling the emotional logistics while on a business trip.

Tips for Travelling and Working Moms. Handling the emotional logistics while on a business trip

Let’s face it, being a working mom can be extremely challenging. It takes a lot of planning and support to manage a household. Add business trips and travel into the equation and things get exponentially more difficult.

I always get emails and messages from my Instagram followers on how fun and glamorous my work travels are. And yes honestly, being able to visit new places and try new things is fun, but every month being on the road, another hotel, another restaurant eating alone, the glamour fades, especially when you miss your child a day or two into a five-day trip.

I have come to think of it as a necessary sacrifice that I am making to ensure I continue to build my career and not give up on my aspirations, while also providing for my family. I love my job and everything I do, but I won’t sit here and say I love it every single day. Days get long, sometimes I don’t get to FaceTime with my son before bedtime, I miss my own bed, and I feel guilty for being away and probably miss on some new words too that my son started to speak.

In the last year, I’ve realized that even though it is necessary, there is a way to handle it in a way that I don’t feel horrible for the decision I made and to not get frustrated or burnt out from my work travels. You may wonder – How can we be a good mother while also traveling for extended periods of time? Contrary to what society may tell you, there are plenty of ways to make the situation work for you and your family. Here are few tips I recommend for travel savvy moms-

  • Take it as a Break – Being a parent to a toddler can be Pickups, drop offs, swim days, play dates, other activities and your day to day chores at home while working full time can be tiring and monotonous. And so, I’ve started to look at my trips as a “break” from the job of parent at home. It’s a little break from the busy lifestyle of having to work full-time and then be on again at home as a mom
  • Make a calendar and set reminders – I usually have a calendar in front of me of my upcoming travels and start to work on putting up a plan for the family on what to do while I am away. List out all activities at daycare that needs special attention like soccer practice timings, splash day packing, events or special celebrations that week etc. Also, it lets me also confirm with my caregiver on her availability.
  • Maintain your child’s routine. While it’s important to have something fun planned for while you’re gone, don’t abandon routines. Bedtime, naptime, meals, school and playtime should remain the same. Kids rely on their schedules and if they are interrupted, it can be confusing and upsetting.
  • Leave a Meal Plan– To ensure my home is running smoothly in my absence I make a meal plan for my family and mail it to my husband and my caregiver, while also placing a print out on our refrigerator. You can also freeze meals or use local services of cooked meals that deliver at home for the days you are away. Also, I make sure to do groceries before I leave so that we are not short of the important items like Bananas, Milk, Eggs, Bread and snacks that are needed on a daily basis.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for support when and where you need it- Without my family and my in laws here in the US to check in or help out when I am gone, I rely on the support of my close friends, neighbors and my son’s teachers. I ask them for extra help when needed. Lately I have been looking to share a nanny with a close friend on the days when my husband gets late at work. It is very important to have several backups and foresee few situations that you might need help with, when you are away.
  • Create Fun Rituals – Baking cupcakes or banana bread or pudding for days when I am gone is a sweet way literally to treat my son. He is very young to understand the association, but I am sure it makes him happy especially if he is moody or cranky. Also, I try to leave a new book to read every night in my absence and come back with a small gift from my travels for my son to open. He is 2 and he thoroughly enjoys it.
  • Ditch the guilt.I know it’s tough, but you should not feel guilty about this choice. I never let others negative opinion affect how I think about myself. It may not be an ideal situation in your mind, but if you love what you do, never feel guilty about that and the fact you are providing for your family. Remind yourself that you aren’t a bad mom for traveling and don’t compare yourself to other moms on the block. If you communicate with your child before, during and after travel, they’ll be prepared for your departure and be fine while you’re gone.
  • Let your significant other rest and have a day/night to themselves.
    Even though I come back tired from traveling, I always make sure to give my partner a break, it could be some time away at the weekend with friends or a short getaway. It is very important to tell your partner you appreciate them and that it’s okay to go out and take a break and let me take on everything you’ve been doing the past few days.

In the end I will like to say that to have a family’s ability to function well with a travelling mother is also linked to the attitudes of its members. We need to make sure our partner is happy to contribute and is appreciated, and that the kids adapt well to the changes in routine, so that all goes smoothly. In our house we have learnt to treat Travel as just another facet of life that needs to be managed. I always say it’s all about Teamwork! And so, me and my husband try our best to treat travel with resourcefulness and optimism. It is hard to leave on a monthly basis, but I look forward to coming home to see my son’s face and get a hug and kiss from him (as there will come an age when he won’t  want them from mommy). His smiles make it all worth it.

Please do share your opinions and thoughts on how you are trying to balance travel and home duties.

If you are a breast feeding mom and travel for work, check my previous post –How I Prepared to Leave My Breastfed Baby for a Work Trip

Love

Arushi (2)


 

 

Moms Give Yourself The Gift Of a Solo Getaway – Sharing My Experience From My Hiking Trip to Machu Picchu

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In my recent post My Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu & Solo Trip to Cusco, Peru: An Adventure of a Lifetime I shared with you all my three minute movie , lots of pictures and so many other details of my amazing SOLO trip. (Check it out if you haven’t) This post focuses on what this journey meant and how it has affected me personally . Also I am sharing a list of benefits of jet setting alone and going on a getaway by yourself.

Travelling Solo was one of my top goals for the year and I knew that this year for my birthday I wished to do something different, something special, something truly just for myself. I wanted to rediscover the girl I was, before spouse, before a kid, before all the parenting responsibilities. So, a few months before my 33rd birthday I decided to challenge myself, both physically and mentally with a Solo Trip to Cusco, Peru.

I have had several opportunities to travel around the world with and without my family and friends. Travelling alone for work to a new country or state has been a part of my lifestyle and something I am familiar with since I was sixteen years old.

However, planning a getaway on my own to a country where I have never been before, hiking for two days with a group of complete strangers or for that matter living in a hostel and meeting people of all age groups from different parts of the world…… truly made this trip an Experience of a Lifetime! This journey has given me one of the most valuable collection of moments and experiences that has added depth and value to my life and who I am.

“Traveling Alone is Radical Form of Self Care”

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On this solo trip not only did I get to discover the stunning landscapes of Machu Pichhu on my hike and enjoy the breathtaking architecture, lively artisan markets and the delicious local cuisine of the vibrant city of Cusco, I also got to spend time by myself — walking alone, eating alone, writing alone and sitting alone. And honestly, this was far from lonely. It was in fact restorative!

I can’t think of the last time I had been alone long enough to revel in my own thoughts without being interrupted by my child or the nagging to-do list that lives in the back of my mind. I could have conversations with people that didn’t revolve around my child or me being a mom. It was kind of strange and exhilarating. Radical Self-care is the assertion that you have the responsibility to take care of yourself first before attempting to take care of others.

There is endless list of benefits to jet setting alone and by sharing my experiences I hope to inspire others to try out a solo adventure too.

Makes you Independent and Empowered: One comes back with a new perspective. Solo travel represents independence, wanderlust and of course freedom. One gets to create their own When and How to do it list!

Self-Discovery: Through solo travel you get a chance to listen to your gut and control the direction you want to go to. You get to know you, be you and reflect upon yourself.

Self Confidence: Yes, solo travel is a brave endeavor. There is a lot of planning and preparations that one needs to go through, especially us moms. And as women we need to research more into topics like safety, cultural norms etc. By stepping out of your comfort zone and travelling anywhere new and unknown we learn to face various types of scenarios and gain much confidence.

Making new Friends and lifetime connections: One can always choose to be alone, but on a solo trip you get an opportunity to connect and make new friendships on your journey that could last a lifetime. Travel leads to exciting adventures and meaningful connections, it provides you an opportunity to meet like minded people in a new cultural setting devoid of digital distractions.

Your well-being gets healthier: Each one of us know spending time alone makes us release a lot of stressful toxins and travelling makes us happy. Research shows that travelling alone is such a healthy option as it makes you a happier person and cuts out your depression and stressful phases.

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Being a Mom is hard work! By taking time to focus on myself, recharge and relax a little, I have returned home more mindful. I can’t think of travelling alone as “Selfish” now, as this trip has nurtured my body and nourished my mind while giving me chance to follow my dreams and do what I love – Explore! Also, I want my son to see me as a person with interests, rather than the person who does everything

Have you taken a solo trip? What was your experience? 

Love

Arushi (2)

 

Tricks to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

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As a parent, sometimes getting your toddler to eat anything, let alone eat healthy can be very stressful! There are sick days, moody days, fussy days, some really happy and hungry days and this list could go on and on.

For me it is all about teaching my kid to love healthy foods especially fruits and vegetables, and some days we all need to have a backup plan. On my Instagram stories you will see regular updates of my morning latte cups and some days meals, recipes and food pictures of what I am offering my son.

I have been getting several questions from moms on my email and DMs on what I am cooking for Vir requesting for recipes of my favorite spinach and veggie loaded toddler meals. So in this post I am listing out few of my recipes that have worked for us and some great ideas for back up plans on feeding your picky eater.

Also you can check out my previous post that has a list of food items I offered my child as he started solids and a Free Printable with all nutrient information for different food types with nutrients information. Click Here 

My son is 18 months old, and is still figuring out his taste buds, so I try to provide a balanced meal while including veggies in his favorite Pancakes, Pasta, Muffin , Stuffed tortilla and Soup. My tip if your toddler refuses to eat any veggies – SNEAK THEM IN !!! Some might think it’s sending a wrong message, but for us it’s a work in progress. There is ample time to develop my kid’s understanding of his food and I will like take as it goes. However, I am doing this to make sure he has a balance diet.

To sneak in veggies especially on those fussy days :  Boil Spinach, carrot, some kale and blend it. (You can add veggies of your choice depending on how you plan to use them.) Replace water with this mix in all the dishes like Pancakes, Pasta, Muffin , Stuffed tortilla and Soup

Toddler Approved Recipes!

Spinach And Banana Pancakes– Add boiled and blended spinach and carrot mix with Banana, oat flour and 1 egg to make healthy Spinach breakfast.

Veggies loaded Mac and Cheese/ Pasta– Sauté diced pieces of carrot, peas with onion and spinach in butter or olive oil. Add boiled pasta with desired pasta sauce. I add cheese slices in the pasta too, it never hurts to add more. Offering really small pieces of veggies is a good start and later moving to bigger pieces.

Veggie mix Roti/Tortilla-  My son is not a big fan of stuffed breads , so I have started mixing the boiled veggies directly to the flour or you can use the blended mix as an alternative to water while making the dough. I recommend including beets and sweet potatoes too as they look colorful and are nutrient dense.

Veggie and Fruit Muffins- Fruit and veggie muffins have all of the elements to basically be a complete meal!  I recently came across this great recipe on Pinterest and it has been a great success. It is loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals and fiber . Click here for Power Packed Fruit Muffin Recipe from Super Healthy Kids.com

Make a Dip Bar

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In Dr Sears’ book, The Portable Pediatrician, he suggests serving all types of chopped vegetables and foods in an ice tray, with some yummy dipping sauces on the ends. Making it fun, colorful and full of variety can encourage little ones to eat more vegetables. Marinara sauce, ranch, Parmesan cheese, Coriander chutney are great to start with. I am currently offering steamed carrots , broccoli with Marinara sauce to Vir

 

Cook Veggies in different ways

Raw, Roasted, or Steamed has been a hit in our house.  We all vote for baked and boiled as my son loves grabbing small pieces of sweet potatoes, carrots and peas. Seasoning the veggies is a winner in my friend’s house and I will be starting that soon too. Let me know what seasoning you use.

Beat the Veggies (Smoothies for the WIN )

smoothieSmoothies are a great (and easy) way to get nutrient dense fruits and vegetables into your kids without them really knowing it! Spinach, Kale, Beets and Fruit of course! The best part is that toddlers and kids think that smoothies are the equivalent of having a milkshake.We love the Banana+ Peanut butter+ Spinach+ Kale+ Milk smoothie. Tip : Start adding veggies slowly in the smoothie and get to the right amount of sweetness and taste. I started with small quantities of spinach and kale at first and once my son got used to the taste we added more.Check out this Toddler Approved Smoothie from one of my favorite blogger mom Ashley. I love the Jamba juice cup idea.

Butter them up

Young tongues are particularly sensitive to bitterness, and kids may instinctively repel from bitter foods. Masking the bitterness with butter especially for broccoli is working for us so far . “Everything tastes better with butter, especially vegetables. Try adding 1 tablespoon of butter per half cup of mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, and cooked spinach to temper the bitterness.

 

Hope this post helps you get some veggies in your fussy toddler’s meal !! Please do share your tips and tricks and any great recipe .

Now, go get some broccoli and LOVE it

Arushi (2)

Get Your KIDSto LOVE Veggies (1)

 

How I Prepared For My Boy’s Cake Smash Photo Shoot

 

 

oatmeal cookies (2)I can’t believe my son is already a year old ! How did this happen? Where did all the time go ? It was only yesterday when we brought our tiny guy home and now all of a sudden he is a toddler. Time flew by so fast and I guess it was also because the first year is full of trails and treasures.

If I could just freeze time, I would continue to gaze in his eyes , nibble his toes, kiss his chubby cheeks and just keep listening him giggle. My heart melts thinking how fast time will slip and my child will outgrow my arms and lap in the coming years.

First birthday is a momentous occasion in any child and parent’s life. This is such a huge milestone for our family too and it warranted for a special photo shoot, so that we can savor it now and reminisce about later (like during the tumultuous teenage years)

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One my favorite captures by Brianne Hardcastle Photography 

Nothing quite says beautiful mess like first birthday cake smash photography. But when you decide to go the DIY route, the results tend to be less beautiful and more mess. I am sharing on the blog few tips on how I prepared for my son’s outdoor cake smash photo shoot. I am not sure who was more excited for the cake smash session me or my son. That excitement make its pretty easy to go overboard with props, but i wanted to keep it simple.

Photography: Hiring a good photographer ensures great results.It may not always be the most ideal option to spend money on a professional, but really and truly, paying for a service makes SUCH a huge difference. I am so glad our pictures from the cake smash session have come out so beautiful. Thanks to the talented Brianne Hardcastle who was committed to capture the best moments. Check out her FB Page for more details.

Location: We wanted to shoot outdoors as it was in tune with our theme and also excellent for good lighting and for that we choose the Bayou Bend Park in Houston.

Keeping Props Simple: An outdoor shoot saved us from all the expensive background decorations and detailing. I used item that were available at my home.

  • The Teepee was the main prop that was central to the entire theme. My son’s lovely Teepee is from – Tnees Teepees. They have a wonderful collection of modern and stylish teepees for boys and girls that look great in any room. I also used a white rug and a cushion under it .
  • Cake: Of Course a cake is the highlight of the cake smash photo shoot, you can use different colors according to your theme. I didn’t want to spend too much on it either, so I went for a simple white butter cream chocolate cake.
  • DIY Cake Topper: Since the cake was very plain and simple , I added some fun to it by making a cake topper with paper straws. I used a craft thread and cut paper triangles and wrote ONE with a sharpie on it and glued them. You can also buy some really nice cake toppers online.
  • DIY Chalkboard first birthday sign– The details of your child’s first year can be forgotten over time, but with a stunning Chalkboard First Birthday sign, you can cherish them forever! I made this chalkboard with some inspiration from Pinterest. Took me an hour to work on it. You can also get one professionally down from etsy and print it .
  • A huge Balloon can cover a lot of space for pictures and also add a pop of color. I used a white one as it went with our theme. This is a 36 inch balloon.
  • Fabric banner: The only main decorative piece I really splurged on was the fabric banner that I got from Etsy (displayed on the teepee). It can also be used as a garland or even a high chair decorative piece. I also used it for decorating Vir’s high chair at his birthday party at our home.
  • Outfit: My sister got Vir his cake smash outfit , she bought it from amazon . There are some great shops on etsy to you can buy cute cake smash outfits . Note its really hard to get something unique for boys.

Color coordinate:  I stuck to a low a key background with white , black and natural green for keeping the pictures neat and bright. Start with one item that you would like to coordinate in the session then, add in colours that coordinate or complement that item.

 

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All these beautiful moments are captured by Houston Based Photographer Brianne Hardcastle. Click here more info

Timings for the cake session is very essential : You want it to be stress and fuss free. I planned the session in the evening after my son’s nap time. The weather was great too. (And yes, it’s perfectly fine if the cake smash photos aren’t done on their actual birthday.)

Get the baby to dig in: Our son was shy to dig in the cake after he touched the frosting. He was weirded out by the sticky texture. I got our dog to join the party and also put my finger in the cake to excite him about the process.

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I had to frame this !! He won’t stay so little anymore

Post session Clean up : This is one thing I completely forgot about, while rushing for the shoot from our home. You need to have paper towels handy, plastic/paper bags to throw away the mess. And a spare change of clothes for the kid after the session is over.

The first birthday cake of our child was a huge milestone for us. And so for that reason I took a break from taking a few cell phone photos and completely avoided the plastic highchair cake smash experience. This was truly a momentous celebration and I hope these tips can help you prepare for your big occasion.

You can see his birthday party video at our home on my Instagram page

#letthembelittle

Love

arushi

My Body Reality 9 Months Post Pregnancy! 

 

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I love to jog especially when Vir can accompany me in the jogger!

 

Am I where I was before baby? In some ways yes, in other ways not at all.

If you read my previous post on my post baby weight loss journey, you know I had lost 30 pounds out of the 43 pounds I gained within the first 3 months. To continue with my progress I had set 2 goals for the next 6 months.

1) To get rid of those 13 pounds 2) To gain my fitness and endurance levels back. I believe that 9 months is a fair enough time frame to work on my postpartum body and fitness and that is exactly the time I wanted to bounce back in shape.

To accomplish these 2 goals I started with running because not only was it a great way to get out of home daily and get some fresh air but also because I had set myself up for a CHALLENGE.

The challenge was to participate in a 10k run, 4 months after my delivery! I wasn’t sure if I could complete it, but I was definitely preparing myself to do my best. On 16th Sept 2016, 4 month post my pregnancy, I ran and finished my first 10k race in 1 hour and 19 minutes. Completing this challenge I set for myself gave me a lot of confidence and appreciation towards my body.


Post race, I figured out I was ready to take my endurance levels up a notch. So I started doing more strength training routines for some muscle definition and toning. Daily cardio sessions felt great but when it came to strength training at the gym, I wasn’t feeling so good or enjoying it. After a month I stepped back and returned back to jogging.

I started to fit in my regular jeans after 6 months post partum. I was so glad to ditch those maternity jeans! Although, I still have a few inches to loose on my thighs. Losing weight on the lower half of my body has been a constant struggle since I was a teenager and it continues to this day. (I often blame it on my genes J )

My stomach was smushy after giving birth and still is. I have ways to go to get my lower stomach back in shape, and that’s OK. Despite using stretch oils and cream rigorously I still have stretch marks.  They have faded but will probably be there, and I am proud to have them as I was blessed to carry and deliver a healthy baby.

So far I have lost a total of 39 pounds in 9 months. Still 4 pounds shy from my pre pregnancy weight. Honestly, I have stopped looking at the scale now. I am trying to maintain my weight while exercising and enjoying my treats on regular basis. I can’t diet and restrict myself of certain food groups as I don’t want to live like that. I like food (and chocolate) too much.

As far as my boobs are concerned, they are not normal yet. They are neither perky nor saggy, just somewhere in between. I am still breast feeding in morning and nights so I think I will have to wait out on this.

img_2719Once Vir turned 6 months, maintaining a workout schedule has become a struggle. Between caring for Vir, work demands, home chores, and all the rest there is precious little time life for me to sweat and so workouts are the first to be scratched off the To Do list. Honestly few months back I was struggling to even keep up to my 4 days of staying active. It is hard now to find dedicated alone time as a parent, and I have learned it isn’t always possible to find some.

Yet in January I enrolled myself in Kayla Fitness. The SWEAT app has short 28 minutes of Resistance sets that I do from home as per my convenience. I plan to stick with my 2017 goals of staying active daily and not losing steam. If I don’t find the time or energy to workout, I make sure to walk my dog “Rio” an extra mile.  You can catch me on Instagram with my daily updates.

At the end I just want to say we are all aware that our life will never be the same once we have a baby, yet we expect our bodies to be. I could have never imagined that our bodies can do amazing things like – never failing to wake up for the fourth time in the night to feed a hungry baby or to hold an 18 pound baby for a ridiculously long periods of time or to even function the entire day with just an hour of sleep. There are truths of post baby body that I am trying to accept and realistically I still struggle over accepting the body I am in. But I won’t waste my time feeling bad about it. I plan to work towards what I can accomplish with it while not giving up on chocolate!

Watching Vir grow up and experiencing Motherhood is the most beautiful part of my life now. My smushy stomach and stretch marks are just reminders of what I endured for my son to be here.

arushi

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A Pediatrican’s advice on caring for your child’s health while travelling to a new country

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As a new parent we have so many questions and fears about travelling with our children for the first time. After travelling with my son to India on a 30 hour one way journey for a 2 week vacation, I now know that vacation or travel plans are not as easy as they were pre baby.  And while there are tons of tips on how to get there, there is not much advice for how to manage once you arrive.

In my last post How I survived a Long Haul flight with a Lap Baby I discussed my inflight experience/nightmare and shared some tips. And now, in this post we will be discussing on concerns related to our children’s health once you arrive to your destination.

Infants are at high risk for many food related and waterborne illnesses. This is not because they are travelling to India or any other country. It is simply because their immune systems are not developed. This post discuses some of the practical issues faced by us on our trip to India. I reached out to Dr. Abha Sharma a General Pediatrician and an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to talk more in details about precautions and measures parents can take while travelling to a new country with their child.

Dr. Abha practices and resides in Southern California with her Husband and 2 year old Daughter. I am very thankful that she was able to take out some time from her busy schedule to attend to this list of questions and give us advice on how to prepare ourselves and manage our kids while travelling overseas. Follow her journey on Instagram @healthymamadoc for some great tips and advice on healthy and nutritious meals.

My hope here is to help all my readers with vital information of caring for their child’s health while travelling abroad .

What is a good age to make a long distance travel?

Newborn babies and young infants have developing immune systems and are more susceptible to becoming ill from diseases spread by cough and sneeze.  I usually recommend that parents wait until their baby is at least 2 months old to travel – waiting till 6 months is ideal. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strictly cautions against travelling with a newborn younger than 48 hours old; most airlines prohibit babies younger than 2 weeks old to travel without a Physician’s clearance.

What medications do your recommend to carry, to avoid catching cold and flu in flight.

It has been thought that secondary to recirculated air and limited ventilation in a confined area over a long duration of time, airline passengers have a potentially higher risk of infectious diseases. But, the good news is that one study by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that because the spread of infection is usually by direct contact, the risk is no different than that if you were travelling by train or bus.

If you have an older infant or toddler and are travelling by plane, make sure you carry non toxic sanitizing wipes with you. Germ laden surfaces such as the tray table and arms rests should be wiped down frequently – your little one may want to lick and chew on these repeatedly!

Most OTC Cough and Cold Medications are labeled for use in children above age 6, secondary to the potential for serious side effects and overdose.  Sticking with your little one’s regular diet, keeping them hydrated, and nursing them if you breastfeed, will help prevent illness and help them cope should they come down with the sniffles inflight.

Three items that I would definitely recommend parents take with them when they travel is a Rectal Thermometer, Fever Reducing Medication, and Powdered Packets of Oral Rehydration Solution (i.e. Pedialyte).  For fever, stick with Acetaminophen (Tylenol) prior to 6 months of age, and after they cross 6 months you can use Ibuprofen (Motrin) as well. Consult with your child’s Physician regarding safe dosing of these medications.

Is giving Benadryl recommended to help the baby sleep?

It is not recommended to give Diphenhydramine (commonly marketed as Benadryl) to children for the purposes of the side effect of drowsiness.  Diphenhydramine has the potential to cause several side effects in children, the most serious being overdose and allergic reaction.

What precautions are a must when a child is taken to a different country for the first time? (Vir was on formula and even though we carried bottled formula and took good care of sanitizing bottles he caught a fever and had diarrhea. He lost weight and wasn’t eating properly.)

Strict attention should be paid to hand washing and cleaning bottles, pacifiers, teething rings, and toys that fall to the floor or are handled by others.  The water used to clean these items should be drinkable water.

Parents should be particularly careful to wash hands well after diaper changes, especially for infants with diarrhea, to avoid spreading infection to themselves and other family members. When  handwashing facilities are not easily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing ≥60% alcohol) can be used; hands should be then washed with warm water and soap for 15 seconds as soon as possible.  Hands that have visible soiling are preferably washed right away.

 

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Dr. Abha Sharma with her beautiful family.

Is it important to get the child vaccinated for travel like for Malaria? At what age do you recommend it?

Malaria is a disease contracted from mosquito bite in an area endemic to this disease. To prevent transmission, the first step is to identify if you are travelling to an area with a recent outbreak. The website Cdc.gov/travel and your Pediatrician or Family Physician are great resources to assist you in this. Your Physician will determine if it is recommended for your child to take medication to prevent transmission of this disease.

General preventive measures include:

  • Wearing lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and wearing socks.
  • Mosquito repellents used on skin can also be applied to clothing; it must be reapplied after laundering.
  • Apply lotion, liquid, or spray repellent to all exposed areas of skin; reapply frequently.
  • Avoid the outdoors from dusk till dawn, as this is the peak time for mosquitos to bite

Which fruits or vegetables should be avoided in a new country? Do your recommend and food we should carry? ( I carried liquid formula bottle, cereal and snacks but ran out of it and switched to Indian Nan Pro formula which I mixed with bottled water)

Don’t offer your child food from street vendors, and stay away from food prepared and served in unclean conditions. Raw or under cooked meat should be avoided. All raw fruit and vegetables should be washed, peeled and cut by you before offering it to your child.

Safe beverages include bottled carbonated water, boiled water, and water treated with chlorine or iodine.

If your infant or toddler is formula fed, I do recommend packing more powdered formula than you anticipate you will need. The constitution of formulas abroad may not be the same as the one you regularly use. Additionally, pack plenty of dry snacks that you normally keep at home; if your child is picky they may not like what is available locally.

How to handle breast feeding strikes while travelling? My son stopped breast feeding completely in India. I tried to feed him in the night. Once we were back in US, it took him over 2 weeks to get back to his normal feeding schedule.

A nursing strike during or after travel is not an uncommon issue – you can maintain your milk supply AND eventually get your baby back to the breast. During the strike, pump or hand express the milk at the same frequency as you would breastfeed. This helps maintain the supply and prevent infection; this expressed milk can be fed to your baby.

To help get your baby back on the breast:

  • Nurse the baby during the night or while napping –  babies who refuse to nurse when they are awake will most often nurse when they are sleepy.
  • Switch up the position you use to nurse.
  • Rock your baby or walk around while nursing.
  • Nurse in a quiet, darkened room.
  • Maintain skin to skin contact when nursing
  • Keep the baby close to you in a sling or carrier in between nursing attempts.

How long do infants, toddlers generally take to get over jet lag? What is the best way to help overcome jet lag? Vir took over 10 days to get over jet lag .

 In general, count one day for each time zone crossed to give you a rough estimate of how long it may take your little one to recover from jet lag.  Of course, direction of travel impacts recovery time – eastbound travel, i.e. from the New York to London, may be prolonged in comparison to your westbound return trip.  In order to reduce jet lag, adjust your child’s sleep schedule 2-3 days before departure (Some sleep medicine experts recommend doing this upto 4 weeks prior to the trip).  After arrival, encourage your child to be active outside or in brightly lit areas during daylight hours to promote adjustment.  When returning back from a trip, the same applies – make a trip to the park as soon as you can after reaching back home.

Any other recommendations you will like to give to new parents travelling long distances with babies for the first time ?

Discuss your travel plans with your doctor at least 4-6 weeks prior to your trip, so as to allow any preventive medications that are prescribed to be effective.

Review your child’s immunizations with your doctor, and make sure he/she is up to date with the recommended immunizations necessary for their age.  Other immunizations, including those providing protection against Typhoid fever, Bacterial Meningitis, and Japanese Encephalitis, may be recommended depending on your destination.

Ear pain can be an issue for infants and children during the plane’s descent and landing Pressure in the middle ear can be equalized by swallowing or chewing.  You can nurse your little one, offer them a bottle to drink from, or for your toddler, a chewy snack.

Lastly, if you plan on using your child’s car seat on the plane, make sure it is approved for use. Children weighing between 22 lbs and 44 lbs can use an approved restraint system called the CARES Child Safety Device.

I definitely learnt a lot from this interview with Dr Abha. I am SO glad that she was kind enough to accept my email and request to collaborate on this post. Thank you once again Dr Abha for your advice!!!

We both hope that this post truly helps all the new parents and parents to be, who are excited to travel with their new born babies. Good luck and safe travels!!

You can also follow Dr Abha at her social media accounts on other Twitter and Pinterest.

Check out the  Healthy Travel Packing List by CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) 

arushi