©Alexa Zurcher | He and I Blog, 2015. Powered by Blogger.

Welcome to New York

Hello from NY! 
I wish I could send you all a postcard. This place is beautiful and so GREEN! :) 

We're here with the entire Zurcher family in upstate New York to celebrate Pops, Brian's grandpa who passed away unexpectedly. (Pictures from our last trip to see him here!) We had a fabulous memorial service, with family and friends in attendance from all over the country. How grateful we are for families and our knowledge that we will see Pops again. 

We've been spending lots of time with cousins and even more time outside. Nothing like late nights catching lightning bugs, grass stained knees, and baseball games in the park. Pure joy! 

On a side note, Ellie has been requesting THIS song every time we get in our rental car. Brian's thrilled with music choice, of course. ;) 

Here's a few photos from our trip so far. 

^^ While we all got about 4ish hours of sleep on our red eye flight, Ellie slept for a solid 8 hours! ^^

^^ Happy baby at the airport! ^^ 

^^ Baseball at Brian's childhood park. ^^

^^ Speaking of's a good picture of Brian for you! ^^

^^ Superhero on the swings! ^^

^^ We don't get to see cousin Logan too often, so these two have been playing nonstop! ^^ 

^^ Playing raccoons with grandma til sunset. ^^

On Motherhood, Anxiety, and Staying Active

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummitX3Stroller

Addie turns one next month (!!!)

I still can't believe it's been almost an entire year since she was born. And I can't help but remember those first few weeks. How I miss that newborn smell! Addie was always a pretty calm baby. Minus absolutely hating her car seat, she was happy and content. It was such a tender mercy for me, because around her 4 week mark, I found myself in a whirlwind of anxiety. 

I actually didn't know what I was feeling at first - until a late night google search and confirmation from my doctor at a well check. What felt like out of the blue, my mind turned into a jumbled, worried, not at all logical, complete mess! The first sign was intense irritation - not directed at our new baby, but directed at almost everyone else. I found myself snapping at anything and not placed just right, Brian home a few minutes late, dumb drivers. ;) Then came the worry. I'm a natural worrier, but all of the sudden, the worry was crippling. I was up every hour in the night in an utter panic, checking on Addie and Ellie. Windows and locks were checked several times before going to bed, even though I knew they were already locked. I worried about driving, going to the grocery store, having everyone up and ready by a certain time, even when we had absolutely nowhere to be. I had panic attacks if I caught a glimpse of the news. When Ellie would make a mess, I would find myself paralyzed and panicked, not knowing where to begin or how to start to clean it up. Everything was blown out of proportion and every little situation seemed like the end of the world!  

At my first doctor's appointment, my doctor prescribed me a very low dose of medicine and I was too proud to fill it. I didn't need medication! I could do this all on my own! After a terrible week, I called him back and in tears, finally admitted to him, but mostly to myself, that I needed some help. :) I immediately saw results, but I've also added a few things into my daily routine that have helped me continue to improve. I've found three things that have helped me immensely with postpartum anxiety: meditation, staying active, and good ol' sunshine! 

Meditation Right after Addie was born, I wasn't very good at finding quiet time for me. There was dishes and diapers and laundry! I started setting my alarm early in the morning, just before the girls would get up, so I could have some quiet time to myself before the day started. This has made such a difference! I study this book in the stillness of the morning. Coupled with a prayer and time to think before the business begins, gets me in the right mindset for the day. Instead of rolling out of bed groggily, I'm more awake and calm. Sometimes I also stretch or sit on the front porch to breathe in the morning air. I'm definitely not perfect at this habit, but when I make the effort, it really helps me in every aspect. 

Exercise This has been one of the biggest helps in my struggle with anxiety. I've found that when I'm tense and worried, getting my body moving relaxes me. Bless those good ol' endorphins! I'm not much of a gym-goer. Props to the moms that can get themselves to the gym every day for a work out. (And then get out of those workout pants into REAL clothes. ;) Instead, I've found that I have to trick my brain (and my kids) into working out and thinking that it's FUN! Lately, we've been walking everywhere. This summer we live near a lot of parks, so we make sure we are outside walking every day. Ellie typically rides her scooter and she's become my personal trainer. I have the privilege of "chasing" her while she rides and man, she is fast. Which means, I have to jog fast! She frequently tells me to speed up. ;) By the time we get to the park, I'm sweating!

While the girls play, I sneak in a quick 10 minute workout as well. Squats, lunges, push ups, planks, and sit ups are easy to do in the park. The girls are always climbing on top of me while I plank and push up, which makes it ten times harder, haha! :) I always keep my stroller near me for balance. The Baby Jogger Summit X3 Single Stroller has been my best friend the last few months - it literally goes with us everywhere. Thankfully, Addie doesn't feel the same way about the stroller as she does her car seat. ;) When I tell her it's time to go "bye bye" she points to her stroller. I love that we can take this stroller with us on all our adventures and allows me to fold it one handed (!!!) On our walk home, I usually recline the seat, while Addie takes a quick snooze. I also love to use my smart watch to track my steps for the day. It's a good reminder for me to stay active and hit my step goals! 

Sunshine! Getting outside and into the sunshine has been a huge natural anxiety reliever! The winter months were killer for me - too many foggy and snowy days. I found out I had super low vitamin D levels and while taking supplements helped, nothing beats that warm sunshine! We make sure we get a good amount of sunshine every chance we get. 

A few other anxiety helps: having a good support system, cutting out caffeine, eating healthy foods, simplifying my 'to do' list, and prayer. Can't go wrong with a few extra prayers. :) Oh, and retail therapy. That always helps, am I right? :) Next time you're at Babies R Us, check out the Baby Jogger Summit X3 Single Stroller. It's Addie & mama approved! (And you can save 20% off at Babies R Us through June 30, 2016) Happy Monday, friends. May you enjoy some sunshine and a good long jog! XO

Pool Days

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. This post is sponsored by Huggies Little Swimmers. All opinions are mine alone. #WaterThemDailyCB #CollectiveBias

The best part about our summer "hotel" is the pool. We've been swimming almost every single day since it's opened and the girls are loving it! Their tans are already impressive - I swear we're out the same amount of time and wear the same amount of sunscreen and they're still much more tan than I am. ;) 

The other day on instagram, someone asked me how I take two kiddos to the pool by myself. Not going to lie, I was a little apprehensive at first. (Addie is on the go, and these days she is fast.) I'm happy to report it's been so much better than expected. We seriously spend hours in the pool every day. Here are a few of my favorite tips for braving the pool with your kiddos: 

Our number one rule (and Ellie knows it well!) is that she has to be wearing her floatie before we open the gate. She's not allowed to take it off until we have left the pool area, either. Speaking of floaties, we have THIS one and it has made going to the pool ten times easier. It's coast guard approved (!!) and it helps those pre-swimmers gain confidence in the water. Addie isn't quite old enough for a floatie yet (I need to get her a life jacket!), so she stays attached to my hip 100% of the time. The minute she gets set down, she makes a beeline for the side of the pool, ahh! Having Ellie in a floatie makes holding her much easier. I've also used THIS wrap in the pool. It's super cute and allows me to have two hands available. 

We always spend a few extra minutes packing up our bag for the pool. We try to sunscreen at home before leaving and typically, I try to leave my phone at home while we swim. I don't want any distractions that keep me from watching my kids near water. In our bag, we always pack a few toys, snacks, water bottles, and extra sunscreen. Oh, and diapers and wipes, of course! (I've learned the hard way, dragging everyone back home for a quick diaper change and dripping water everywhere!) We love using Huggies Little Swimmers while we swim (featuring Finding Dory characters!) These swimpants have easy open sides to make pool side changes a breeze - seriously so helpful! Having some Huggies Natural Care Wipes on hand are essential - not only for quick changes, but also for messy hands after snack time! 

MAKE IT FUN (and educational!)
The old swim teacher in me comes out every time we're in the pool. I try to throw in a few of my old tricks - playing Motor Boat to practice blowing bubbles and putting face in the water, Chop Chop Timber to help with jumping in the pool, practicing big "ice cream scoops" to encourage moving arms in swimming motion, and putting head back in the water with tummy up and arms out to practice floating (while we pretend we're mermaids, of course). Even with Addie, we work on kicking legs and floating (while holding her the whole time, of course.) The girls think it's hilarious and so much fun. 

Whenever possible, we make sure there's another adult there. Though it's not always an option while Brian's at work, it does make it SO much easier to have another pair of eyes! We've been lucky to meet a few friends here who absolutely adore the girls, and the girls love swimming with them! 

Nothing like a little water and sunshine - it's just SO good for the soul. (And for bedtime - the girls are always so worn out after a long pool day. :) 

For worry-free water fun in the sun, look for Huggies Little Swimmers  with new Finding Dory characters at a retailer near you, and follow this link to download a coupon for $1.50 off your first pack of Huggies Little Swimmers – for a limited time – and find other Huggies offers.