Year in the Life Documentary Photography with Heather Gallagher

This past year I had the amazing privilege of getting to work with Heather Gallagher to document our family from the end of my pregnancy through baby’s first birthday. I love that Heather offers this “year in the life” photography package because it focuses more on how the whole family changes and grows over a year rather than the more typical baby milestone photo packages I’d seen before. We have two older children and this year was HUGE for them in terms of changes and I’m so grateful to have these priceless images to remember our whole family unit over the course of the year that we welcomed baby number three into the fold.

I highly recommend Heather Gallagher not only for this year-in-the-life package but for any of your photography needs (especially birth photography!). She is based in Vermont but also travels for photo sessions from time to time!

Heather is also a full spectrum doula which you can learn more about by reaching out to her at hello@heathergallagher.co or following her on Instagram @heather.gallagher

Maternity Photos

Our first photo session was a maternity photo shoot at the Austin Public Library which is one of our favorite places to explore together. The kids quickly became comfortable with Heather and were up to their typical silly antics.

Birth Photography

The next time we saw Heather was for the birth! She arrived just 40 minutes or so before baby was born and probably would’ve missed it if she hadn’t had the foresight to be hanging around the area ‘just in case’ which I’m forever grateful for! Birth photos are the most beautiful images in the world and I look back at mine often. It can be hard to remember the details when you’re in “laborland” and having all of the little moments captured is not only really special but has also helped me in the processing of my birth story.

Postpartum Photo Session

Heather came back a few days later for a Postpartum shoot which really captures our big kids and how they were changing as they stepped into their new roles.

One Year Old Birthday Photo Session

We finished our year together with Heather capturing baby’s 1st Birthday party! Of course I love all of the images but more than that, it was so nice to not have to worry about where my phone was so I could be taking pictures as well and I am in way more of the photos than I would’ve been as well. I think it helped keep everyone else off of their phones as well especially when it came time for the smash cake—I noticed that everyone didn’t do the typical thing of all trying to film this moment because they knew Heather had it covered.

It’s so surreal to have more than a year captured of our family and putting together this blog post was so much fun as I went back through all of the images. It was definitely hard to pick my favorites and I’m sure my favorites will change over time! I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a year in the life of our little family! If you are in the Austin area, I highly recommend Heather Gallagher not only for this year-in-the-life package but for any of your photography needs (especially birth photography!). Heather is also a full spectrum doula which you can learn more about by reaching out to her at hello@heathergallagher.co or following her on Instagram @heather.gallagher. Thank you Heather!!!

Our Favorite Baby Sleep Products

It’s amazing how many new products have popped up since my last baby was born 6 years ago. With baby #3 and working in the baby industry, I got to try a lot of new products as well as some old favorites. I wanted to round them all up to share with you. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about any of them.

Create a Good Sleep Environment for Baby

When your baby is first born they will need SO much sleep that they can pass out just about anywhere… usually on your chest after a feeding. But as they get older, you’ll want to put some thought into creating a proper sleep environment for them.

Diffuse Essential Oils in Baby’s Room

I got really into essential oils during my pregnancy and especially found so much support from them for my sleep. So of course I was excited to try some of the gentler oils with baby. We only use Young Living essential oils because they are 100% pure therapeutic grade and honestly just work better than any other brands I’ve tried. When baby was still sleeping with us we’d just diffuse one or two drops of lavender, frankincense, or a blend called Gentle Baby right before bed. Now that he’s in his own room we do the same and have since discovered that he seems to sleep really well with White Angelica or Peace & Calming. Most of these oils come in the Young Living Starter Kit if you want more info about getting started.

crane humidifier

Use a Cool Mist Humidifier

Babies only breathe through their noses so if they are congested it’s very difficult for them to get good sleep. We love Crane’s cool mist humidifiers (the cool mist part is really important) because they are super easy to use and clean and are freaking adorable. They come in all different animal themes as well as sleep drop styles. We’ve been partnering with Crane for quite a while and they offer the coupon code BIRTH19 to my audience for $10 off +free shipping.

Make the Room Super Dark

Babies are used to complete darkness in your womb and they like a dark room to sleep in too. I know when they are brand new they can sleep anywhere and anytime but as they get older you’re going to want to create a dark room which is easy to do with some quality blackout curtains.

Use a White Noise Machine

Again, babies are used the loud white noise of being in your belly so they love a good, loud white noise machine. Not all of these are created equal and you definitely don’t want songs or nature sounds. I interviewed a sleep expert on the podcast and they actually said pink noise is best. My favorite ones are from Lectrofan.

Baby loungers

My husband and I have chosen to co-sleep with all three of our kids for the first six months or so. With our first two children we just had them in bed with us and practiced safe co-sleeping guidelines. With our new baby we tried out a couple of baby loungers. There are many brands on the market from large and small companies but the two we had were the DockaTot and the SnuggleMe Organic. We like them both for different reasons. The SnuggleMe really hugs baby and keeps their knees up with baby’s love when they are having tummy troubles. The DockATot has a bottom to it so it was more comfortable for travel with we would put baby down in it on the hard floor. We also ended up using the DockATot longer because it felt like he grew out of the SnuggleMe faster.

compare baby loungers

Swaddles and Sleep Sacks

Ok there are a million different swaddling and sleep sack options on the market so it can be hard to know what to use and they aren’t exactly cheap either. Luckily once you find one your baby loves, you really only need two. Here’s what worked best for us.

types of baby swaddles

Getting Baby to Sleep While Traveling

I discovered a couple of products to make travel more easy this time around and am excited to share them!

  • Slumberpod Blackout tent for playyard – This one is a GAME CHANGER you guys. I think of all of the times we tried to squeeze our older kids pack n plays into a hotel bathroom and wonder why it took so long for someone to invent this!? You can use the code birthhour for $10 off too! It’s on backorder a lot but they will notify you when it’s back in stock!
  • Travel blackout curtain – if you aren’t going to use the Slumberpod, there’s also a great travel blackout curtain that suctions to any window.
  • Portable white noise machine – I love this rechargeable white noise machine for on the go. You can use this next to their bed but also in the car, strollers etc.
  • Doona Carseat that converts to a stroller – This is one of my favorite baby products on the market right now. It is definitely pricey but if you are going to register for one big ticket item then I can’t recommend this enough. Or go for the $80 ikea crib (we love ours) and then spring for the Doona carseat/stroller! Not only does it make short trips in and out of the store WAY easier, it also helps baby stay asleep when you don’t have to fumble with a travel system or take them out of the carseat to put into a stroller.
  • Baby carrier – There are so many options and everyone will have different preferences here. We’ve been using Ergobaby carriers for all three kids and still love them and you can’t go wrong with a snuggly wrap for the newborn days.

Remember, All Babies are Different

It’s good to keep in mind that no two babies are going to have the same sleep habits but having some awesome products on hand will hopefully help! I also highly recommend Taking Cara Babies sleep course for newborns and older babies and the Happiest Baby on the Block.

The Ultimate Guide to Young Living CBD Oil

What is CBD oil?

Ok first, let’s address the biggest question… no, CBD is NOT marijuana. Ok…Then what is it? 

CBD is short for cannabidiol, a naturally occurring substance of the cannabis plant. There are two primary species of cannabis, hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD, but hemp contains lots of it while marijuana produces more THC. The stalks of hemp is where we’re extracting our CBD from, not from the buds of Willie Nelson’s favorite plant. 

Important to know: CBD does NOT produce the mind-altering effects caused by THC.

The CBD from Nature’s Ultra (part of the Young Living family) is distilled into an isolate and is lab-tested to contain 0.0% THC which is hard to find.

So instead of euphoric trips and feelings of sedation, CBD actually helps promote feelings of calmness and relaxation! This is because CBD has an amazing ability to support us and help us achieve balance. Whether we are feeling off physically or mentally – the root causes can start from some level of ‘imbalance’.

How do you use CBD oil from Young Living?

Nature’s Ultra CBD oil is used topically on the areas that need the most support.

Topically on your skin

In some cases our joints and muscles desire some TLC, our skin is irritated, you name it. In cooperation with things like targeted exercises, healthy diet, meditation, and drinking plenty of water, we can also support some of these areas with CBD oil, Roller blends and CBD Balm.

I love using CBD topically after chasing kids around all day or after a hard workout! Also great for those on the computer a lot or with texting thumbs 😉 ! Using CBD topically in a muscle rub or roller can help support sore muscles and aches. I personally use it regularly on my forearms after I’ve been typing or texting too much and then do some hand exercises.

How do Nature’s Ultra and Young Living Work Together?

Nature’s Ultra is a wholly owned partner of Young Living, and their CBD products are now available through your Young Living account at wholesale prices. You can also become a member of Young Living now with a CBD Starter Kit (click the tab that says “other premium kits”).

CBD Premium Starter Kit from Young Living

You have the choice between two different strengths of CBD when getting the CBD starter kit from Young Living. Regular or Extra-Strength. The regular strength includes:

  • Calm CBD Roll-On, 300 mg
  • Citrus CBD Oil, 500 mg
  • CBD Muscle Rub, 300 mg
  • Getting Started with CBD brochure
  • Access to our exclusive team resources including private FB groups, monthly online classes, e-books, and mentorship! Be sure to use our referral link when signing up!

Extra-Strength CBD Premium Starter Kit

The Young Living Extra-Strength CBD Premium Starter Kit includes:

  • Calm CBD Roll-On, 600 mg
  • Citrus CBD Oil, 1,000 mg
  • CBD Muscle Rub, 600 mg
  • Getting Started with CBD brochure
  • Access to our exclusive team resources including private FB groups, monthly online classes, e-books, and mentorship!

According to Young Living, “One of the factors that motivated the acquisition of Nature’s Ultra is that we recognized they share many of the same values as we do. They even share our Seed to Seal® commitment to quality, which we’ve verified through visits to their farms. Nature’s Ultra and Young Living are a match made in health!”

The Young Living infused Nature’s Ultra CBD products are created with essential oils and you can also enhance your CBD experience by pairing it with Young Living essential oils in your Starter Kit (plus many more). It’s important to note, the safest and most effective form of CBD is an isolate which is what Nature’s Ultra produces. By combining the CBD oil isolate with terpene-infused essential oils, you’re enhancing the potential benefits of your CBD experience with a more targeted approach. Terpenes are responsible for the unique aromas of essential oils. More importantly, smelling them directly contributes to the emotional support we get from using our essential oils. 

Pairing CBD with Young Living essential oils

You can easily pair CBD with essential oils from your starter kit for an enhanced experience.  The essential oils mentioned below have those awesome terpenes we talked about earlier and can enhance your experience for an even greater result. As always, it’s recommended that you consult a professional to create a tailored plan for your needs.

  • Frankincense: applied topically to the face with CBD oil for skin rejuvenation.
  • DiGize Vitality: applied to your abdomen with CBD oil to aid in tummy relief.
  • Lavender: applied topically to your feet at bedtime with CBD for better rest and deep relaxation.

And this is only the start! You can enhance your experience with almost all the oils in the Young Living premium starter kit along with tons of others.\

What CBD products does Young Living offer?

  • CBD Starter Kit (includes YL wholesale membership, CBD lavender Calm roll-on, CBD muscle rub, and CBD oil Citrus)
  • Calm CBD Roll-On: Infused with Young Living lavender, this roller creates a peaceful environment that will help relax and quiet your mind (currently loving this postpartum) and great for bedtime.
  • CBD oil cool mint
  • CBD oil cinnamon
  • CBD oil citrus
  • CBD Muscle Rub

When is the best time to use Nature’s Ultra infused with Young Living CBD products?

On the Go with CBD roll-ons

What we apply to our skin topically is absorbed into our skin. We want to be aware of the things that are bad for our health, and only put products on our skin that we know what’s in them. That’s why I love the CBD roll-ons from Nature’s Ultra because they practice the same Seed to Seal guidelines as Young Living.

When you’re feeling stress

Apply a CBD roll-on infused with Young Living Essential Oils then take some deep breaths or try a guided meditation and you’ll enjoy the benefits of relaxation from essential oils and CBD while improving your daily practices.

Before bedtime

One of my favorite combinations is applying lavender essential oil topically to your feet at bedtime with CBD for deep relaxation. Try a relaxation exercise like tightening each muscle one by one and releasing.

How do you order Nature’s Ultra CBD products through Young Living?

If you aren’t already a member with YOUNG LIVING, let’s start there! To become a member you just need to buy a starter kit and now you can get a CBD starter kit for an amazing value compared to buying the products separately. You can get also get the premium essential oils starter kit which comes with 12 of the most popular essential oils and a diffuser or the basic starter kit which simply gets you your membership and comes with Stress Away oil.

Once you become a member, you will enjoy the wholesale discount of 24% off that all Young Living Members get on products. In addition to ordering the CBD products through Young Living, many of the essential oils compliment CBD usage and are a perfect start to plant-based wellness.

Step #1:

Use our referral link to get your CBD starter kit or essential oil starter kit. You’ll become a member, get wholesale pricing and gain access to our team resources. More about that here!

Step #2:

When logged in to your Young Living account, click One Time Order and find the CBD section! Starting February 1, 2020 you will also be able to order these products through Essential Rewards, Young Living’s monthly autoship program that comes with lots of additional perks!

Step #3

Enjoy shopping for the best CBD ever at a discounted price! 

FAQ: Is CBD oil safe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

Unfortunately there isn’t much research in this area yet when it comes to CBD. There are studies regarding marijuana and pregnancy/breastfeeding and use of marijuana should definitely be avoided. More info here.

However, several of the main concerns with marijuana use including impaired ability to properly care for your baby and second hand smoke, are not concerns with CBD oil. The main question is how much CBD is transferred to your baby and what effects will it have and that’s where the research is lacking still. You should always consult with your care provider with any questions.

This article is only referring to Young Living and Nature’s Ultra products which have very high standards of quality and 0.0% THC. Please do not apply what you read here to other brands. Again, always talk to your care provider and use your own judgment. 

DISCLAIMER: The information is for informational purposes only and it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

Sources:

  • https://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/marijuana/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938896/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852356/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6100014/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/
  • https://echoconnection.org/cbd-absorbed-body/
  • https://www.livescience.com/63452-what-is-cannabis-oil.html
  • https://www.health.com/pain/what-is-cbd
  • https://www.health.com/pain/what-is-cbd

Family of Five

Capturing Our Family at Home

We’re a couple months into our Year in the Life documentary photography package with Heather Gallagher and I’m in love with the most recent images. The package started with maternity photos, then birth photos and will culminate with baby’s 1st birthday. I just know this year is going to fly by (as they tend to do) and I’m so excited to have so many memories captured by Heather.

This most recent session was a more intentional family session with a few posed shots (kind of necessary to get all five of us in one frame!) but we were still in the comfort of our home where our kids were free to be themselves (for better or worse ha!). I’m not a fan of props or background setups for family photos and I NEVER buy the school photos because they just don’t truly capture my children.

Heather has such a great eye (and timing!) for snapping photographs that I will always cherish. Here are a few of my favorites from our most recent session. Contact her via her website or Instagram for all the details!

Unique Baby Products We’re Trying For Baby #3

It’s amazing how many new products and innovative baby solutions have come onto the market since we had our first baby seven years ago.

5 S’s Soothing Smart Bassinet

snoo

When parents ask me what book to read to prepare for taking care of a newborn, I always recommend Happiest Baby on the Block (or even the dvd if you are too sleep deprived to read a book!). We used the 5 S’s (swaddle, side or stomach position, shush, swing, and sucktechnique with both of our kids and it was a life saver when they had an inconsolable evening! So when I saw the SNOO bassinet from Dr. Knapp who wrote the Happiest Baby on the Block at a baby show a couple of years ago (before we were ever expecting), I was intrigued. Yes at first glance, the straight jacket in a cradle was a little odd looking but learning more about the product and it’s intuitive design and then remembering how badly my arms and neck would hurt after doing the swinging/side position myself for hours on end, I was sold. This is a high ticket item but if you consider the price of a night nanny or you know, your sanity, it might be worth it. Some stores are also piloting a program for renting the SNOO for a monthly fee which I think is genius!

Swaddles with Different Positioning Options

I am all about swaddling and with our first two babies, we swaddles as long as humanly possible! I was excited to learn about a few new designs that give babies a little more freedom of movement while still leaving them feeling super secure. We’re excited to try these from Love2Dream.

Handy Changing Station Products

Skip Hop has this genius diaper caddy that has a touch light so you can see your supplies at night without turning on a bright light. I’m also super excited to use their changing pad that doesn’t require covers and can just be wiped clean. I remember going through like 5 covers a day sometimes and even just giving up and laying a towel down!

We are also using a diaper pail for the first time ever and I’m so excited. I love that this one can hold cloth or disposable diapers and can use regular trash bags or the handy tear-off refills that Dekor makes.

Eco-Friendly Teething Toys that Won’t Mold

We had the infamous giraffe toy with our first two but after seeing one too many of those cut open to reveal mold, I threw that thing away. I was excited to discover Oli & Carol Natural Rubber Toys which are not only non-toxic, handmade from natural rubber but there are no holes whatsoever so they won’t get bacteria build up in them even when using them as bath toys!

oli and carol

Teething Jewelry

I remember teething necklaces for moms being very new on the scene when I had my first two kids. Mostly handmade shops on Etsy and such and most weren’t really my style. I’m loving how some of the new designs look like jewelry I’d actually wear and this is one fun little item for me that I’m excited about! This brand also makes adorable teethers like this taco (every Austinite baby needs one) and this bubble tea!

Willow

This hands free and cord free wearable breast pump is another product that I remember seeing the first announcements about and being so excited that innovations around breastpumps were finally being taken into consideration. I will be working from home and won’t be pumping very often but when the Willow team reached out about sending me a pump to try, I knew I wanted to give it a go and can’t wait to report back to all of you!

Washable Rugs

lorena canals

Our whole house is wood flooring so I knew I wanted a rug to soften up the nursery both for sound control and coziness. We’ve had so many rugs get destroyed by our kids that I was hesitant about it though. I was super excited to try a rug that can be thrown in the washing machine from Lorena Canals AND I also found a small faux sheepskin rug that is also washable! Cozy but still super practical for a baby/toddler? Sign me up!

We also found a really cozy faux sheepskin run to layer on top of this rug that is also washable!! I’ve wanted to add a sheepskin accent rug to the room but couldn’t figure out how it would stay clean in a nursery that would eventually belong to a toddler! I was so excited to find these on Instagram and at a really affordable price point and with different size options/colors.

Breathable Crib Mattress

This is actually our first time owning a crib so I wasn’t really sure what the benefits were of the different mattress. I knew I wanted non-toxic and waterproof and this breathable mattress from Newton fit the bill with the added benefit of being super safe for baby. Even if they are sleeping face down (obviously not recommended), they can breathe easily. Read more on their website. 

Diaper Bag with a Mission

These custom made diaper bags are so beautiful and I love the mission behind the company to hire women who have various barriers to employment to make each bag by hand. Read more about the company and design your own bag!

better life bags

How to Start (and Grow) Your Young Living Business

How I got started with Young Living

I honestly never take on things like this (The Birth Hour keeps me plenty busy!) but the YL team that I had the opportunity to join (and that you can join too!) is so fun & full of knowledge that I couldn’t resist joining them after watching so many friends move up through the ranks all while having a blast!

I’ve been actively using the oils in my daily life so much (especially during my pregnancy) that it only made sense to get on board and start sharing my experience. And to be totally frank, working solo on the podcast was getting a little isolating and I am loving having a group of friends both online and locally to share mutual goals with.

I’m a terrible salesperson and had no desire to become one but through our team’s free mentorship program I learned that it’s really all about sharing rather than selling. That I could do! I was using the essential oils and products so much throughout the day that I simply started sharing more of my day with friends in my daily life and on Instagram.

The other cool thing is that you don’t have to pay anything up front or keep any stock of products, all you are doing is sharing your referral link and helping people get their starter kit so they can experience all of the most popular oils while also getting their own access to the wholesale prices of 24% off everything Young Living makes!

My first new members were my friends and family that would come over to my house and ask what that amazing smell was or where I got the awesome hand soap in the bathroom etc. Everything I had learned in the mentorship was pretty spot on—the people that love you and already trust your taste will be interested in the things your are using and loving! I was hooked! 

With a Young Living business you can:

  • Get your products paid for
  • Be your own boss and have more time with your family
  • Work alongside an amazing community of women leaders and entrepreneurs
  • Earn an income that is a direct result of your own efforts
  • Grow real wealth and residual income through the well established business model of network marketing (I know this is the part people struggle with and I did too but I haven’t experienced anything sketchy or salesy since joining!)

Our team has all the resources and tools you need to start growing your very own Young Living Essential Oil business including graphics and photos free for you to use, pre-made oils classes for you to teach, ebooks, ongoing trainings and education, and best of all, a vast community of support and friendship. Honestly, my favorite part—it’s truly so much fun to work alongside these women and celebrate each others successes no matter how big or small!

The Business Opportunity with Young Living

If you have you fallen in love with Essential Oils and now you want to share with others,  Young Living allows you to turn that passion into a real income! Our team’s primary mission is to give you the tools and education you need to succeed.

We equip each of our new members with resources and tools including an online mentorship, and tons of guidance. The beauty of a Young Living business is that it’s designed to foster a community of support. That means that when you decide to grow your business with Young Living and enroll as a brand partner, you get free and unlimited access to all of our team resources and community support groups and anyone that you enroll will get the same!

What makes Young Living different than other MLMs?

OK, yes I was turned off by the idea of joining a network marketing or multi level marketing business because of all of the horror stories I’d heard. At the same time, I had friends in my real life that were seeing huge successes with their Young Living Businesses! A couple of people on my upline showed me their actual paychecks so at least I knew the money was real right off the bat. Even though I trusted them, I wanted to make sure and do some research of my own.

So the big concern with MLMs is that they are a scam or a pyramid scheme, right? Since the only startup cost was to get my $165 starter kit, which I already had (and loved!), I wasn’t too worried about being scammed. I already knew the products were high quality and worked for me and my family, so again I wasn’t worried about scamming people with crappy products! 

In order to earn full commissions you do need to be on the Essential Rewards program spending but I was already doing that, because, again, I loved the products and loved all of the perks of this monthly autoship program (free stuff, points back, etc!). We were switching out conventional products for non-toxic, plant based products in our home and loving the changes we were seeing so this was also a no brainer for me. We started getting our cleaning products, supplements, shampoo, etc. all from Young Living. Plus, how many startup businesses can you think of that can get off the ground spending only around $50 to $100/month?!

Ok, so the pyramid scheme thing. All MLMs are designed in a way that when you look at your team it does resemble a pyramid and Young Living is no different. However, I don’t view this as a scheme because our team is all working together to help one another succeed. One thing unique to Young Living is that they allow you to strategically place your members in different areas of your organization so your upline can actually help YOUR team grow by placing people that enroll with them into your team. So, when those above you are doing well, it actually helps your business and of course every person who joins your team also helps those above you.

We all grow together and supporting each other is definitely the vibe I saw immediately once I joined our private team groups on Facebook. It’s actually pretty remarkable how supportive those groups are and how inspiring the members are. It’s so rare to come across a big online community of women with ZERO cattiness or mommy wars behavior. Of course I can’t speak for every Young Living team out there but the team I joined has become a group of lifelong friendships. 

So how much are people actually earning with a Young Living Business?

How much you earn in your Young Living business is entirely up to you. Some members are content to earn a few extra hundred dollars a month, while others are looking to earn six-figure incomes and beyond. Again, my favorite part is that when those above and below you succeed, you succeed too! It’s definitely a team effort and you never feel like a salesperson out there alone.

Below you’ll see the average monthly income earned by the nearly 1.75 million Young Living members worldwide. Last updated in 2018. Our team is all about helping you reach your goals, however big.

I’m currently a Gold leader with Young Living and I’ve been doing the business for 3 years. 

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