Month: August 2015

Friday Favorites | Toddler snacks

Sometimes I feel like all I am doing is preparing the next meal or snack for Seton. And the girl eats slloooooowwwwllllyy. It is not uncommon for her to be in her high chair for a full hour leisurely making her way through her meal. I try so hard not to rush her because she needs to bulk up a bit, so I let her do her thing. But mealtime/snacktime is probably the most frustrating for me. She becomes hungry ALL THE SUDDEN and she must have food RIGHT NOW or she pitches a fit. By the time the veggies have streamed or the meat is cooked she is upset and makes sure I know it throughout the whole meal.

I feel like I’m a server at a restaurant with a really crabby customer.

I’m learning to feed her a lot more often than I would think she needs to be fed in order to avoid these breakdowns. (I have to defend my mom card a LITTLE here and say that she DOES eat well and is great about liking all the healthy foods! She is just fussy on the timing of it all) I had to go on a hunt for quick, healthy toddler snacks and found some gems. Although I let Seton get messy in her high chair because I think a little mess is good for her, I’m a fan of mess-free snacks so she can eat them at other people’s houses, at restaurants, or just at home when I don’t want to clean her high chair tray for the umpteen time.

Here are my favorites:

1. | We get these from Aldi, and I love them because Seton pretty much sucks it like a straw and it is essentially NO MESS (except for that one time she squeezed it on her shirt). She loves that she has complete control over how quickly she can eat it!

2. | Bananas are the easiest fruit to travel with and also don’t create a big mess. Just don’t forget about the one you left in your diaper bag…

3. | Aint no shame in the string cheese game. String cheese used to weird me out a bit because it doesn’t seem like you should be able to pull your food apart like a strings BUT! NO MESS. No clean up. Yes, please.

4. | I craved orange juice when I was pregnant (real bad), so it’s a little whoa to see how much Seton devours oranges. Cuties are easy to pack for a snack on the go.

5. | For a little sweet treat, we let her munch on these graham crackers (Aldi, you have our hearts).

Those are our top 5 on-the-go quick and dirty-free snacks!! Now PLEASE leave a comment with your suggestions for more! Seton is still in the potential-choking phase so we are waiting on the raw hard fruits and veggies!

Monday Musings |Why you should marry a good man (and what I mean by ‘good’)

The combination of a wedding at the end of this week and my husband’s birthday yesterday has me thinking of love and my husband…and how much I love my husband.

I do some really dumb things, but marrying him was one of my more brilliant ideas. Here’s why:

He knows how to say, “I’m sorry”…which ends up getting said a lot in marriage. He recognizes he isn’t perfect. He admits he’s wrong when he’s wrong.

He doesn’t let me always be right. Even though I am. (j to the k). He rarely gets really upset, so when he does, I find myself hanging my head because I know I did or said something wrong.

He’s energetic. Energy in a grown man translates to the lawn getting mowed, the groceries getting shopped, the bills getting paid, the baby getting bathed. Things get done around here. (well, he always starts them and does the hard parts, and I usually finish them)

He sees marriage as something that is more than him and me. He treats me well because he considers it his vocation, not just because he thinks I’m pretty or witty or interesting (because sometimes I’m not any of those things).

He is fearful in a manly way. He is fearful of not being able to provide and in his fear, I find stability. And he finds motivation. I know my career isn’t the only thing upholding our family financially, and that’s pretty awesome.

He respects me and tries to love me the way Christ loves me.

He talks to me. If he hates doing dishes, he tells me. If he needs to be alone and watch some show (usually with people wearing dirty brown clothes i.e. Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Peaky Blinders), he tells me so.

He thanks me for loving him. He doesn’t expect love or feel like he deserves love. He recognizes his faults and sees that I love him regardless.

Which I do. I love him so much.

Photo by Honey and Salt
Photo by Honey and Salt

I wrote about 5 Things to Consider When Looking for Mr. Right 4 months after we got married! Check it out!

Friday Favorites | Podcasts

With an interesting turn of events, the past few weeks my life have been largely spent in a car. Out of sheer boredom, desperate text messages were sent to friends and family for recommendations for SOMETHING TO DO. I can only take my thoughts for so long and as it turns out, “so long” ends up being about 30 minutes.

The first podcast series recommended was Serial and O to the M to the G. I was immediately pulled into the storyline of Adnan Syed, a man convicted of murder when he was 18 years old–a murder which he says he didn’t commit. BUT WHY DID THIS PODCAST HAVE TO END!?!

I went through the entire 12 episodes pretty quickly (LOTS of car time, folks) and started looking for more recommendations.

That’s when I came across Fountains of Carrots. Now I just feel like a creepy person because in my perception of my life, I had coffee with Haley and Christy 28 times over and they are my imaginary best friends that are actually not imaginary and have no idea who I am.

Those are my Friday Faves for ya! Let me know of any other podcasts you like because it looks like I have more car time in my future.

like sand through the hour glass

Photo credit Honey and Salt
Photo credit Honey and Salt

I’ve written this post a few times over in my head, but I just hadn’t found the urge to sit down and type it in fear that it would make everything seem so final.

We got news on July 22 that Davey’s grandmother was going into hospice and would pass away within the following week. We immediately made plans to drive through the night the next day and head to Indiana to see her again and say good bye. I love that I married a man that can look at me and say, “I have to go see Nana…” So sweet and loving, he is.

Meanwhile, my grandmother had been sick for some time and was under the care of hospice. She had been suffering a lot — way more than she ever could have imagined, she said. I had said my “good bye” to her in June thinking I would probably never see her alive again. I can’t really write this without tears welling in my eyes thinking of how much she endured her last few months. The pain, the nausea, the discomfort. It would have been enough to make anyone lose their faith.

I’ll never forget our last day with Nana, Davey’s grandmother. Every aspect of her personality that I respect so much was shown–her humor, her wit, her decisiveness. She was an extremely smart woman who, although enduring so much loss in her life, was easily described by her granddaughter during the eulogy as “content” with who she was. She found contentedness with the path life took her.

When a grandparent passes away, there is suddenly the realization that a familial generation will soon be gone altogether. The awareness of time becomes too keen.

I clung to Seton, happy that pieces of our grandmothers are already evident in her personality.

We spent a lot of time with Davey’s family around the time of Nana’s death. I kept thinking, “Thanks, Nana, for these people.” I knew her for 4 years and because of her life, I have a family. I have people to grow old with. I have a daughter. I have my people.

Leaving town after Nana’s funeral was difficult.

I said good bye to my grandma, again.

By that point, she wasn’t able to speak. Sitting next to her, we saw her lips moving and knew that she was praying, “Hail Mary…”

I told her I love her, and somehow from the depths of her soul, she muttered, “I love you.”

Back in June when when Davey and I thought we were saying our final goodbye, she told us, “Love each other. Don’t stop loving each other.”

She always used to say when people pass away, we selfishly want them here with us. But we have to be happy for them, and let them go.

I never really thought about how I would be telling myself that when she passed away.

Three hours to Minnesota, my phone rang. My grandmother took her last breath. She was gone.

There is a sense of being disrooted when your last living grandparent passes.

She used to have an hour glass in her hallway. We would beg to open our Christmas presents right after Christmas Eve dinner, and she would tell us, “Go turn the hour glass. When the sand runs out, it’s time.”

I’d like to think she spent her life waiting to open her present, watching the sands run through the hour glass. Now it’s her time. She has wanted this for so long. I am happy for her.

The gifts from my grandma; my people
The gifts from my grandma; my people
The gift from Nana; my people The gifts from Nana; my people

As when anyone dies, we pledge to honor them in our life.

The best way for me to honor Nana is to be ardent and keen with decisions I make for my family. Choose to be a powerful matriarch who stays firm to my values. Make good decisions and avoid comparisons. Accept heartache and loss, but don’t let it ruin me. Laugh until I die.

The best way for me to honor Grandma is to exude love in all I do. In every dish I wash. In every patient I touch. In every diaper I change. Never stop loving in the most simple and important ways.

Kegel Muscles: You’ve got questions. I’ve got answers.

Thanks so much for reading through my series on the Kegel muscles (aka pelvic floor). I hope that I was able to help you in some way. Here are some questions people emailed, texted, or asked me personally after reading through my posts.

I am a mom of 5 children who were each delivered via C-section. Why are my vaginal muscles weakening? What are the best exercises and best diet plan (if that is a factor)?

Even though your children were delivered via C-section, the weight of carrying around a child (or 5) was enough pressure on your pelvic floor to stretch it out. Other factors, like your posture and sleeping position, can weaken your pelvic floor. The good news is that you can strengthen it! I recommend reading through my posts and adjust your posture and incorporate a daily routine of strengthening your Kegels. If you feel like you need more help, see a physical therapist.

I sometimes get a sudden urge to pee and have to run to the bathroom. If I don’t make it in time, I leak urine. Will strengthening my Kegels help prevent this?

This is a good time for me to bring up the different types of incontinence: urge, stress, overflow, and functional.

Urge incontinence is what is described in this question and occurs when there is an urgent need to rush to the bathroom. There can be many reasons for this, so I recommend discussing it with your doctor before attempting to strengthen your Kegels.

Stress incontinence occurs due to an increase in abdominal pressure like coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Pelvic floor strengthening is usually helpful for this type of incontinence. I also recommend that when you are coughing, laughing, or sneezing you contract your Kegels and your abdominals. You would benefit immensely from seeing a physical therapist.

Overflow incontinence occurs when you are not able to completely empty your bladder, so when it fills up again, you leak. This may occur because of a number of medical reasons, so I recommend speaking to your doctor if you feel this is the case.

Functional inctontinence occurs when a physical problem prevents you from getting to the bathroom on time.

Take ownership of your health! You CAN change your incontinence problems, so don’t sit around in silence due to embarrassment. Seek help so you can change your life for the better! If you seek professional help and are only put on a medication, I encourage you to ask more questions. Ask your practitioner which type of incontinence describes your condition and if physical therapy may help–whether you are male or female!

I leak urine when I cough and sneeze. It all started when I was about 15 weeks pregnant. I told my ob-gyn at one of my prenatal appointments, and she told me to cross my legs when I cough or sneeze. Is this what I should be doing?

Um, with all due respect to your ob-gyn, NO. Crossing your legs when you sneeze to prevent the leakage of urine might be a quick fix because it literally pulls the pelvic floor muscles taut. Pulling the muscles taut overtime STRETCHES them. A muscles that is overly stretched out is much harder to contract. Therefore, crossing your legs can weaken the muscles overtime and perpetuate the problem. I recommend contracting your Kegels and your abdominals (as instructed here) when you cough/sneeze/laugh rather than crossing your legs. Also, take yourself through the exercise progression.

I was told to strengthen my Kegels, I should contract the muscles on and off when I am peeing to make them strong. Is this a good exercise?

I have a lot of patients who tell me they do Kegel exercises when they are peeing, and I die a little bit inside every time I hear it because of the sacral micturition reflex. (the who-sa-what-a?!?!?!) Ever since our potty-training days, the act of sitting on the toilet signals our brain to tell our pelvic floor muscles, “okay, relax now” and tells our bladder “okay, contract now” so pee comes out. When we change that up by doing the OPPOSITE—that is, a kegel exercise–we screw up all that work our parents did to potty-train us. And what did we do before they potty trained us?

We peed our pants.

Don’t mess with the potty-training reflex.

Do your exercises away from the porcelain throne.

I am having pain during intercourse. How is this related to my pelvic floor?

First of all, you are not alone. It’s estimated that 20-50% of women have pain with intercourse. This means that possibly half of your friends may be experiencing the same problem! I am not going to offer much advice about this aside from saying there is a good chance it can be fixed with physical therapy. Talk to your ob-gyn and see what he/she thinks. Ask if you can have an order for physical therapy. You won’t be disappointed, and you may start having a little more fun in the sack. 😉 You can thank me later.

***The content of is for informational purposes only. The information presented is not to be taken as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are having pain, or seeking medical advice, talk to your health care provider. Do not delay in seeking treatment because of information you have read on Taking recommendations presented on is solely at your own risk***

Pelvic floor exercise progression: How to strengthen your Kegels

First, make sure you know how to take care of you Kegel muscles daily!! If you feel ready to strengthen your Kegels at home, read below!

kegels, kegel muscles, pelvic floor muscles, physical therapy, postpartum, pregnancy

Kegel muscles, or pelvic floor muscles, are just like any other muscle in your body in a sense that contracting them against gravity is a greater chore than using gravity to your advantage. This is important to remember when you decide how to go about strengthening your kegels.


kegels, kegel exercises, sleeping position, women's health, pelvic floor, pregnancy, postpartum

The position that is most helpful in contracting your Kegels is the sidelying position. Lie on your side with your top leg supported on pillows so that your hip is in a neutral position. Tighten your Kegel muscles as though you are stopping the flow of urine. I often cue people to imagine the pelvic floor is an elevator. Imagine ropes attached to your ribs. As you contract, the ropes are pulling the elevator (pelvic floor) toward your rib cage. Exhale as you are contracting.

If you are holding your breath, the opposite will happen–your pelvic floor will expand toward your feet (eek!) just like a parachute expands when it meets air resistance. This stretches the pelvic floor, making it hard to contract and can weaken it over time. Hold each contraction 5-10 seconds. Repeat 10-20 times.

(side note: If you feel like you can’t contract your pelvic floor in this position, please see a physical therapist! To see one, ask your doctor–possibly your obgyn–for an order to see a physical therapist who specializes in women’s health….even if you are male! They are the gurus of the pelvic floor. You can also see a PT through direct access.)


kegels, kegel muscles, pelvic floor muscles, physical therapy, postpartum, pregnancy

Another position that is “gravity-lessened” for the Kegel muscles is the quadruped position. On your hands and knees with your knees directly below your hips and your hands below your shoulders, contract your pelvic floor as described above while exhaling. Make sure your back is flat.

In this position, I also encourage you to contract your abdominal muscles as you contract your kegels. Do this by pulling your belly button toward your spine. Again, if you are holding your breath and/or bearing down, your stomach expands, and the increased volume actually stretches your pelvic floor and abdominals like a parachute stretches when it meets air resistance (aka don’t do that). Hold 5-10 seconds and repeat 10-20 times.


kegels, kegel muscles, pelvic floor muscles, physical therapy, postpartum, pregnancy

It may take a few weeks, but once you are able to complete the above positions correctly, you can move to a sitting position for your Kegel work out. 😉 In this position, you are lifting your Kegels against gravity, so it is much more challenging. Contract your pelvic floor muscles by thinking of lifting them up toward your rib cage as described above. Hold 5-10 seconds and repeat 10-20 times.



Next, try to contract your Kegels in standing. Think of raising your pelvic floor up toward your ribs with the elevator ropes as described above as you exhale.

The most challenging way to contract and exercise your Kegels is to perform contractions during your normal movements, such as arising from a chair. Start by contracting the muscles in sitting and keeping them contracted as you move to stand.

If you are active in fitness and exercise, keep these tips in mind as you lift weights and move through your exercise routine. Remember, if you hold your breath, you are expanding your pelvic floor (like when a parachute meets air resistance) and stretching them out which can weaken the muscles over time.

(Feel free to leave a comment below (you can leave one anonymously!) or send an email to kayleemayblog at gmail dot com with any questions. If I get enough questions throughout this series, I will post a Q&A post to conclude it)

***The content of is for informational purposes only. The information presented is not to be taken as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are having pain, or seeking medical advice, talk to your health care provider. Do not delay in seeking treatment because of information you have read on Taking recommendations presented on is solely at your own risk***