Mainly Marta :: A Motherhood + Lifestyle Blog



What started as a digital diary to document a newfound journey as a stay at home mom / wife has quickly evolved into my own little corner on the internet where I share all that life brings my way -- the good, the bad, and those "aha!" moments. All with a hint of sarcasm, a dash of truth and bold European wit. Thanks for following along!



LifeStyle Change | Always Eat After 7 PM

This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own.

Hi Friends! 

Today I wanted to talk to you about a book that has inspired a lifestyle change. 

Truth is, I want to lose 100 pounds by the time Alexander turns two. Yes, you heard that right, I am 100 pounds overweight and I am so embarrassed by it. Having three babies back to back wrecked my body in a way that I never thought imaginable. I wish I was one of those women who had a tiny baby bump and one of those "breastfeeding helped the baby weight come right off" stories, but I don't. I'm left with pounds I don't want and the need to implement a program that will aid in getting to where I want to be. 

I've opted to follow a plan listed in the Always Eat After 7 PM written by Joel Marion.

In the Joel's own words, "Always Eat After 7 pm is a three-phase program that teaches you how to lose big by strategically eating big when you are naturally hungriest—in the evening. This may sound too good to be true, but let me assure you it is no gimmick. It’s all about making strategic and smart food swaps, and you can still eat your favorite foods."

The most challenging times to curb hunger are just before bed and in the morning. By following the Always Eat After 7PM program, you have the most willpower to stay on the diet because you are eating during the hours when you are most hungry. This also puts you into both intermittent fasting increasing testosterone and your metabolism, while putting you into ketosis.  

I've done intermittent fasting + follow Joel's tips on what to eat for about two weeks now and I am loving it. The book is a super simple guide with a ton of recipes that are easy to make. It's been such a great lifestyle change!
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Home Refresh | Planning + Mood / Inspo Boards

Hi, friends! 

Something you may not know about me is that I've always had a knack for interior design. At the end of May, the renters who live in the basement of our home are leaving which means that we're going to reclaim that space. I'm so excited to be able to move everything around, reorganize and re-design the entire house -- room by room! This project will probably take me all summer as I plan to DIY things that we already own, rearrange rooms / furniture as well as add new + thrifted pieces into the mix. 

T H E P L A N 

I thought it'd be fun to share my plans / inspo for each space with all of you. Dreaming about and planning out these spaces in my head is becoming a way for me to keep busy during this time of social distancing and gloomy pacific northwest spring weather while we wait for moving day. I'm constantly doing refreshes by adding seasonal decor, but this is a whole home revamp. Here are the rooms we will be tackling through this process:

  • Living Room 
  • Dining Room 
  • Play Room 
  • Family Room
  • Office 
  • Guest Room

Our master bedroom and kitchen have already gone through mini revamps this year, but I will be adding some new things in there too. We're also planning to rearrange the boy's room and our garage by making a section of it a mini home gym, so I will be sharing about all these other things too! I'm seriously so excited about this y'all! I have so many ideas and cannot wait to see it all come together.

I've curated some mood / inspo boards for each room to show you the looks I am going for and the type of items that I'd like to add to each room. This is a guide for myself and a look book for my husband as he tends to look at me with a blank stare when I explain all the things I am brainstorming.  

T H E L I V I N G R O O M 

This is going to be a space where we will entertain guests, have no television present, and spend hours of family time -- I envision playing games, family meetings, and unwinding after a long day with a cup of tea in hand here. I want this space to be open +  spacious. I plan on using neutral tones with pops of greenery. 

T H E D I N I N G R O O M 

This space is connected to our living room, so I want the transition to each room to be smooth. I want this room to have a modern rustic farmhouse feel to it. I want my tablescape to be simple; less is more -- especially when you live in a home with all boys. 

We've acquired the table, bench and dining room chairs already. One thing on our to-do list is to fix the bench that came with the table. I love the idea of the boys sitting on the bench together as it makes it easier to climb on and off of, but also because it breeds a sense of closeness.

My cousin so graciously gifted this table + bench when he moved homes as it didn't fit in his new space. It's a big table made from restored hardware and as my husband always says, "it has character." Throughout this home refresh, I hope to have each room tell a story through the pieces in it. 

T H E P L A Y R O O M 

This is one of the rooms I am most excited about! As of right now, most of the toys we own are in boxes in the garage -- waiting eagerly for this space. My dream for this space is to be full of color but in the most minimalistic way. I want this space to encourage learning, adventure, imagination and play all at the same time. 
We already own a play kitchen and store which I am wanting to paint over and diy it to make them appear like they go together -- I'll dedicate an entire blog post to that process. This room used to be a bedroom, so we have a closet; making the organization aspect of it so much more amazing! I love that we'll be able to store a lot of the boy's things here without too much clutter. 

T H E F A M I L Y R O O M 

This room will be located right outside of the playroom and will be where we spend most of our time. Our entire basement (minus the playroom) consists of black and white checkered tile flooring, so I don't want too many patterns and colors to clash with that. We only have two white walls in this space as there is a brick fireplace for a wall and wood paneling on the other. I want this room to have minimal decor and lots of life via potted plants. 

Our beloved couch from room and board will go in this space + as well as our tv / media stand. We're dedicating this space to casual family hangouts and movie nights. I plan on spending a lot of time in this space while the boys play in the playroom. 

T H E O F F I C E 

Another space that I am over the moon to set up -- the office! This will be a space that I retreat to when I need some time to myself. I love that this room has a full bath connected to it, so it really is perfect. 

I've titled it creators cove as content will be created here -- photos, videos, blog posts, art projects, etc. This space will have a mini seating area, a desk, and cubicles for as wide as the eyes can see.

T H E G U E S T R O O M 

Since the boys currently share a room, we've decided that until we have more kids (hoping for a girl!), this spare room will be a guest bedroom. My siblings often crash at our house, other times we have family + friends stopping by from out of state and it will be nice to give them a little space they can call their own while they spend time with us. 

A very minimal space, bright and airy is what I want to do here. I don't want to much clutter since it's a small room and I don't want to much going on here, so it can be a restful place for whoever need to use it.

R E A D Y,  S E T,  D E C O R A T E!

So, these are my ideas -- what do y'all think? I am so excited about this, but I also recognize that seeing everything come to fruition will take time.... a lot of time. With all my DIYing ideas and the thrifting I'd like to do, this house revamp project may take forever, but that's totally fine with me. I'll post about the progress on Instagram and then do the major reveals here on the blog. I can't wait to share all of my finds with you guys. GAH, I am so excited! 

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Alexander :: Pregnancy + Labor Story

I cannot believe that this baby boy is about to turn one and I have yet to publish his birth story. I'm so embarrassed, but at the same time, I'm not because y'all, I have three boys and let me tell you, life is busy around here. What's important is that I'm finally doing it, right? So, here's the rundown of how little Alex came into this world.

How I Found Out + Reaction 

I feel like I always say this, but this pregnancy took me by complete surprise. I found out I was pregnant just 5 months after I had Marcus -- yup. You read that right, five months. I cannot tell you how surprised I was when I took the test.

I first suspected I was pregnant when I was on vacation and we were driving home from Disneyland to La Quinta. Well, my husband suspected it. I was getting really car sick and could not keep myself composed for a two-hour drive. I never get car sick, so that was really not like me. 

On a late Walmart run, after we arrived in La Quinta, my husband grabbed a pregnancy test and casually mentioned that I should take it because it's a possibility. Ya never know until you know, right?

So, I took it to humor him. He and my siblings were at the door waiting for the results. There was one bold line and one very faint line, so of course, I thought, a false positive. I walked out and told him, I'm probably not pregnant, but there is a faint line that I think I'm seeing. Everyone passed around the test and we couldn't decide if it was positive or negative. We decided that he would go back to Walmart in the morning and get one of those tests that spell it out for you -- not pregnant. 

Fast forward to the next morning and test, boom -- pregnant.  

We told close family and friends and the reactions were mostly good. Most of everyone we told was excited to hear that we were pregnant, but some family members thought it was too soon and that I needed to lose the baby weight first -- oh well, someone's gotta be that person, right? My husband was thrilled which is the most important reaction to me and I too was pleasantly surprised because even though I wasn't expecting it,  I do love babies. 

At Disneyland; totally unaware that I'm about to have another baby

The Pregnancy 

This pregnancy was rough because I had two other kids both under the age of two who were not letting me rest when I needed to, but other than that pregnancy itself was normal -- no complications or risks; thank you Jesus. I do feel like this pregnancy zoomed by though. I mean, I was pregnant and then I had the baby. Everything else is a hazy blur that I can not remember.

I announced on  Instagram at 14 weeks (with the photo above) and then booked an appointment at 15 weeks to find out the gender because I was sooooo hoping for a daughter. Y'all, I went to that appointment and Alex had his legs crossed with the umbilical cord in the middle and they could not see any boy parts. The ultrasound tech told me it's a girl, but to come back in two days just to make sure. 

I WAS SO EXCITED TO BE HAVING A GIRL and was already thinking of girl names, planning all the cute mom daughter things we'd do annnnnnnd then I went back to double-check that my joy was not short-lived. Well, I got on the table, she jellied up my belly and started to look. It wasn't long before she broke the silence and said, "well, good thing you came back because it's definitely not a girl." HAHA. I cannot tell you how funny I found that to be because even though I was getting excited about a baby girl, the back of my mind was always like with your luck, it's a boy, just watch. 

On the drive home from that appointment, my husband and I talked boy names. Alexander Jude was decided right there and then, no other opinions needed. I was ready to meet that sweet baby boy then and there. 

late February ::  7 mo. pregnant and exhausted

Soooooo, the pregnancy went on until March when I started to have trouble walking and running after Marcus, so we sent him to stay at my mom's on the weekends and when my husband had school all day. He was too energetic and too much of a thrill-seeker, so keeping him safe as I was waddling everywhere was really hard. 

On April 17th, I went to a routine check-up and was told that I was 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. I was told that if I suspected anything, to call in and go in because of my last pregnancy with Marcus where my water broke and I had the baby within 2 hours of it breaking. I went home and was excited because Marcus had come early and I was secretly hoping that Alex would too. I was so over being pregnant. 

So, on the 20th, I kept noticing that my underwear was wet after changing several times. I called in and the doctor on call told me to come in. I went on in and the nurses on staff told me it was a very busy night thus far. They showed me to my room and then the head nurse came in, told me everyone was busy and that she would be taking care of me. She also mentioned that she hopes the night quiets down from here on out. 

I was never seen by the doctor and after the nurse tested for amniotic fluid, I was dismissed and quickly sent me home because the test did not show my water had broken. I was furious because I was having contractions every eight to six minutes, but the nurse insisted that I was fine and told me to drink lots of water. She told me I probably peed myself and I was instructed not call  / come back unless my contractions were less than 5 minutes apart.

Wellllllllllll, the next four days were literal torture. I was contracting 6 to 4 minutes a majority of the day, but would have a gap of 10 minutes in between, so I didn't call in. I sat, sometimes crying from the pain, but waited for the next doctor's appointment because I'm that patient that does not like to bother medical staff.

Labor + Birth 

My next OBGYN appointment was 4 days after my hospital visit and my sister tells me that I seemed completely out of it. Probably because I was. I was starting to feel like my back was going to break with every step that I took. Anyway, I arrived at the office for my afternoon appointment, had the baby's heartbeat checked and then told my doctor what had happened on Saturday. Because I was 34 weeks (1 day shy of 35 weeks), she said that she would check to see if my water was actually broken. 

She went to check and could not find the amniotic fluid sac and mentioned that it was unusually wet down there. I was now 5 cm dilated and my contractions were consistent on her monitor. She told me she was sending me straight to the hospital and told me that I was having this baby today. 

Excited, I went down to my car, got in and drove myself to the hospital -- luckily my husband was having his nursing school clinical in the same hospital, so we met in the parking lot and then onward to the maternity ward. 

I checked in, they hooked me up to the machines and my husband decided he wanted to drive Marcus and Felix to my mom's. I told him to stay because they were fine with my sister, but he insisted on going. The nurse said that it could be a while, so he left and I was alone in a room waiting for my doctor. 

While chatting with my nurse, I had mentioned that my babies tend to come fast, so we both decided that it would be best to get my epidural before they place the Pitocin in my system. My contractions were consistent, so we got the epidural, and shortly after the Pitocin went in. Fifteen minutes in, the Pitocin made the baby's heart drop a bit, so the nurse stopped it and said they'd wait a bit more before starting up again. They called my doctor and told her to come soon because my contractions were speeding up on the machine.  

Literally five minutes after I had the Pitocin stopped, I felt pressure, so I told the nurse. She lifted the blanket to see Alex crowning. She rushed out of the room, rushed back in with 4 other nurses accompanying her starting to get the room ready for delivery and my doctor flew in like a rushing bullet. 

The nurse's hand was stopping Alex from popping out and all I heard was "don't push, don't move, don't laugh, this baby is coming and we aren't ready!" The doctor grabbed some gloves and her gown, popped down and said, "okay, push" and with that one-half push, my little baby boy was earthside at 6:09 pm April 24, 2019, weighing 6 pounds 7 ounces. 

And right as baby boy popped out into the doctor's hands, in waltz my husband asking, "wait, did I miss it."  They placed the baby on my chest after my husband cut the cord and all the nurses marveled at how quick everything went. Several of them joked that I should have more babies because that was a breeze.

Alexander was quick to latch, his blood sugar levels quickly stabilized, and he passed all his screening with soaring colors. We spent two days in the hospital and then off we went to meet his brothers and start life as a family of five.

Thinking Back 

I wish I would have written this blog post earlier. Haha, but really all jokes aside, one thing I wish I did differently was to advocate for myself when that nurse sent me away. I was at home in active labor for four days and had all my water been depleted, both my baby and I could have suffered from a life-threatening infection. Worst case scenario, we both could have died.  

My water sac was slowly leaking and I knew I wasn't crazy, but I also trusted that the medical staff was doing their job. That nurse clearly didn't want another patient and I saw her again when I went in to give birth -- to which she rolled her eyes and avoided my room my entire stay. 

At this hospital, the head nurse is supposed to check in on you each morning and she never did come to see me even though she was on the floor. My husband said she greeted him nicely on the second day, but that's probably because I didn't rat her out to her supervisor. Whatever her reasoning was, I hope that she treats patients better. 

Anywaaaaaay, life with Alex is amazing, I can't tell you how much joy this baby boy has brought to our little family. We are fully enjoying our sweet chunk of a many, so happy that he's healthy and thriving along with the rest of us. 

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Black Bear Diner | First Impression + Review

During this time of social distancing and quarantining, mealtime is something that we look forward to because it another way to spend time with the family that doesn't include technology. Even though we're at home ALL day long, spending time cooking seems to be harder than it was before. My kids are bouncing off the walls from being stuck inside all day and it makes me nervous to cook full-blown meals when they are running through the kitchen trying to grab and see what's on the counter.

On the most hectic of days, we turn to take out / delivery for peace of mind. Last night was one of those nights and we tried Black Bear Diner in an attempt to branch away from our typical pizza joint / burger place nearby. & y'all let me just say -- it was delicious.

We opted for the family to go meal that consisted of 4 huuuuuge chicken fried steaks, 4 cornbread muffins, mashed potatoes, fries, and seasonal vegetables. We also added on some salad and mac and cheese to our order for the kids. All I can say was that it was a feast fit for kings -- there was so much food!

I was really impressed that a family meal was so large! It's perfect for a mom whose mini crew eats like mountain men. I really appreciated the fact that the menu had something for everyone. It made feeding picky eaters a breeze.

Black Bear Diner doesn't just have dinner options; they do breakfast and lunch too! Upon browsing the menu, I feel like I am going to have to try all their options because everything on the menu sounded so delicious -- see the menu here. In short, we were all super satisfied with Black Bear Diner and are looking forward to ordering from them again especially when the quarantine / social distancing orders seem to be extending into May.

If you're wondering about Black Bear Diner in relation to where you are -- click here. You can order online and choose take out / delivery depending on what your local authorities permit you to do during these social distancing days. It's a great option on a day when you want a good meal and don't have the energy to crank out any kitchen trinkets.

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Keeping The Littles Busy | 40+ Indoor Activities

If you're like me, you can't afford to binge shows during this time of social distancing because your kids don't appreciate shows like The Office or Friends like you do. So, what are you to do when you're going stir crazy and your kids are bouncing off the walls? What do you do when Disney+ isn't keeping the toddler's attention and they've started to cause mayhem to occupy themselves?

It's rough, right? To be honest, this mama is starting to go stir crazy -- literally feeling like the walls are swallowing us up. I'm a stay at home mom, but we typically interact with the human race on normal days. Being stuck inside for 3 weeks is starting to reaaaaaalllllly get to us, so I've decided to share a contemplation of resources / activities that will keep the little ones occupied while you stay in. There are many resources for school-aged kids out there right now, but if we're being honest, it's the toddler parents that are going nuts... especially in places where the weather doesn't permit them to be outside in the backyard.

So without further ado, here's some stuff to keep everyone sane and having fun! 

Virtual Tours :: this is a link to a comprehensive list -- a lot of them are museums that adults can enjoy (hey, mama has got to stay sane too), but the zoos and aquarium section is perfect for little people.

Other tours that your little ones may like: National Parks and Farms.

Roller Coaster Rides :: my little guys love watching these on youtube. Here are some of our favorite youtube channels that provide hours of entertainment. This is probably my favorite because they keep the boy's attention for more than 10 minutes!

⚙ CoasterForce
Sharp Production
⚙ ThemePark HD
⚙ iThemePark

Virtual / Audio Books :: a great way to spark the imagination on a rainy day. We use StoryLine and we listen to Disney audiobooks on Spotify -- here's a link to our playlist. We also have the kids listen to Bible Stories here.

Photo Shoot / Silly Selfies :: Instagram + Snapchat Filters to the rescue here. Not even joking here. We can spend like 45 minutes sounding like chipmunks and taking pictures of our faces looking silly.

Karaoke :: nothing better than kids singing Baby Shark at the top of their lungs, am I right?

Those are all things that you can do utilizing the screen, so here are some other activities that you can so with your little ones that don't involve technology.

Build a Fort 

Bake Cookies

Chores -- let them wipe the windows and push around your heavy vacuum

Prepare a Meal together -- let them put a sandwich together, make a pizza or let them pour the juice in the glasses.. anything to make these little people feel like they're doing the best job in the world as your assistant.

Make Sock Puppets 

Set Up A Race Track -- crank out the painter's tape and go, go go!

PLAAAAAY DOH -- messy, but so worth it in these desperate times.

Stickers -- also kind of messy, but we have a designated notebook for them to stick on.

⚙ Coloring Pages -- my guys love these. If your kids are like mine, they like to color images of things they see on the screen / from their favorite shows, so we get our sheets from here. To keep things fun, one day they'll color with crayons, but the next day they'll use fingerpaint or watercolors!

Arts + Crafts -- I just drop a bunch of supplies on the table and let them get creative because what's the point of directing people who avoid listening to directions. Pinterest has so many ideas, but keep it simple with cotton balls, glue, markers, and googly eyes.

Slime -- again, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Play House / Store & Cops and Robbers -- orrrrr be a patient at the toddler's hospital, get silly.

Bubble Baths, Wands + Machines 

Make Crowns + Tiaras -- out of tin foil and stickers.

Camp Indoors -- and go make smores in the air fryer.

Cardboard Box Coloring -- get a box + crayons and let them go to town.

Paint -- with brushes, fingers, sponges, cotton balls + swabs, macaroni // on paper, cardboard, rocks, pots, wood -- again, get creative, you have so much time to waste.

Make Paper Airplanes

Set Up a Car Wash -- for all the toy cars in the house.

Build a Rocket out of Cardboard -- or a fort, town, car, anything really.

Drumming Concert with Pots + Pans -- have some advil on hand mama, things may get wild.

Flour in A Baking Pan Art -- so messy, but the kids love it.

Bowling Tournament in The Hallway -- empty water bottles are my favorite pins!

Make Some Hats + Masks -- cardboard, markers and tape and waaaaa-laaaaa!

Go Fishing In The Living Room -- use a laundry basket as a boat, salad clippers as a rod and then toys as fish or you can cut out fish from construction paper if you're bored during naptime.

Read a Book Together

Floor is Lava Trail -- throw some pillows on the floor and ruuuuuun!

Have A Balloon Party -- blow up some balloons, toss them in the air, play catch, draw faces on them, go wild.

Play Hide & Seek -- now is the time to go old school, mama.

Play with Flashlights -- make some animal shadows with your hands or just let the kids have some fun before bedtime.

Sing Silly Songs -- head shoulders knees and toes on repeat people!

Play with Magnets -- letters, animals, planet magnets from Amazon or whatever you have on hand.

Toss Toys + Soft Balls into a Laundry Basket -- make them future into stars of the NBA & WNBA

Jump On Some Bubble Wrap

Play Dress Up & Throw A Fashion Show -- old clothes and accessories have never been so in!

Have An Indoor Picnic 

Coffee Filter Art -- let them use markers and then sprinkle water over them or dip them in colored water.

Mountain Climbing -- pile pillows in the middle of the living room and challenge them to a climb off

Practice Cutting with Plastic Knife & Banana

Play Some Guessing Games -- animal sounds, vehicle sounds, etc.

Stack Blocks Until The Tower Falls 

Soooooo, yah, so much fun to be had at home, am I right? What are some of the things y'all are doing to keep your little ones occupied during this time of social distancing? I'd love to hear in the comments.



A Freshful Start in 2020

This post is sponsored by Gerber! All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Hi friends! Today I'm partnering up with Gerber to share one of the things that have helped make life with three little ones a bit easier for us since I started working this November. Because my husband is studying for his nursing boards while I'm away at work, I like to leave him with tools to help him feel prepared when it comes to taking care of the boys when I'm away. With a growing baby and toddlers in the house, it's important to me that they all get good nutritious food, so Gerber® Freshful Start™  is my go-to when I am not at home because I know it's made with organic fruits and veggies.

In addition to being organic, I love that Gerber® Freshful Start™ is non-GMO and has no preservatives. It gives this mama peace of mind that baby boy is getting the very best from the very start and that I am choosing the most nutritious options for all my little guys. Gerber is a brand I have grown to trust. I remember my mom buying Gerber baby food for my little brothers when I was growing and now that I have kids of my own, I am turning to Gerber for the same reason my mom did -- history, quality and the attention they give to the consumer's wants and needs.

I really love that Freshful Start™ is a fresh tasting, cooked with love line has so many options -- from purees, to ready to blend kits, to entree bowls there is something for all stages + seasons of life. Because our baby boy is a supported sitter, we are currently using the purees and the ready to blend kits for him, but my toddlers really love the entree bowls. There's an option for everyone and that makes food prep so much easier on the most chaotic, on the go type of days.

I love having the entree bowls because they can complement dishes that I am already preparing. It's perfect for those days when I am late coming home from work and  I am in a hurry to get food on the table for all my little guys. I can also pair two of the dishes together for a full meal or I can rest assured that my little guys are getting veggies after I realize I didn't prepare a side dish for the evening -- y'all the Freshful Start™ line is perfect for busy lifestyles!

Gerber® Freshful Start™ can be found at your local Walmart in the refrigerated section of the baby food aisle!

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