Ask Casey – My Nightly Routine, Formula Feeding, Project Burnout and More
I get lots of design questions from you guys, but I actually get questions about a lot of other things happening in my life, like marriage, blogging, motherhood, fashion…really every single category! So, I tackle your inquiries in my “Ask Casey” blog post series answering your questions every month or so.
If you want to check out previous “Ask Casey” posts, you’ll find them all right here.
The google form at the bottom of the post has helped me keep everything organized so I can slowly make my way through your inquiries. So, if you have another question today, be sure to submit it down below.
Can you walk us through your nightly routine?
Oh, how I love a good routine and I’ve been tweaking my nightly routine as the kids get older. These days, I try to get my pajamas on and do my skincare routine right after dinner, which is at 5:30 pm. (I know, we’re old people around here!) Rory is fascinated with the process, so typically, she comes upstairs with me and watches, while she plays with my brushes or headbands. These are my favorite pajamas and here are a few of the steps in my skincare routine.
- Wash face: I just got this cleanser and really like it. (Tip: only use a tiny bit!)
- Remove makeup: I’ve always used Pond’s cold cream. It’s my ride or die.
- Apply toner: This one is inexpensive and lasts forever.
- Apply retinol: I have prescription retinol from the dermatologist or I use this one.
- Apply moisturizer: I use this one and sometimes drop in a few of these tanning drops for a glow.
- Swipe on lash serum: Another product I swear by. This will give you long lashes!
With that done, I then put one of the kids to bed. (Finn and I trade off each night.) They’re usually asleep by about 7:15 pm, which gives me a bit of time to myself. We both tackle dinner and kid cleanup, and usually throw in a load of laundry. I then do everything I can to get things ready for the next day, so the morning can run smoothly.
After that’s all finished, I’ll sometimes watch a show with Finn or have alone time to read, catch up on work, or watch a TV show. I do my best not to sit and scroll mindlessly on my phone, but it definitely happens.
At around 8 pm, I take this sleep gummy. It’s a new product from Equilibria Women and helps me fall asleep more quickly. I sometimes struggle with my mind racing and thinking of my to-do list for the next day, so this helps! While in bed, I massage this scar gel onto my c-section scar and apply this lip mask before I turn the lights out at 9 pm.
Any tips to get started with IVF? I feel so lost.
It’s so overwhelming at first, so it’s okay to feel a bit lost. First, find a doctor and clinic that you like and trust because you will be there often over the next few months. And remember that no question is stupid. Ask them all! Then, I think it’s just about getting into the right mindset. This is likely not what you pictured when it came to starting a family, but this is the position you’re in and you should make the most of it or else you’ll just feel like you’re torturing yourself. Finn and I did our best to make it a bonding experience during the grueling process. We would get coffee after appointments, turn on a playlist during my nightly shots, and just try to bring any sort of happiness and joy into it.
You will quickly become a pro at doing the shots and managing the meds. Don’t let that overwhelm you. In a week or two, it will feel like nothing at all to manage it. But lean on your partner and your care team at the fertility clinic, and talk to other women who have been through it before. Here’s a link to all of the posts I’ve written about infertility. They’re full of more tips and information about our journey.
Curious how you now feel about your decision to formula feed Ellis? I’m contemplating using it for my second and have a lot of guilt surrounding the choice.
Every time I do a question box on Instagram stories, I get some question from a mom who feels guilty about formula feeding. So, I first have to say, “Ladies, we have to drop the mom guilt!” Being a mom is hard enough, and you shouldn’t agonize over these decisions. You’re doing the best you can and you want what’s best for your baby and your family! If you are feeling anxious about breastfeeding or simply don’t want to do it, that is reason enough. We made the decision when I was pregnant with Ellis that we would formula feed this time around and I literally never ever think about it now! Not ever. Ellis is thriving and I’m a happier mom because of this decision. Do what works for you and your family and don’t look back.
Can you share your favorite entry rugs for a house with no mudroom?
We don’t have a mudroom and we use the front and back doors of our home, equally, to get in and out of the house. I always have some sort of natural fiber rug there because I think they’re the most durable and they hide everything. I usually have a lot of luck at places like HomeGoods or Target, but I also bought this striped jute rug from Rugs USA and it’s been a good purchase.
Did you ever find a double stroller you like?
Yes, and I’m so happy I finally got one. We ended up going with this one because it’s lightweight and good for the city. (Finn found it second-hand, so that was an extra plus!) We even flew with it on our recent trip to Arizona, checking it at the gate. Because we had it with us, we were able to go for morning walks with Rory and my 4-year-old niece. I love being able to pop both kids in pretty easily for trips to the park or coffee shop.
Sharing the Load
How did you and Finn share the load during the first month with a newborn?
Those early days are so tough. This time around, it was definitely different because we also had a toddler to watch. So during the day, Finn ran after Rory, while I stayed back with Ellis. At night, we would put the kids to bed and I would head to bed right after that – around 7 pm. Then, I would sleep until the middle of the night, so I could do that feeding and the morning feeding. As for other chores, we both tackled laundry, basically all day, every day, and ate a lot of simple meals or takeout.
Outside of the first month, we split a lot of kid tasks. Finn manages the stock of items (diapers, wipes, etc.) and also their clothing (removing things they’ve outgrown, buying new, etc.). I focus on development and research (reading books about feeding, sleep training, behavior, etc.) and managing the day-to-day.
My biggest advice would be to talk to your partner and try to create a plan before the baby arrives, especially when it comes to the overnight feedings. Finn has always been a night owl, whereas I’m an early bird, so we knew that the plan would work for us. Talk to your partner and figure out the right system so you have a good balance.
How do you keep from getting project burnout from renovations, especially since it’s your job?
I’m feeling a bit burned out right now, actually. We just had two big bathroom projects, so our house was a construction zone for quite a while. I try not to do big renovations back to back. Usually, a big reno is followed by many small decorative projects to create a bit of balance. At the beginning of the year, I always write out my home goals and that helps me look at the year altogether and make decisions that way. (You can read 2022 here.) I definitely recommend that approach.
Submit Your Questions
Have a question you want to be answered? Use the google form below and I’ll answer it in the next Ask Casey post.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.