Baby Gear- What You Need & What You Don’t

baby gearI remember feeling overwhelmed when I was preggers with my first baby and making my baby registry. There was so much stuff to choose from and I didn’t know what I really needed. Well now that I’m an experienced mom of three, I thought I’d share the top items I couldn’t live without (aside from the crib, stroller, and obvious necessities) and some things I really didn’t need. Not because I think I’m an expert…far from it, but because I’ve learned from experience and from other moms, so might as well share the love, right?!

I couldn’t live without the…

  1. Rock-and-Play– This is a godsend!! It’s the only place my kids would sleep for long stretches at night during those first months. Especially since they all had acid re flux, so being on an incline was definitely helpful. Seriously, I don’t know how I would have survived without this thing. I have an old one, but the newer versions are even nicer and more comfy! You can buy one here!
  2. Nursing Cover- I love these Copper Pearl covers because they serve so many purposes!! They can be used as a car-seat cover, high chair cover, shopping cart cover, infinity scarf, and best of all- nursing cover. I love how they give full coverage so you don’t have to worry about being exposed during nursing sessions. Not to mention the patterns they offer are really cute!
  3. Nose Frida- Or as we like to call it, “The Snot Sucker.” I know it sounds gross but this thing seriously works SO well. It blows the bulb aspirators out of the water. Plus you don’t have to worry about mold like you do with those. Click here to buy.
  4. Triple Paste- I’ve tried so many diaper creams but this one’s my favorite by far. My sister recommended it to me when Miles was younger and dealing with a wicked diaper rash. It worked so fast!! It’s a little pricey, but you get what you pay for. You can get pick some up at any convenience store.
  5. Baby Carrier- A friend of mine mentioned how much she loves ring slings, so I decided to try one out. I ordered from Sakura Bloom, but Vienna Springs makes really nice ones too. Now when I take all three kiddos grocery shopping I can carry baby love in the sling and she falls right to sleep. This is a lifesaver- especially for moms with more than one kid.
  6. JJ Cole Bundle Me- I love this because it allows your baby to be strapped in safely without a coat and still snug as a bug. Click here to buy.
  7. SwaddleMe Blankets/Blanket Sleepers- My kids didn’t like being swaddled, but they needed to be if I wanted them to get decent sleep. Otherwise their startle reflex would wake them up constantly. The swaddle blankets are nice because they make it so easy for you. They also keep baby warm and safe without the worry of stangulation that comes with loose blankets. Click here to buy.
  8. Sound Machine- Babies sleep so much better with white noise in the background. I like the ones that have a heartbeat sound to mimic life in the womb. They’re especially helpful if you have other kids and you want to drown out the noise. Ahem…like me…You can find them on Amazon or at any baby store.
  9. Blackout Curtains- These are amazing! I wish I had them with my first baby. They keep the room pitch black so baby can take a nice long nap. Hallelujah!
  10.  Owlet Baby Monitor- I used the angelcare monitor with my first two babies, but then I discovered Owlet and I like it so much better. It’s a sock you put on baby’s foot which monitors their heart rate and oxygen levels. There’s also a base station and an app you can download on your phone that will alert you if something’s not right. I don’t have to hover over her crib or come check to make sure she’s breathing during the night. I don’t even worry about it! I can sleep soundly knowing she’s A-OK. You can’t put a price tag on that my friends. Actually you can…it’ll cost you $299. Click here to buy.
  11. Nuring Bras/Pads- If you’re planning to breastfeed, this one’s self explanatory.
  12. Breast Pump- I love my Medela Advanced Breast Pump! It’s a double which obviously cuts the pumping time in half. The best part is, my insurance paid every penny! Did you know you could do that? Click here to see if you’re eligible.
  13. Video Monitor- This is a must! As least for me it is. I like to be able to see my kiddies during the night and hear them if they’re calling for me. There are so many different models out there, so you can choose whichever one fits your needs.
  14. The Mommy Hook- I LOVE the mommy hook! You clip it to your stroller and you can hang your purse and all your shopping bags, so your hands are free to wrangle the kids. I use mine all the time- even when I’m not with the kids lol. They come in all different sizes and colors.the mommy hook

 

Now that we covered the must-haves, let’s chat about the stuff you really don’t need.

  1. Wipe warmer- Sure it sounds nice to clean baby with a warm wipe, but these things dry the wipes out. If your baby’s a little high maintenance, chances are they’re not going to like diaper changes regardless of how warm or cold the wipes are.
  2. Sophie the Giraffe- I don’t get what the fuss is with this thing. I don’t think it’s any better than any of the other teethers we’ve bought that cost less than half the price.
  3. Dreft Detergent- I lovingly washed all my first born’s clothes in special detergent. Now? I’m drowning in laundry. Literally drowning…so I use whatever the hell I have in the cabinet and call it a day. If your bambino has sensitive skin just look for anything “free and clear”, and you’ll be good. No need for special brand name stuff that costs a small fortune.
  4. Baby Shoes- They’re ADORABLE, I’ll admit, but come on! Baby’s usually not walking for the first year so save your money or go buy yourself some shoes! 😉
  5. Hand Mittens- If you really want mittens, you’re better off just getting the onesies and pjs that have them built in. Bonus- you don’t have to worry about them running away with your socks and tupperware lids.
  6. Infant First Aid Kit- I bought one and never used it. If you have bandaids, you’re good to go. And let’s be honest, if baby’s actually hurt or sick you’ll be running to the doctor, not to your handy dandy first aid kit.
  7. Baby Robes- Unless you’re raising a mini-Hugh Hefner, you can skip the robes.
  8. Bottle Warmer- I exclusively breastfeed, but I also pump and store milk in case I ever need to be away from baby during a feeding. I bought a bottle warmer and I wasn’t impressed. It’s easier to just put the milk in a ziplock bag and run it under warm water to heat it up. No special tools required. 🙂
  9. Newborn Sized Clothes- Newborn outfits are so tiny and cute that they’re hard to resist, but the average newborn weighs 7.7 pounds at birth, so they only fit in newborn clothes for a couple weeks. You’re better off buying 0-3 month stuff so baby can wear them longer.
  10. A Changing Table- If you have a big nursery and a budget to match, then go for it, but you really don’t need a changing table. You can just attach a changing pad to baby’s dresser and save the extra space.
  11. Baby Food Processor- At one point in time I thought I’d make all baby’s food from scratch hahahaha!! I was so cute and naive. Then life happened and I found myself loading my shopping cart with Gerber and I never looked back. BUT if you want to make your own food, a regular food processor or blender will get the job done just fine.
  12. Crib Bumpers- They’re cute, but it’s also been proven they can cause suffocation. If you’re worried about baby’s legs or arms getting stuck between the bars, just put her in a blanket sleeper.
  13. Stuffed Animals- If there’s one thing I HATE with a passion, it’s stuffed animals. Yet everyone always wants to give them as gifts. Can we please stop the madness already?! They never get played with and just end up cluttering the house. I have actual nightmares about stuffed animals…

That’s about it my friends! If you found this helpful please pin or share 🙂 xoxo

 

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Before Barre Photos

The beginning of my journey to becoming a healthier and happier mommy for my kids.

My sister, Michelle, started taking barre classes about 1.5 years ago and she always talks about how much she loves it. I can see why…she looks amazing (although she’d never admit it) and I’ve never seen her more physically fit. I told her I wanted to try it out, so she bought me classes for my birthday back in April. Now that I’m not pregnant anymore and I’ve had a couple of months to recover from delivery, I’ve decided to give it a try. Technically I started on Monday, but I forgot to take the “before photos”. Well…today I remembered. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but here’s my postpartum body in all it’s glory.

before barre

I plan on taking classes 3-4 times a week. If I like the results I’m seeing and am happy with how it’s going, then hopefully this will become part of my normal routine and I’ll be a healthier and  happier mommy for my kids. I loved (and hated- lol) my first three classes this week, so fingers crossed!!

I never belonged to a gym or worked out anywhere other than my house. I attempted P90X a couple of times but it’s really intense (although barre is too- but it’s a different kind of intense) and there’s no one to push me to keep going. When it got too difficult I’d say screw it and turn it off. At barre I can’t just give up. We’re all in it together and pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion. I’m so much more motivated to work harder when I’m in a room full of people who are working their asses off too. Sure, I look like an idiot 90% of the time because I’m the least flexible person alive, but that’s okay! I don’t feel judged when I’m there…everyone’s really supportive!

I don’t have a deadline for the after photos, but I’ll post them once I feel like I achieved the results I want. Stay tuned…

 

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Raising Siblings to be Lifelong Friends

sibling friends

I think every parent wants their children to be friends long after they’re gone, which is easier said than done. My kids really do love each other and play well together most of the time, but they also fight like cats and dogs. They know which buttons to push and how to get a reaction, even if it’s negative.

I want them to play together, be there for one another, support each other, and create memories together. Not just as children, but as adults. Here’s how I’m trying to make that happen:

Real Apologies

In our home, we say I’m sorry. Not just a quick, insincere apology, but an actual heartfelt apology. Chloe used to say sorry all the time. It almost became a habit, which she probably picked up from me. Oops! We had to teach her and Miles when it’s important to apologize and how to make it count.

When to Apologize

  1. When you hurt someone’s feelings– this is never okay, and an apology is necessary.
  2. When you physically hurt someone– whether it was intentional or not.

How to Make it Count

We’re teaching our children that to make a heartfelt apology you have to reflect on what you did wrong and think about why it was wrong. Then you have to be willing to ask for forgiveness. It’s not easy, and sometimes their pride or stubbornness (don’t know where they got that from- insert cringe emoji here) gets in the way, but it’s worth it to me to take the time to teach them this valuable lesson.

Hug and Kiss Goodnight

When my husband was growing up, his sister would never let him or his brother go to bed until they gave her a hug and kiss goodnight. It seems like something so small, but you know what? They’re so close now as adults. They never go more than a couple days without talking, even if it’s just through texts.

Of course I want the same for my own children, so every night before they go to bed they always give each other a hug and kiss and say goodnight. It’s funny because Chloe actually started doing that on her own without being told. Miles, on the other hand, needed a little nudge lol.

Helping Each Other

I always encourage my kids to help each other out- whether it’s helping to clean up (regardless of who made the mess), or getting something for each other- they’re being taught to lend a helping hand. Thankfully, Chloe picked up on this right away and has always been a very helpful big sister. She’s a awesome role model for Miles.

That’s what we’re doing in our home to encourage healthy sibling relationships.

But when all else fails, or you’ve just had enough, you can always stick them in a shirt together and go grab yourself a cocktail 😉

sibling friends 2

What are some things you to do encourage strong relationships in your home?

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Window Frame DIY

FullSizeRender (4)I don’t know if it’s my obsession with Fixer Upper or Pinterest, but I’m all about modern farmhouse décor these days. Unfortunately this obsession began about 8 years too late because my house is already decorated and not “farm housie” at all.

A couple weeks ago when I was taking a walk around the block with the kids I hit the mother load. Someone was getting rid of 2 old 6-pane windows! I was so excited. I tried to think of ways I could balance them on the stroller and finish our walk because I was afraid if I didn’t take them right away, some other DIY-er would snatch ’em up. I obviously couldn’t pull that off because they’re pretty big and heavy, so I called my dad (who was on his way over anyway) and asked him to scoop them up for me. He’s good like that.

Initially I thought I’d put 6 different photos in each space but I changed my mind. I decided to pick just one photo from our wedding and then we could hang it above our bed since our room is seriously lacking in the decoration department.

So here’s what I did…

  1. Measure the length and width of the glass portion of the window. Mine was 24″x32″.
  2. Order your poster print- since they don’t make photos in that particular size, I just ordered one that was 24″x36″ and figured it’d be easy to cut off the extra width. I ordered from Vistaprint and it was surprisingly cheap- $13. Not too shabby!
  3. Clean the window- since I’m going for a rustic look I really didn’t have to do much other than wipe the frame clean and Windex the glass. FullSizeRender (2)
  4. Lay the photo up against the glass and measure and trim off the excess.IMG_5780
  5. Next, I took a piece of thick scrapbook paper I happened to have and cut it to fit inside one window pane. This became my tracer that I would use to cut my poster into 6 sections.IMG_5781
  6. Lay the poster face down on a flat surface and use your tracer to cut the correct size.
  7. I wanted to account for the wooden strips going across the window so the photo would look seamless. Each strip was about 1.5 cm wide, so I measure 1.5 cm on my poster and cut the strip out.
  8. Continue using the tracer to measure and cut the next 5 pieces, making sure to account for the wooden strips as you go.
  9. Next, I wanted to add cardboard to the back of each window pane to ensure the photo would lay flat. I happened to have a big cardboard box, so I used my tracer and an x-acto knife to cut out 6 pieces. If you don’t have an x-acto knife, I’m sure a good pair of scissors would work just as well. IMG_6221
  10. Put the photos and cardboard in each section. Tape it to the wood to hold in place. Preferably with a thick, heavy duty tape. FullSizeRender (3)
  11. Now obviously since this was an old window and not a picture frame there are no hooks. That’s when you call your handy man, or in my case- my dad lol, and ask him to help you out. He happened to have some hooks at home and attached them for me.

FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (5)

That’s it! I thought it’d be more complicated than it turned out to be and I LOVE the results! I’m going to use the other window on my family room wall. For that one I think I’ll try 6 different photos and use it as a collage frame. Eventually I’m going to have the farmhouse of my dreams…one piece at a time! 😉

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Happy 5th Birthday!

5 years ago our lives were forever changed when you came into this world. Daddy and I fumbled our way through new parenthood with one mission: don’t mess it up. I think it’s safe to say we failed. Ha! Just kidding. But in all seriousness, they say you make most of the mistakes with your first, so if you need therapy in the future, just send me the bill. lol

In a few short months you’ll be headed off to kindergarten. It feels like as soon as you were born someone hit the fast forward button on life and now we can’t find the remote to slow it down. But as fast as these years have gone by, they’ve undoubtedly been the BEST years of our lives. So cheers to 5 years, my darling girl!

Things I’m Lovin’ About 5-year-old You

  • I love the way you get SO excited about things. It makes everyone else get excited right along with you.
  • Christmas is your favorite holiday by far. You sing carols all year long and always ask how much longer until Christmas is here.
  • You’re not a girly-girl or a tom boy, but a perfect mixture of both.
  • Every night, without fail, you won’t let Miles or Isla go to bed without giving them a hug and a kiss goodnight.
  • You affectionately call me your “cutie mommy” or your “adorable, little mommy”
  • You love to snuggle with me and always give the very best hugs.
  • You love when we do movie nights and sleepovers. Your favorite part is setting everything up. You like to make sure we both have blankets, animals to cuddle with, snacks, and drinks.
  • You’re very helpful around the house and always do what you’re told.
  • You look out for your siblings and make sure they’re safe, just like a big sister should.
  • If we’re shopping together and I let you pick out a treat, you always pick something for your brother too without being asked.
  • You love your family more than anything else. You’re happiest when we’re all together.
  • When you’re uncomfortable you act silly.
  • You love to dance. I can always count on your to bust a move at just the right moment.
  • Your adorable little voice fills the walls of our home and makes it the happiest place to be.
  • You’re curious by nature and love learning new things. Although I don’t always know how to answer your questions. Case and point: “How does the baby get out of your belly?”
  • You always say the sweetest things. Like “Come on, Miles. You can do it. I believe in you.” Or telling me “You look beautiful in those clothes.”
  • You’re equally as funny as you are sweet. Some of my favorite Chloe-isms are- “I’m gonna be a vegetarian one day.” as you’re taking a bite of pork roll. Or when I told you not to be so overly dramatic and you replied “But MOM, being dramatic is what I do.” You were sad when you realized I don’t sleep with any stuffed animals, so I told you I sleep next to daddy. You said, “Oh. So it’s like you’re sleeping with an animal.” LOL
  • You love Jesus and always say your prayers.
  • You use your manners and apologize when you should.
  • Your feelings are easily hurt; but you forgive just as easily.
  • You’re smart- I’m amazed by some of the things you say.
  • You understand sarcasm which is a necessity in our home.
  • If you could eat one food for the rest of your life if would be fries. You like them with ketchup or sometimes with marinara sauce “on the side”.
  • You love lemonade and when we get to order food on Friday nights.
  • You have many nicknames- Chlo, Chlo-Chlo, bear, boochie girl, etc.
  • You only eat the cream filling in Oreos. You’ll lick the cookie part clean and ask Miles if he wants it…which he usually does (ugh…boys!)
  • You love Rita’s, popsicles, chocolate cookies, and snickerdoodles.
  • You smell everything before you eat it and inspect every bite of your dinner to make sure there’s no “black stuff”- aka pepper.
  • Guess Who? is your favorite game. You like to double check with me to make sure you’re doing it right. -“So I put down all the people with yellow hair, right?”
  • If you win, you insist we play again until I’ve had a turn to win too because that’s the only way it would be fair.
  • You share all your books and toys.
  • As soon as you get in the house you immediately take off your shoes so you can “get cozy”.
  • You’re becoming more independent. You get dressed and make your bed yourself in the morning.
  • You love to send snapchats to Aunt Shelly and taking silly pictures. When I open my camera roll I know I’m sure to find some Chloe selfies.
  • You love your home and there’s no place you’d rather be.
  • You have a million stuffed animals but Ellie is your favorite by far. You can’t sleep without her.
  • You also love your two baby blankets- pinky and sparkly- which inspired the name of my blog 😉
  • Perhaps my single most favorite thing about you is that you have a kind heart. I know as you grow older some things will change, but I hope you always keep the kind heart of yours because the world needs it. The world needs YOU.

I love you more than words. Happy 5th birthday, sweet girl. xoxo

 

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A Birth Story- Isla Noelle

I guess the best place to start is Friday afternoon, May 5th. Baby was 5 days late, and I had a doctor appointment at 2:15. Dr. Tashjian checked me and said I was 3 cm and baby’s head was “right there.” She did a membrane sweep and warned me that when labor starts I shouldn’t wait too long before heading to the hospital. I really wish I had taken her advice. Since I was past due, she had me do an NST (nonstress test) to make sure baby was okay. She told me to schedule another NST and an ultrasound for early the following week if I hadn’t delivered yet. I set up appointments for Monday, hoping I wouldn’t actually need them.
That evening I wanted to take a walk to try to get things going. The whole family came, and the kids splashed in puddles along the way. Later that night my stomach kept tightening. It wasn’t painful, but it was consistent. I started timing the tightening and saw it was happening about every 2 minutes. I called my doctor and she said “I usually recommend women wait until they have contractions every 3-4 minutes and they kind of take your breath away. That doesn’t sound like that’s what’s happening here. Sometimes if you lay down it will go away, so you can either try that or you can head in to get checked out.” I decided to lay down and try to get some sleep. Before I knew it, it was morning and nothing had happened. I was slightly disappointment, but I had a feeling it was coming soon. I was right.
As soon as I got out of bed contractions started. This time they were slightly painful and definitely felt different from the night before. I immediately opened my contraction counter app to keep track of how long they lasted and how close together they were. They lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute and were about 5-10 minutes apart right off the bat. They were slightly painful, but nothing I couldn’t tolerate. As the morning went on, the contractions were becoming more painful and started getting closer together. Now they were every 1-3 minutes. I still wasn’t 100% convinced this was the real deal (although in hindsight it’s pretty clear it was), but around noon we decided to let Ron’s parents know this might be it and that they should head over to our house to watch the kids.
We got on the road at 12:45. I said, “Well I guess it’s either going to be today or tomorrow. I really hope we get admitted.”

When we walked into triage I said, “Hi, I think I’m in labor.”
The woman replied “But you’re smiling…”
The triage nurses weren’t very friendly this time around and it was obvious they didn’t think I was actually in labor.
By the time we got into the room to get checked out and I got into my hospital gown, it was 1:30. I didn’t call my doctor ahead of time to let him know I was coming in, so he had left for the day. The nurses made sure to let me know that “next time you should really call before you come.”
They had another doctor check me and he said I was 5 cm and definitely in labor. “Wanna stay and have a baby?”
“YES!”
Now it was time for the lovely nurse to get me hooked up to an IV. Getting an IV while you’re having contractions is unpleasant to say the least…especially when the nurse keeps messing up. “Ugh that one infiltrated.”
“That’s ok…”
“No it’s not ok. I’m sorry. I’ll have to try the other arm. I’m usually a really good stick. I’m the one they come to when they can’t get it. It’s these catheters. They’re horrible.”
Whatever lady…just do what you have to do.
So then she tried on my other arm and ruined that vein too. She decided to give up and said someone else will try when we get to the labor and delivery room.
As Ron and I were waiting to switch rooms I had to brace myself to get through each contraction. They were rapidly becoming more and more intense. I said to him “I need an epidural. I feel stupid getting one so soon, but it hurts so bad.” I knew things were progressing quickly.
We finally headed to the delivery room around 2:00. It was during this time things became unbearable. They asked if I needed a wheelchair, but I stupidly declined. I very slowly followed the nurse down the hallway and had to stop every 5 seconds to try to get through the next contraction. They were becoming SO intense and the pain was radiating through my lower back. I’ve never experienced back labor before, but from what I’ve read I knew this meant baby was posterior, and that might make delivery more difficult. Wonderful.
The next hour is a little hazy. Everything seemed to move on fast-forward. I had to sit in the bed so they could attempt an IV for the third time. Failed again. I was becoming really frustrated. “Why do I even need an IV?! Can we just skip it?”
“No because when you have an epidural it can affect your blood pressure, so you really need to have an IV.”
Eventually they got it on the 4th try.
By now I was delirious from the pain. I remember saying, “I think I’m dying” several times. I realize that sounds overly dramatic, but at the time I literally felt like I was going to die. The nurses reassured me that I would be okay and one even said, “at least you’re getting a little break in between contractions.”

I thought to myself, umm… what break are you talking about?

I looked over and saw Ron smiling and promised him I’d punch him in the face if he smiled again. LOL.

Seconds, not minutes, would pass between contractions and I could feel my entire body convulse with the tension – toes twitching, hands clinging to the bedrails … hanging on for dear life. I didn’t know what position to try to get into because nothing made it feel any better. I just stood there on the verge of tears saying “I don’t know what to do.” I was scared. Really scared. The pain was unbearable and it was all happening so quickly that I felt out of control. I asked about the epidural, and they said they were working on it. I knew in the back of my mind I wasn’t going to get it in time.
I asked if I could push or if they could check me. The nurse did and said I was “about an 8. Your waters way down low and is probably causing the pressure you’re feeling. I don’t want to break it.”
2 minutes later there was an unbearable urge to push. I literally couldn’t help it. I was sitting on the edge of the bed and said “I’m pushing!” The nurse told me to lay down and I cried “I can’t!” She said “If you’re telling me you need to push, then you have to lay down.”
I managed to get on the bed and kept yelling “I have to push! I’m pushing!” I could feel my stomach bear down and push involuntarily. I had no control over it. I had an epidural with Chloe and Miles because my biggest fear was pushing. But now that I didn’t have one, pushing actually made it feel better. It finally gave me some control and something I could do to manage the pain.

My doctor still wasn’t back at the hospital, so the nurses called a midwife in to deliver the baby. I gave one big push and my water exploded. That’s when Ron and I both stopped looking lol. She kept telling me to “Slow down! Let your body do the work for you.”

“I’m gonna throw up!” I said.
The nurse told Ron to grab a bucket from the shelf. It took every bit of self-control I had to stop myself from pushing. I braced myself for the “ring of fire” I heard people talk about, but it never came. What I did feel was a TON of pressure, and then a pop.
I heard the midwife say “There’s the head!” She was born with her hand on her face.
Oh my God. I can’t believe I’m actually doing this right now. I’m delivering naturally and there’s no turning back.
She told me I could give a little push, and then the shoulders came out. I don’t remember exactly what it felt like, and I have no idea what I was looking at because I don’t remember seeing the birth at all. Maybe I had my eyes closed? Who knows..
Then I heard her say “Look down! Here’s your baby!”
I yelled “I don’t want to!” lol I felt disconnected at that moment. It was such a traumatic delivery, I guess I forgot I was getting a baby at the end of all of this.
As soon as she was born the pain instantly went away. They put her on my chest and I was sobbing.  I kept saying “I’m so happy that’s over!” Then I felt the need to apologize for anything I might have said to the nurses during my mental breakdown.
They said “Are you kidding? You did better without an epidural than most women do with one!”
The next two hours were complete bliss. Quiet. Peaceful. Just me and the love of my life bonding with our brand new baby girl. The feeling of her warm body against mine made it all worth it.
Welcome to the world, Isla! You sure know how to make a grand entrance.

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Maternity/Family Photo Shoot

BeFunky Collage

With my due date fast approaching, I wanted to have maternity/family photos taken to capture the belly before it’s gone. I reached out to Ashley Halas, our go-to family photographer, to get a date in the books. (She’s also the one who took the photos for my Adult Cake Smash Photo shoot.)

We set a date for March 19, but there was snow in the forecast. A lot of it. Fortunately, we didn’t get as much as expected, so the show went on. The snow actually made the perfect background.

I love how they turned out! I especially love that we were able to recreate some of the photos we took when I was pregnant with Miles.

BeFunky CollageBeFunky Collage

I also took a silhouette photo that I absolutely LOVED when I was pregnant with Miles, so I decided to do it again. I found the directions here.

BeFunky Collage

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Today I was a good mom

Today I was a good mom.

I woke up at my usual 6:30 so I could get my hair and makeup routine out of the way. When the kids woke up, I greeted them each with a big hug, kiss, and cheerful “Good morning, sunshine!” I asked them how they slept and what they dreamed about. We chatted about what we were going to do today, and we sat down and ate breakfast together. Nothing fancy- just cereal- but they were thrilled to have me sitting with them instead of bouncing around the kitchen trying to pack lunches, unloading the dishwasher and wiping down the counters.

When I got home from work, I purposely left my phone in the kitchen and went to greet my babies. I asked them about their day and they told me every detail. I listened with my full attention and showed I really cared and was interested in what they had to say. Then we spent the next hour having uninterrupted play time. When I got in bed at night, I felt really good. I knew I gave my kids the best version of myself that I possibly could and that they felt loved.

Yesterday I was a bad mom.

I woke up grumpy from a restless night’s sleep. The kids woke up before I finished my makeup, and instead of greeting them with a big hug and kiss, I simply said, “You guys are up early. I have to finish my makeup, so come sit on the couch and I’ll put Mickey on.” There was no chatting about our plans for the day, no snuggling, and no real conversation. I gave them each a bowl of cereal and busily made our lunches and straightened up the kitchen.

When I got home later, my phone came with me. I was exhausted from a long day at work. (Of course, being 7 months pregnant makes even the easiest days seem tiring.) I said hello and asked them about their day, but only gave them half of my attention. I plopped down on the couch, looked through my emails, and scrolled through Facebook while the kids played on the floor in front of me. When I got in bed I felt like crap. I knew I had failed them as a mom, and I told myself I’d do better tomorrow.

And you know what? I did.

I think all of us moms are way too hard on ourselves. We’re constantly looking around at what other moms are doing, and it either gives us an ego boost or it makes us feel inadequate. Who cares if Erica’s mom packs a lunch worthy of a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue. My specialty is rolling up pieces of turkey. Gracie’s mom perfected the French braid? That’s awesome. I mastered the sideways ponytail. Liam’s mom got store-bought valentines? That’s great. I made something crafty for Chloe to hand out. We all have different strengths and weaknesses.

You know what our kids see? Erica and Chloe see that their mom packed all their favorite treats for lunch. Gracie and Chloe rocked their hairdos and were just happy to have it pulled back out of their faces. Liam and Chloe will be equally excited to pass out their valentines to all their friends, regardless of who’s is “fancier.”

My point is, none of these things make us any better or worse as parents. We need to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, and start focusing more on being the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be- because at the end of the day, we’re mom. There’s no one in the whole universe who could possibly love our babies as much as we do. There’s no one who could make a better mother to our own children than we could. Don’t believe me? Go ask your child right now who their favorite person in the whole world is. I guarantee they’ll respond with an enthusiastic “Mommy!” Unless they’re older. Then they may be too cool to say that – haha.

For now, I’m just taking this parenting thing one day at a time and working on meeting my own personal goals. For me, that means trying to be more present. It’s so easy to run on autopilot when you’re going through the, sometimes monotonous, routines of everyday life. I don’t want my kids to have a zombie robot for a mom though, so lately I’ve been trying to stay unplugged until I get them in bed. This is something that makes me feel better about my parenting, so I’m making it more of a priority in my life.

Today I was a good mom. I hope I’ll be a good one tomorrow too. One thing’s for sure- I’ll never stop trying.

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Snow!

There’s something completely magical about snow. I absolutely adore it.
Yesterday the first flakes of the year fell. It was a perfect winter Saturday…snow falling, candles burning, homemade chicken noodle soup in the crock pot, and very excited kiddies.

It wasn’t a blockbuster blizzard by any means, but it was the perfect amount to take the kids out sledding for the first time. Chloe was really into it, but Miles wasn’t a huge fan. Every time we went down the hill the snow would blow in his face. “It’s all part of the experience” haha.

A few years ago hubby and I were entertaining the idea of possibly moving down to North Carolina one day. Mostly because the cost of living is a lot cheaper than it is in Jersey. The more I think about it though, I don’t know that I’d ever be able to move somewhere where it rarely ever snowed. If anything, I want more!! Maybe Boston?

But anyway, now we’re back to our normal Sunday routine. I’ll be patiently waiting for the next snowfall…

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Gingerbread House Cookie Kit

This year we did “Secret Pal” at work. A couple of times a week during December I would sneak into my pal’s room to deliver goodies. (The sounds creepy, and that’s exactly how I felt every time I did it haha). On the last day we did a luncheon where we revealed who our secret pal was and gave a bigger gift. I wanted to include something that she would be able to do with her family, so I searched Pinterest for some inspiration. Lo and behold I found this awesome idea for a gingerbread house cookie kit!

Gingerbread House Cookie Kit

I’m no Betty Crocker, so I couldn’t get as fancy as the original poster did. I stuck to using a premade gingerbread cookie mix, and they turned out just fine. Dare I say- good.

Sidebar- whenever I’m cooking or baking my hubby always jokes that I have a tendency to forget very important pieces of the recipe. Ya know…steps like “put in the fridge overnight.” Oops. Guess we’ll eat this tomorrow and order a pizza LOL. But I digress…

The fun part was getting to fill the craft container with all the goodies (and sneaking a few here and there 🙂 ) I used a craft container from Micheal’s- just like the one I used for last year’s father’s day gift.

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If you click the original link where I found this, you’ll be able to print the cover and add it to the top of your gift.

She said her boys LOVED the kit and had a great time decorating! Yay!

xo

 

 

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