Friday, March 31, 2017

Review #24: Graco Nautilus

Dawn loves her Graco Nautilus and so do I! This seat is wonderfully spacious, has two cubies for toys and a built in cup holder. It is a forward facing only seat for children 20-100lbs. It has 3 modes; Forward Facing Harness(20-65lbs, no younger than 2 years old). High Back Booster (30-100lbs), and Backless Booster (40-100lbs). Most currently on the market for sale have a no-rethread harness. And although there are not many recline options, there is a recline foot that helps get that perfect level installation. Since 2011 this seat has been made with a 10 year expiration too! Dawn will be using her Nautilus until she outgrows car seats!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Top 5 things I’ve learned while April was pregnant

Top 5 things I’ve learned while April was pregnant

#5: Giraffes are pregnant FOREVER!

Okay so not really forever but 13-15 months is insane! We’ve all learned this isn’t a completely accurate science and there’s lots of factors that go into it like conception date, size, etc but DAMN it makes my 2 weeks overdue seem like a walk in the park

#4 Male giraffes test the female’s fertility before mating!

Male giraffes will test a female's fertility by tasting her urine. Yup, he drinks it. Ughhhhhh. 

#3 Giraffes only sleep 20-30 minutes a day!

20 Minutes? That’s crazy! And its typically the only time they lay down all day. How do those long long legs hold up that big body for 23.5 hours? 

#2 Giraffe babies are born 6 feet tall!

Ill never be 6 feet tall, but that giraffe will be at birth. Male giraffes can grow up to 20ft tall and females to 15ft. 

#1 Male Giraffes are players!

They “hit it and quit it” They want nothing to do with being a baby-daddy. They don’t bond with their young & in the wild they are usually long gone before the baby arrives, and after sometimes impregnating a large portion of the herd of females. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review #23: Graco 4ever

When PJ was 6 months old we switched him from an infant car seat to the Graco 4ever. The 4ever is an “all-in-one” car seat. This means it can fit a child from 4-120lbs. It works in 4 modes; Rear facing (4-40lbs), Forward Facing Harness (20-65lbs, no younger than 2 years old), High Back Booster (30-100lbs) and Backless Booster (40-120lbs). It has a no-rethread harness with a handle to adjust the should strap height with 10 options. There are 6 different recline options for the seat, which means options in both rear and forward facing. It also has infant inserts, strap covers and two built in cup holders. Best of all, it has a 10 year expiration. It is an amazing seat with LOTS of room. I look forward to PJ using this seat for a very very long time!

Friday, March 24, 2017

A letter to my child’s teacher/principal/babysitter/daycare

To my child’s teacher/principal/babysitter/daycare,

When I first met you a thousand questions went through my head. Will she appreciate her humor? Will she understand his subtle whines? Will she have the patience for her strong will? Will she encourage him to be more independent? But the biggest question of all, Will she truly care about my baby? So as I asked you all those menial questions and described her learning style(or his sleep schedule), please realize I was trying to find inner comfort, trying to grasp for the feeling of a connection, trying to reassure myself that one of the most important people in my life would be happy in your care.
The first day my child spent with you I was nervous. Not because I don’t trust you(if you’re caring for my child you’ve already earned my trust) but because I am a mother and it’s my job to be nervous. I promise you I shed a few tears. Dawn is in 2nd grade now and there has yet to be a “first day” that I don’t cry and want to go get her. I spent my entire day wondering what you both were doing, how you both felt, and most importantly how your personalities were meshing. I thought about you during that time just as much, if not more, than my baby. Then when my little bundle was back in my arms I hardly heard half the words said, I was just so relieved that my child was happy and safe.
Then over the next few weeks I heard stories, cherished art projects, saw my child grow, and the nervousness went away. With every day that my child was happy to go to you, I relaxed a little more. I knew you cared, I knew they were happy, I knew they felt safe. Then there was that first time my child came home sick or hurt.  I didn’t feel upset, to the contrary, I was thankful. Thankful that you held her hand & checked in on her during the day. Thankful you ate your lunch while holding my baby slept in your arms. Thankful that you kept an extra eye on my little one in my absence.
Parents may not say it much, but Thank you. Thank you for wiping away their tears. Thank you for encouraging them. Thank you for keeping them in line. Thank you for teaching them to be contributing members of society. Thank you for making mother’s day cards. Thank you for building their confidence. Thank you for getting in touch with me if you think something may be wrong. Thank you for helping them make a new friend. Thank you for the extra big smiley face on their first perfect spelling test. Thank you for everything that isn’t part of your “job” but makes you the amazing person you are. Thank you for caring about my baby. Thank you for realizing, to me, they are the entire world.  So when you wake up tomorrow and head to work please realize that you are appreciated.  I cannot say thank you enough!


Every Mother

This letter is dedicated to the amazing teachers/principals/babysitters/daycare providers of my Dawn Elizabeth & Peter Justen. Verissa, Sami, Mrs Malouin, Ms Brown, Ms Shaw, Mrs Concanon, Ms Corcoran, and every other teacher that has touched their lives & will in the future. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review #22: Ikea Spice Rack Book Shelves

We are loving these ikea spice racks as book shelves! They were super easy to put together. Each one holds 8-10 books and they make it simple for kids to take out & put away their favorite stories! 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Review #21: Alex Toys Vehicles Bath Set

 Bath time was always horrible with my son. He is obsessed with cars & trucks and won't go anywhere without one. So when it came time for a bath, he would get very upset that the cars would sink or he would want to stand up and drive them around the outside of the tub. Luckily we found Alex Toys Rub A Dub Tub Island Racing Around Playset. It is perfect for the child that want to play with cars at all times! Its a 6 piece playset, includes the floating track, a plane, a car, a boat, a fire engine & a police car. The floating track even has a hole in the middle as a "pond" for the boat. And to top it off, they shaped it perfectly so a child can float it against their body while sitting in the tub. My son now LOVES bath time & will stay in there as long as we let him play with his cars!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Why I chose to formula feed my child from birth

This is a story I’ve been working on documenting for a very long time. It is a subject that is often shamed & debated but I believe strongly that sharing my experience may help others realize they are not alone. This is the story of why I formula fed my second child from birth and why I believe so strongly that fed is best.

First let me start by saying, I truly believe in benefits of breastfeeding. I understand that they are scientific and true. If you want to breastfeed, then please try. However, if you do not want to breastfeed, I understand you may have MANY reasons and I support you. Fed is best.

When I was pregnant with my first child, Dawn, I was determined that I would breastfeed until I went back to work. I took classes at the hospital, I researched, it was best & it was what my mother did for me. But that all changed when she was born. Dawn has been a strong willed little girl from the beginning. In the hospital, she wasn’t getting anything(my milk hadn’t come yet) and I had a HORRIBLE nurse who encouraged me to just keep letting her suck. So she sucked on me pretty much exclusively for 2 days, without much milk at all. By the time we got home I was in so much pain it was horrible. However, the milk came & I could feed her. But I was still raw, sore and in pain. Due to the pain, I was hating everything. I was miserable & I was starting to have signs of postpartum depression. When she would cry I’d bury my head in the pillow, I wanted to run away & I wanted to never see her again. I nursed her for maybe 5/6 days when I finally realized, in the middle of the night, that I was starting to hate my baby. I didn’t like her and I wanted my old life and my old body back. My mom was the first one who spoke up and made it known what was going on. She had been staying with us to help with the transition and asked if I wanted to try a bottle of formula. That was the first time I felt attached to my baby, she was so beautiful and so sweet and all mine. I never looked back from that bottle and within a few days the "fog had cleared" and things were getting much better. She was about 4 years old when I finally was strong enough to say that when we decided to have a 2nd child, I was going straight to formula. I was more traumatized by the breastfeeding than I was my pregnancy or childbirth. I couldn’t imagine having another child & possibly hating them as much as I hated Dawn those first few days.

I was very lucky that no one shamed me back then. Maybe the internet was a nicer place, or maybe it was because I was the first of most of my friends to have a child. I’m not sure what it was, but I am very lucky to never have experienced any harsh words about my decision.

When Dawn was 5, we were pregnant and getting ready to have baby #2, PJ. I ended up having a ton of milk with PJ & I probably could have had a much better experience breastfeeding with him, but I was very lucky to have Drs & nurses & family who all supported me 100% in my decision to go straight to formula. That didn’t stop the peanut gallery, though. I was once approached by a woman in an airport bathroom while babywearing PJ. She asked if I was breastfeeding. When I answered “no, I’m not” she responded “Oh I just figured if you love him enough to wear him, you’d love him enough to breastfeed” I was in shock.

So please, when you read this story. Do not judge me and my choices because you have not walked in my shoes. And when you see a mother breastfeeding in public do not judge her, because you have no idea what obstacles she may have overcome to be able to breastfeed. And when you see a woman feeding their baby formula do not judge her, because you have no idea why she made her decision or what she may have been thru. If a child is being fed and loved and cared for, that is all that should matter.

I've also made this very simple sign, please feel free to print this & use at your free will. Mothers have used it in hospitals, at home, etc to express their wishes for a judgement-free & breastmilk-free environment with their newborn. 

Review #20 Smartbottoms Beach Bag

This SmartBottoms beach bag is the absolute best! With tons of pockets & lots of room, it easily fit 4 pool towels, diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, room keys, cell phones, snacks & drinks for our indoor waterpark days last weekend. And this Abby's Lane print is so cute!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review #19: OP Bathing Suit

Dawn loved Coco Key! I loved her OP Ocean Pacific bathing suit keeping her fully covered on all the rides. OP is our go-to brand for Dawns swimwear! She thinks it's comfortable & cute. I love that its affordable & age appropriate!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Review #18: iplay bathing suits

I have found our new favorite swimsuit for PJ! The iplaybaby swimsuit runs a little small in size but once you find the right size, its perfect. And my favorite part, the water diaper is built in! No multiple layers, no bathing suits falling down & no sagginess! So happy to have found this wonderful product and they have awesome designs! 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Review #17: Tula Baby Carriers

This review has been a long time coming. If you know me, you know I LOVE Tula Baby Carriers. First I will start with the options. Tula has canvas, mesh and wrap conversion carriers. This simply means they are made with different materials. They work the exact same but they feel different. Now for sizing, currently Tula has two sizes. A standard Tula can be used from 15 - 45 pounds as is, or from birth with an infant insert. A toddler Tula can be used from 25 - 60 pounds. Very recently Tula announced the release of their brand new free to grow Tula which will work from 7-45lbs with adjustable panels to accommodate a growing baby. Tula can be worn in a parent-facing forward carry or a back carry. It has a very comfortable padded waistband and all straps(shoulders, waist, height, etc) are all very adjustable.  Every Tula comes with a coordinating flat hood and it can clip onto the shoulder straps. Now the best part, there are hundreds of different prints! Every person can find one that fits their personality and style with ease!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Review #16: BabyGreeters Reusable Snack Bag

Now Baby Greeters has infiltrated snack time in our household with these environmentally friendly reusable snack bags! They have tons of color options, they are super affordable, and they are great for the environment. The fold over flaps are a perfect size to keep everything in the baggy while it’s in your bag & easy to open. It was simple to turn it inside out to clean & dried in minutes! 

Medium Size Reusable Snack Bag!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Review #15: BabyGreeters Diaper Clutch

 I recently received this new Baby Greeters Diaper Clutch and it is amazing! It is the perfect size for 3 disposable diapers and a pack of wipes. It’s now going to be living in the diaper bag so I can grab it quick for changes on the go! As always, they have a TON of fabric options & were happy to make it match my Tula Accessories. I love when I find a product I love at a small business! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Read Across America Week- Sneetches Costume

To celebrate Read Across America Day(aka Dr Seuss Day), Dawn's school is doing a fun spirit week. One of the favorite days every year is "Dress like your favorite Dr Seuss Character Day" and this year she decided she wanted to be a sneetch! The sneetches story is much less known than the original classics.

The Sneetches was written during the civil rights movement and has a theme of "us vs them" I feel it's a bit ironic that Dawn chose this character to portray in 2017 when our country is full of us vs them protests and trying to reunite as one. So aside from my little history lesson tied to the sneetches story. Here is how I created Dawn's adorable Sneetches costume.

To make our Sneetch Costume I purchased a yellow shirt/dress and yellow leggings to make the basic outfit. Then I purchased 2 sheets of white adhesive-backed felt and 1 sheet of green adhesive backed felt from my local craft store as well as a feather hair clip.

I created this pattern for the star & this pattern for the neck feathers. Use these patterns to cut the felt.

I then had her try on the dress & we added the star right on her belly first! After removing the dress & laying it flat on the table, I laid down the feathers from left to right, only peeling the adhesive 1/4-1/2 way down so they would stick out a little bit on the ends.

Today it was a bit cold out so Dawn wore a white long sleeve shirt underneath. I put her hair in a high pony-tail and added the feathers on the top of her head!

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