1.19.2018

Five on Friday - and a giveaway!


Image result for smidge of this five on friday blog button


::: 1 :::
When I was pregnant, especially the last month or two, I was obsessed with taking baths. Easily I was taking one a day - so I was so excited when this bathtub caddy was under my Christmas tree. It's made taking a glass of wine and magazine upstairs feel like a damn trip to the spa! I've loved it! 



::: 2 :::

 We have decided to buy a treadmill, and I need some suggestions. Do you have one that you love? Joel is a pretty serious runner so he has some requirements that I would've never really thought/cared about, but I'd love to know if you have one that is somewhat affordable that you would recommend. Bonus points if it can get here soon and be set up for us! 


The being stuck inside with kids/no gym is killing both Joel and I so we are SO excited to find the right machine and get it here sooner than later. 

::: 3 :::
Ok, while we are on the topic of advice, anyone got napping tips for me? Leo is all but dropping his nap and I just cannnnnnnnot allow that to happen. He will maybe nap 2-3 times a week but the conditions have to be perfect (extra dark, busy/active morning, etc.). He's happy in his crib, he doesn't yell or cry, but he just plays and jumps and walks around in it the entire time. Any thoughts????
::: 4 :::
 We will be home this weekend. I think we have a few cousins that are going to come out to meet the baby, but otherwise, we're still hanging at home most of the time and just laying low. I'm hoping the weather allows for a walk or two because we need some fresh freaking air around here!

::: 5 ::: 
 
If you would like to win one of these adorable baby girl bows from Kenzie Baby Bows - entering is super easy. 

1. Make sure you are following this blog
2. Visit the Kenzie Baby Bows here and leave a comment with which bow color you would select if you won

Winner will be announced Monday! 

1.17.2018

My Favorite 10 Things (for baby #2)

This past weekend I was helping my girlfriend get her registry in order when she asked me what my favorite baby things were.

Now that I'm a month into having two, I've got my list of things I swear by .... some that I registered for when I was pregnant with Leo, and some that I've learned about along the way.

Here are my top ten favorite things that you should seriously think about stocking up on.

The Rock and Play 
  Fisher-Price® Deluxe Newborn Auto Rock 'n Play™ Sleeper in Safari Dreams
- a few people have sent me notes about the Dock a Tot and if I was using it or why I wasn't, and that's truly just because a. it's expensive and b. I don't see a purpose for our needs. We have 4 Rock and Plays (two at home, and one at both grandparents) and I swear by them. I like that they're on an incline, I like that they fold, I like that they're affordable, easy to clean, and both of my babies have slept great in them. 

The Lectrofan  
LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Machine with 20 Unique Non-Looping Fan and White Noise Sounds and Sleep Timer
I have the Dohm sound machine too, and that's actually the one that I prefer to sleep with myself, but the Lectrofan gets LOUD and it can drown out ALL of the noise. If you have a loud dog, or loud toddler, or loud husband.....go with this one!

The Ubbi Diaper Pail 

Ubbi® Diaper Pail in White
We're still going strong with this one two years later. It has my vote as far as diaper pails go.

The Miracle Blanket 

Remains my favorite - and while they're expensive - I'm reusing all of Leo's for baby Drew, so they've held up well. I would highly suggest having at least two. We transitioned out of the Miracle Blanket with the help of the Magic Merlin Sleep Suit - but we haven't used it on Drew yet and likely won't for a few more months.

WubaNubs  

You need 3. And bring one to the hospital too.

MotherLove Nipple Cream 
Motherlove Nipple Cream Certified Organic Salve for Sore Cracked Nursing Nipples, 1 Oz.
 This one is by far my favorite and something I would suggest grabbing, bringing to the hospital, and keeping near by for the first 3 weeks.

Piyo Piyo Pink Baby Nail Scissors
 these may take some getting used to because they're small and baby nails are SO small but they're what I've used for Baby Drew from the day she came home and what I use for Leo too. These are one of my favorite things to include as a gift for new mom friends because they turn out to be one of those things you never could've dreamed you needed so badly.


The Solly Wrap and The Ergo 360 

baby Leo! 
 
 I'm using both everyday. If I need to fold laundry with Drew, or if I'm playing with Leo I prefer the Ergo because it's sturdier and I don't have to worry about readjusting the baby. We also have taken walks with Drew in the Ergo and Leo in the stroller, and i's a great option. I love the Solly too for quick cat naps when we're hanging out at the house. It's light and really comfortable for both of us. I'm a big fan of baby wearing, so I would recommend both, but you could probably get by with just the Ergo 360 (with the infant insert).

These bows from Kenzie Baby Bows 

 
A reader of my blog owns this shop and sent me two bows to try out - and no joke, they're our favorite bows that we own. I have a huge box of bows that we were gifted or that I bought while I was pregnant, and these are the only two bows that fit Drew's head (and her head is in the 75% tile!). They're perfect for new babies, come in tons of darling colors and patterns, I believe are the perfect sized bow, and are incredibly affordable. Current orders over $25 ship free, but regardless, they normally ship for less than $4! Check out her shop here, or come back on Friday to enter the giveaway to win one!


Other notables: A lot of Aden & Anais muslin blankets, a sturdy diaper caddy if you have two floors (I like this one), Zutano booties, Bamboobies, and the Boon bathtub. 

Would love to hear your favorites/thoughts too! 

The best by far is you...

1.16.2018

Weekend Recap

Since the weekends as a family of four are so new for us, I want to try and recap them before they all become a blur in our fog of newborn craziness.

And I figure a day late isn't half bad for these times! 

 

This is Leo's TGIF face.


Friday after nap I took both kids over to my parents house. We were going to stay for just a drink but Joel stopped by after word and we decided to stay for dinner and order pizza. My parents house is the perfect safe place for us because I feel like we are "out" without really going out. 

 

Saturday was kind of a big day for me. I actually took the baby and left the house! I had a lot of clothes that I needed to return after Christmas, so my mom, Drew, and I went out on our first girls trip! 


We had to dress for the occasion - and more on Drew's darling bow this week. 

We had a ton of success shopping, mainly because Nordstrom is so accommodating to newborns and mothers. I had to feed Drew twice while we were there, and we had our own little Mother's room that made it so comfortable to do so.  

We were home by 2pm, but it felt SO good to leave the house. I've been really bunkered down and it just felt refreshing to escape for a little bit. 

Saturday night, Joel's parents brought us dinner which was a nice little treat, and we hung out with them and watched a few of the games that were on.

 

Sunday, my sisters came out to Crystal Lake and Joel's brother's family came into town for their fourth daughters baptism.


I left Drew home with my sisters while Joel, Leo, and I went to church and then attended sweet Lillie's baptism. 

 

Once we got home from church, Leo took a great nap at the same time that Drew was sleeping so I got to play some games with my sisters and open some champagne. 



Once the kids woke up, we went back to my parents house and my dad made us all dinner. We hung out, watched a bit of a movie (Ratatouille, which held everyone's attention so much that Joel snuck a picture of us all enjoying it), and then we were back home by 8pm. 


It was such a fun weekend - and the first where I felt like a pretty functioning human again - so it was really nice to be able to enjoy that too.

1.11.2018

New Year Improvements

 My goal in 2018 is to be filthy rich.

I'm so excited for this year to unfold. 2017 was beyond eventful for us.  We started it off with a bang packing up our apartment in Los Angeles in January to move into our first home in the Chicago suburbs.

Then, just three months into our move, we found out we were pregnant! It was a whirlwind year and I had my focus on my pregnancy and delivery and Leo, Joel started a new job, and everything else took a major back seat.

This year, I'm ready to focus back on a lot of the things I put on the back burner: our house, our relationship, adventures, and my bod. 

The house

When you look at the house we moved into just about exactly a year ago today - a lot has changed. We have made some significant improvements that have made a huge difference. I love my house. I love pulling up to it and I love living in it, we've made it a home and we're really, really happy here.  As the months have passed, we've filled the house with more furniture, more touches that make it home, and have gotten sort of organized as we've gone. But, there's still a long list of things I'd like to improve.

The list is actually a little too long (and intimidating) to really focus on, so I'm going to focus on the few things that I want to do sooner than later. 

First major project we've got to get done is changing out the door handles and hinges. It's a total DIY job, but one that I just keep putting off, but it's getting done Q1! Force me! 

Other things that need to happen this year- prints/gallery wall for the dining room and kids bathrooms, guest room needs new bedding, and our bedroom needs some serious attention. We also need to really figure out our basement and deck. Ok, already starting to feel overwhelmed......moving on!

Earth tones in the bedroom.

Our relationship
I really want to have fun with Joel this year. I want to go out on fun dates, mix things up a little, and just enjoy ourselves a bit more. Last year was big, and eventful, and amazing, but it was stressful and took a lot out of both of us and this year, I want to lighten it up a little and get out of the routine a bit more. 

This could also apply to parenting

We are young and we need to spice it up a little - get a little drunker, kiss a little more, stay out a little later, get out of our routine a little more often.


Adventures
This is rich coming from a new mom of two who can barely get everyone loaded into the car to the drive-thru Starbucks BUT once I figure that stuff out, I want to make sure that we make rich memories this year. I want to take a few weekend trips, a family vacation, do fun things with friends and family, and take advantage of everything our area offers.

"The most important thing is to enjoy your life-to be happy- it's all that matters" - Audrey Hepburn

My Bod
Also rich since I can't really exercise right now, or even fathom how I ever will find the time to again, but in the coming months I really want to get my body back. I want to clean up my eating, shrink my portions, and really get into a great exercise groove. I miss running and want to get back to being able to easily run 4-5 miles. I was loving kickboxing while I was pregnant so I really hope I can get back to the gym after a while and kick it into high gear. I'd love to feel stronger and see some actual muscles again.

.
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I'm exhausted just writing this list - but here's hoping I can take a stab at each area. You gotta start somewhere! 

Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there. Quotes, inspirational quotes, motivational quotes, discipline quotes, goals, goals quotes, motivation, discipline. 

P.S. This list is also somewhat hilarious because I'm pretty sure every expert....ever.... has said you need to have specific and measurable in order to see any type of improvement, but we're going with a very tired stream of thoughts and I'm hoping that's better than nothing!


1.09.2018

Keeping Toddlers Busy

I'm hoping that I can share a few things that have saved our lives - and hoping that you can provide a few that may have saved yours. I remember reading quite a few blogs about "busy boxes" for baby when baby #2 is nursing, and these items are our version. 

"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance." -Franklin P. Jones #parentquotes

Leo is very used to getting out of the house, having daily activities, and at the very least getting to the gym or getting into the stroller. Also, not because I'm against it but we're not big TV watchers yet**. I don't like to have the TV on during the day, and Leo doesn't know much different, so we just don't do a lot of TV or iPad time. I know the day will come but since we don't use either currently, they aren't a big help to us.

When we had baby Drew, the temperatures dropped below any normal level so any even little outside time we thought we were going to bank on, was out the window We haven't left the house much, and when we have, Leo's grandparents have taken him to Barnes and Noble just to get out for a bit. 

We are all going stir crazy, and really, more than anything on this list, we have held it together with the enormous amount of help we have received (thank you grandparents!) but even an hour or two of a bored toddler can feel like 63 hours moving at a very slow pace, so we've built an arsenal of what's been helpful and whats filled our time, and I thought I'd share. 

 

almost all of these can be found on Amazon, but I've had luck at TJ.Maxx/Home Goods and Target too!

And I really think I'm going to buy stock in Melissa and Doug. 

Water Wow Books: These are amazing. I have a few everywhere. They're great for restaurants too because they're small and you only need a touch of water. I love them and so does Leo. 

Reuseable stickers: These have been a huge hit for us, and Leo will spend a ton of time playing with them. I store all of the stickers in a zip lock bag that he can open and close himself which helps keep stickers from ending up everywhere. 


Jumbo Coloring Books: For whatever reason, the big books seem to hold Leo's attention for a lot longer. We got this jumbo book above as a gift and he loves it, and just today I was at Target and bought another cheap Cars one for a rainy day. 


Jumbo crayons: On that note, the jumbo crayons are way better for us. They don't brake nearly as easy, so Leo can keep a tight grip on them without a million crayon pieces ending up on the floor. 

The Mini Melissa and Doug puzzles: Leo is a big fan of puzzles, loves the ones that make noise too, but we got this set of 4 mini puzzles for Christmas and it has quickly become his favorite. I think he likes the fact that they're are a lot of small pieces for him to manipulate - and I like the fact that the puzzles have a cute little home, so this one is one of the few toys that stay out in our living room.

Matching Games: Both sets of Grandma's gifted Leo these for Christmsa this year and they've been a huge hit. Leo is currently liking the Dinosaur matching game a little bit better than the shapes and colors, but both are well suited for a 2 year old and I just found a letters one at TJs that I grabbed for when he is a little older. 


Baby Stella: I would also suggest getting a stroller for Baby Stella as well, but Leo has really taken to Baby Stella. He likes to take her for walks, has fun with all of the accessories that magnet to her mouth, and if he is sort of nagging me while I'm nursing, I like to encourage him to find baby Stella and check her diaper, or what have you, so that he feels like he can take care of a baby at the same time I am. 

MagnaTiles: Leo is a touch young for these, but I thought I would include them on the list anyhow because they make for a great gift and it's something I know will help us in the months ahead. I actually cleared out a drawer in one of the side tables in our living room to house these guys, so it's been a fun activity to do at night when Joel comes home. They're pricey but they're indestructible.

Play-doh: We have used this for when I'm pumping and need Leo somewhat contained. I just plop him in his high chair and this can easily buy me 15 minutes. 

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I'd love to hear a few of your indoor lifesavers. My neighbor was telling me about indoor sand that her daughter got for Christmas that isn't messy and has been a really fun indoor activity, so I might look for that in the next coming weeks too.

We are getting tons of use of our unfinished basement right now as well. Leo is happy as a clam to chase his balls down there, ride his new Y-bike, play in his fire truck car, and just run around. 


I've sort of been playing with the idea of finding him a small trampoline, or an indoor slide that he can use down there too - so if you have favorite basement activities, send them my way too! 

Much.Most.Darling.: At Home DIY Coffee Bar Station + Free mom life Printables  May your coffee be stronger than your newborn baby babies toddler, toddlers, kids free printable

1.04.2018

The First Two Weeks

To be honest - these last two weeks, overall, have been great.


I have much preferred the 2nd time mom thing - all of the fearful thoughts, anxieties, emotions and hormones are still there (for me, at least) - but I have found peace (at times) knowing that they do slow down, that eventually they do go away, and life does have a way of getting back to normal eventually.


And because of that, everything has moved onward and upward at a much quicker pace than it did with my first baby.


Really, everything has been faster.


We left the hospital faster, my milk came in faster, Drew nurses faster, she has gained weight faster, I've healed faster, we bathed her faster, we've figured her out a little faster, we've gotten into a tiny groove faster, and most of all......time seems to be moving faster.


Of course, because babies can't just be a cake walk, the issue with 2nd time mom-ing is you have one older kid.

Add a new sibling, Christmas, tons of presents, treats, and lack of schedule with zero outside activities because its freaking freezing, having your dad home for two weeks, and your mom not being able to do much because she is nursing a baby and recovering from a C-section = some trouble.

We've heard "no" more than ever, we are seeing lots more opposition (even to fun things), we're not eating well, we're using more attitude then ever, AND we climbed out of the crib for the first time.

All things I've been assured 100x over are totally normal, somewhat get better, and are just par for the course.

But they still suck. And I miss my relationship with Leo too. It's been a tough 4 weeks for us, and not being able to hold him or play with him like we are used to is heartbreaking. 

But that will pass too.


So, that's where we stand two weeks in. We're getting by, we're having some fun, we're adjusting, and we're so, so thankful. 

1.02.2018

Christmas Recap

I'm finding myself go into major "memory keeper" mode, which is funny since I had zero motivation to do so while I was pregnant. I've spent the last week finishing our family 2017 yearbook, getting chatbooks ready, and having this strong desire to recap these last few major weeks on the blog. Let’s see if I can keep this up (I doubt it), but I figured I should strike while the iron is hot. 


Christmas Eve and Christmas were obviously a bit different this year. On December 23rd, we took Baby Drew home, so by the time Christmas Eve rolled around, I was still feeling very much like a frayed wire. 


I was so, so happy to be home, but everything was still feeling very overwhelming.  Thankfully everyone was really understanding, but there isn't much you can really do besides press on and know that each day gets a little bit better.

With that being said, I wanted to make sure Leo still had a special Christmas, and I really think he did. 

On Christmas Eve, my parents hosted all of my dad's family for dinner. The baby and I stayed home but Leo and Joel went over for a few hours which worked out perfectly. 

I'm not quite ready for the baby to meet hoards of people, so since we are keeping it quiet for a bit, my cousin Amanda stopped over for a quick meeting before going to my moms which was a nice little treat. 


 

When Leo and Joel got home, the four (*wild!*), sat down for dinner and had a lasagna that my mom and I had prepared the weekend before for this very occasion. I was so glad I had thought ahead and we had a nice home cooked dinner for Christmas Eve.

After dinner we put together Santa's plate, set out food for the reindoo's, opened our Christmas Eve jammies, and sat on the couch and read the Polar Express. It was a perfect little night with our new family of four. 


 

Christmas morning we started off with cinnamon rolls and coffee and opened presents as our little family at home.  

 

At like 10:30 we packed up the kids (*still wild!) and headed over to my parents to open presents with them and my sisters. 

My sisters were so excited to give Leo some of his Christmas gifts - one of which was his leaf blower so that he can "be like Papa" and the kid hasn't set it down since. 

 

My parents also hosted a Christmas dinner with more family - which we had Leo stay for which was great - and then Joel picked him up afterwards so we could come back home and play with all of his new toys. 

My sisters had to work on Tuesday morning so I was sad that I didn't get to spend much time with them, but I know they'll be spending a lot of weekends out here in the burbs with their two favorite babies.

On the day after Christmas, my mom and dad hung with us, we played games, had mimosas, cracked open a puzzle, and my mom made us a ton of chicken salad and cooked us all an amazing dinner.


 Since then, I've really soaked in having Joel home. He's been an enormous help (he's currently mopping the floors as I type this). It's been freaking freezing, so everyone is feeling a little land locked but we're doing great and taking things day by day.