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Family Lifestyle

To The Mom That Needs To Be Reminded How Awesome She Is

Last night it was 9:30 PM. My daughter and husband were both sound asleep [he didn’t feel good]. I woke up at 5:00 AM, worked all day, came home and went on a cleaning frenzy, hadn’t sat down once, TV on in the background yet hadn’t watched a single bit of it. I stood in my living room looking around at things that still needed to be cleaning & that’s when it hit me.

“I’m only one person. I’ve accomplished A LOT today. Who does laundry on a Monday? Who got their child to fall asleep (and stay asleep) after moving them to their bassinet? THIS MAMA DID.”

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel like superwomen everyday. But when I do, it feels pretty damn good. Motherhood can be hard some days. Mom guilt plays into this and can sometimes make it worse. I’m affected by it more than I’d like to admit. However, it was in that moment that I started to realize that I am being hard on myself. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably being hard on yourself too!

In fact, my house is never as clean as I want it to be, I have no idea what we’re having for dinner tonight, and I still have one string of Christmas lights [that I decided to wrap my tree with, but there are little twigs that scratched me when I was putting it up and I’m just not ready to fight that battle again]. Tangent: Can you cut Christmas lights with tree clippers?

BUT, the second I see my sweet girls face, that’s all that matters. Whether you’re a working mama, SAHM or WAHM (working at home mama), motherhood is more than diapers, cleaning, and laundry. Motherhood is endless snuggles, someone that loves you unconditionally, someone who can make you excited about poop if they’ve been constipated….yes, that’s a real thing for all of you that aren’t moms yet.

It’s time to stop being so hard on ourselves.

Here are a few quotes in case you are needing a little reminder that you are an awesome mama.

When it doubt, choose the kids. There will be plenty of time later to choose work – Anna Quindlen

We may not be perfect mothers, but we are perfect mothers for our children. 

If for a while the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. So it has been with the best people who have ever lived. – Jeffrey R. Holland

The days are long but the years are short.

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for. – Neil L. Anderson

Motherhood is a choice you make every day to put someone else’s happiness and well being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is, and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong. – Donna Ball

Family

DockATot: The Game Changer

Happy Friday, Friends!

I am SO EXCITED to tell you about a game changer in our house today: the DockATot. If I’m being honest, I was on the fence about this product, hence why Ava is 5 months old and just getting it. I’ll share my story and share why I wish I got this sooner.

This product has been a “must have” baby item/registry item for some time. It comes in two sizes, the Deluxe (for 0-8 months) and Grand (9-36 months). It’s perfect for co-sleeping, lounging and bed transitioning. Plus, it’s been tested for breathability, all natural and OEKO-TEX certified. We have the Grand (since Ava is almost 6 months old) and she LOVES it. I think it’ll be perfect when we transition her upstairs to her room. It also can buckle and unbuckle at the bottom to allow more space at your child grows. In the meantime, we’ve been using in for co-sleeping, which has been the game changer. She still has a bassinet in our room, but when she wakes up at 1 AM (which has been frequently for some reason), we’re too tired to let her cry and fall back asleep. We put her in the DockATot between us and she falls asleep (literally) within 30 seconds. That’s a #momwin in my book. The Grand is big, so it works in our king sized bed, but if you have a smaller bed, your hubs might be sleeping on the couch, ha!

I’ve also been using it when we’re in our living room. She really likes sitting up, so I like putting her in her DockATot because it has higher sides, so I don’t have to worry about her falling over. She’s at the point where we put toys in there with her and she’ll just play. It’s SO CUTE to watch her grow and develop.

There are so many colors and covers to choose from! I included my favorites below. I chose the marble, because I wanted something that could be used if we had a boy next. Unless we’re going to wait 5 years, I’ll mostly like be purchasing two because I don’t see her sleeping without her’s for quite some time.

Pink | Marble | Palm | Pineapple | Navy Floral | Links | Emerald Marble | Pink Floral

If you’re a mama on the fence like I was, I definitely think it’s worth the cost. I bought something that said it was similar, but it was too small, uncomfortable and Ava kept waking herself up…which made for even longer nights. If you’re a soon-to-be mama, definitely put this on your registry! Someone else can purchase it for you (win!) and you’ll thank me when you’re months in and getting sleep! 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts if you have a DockATot or if you’re considering one! Have a great weekend!

I received this product compliments of DockATot. All content and opinions are that of my own!

Family Lifestyle

Tips For Traveling With Baby

Happy Wednesday!

This post is LONG overdue and probably one of my most requested post! We’ve now made it through two trips: Cayman Islands and California! I absolutely love the beach, warm weather, and ocean breeze, so most of our trips are to tropical locations. I’m going to back track and talk through planning my first trip with Ava and then go over any updates we did for the second. Before booking our vacation to the Caymans, we honestly debated going because Ava was only 3 months old. We didn’t know how she would act being out of her comfort zone and had a million questions. Would she sleep on the flight? Would she scream the whole time? The truth is, we didn’t know! #momlife We just decided to book it and realized that regardless of how the flight went, we would probably never see these people again. [#yolo…wait is that still a thing?!]

There weren’t any direct flights from Houston to the Cayman Islands on the days we were wanting to travel, so we had to fly from Houston to Fort Lauderdale. We used that as an excuse to break up our flights in case things didn’t go smoothly. The next day, we flew from Fort Lauderdale to the Cayman Islands. I had so many questions while getting ready and packing, so I resorted to Google [I don’t recommend this, hence the reason for this post]. I wanted to make it a little easier for any other parents out there looking for tips. This post is focused just on infants, so some of these tips won’t be helpful if you have older kids or even toddlers. As Ava gets older, I’m sure I’ll have an entire new way to pack for her. In the meantime, I hope this helps and safe travels!

1. Give Yourself Time to Plan and Pack

You would think packing for a tiny human would be simple. I mean their clothes are so small and they don’t need THAT much, right? Wrong wrong wrong. Packing for a little one is tricky. To make packing simpler, start by answering a few key questions.

  • Airplane travel: Will you be checking a bag or only bringing a carry-on?
  • What will the weather be like?
  • Will the baby need warm or cool clothing?
  • Will you have access to a washer and dryer?
  • What are the essential baby toiletries, toys, and food/bottle utensils that you absolutely need?
  • Are you pumping? If so, do you need to bring your pumping device as a carry-on?
  • What will you need for transportation or bedtime? Car seat, baby carrier, stroller, pack and play?

With each questions answered, start making a packing list and plan enough outfits (including extras for blowouts). For us, we packed two outfits a day plus a night time outfit, a stroller, car seat, base, baby carrier, pump bag and accessories, diapers, and lastly co-sleeper. Packing light, right?! Remember: don’t panic! Your usually never too far from a store and if you are and your forget something, you will still survive….unless its diapers, then you might be in trouble.

2. Plan to Leave With Plenty of Time
I’ll share our story to emphasize the importance of this tip. Our flight was at 9:40 AM. We dropped our dogs off the night before because mornings with Ava can be unpredictable. I woke up at 5:30 AM to get ready and pack everything up. Somehow the hour and a half flew by and were scrambling to leave at 7 AM. We knew we’d be driving in rush hour…but in Houston, all hours seem like rush hour, so we arrived at the airport at 8:30 AM. My husband had a conference call he had to take before going through TSA which took up about 10 minutes. We made it through security (more on that below), pumped and arrived at the gate with Group 3 already boarding. Needless to say, next time I’ll make sure to have at least 2 hours at the airport.

3. Enter “Family” Line at Security Check or Ask
Did you know these lines exist? I sure didn’t! They’re lifesavers, but don’t get mad if your airport doesn’t do this. We had to go through the regular security line in Houston and Fort Lauderdale. It wasn’t until we arrived in the Cayman’s did this occur. We literally went into our own line with another family traveling and customs took a total of 5 minutes #win.

4. Baby Wear through Security
I’m so glad I found this tip out before the airport. Little back story: Since we booked our flight 2 weeks before we went, we knew we didn’t have enough time to mail in the forms for Ava to have a passport. We had to make an appointment Downtown, and show proof of our vacation in order to get hers next day. [I promise I’m getting somewhere with this.] WELL, after arriving Downtown, we go to walk through security with Ava sleeping in her stroller, and the security person decides to tell me I have to have the stroller and car seat go through on the belt and that she would need to come out and walk through security. I was a little upset…. I mean, had he ever waken a sleeping baby?! I assume so working there, but he didn’t have to deal with the repercussions. I’m sure you can see how this story ended. All this to say, one I found out you could baby wear through security and still talk a stroller through, it was a win/win situation

5. Use Family Bathrooms
Until having Ava, I never used the family bathrooms, but these were great as they have outlets to plug your breast pump to and so much space for luggage, stroller, etc.

6. Gate Check Car Seat and Stroller
Another piece of information that was super helpful! Before flying with her accessories, I was always worried about her stroller getting lost or damaged and wondering what we would do the rest of the trip if this occurred. We bought these to put her car seat and stroller in right at the gate for two reasons: 1. germs and 2. big red bag- can’t miss them.

7. Choose an Aisle and Window Seat
Most airline companies, minus Southwest, have you purchase seats prior to your flight. If your infant is under 2, can you choose an “Infant in Arms Seat” which means you’re not purchasing an actual seat. If you’re flying with your husband, choose an aisle and window seat as those are the first seats to be purchased. No one wants a middle seat, I mean absolutely no one. If your flight isn’t full, you’ll hopefully be lucky enough that the middle seat stays empty. It comes in handy if your baby falls asleep or needs a diaper change and the plane doesn’t have a changing table [Southwest]. If your flying Southwest, you’ll probably get most passengers look at you then look at the baby and walk right past to find another seat.

8. Feed Baby on the Way Up and Down
These probably saved our lives and the lives of the passengers around us. I was thinking about this and it makes perfect sense. When our ears pop as adults, we know to either chew gum or gulp to make them pop, but since babies can do that, they recommend feeding them so they’re gulping while their ears adjust and they don’t realize it. Plus, Ava gets super sleepy after she eats [like most babies], so she slept for the most part as soon as we got in the air.

All these tips were from our first trip and I wouldn’t change any of them. There are a few things I would add now after our second trip. We were rushing to get to the airport and after a missed dinner and a missing laptop, I’ll never plan a trip for a Friday afternoon after working all day. I’ll at least take half a day off to make sure we get there with plenty of time.

9. Pump after TSA (if possible)
During our first trip, I had no problems with my milk bottles getting through security. I packed two and TSA did their standard of pulling the bottles to the side to test them. However, one of my bottles was flagged [weird, I know] and we actually had to dump it and go back through security. Since we didn’t have much time between getting there and our flight taking off, I didn’t have time to make her more milk. I ended up having to pump on the plane. [sorry other passengers….they probably thought I was doing something else…lol] It wasn’t terrible, but it was a pretty tight space in that little bathroom, so I say all of this to say if you are breastfeeding and pumping, wait until after TSA so you don’t have to potentially dump precious milk.

10. Update on Co-Sleeper
*To each parent their own. We didn’t pack a co-sleeper for our trip to California. I know everyone has their feelings on this, but one less thing to pack was much easier for us.

11.  Update on Car Seat Base
*Again, to each parent their own. Unless your renting a car, this was just more of a hassle than it should be. We did bring it to California because we rented a car, but if we weren’t, I wouldn’t have brought it.

I hope these were helpful! Any tips you want to share, please feel free to comment below!

XOXO

 

Family Gift Guides

Valentine’s Day Gifts: For Babies & Toddlers

Hi Friends! I am so so excited for this weekend as we’re taking a pre-Valentine’s trip to LA. I put together a Gift Guide for here here and promised one for babies. Since Ava is almost 6 months old [wait what?!, sorry mom moment], all of the items above are meant for babies 0-6 months. While some are closer to the 6 month mark, like this one, I figured I would still include it as I want her to have gifts she can use for the next few months.

  • Bitsy Ballerina: I love reading books to Ava so I think this is super cute to add to her library [plus it’s pink]
  • Baby Einstein: We have this and Ava loves it! The handle is perfect for her to grip. I keep this in her room for when we change her up there. She sometimes gets fussy, so I’ll give her this toy to hold and the lights fascinate her so I have enough time to change her before she screams.
  • Nuby Hand Mitt: We saw this the other day at Buy Buy Baby and thought it was silly….that was until Ava put her hand in her mouth yesterday and started crying because she bit down too hard. This will definitely be something in her Valentine’s basket!
  • Elephant Teether: This is another great option instead of Sophie.
  • Teepee: I know this doesn’t look like a babies toy, but trust me when I say, Ava LOVES her teepee. Sean actually got this one which has a mirror on top that she loves to look in, but as I love all things neutral and pink, this would look perfect in her room!
  • Sophie la Girafe: Did you see my stories last night?! Ava LOVES this teether. Follow me on Instagram for almost daily appearances of this toy in my stores.
  • Sit to Stand Walker: We recieved this as a baby shower gift and I’m so excited to pull this out in a couple weeks! Ava is at the point where she can sit independently and wants toys to play with, but also loves to stand, so I think this will be perfect for her to start playing with!
  • Mermaid Doll: Like I said above, I love soft pinks and neutrals, so this would look perfect in her room!

I also decided to do one for toddlers because I’ve had a few people ask for gift ideas or birthday presents for their nieces, daughters, etc. While I don’t have hands on experience in this department, these are some cute items I found that I would totally get a girl under 2.

  • Heart Puzzle: So cute! Especially for Vday!
  • Baking Kit: I can’t wait until Ava is old enough for a little playroom kitchen! This would be perfect for any little ones to play with.
  • Sam Edelman Sandals: These are so cute! Plus there is a similar version for you here.
  • Unicorn Stuffed Animal: Unicorns are so in right now so what better than give your little one as part of their basket!
  • Fish Puzzle: Again, super cute!
  • Pink Watch: How stinkin cute is this watch?!
  • Make-Up Pallet: I would have loved this as a little girl! Especially with a little vanity.

Would love to hear what you are getting your little ones for V-day!