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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 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 Lifestyle

Casual Valentine’s Outfits For Mommy & Me

My Outfit: Top, Similar, Similar | Jeans | Shoes, Similar | Bag (Similar)

Ava’s Outfit: Top | Jeans | Shoes

Happy Monday, friends!

This weekend FLEW by. We spent Saturday looking at houses and then the stomach bug hit my husband Sunday. I’m jealous for those of you off today! With it already being half way through January (wait, what?!), I wanted to talk about Mommy & Me outfits for Valentine’s Day. Y’all, dressing a baby is SO MUCH FUN! I will probably have her dress like me until she doesn’t want to anymore…and even then I still might try, HA!

We keep things simple and casual in our house. I love being able to re-wear outfits, especially over multiple seasons. Stripes are definitely my favorite so far this year. I’ve bought so many striped tops recently, so stay tuned as I know they’ll be a staple this Spring/Summer. Add a pair of white shorts/pants or a cute denim jacket and you’ll be set!

Hoping y’all had the best day!

XOXO,

Lifestyle

Best Purchases of 2017

Happy Saturday, Friends! It’s a rare Saturday where I’m posting a blog post, but the first week of 20178 [going to take a while to get used to writing that], is almost over and I wanted to talk through my top purchases. While some of these truly are pricey items, they’re great to put on any registry, birthday list, etc. as they’ve made my life just a little easier. I go into why I love each of these below, so keep reading for some info!

  1. Wubbanub: If you’ve followed me from Ava’s birth, you know how much I’ve raved about this. If you haven’t, welcome and let me tell you why you need this. This pacifier comes in so many animals and cool thing is the animal acts like a weight. When Ava was first born, this helped keep the pacifier in her mouth and now (at 4 months), she likes holding the animal and evening chewing on them like a teether. I’m sure this will turn into her version of a security blanket because we have multiple of these and they go everywhere with us….or else.
  2. Planner: This is something I didn’t need until I had a baby. I was totally a notes on your phone kind of girl, but between doctors visits for me/Ava, reminders for diapers, task for work and now blogging, I need to write things physically down and to have everything organized in one spot. I’ll show more of why I like this on my stories today.
  3. Owlet Smart Sock: Like I said, I know some of these are pricey, but if you can ask for one thing on your/any baby registry, this was a must have. I talked a little about it here. A little back story, Ava was in the NICU after she was born with Brady episodes. After being in the NICU for 8 days, she was episode free and we were able to take her home. While we were in the hospital, we knew we had to get this before she was solely in our hands. If not, we knew we would go crazy either 1. constantly panicking or 2. not sleeping from watching her breathe. To save our lives, jobs and probably marriage [kidding….kind of], we bought it the day before we brought her home. It tracks your babies heart rate, oxygen level, has an illuminating dock station that is green if everything is normal, AND will turn red & alarm if either of her levels drop.
  4. Ring Doorbell: We bought our house in November of 2016 and definitely didn’t know ANYTHING about being a home owner. How do you measure for blinds? How many times a week do you have to water your lawn? What does a breaker box look like? Yes, all real questions Sean and I had to ask. I married a tech guy, not a handy man [love you hun], so a lot of the handy stuff I still leave up to my dad. Back to the point, the Ring was perfect for us, as expecting parents, because 1. at the end of my pregnancy, I was lazy and didn’t want to get up from the couch, 2. the Ring isn’t like a normal loud doorbell, so perfect with a newborn so she would wake up or the dogs wouldn’t bark if anyone came to the door. I also like you can record anyone that comes to your door AND the best part, you know when packages are being delivered and can do the happy dance.
  5. Levi’s Jeans: I’ve talked about these so many times and I’ll continue to talk about them. They are hands down, the best jeans I own. I actually don’t own that many pairs of jeans because I’m pretty picky on the fit. These come in regular and short lengths, so many colors, and are the perfect amount of stretch, but not the stretch that has you having the mom butt from being so loose by the end of the day.
  6. Loreal BB Cream: I found this gem late in 2017, but it has been a miracle worker, so it deserves to be on this list. I don’t really wear foundation. Truthfully, I am no expert in this field, so I look like a blind mouse walking into Sephora. Another blogger talked about this, so I decided to try it out. I’ll talk more about this on my stories, but it’s a BB Cream [not sure what that means, but I know it means light and light coverage]. The product comes out of the tube green and the best part is it matches to your shade at all times.
  7. Baby Bunt: Another thing that if you’ve been following me since Ava was born, you’ve seen how much she already loves this. There is something so comforting about it. She can be so fussy [especially when we’ve passed nap time and she’s fighting it] yet I can put here in this and about 5 minutes later, she is out like a light. It’s great if you live in colder states. We don’t need it much here in Texas, but it’s such a steal for the price and comes in 3 different colors.
  8. BP Basic Tee: This tee has become part of my weekly wardrobe rotation. It is the perfect length to wear over leggings and comes in like 6 different colors.
  9. Hatch Baby Rest: Last item of my top purchases. This one isn’t as expensive, but could be something you could put on your registry as we love it. It’s a sound machine for babies that has multiple presets. You can also create your own preset with sounds and illuminating color. Speaking of color, it can illuminate blue, pink, green, yellow (really any color you want), which I know Ava will love in the future if she wants an all pink room. The reason we really liked this one is because you can change the function of it for when you child is older to a time to wake clock. You can download the free app to sync with the Hatch, and can set it to change from red to green (or whatever color you want) at a certain time letting you child know it’s time to wake up. How cool right?! We’ve had it in our room now since Ava was born and Sean is used to the white noise….so we might be getting two of them for when she transitions to her room.

I hope these helped! These have all made my life easier is some way, shape, or form and hope they can help someone else out as well! Off to celebrate my birthday!

XOXO,