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Jesus is the Best Superhero

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!

What a crazy few weeks I've had.  I'm so sorry to have been M-I-A on here but let me explain.  First, we had a major layoff at my job and it caused a bit of stress and frankly, a lot of soul searching.  I am now doing the work of 2 people and I'm not too happy about it.  More later.  Then, I got sick.  I had a terrible bout of indigestion, vomiting and upper abdominal pain a couple of weeks ago and went to the ER.  Turns out, I had a gallbladder attack.  It was so bad and painful.  So fast forward to last week and your girl here had emergency surgery to remove my nasty gallbladder.  Surgery was a relief.  I felt so much better.  I'm still in a bit of pain this week but I'm back at work and can pick up my big little 5 month old after a week (that was miserable).  Apparently, pregnancy can exacerbate gallbladder issues.  Awesome.  We really do go through a lot for our kiddos, don't we!

Thank you to all my family and friends for your prayers and texts.  Special shout out to my husband - I mean dude has been amaze-a-zing and to my mommy for being there especially since I could not pick up my baby Briggs and to Basically Joy for "basically" taking care of me and my kiddos when I was at my sickest.  You know what you did and I am grateful to call you friend!  I'd never been through anything like this before so it was a bit scary but I had faith that everything would turn out ok and I was right.  I feel like a new woman.  I've lost 9 pounds (getting sick is the best diet ever) and hopefully getting that sludgy infected gallbladder out of my system will help my metabolism and digestion run smoothly now.

Speaking of faith, I wanted to share a cute story about my son Dax, the 4 1/2 year old.  We are reading this Bible stories book before his bedtime right now and last night's story was "Finding The Lost" and it was about Jesus telling the Pharisees parables about why he hung out with sinners.  So Dax points to a picture of Jesus and asks me, "Is Jesus a good guy?"  I said, "Yes, Buddy.  He's the best guy ever."  We read a bit more and then he says, "Mommy, Jesus is like Hawkeye and helps people."  I laughed so hard.  Hawkeye is from the Avengers and Dax is very into Superheroes now.  So all I could say is, "Yes, baby, he's like Hawkeye and helps people but remember, Jesus is the Best Superhero of them all."  He nodded his head in agreement and we finished the story.  Too cute!!  Love this book, by the way and so does Dax.  Each story takes about 5 minutes and he stays pretty engaged.  Link below.

So I'll be back with some more regularly scheduled bloggy business soon. Don't you worry.  Also, feel free to ask me any questions about my surgery. I didn't want to go into too much detail in case you are not here for that but if you are, I'm an open book.  XoXo!!

The 10 Newborn Essentials You Need to Help Stay Sane

Thursday, April 13, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!

I am no baby expert nor am I an expert mother, but what I am an expert in is sanity (so far).  You have to be when you work full-time with two children and a husband and have to deal with all the demands of this modern world.  So, I learned a thing or two with my first son about how certain baby products helped to keep me sane, especially in those first early months with a newborn.  Luckily, some things were a bit easier this time around because I was prepared with all my go-to items.  Of course, I had to share some of them with you.  These 10 items are not necessarily in order by importance but they are all musts in my book.  So if you know any new moms or soon-to-be mamas, share this post with them.

1) Swaddle Wrap
I believe in the power of the swaddle.  I also understand that some children just can't be swaddled.  Boy do I feel "sorry for their mother".  Ha!  That was a bad Menace to Society reference...  Anyway, both of my son's were strong and active newborns so swaddling really helped them sleep.  Yes, they broke out of the swaddle quite a bit but so what.   
A recent and funny picture of  Briggs bustin' loose.  The swaddle's time is almost over.
I just wrapped 'em up again and they went to sleep again.  So I could sleep again.  Sleep is just too important to me.  I am seriously a dragon lady without sleep.  Hopefully, my dragon tendencies are starting to fade now that Briggs is sleeping through the night.  My favorite swaddle is the Summer Infant SwaddleMe Wrap.  The velcro closures keep the little ones nice and snug and I recommend these 100%!! 

2) Boppy Pillow
Duh.  Do I really need to write about why I love this?  It helps you prop up the baby in a great position for feeding (nursing or bottle) and you can get covers to match any theme or decor.  I bought the Belgian Linen cover from Pottery Barn Kids and it's so lovely.  I'm using it for all of Briggs' sweet monthly photos.   

I love that my 4 year old can hold his brother with the help of the Boppy and it's not hideous like some of the other nursing pillows out there.  Has to be form and function for me people.  I'm a bit shallow.  

3) Flannel Swaddling Blanket
There is just something about those generously sized flannel swaddling blankets at the hospital that the nurses know how to tuck and tighten just right.  I searched high and low for a large flannel blanket and finally found this one from Trend Lab.  Not to knock the lovely muslin blankets as they have their place but they were never secure enough to keep my little guys swaddled.  This flannel banket was great for when Briggs was in-between sizes in the SwaddleMe.  It's also great for tummy time and snuggles.
4) Vibrating Swing
Best. Purchase. Ever.  This gave me some nice nap time in those early weeks and still does.  Now, Briggs will sit and just enjoy the motion as well without falling asleep.  This particular model has 6 speeds, music and nature sounds.
5) Bottle Sterilizer
Someone bought us this as a gift when I was pregnant with Dax and it was a life saver.  We use it every time we wash our bottles and with a little adjusting, it can fit at least two of the 9 ounce NUK bottles that we love so much (from this post).
6) 3 in 1 Thermometer
I love this thermometer because I can use 1 thermometer for both of my kiddos and even me.  It has a plastic case that keeps all the tips separated for hygiene.
7) Slipover Bibs
I believe I received one of these in a gift set from Amazon for registering there and I loved it.  It easily slips over baby's head which is nice so you don't have to fumble with Velcro or snaps.  They are also generously sized.
8) Activity Mat/Gym
This was my favorite mat because of the cute but not glaring colors and it had a mirror, a musical mobile (that the baby loves) and several tactile toys.  
9) If you are concerned about flathead syndrome, the Babymoon Pod is a must.  Briggs favored his right side in my belly and out so his little head was a bit flatter on that side.  I use it on the changing table, play time on his back and supervised naps.  This little pillow definitely helped even out the flatness.  

Here are some miscellaneous items that I also recommend:

10 Spring Outfits You Need to Try for Breakthrough Style

Monday, March 27, 2017
I love Spring.  It's my second favorite season behind Autumn.  (Don't you love the word "Autumn"?  It sounds so much better than Fall, lol).  It's a great time to refresh your wardrobe and get inspired by new trends.  I wanted to do a roundup of some great Spring outfits I found in Blog Land this week.  These ladies all have great style and you should totally try to incorporate some of these looks into your style.  I can't wait to incorporate them into my wardrobe.

Note some of the trends featured: jean jackets, little white dresses, florals, stripes, khaki, blush pink, graphic tees, shoulder cut-outs, one-shoulder tops, and statement sleeves. 

via Bows and Sequins
This is an adorable striped top and I love the long gold pendant.  Dark jeans takes this to look up a notch.

via The Fancy Things
I love this white midi dress.  It's easy, breezy and so cute.  Her studded sandals are perfect.

via The Southern Style Guide
Can you say layer love?  The little floral blouse is so cute and the blush jacket really works.

via Fashionably Lo
Neutrals are my thing and I love that khaki is actually trending.  This trench with other neutral accessories sets the trend off right.

via Lady in Violet
Someone is so happy that one-shoulder tops are in.  That someone is me, if you didn't guess.  This festive top is great for the season and is perfect paired with distressed jeans.

via Life's Candy Jar
Bell sleeves, flared denim, and that bag!  Yes!  So much yes!!

via Beijos Events
Have you ever thought to pair a graphic tee with a maxi?  Do it.  This is such a great Spring outfit and easy to pull off.  Try pairing this look with espadrilles to take you into the Summer.

 via What I Wore
I love this casual outfit and think the olive shorts are so cute.  A baby is the ultimate accessory.  And I love the jacket although I don't own one and have never worn a jean jacket.  Crazy right?  I love how they look on others but I just can't see myself in one.  How do you feel about denim jackets?  Do you think I should stop being so rigid and get one?

via Moxie Fashion Blog
The blush joggers are life!  I am obsessed.  And of course the clamshells are everywhere and are an athleisure staple.

via The Glamorous Gal
This lightweight sweater has the coolest cut-outs and I love the color.  Also loving the light grey bag and studded flats.  This is how you elevate a casual look.

Here are some key pieces I scoured the interwebs for to make it easy on you to shop.  You're welcome and happy Spring!

Here is Why I Love the NUK Simply Natural Bottle

Saturday, March 18, 2017
This post was sponsored by NUK as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however all opinions expressed are my own.

I didn't really get into breast feeding with Briggs b/c with all the issues I had with Dax, I knew how awesome and easy bottle feeding is.  Both he and Dax were moderately tongue tied (ankyloglossia) and we chose not to have their frenums clipped.  That made latching a bit more difficult.  I did give Briggs a nice bit of colostrum in the hospital so I'm not all the way selfish.  He was able to latch quite a bit better than Dax but he still had some issues.  

Even though I'm not breastfeeding, I wanted the bottle I use to really mimic the breast as much as possible and help with Briggs' latching.  I'm not sure that people understand the importance of finding the perfect baby bottle.  There are so many factors to consider: nipple size and shape, anti-colic features, bottle material, bottle shape, cost, ease of use and ease of cleaning.  I tried a few different brands before I fortuitously received the NUK Simply Natural Gift set.  I was so pleasantly surprised at how well these bottles worked for us.  Briggs had none of the latching issues he had with the other bottles.  I believe that is due to the innovative features The NUK Simply Natural bottles have.  

The nipple shape is pretty true to the way mom's nipple is shaped while nursing and it has up to nine holes depending on the flow rate.  I thought this was so cool because it works just like breasts!  Now that I'm back working full-time, I have to prepare bottles for Briggs for daycare so another feature I really appreciate is that the NUK Simply Natural bottles are easy to transport.  I love how easily the cap pops on and off.  Perhaps my favorite thing about them is that they are easy to clean.  They have a simple anti-colic valve and a soft nipple that feels more like a breast.  There are not any complicated parts to clean every time like some other brands.  These things seem like minor details but to a sleep deprived parent, anything that causes less frustration and saves time is important.

I've never felt that my bond with my boys is less than because I bottle feed but I do wish I had these bottles when Dax was a baby.  To me, they really mimic the breast and would definitely help ease the transition from breast to bottle for mamas who need a break, who want dad or others to be able to feed baby or for those who supplement.

Not to be left out is how I feel about the NUK orthodontic silicone pacifier.  Dax took to the standard hospital issue "pacie" like a champ.  Briggs, on the otherland was a bit more finicky.  Sometimes he would take it when sleepy, other times he would just spit it out and continue to fuss and cry.  Not so with the NUK pacifier.  He took to it right away and it soothes him so much better than the non-orthodontic type.  I think it helps that the shape of the pacifier and the shape of the bottle nipples are not too far off.  This pacifier has been a lifesaver us.

The set I received came with 2) five ounce bottles, 2) nine ounce bottles, 2 slow flow nipples, 2 medium flow nipples, 2 fast flow nipples and 3 orthodontic pacifiers.  Buy a couple of these and you're set because they really grow with baby.  You can find them online or in-store at Target and Walmart.  Visit the NUK website to learn more about these awesome bottles and their Simply Natural Freemie cups, also available at both Target and Walmart stores.

I realize that every baby is different but it's nice to have advice as a good starting off point.  So my advice to you is to do your research but ultimately go with the flow (tee hee) when your baby arrives.  You never know what's in store until you meet your little wonder.  For those already in the throws of "babydom" what features are most important to you when it comes to bottle feeding?