Baby Gear Essentials – My Must Haves

Baby Gear Essentials
DockATot, The Ollie World Swaddle, Binxy Baby shopping cart hammock, and Lillebaby tie the knot wrap are some of the baby gear essentials on my must have list.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here.If you’ve been following me on my Instagram, you’ve seen that it’s been a pretty exciting pregnancy.  We made it to 37 weeks! Something completely new as both of my boys were born at or before 37 weeks.  Now that this baby could make her appearance some time soon, I feel like I need to buckle down and grab some baby gear essentials.  I’ve been gathering some of my favorite items that I’ve been eyeing for some time.  (Please note that this post is sponsored but all opinions are my own.  This post also includes affiliate and referral links).

Some of my must have baby gear essentials
Some of my must have baby gear essentials – DockATot, Binxy Baby, LÍLLÉbaby tie the knot wrap, and The Ollie World Swaddle.

 

DockAtot

The DockATot has been something that I have had my eye on since my second pregnancy.  They have two sizes – Deluxe (the one pictured above and below) for 0-8 months and Grand 9-36 months.  I’ve heard such good things about DockATot not only from social media and blogs but from friends as well.  I’ve heard how this has helped with sleep for not only baby but for parents.  Let’s face it, the newborn phase includes A LOT of late nights and early mornings.  I honestly wish I purchased one during my second pregnancy because W was a horrible sleeper.

The DockATot is OEKO-TEX certified, all natural and 100% cotton, and has been tested for breathability.  I’m excited to use this as it is considered a multi-functional lounger – for co-sleeping and playtime.  Not to mention that this will be easy for me to take from room to room either to place either on the bed or on the floor.  I can’t wait to see little E all cozy in this!

DockATot Deluxe+
DockATot Deluxe+ Dock in Pristine White.

The Deluxe+ in Pristine White is currently sold out on their website BUT have a selection of Docks and cover sets to choose from ready for purchase.  There are also a number of accessories that you can purchase for your DockATot such as toys/toy arches and travel bags.

Want $10 off a DockATot? Click here.

Please note that the DockATot is not recommended to be placed in a crib or bassinet.  Additional safety tips are listed on the DockATot site.

 

The Ollie World Swaddle
Swaddling, especially during the newborn phase, saved me plenty of times.  My babies always felt their coziest while swaddled.  I mean, who doesn’t like a cute baby burrito?

The Ollie World Swaddle
The Ollie Swaddle – Lavender

Just the packaging itself is something to be excited for.  The color is completely beautiful and the material is soft and feels like it is light and has a lot of breathability. The velcro allows this to grow with baby which I feel is a big plus.  The swaddles I’ve previously used only last past a certain growth month and I would then have to purchase another one to fit my baby.  There is also an opening at the bottom to help with diaper changes.  It comes in three different colors to choose from.  This lavender one is perfect and I can’t wait to see E swaddled in it!

Want $10 off on an Ollie Swaddle? Click here.

 

Binxy Baby
Shopping with three young kids, just that whole cart situation with fitting the kids and items I’m shopping for, already has me a little nervous.

Binxy Baby - Shopping Cart Hammock
Binxy Baby – Shopping Cart Hammock – Full Bloom

I’ve been hearing good things about Binxy Baby.  Not only can you have baby laying it in (recommended for 6-8 month old babies for this) you can also play your car seat in the hammock for easy car to cart transition.  I honestly am still terrified of that first shopping experience with the three kids but knowing that I can use this shopping cart hammock does provide some ease for me.  I’m already in love with the print, because I feel like you can never have enough florals.  The material used feels really strong and sturdy so that provides comfort knowing that I can put our carseat on here and it will be fully supported.

Want $10 off on a Binxy Baby shopping cart hammock? Click here.

 

LÍLLÉbaby
I’ve been a fan of baby wearing since having my first child so of course I’m going to continue doing so with this baby.  Being able to baby wear has helped not only with the closeness between a mother and child for me but has also helped with getting things done.  Let’s face it, as a mom, even if you have one or three kids, you need to be able to do so many things at once.  Baby wearing helped me so much after having my second child because I was chasing a toddler at the time.  I’ll be doing the same thing this time around and chasing a pre-schooler.  A baby carrier, whether a wrap or sling, is definitely a baby essential.

LÍLLÉbaby Tie the Knot Wrap
LÍLLÉbaby – Tie the Knot Wrap in Blushing Pink

I’ve tried various wraps, carriers, and different brands and I’m excited to try the LÍLLÉbaby because again, I’ve heard such good things.  The material is incredibly soft and lightweight.  I absolutely love the color.  I bought a lot of gender neutral carriers in anticipation of someday having a girl. It’s nice to add a little bit of girly-colors into my baby gear mix for this little one.

Want $10 off a LÍLLÉbaby carrier? Click here.

Be sure to check back for individual reviews once baby girl makes her debut!  So excited to try all these products with her!

Starting A Business While Pregnant.

Starting a business while pregnant? Why not take the leap?

I have always wanted to start my own business.  There was always that appeal of creating something that people would love and making extra income.  I always had ideas but they never seemed to go any further than just a thought in my head or a casual discussion with someone.  Like anything, starting a business requires A LOT of work and research.  So why bother trying to start up a business while pregnant?  I think the better question is: why not start a business?

I have always had some interest in sewing.  It isn’t something that I would do a lot.  I usually would only sew when I was looking for something VERY specific but could not find anywhere.  The sewing projects seemed to grow whenever I was pregnant. Each of my boys have their own personal minky blankets and rompers that I sewed while I was pregnant. For whatever reason this pregnancy and the sewing projects just grew.  If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen that we’re expecting a baby girl this October.  You can definitely say that I’m excited to add some shades of pink to our mostly blue household!

Newest sewing project

I started out with trying to make moccasins and I received a positive response from family and friends.  I moved onto headbands and liked how it turned out.  I just recently attempted dresses and not only received positive responses but I liked how they turned out too.  During my free time (a.k.a. when the kids are sleeping), I’ve been searching for more sewing project ideas on Pinterest.  I have also been encouraged by my friends to sell the things I’ve been making.

Second dress for baby girl

I decided to take the leap – start a business.  Even while pregnant.

I have decided to start slow.  I’m hoping to open an Etsy shop sometime next month to get my bearings before little miss makes her debut.  I have so many ideas and so many things I want to make. After reflecting on things and having MANY discussions with my husband, I decided that pushing things out in increments would be my best course of action.  The last thing I would want is to offer so many items at once but not be able to deliver quality products.

Right now my focus is on headbands and I’ve been messing around with extra fabrics.  Moccasins are my next goal.  I’m hoping to send out some testers out to get some input.  Eventually I would like to incorporate clothes once I feel more comfortable.  Right now button holes are my nemesis, hah!

Bow inventory growing

I don’t know where this is going to take me.  I have never opened up any type of business.  I did not go to college for a business degree.  Yet I still want to do this.  Probably one of the biggest barriers I’ve broken during this process is the feeling that I may not be good enough.  If anything, I’ve learned that sometimes your initial course of action does not result in the goal you intended.  More often than not, it uncovers something you never discovered about yourself.  It leads you to a path you would have never considered.

Pregnant or not, I’ve decided to start on this new path. I know that it’s not going to be easy.  I’m expecting set-backs.  I know there will be tears.  I’m expecting that I have to work extremely hard.  Regardless if I was pregnant, I know that the difficulty level, set-backs, tears, etc. are all going to happen.  It may seem a little unconventional to start a business at this time.  I’m sure that many businesses have started out that way.

I feel that by not trying I will be left with questions that begin with “what if…”  Ultimately I want to show my children to not be afraid to take a leap.  I would want them to take that leap of faith and try to eliminate those “what if…” questions.  I also want to let go of that fear that always manages to convince to not try something new.

So, why not now?

Is there something holding you back from trying something new?

On to New Adventures

It feels daunting thinking about a move to a new neighborhood and changing all that is familiar not only for myself but for my kids as well.
It feels daunting thinking about a move to a new neighborhood and changing all that is familiar not only for myself but for my kids as well.

With two kids our two bedroom condo was starting to feel so small.  The condo was perfect when it was just my husband and myself.  It was also perfect when O was born since we weren’t anticipating having another child so soon.  Now that W is mobile and the toys are starting to take over (a sarcastic but loving thank you godparents!), my husband and I decided we needed to to find a new place.

Troublemaker

We saw maybe 8 homes and only saw 1 that we felt was right for us.  Our offer was drawn up and honestly we were anticipating that this home would not be ours.  We were so shocked to find that our first offer ever was accepted!  Now that we’re gearing up to move, I think it’s finally hit me that we’re really leaving.

The whole home buying process was stressful, anxiety filled, emotional, and faster than I thought it would be.  As someone with PPD and PPA, this was not an ideal situation for me.  It was during this time that my health took a turn and I took a step back from social media because of the overwhelm I was feeling.

Shirt from: Nestle & Thyme
Shirt from: Nestle & Thyme

There are so many memories attached to this condo.  Both boys have spent their first year here.  They took their first steps and falls here.  I’ve watched their sibling bond grow here.  Our neighbors are so friendly and sweet.  We know the area so well and my job and husband’s job are so close that freeways aren’t needed.  Our friends live so close, heck one of our best friends/O’s Godfather lives down the street.  I could go on, with the many memories and reasons why it’s hard to leave this condo and this neighborhood in general.

However in the end my husband and I were thinking about what would be the next step for our family – the best step for our family.  We may be further away from friends and our jobs but ultimately it’s the best move for the kids.

I’m definitely not as sad as I thought I would be but that may change on our moving day and once I see this place empty.  Looking forward to this new blessing that He has given us.  I’m looking forward to creating new memories.  Who knows, He may lead us back to this same area later on down the road.

Most of all, I’m just feeling blessed that I’m on this new adventure with the ones that I love.

P.S. Want a Nestle & Thyme shirt?  The ladies of Nestle & Thyme were so sweet to offer a 20% off code for my followers.  Use ENJOY20 to get one for yourself a shirt like mine or one of their other products.  Definitely check out the shirts they have not only for yourself but your little ones as well!

signed, dee

 

Small Gestures

Sometimes the smallest of gestures can be the biggest.
Sometimes the smallest of gestures can be the biggest.

I’ve been a mama of two for almost a year now but I still feel like I’m getting a handle on things. I do have days where although I feel somewhat overwhelmed, that I do have a handle on things.

It seems like it’s always tough after a long weekend, especially a long holiday weekend.  We didn’t have the greatest of nights due to residual fireworks and excitement.  O didn’t fall asleep until well pass midnight but managed to wake up early like he normally does.  After a cup of coffee, we set off to do errands.

I found a garden center near our place so I wanted to make a stop there to let O explore.  He couldn’t get enough of the place.  O couldn’t walk anywhere fast enough.  Well more like I couldn’t walk fast enough.  He was pulling on my arm to places and decided that he would be better off venturing ahead while I caught up.  I definitely didn’t mind since we had the place to ourselves and the people working there were so sweet as O approached them.

My little garden center explorer.

Three stores later, including the quick trip to a garden center, both boys were ready for lunch and a nap.  However, my gas tank had other plans.  I have a hybrid vehicle so stops at the gas station aren’t frequent and I tend to not look at my gas tank gauge as much anymore because of it.  We made a stop at a gas station that turned out to be nothing but quick.

The lines to gas up cars were long but for whatever reason it didn’t bother me even with O being relentless with asking to move the car and W whimpering in the back because he was over being in his carseat.  I think if this occurred a few months back, my PPD/PPA would have got the best of me.  I would have probably started to get anxious since both kids were getting restless and there was nothing I could do about it.

When we did get to a pump.  I didn’t realize the credit card/debit machine wasn’t working.  Again, this is something that could have easily created an moment of anxiety.  However, I scooped both kids up and headed inside the gas station store to pay.  O seemed excited with the prospect of going into a place he’s never been before while W was content being in the baby carrier.  As I was explaining the situation to the owner of the store, he began to apologize for the trouble.  I kept reassuring him that it really was not an issue.

As we made our way back to the car to pump, a gentlemen that was pumping near our car smiled and asked if I needed help with putting gas in the car.  I reassured him that it was fine and thanked him but he insisted.  He pumped gas in my car and explained that he also has two children that are close in age and remembers how difficult it would be to run errands with both when they were so young.  I offered to pay for some of his gas since I was so thankful for the help but yet again he insisted that it was fine and that he already pumped gas.

Then as I was placing O in his carseat, one of the gas station workers ran up and asked if I needed help.  He started trying to open the gas tank and asked what gas I needed.  It took some time to explain that my car was already gassed up since there was a language barrier.  Apparently the owner felt so bad that he told one of his employees to gas my car up for me.  Again, I was feeling incredibly grateful at the small gestures of kindness the boys are I were receiving.

Just small gestures like that – offering to put gas in someone’s car – can make a difference.  It just shows that there are so many small pockets of kindness that occur or can occur during your day.  Simply smiling at someone, greeting someone as they walk by, holding open a door for someone, or even just asking someone if they need help.  These gestures may seem small but can mean so much.  They can also be needed.

In a world where everyone seems so busy and where people often choose to walk by someone that needs help, such small gestures are heartwarming.  The day is only halfway through for us but I feel like it’s been a great one already.  Not only do I feel grateful for such kind gestures but I’m pretty darn proud of myself for not letting my PPD/PPA get the best of me today.  It’s all about the baby steps.  It’s about trying to remember to focus on important things.  Here is to more days with fun adventures, conquering personal battles, and kind gestures not only from other people but to do more of them myself.

signed, dee

Let Me Take A Mama Moment.

Sometimes, motherhood makes you laugh...at yourself.
Sometimes, motherhood makes you laugh…at yourself.

Let me take a Mama moment…to laugh at myself.  I got inspired by Milla’s post to share some of my not so glamorous and funny Mama moments. I’m sure there are more but these were the ones that came to mind:

  1. O was having a hard time adjusting to W.  I’m sure he was thinking, who is this alien looking thing that just appeared out of no where and when is he going to leave?  It was the first time I braved taking both boys out to run errands.  We were in one of the grocery aisles, O in the shopping cart, and I was wearing W.  O decided that he wanted to kiss W and kept insisting that he do it THAT MOMENT.  I quickly let him and something about watching how carefully he kissed his brother’s forehead caused a lump in my throat.  I started bawling out of happiness in the middle of the aisle.  O was confused, W sound asleep, and I’m sure the elderly gentleman nearby was equally confused.  I spent the rest of the grocery trip trying to hold it together and not cry.
  2. We were almost out of baby wipes so I quickly got myself and the boys dressed to make a Target run.  I realized that O’s shirt was on inside out when we were in the parking lot but shrugged it off.  We quickly grabbed what we needed (and probably things we didn’t need), paid, I grabbed some Starbucks, and headed back to the car.  O had been pointing at something while we were going around Target but I was too focused on making sure we had everything we needed.  Once again as we were nearing the car he was pointing and I realized it was at me.  I looked down and realized the cardigan I threw on had W’s bibs all over it.  The cardigan I grabbed from from a pile of clothes to be folded and due to the material the velcro on the bibs stuck to it.  I probably looked like a walking bib ad at the store.
  3. If you follow me on Instagram I’m sure you’ve seen me post about how much O loves The Lion Guard. He loves it so much that I relented to downloading the soundtrack.  It’s pretty much the only thing we listen to when we’re in the car.  The songs are pretty catchy and I’ve memorized the majority of them. It was a day where it was just O and me and we were in the Starbucks drive-thru.  Of course, we were listening to The Lion Guard soundtrack.  I had just ordered and pulled up to the pick up area.  For whatever reason the barista was busy and didn’t open the window to accept my payment just yet.  O was not loving the fact that I was singing along to the songs.  Of course, being the great Mama I am, I decided to sing even louder and just put on a show.  Needless to say, during this whole “show,” the barista opened the window and was chuckling to mine and (mostly) O’s dismay.
  4. My husband just went back to work after taking leave when W was born.  I was trying to be helpful and make his coffee to take with him.  It was after a night of little to no sleep and I had grabbed the creamer from the fridge.  O had just woken up and was asking for cereal.  I grabbed his bowl and Cheerios, poured creamer into his bowl, sleepily handed it to him, and proceeded to pour the Cheerios into my husband’s coffee.  I only realized what I did after I put the Cheerios into the fridge and the creamer in the cupboard.
  5. O was learning to use the toilet and we started him out by having him go pee before his bath.  Well, at this point O has his clothes already off as he would go pee and then get into the tub.  We were over at a friend’s house and I had asked him to use the bathroom before we left.  I was trying to make sure I had gathered all of our things and didn’t realize that he had proceeded to take off his clothing because duh, that’s how he was use to using the bathroom at that time.  Of course my friend was confused. I quickly had to explain why as I was trying to get O back into his clothes.

I think I need to do this more often, it was nice to look back and laugh at these. I might have been cringing (or crying) about it when these moments actually happened but I can definitely see it as just a few moments out of the many happier ones. What are some of your funnier/not-so-glamourous Mama moments?

signed, dee

Opening up about PPD to Non-Mama Friends

Your friends may just surprise you with their reaction. It may also be what you need
Your friends may just surprise you with their reaction. It may also be what you need

I will be one of the first to tell you how isolating it can feel to be the only mama among a group of friends that are either back at school or conquering their careers.  During this time I felt like all I really needed were other mamas.  Someone to commiserate with about sleepless nights, ways to keep breastmilk supply up, or just someone to understand the overwhelm that comes at times.

I haven’t told many of my close friends about my battle with PPD.  Mostly due to fear of not being understood and just being seen differently. I’ve decided to be more open about it because well, this is who I am right now.  A second time mama trying to find ways to continually shut down the heavy criticism and self doubt that overcomes me.  Someone who is trying to do give her all and best for her kids, husband, and those she holds dearest to her.  For anyone that is dealing with PPD, or anything like it, can attest to how tiresome it is to carry it all so close to you.  Not being able to, or allowing yourself, to confide in friends is exhausting both physically and mentally.

One of my good friends, the godmother to O and someone who has managed to give so much optimism and faith in my life, only recently found out. I hate that I waited so long but it always felt like it wasn’t the right time.  I found myself blurting it out and fumbling over words one afternoon while she was visiting. She had W in her arms while he was bouncing around while I was trying to wrangle in O.  I couldn’t look at her directly after I just spilled it all at once.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but I really was taken aback with her reaction.

“You’ll get through this.”

She said it so simply and matter of fact.

She acknowledged what I said.  She genuinely understood.  She sympathized.  She was encouraging.  She was optimistic for me.  More importantly, she looked at me no different.  I was taken aback because we’re in different chapters in our lives.  I, the second time mama. Her, conquering her Masters and career.  In my mind I was more than certain only a mama would understand and be so encouraging.  In my mind I thought she would not be able to connect the previous months of isolation I put myself in with my struggle with PPD.  Thank you dearest friend for proving me wrong and sincerely doing your best to understand.  Thank you for not looking at me differently or treating me any different since finding out.  Thank you Lord for allowing such an understanding person be part of my life.

What she gave me was even more strength.  Strength that I can continue to get through this.  She was able to provide me a perspective coming from a someone who is making her way to the chapter in her life that includes children.  Telling her gave me the ease of knowing that I have support from a person I hold close.   Being able to tell her and receiving support and understanding has given me the ability to breathe and continue to push forward.  More importantly, she showed me that I need support from not just my Mama friends but ALL my friends.  It truly does take a village to not only raise a child but maneuver through this motherhood journey.

Mental Health Quote

How becoming a mama has made me feel beautiful.

My kids have shown me to see the beauty within myself.

My transition to mamahood hasn’t been an easy or smooth one but it has given me so much in terms of personal growth.  Mamahood has changed my life in many ways. It has especially made me unapologetic of myself – flaws, quirks, and all.

I was one of those awkward girls growing up.  It seemed to be especially apparent during middle school and high school.  I know a lot of people say this, but I really didn’t feel that I fit in. Thanks to genes I was skinny, very light skinned compared to my peers, and shy.  Add being mixed race in a community where there were a handful of us – it made me feel self conscious.  I didn’t look like anyone else and people made sure to point it out.  When I would receive compliments, I would just have a blank stare or laugh it off.  I never saw myself as beautiful, pretty, gorgeous, or anything closely related.  Probably the hardest things for me was trying to navigate through life and accepting the person I was – quirks, strengths, looks, etc.  Even writing this post has taken some time to be able to verbalize my thoughts.  It’s been sitting in my drafts for almost a month.

Becoming a mother changed that for me.  It was no longer about myself or worrying about how I looked.   It was about this tiny and fragile human that was delicately handed to me.  I see pieces of me in each of my children.  The same pair of lips and skin on my first and the same large eyes and smile in my second.  I see the silly sense of humor I have budding with my first.  Then there is the determination I have that I’m beginning to see with my second.

Tee from: parentees.co
Tee from: parentees.co

 

I’ve had my ups and downs with accepting myself.  The one thing that has been constant through out all of this is God’s presence.  I would find myself feeling so low but managing to pull myself out of it once I poured my heart and thoughts to the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6New International Version (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]

Placing that trust in Him, with all my heart, has given me the blessing of my beautiful kids.  Being blessed with both my children has only intensified that faith that I have.  Time and time again He has given me tests to show me my worth, my own beauty, the beauty that he has given me.  My children have been able to open my eyes and extend this further. They have shown me that they love me and see the beauty in me.  This is regardless of what I’m going through, what I’m trying to over come, or how I may see myself sometimes.  My children have pushed me – with God’s help.   There will no longer be apologies regarding who I am.  I am moving towards accepting my flaws, embracing what makes me unique, and starting to look at myself as beautiful – as God has made me.