Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Free to Be a New Mom

Before I became a new mom, I thought I knew everything. The majority of my days were spent reading parenting websites and learning everything I could about my soon to arrive newborn. I was armed with an arsenal of knowledge and was going to be the best mom ever. Nora would be exclusively breast fed until age 1, we would never co-sleep, every baby product would be clean and sterile before it touched her sensitive skin, and the cry it out method was something I would never try. 

Then, all of a sudden, here she was. I'm pretty sure when we got home from the hospital, Madison and I looked at each other and said "now what?" I learned pretty quickly that all of my "rules" were not going to work, and we completely changed our parenting style. My dreams of breastfeeding were cut short when Nora wasn't getting full at any feeding. We certainly let Nora cry it out a few times because for the first few months of her life, all she did was cry. We also weren't so strict about sterilizing the pacifier every time she dropped it on to the couch. 

And you know what? She turned out okay. Once I let gave up on all of my preconceived notions, I was finally free to be a new mom. I enjoyed motherhood a lot more when I wasn't being so hard on myself. Life got easier and we all smiled more.

One thing I am happy I didn't change my mind on, was our laundry detergent. I knew newborns had sensitive skin, so I wanted to pick a detergent that would be gentle enough that it wouldn't irritate her. We chose all free clear to be our family detergent. It worked wonderfully and Nora never had any issues with it. all free clear is the #1 recommended detergent brand by Dermatologists, Allergists, and Pediatricians for sensitive skin. It's tough on stains yet gentle enough for the whole family. Plus, it's safe for use in standard and HE machines. It rinses clean and has a gentle, hypoallergenic formula. 

Now, instead of worrying about delicate new born skin, we worry about stains. Luckily, all free clear has grown with our family. Their detergent with stainlifters is perfect to get out of all the toddler messes with live with now. 

I am truly glad that out of all of my "mom rules" the one thing I stuck with was hypoallergenic laundry detergent. I was free to be a new mom and know my baby was not being exposed to harsh dyes or synthetic scents. 

What were your new mom rules? Were you worried about your laundry detergent or any other cleaning products? If you have tried all free clear let me know how you like it. Make sure to click the link below to learn more about all and the new hypoallergenic laundry products they offer, including dyer sheets and fabric softener. We can't wait to try them out!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

On My Bookshelf Wishlist

I aspire to be a reader. Truthfully I find it difficult to sit down and read for long periods of time. Maybe I get distracted too easily, or maybe it's because I'm ready for bed as soon as we get home from work these days. Whatever the reason, I aim to change that. I know that it is important to wide down at the end of the day, preferably without electronics, and a good book is a great way to do that. Here are a few books that I want on my bookshelf. 

If you read this post, you know that I completed my first round of Whole 30 not too long ago. I had great success and felt wonderful. Then I got pregnant and my desire for a Paleo lifestyle went down while my cravings for ice cream went up. Although I am not going to be following this lifestyle right now, I still want to read the new Whole 30 book. This is more of a detailed version of the Whole 30 program than what is included in It Starts With Food, which focuses more on the science behind the lifestyle. After baby number 2 is born, I plan to try this program again, so I want to learn all I can now before I'm way too tired to stay up and read at night. We have been trying to eat healthier overall, so this book will definitely be a big help. 

Mamrie Hart is fabulous. She is hilarious and I love her show You Deserve a Drink on Youtube. I can only image how funny this collection of stories is going to be. I definitely like lighthearted books that make you feel good when you read them. After a long day at work, that sounds like just the kind of thing I need. Plus, after each story is an original cocktail recipe. I might not be able to drink now, but just like Whole 30 recipes, I'm just gathering my information now until I can enjoy later.

I love Joy Cho's blog, Oh Joy, so naturally I was very excited to learn that she wrote a new book! This book includes projects designed to bring color and whimsy into your life. From fashion to decor and entertaining, I can't wait to see what ideas Joy has to share about bringing beauty into everyday life. 

This book from the author of the popular blog, Design Mom, sounds like a winner to me. It offers a room by room guide to keeping a stylish, yet organized, home with kids. Nora has a lot of things, and with another baby on the way, the kids products are just going to keep coming. Our home is basically a blank slate now, we haven't had much time to decorate since we moved in, so it will be great to incorporate some of these ideas as we continue to furnish and style our home.

You may have noticed there are no novels on this list. That's because I don't have any idea what I would like to read! If you have any suggestions for fiction or non-fiction, please leave them below. I certainly want to start reading more so I'd love to hear what you are enjoying. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spread the Love with Huggies UltraHug Contest

As a parent, I know how important it is to have good quality diapers. No one wants to go pick up their baby from a nap to discover a leak! We have way more important things to worry about than whether or not our child's diapers are going to work correctly. Huggies is a reliable company that offers products you can depend on. 

These Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers offer long-lasting leakage protection you can count on, so you can focus on all of your baby’s daily adventures. The range of sizes fit babies from newborn to 35 lbs. Only Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers have a new, unique quilted liner to lock away wetness better. 

They have a conforming, gap-free fit to keep your active baby dry throughout the day The trusted Leak Lock® System has quick-absorbing layers for up to 12 hours of protection. Plus, they have Minnie and Mickey on them, which Nora goes crazy for. 

Huggies is a great company that offers quality products, but also wants to support your community. From April 20th until June 25th, Huggies will be accepting all selfies of you and your baby with the hashtag #UltraHug, and featuring them in a collage on the campaign landing page. On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.

Nora and I are nominating the Marlborough Community Garden project. This project in our town offers residents who want to garden, but have limited or no available land a chance to grow locally. There is currently one community garden, but the town hopes to expand in the future. I think this is a wonderful project that will educate the community on sustainable living no matter what your resources are.

Now it's your turn to enter the Huggies UltraHug contest! Which community project would you want to be able to donate $2000 to? Let me know in the comments!

How to Enter the #UltraHug Selfie Contest

• First, take a selfie of you and your baby and upload that selfie to Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtag #UltraHug

• In your same post, make sure to include a text nomination including a name and/or identifying description of a community project in the US, which you would like to nominate. Make sure the community project is something near and dear to your heart.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

10 Ways to Decide to Have Another Baby as Young Parents

Vicki Francis Photography

Madison and I have been talking about having babies since we got engaged. We never planned on having children so young, at least I know I didn't. Nora's arrival into our lives came as a shock. I had just graduated college and started my first "grown up job" and all of a sudden here was this exciting and terrifying new adventure right in front of us. 

Although we weren't necessarily ready for Nora when we first found out that I was pregnant, we did everything we could to make sure we were fully prepared for her entrance into the world. Madison and I essentially sprung into action, making sure we had good jobs, a new place to live, and all the baby essentials. I suppose having a baby at 23 isn't so young, but it is definitely younger than I ever planned to have kids. Regardless, it has been the best thing that's ever happened to me. And now, we're doing it all over again! Here we go...

10 Ways to Decide to Have Another Baby as Young Parents:

1.) Do you like your current child? - Yes! She is great. We may be entering the terrible twos, but when she is not slapping me in the face or putting yogurt in her hair, she's fabulous.

2.) Are you ready for the lack of sleep? - Sleep training, what's that? Nora sleeps through the night about half the time so we are prepared to just stop sleeping all together.

3.) Do you have the space? - No! But we can totally be roommates with the new baby if we can't find an affordable 3 bedroom apartment in the Boston Metro West area (seemingly impossible). It actually might make those night time feedings a little easier.

4.) Do you have the money? - This goes under the "we'll make it work" category. Maybe I should start eating the lunches I bring to work, instead of making Madison buy me sides of mac and cheese and filling up on that. 

5.) Do you have the time? - We will make the time! I am fully committed to pushing my bedtime back to 10:30 if I need to. 

6.) Are you ready for 2+ more years of diapering? - ......fine. If we have to. Let's get this first one potty trained so we aren't on double diaper duty. 

7.) Does your current child like to snuggle? - Only her dad! Mommy needs snuggle time too. Bring on the newborn cuddles. 

8.) Does your current child like babies? - Absolutely. She also likes to pretend to be the mommy and puts me to sleep and rubs my back (my favorite game), so I know she will be loving and tender with a new baby. 

9.) Are you prepared for a long life of being parents? - Yes. This is that fact about being young parents that I love the most. We will be able to spend so many goods years with our children. It will be nice to be in the middle of our life when our kids graduate college rather than planning for retirement, or what type of tree we want our ashes to grow into. 

10.) Do you want another baby? - Of course! This is kind of the most important one. I have always wanted a big family, but right now a family of four sounds pretty good. 

What do you think? How old were you when you had your children? Do you think this handy checklist could be useful when planning for your next child? Let me know your thoughts on young parenthood in the comments below.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Baby #2!

There's going to be a baby! Madison and I recently got the wonderful news that we are going to become a family of 4 this Fall. We are beyond thrilled to be growing our family, and Nora is so excited to be a big sister! 

Madison and I want our children to be fairly close in age, so this timing feels perfect. Nora will be just under 3 years old when the baby arrives, which we think is a good age difference. She is currently in the "little mommy stage" where she likes to take care of her baby dolls by feeding and rocking them to sleep, so it will be very exciting to see how she acts with a real baby in the house. We both think she is going to be a wonderful big sister. 

Almost as soon as we found out, I asked Madison if I could make an "irrational purchase" and ordered these adorable matching sister bear and baby bear shirts from maisonwares on Etsy. These shirts have been saved in my Etsy favorites for months, ever since we started talking about having another baby. They are so cute and such great quality. I can't wait for Nora and the baby be able to wear them at the same time! That willl be about a year from now, so I suppose I can be patient. 

I'm am now even more excited to have this space, because I started this blog after Nora was born. It will be so fun to blog during this pregnancy so I can share the process of preparing the nursery, packing the hospital bag, and getting Nora ready to be a big sister. I hope you're as excited as we are to start this brand new journey of becoming a family of four!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter 2015

Happy Easter! We had a pretty quiet holiday this year, which was just fine for us. With all of the things that have been going on lately, it was nice to just spend a day at home with each other. 

Nora's birthday is coming up in a few weeks so she got a pretty small Easter basket. We did end up giving her one birthday present early though, because I may have gone a little overboard while shopping a couple weekends ago. In her Easter basket she got a new color book (Crayola Color Wonder because she likes to draw on her face), a Easter plate and utensil set (thank you Target $1 bins), a stuffed Goofy doll, a set of play car keys (because she likes to steal ours), and some empty Easter eggs. She also got a Fisher Price Little People aquarium playset (the early birthday present) which she loved! It has a little spinning pool and she had fun spinning all of her people around. 

We spent the morning watching movies and playing with the new toys. Goofy definitely needed a ride on the car. 

Nora really liked the Easter grass, and she finally got to wear a dress that has been in her closet for a year.

Nora took a nap and slept for almost 3 hours, which was just enough time for Madison and I to watch Interstellar. The rest of the afternoon was nice and relaxing, except for one hormonal Mommy meltdown. It's ok- we got through it. Sometimes that happens, but we didn't let it ruin our day. 

I tried to take Nora for a walk, but that lasted less than 10 minutes because it was so cold. Hopefully next year it will be warm enough for an Easter egg hunt! But until the weather warms up, we'll just enjoy our cozy family days in.