Ellie-20 months~ Mama- 38 weeks pregnant

Ellie- She just recently had her 18 month checkup and shots- because mama had a major case of pregnancy brain and forgot to bring her to her appointment last month. She had moved up into 84th percentile for weight and 62nd percentile for height! She’s come a long way from the baby who couldn’t gain weight using a nipple shield and kept falling way behind on the growth charts! So physically, she is getting bigger and stronger every day but she is still very clumsy right now!

Developmentally, she just blows me away. She started using 2-4 word sentences at about 17 months and her vocabulary is incredible at this point. She will repeat absolutely any words we say and is understanding concepts so clearly. She remembers processes so well. The other day she heard the shower turn off and said “Oh, daddy all done, towel!” And ran to bring him one. She also woke up in the morning and went to go get him to remind him he needs to turn the sprinklers on!

She’s also been getting a real sense of imagination, and loving to play dress up and match! Her favorite show is Spongebob, and her favorite movie is Frozen. She still sleeps with her purple owl “lovey” or as she pronounces it, “muffy.” Her favorite toy is Play-Doh! She’s still been sleeping 10 hours a night with a two hour nap during the day.

Mama- Oh, my, goodness. Am I ready to be done with this pregnancy! I’ve been struggling a lot with the ending stages. I’m worried every day now that this baby is growing too big, since Ellie was almost 10 pounds. The anxiety over this is really weighing on me during these last weeks. Coupled with the fact that her movements have slowed down, I’m nervous all the time. Im reminding myself that she moves less because she’s run out of space now, but then I go back to worrying about having another 10 pounder. 😂

Every person I see comments on how huge I am! I understand too, because the bump is OUT there! I keep under estimating where my bump sticks out to and brushing into door frames or tables or counters, and blistering the very thin skin on my belly.

Physically, it is very hard to lift Ellie as she’s just over 25 pounds and the weight limit for lifting while pregnant. Bedtime routine is when I really feel the full extend of this last month of pregnancy. Bathing her has become nearly impossible with the squatting, scrubbing, and even reaching the drain plug! Then I take her to her darkened room for lotion and pjs and getting myself up off the floor after and lowering her into her crib just take everything out of me! Nothing else will be easier once I have baby number two, but at least I won’t have these giant belly struggles anymore!

I go back and forth between the overwhelming desire to be done with this pregnancy and meet my second sweet girl already- and wanting to soak in every last moment of this special time with Ellie before life gets crazier.

Overall, I’m dwelling on the fact that this season of life I’m in is just truly wonderful and exciting. I’m Reminding myself to enjoy the adorable age Ellie is at and savor my one on one time with her. While looking forward to having another one of the most exciting moments of my life to meet my second baby! These two beautiful girls give me so much purpose and happiness. ❤️

How To: Take & Edit Bright, White Photos

Flatlays and white backdrop photos are one of the biggest trends on instagram right now. When posted regularity they create a great, bright aesthetic to your page that draws people in.

I’m too big on outdoor shots to stick exclusively to an exclusively indoor, white aesthetic. However, I still love the way the look as an addition to my page anytime!

I’m going to share my tips on one of my latest photo projects to help you achieve that look for yourself!

Items needed-

If you’ll be photographing a newborn, or flat laying products I’d recommend buying a photo backdrop online. Here’s an example of one from amazon.

If you’re into family lifestyle shots or have older kids, shooting still in front of a small backdrop won’t be best. We got a great fluffy white comforter that has been great for these types of photos.

I love to use my Nikon for these photos to ensure I get crisp photos. If you’re using an iPhone, turn up the sharpness when editing.

Run into Hobby Lobby or Michaels if you need some easy photo props to add. I love to buy the wreaths or anything floral whenever it’s on sale so that I always have some cute things on hand to throw into a photo!

Photo technique-

Make sure you are directly centered above or in front of your subject.

If shooting a sleeping newborn/child add all props quietly around them once they are asleep. If the child is awake, have your area ready and be prepared to take your photos quickly so as not to irritate them.

You’ll also want to (attempt to) remove unwanted distractions like lumpy blankets or binkies.

Editing-

The quickest, easiest tip to instantly improve your photos without an app is to make a few adjustments in your photos app.

First, adjust orientation and cropping so photo is straight, and centered.

Second, turn up the shadows! Instantly lifts your photos brightness without washing out the subjects.

If you need any blemishes removed or lumps/wrinkles blurred out, I would recommend editing with the (free) Airbrush app.

These type of photos don’t need any heavy filters, that will just distract from the white aesthetic you’re trying to create.

Instead focus on adding clarity with sharpness, brightness with shadows, and saturation if more color is needed.

BeforeAfter

I hope that this will help you all to create some great photos!

Baby Breathing Monitors|Review

If you ask almost any new mom to be what their biggest fear entering motherhood is, it’s usually SIDS. As a first time mom, I had no idea what this even was, which scared me more. I feared every single time I tried to sleep.

Mamas, sleeping well whenever you get the chance to during the newborn phase is SO important. If you’re like me, and you’re worried about your tiny little babe’s breathing every time you go to sleep, luckily there are now devices we can use.

I am so passionate about this, like a lot of mamas that have bought one. That is because of just the one night at a couple weeks old where Ellie’s breathing alarm went off, and I saw her face pushed up against side of her bassinet. We had a little bassinet that went in between my husband and I in bed, and we didn’t realize that my husband’s side slightly dipped down causing her to roll and have her side pressed against the side of it. Needless to say we moved it out of our bed after that night! I can’t say for sure whether the monitor saved her life that night but I can tell you that $80 was beyond worth it to me.

So as a first time mom, I did plenty of research when considering which breathing monitor to get, and there was a wide array!

The first I considered was the Owlet monitor. This is a smart sock that not only monitors breathing, but oxygen levels. This information is then sent to your phone. This sounded absolutely incredible to me, however the price was just too steep for us when considering the long list of other baby products we still needed to buy. I also read a lot of reviews saying the sock either fell off easily, or gave their baby a slight rash. We ended up with a squirmy babe with sensitive skin so I’m happy we didn’t go with this one. However if you have a baby with breathing issues or a preemie, I’m sure this one would be worth the extra money and peace of mind.

The next product I looked into was the Angelcare movement monitor. This one monitors the movement of baby with a sensing pad that goes underneath them. This one is closer in price to the one I got so I heavily considered it. However, many moms said after about three months old their babe started rolling off the pad and they started getting a lot of false alarms. I also read it was quite hard to install and I am NOT tech savvy.

I could not be happier with the one I got.

Snuza go!

There are different types of Snuzas. The Snuza Hero has a feature that gently vibrates to try and stir the baby if no movement is detected for a certain amount of seconds. I felt this feature was unnecessary to me, I just wanted to be alerted if breathing movement stopped so I could try to rouse or just check on my baby. The Snuza Go! Is the less expensive version which was also very helpful to me and my budget!

The Snuza is a small clip that goes on the edge of their diaper, and the sensor feels their breathing from their stomach moving up and down. First of all, Ellie never noticed it was there and it never left a mark on her or anything. Secondly, I never had to change the battery! I used it EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. from birth until about 9 months. At 9 months I started getting false alarms as she became really active, rolling and wiggling and also able to take it off on her own. By then, I was naturally ready to stop using it and so was she. Third, and most importantly, it gave this super anxious mama peace of mind. I got so many more hours of sleep thanks to the Snuza. When she had bronchiolitis at 4 months old and I was terrified to sleep every night for weeks, knowing I had the Snuza on was the only thing that made me allow myself to get the sleep I needed.

*Please note, no breathing monitoring devices can prevent SIDS.

Getting a Lash Lift|Review

Here we go, guys. *Sigh*

Among the millions of beauty enhancements we can now make is the lash lift. It’s gaining more popularity lately in the wake of the eyelash extension trend.

A lash lift is essentially, an eyelash perm. It curls and lifts your whole natural lash line. A technician took about 30 minutes to apply and remove the potion to my lashes.

So here’s what I do like:

  • The cost. While the results are less drastic than eyelash extensions, this is a GREAT alternative to extensions price-wise. In my area it’s about a quarter, to a half of the price of eyelash extensions.
  • Takes a short amount of time. Shorter time= easier to get a sitter.
  • No upkeep or maintenance. In this way these are very friendly to my mom life. I didn’t need to go in for a “fill” or a “touch up.” The affects gently started wearing off in about 6 weeks.
  • Genuinely improves everyday mascara. I loved that every day just putting on my mascara it looked better than it ever did before. My lashes looked longer, thicker, and more curled and lifted.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

  • The process of getting it done was uncomfortable. Your eyes have to remain closed for the duration and the solution felt itchy. Your lashes are basically stretching upwards and attached to your eyelid, it’s not painful but definitely made me feel a little squirmy.
  • The first few days my lashes were over-curled. When your lashes are over-curled instead of shooting upwards they curl back in towards your lid. This gave me a great curly effect, but initially it looked like I had less length. Luckily, this period didn’t last more than one or two days. After that it was 6 weeks of pretty lashes.

My before, after, and after with mascara.

I say, why not?! The pros do outweigh the cons in my opinion. It’s worth a try!

Gender Reveal Party!

Baby number two is a girl! We are so excited to have another beautiful little girl and give Ellie a sister. 💕

We chose to do a silly string reveal, after we chose smoke bombs that didn’t arrive in time for the party. 😐 I did pastel pink and blue nails with ombré glitter for the party. Gender Reveal Party NailsWe used streamers to create a little photo booth wall complete with a Polaroid camera, and pink and blue props. The dessert table included baby cake pops, mustache and lip candy molds, colored dipped golden Oreos, and Hersey’s bars I decorated and wrapped with mustaches and pink glitter.I wore a gorgeous PinkBlush maternity dress.

Ellie/15 months~Mama/18 weeks pregnant

Ellie- Everything about this age is my favorite thing yet. I can’t believe how much more personality she comes up with every single day.

Ever since we sleep trained her she does a solid 10-12 hours per night and a 2 hour nap during the day. The good sleep has helped her keep growing well, and to lower the amount of fits she was having a couple months ago. She eats NONSTOP! She decided she didn’t want to breastfeed anymore about two weeks ago, and hasn’t asked for it or noticed it was missing from her day at all.

At her 15 month well-check the doctor was blown away that the amount of words she says is at almost 30! He said the average is between 4-6. Not only is she so smart and talkative, but also extremely friendly. Strangers can’t help but smile and wave and say “hi” and “bye bye” back to her when she walks past them.

She’s an absolute dream. She becomes more of my best friend every day. She pretends bumping her sippy cup into my face while she drinks is an accident, and then laughs super hard when I say, “HEY!!” She lifts up my shirt whenever she’s on my lap and kisses the baby in my belly with a big, loud “MWAH!” Every night before I put her in the bath, I used to sit and breastfeed her for a couple minutes. But now, while we wait for the bath to fill up, she snuggles into my chest and lets me cuddle and rock her.

Mama- Physically, I am beginning to feel better. The morning sickness at the beginning of this pregnancy had me saying, “I literally don’t know how many more days like this I can take.” Now, I only get occasional sickness. But generally, I feel a strong fatigue that can be hard to ignore some days while wrangling a toddler.

Cravings this pregnancy- sausage, bacon, jerky, cheese-it’s, mint flavor, and extra SOUR sour candy!

My feelings have been a little bit overwhelming some days at this stage. The pregnancy hormones contribute a lot to the emotions I feel over Ellie quitting breastfeeding. I struggle with wrapping my mind around how I will do this all with two babies.

I also struggle with a guilt over getting pregnant again so soon. Pregnancy made the taste of my breastmilk change, which led to Ellie not wanting it anymore. But more than that, I just want to really be present for each stage she is in. Some days I feel like being sick/fatigued/pregnant hinders that now, and that it will only be worse once the next baby comes. I know that my hormones make me think too emotionally about this, but it still isn’t something I can change.

But still every day- Ellie never fails to bring a hundred of the most heartfelt smiles possible to my face, and to keep me trying to be my best instead of giving up.

Pink Blush Clothing Review

I’ve waited in reviewing this brand until I had tried out and added a few different pieces of theirs to my wardrobe. After every item from them I wore, I just wanted more! I got a few pieces before I was pregnant, when nursing, and into my second pregnancy.

My absolute favorite thing about this brand is that almost all its pieces can be worn during any stage. Whether it’s pre or post or during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding. I HATE spending money on expensive maternity clothing that I will never wear again after pregnancy. But with this brand it was never a concern, I know I’ll rock these at any time. Not to mention the material is absolutely amazing, very soft and stretchy!

I would recommend PinkBlush as one of my favorite maternity and regular fashion lines of all time!

This dress turned out absolutely stunning in our family photoshoot.

This dress is one of my favorite comfy, casual , any-day wear dresses.

This kimono goes with all kinds of different outfits and always gets complimented when I’m out!

More PinkBlush for our second pregnancy reveal! This dress is so comfortable (and has pockets!)

Here it is, my all time favorite dress. Doesn’t get any cuter, or more comfortable for wear during uncomfortable times in pregnancy. It’s just so gorgeous on, and so soft, I just want to live in it!

Another favorite maternity dress of mine, but I’m sure will still be worn when I’m not pregnant anymore. This dress makes me feel good about myself on days when my belly is trying to sabotage that! 😂<<
st but not least, my last PinkBlush order was this super pretty one for my gender reveal party. As with every other item, I would wear this every single day and will wear it after pregnancy as well.

Goodbeing subscription box review

Hey guys! So it looks like subscription boxes are here to stay! This growing trend is really fun and inexpensive for the most part. But which one to choose? There are SO many.

Goodbeing boxes are natural health and wellness products delivered monthly. In my first month’s box I received something for my hair, something for my makeup, something for my body, something for my skin.

So here’s what I love about a Goodbeing box:

  • They offer an array of healthy and natural products. I love the variety and not knowing exactly what you will get.
  • They always send you new brands you probably haven’t heard of (and may fall in love with.) When that happens, you get exclusive discount codes to use when shopping that brand.
  • All natural products. I don’t by any means exclusively buy natural, healthy products. But I love to find these, support still growing brands, and add healthier beauty and wellness products into my day to day life.
  • You get to hand select two of your items every month. This is by far my favorite thing they do. They email me when it’s time to select my items for the next months box and I’m always so excited by what I picked, and to see what surprises are inside.

If this sounds like something you’d like to try, go check out Goodbeing!

http://goodbeing.com

Goodbeing has sent me their product free of charge for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Our Sleep Through the Night Bed Time Routine


Bed time routines add another thing to your already jam packed to-do list as a mom. If you’re like me, by the time the clock strikes bedtime- I AM DONE. I want to be in bed, laying down, with no more toddler climbing on me.

But here’s the thing- it is SOOOO worth it. 

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to put in the extra time and effort to create a bedtime routine consistently, think of it this way. Any of the extra effort you put in before bedtime ensures that you put in less work in the middle of the night, and get a fuller, longer, more restful night of sleep. And so does your baby!

If you can’t already tell, bedtime routines are just my favorite thing in the universe. Even on nights where my little one seems wound up and not ready for bed at all right before I start the routine, it has never failed that by the time I set her in her crib she’s 100% ready to drift off.

As soon as I started this routine at around 10 months old, my daughter has slept through the night 10-12 hours. Combined with our gentle sleep-training method (see last post How to get your Co-Sleeping and Codependent Baby to Sleep Through the Night) she even learned how to soothe herself back to sleep if she awoke crying in the night. It’s saved me countless middle-of-the-night visits to her room!

Here is a detailed description of Ellie’s nightly routine.

Step One. Breastfeed.

If breastfeeding, it is vitally important not to breastfeed them to sleep. It creates a dependency on you to fall asleep, and if they awake in a place different from where they fell asleep it will always startle them. I had breastfed her to sleep for her entire first 10 months of life so imagining changing this was just crazy to me. But again, SO WORTH IT.

-If you are not breastfeeding, just make sure they have their bottle, water, or a snack right before you start the routine instead of directly before bedtime.

My absolute favorite nursing dress from Undercover Mama. Click the photo to check them out!

Step Two. Get their room ready.

I make sure her lovey is in her crib and a pacifier is nearby. Then, I turn on her night light and white noise machine. Now the room is all dimmed and ready for us to come in to get dressed for bed in at the end of the routine.

Step Three. Bath and Brush Teeth.


Ellie’s pediatrician recommended nightly baths for her eczema, to help remove the dirt that collects on her skin every day. Ellie loves bath time and it reminds her that she needs to start getting ready for bed. Also luckily, Ellie loves teeth brushing. (Maybe in part to her cool electric toothbrush with Paw Patrol characters on it!)

-If baths have never been associated with bedtime for you, or you don’t usually bathe every single day- still consider adding this step. Having a solid routine with a few consistent steps to it signals your child that they need to wind down for the day.

Step Four. Lotion, PJS, and a song.

Lastly, I lay Ellie down on a furry rug in her room. While lightly singing a song, I dress her in a night-time diaper, put lotion on her, a little bit of essential oil for sleep on her chest, and one for teething on her jaw-line. Then I wrap up my song, button up her pjs and give her a big hug and kiss before laying her down. She watches me leave the room, and quietly turns on her side and falls soundly asleep.

These are all the products I use in Ellie’s nightly routine.

The bed time caddy I made to keep all her routine products on hand.

It may be a lot of work, but it is also some of my sweetest, most cherished time with her. It is nice to relax, wind down and get ready for bed together. And best of all, it is followed by 10 beautiful, glorious hours of uninterrupted SLEEP.

Family Photoshoot Fashion

As you know, my baby just turned one! 😭 I’m working on keeping it together, guys!

 I was so ecstatic to take our family photos with our big one year old though! If you check one blog post back you can see all of the pictures! 

Naturally, I was beyond excited to receive a gorgeous dress from Pink Blush for the shoot. If you haven’t heard of Pink Blush by now, they are an absolutely stunning maternity and women’s clothing line. They sell some of the most gorgeous floral maxi dresses I’ve ever seen. 

The reason they’ve got the maternity fashion game on lock is because they look amazing on you, pregnant or not. I have a great dress from their women’s line I love, but the dress I wore for our family pictures was actually a maternity style! It’s nice to know that I have beautiful dresses that will still fit me when I am pregnant again. Not to mention, as a breastfeeding mama the most important question is answered- can I pull my boob out in this? They have so many soft gorgeous options that are nursing friendly, I can’t even believe it! 

You can find the dress I wore for the shoot here

*I received this dress as part of the PinkBlush Ambassador program. All opinions are my own.