Monday, October 9, 2017

Mama Talk: New Baby Essentials

some of the items mentioned were sent to me as a gift in exchange for promotion and review. 

Hi lovies! I hope you are all having a fabulous week so far! I can definitely say that I am. And, can I just say that it is 10am- I have gotten two loads of laundry done, unloaded the dishwasher, and got ready and the babe is still sleeping!? #momwin

Anyways, today is all about the items that for the last three months, I have found to be essential as a new mom. You may remember that a while back, before Noah was born, I had posted an 'essentials post' that you can find here. Ladies, I don't know what kind of high horse I was on writing about essentials when the little one wasn't even here yet and I was a first time mom but, I have removed myself from that horse and learned what is actually essential for newborns/first time moms. 

Graco Infant Carseat+Base $155 : obviously, this should go without saying.

 Ergo Baby Carrier (cool air) $179+ Ergo Infant Insert $25 : I find myself reaching for the carrier way more than the stroller because it much easier for me to keep Noah close. If any of you moms know, random people have no problem going up to the stroller and get too close to the baby for comfort. 

*Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock $50 : as much as I love wearing Noah, sometimes it gets a bit much when grocery shopping or perusing Target for hours so I love to be able to put him in the hammock in his covered car seat. This saves space in the cart and makes shopping super easy. 

 Bottles + Bottle Warmer $90 : The bottle brand we use, has a gift set which is what we got that includes 6 bottles, the warmer and some other things. I love the warmer because it is super quick and easy to use.

 Bottle Sterilizer $70 : this literally makes life so easy. The Dr. Brown's one is a little oversized so it takes up a decent amount of counter space but it takes about 12 minutes and holds 6 bottles. 

Boppy Newborn Lounger $30 : I didn't really think that this would be something I would need/use but John's mom made us get it and it is great! When I am cooking or doing my make up, I am able to put him in his little seat and still keep him close. 

Pacifier $5 : I know pacifiers can be pretty controversial but we definitely use them and they are a godsend! 

Some other notable items that I may be more essential when the little ones are a little older: 
-a stroller, I know that once he is transitioned into a bigger carseat and out of his infant one, I will use his stroller much more but for right now, it is just kind of cumbersome. 

-infant bath tub, although they are cute, I have put Noah in his maybe 4 times. It is much easier to just bring the baby into the shower with you. 

-bassinet, call me an awful mom but I don't use his bassinet. It actually is great for holding my laptop/phone by the bed (haha) we have chosen to safely cosleep with Noah. 

-bouncers/swings, we registered for two and have used them a total of three times together. again, maybe these are things that we will use when he is a little older but currently they just sit there.

I know essentials will be different from new mom to new mom but these are mine! 
What are some essentials for you?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Binxy Baby: Review

Hi lovies! 

Today we are talking about the problem all mamas face when going shopping with a newborn-where do you put the stuff? When shopping with a newborn, you have them, the diaper bag and then a shopping cart. You could put them in their car seat but then where do the groceries go? You could wear them but-let me tell you, after an hour of perusing through the black hole that is Target, your back will hate you. That is where the Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock comes in. 

The Binxy Baby shopping cart hammock is perfect because you are able to have the baby in the cart which keeps your hands free and still have space for all your items. The shopping cart hammock safely secures on to the frame of the cart and then you can either place your child in the hammock and secure them or place them in their carseat in the hammock. Since it is a hammock, it hangs above the cart and leaves plenty of space for all of your items underneath. Then, when you are done, you can easily fold up the hammock and throw it in your diaper bag. 

The hammock can be used with a newborn carrier or with just your little one. I am loving using it with the carseat. The hammock has a strap that safely and securely holds the car seat in. Once tightened, it will not budge (I tested this prior to putting Noah in) I typically place the diaper bag underneath him and then have the whole rest of the cart for whatever random stuff I find. 

I have also used the shopping cart hammock without his carrier and although he loved it and it was easier in the sense of not having to try to attach it to the cart while also holding his carseat, I am not a fan of randoms getting too close to him in stores. I feel like when he is in his carrier, he is a little more protected from that happening. 

Although I am a mama of one, the shopping cart hammock does offer variability so if you have multiples, you can use it as well! I am a super fan of the Shop Binxy Shopping Cart Hammock and more importantly, Noah is too! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma: a Reality Check

I will apologize in advance for the lengthy post and low quality photos ahead. 

In the 19 years that I have lived in Florida, I have never been as frightened and unsure as I was this past week. Sure, we have had severe tropical storms and hurricanes before but, it was honestly par for the course to just brush it off and go along with business as usual. I can honestly tell you that I have never felt the need to stock up on water before but last week, we bought 4 cases. 

I am not sure if it is because I am a wife and a mom now but Irma really took a toll on my anxiety. On Monday September 4, I was sitting in bed watching the news coverage of Irma while simultaneously online shopping. At that point the track was still predicted to hit more towards the east coast so I wasn't very bothered, like always, I was just dreading the heavy rains we'd get. On Tuesday, the predicted path made a turn for more of central Florida and our coast.  I came home from work, looked at my husband and started to cry. I told him that I had never been worried over a hurricane and that in that moment I was terrified. He held me and shared my feelings. That day, the track continued to shift more east. I started to look up flights as well as contemplated packing up the car and leaving with the family. John walked around the house looking at the shutter installation points. We also went to Walmart to grab some snacks, non perishables, and water. Never in my life have I seen such a picked through and empty store. On Wednesday and Thursday, over 800,000 people were on our highways evacuating Florida, John was putting up some of our shutters and I was gathering our most treasured items and placing them in safe areas. Our phone alerts kept going off with mandatory evacuation notices, Rick Scott was on tv saying how serious this matter was, shelters were opening up all over the county, stores were completely out of water/food/diapers/plywood/etc, and the majority of Florida gas stations were out of fuel. At that point, we had made the decision to stay. 

We got a lot of flack from various friends/family members/ people that can't mind their own business about why we were being "so stubborn" and not leaving. Us not leaving was not a spur of the moment decision. In fact, it was an extremely thought out decision. At that point, many flights were being cancelled one after the other, the roads were gridlocked, over 70% of Florida gas stations were out of fuel. The likelihood of us running out of gas on the highway or sitting in traffic for 10+ hours to get to the Florida/Georgia boarder was not worth it. We had a plan to be as safe as possible staying at my parents house. 

On Friday, John went to work and I was finishing up packing our items away at home. On Thursday J could only get a few shutters up due to the hack job the people did installing the parts you need for them. We both kind of went into panic mode  Friday as then eye of the storm at this point was set to be a direct hit over our home. J had me go from home improvement store to home improvement store looking for a drill and other pieces we needed to make our home as safe as possible. He ended up leaving work early and finding some of the things we needed and I tried my luck at Home Depot for the drill.  The store was so crazy filled with last minute preppers, lines all the way out to the parking lot of people trying to get lumber and tools. I was walking down a random aisle and saw a box with a drill on it. I called John and asked if that's what he wanted and his words were "I don't know how you found that. Pick it up and guard it with your life." I walked straight to the check out counter and purchased the item that at that time may have been able to save our windows. While the lady was removing the security tag from the box though, a large man came over and tried to physically take the box from her hand. I stepped in and questioned him on what he thought he was doing. He claimed to have had a drill like that one on hold and that that drill belonged to him. After several people stepping in to push him back from the cashier and I, I finally walked out with the drill in hand. I kid you not, it was something out of a movie. Friday night John worked at getting our shutters up while my mom and I talked safety plans and such. Although we had decided to stay in Florida, we did decide to "evacuate" our house and to stay with my parents. We had no doubt that our home would be safe but, my parents house has a hardwired generator. This was what pulled us to stay there over our own house. We wanted to make sure Noah and Yoda would be able to be kept cool in the event of a power outage. John's grandparents however, did stay at our house. 

Come Saturday morning, we weren't woken up by birds chirping. We were woken up by the sound of people's drills, metal shutters clanging against the houses, and neighbors doing all they could to help other neighbors. John, with the help of some friends and family had made our house, the first house we had ever owned, as safe and secure as possible. We packed up the items we needed to go to my parents house and my dad picked us up. The feeling I had in that moment was absolutely indescribable. Although at the end of the day, as long as John, Noah, Yoda and myself were safe, nothing else mattered, it is a very hard feeling to leave what you had worked so hard to accomplish and all the items that made your house a home to hope for the best outcome.

Saturday and most of Sunday was just a waiting game, we carried on with business as usual at my parents, making dinner, doing chores, keeping everyone out of state updated, etc. my mom and I also set up our safe rooms while John walked around securing potentially hazardous items outside. Sunday afternoon around 3pm the wind really started to kick up. Over 430,000 people were without power and there was a boil water notice two cities away from us. Irma was coming. Sarasota county placed a 24 hour 3pm curfew for all surrounding areas as well. We were experiencing 50 mph wind gusts and several palm leaves had fallen. We were watching the new broadcasts of the storm coverage. Although at this point the storm had shifted to be more west and also went from at cat. 5 to a cat. 2, the winds were still predicted to be at 110mph. We got word that in cities very close by, people were posing as power company reps to get into peoples homes to rob them. I don't understand how people can be so awful. At 11pm, Noah and I went to bed in the pantry that was doubling as our safe room. John and my parents stayed up to watch the storm. 

Upon waking up at 5am this morning, there was a creepy silence. I didn't hear the wind blowing or the dogs up walking around, everything was still. I snuck out of the pantry without waking Noah and walked around the house. We, very thankfully, had no structural damage. There were fallen palm tree leaves and debris all over the yard but, that was it. We were still on regular power and everyone was ok. I spoke with John's grandparents who stayed at our home and they said all was well there too. They lost power last night around 8pm but as far as damage goes, there was none. 

Although I had never taken hurricanes seriously prior to Irma, I definitely will be from here on out. Again, I'm not sure if it's because I'm now a wife and mother or if it's because of the devastation  Harvey caused but I was honestly terrified. With each storm shutter John put up and each picture I took off the wall, I started to cry. The uncertainty of what Irma could have been was terrifying. I kept struggling with my decision of stay here instead of leave Florida with my family. When we were leaving for my parents I kept wondering what we would return to. Although we are very fortunate that Irma only caused minor damage to our city, she destroyed many cities and homes in the French Islands as well as south Florida and for them I hope they are able to rebuild quickly. 

If you grew up in Sarasota or any of its surrounding cities, you know that about the "American Indian Myth". It has been said that the American Indians choose this area to first settle because it was a safe area from all harm. Since actual records have been kept starting in 1871, Sarasota and it's surrounding cities have never fallen victim to a direct hit of a hurricane. Minor damage and sever rain has been the most these areas have gotten. Whether this folk talks has any truth behind it or not, I am so thankful to whatever is our there that did protect not only our city but my family from this horrible beast. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I'll Take A Decaf, Please V. 1

And...let's make it an iced. If you have been following along via Twitter (where I have been more active than here), you'll know that I gave up caffeine cold turkey when I found out that I was pregnant with Noah. I know you don't have to give up caffeine but it was just a choice I decided to make. Anyways, I always forget how freakishly hot it gets here in FL during the summer so, if we were to meet for a coffee date, you could bank on me ordering an Iced Decaf!

Also, if we were having coffee, I would tell you that...

my heart could not be any more full. it is so true when "they" say that you "don't know what love is until you have a baby" now, of course I love J and my family and friends but my love for Noah is definitely a different kind of love. it is crazy to think that for the next 18 years at least, this little love bug will count on me for everything. I often find myself at night looking over to his bassinet just watching him to make sure he is okay and I soak up every snuggle I can!

i know my blog is lacking like woah. however, I am okay with that. I totally know and appreciate that I had an insanely easy pregnancy but I also knew at the time that I really wanted to enjoy every second of being pregnant. If I wanted to take six naps in a day, I would. I know that that caused my blog to hit the back burner along with the last few weeks of having a newborn in the house. I would rather soak in the baby snuggles than stare at my laptop screen. Although this is still true, I do still love this piece of the internet and want to get it back to a fully functioning blog. So I am attempting to fit in at least 45 minutes a day!

i am obsessed with the craziest of things lately. y'all, Jamie Foxx's game show, Beat Shaazam has been my jam lately! I watch it religiously and totally get way too into it with the audience. #lamemomprobs. Also, I have been so in love with the idea of knitting. John's mom made Noah the most gorgeous blanket and now I have the bug to want to try and make one as well...does this make me a real mom? a grandmom? I don't know but I will just be over here pinning all the knitting things.

along with re-upping my blog, I am revamping my photography business. I mean this just makes sense to me. not only do I LOVE photography (plus, the extra cash doesn't hurt) but now I have my own little model to help stage sessions with!

at this point, I would tell you it was time for me to go..and it is because my little man is getting hungry. But, we will meet again soon. What would you share with me on our [iced] coffee date?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Audrey's Bear [Review]

Happy Wednesday lovies! 

Today I am bringing you a review of a brand that I have completely fallen in love with, Audrey's Bear. When shopping for baby things, it can definitely get a little overwhelming between all the different brands/styles/materials, etc. When shopping for items for Noah, I had a few things that were important to me, I wanted high quality, long lasting, preferably to purchasable from local/small businesses rather than chains where possible, and personalized. Baby things are not cheap so I didn't want to spend money on things that wouldn't last. 

I initially came across the Audrey's Bear website when searching "personalized baby blankets" on google. I browsed through the website and fell in love. They offer swaddle blankets, beanies, fitted sheets, changing pad covers, boppy covers, pacifier clips, rompers, and bibdanas. What really caught my eye about the company other than the fact that they are a small business is that they have a great mission. 

Audrey's Bear has a swaddle4swaddle program where they donate a swaddle blanket to a baby in the NICU or a pediatric cancer center for every swaddle that is purchased. This really stood out to me because the NICU is near and dear to my heart. My dad is a pediatric eye doctor for the NICU babies at our local hospital, I have spent a countless amount of hours volunteering in the NICU as a baby snuggler, and my best friend and her twin brother spent 1 1/2 months in the NICU. When I read that Rachel, the owner of Audrey's Bear also had personal ties to the NICU, I knew that I had to support this brand. 

Anyways, as I mentioned before, I was in the market for a personalized swaddle blanket for Noah and let me tell you, Audrey's Bear delivered! They have over 50 prints to choose from and they also offer sets with a swaddle blanket and hat (I picked up 4 sets and 4 blankets). The price point is right on target as well when you take in to consideration the quality and the personalization. The sets retail for $43 and the blankets alone for $29-$46 depending on size and style. 

I really can't get over the quality of these blankets. As soon as I got them, I washed them according to the directions they send with them so that they would be ready for our little man. The colors remained just as bright and the feel just as soft as when they came out of the package. 

A neat aspect of these blankets is that they have a stretch to them. Most other 'swaddle blankets' do not so it makes it hard to get a tight wrap on baby-which is what Noah loves! They are also super lightweight while still keeping baby warm. In Florida, you may think it is insane to want blankets regardless and yes it is scorching outside but because of that, every store b l a s t s the a/c so little man would freeze. I keep about three of these in the car for him to either cover a side of his car seat from the sun, shade him from the sun when we are driving, or to cover him lightly when daddy blasts the a/c. I also keep one in his diaper bag to have on hand for chilly trips to the store, and then they are scattered throughout our house. The prints and colors really stand out so I am constantly getting asked "where is that blanket from?"

This product is absolutely mommy approved and now more importantly, Noah approved! 
I highly recommend you checking out Audrey's Bear

Also: If you purchase before July 29th, they are offering 15%off with the code: MYSTERYSALE15 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

8 Goals Everyone Should Have

1. Complain less. Complaining usually doesn't help much, if at all. What it does do is bring you down, along with anyone who happens to be listening to you. Hanging out with people who complain all the time is exhausting. Also, being someone who complains all the time has to be exhausting. So do yourself and everyone around you a favor and start veering your comments to a more positive side.

2. Drink more water. What drinking more water does to your body is seriously magical. Your skin gets better, you have less headaches, you have more energy, you feel overall better...just by drinking water. There's no reason not to do this. Buy a cute tumbler and keep it filled all day!

3. Compliment others. Compliments are so easy. They are free, quick ways to make someone's day so much better. If you like the color of someone's shirt, say so. If someone went out of their way to help you, mention it. Throw compliments around freely.

4. Practice being thankful. Complaining makes your day worse. Want to know what makes it better? Being thankful. For big things, little things, in-between things.

5. Get rid of what you don't use. I tend to form sentimental bonds with everything that I own...until said things are taking over my apartment. Listen: Throw stuff away. If you don't use it anymore, toss it. If you don't wear it anymore, give it away. Life is about experiences, not things.

6. Learn how to survive without takeout. I could easily eat Chick-Fil-A for every single meal and be a very happy person. But do you know who's not happy with that arrangement? My wallet. Also, my waistline. Everyone should know how to cook a meal or two at home. It's cheaper, healthier, and you can do so in your pajamas. So, we're looking at a win/win/win here.

7. Enjoy reading. Not everyone loves reading fiction, or even books in general. I get it. I don't understand it, but hey. Just because you don't like reading books doesn't mean you should swear off reading. Reading is a great way to learn--both really cool things and also completely unnecessary, but fun, things. There's plenty you can read without ever cracking open a book--magazines, articles, newspapers. Fill your brain with some good words.

8. Think before you speak speak, write, text, post, tweet...etc. I have a favorite quote when it comes to speaking out on controversial matters:

Does this need to be said?
Does this need to be said by me? 
Does this need to be said by me right now?

If you actually think about those things before saying whatever you wanted to say, chances are you'd regret a lot less.

What goals do you think everyone should have?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#RickerPartyof3: A Birth "Story"

Hi my lovies!
I have always loved reading people's birth stories and experiences and had you asked me nine months ago, I hands down would have said I was absolutely going to write one. You may be confused at this point since the title of this post said Birth Story. I do want to share our big day with you however, instead of writing the events of the night, I want to just share some of the photos that were taken and save the birth story writing part as a memory for our little family.

What I will say is that our story to become a family of three started in our living room at 12:20am on June 22, 2017. 16 hours, 6 contractions and 18ish pushes later, it was official. Our 8lb 3oz, 20 in long little love bug had arrived.


Our little love bug is now three weeks old and we couldn't be any more in love. 

Noah Foley

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

#RickerPartyof3: Maternity Pictures

Around 34 weeks of pregnancy, John and I had maternity pictures done. These were super important to me as I wanted a special way to document the start of a new chapter together. As usual, with all my requests, John was such a champ and I couldn't love him more for it! These were all taken at a beach nearby by the very talented Amy Anderson.

I could not be more pleased with the outcome of our session and am so happy to be able to have these as a keepsake for the future. 

Did you have maternity pictures done?