Time For An Upgrade

  Truth: five years ago whenever we moved back to the city, my husband drifted away one day and came home with a "surprise." He bought a Camaro as our family car. Yup, at this time, Branden was still in a baby car seat and I was wincing at the thought of getting him in and out from the backseat from this two-seater. This was not a fun surprise for me, but a toy him. So fast forward to our current situation: two littles in car seats and a whole lot of inconvenience. It's time for an upgrade. With the birth of little Blake, my husband and I are finally on the same page about the car (probably because he's experiencing the inconvenience with a newborn plus one) and we are ready to trade in the Camaro for something more family-friendly. Buh-bye Camaro, you've had a good run, but we need something better for our family, and we're going to find that with the Capital One Auto Navigator site. It's really no secret that families are busy. We have so many schedules to worry about and buying a new family car really needs to work for everyone. Yes, mommy and daddy will be footing the bill, but it's gotta be a vehicle that takes kids, (pets if you have them), lifestyle, and of course - safety, into consideration. What's been so great about the Capital One Auto Navigator site is that is takes all of that into consideration and really is a "one-stop-shop" (my favorite term!) for all things auto related. What can you do on the website? It allows you to do basically … [Read more...]

For The Messiest of Days

This post is sponsored by Single Edition Media on behalf of Wet Ones®. I have received product or an incentive from the brand. Having a baby in tow with us through all of our weekend city adventures pretty much means one thing: having double the Wet Ones handy. I grew up with them and they are a super important diaper bag and at home essential to help us get through the messiest of days with the craziest of kids. Wet Ones® Antibacterial Hand Wipes are the convenient 2-in-1 way to wipe out dirt and messes and kill 99.99% of germs when soap and water aren’t readily available. Based on this alone, there are many times even when we're at home and I tell Branden to just go grab a Wet Ones (you know...because 8 year old hate having to actually wash their hands.) But having these miracle wipes in my arsenal gives me more power as a mom. (Did you know that 91% of moms admit to keeping their child from an activity just because its messy?) I'm able to encourage those fun, memorable, messy moments because I know that we will have a quick and easy cleanup. Since Wet Ones are available pretty much everywhere (at mass, grocery, and drug stores nationwide) and come in various sizes, we all carry them with us. As an added mom tip that we often overlook: these wipes are just as powerful as any hand sanitizer, so there is no need to double up on products - you just need the Wet Ones and you're good to go! But what sets them apart is that they are hypoallergenic and contain both … [Read more...]

Our Newborn Portrait Session With Christina Marotto Photography

  You guys...life has been a little bit rocky lately. This current weekend and the weekend before, Chris has been out of town for four days at a time. Being at home with these two has been exhausting. So whenever I saw these pictures arrive in my inbox last night, it totally perked me up and I beamed from ear to ear. In fact, I'm still smiling because we had such an amazing experience with Christina Marotto Photography and are overjoyed about all these special memories we now have from our newborn portrait session. Drum roll please... It's all about the experience whenever you're working with Christina. From the second that you book your session, she makes sure that you know how important your wants and needs are from the session so that she can create not only these beautiful memories, but gorgeous pieces that will hang in your home for many, many years to come. As you can see, pink and navy are totally my jam when it comes to this little girl. They were the colors that we chose for her bedding and also the colors of the outfit that she wore when she came home from the hospital. So whenever I filled out my client questionnaire (so that Christina knows how to cater her props and setting to you) I made sure to share that info with her. She totally carried my color scheme out in the sweetest way imaginable. We also wanted to make sure to get some special Daddy and daughter military pictures since this really is a big part of our life … [Read more...]

Graco Baby Swings: The One Every New Parent Must Own

  About a week before Blake was born, we bought a bouncy seat. We needed a seat or swing of some sort, as it was the absolute last thing on our list of baby needs. We found one online on a whim and clicked "purchase." It was a cute seat, don't get me wrong - but it didn't do exactly what we wanted it to, or more accurately - Blake didn't have the reaction that we wanted. I should have gone with my gut instinct and got another of the Graco baby swings right away (this was one of the only ways I could get baby Branden to sleep many moons ago), but I didn't. I learned my lesson and now have the Graco Oasis Swing With Soothe Surround Sound. (Spoiler alert: it's perfection.) Yup, there's our sweet little one chillin in her new favorite "toy." But in all seriousness, this swing has made my life so much easier and lulls her into a deep sleep so that I can get things done or simply have my hands free from time to time. If you watch my video (below) you will see what my nick name is for our new favorite piece of baby gear. Check out our video of the Graco Baby Swings: This music is a great addition that most other swings don't have, which is a fantastic added bonus. There is also something about the shape that is cozzier to our little Blake than her crib, so she takes many naps in her Graco  Oasis Swing with Soothe Surround Technology during the day. What's your current favorite of the Graco baby swings? We seriously couldn't live without this … [Read more...]

How RSV Affected Our Family

This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. Truth: I had no clue what RSV was until last year. The holidays were approaching and my sister Natalie and I were pretty much on the phone every single day getting excited about the whole family traveling to Pittsburgh to be together for the celebration. My new nephew, her son, Connor, was just about 3 months old and got sick. He got so sick that he was hospitalized and almost didn't make it home for Christmas Eve - his first Christmas Eve. What did he have? RSV. We all waited in anticipation to see if he would be released in time, and he was (thank goodness). But it was then that I learned through my sister's experience about this really serious virus that affects babies in a really big way during this time of year. Since it's National RSV Awareness Month, I wanted to make sure that none of you were unaware, like I was. What is RSV? RSV or respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] is a seasonal virus that typically occurs between November and March in the United States and is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies in their first year of life. (Ahem, my nephew.) It infects their little lungs and breathing passages and nearly all babies will catch it by the time they are 2. Pretty scary, huh? It spreads most rapidly among young children and is typically gone in 1-2 weeks, but spreading of the virus can continue for up … [Read more...]

3 Things You Need After Birth, But Are Probably Forgetting

This post was sponsored by Diapers.com as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. Ahhh sweet motherhood. The time in our life when we are in a continuous cycle of shopping online and receiving boxes from UPS at our front door. Am I right? The amount of things you need after birth for this little teeny, tiny human being is endless. This time around, I really thought I had it all under control. I had been stocking up on diapers, wipes, got all the gear and had a huge box of in perfect condition hand me down clothes delivered from my sister. I thought that I was set. Then we brought Blake home and I realized there were things that I forgot. So what were these infamous 3 items? (When I tell you, you will be running out to buy them, too.) I will reveal them shortly, but first, I want to introduce you to diapers.com - which totally saved my butt whenever I realized that I didn't have it all figured out. There were quite a few things that drew me to their awesome website: you can order a bit of everything there (not just diapers), they always offer free 1-2 day shipping when you spend $49 or more (I placed my most recent order at 9pm and for my purchase the next afternoon) and everything is handpicked by experts. Here's my 3 items: 1. Comfy/lounge clothes Whenever we find out that we're preggo, we immediately either start buying clothes or have wonderful friends and families ready to give us a big ol' bag of … [Read more...]

To The Moms Who Just Need To Know They’re Doing Okay

  I sit here writing today with a screaming infant in my arms. I'm self-diagnosing it as colic, but we will see what the doctor says at her one month appointment in a few days (ya... a few days late because I'm behind on work - mom of the year right here). I only slept for 4 hours total last night, had to get Branden to the bus stop at 6:50am, and of course - Blake gets  dragged along with me in the baby carrier...because...well...good ol' second child syndrome. Branden's birthday is this week and his friend party is on Sunday, so I've been running around trying to make sure everything is perfect since it's really the first year that we've been able to afford to do a big friend's party in Manhattan - so I want it to be just right. This week, I have my follow-up appointment with my midwife and honestly I'm excited and scared all at the same time to be cleared to go back to my normal activities (you know what I mean!). I'm worried about how I'm going to fit running and yoga back into my life and dropping the baby weight. It's exhausting being inside my head right now. Moms, I know that you are all going through your own version of that, and I just want to say that I'm with you and you're doing okay. It's seriously moments like these that make me look at myself and what I've accomplished and feel like having a newborn has given me superhuman powers. But then there are also days when I feel like I have accomplished nothing at all. But the truth is, my dear mamas, … [Read more...]

Must-Have Products For New Mom and Baby

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media. I have VERY vivid memories from when we were pregnant with Branden of buying pretty much every baby product around. We had no clue what was best. Yes, we had countless recommendations from family, but you don't really know until the baby is actually there what is right for your baby. So you buy everything in hopes that something works out. Then, there are products that are just great across the board. Sensitive skin? No problem! Boy or girl? Doesn't matter! These are some of my must-have all across the board items for new baby AND new mom. My must-have products for new mom and baby You seriously can't go wrong with having these items waiting for you at home when you get home from the hospital. Everything else will fall into place. Promise! 1. Rainbow Light 35+ Mom and Baby I used Rainbow Light religiously during my pregnancy for my prenatal vitamins (I started with the gummies and then went to the mini gems) and am carrying that through to my new mom life. You only need one of these a day and they are made special for moms prenatal and postnatal. It's a complete multivitamin and super great for mom and developing baby. My three favorite things about this: it helps to prevent nausea (amen!), helps with natural energy production (amen again!) and contains probiotics - which I would otherwise need to buy separate (I need this daily in my life for my many digestive issues). Discount code: … [Read more...]

Pumping Tips For Busy Moms

  Pumping and I, we go pretty much hand in hand lately. If you have read my previous breastfeeding posts, you know that I'm on quite the journey here to make sure that I have a big enough supply to feed this little (and always very hungry) girl, and pumping is a huge part of that. (If you're looking for some diet tips for boosting lactation, I have a guide for that, too!) My routine goes as follows: breastfeed, pump, formula if she's not getting enough food, squeeze in some work and repeat. All. day. long. It's a work in progress - a time consuming, every single day work in progress. So, for all you busy mamas like me, there's Simple Wishes and their amazing hand's free pumping solutions. I'm completely exhausted to be quite honest with you all. AND - I give all you full time breastfeeding mamas the biggest props, I bow to you. Things have been a bit shaky for me with establishing my supply and my breast pump has become something that I see pretty much as often as I change a diaper (which is often). It's an experience, and I encourage you all to power on because I have a pretty awesome pumping tip that involved HANDS FREE PUMPING (yes!), to make your experience that much easier. Hand's free pumping? Yes! This is for real! Believe me - I spent my first week or so of pumping spending so much time holding the darn pumps and counting the minutes until I was able to get back to what I needed to do. Moms need their hands after all. (Hint: here's all the goodies I … [Read more...]

5 Things I Don’t Want to Pass On to My Baby Girl

  I never thought that I would be a girl mom. Don't get me wrong - I yearned to have a girl, but just thought it would never happen since I exude so much female energy (haha) that I had enough for the whole family. I thought I was destined to be a boy mom forever. And I love being a boy mom, but I definitely wanted to experience both. Then, that wonderful day whenever I found out from my ultrasound that we were expecting little Blake, I could barely believe it. Girls are different than boys, there is no denying this, and you must cater to them in different ways. My husband first started out expressing how he was nervous to have a girl because he knew how to handle boys - not a girl. He was worried about how to discipline her as she gets older and dealing with boys - normal stuff. But it got me thinking. What are the things that I want to teach her? What kind of person do I want to help shape her to be? My mind swirled. And then there it was. That "oh crap" moment where everything shifted and I started thinking about all the negative things she might pick up from me. Or the things that I didn't realize about myself until adulthood. I want her to face the world with confidence and a positive role model to mimic. I don't want to pass on my insecurities. I've dealt with more insecurities over the years then I would care to admit. From worrying about my body, wearing the "right" clothes to the way that I was speaking - I've been through it all. It hasn't … [Read more...]