Baby Number Two and The Perfect Baby Registry

Baby Kennedy Number 2 Baby Kennedy Number 2. Baby Kennedy Number Two

Well baby number two will be here before we know it, and while some things are the same (like morning sickness) there are some big differences like my confidence level. The first time around was so overwhelming, between picking a carseat, highchair, stroller, swing, crib plus all the millions of little things that moms say are essential. The Baby Chubby recently reached out to me and asked me to help new moms by writing my version of the perfect baby registry. After checking out their website I was so happy to write this post and hopefully lend a hand to all the new mamas out there.

Before I jump in to the actual items on my list I want to talk a little about The Baby Chubby, because the more I research the company the more impressed I am. You can find their website here, and read all about their values as a company here. I was expecting a Babies R Us feel, but they’re so different. One thing I love is how much research they put into the products, they make it really easy to see the amazon reviews of the items and in the store they have iPads so you can price match and look up reviews without using up all your data. They also have a drive up feature where you pull into a parking spot, place your order and an employee will actually bring your order to the car. Their only location right now is in Utah (please please open one in AZ), but I feel like the last thing you want to do is get the babies out of the car when it’s really cold and snowing, so the drive up feature is pretty spectacular. The last thing that has me dying to visit this store is their massage chairs, when you spend $49 or more you get treated to a message in their store!

Owlet Monitor: 
We did not purchase this with Emerson, but many mommy friends have used this and Rachel Parcel over at Pink Peonies actually used this device and it helped her realize her week old baby needed to go to the hospital. It’s a small sock like device you put on your baby’s foot and it monitors their breathing and oxygen levels. Being a first time mom is already so scary and sometimes it feels like everything is just beyond your control. I think if we would have had this device with Emerson we would have slept way better those first few months.

Chico Key Fit 30: 
This is the carseat we settled on after tons and tons of online research. We’ve been using it for ten months so far with Emerson and plan to use the same one with baby number two (If you plan on reusing a carseat make sure you check the expiration date.) I like that the car seat clicks into a base and surprisingly the base itself ins’t that hard to move. You can also use the car seat without the base which is how we traveled with it through Idaho over the summer. You can purchase the Key Fit Stroller Base (we did) and the carseat just slicks into the stroller. Now that Emerson is older he doesn’t like facing in, but it was perfect when he was younger and especially great when he falls asleep in the car because we don’t have to wake him up to move it.

Dockatot: 
Another item that Nick and I didn’t have first time around. It’s something I just recently found out about, but I think it’s super cute. It’s like a pillow with raised edges so the baby can’t roll out of it. You can move it from room to room, and I know with Emerson we spent a lot of time having him nap in the living room so we could keep an eye on him. It can be used for nap time, play time and even diaper changes, though I would definitely use a cover cause diaper changes can get really messy really fast.

Medela Pump in Style Advanced:
Check your insurance before you buy this, your insurance should cover a breast pump! Mine did, but because I didn’t order it soon enough I ended up having to buy it myself. Even though we shelled out over $200 it was worth it. The plan was for me to go back to work, and even when I ended up staying home this pump was invaluable. Emerson had trouble latching and we had to work with lactation consultants for six weeks before he got the hang of nursing. If your baby isn’t nursing on their own you need to pump or else your milk will dry up. It’s also nice if you are able to stock up a little milk in case you want to have someone watch your baby. This pump comes with everything you need and I’m sure I’ll be using it way baby number two.

Aden and Anais Swaddles: 
These are more expensive that the typical blanket, and i was tentative about spending so much on swaddles, but they ended up being one of my favorite things. They are super soft and light weight so they were perfect to use here in the summer when I wanted to keep Emerson covered, but didn’t want him to over heat. Mine have been washed so many times and they are still in great condition! I will probably buy one more set for baby number two, but they can use used as blankets, swaddles, burp clothes, nursing covers and carseat covers.

Boon Flair High Chair: 
I know that all these items seem super expensive, but if there is one thing I really regret it’s not investing in a better high chair. I heard great things about the boon high chair, but instead I picked up a $80 high chair at Target figuring it was a right place to save money. The problem is the high chair I bought is covered in fabric that can’t be washed so i’t basically covered in nasty old food. It’s not super sturdy so I’m always worried about Emerson finding a way out and it’s just not that pretty. Really the best thing about Boon is that it doesn’t have any cracks or places for food to get stuck in and it’s not covered in fabric, so you can just wipe it down. If I had purchased this the first time around I know I’d still be using it for baby number two instead of buying a new one.

Obviously I couldn’t list every single thing, but these are definitely a good start. I do hope this helps some soon-to-be-moms. I want to give a huge thank you to The Baby Chubby  for sponsoring this post.

Our First House!

Buying our first home buying our first home

Nick and I closed on our home at the end of August! Today I’m only sharing the house hunting process, but I promise to share about the renovation process later. First of all, Nick and I could never be on an HGTV show, we were way too easy. Literally our must-have list had three items; safe neighborhood, attached garage, and a yard.

We didn’t think it would be too hard, but as we quickly learned the market in our price range is really hot right now and we were looking mostly at condos. We weren’t against purchasing a condo, if it was in the perfect location and it had extra space. After a week of looking at pictures of properties online we decided to expand our search and look out in Avondale, Goodyear and El Mirage. Those cities weren’t our ideal location, but we figured we could get more space and might have a chance of getting a detached home.

So we get a list of newly listed homes and we see the perfect place. It was detached with a two car garage, had three bedrooms, a beautiful yard and best of all was in our perfect location. Nick called Brent, our agent, and they met to go see the property at around 9am. By 11am we put in our offer, I hadn’t even actually seen the property, but we knew we had to move fast. It’s a good thing we did because there were multiple offers. We were trying to keep our expectations down and not think about it. I send a family photo and a letter to the sellers, expressing my love for their home and how I pictures Emerson growing up in the house. The next night Brent called, they liked my letter, but countered our offer. We had gone in with their full asking price and offered to pay all closing cost, but because of the interest they had decided to offer for about $4,000 more. We decided in the long run it wasn’t that much money and accepted the counter. The next morning we got the call that they accepted!

Seriously I can’t express how great Brent was, if you’re in AZ and need a real east agent use him!  You can find at at Brentwilcox17@gmail.com. Without him I don’t think we would have gotten the house. He got the offer in so quickly and was texting us the whole time keeping us in the loop!

How was your first home buying experience? Comment and let me know!

Meet our Newest Family Member

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^^ Emerson loves eating Nala’s bones, I promise I took it away from him after I got some pictures.

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Last week Nick and I decided to add a new family member into our home. I’m so excited to introduce everyone to Nala. She is a nine-week-old lab and cattle dog mix that we rescued here in Phoenix. Nick and I have wanted a puppy since we were first married, but wanted to wait for the right time. We went from living in an apartment to a condo and never had a yard where a dog could run around. When we bought the house we knew it wouldn’t be long before we found a furry friend to join our clan.

Nala joined us last Thursday and the transition has been interesting. She is very sweet and calm for a puppy, but she still has her crazy moments. The funniest thing has been watching her and Emerson. They don’t seem to care about each other too much, except when I give Nala attention. Emerson will crawl up and push her out of my lap. They also both seem more interested in each other’s toys than their own. We have had to keep a close eye on Nala’s bones because Emerson wants to put them in his mouth.

The reactions were mixed when we announced we were getting a puppy, and most people were concerned about me since I’m the one who is home all day. It really hasn’t been horrible, but it definitely isn’t easy. Nick has been awesome about taking the pup out in the middle of the night, and I’m still up with Emerson every few hours. We’ve only has two accidents inside the house and Nick has cleaned them both up for me. If anyone is in the process of house training I’ve been taking Nala out every 45 minuets and giving her a treat every time she goes potty outside, so far it seems to be working.

Since I’ve been so busy chasing them around I’ve started listening to Ebooks on audible. I just started The Girl on The Train and I have credits for three more books so if you have any suggestions please comment below and let me know what I should download next!

Hope everyone has great Thursday! I”m planning some posts about our new home so make sure you’re staying tuned!

Do you have your own back?

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Hello Blog World!

My apologies for being MIA the past three weeks, Nick and I had some major life changes. At the end of August we purchased our first home, and in early September we began doing our own renovations. The process hasn’t been as awful as I excepted, other than having to wait all this time for wireless internet! I am finally connected and ready to get back to doing what I love!

I promise I’ll share some before and after pictures next week, but today I’m actually writing about a product I recently discovered. iZip is an awesome little trinket that you clip onto your zipper and it helps you zip up your dress without needing another person to help you out.

The company reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested with working with them, and they had no idea how badly I’d needed something like this. My only wish is that I had something like this when I was working a cooperate job. About a year ago I can remember one day specifically, I was in the first trimester so I wasn’t big yet, but my clothes were definitely feeling tight. After weeks of throwing up, I decided to put on a dress and some make up for work. Of course no one was home with me and even though I pulled and tried as hard as possible, I could not get my dress zipped up. I literally sat on my floor crying and called Nick telling him how fat I was and how none of my clothes fit anymore. I may have been a tad dramatic, but this easily could have saved a couple of pregnancy meltdowns.

Even thought I’m not working a nine to five anymore it makes getting ready with a baby so much easier. Emerson is in a ‘mommy needs to hold me every single second of every day’ phase, so this allows me to hold him while I get zipped up. As you can see from the pictures, he’s my little acrobat who makes holding him as difficult as possible.

Now I have to talk about the very best thing about this company. They donate a portion of every sale to Because I am a Girl. Because I am a Girl is an organization that is working hard to end gender inequality on a global level. iZip has a section on their website, haveyourownback.com that talks all about Because I am a Girl, and it also has resources to help you get involved with the organization directly!

Overall I am super happy with my iZip, and I think it’s going to be useful in multiple walks of life. I also was able to get my readers a special deal, so if you click here and order your own iZip and use the code bussinessofblonde, you’ll automatically get $5 off your order! Again I want to thank iZip for sponsoring this post.

Don’t forget to check back next week where I take you through our moving process and introduce everyone to our newest family member!

Feeding Favorites

Since I mentioned last week that Emerson was starting to eat solids I thought I’d compile a list of my must have baby feeding products!

IMG_3256Baby Feeding FavoritesBaby Feeding FavoritesBaby Feeding Favorites
^^ Sometimes we get serious tears while we’re eating ^^
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^^ Who wants to eat when you can play?^^

High Chair: It’s pretty hard to survive without a high chair. Nick and I love that we can finally eat dinner as a family. Emerson loves that he gets to be a big eat and sit all by himself. I found our high chair at Target. I like how light weight it is I just wish it were easier to clean. I wasn’t expecting it to get so dirty in just one month! If I had a do over I would probably invest in a high chair that either didn’t have fabric, or had fabric I could remove and wash. I would also pay close to attention to any straps or small craves as they are difficult to clean.

Bibs: People can argue about what to feed, how to feed or when to feed, but every mom agrees that bibs are a must. The tends with bibs change every few years and right now bandanna bibs are all the rage. When Alva Baby reached out to me and offered to send me and pack of bandanna bibs I was so excited. Seriously these bibs are so stinking cute. They have so many different designs, but I had to go for teal with geometric and arrow patterns. I love that they are soft on both sides so I was just use to bibs to quickly wipe his face off. Also the back has a snap, which is nice back even if he pulls it down it won’t come undone. You can find the exact bibs I have right here! 

Baby Utensils: I assumed I’d be feeding Emerson, but I was mistaken. He wants to use his spoons to feed himself. The utensils pictured I found at Target and they’re made out of recycled material so I feel like I’m being a good person by buying them.

Happy Baby Organic Wafers: Mostly we feed Emerson at home, but I also like to keep a little something for him in the diaper bag in case he gets hungry and I’m not in a good place to nurse. When surfing the baby food isle I was pretty shocked at the amount of sugar in everything, thankfully these have less than one gram per two wafers so I feel comfortable letting Emerson have them.

Washcloths: I don’t always have time to give Emerson a bath after eating, so I like to use a warm washcloth to clean him off. I like it better than wipes because I can control the temperature and warm is obviously much for comfortable for Emerson. Plus it’s more economical I can’t imagine how many wipes I would burn through if I used them to clean him after he ate!

Durable Flooring: Okay this might not be something you can just run out and buy… But I  am very thankful for my tile flooring when I’m picking up beans and oatmeal. If you have carpet I would try t get an easy to clean rug to keep under the high chair, or maybe get a dog? I hear those are great for cleaning up after messy babies.

I want to send a huge thank you to Alva Baby for sponsoring this post! Here’s any extra little tip, if you take pictures of your baby eating mashed potatoes you will end up with them all over your phone, just embrace it.

Anyway I would love to hear anything I could add to this list, we’ve only just started and I’m sure I will learn lots alone the way.

Starting Solids

Baby led feeding Baby led feeding Baby led feeding Baby led feeding Baby led FeedingBaby Led Feeing Sorry I’ve been on a bit of a blogging break. The past seven weeks I’ve been working all day at a summer camp teaching kids theater, plus I’ve had Emerson with me so I haven’t had much free time. Now that I’m back to being home all day I’m really excited about writing more consistently. I also have a BIG announcement to make at the end of the month so make sure you are checking in!

This month Emerson turned six months and at the recommendation of our pediatrician we started solid foods. Feeding is something that every parent does a little differently. We’ve chosen to follow our doctors instructions, and do some research on our own. Ultimately we decided to go with a baby led feeding approach, which so far as really worked out.

With baby led feeding you exclusively give breast milk until the baby starts showing an interest in food. Instead of using the traditional purred food in a jar we started right away giving Emerson that same food we were eating. For example If Nick and I have eggs and bacon for breakfast we just take a tiny bit of scrambled eggs and put it on his baby try. I do feed him from a spoon, but the idea is that Emerson feeds himself. From my understanding the significance of that is that Emerson doesn’t become dependent on me feeding him and he doesn’t over eat just to make me happy. Honesty, I still feed him because he’s hand eye coordination is not that great ye, but he loves picking up the food by himself and trying to put it in his mouth. In the past month we’ve given him eggs, mashed potatoes, chicken, beans, avocado, banana, oatmeal and plenty of other foods. We’ve also given him peanut butter on bread, giving him a little bit once a week is suppose to make it less likely that he’ll develop an allergy.

Nick and I would recommend this method to anyone whose baby is going to start eating solid food. We’re saving money by not buying any extra food and he really does love eating at the table like a big boy.
Babies do gag and cough as they are learning to eat so be prepared for that.
How did you start to feed your baby?

Six Secrets to Raising a Bookworm

six secrets

Growing up I remember my mom reading to me before bed every night. It started when I was a baby, she would read books like Hop on Pop and Goodnight Moon. As I grew up, the stories evolved into chapter books and we would take turns reading together. Now, as an adult, I love to read and the same is true for both of my siblings. Since I want Emerson to grow up loving books as much as I do I’ve come up with six easy things you can do as a parent to raise a booklover.

Start Early: Give your child early memories of reading. Fill their nursery with bright colored books and let them explore and play with them. Some of my favorite baby books are Dr. Suess, Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things are, and Brown Bear Brown Bear.

Read Together: Try to get on a schedule, if you can, make it a nightly thing. Not only will it help your child learn to love reading it will help them sleep better when they have a nightly routine.

Lead by Example: Reading together is great, but you also want your child to witness you reading on your own. As they get older they should start reading on their own as well.

Let Them Choose: Give your child the opportunity to choose the books you read together, this gives them a sense of pride and ownership. Emerson is only six months old, but already he will reach out for the books he wants to play with.

Go to the Library: Make it a fun monthly trip you take as a family. They can browse through the children’s section and find new books to explore. It’s also a great free activity to get you and your child out of the house.

Talk About What You’re Reading: You can use the reading time to talk about topics that come up in the book. You’ll be surprised at how easily this opens up your lines of communication. This will also show your child that they can come to you when they have questions.

Remember some children will struggle with reading and there can be many reasons for delays. Every child learns at their own pace so don’t worry if they don’t get it right away. The most important thing you can do is stay relaxed and make it fun!

Is reading important in your family? What are some things you did to instill a love of reading in your child?

Why I Decided to Bed-share

BED-SHARING

Hello World!

Sorry I took a little vacation, but I had a nice week focusing on my family and enjoying the Arizona weather.

I wanted to start the week by talking about something slightly controversial, bed sharing.

Bed-sharing is a form of co-sleeping, where your baby sleeps in your bed with you. This is not recommended by most doctors and seems to be almost taboo in western society. Let me start by backing up six months when I was in the hospital with Emerson.

I knew that I wanted Emerson to sleep in his bassinet and eventually move into his crib when the time was right. The hospital staff was clear that I should never let him sleep in bed with me and reminded me how dangerous it is. The first time we slept in the same bed was that night, in the hospital, and it really happened by accident. I was completely exhausted having had less than four hours of sleep in the past few days. I just finished giving him a bottle (because I couldn’t nurse at the time) and I knew that I needed to wake up in 45 minutes to start all over again. I had Emerson on my chest and dozed off, waking up about 30 minuets later. I was FREAKED OUT! In my mind I had broken a rule at the hospital and put my baby in grave danger. I thought about him rolling off the bed and getting hurt and how I could be marked as the terrible mother who let it happen. (Obviously I was full of hormones and needed more than a few minutes rest.)

A few weeks later, Emerson just refused to sleep in his bassinet, he only wanted to sleep if someone was holding him. I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place. Do I give up on sleeping and force Emerson to ‘cry it out’ at only two weeks? Do I let him sleep in my bed and go against what my doctor says? I stayed up all night, I searched Pinterest and Google and tried to find answers about bed-haring. How can something that feels so natural and normal be so bad for my child? Here’s the conclusion I came to: Bed-sharing isn’t for everyone, but it is for me. Yes there are studies that show it increases SIDS, but the more I dug in, the more I realized they haven’t done as much research as I thought. Statistics are skewed. For example, if a baby is suffocated while sleeping because the mother was intoxicated and rolled onto the baby, that’s considered a bed-sharing death. Even though my guess is that situation has more to do with substance abuse than bed-sharing.

After I decided I was just going to do it, I realized that most of my friends were sleeping with their babies as well. Here’s an example of an actual conversation I had with a group of moms recently.

“How’s he sleeping for you?”

“Well he’s waking up a lot still. I know it’s not good and my Dr. is upset, but I’ve been letting him sleep in my bed”

“That makes it so much easier, don’t worry about your doctor, she doesn’t need to know if he sleeps in your bed or not.”

It almost feels like a weight is lifted when I hear others talk about bed-sharing. There is a large amount of shame you carry with you as a mom. Every decision you make is picked apart in your mind, and you are always worried about making a mistake. If I’ve learned anything in six months, it’s to do what feels right. I know that people are going to read this and completely disagree with me. They’re going to say things like “Just wait until he’s older and he won’t get out of your bed” or “You’re just teaching him to rely on you.” My response is this: I’m doing what I feel is right for my child at this stage. He won’t be a baby forever and I doubt he’ll be sleeping in our bed when he is eighteen years old. He’s only a baby for a small amount of time and I’d rather feel like I did the right things than to spend the rest of my life questioning my choices. I don’t think ‘cry it out’ is evil or mean and I completely respect any mom who chose that method. As moms, all we can do is our best and we’re better off following our gut than the latest baby trend.

 

Favorite Baby Brands

IMG_2557It seems impossible that six months ago I was in the hospital snuggling my brand new baby boy. I can honestly say that being a mom is both everything and nothing like I thought it would be.  Through the past six months I’ve definitely gained a ton of confidence and found what works for us as a family.  I thought I would celebrate his half birthday by sharing all my favorite brands with you!

Water Wipes: I’ve tired about five different types of wipes, and although water wipes are most expensive than the other brands I’ve found them to be worth it. They don’t have that weird chemically smell and they do a much better job of cleaning up the messes so I use less wipes per diaper change. Since they’re made with only water and fruit extract I feel safe using them on his face if he spits us. You can find them here on Amazon.

Kirkland: Kirkland is the Costco brands, and anyone who knows my husband knows he is obsess with Costco. Originally I wanted to try The Honest Company diapers, because they’re cute. I only ended up with one package of Honest Company and I really wasn’t that impressed. They weren’t very flexible and didn’t seem to be that absorbent. We tried a few other brands and if I had to rate them it would go The Honest Company, last, then Pampers Baby Dry, Pampers Swaddlers, Huggies and first would be the Kirkland Brand.

Carter’s: Carter’s is a baby clothing line and if you haven’t heard of them it’s because you live under a rock, or have never bought baby clothes before. They are a little pricey so I make sure to plan my shopping trips around their sales. I always shop at an outlet location and I’m part of their loyalty program so I earn points overtime I shop. I love their clothing because they have great sets so I can buy like 7 onesies that all kind of correlate for $11.

Medela: If you are breastfeeding the Medela pump is the only way to go in my opinion. Since Emerson wouldn’t latch until he was six week I had to pump constantly and the Medela made is super easy. They’re very expensive, but a lot of insurance companies will cover the cost for a pump. Make sure to call your insurance company 6 week before you’re due date. They also have great bottles which attach directly to the pump, very convenient.

Circo- Circo is one of Target’s baby brands and I love them. Target is always my go to place if I have a baby shower to attend. My latest purchase there were these super cute monster slippers and matching swaddle blanket. To get the most for your money I would suggest the Target Red card, we have the debt card and we get 5% off every single purchase. I also check the cartwheel app before I do my shopping for additional coupons.

What are your favorite baby brands? Comment and let me know so I can check them out 🙂

Seven Money Mistakes You Should Avoid

MoneyMistakes

7. Buying a Brand New Car- Did you know the moment you drive your new car off the lot, it can depreciate by as much as 11%? I bought a new car in 2013 and looking back, I wish I would have bought a year-old car because I could have saved so much money. If you can afford to purchase new, with little to no financing, and you aren’t worried about your car losing value, then go for it. I’m sure Nick and I will probably buy new cars again in the future; we will just make sure we can pay for it in cash.

6. Using Credit Cards For Everyday Purchases- This is one that I was guilty of a few years ago. I was using my credit card for everything. Even though I paid it off at the end of every month, I still was always playing catch-up and felt like everytime I got paid it went directly to my bill. It’s always way too easy to start thinking of your credit line as money you actually have, which is not true. Now Nick and I have one credit card that we’ll use for a large purchase, like airline tickets or hotel stays, and then pay it off right away.

5. Buying Too Much House- Like I mentioned before, houses come with additional expenses that some people forget to plan for. If you buy a house that you barely afford, you are taking a big risk. I like to call it ‘house poor.’ You have a house, but can’t afford to have furniture or to do anything other than sit in your house. I would highly suggest using a mortgage calculator to see what you and your family can comfortably afford before buying.

4. Leasing a Car- This is such a bad idea; you’re not investing in anything. You’re basically renting a car and then, once the lease is over, you have nothing to show for it.

3. Financing Vacations- Vacations are great, but taking out a loan just to go on vacation is really irresponsible. If you can’t afford to fly your whole family to Disneyworld for a week, how about you drive a few hours to a camp site? Or even camping in your backyard. When you finance a vacation that $5,000 becomes $10,000 before you know it.

2. Buying a House without an emergency fund- What is an emergency fund? It’s 3-6 months of your expenses saved for a rainy day. When you buy a house, that means any problem that arises is something you have to pay for. A new roof:  $10,000; new a/c unit: $3,000, etc. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you could be in a lot of trouble when the unexpected comes up.

1. Not saving for retirement- Why aren’t people doing this? Let’s do some math real quick. If you are 25 and are making $40,000 annually, you can start putting 10% of your income into your 401K and by the time you’re 65, you will have over a million dollars in your 401K!

What should I add to my list? Comment and let me know!