5 Products to Keep Your Car Cool

I was pretty terrified going into this summer with a newborn. The heat in Arizona can be dangerous and cars get SO hot! I searched the internet for different products/ ways to keep cars  cool and know I’m sharing my favorites with you.

Car Seat Cooler: Seriously, this is a game changer. I found this tutorial while searching Pinterest. Since I can’t sew my grandmother, who is an amazing seamstress made me car seat coolers for each kid. They’re keep them in the freezer and when it’s time to go out I just pop them in an insulated bag. The coolers go on the car seat while we’re out and keep them nice and cool. It’s so great not to have to worry about the little metal buckles burning my babies. Since they do not stay in the car seat while the kids are strapped in it doesn’t void the car seat warranty. You can find the tutorial we followed here.

Car Seat Canopy: I only use this for Eloise since Emerson’s seat stays in the car 24/7. Since it’s so hot the most important thing for me was a shade that’s lightweight. I found one made out of muslin and it shades her without trapping in too much heat. I couldn’t find my exact one, but you can find a similar one here.

Window shade: Having tinted windows is defnitaly a good idea in Arizona. If you don’t have tinted windows I would recommend the shades that you can stick on.  IntiPal is a company that makes sunshades with super cute designs. They actually sent me some shades to test out and they are even offering 10% off their zebra print with the code SHADE3HA! You can purchase the zebra window shade here.

HydroFlask: Nick and I never ever leave the house without our 40 ounce hydroflask. The hydroflask keeps our water cold for 24 hours and I use it when we’re out and about to fill up Emerson’s soppy cup. It’s also important to have water on hand in case of emergency, like the car breaking down. You can find the Hydro Flask here, or the swell bottle (another great option)  here.

Noggle: I have not yet used this product, but it’s been sitting in my cart on Amazon for months. Since my car doesn’t have vents in the backseat I always worry about the kids not getting airflow. They’re also both still rearfacing so it’s even warmer for them. It is attached to a vent and then hooked to the headrest in the backseat. It is suppose to direct the air to the kiddos. If anyone has used this product please comment and let me know how you liked it! I just can’t bring myself to buy it yet. If you are interested you can purchase the Noggle from Amazon here. 

Do you have any favorite tips for keeping the kids cool? It’s only the first week of June and we are already really feeling the heat!

Family of Four

One week ago we finally became a family of four! I use the word finally because anyone who has ever been pregnant knows that it’s the longest ten months ever.


Our last picture as a family of three!

Big brother meeting little sister
The first of many Target trips!
Blended frozen milk as a special treatEloise Marie was born on May 31st with probably the easiest labor ever. It was less than two hours from the time my water broke until I was holding her in my arms. We are just so in love with her and we’re having so much fun comparing her to pictures of Emerson.

The week has been almost like a dream, except to dream you actually have to be getting sleep. After getting Emerson on a sleep schedule I got used to 8 hours of sleep every night, now I’m back to 5-6 hours a night if I’m lucky. Thankfully Emerson has continued to sleep for around twelve hours each night. It’s nice to have the night alone with Eloise and be able to give her my undivided attention.

Today is Nick’s first day back at work so I hope I can keep both kids alive. The day we got back from the hospital I remember looking around and thinking ‘Okay now what?.’ We were so excited about having Eloise home, we never really thought about what it would actually be like to have her. We’ve already been taking her out and about, the day after we brought her home we went on her first Target trip. We also got Emerson a little treat at Starbucks for being a big brother. Emerson seriously has been the sweetest older brother. He loves to pet her head and tried to give her the pacifier if she starts crying.

Overall everyone is happy and healthy and I can’t wait to watch my babies grow and learn together!

5 Ways to Save on Your Nursery

 

I’ve officially finished Baby Girls’ nursery and I am in love! After two nurseries, both on a serious budget I thought I’d share some money saving tips.

Buy second hand: Both of my kids have used furniture. With Emerson, I bought from a friend of the family and I ended up with a crib, mattress, dresser, changing pad and changing station all for around $250. For Baby Girl I found a barely used Pottery Barn crib, mattress and toddler conversion kit all for $200. I also purchased her dresser, changing pad, and diaper genie all second hand. If I had to estimate I would say I’ve saved well over $500. I cleaned everything really well and with Emerson’s crib I added handmade crib bumpers to cover some teeth marks.

There are a few questions I like to ask before I purchase something used. How old is it? How long was it used? Smoking home? How many children used it?

Skip Nonessentials: There are some things that aren’t really necessary. When Emerson was born we bought a wipe warmer, I soon discovered that by the time you take the wipe from the warmer to the babies butt it was already cold! Talk to your spouse and put things in categories, I always separate needs and wants. Once all your needs have been filled then you can go ahead and start purchasing your wants.

Double Duty: Try to find things that can do double duty. For Baby Girl we don’t have an official change station we just placed a changing pad on top of her dresser. I like it way more anyways because it gives me room to set diapers, wipes, and hand sanitizer. Pack-n-plays are great as well. The Pack-n-Play was Emerson’s bassinet the first few months; we also use it if he has a sleepover at grandmas. It was a little more expensive for the bassinet accessory, but it saved us money overall since we didn’t have to buy it separately. Other little items can serve two purposes as well my favorite swaddles are pretty expensive, but I use them as swaddles/ blankets/ nursing covers and car seat covers.

Return Shower Gifts: If you end up with multiples of certain items return them and buy what you need. I found myself returning things such as toys, towels, blankets and outfits. I used the money to purchase a car seat. A necessity and something I won’t buy secondhand. Friends and family love to buy cute outfits, but a baby doesn’t need a huge closet especially if they don’t have diapers.

Take Advantage of Registry Perks: I used Amazon and Target baby registries and I really enjoyed both. First off registries are important because they let people see what you need. Check to see if the store you’re registering at has any welcome packets. Target and Amazon both have welcome gifts with samples and coupons. Ask or research if the store your registering at has a registry completion coupon. Amazon and Target both have one for 15%. Basically after your shower if there are things on your registry you didn’t get you can purchase them for yourself with a discount code. We used this code to get our carseat at a huge discount.

What are your tips for saving money when decorating? Comment and let me know!

Our Breastfeeding Journey

It was never really a question if I was going to breastfeed. My mother did it and that was all I needed to know. I read a ton of blog posts about how difficult it was, but I just assumed it would be different for me. Famous last words, right?

Emerson was born and I asked the nurse if I could try to get him to latch. According to the Internet the first hour is crucial, so I tried. When he didn’t latch I wasn’t worried and I figured it would be fine. Almost 12 hours later it’s 3 am and I’ve been trying to get Emerson to latch for the past 4 hours. He hasn’t eaten at all since he’s been born and he doesn’t want to latch he just wants to sleep. Three nurses had attempted to help at this point and the newest nurse advised that I syringe feed formula. She warned me giving a bottle with a nipple could cause confusion and make it even more difficult to nurse. We gave him some formula and off to sleep he went.

The next morning I had a different nurse, who was not thrilled about the syringe feeding. She explained that a syringe could teach a baby they don’t need to do anything to be fed. She suggested we give him a bottle and that could help him learn to latch. I agreed and assumed I’d only give him one or two more formula feedings. I figured after a visit from the lactation consultant I’d be nursing like a pro. No such luck. We tried all different holds, but he just wouldn’t latch. I felt like a failure, but was still optimistic that I would get home and make it work.

I was discharged with lots of free formula and no idea what to do next. I hadn’t planned on pumping, so I sent my mom to Target with my debit card for a breast pump. Thank goodness Nick and I had a large emergency fund because it was not cheap.

The weeks went by and I was miserable. I would spend about 45 minuets trying to get him to latch, then I would make him a bottle, and then I would pump. By the time this was all done I would get maybe 30 min to sleep and then I would have to wake up and start over. I finally brought it up to my pediatrician who recommended a lactation consultant.

During my session with the consultant Emerson actually latched and nursed. I was so excited and felt this renewed hope. For three weeks we had been doing a mix of formula and pumped milk and I was ready to make my life easier by nursing. We got home from the consult and I was stoked to start putting my new knowledge to use. I sat on the couch and could not get Emerson to latch. I lost it. I broke down into a puddle of tears. I can distinctly remember Nick taking Emerson and giving him a bottle. He told me to take a nap, but I could not stop crying. It felt like everything was coming to a pinnacle and I didn’t think I could do it much longer.

At this point I really wanted to give up, but I was so pissed that I decided to keep going. I was just trying just to prove that it wasn’t my fault. The next three weeks were spent using nipple shields, mixing bottles, pumping and getting almost no sleep. I don’t know how on earth it happened but one day Emerson just decided to get with the program. He was six weeks old the first time he latched. It still makes no sense.

Emerson and I made it almost fifteen months of breastfeeding together. I totally attribute my stubbornness to the reason I was able to stick it out so long. I’m thankful that I did work so hard because I have all these special memories just between us I can cherish forever.

Thanks for reading my story; I hope I can give someone else a little encouragement. Also for any mamas out there who have decided that breastfeeding isn’t for them, there is no shame in that. Choosing to breastfeed does not make you supermom or a sanit. Fed is best and you need to make the right choice for you and your baby. Do not ever feel like a failure, if your baby is fed and loved then you are doing it right.

Preparing for Two Under Two

I can’t believe that in a few weeks we’re going to become a four person household. I’ve been preparing mentally since I saw that positive pregnancy test. Recently we’ve actually started getting the house ready for another baby!

Double Stroller: We purchased a double stroller from a friend. You can find it here — and it came highly recommended to me. We’ve been practicing taking Emerson on walks in it and I have to say it’s easier to maneuver than I thought! We also took it out to the botinical gardens and had Emerson ride in it with his friend. They were so cute face to face!

Car Seats: Emerson got a new big boy car seat. His old car seat is an infant seat so we are reusing it for baby number two. The infant seat is the Chicco Keyfit 30. We love love love it and all we did was order new fabric since Emerson spit up and spilled lots of food. His new seat is the Graco Extend2Fit. We chose the graco because it was affordable, we paid $160 at target. It also will allow us to keep Emerson rear facing until he is two, which is what the AAP recommends. So far he seemed to like it. It has cup holders for his sippy cup and will go forward facing once we’re ready to make the switch.

Baby-Doll: We haven’t done too much research on introducing Emerson to baby girl, but he’s so young it’s not like we can have a conversation with him. He does notice my belly and I talk about how there is a baby in there. He will kiss and hug my belly which I think is so cute! My grandma also bought him a babydoll to play with. Sometimes Emerson will hug her and kiss her, other times he throws her. Obviously we’re not going to let him get too close or be with her unsupervised.

New Diaper Bag: Okay, actually two new diaper bags. What can I say, I have a problem. When we first found out we were having a girl I ordered a super cute bag from Vera Bradley. I’ve been carrying it for a few months and I realized it won’t be convenient for two kids. After tons of research I decided on the Jujube BRB. I wanted this bag mostly because it is a backpack style. With two kids I really need to be hands free. Jujube also uses teflon in the material to repel stains, plus all their bags are machine washable. Also they’re just beautiful. I owe a gigantic thank you to my mother-in-law who bought me this bag as my baby shower gift. I was so excited that I packed it up right when I got home. 

Sleep Training: I knew that having a toddler and a new born in our queen bed would not fly. In January, when Emerson was 13 months old, we made the decision to move Emerson to his crib in his room. It was not an easy choice and I did tons of online research to try to make it an easy transition for Emerson. I ended up mixing a few sleep training methods and after one very long very sad night he was in his bed. Since January Emerson has slept virtually every night in his crib from 8:00am-8:00pm with minimal crying. I’ve talked with so many mamas who are struggling to sleep train so I really want to write a post about how we did it.

There are still a lot of little things that need to get done. I’m sure not everything on our to-do list will get done in the next month, but that’s okay. The big stuff is done and honestly I just can’t wait to hold that little baby.

Stitch Fix Review #1

So today I’m doing something a little different and blogging about fashion. I’m not a fashion guru and that’s actually why I love the company i’m talking about today. Just an FYI this is not in any way sponsored, I’ve just been using this service for a couple years now and thought it would be interesting to share it with you guys.

What is Stitch Fix? It’s this awesome company that picks out clothing especially for you and sends it directly to your house. You can try it on, keep and pay for what you like, and return what you don’t want to keep.

How does it work? So you go online here and fill out their style survey. They show you some different looks and ask you to rate them. Then they ask what you do for work or what you do during the day to make sure they send you what you actually need. They also ask you to link your Pinterest board, if you have one dedicated to fashion, and they’ll use that as well to see what you like.  Once you’ve completed that you can schedule your fix, there is a $20 upfront fee, but that gets credited to your fix so you automatically have that $20 for clothing. One of my favorite things is that it’s not a subscription, you can set it up to be every month if you want or you can set it up one at a time. For the past few years I’ve gotten a box every six months or so. (Side note, I’m literally so sick of companies that force you to buy something every month to get the good deal…) Anyways, once your box arrives it has five pieces hand selected by your stylist. The box also contains; a letter from your stylist explaining the pieces they sent, a card showing some ways to style the clothing and a prepaid return bag so you can send back what you don’t want. You normally get a few days to decide what you want to keep and what you want to return. If you decide to keep all five pieces there is a 25% discount. That’s pretty much it, I hope I didn’t miss anything!

I’m going to share all the pieces that were sent in my latest fix and tell you guys if I kept or returned them. I should mention that the prices are on the higher side, but the quality is amazing. This is not a place to go for cheap fast fashion I only keep investment pieces I know I’ll wear over and over.

  1. Rune Maternity Leggings-
    When I saw the price ($53) I was like, oh heck no. I don’t think I’ve ever spend more than $20 on a pair of leggings, but when I tried them on I was totally sold. They are made of mostly spandex so their sturdy, plus since they’re maternity they cover my belly perfectly. As an added bonus I found out they are made in the USA and I’m always willing to spend a little extra to know they were made in America.
    Verdict: Keep
  2. Stich Fix brand Camisole three pack-
    Hello three for one! My stylist really listened when I said I needed basics. I also mentioned I would rather just size up in shirts instead of having maternity and she followed that exactly. These are super soft and really long so I can wear them under anything.
    Verdict: Keep
  3. Long Sleeve Flannel:
    I mentioned to Rachel, my stylist, that it’s already warm in AZ so I didn’t need winter wear. She explained in her letter that she sent this long sleeve because it was so light weight and thought it would look great unbuttoned over a cami with the leggings. She was so right. The shirt is super soft and I love that I can wear it whether I’m pregnant or not.
    Verdict: Keep
  4. Lace Kimono:
    My Pinterest board is covered with floral and kimonos so Rachel got me a little of both. She gave some great tips on how to dress it up or dress it down. I think kimonos are like the pregnant woman’s savior because you can throw them over anything and look put together.
    Verdict: Keep

5. Grey T-shirt:
I specifically asked for casual and comfortable and the box was spot on. This last item is by far my favorite. It’s made in the USA and super soft. I know it’s going to be my new go to shirt. I do think the neckline is a little plain so I’ll need a necklace with it, but it’s perfect for me to wear on any given day. It’s also nice and loose so I can wear it as I get bigger.
Verdict: Keep

This might be a little misleading, because in my past two years of receiving stick fix boxes I have never kept all five. Normally I keep two or three max. This box was just exactly what I needed plus I haven’t really updated my wardrobe since Emerson was born. Overall I spent $180.00 and even though that’s a big pill to swallow, I know I ended up with five quality pieces of clothing that are going to last me a very long time.

If you’re interested in trying Stitchfix you can follow this link to set it up. This is a referral link so I will receive a $25 account credit, full disclosure.

We’re Having a Girl


It’s official that baby Kennedy number two is a GIRL! Nick and I are so excited that Emerson is going to have a little sister, now if only we could agree on a name.

We had our gender ultrasound in January, the day we left for Hawaii. I was hoping to know before our trip so we could announce it while on the island and buy him/her lots of baby clothes. Well, the tech couldn’t give us a for sure and although she thought it was a girl she told us not to buy anything just yet. I was disappointed, but quickly reminded myself that waiting four more weeks to determine the sex is not a big deal and all that was important was that baby was healthy. Since we did think it was a girl I went ahead and bought this super cute pink necklace and I told some of our family that it might be a girl.

Now that we are the for sure from the DR I’m pretty much going crazy. I already bought her a few pairs of baby shoes, and a ton of onesies from Carters. Nick keeps telling me to wait until after I have a baby shower to buy things, but I’ve been waiting my whole life to dress a baby girl.

Where are your favorite places to find super cute baby girl stuff? Comment and let me know!
Onesies are all from Carters and the shoes are from Freshly Picked.

Hawaiian Birthday

     

Since I’m way behind on basically everything in life right now, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m almost two months late on talking about Emerson’s birthday. My poor baby was born on December 28th so this year with all the christmas and new years craziness we had to hold off a little on the party. We did however, take him on a very special birthday trip. When he was a few months old Nick and I started planning a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, half for us and half as a birthday trip for him. Okay so mostly for us considering he won’t even remember it, but I promise he had a great time!

We stayed in a very secluded condo complex basically an hour away from any civilization. From our room we had a beautiful view of the ocean and the sun rising each morning. We were just a short walk away from Hawaii’s black sand beach so we tried to walk down there as often as possible. Emerson was a huge fan of the beach, specifically the sand. How do I know this? I could tell by the amount of sand we kept finding in his diaper. What is it was babies and eating everything? Everyday we were there he would try to stuff as much sand as possible in his mouth.

We went to a luau and again Emerson had a blast! He was such a good baby, zero tears the entire time. We were afraid maybe the loud noise or fire would scare him, but nope he actually fell asleep during the fire dance. We visited Volcano National Park a few times and although Emerson didn’t care at all Nick and I had a great time. We got to see the actual lava bubbling inside the crater which is pretty incredible.

We already can’t wait until our next Hawaiian vacation, especially since next time we go we’ll have our baby girl with us. Do you have a favorite family vacation spot? Comment and let me know! We’re always looking for fun places to visit!

Life Update

Today officially marks the end of my first trimester (according to the What to Expect app.) Thankfully over the past two weeks my morning sickness has all but disappeared. It was a different kind of sickness than I had with Emerson, but still just as horrible. I basically have been hibernating for the past three months, but I’m ready to rejoin civilization. Timing wise I’m pretty happy that I’ll be able to really enjoy this Christmas season, since it’s my favorite time of year. We haven’t been able to do tons of decorating because between the puppy and the baby, things tend to get destroyed. It’s pretty crazy that I”m spending two Christmas’s in a row pregnant. Last year I was right at the end of my pregnancy and was not able to enjoy the holidays because I was so uncomfortable. This year I’m hoping to at least get a tree up, but we’ll see.

A little bit about baby number two, he/ she had a strong heartbeat and seems to be growing just fine. I’m hoping we’ll get to find out if it’s a boy or a girl before Christmas, but this time I’m not as anxious. I don’t think I’ll be that upset if we have to wait until January.

As for Emerson he is very quickly approaching his first birthday. Truth be told I do not feel ready to have a toddler. As much as I miss my tiny little baby Nick and I are loving getting to know Emerson and his personality. He is such a silly baby. He loves to crawl around the house and have us chase him, he is almost always smiling and giggling and he is completely obsessed with peek-a-boo. He has so many toys, but prefers laptops, iPhones, and remotes to any baby toy. He is epecially enjoying ‘helping’ me to type this post. The pictures in the post are from last week the weather was perfect so Nick and I spent the day walking thru model homes and finding different small parks to play in with Emerson.

We have a few fun trips coming up that I’m really looking forward to. Christmas day we’re driving to California to spend some time with my closest friend and help her celebrate her engagement! Then beginning of January we’re heading over to Hawaii for a much needed family vacation. It’s going to be Emerson’s very first time at the beach and I really think he’s going to love it. I am super nervous about flying on a redeye with a one year old so any recommendation and tips would be greatly appreciated!

I think that’s enough for today, but now that I’m feeling better I do intend on posting regularly again.

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.