The Best Family Friendly Beach Resort in Texas – Hilton Garden Inn South Padre

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The best family friendly beach resort in Texas is the Hilton Garden Inn on South Padre Island. As a lover of beaches and a family of 5 now, I feel fairly qualified to bestow this designation upon the HGI on SPI. I haven’t stayed at every hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast, but if you’ve stayed at the best why do you need the rest?  

I have, however, visited all of the major Texas Gulf Coast cities and have seen what they have to offer in terms of hotels and their locations and almost all of them lack one huge family friendly beach resort requirement for me – proximity. Now you may be thinking – Galveston has hotels close to the beach and so does Corpus! Close, yes. ON the beach, very very few. 

The other thing about Corpus and Galveston – a beach is a beach if you have no beach I’ll take those over nothing but if you want the BEST sand and water – you GOTTA go further south. And you don’t get a better beach in Texas than South Padre Island in my opinion. I always say it’s the furthest south you can go and the closest you can get to a Mexican beach without actually having to go to Mexico. 

There are plenty of hotels on SPI that are on the beach. But to me, what sets HGI and its neighbor LaQuinta (where my husband I had got married and had our wedding by the way) apart is that they are ON THE BEACH. You literally walk out the back of the hotel and there you are. The hotels further south and more “in town” on the island have pretty lengthy boardwalks to get to the beach. And that makes a big difference when you have small kids and you’re schlepping lots of beach stuff for them. 


And because I can just step out the back of the Hilton Garden Inn and be on the beach in a minute, I don’t feel the need to pack like pack mule. I can pack light and if we forget something it’s a super quick trip back to the room. Also, less pressure to maximize your beach time and stay out there longer than you should. When it’s right there we go out for an hour or two then come back to the hotel and cool off, eat or nap. Or hit the pool, which brings me to my next point…. 

THE POOL. One of the other main reasons that this place is THE BEST beach resort for families in Texas. HUGE pool. Kiddie pool with waterfall. Two hot tubs. Plenty of shaded seating. Food and bar service. What more could you want? 


Speaking of food, another perk of this hotel for me is the onsite restaurant. It’s not the best place on the island to eat by any means but it’s pretty good and they always have specials so if you’ve had a long day at the pool and beach and you just don’t feel like driving anywhere – you don’t have to! 

Lastly the rooms – almost all of the rooms here are great. However my personal recommendation is to get a junior pool view suite on the 1st floor. You’ll have the patio that is right there at the pool and pool level so it’s easy to toss your stuff back and forth from the pool via your patio versus having the carry it around. Or if you need to split up and send one parent back to the room and one stays at the pool – super easy to check in. The room itself being a suite has a living-ish area with a pullout sofa, desk, and mini-fridge/microwave area and then there’s the bedroom area with 2 queens or 1 king. 1 TV in each space. These rooms are so roomy even for my decent sized family. I always select or at least try to upgrade to one. 

You’d think with as much positive things as I have to say about this hotel that I work for them or I’m even being paid by them. NOPE! I just love it THAT much. The service and staff have all been great as well too by the way. And they have other on site amenities – Starbucks, game room, meeting rooms, etc. 

Seriously if you haven’t been here you need to check it out. My husband gets annoyed at how much I want to go here (haha) but it’s just so perfect to me in terms of family needs on a beach vacation that it’s so hard for me to go anywhere else. I encourage you to try it and if you do – let me know what you think! 

Happy travels! 

6 Ways Babywearers Turn Moms Off From Babywearing

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 Babywearing is fairly new to me. My oldest didn’t like being “worn.” We used the Baby K’tan when he was smaller, which was invaluable at times that he was fussy or clingy and I needed to get stuff done. But once he got bigger the K’tan got uncomfortable and my other carrier (Beco Gemini) I just couldn’t get the hand of and it wasn’t super comfy anyhow, and by then my son was crawling then soon after walking so he wasn’t much interested in being worn anyhow.

Once I found out I was pregnant with my second, and my oldest was just over 1, I thought babywearing might be more useful so I joined some babywearing groups on Facebook. I learned just HOW MANY different kinds of carriers there really are. After standing back and observing, reading and researching, I decided to try a couple new carriers – a woven wrap and ring sling. The ring sling even got used a couple of times while out with my toddler when he wanted to be held at the store and I couldn’t shop just holding him on my hip.

Once my new baby was born, I immediately dove into babywearing. I tried my wrap, which the go-to carry everyone says the front wrap cross carry (FWCC) just made me too hot and I really forgot to even try other carries and just set it down and used my K’tan. But once he got bigger I tried some other carries based on suggestions from the babywearing groups, and that was it, I was hooked. The wrap was SO comfy and SO versatile, that I really became a more hard core babywearer.

Then I got hooked … BUY ALL THE WRAPS! WEAR ALL THE BABIES! I was getting pulled deeper and deeper into the babywearing world. I got more wraps and ring slings, and even decided to try a Tula because I’d heard good things about them.

As I got deeper into this “world” and joined more Facebook groups, and talked to my friends more about it, I realized there was a particular sector of babywearers – probably the most hard core and extreme babywearers – that sort of turn people off to babywearing, with their judgments, obsessions and intrusions. In talking amongst my friends, we agreed that this small group of babywearers does quite a bit of damage to the reputation of babywearing.

While I’m sure they’re good intentioned, they’re just not helping their cause. I know when I initially looked into different carriers after my first son, I was actually turned off from it for a while when I saw some of the things they said and things that went on. So I compiled a list of the 6 things that these hard core babywearers do that actually turn moms off from babywearing –

  1. Sanctimonious judgments – I actually saw someone say the other day in one of these groups, “I feel sorry for a baby I see in a stroller or car seat.” Um, excuse me what? You’re sorry for my baby who is happily sitting by himself in his stroller with me right there? WTF is wrong with you. And I’ve seen similar sentiments before in these groups. Yeah it might seem harmless because they’re not saying it outloud in public, but on a private Facebook group, these groups have THOUSANDS of members and there are many new moms watching and observing like I was trying to see what it’s all about. And that statement, right there, if I was a new mom, would make me buy a stroller in a heartbeat. I’m a member of stroller groups on Facebook too. They never judge babywearing like that. It’s not all or nothing. You can babywear and you can use strollers. They have different purposes at different times.
  2. Guilt tripping – I recently asked a question in one of the groups worried I may be creating a habit of my baby falling asleep for naps being worn. Some of the comments I got annoyingly tried to make me feel guilty. “You won’t be wearing your baby in college, how could you not want to hold your baby?” How could I not want to hold my baby? Because I do it constantly and I’m an oven, he’s an oven, and we both like our own personal space every now and again. I don’t think it makes me a bad mom to want to put him down from time to time and have some time and space to myself. And I’ve seen similar comments before, equally as guilt trippy. They don’t help.
  3. Tula moms “cult” – There’s this whole separate group of babywearing moms – the Tula moms. They LOVE their freakin Tulas and that’s almost an understatement. There’s not another hard core brand advocate for the babywearing moms like the Tula moms. I have at Tula. It’s more comfy than my Ergo for sure, but a Tula isn’t a magical babywearing cape, possesses no super powers and it’s not for everyone. There are many different babywearing options – and MANY options for soft structured carriers (like Tulas). But some Tula owners seem to think everyone needs or should have a Tula. One comment I saw the other day was after a mom suggested a Tula to complete stranger (that she approached … whole nother topic, see below) – she said “You’ll thank me later.” A little presumptuous, but ok…. and speaking of Tulas …
  4. Tula black market – Also pretty unique to Tulas – they’re generally out of stock. Tula does “stockings” that the whole Tula loving group of course gets wind of, and they get snatched up in minutes when they do go on sale. Then shockingly, you see a lot of these same Tulas show up on the swap later on, usually at a markup. This whole stocking, out of stock, resell at a mark up makes it hard for new wearers to get a Tula if they wanted one. So Tula lovers seems to be hurting their cause a bit if they’re churning for a profit.
  5. Butting in – Like the Tula mom did above, babywearers are the only group that will approach strangers in public to try to give them the benefits of babywearing. “You’ll thank me later” said the Tula mom … ok, maybe I will maybe I won’t.  Do stroller using moms approach strangers and try to get them to use a stroller? Imagine the horror if a breastfeeding mom walked up to a mom feeding her baby formula and tried to give that mom the benefits of breastmilk? So why do babywearing moms think it’s ok to intrude on random strangers and trying to convert them like Jehovah’s witnesses walking the neighborhood?
  6. Babywearing defies logic and science – Some sentiments I’ve seen suggest that some babywearing moms think babywearing defies science logic and fact at times. This is frequently in reference to flying with a baby – I’ve seen moms who thought babywearing was just as safe or safer than baby being in a car seat on a plane. Just like any parenting decision – you weigh the information and make the best decision for you and your family. I’ve worn on flights before. But I know for a fact it’s not safer. It’s a calculated risk I take. But I’ve seen babywearing moms ask about biking, kayaking, roller blading, ice skating, etc with their baby attached to them. NO. Just NO.

Now for all of these things that are said and done by a SMALL group of babywearers, there are many wonderful things that the majority of babywearers do and say daily. I just think that this small group, because they are generally more vocal, do a lot to hurt the cause and reputation of babywearing.

But the good – so much good! I’ve known and gotten help from many wonderful ladies, particularly the “Girasol Love All the Rainbows” group (because Girasol is a brand that generally produces rainbows, and if you see from my babywearing pics, it’s all I own and I love them). That group is fantastic, and helpful, and generally non-judgmental and also generally not looking to profit on the resale of their wraps in the swap. But there are many other groups that have wonderful helpful members too, that’s just the one I’ve had the best experience with personally.

Babywearing has also done so much for me. It’s allowed me to do many things that would’ve been difficult or impossible without – shopping with a fussy baby and toddler, putting a clingy baby down to sleep while keeping an eye on a toddler. And with my wraps, it’s comfy and cozy and also versatile – I can wear him on the front, on my hip and on my back in many different ways.

I’ve had people come up and ask me about my wraps and I’m happy to educate them. But I would NEVER approach a mom unsolicited to tell her about babywearing. I think calmly and easily going about my tasks while babywearing speaks greater volumes to the awesomeness of babywearing than going up to and harassing strangers like a used car salesman, particularly if the mom is already struggling and frustrated. If I’m struggling and having fussy babies, I’m already probably hot and irritable and might snap on you if you try to tell me how I could do it better. Just don’t do it, babywearers. Show them, don’t force them.

Then they can see how wonderful babywearing can truly be, without judgment and guilt trips and the like. I’m not sure there’s much cooler than knowing your baby is calmed and lulled to sleep just by being snuggled up close to you. But it’s also okay to put them down, and use strollers and car seats. Everything can be useful to some, and there is no cookie cutter one size fits all way of doing things – including babywearing.

Now if you don’t mind me, I’m going to go take my baby for a walk in his stroller … pity him. LOL.

What are the ways you’ve benefited from babywearing, or maybe not?

6 Things that I Didn’t “Get” Until I Had Kids

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Before I had kids, I don’t think that I was insensitive to my friends who did have kids. And I definitely had a lot of friends that had kids, when I didn’t. But there were definitely things that I didn’t understand about their lives and I didn’t “get” as someone who didn’t have kids. Not just to my friends though, but people who had kids in general. I mean really you can’t control your kids? Really you can’t come over or go out because of your kids nap time/bed time? And then I had kids. Hello wake up call, nice to see you.

So if you think your friends or just parents in general are crazy because of some of these (or other) things, just wait til you have kids! Here are the 5 things that I didn’t “get” until I had kids –

  1. Moms that cut off all their hair – real talk … I thought “really, how hard could it be to just put it in a ponytail?” OMG. I had NO idea the issues that arise with hair as a mom. Hair pulling. THE PULLING. ALWAYS from the bottom of my head. Post partum hair loss. Handfuls of hair, daily. Every time I wash my hair I think of shaving my head. I get it now Moms, I get it.
  2. Uncontrollable kids in public – I am now the mom with the “uncontrollable kid” in public. He’s 2 but looks like he’s 5. Barely talks, huge. Gets very frustrated with his inability to communicate, and especially when he can’t do exactly what he wants to do. Melt downs can and do happen when we’re out. And I’m now the one that looks like I have a kid I can’t control in public, and really, I can’t. It’s more like organized chaos. But either way, I GET IT NOW. Seriously. I wanna go hug all the moms I thought couldn’t control their kids before.
  3. Nap Time/Bed Time/ Routine – I didn’t get why friends, family or acquaintances couldn’t do things because it would interrupt nap time or bed time or the kids “routine.” Just bring them with! Just put them to bed late! BOYYYYY do I get this one now. I am Queen Routine. I’m a believer in the routine. I will avoid interruptions to the routine like the plague if I can help it. I do try to be flexible because we have to live our lives, but I generally do so knowing that we will pay the consequences with cranky kids or sleep that will be a little out of whack for a couple of days. But if I can stick to the routine, oh man, I will stick to that routine. I get routines now!
  4. Inability to shower/get dressed/etc – not that I ever saw this in action, but I heard about it … a lot. When you have a baby/kids, it’s so hard to take a shower, or change my clothes, or I don’t wear anything but yoga pants, etc. When I had both babies, I’ll admit, I didn’t think it was super hard to at least get a shower in. Babies sleep a lot … but once babies STOP sleeping a lot. Yup I wouldn’t be able to tell you at most times when the last time I took a shower was. And when I changed my clothes last was probably sometime around then as well. And yes I stay in nursing tanks and PJ/yoga pants or shorts 99.9% of the time. Especially now that I have 2 kids, if by some magical mystical alignment of the stars I get them to both nap at the same time, that time is so sacred and I have so many things I could be doing I have to prioritize and decide if showering is really at the top of that list and it’s usually not. As far as getting dressed, I just don’t see the point if I’m not leaving the house and changing clothes unnecessarily just creates more laundry. Plus, leading into my next point, the clothes I stay in are nursing tanks and yoga pants because I need easy nursing access plus I want to be comfy and because I’m breastfeeding I’m still hanging onto most of my pregnancy weight so those types of clothes are the only things that fit. So yes, I TOTALLY get the shower/clothes thing now.
  5. Messes – Again, not so much amongst my friends but just things I heard generally about messy houses and cars. I didn’t understand how they could become such a mess and how it could be so hard to clean them up. Well, now with my kids in tow in the car, ONE TRIP out to run errands can look like we’ve been living in the car for a week and raccoons were rummaging through our stuff for food. It’s ridiculous. And the house – my gosh – not just the toys but EVERYTHING now ends up on the floor ALWAYS. Like that’s where everything is meant to be, on the floor. I could pick it up 10 times a day and it would still end up back there because that’s where it’s meant to be. So I give up. I pick up at the end of the day just so Dad or I don’t break a foot on a Lego in the middle of the night otherwise I say forget it! The car I will clean after each trip just so it doesn’t get too out of control and because it’s a small space (for now) it’s pretty easy to clean up quickly. But regardless, I GET why messes cannot be contained or controlled with kids.
  6. Shopping Alone = Vacation – I always thought moms were exaggerating when they talked about a solo grocery trip or trip to Target being like a vacation. I’m so sorry moms, I get it now. I had a lovely trip to paradise the other day – Target alone. I found myself staring at the ingredients on a shampoo bottle for over 5 minutes. And then I stood there in awe that I was actually able to read the shampoo bottle and not tend to a crying baby or try to keep my toddler in the stroller or cart. When my husband says I need a break, I tell him this is basically the #1 thing I need, besides a pedicure of course.

Looking back, I don’t think I’d change anything even if I could because there’s no way I would’ve really known any of these things until I had kids myself. But it definitely gives me a new perspective and I roll my eyes at myself sometimes now when I find myself on the other side of the fence talking to my friends who don’t have kids. It gives me a good laugh. And I try to maintain as much balance as I can, as a mom of 2 small kids – as I said I try to stick to the routine but sometimes we go astray, I haven’t cut my hair, but I do rock my mom wardrobe and shower only as much as necessary.

What are some of the things that you didn’t “get” until you became a parent?

Review – Arms Reach Co-Sleeper Mini

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During the baby days, with my oldest, he slept in our room with us but I used my Graco Pack N Play’s bassinet feature which worked great. This time around I decided I wanted to use something that would take up a little less space. So I found the Arms Reach Mini and scooped it up! I had heard of Arms Reach Cosleepers, but never knew there was a mini version. So I decided I would write a review!

Perhaps the best feature of the Arms Reach is the fact that the side folds down and you can pull it right up next to your bed which allows you to very easily check on your baby at night and would help for night nursing if you nurse in bed, but still gives baby their own space to sleep. I didn’t nurse in bed, but as he was working through his sleep transitions, I loved that if we woke up I could just easily reach over and put my hand on him, and also that I could see him with nothing else in the way. This differed from the PNP in that the PNP was below the level of my bed so I had to reach a ways down to get to him.   But, if you choose, the side will come all the way up to be a regular bassinet.  

The bottom has wheels on one end, which allows you to move it around easily. The leg extension kit allows you to add length to the legs on both ends if you have a higher bed, like I do. 

They snap on and off very easily so it’s super easy to adjust the height. It also comes with straps that allow you to secure it to the bed so it can’t tip over. They run under the mattress to the other side of the bed.

In terms of size, the Mini is 34″ x 20″ x 32.5″ whereas the regular Arms Reach is 39″ x 25″ x 32.5″ but honestly the mini worked for my giant baby up til he started scooting and crawling around 5 months so for me I don’t see a need for anything bigger! I guess the bigger one would be good if you wanted something closer to crib size to cosleep longer. But the Mini worked perfect for what we needed.

I would highly recommend the Arms Reach Co Sleepers for their ease of use for middle of the night feedings and baby checks. When you’re already sleep deprived, anything that you can do to make night times easier is worth it! In my opinion, the Arms Reach isn’t priced so high that it’s unreasonable to get it for such a short use. To me, the price is worth paying for the peace of mind to be so close to my baby and be able to check on them and comfort them very easily.

Homemade Baby Food Purees 

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With my oldest son, I got really tired of jockying for position with other moms in the baby food aisle. Trying to look around 5 other people to find what I was looking for… Not to mention the fact that it disturbs me how long it lasts, as well as how much it costs. So I decided to start looking into making my own purees.

I found books online and fancy machines, all of which cost money, a pretty good amount. I thought there had to be a better, cheaper way. I searched online and found a fabulous (free!) resource here. Listed all kinds of recipes and ways to prepare purees, lots of tips. I also found that regular blenders and choppers would work just fine, and that ice cube trays are great for freezing 1oz potions. So I spent less than $50 on a small chopper and some ice cube trays. And away I went!



It was so much easier than I expected. The recipes and instructions were easy to follow, the chopper worked great, and freezing in the trays worked great. Once they were frozen I just popped them out into ziploc bags and after about a days worth of work, I had purees for months.

Each night I would just take some of the frozen cubes out, put them in jars in the fridge and they’d pretty much be thawed the next day.

The only “baby food” specialty item that I would say is worth the investment is the Infantino Squeeze Station. You can make your own squeeze pouches which are much easier to take on the go, but they’re a fraction of the cost of the ones you buy at the store.

Homemade baby food purees – easy, affordable, and better for your baby too!

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light – Giveaway!

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Hopefully you’ve seen my review of the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light! If not, you can check it out here. Baby Bjorn has been nice enough to offer a Travel Crib as a giveaway to one of our followers!

Entry and more information below! Ends May 15th at 11:59pm.

Enter Here!

Is Easter the new Christmas? And other holiday social media competitions

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 Untitled design (1)
Going through my social media feeds this past Easter, I started to wonder to myself, when did Easter become Christmas? Since when do you get big Christmas like gifts or overflowing baskets with toys and games and clothes and so many things? I even saw pictures of elaborate “bunny prints” in the hallways at homes. Pinterest has made people crazy. KUH-RAY-ZY.
I feel like it’s a case of social media one upsmanship. We see something on Pinterest, or Facebook that another Mom or family has done and we gotta do one better. I don’t think it matters really to the kids. I believe when I was a kid I got maybe some books and a little bit of candy and maybe a tape or CD if I was lucky in my easter basket. See – I can’t even fully remember what I got in my basket. But you know what I do remember? The time I spent with my family.
You know what makes me smile and what I miss more than anything when I think about those holidays as a kid? That time spent with my family. We had so much fun! Whether it was just my siblings, or our extended family with the cousins, THAT is what I remember and think fondly of, not what was in my basket or under the Christmas tree.
My oldest son is 2 and I have yet to do any basket or anything on Easter. He’s gotten gifts the last couple of Christmases but we didn’t go all out. However, in contrast I saw the unofficial “under the tree” competition on Christmas morning on Facebook and Instagram – the photo of all of your gifts wrapped and stacked. No gifts under the tree photo from us. Hell we didn’t even have a tree. Ain’t nobody got time to keep toddlers and babies off of a Christmas tree. Our son really had no clue how many gifts he got or what they were for, and his birthday is right before Christmas.
Speaking of birthdays, those are getting just as bad! In my birth club for my youngest son, they are already planning 1 year parties. 6 months ahead of time, and I’m pretty sure some of them have started before now. Not just planning. Some have rented venues, and booked photographers, and already have boards they are pinning to regularly on Pinterest for this elaborate shin dig they are going to throw for this little munchkin who is going to have NO IDEA what is going on.
I don’t get that. We had a party for my oldest son, sure. I planned it maybe a month ahead of time? Bought a few decorations, invited some family, and voila we’re celebrating his 1st birthday. He’s not going to remember. Might he see pics of it one day? Sure. Is he going to pitch a fit because it wasn’t at the right venue, or the photographer didn’t capture his good side, or the decorations weren’t DIY? Nope, He’s not going to give a shit. If he even looks at the pics.
I just think that with much of our lives broadcast on and influenced by social media, Pinterest and other social media have become the fuel that lights the bigger better parties and gifts competitive flame. However, knowing what meant most to me as a kid, the time with my family, I plan to continue to blow up my followers feed with pics of family times spent together at these special occasions, and not the giant Easter basket, stacks of gifts, or elaborately decorated and planned parties.

Nursing Nook – For Breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding is hard stuff – mentally, physically draining. The rewards are huge, but it’s a big sacrifice on mom’s part to make it happen. I truly believe that in order to be successful in breastfeeding, support and comfort are two major keys. 

Support is really important. I always say one of the biggest credits I can give for my success in breastfeeding my older son for over a year goes to my husband. He went with me to the breastfeeding class and learned and understood how it all worked, how much baby needed to eat, and what I needed to do for it to be successful. 

Because of his understanding and knowledge, he was able to support me so much more. He was able to tell the hospital that when my sons temp wouldn’t come up after birth that he needed to come have skin to skin with me and nurse with me. When people made comments about me breastfeeding, or my supply, he would be there to defend. And when it got tough for me, he was there to support me and tell me how awesome I was doing. He is a big factor in my success. 

Another factor to me, is comfort. I needed to be comfortable nursing, and pumping (because I worked full time and traveled 50% of that time for work). On the road, I would generally pump in my car. It was a comfortable space for me, I could leave my stuff set up which gave me more actual pumping time, and I didn’t have to worry about anyone walking in on me. 

At home, I’ve always had what I call a nursing nook. I highly recommend creating a space like this for yourself at home if you’re a nursing mom. Here’s mine:

 

And here’s how I have it set up –

  • Rocker/recliner – because buying a chair that would only serve one function (rocker, glider) didn’t make sense to me. This also serves as a place for other people to sit in my living room. Plus the recliner function helped a lot during pregnancy and newborn phase, I would sleep here A LOT.  
  • Bolster pillow – for lower back support
  • Heating pad – for pregnancy and post partum back pain 
  • TV Stand – collapsible so if I need to put it up I can (but a normal side table would work fine we just have a small space so being able to put it up is nice)
  • Basket under TV Stand – holds magazines, blankets 
  • Plastic tray from hospital on TV Stand – holds pacis, nipple cream, burp cloth, hair clip, earbuds, nail clippers and other small items I might need while sitting there 
  • Boppy – tucked into the notch of the TV stand
  • Command Hooks on the side of nearby bookshelf – holds nursing necklace, robe 

I’d also stock snacks and water on the tray or in the basket in the early post partum days and I sometimes still do at night especially I get hungry. I also kept my meds there easily accessible those first couple post partum weeks. There’s also a plug behind my recliner where I have a charger for my iPad because my iPad gets heavily used while nursing!

I truly believe my success with my first, and probable success with this new little one, is largely in part to these two things so I hope this can help someone else out or give them ideas on how they can be successful breastfeeding.

Who else has a set up like this? What else do you have or suggest? 

8 Things I Learned Going From 1 Kid to 2

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 Before I had my second son, I was terrified. I was mostly terrified at how it would affect him, and how I could possibly have the time and love for two when I felt like I already had so much to give to my first son. I was worried about how I wouldn’t be able to spend time with him because I’d be caring for or feeding the baby. I was definitely right, at least in the beginning, it was very hard for me to spend any time with him because a newborn baby needs so much from mom. That was hard for me because I was used to spending all my time with my oldest and now we hardly got any time.

But as baby got older, and started to nap and things regulated, and my body healed from my c section, I was able to spend more time with my older son again and it was great. I was actually surprised that as I adjusted, caring for two wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The hardest part was when they were both crying or both needed me. There were times that my baby had to cry and I hated it because I can’t stand listening to him cry. But those times were few and far between thankfully.

I did want to share some of the things that surprised me and that I learned as a new mom of 2. I hear in terms of transitions when adding kids to the family that 1 to 2 is the hardest. Here’s hoping!

  • When you need to go somewhere, with both, say to the store, give yourself HOURS to get ready. So if I wanted to leave by 11 or noon, I needed to start getting ready the second I got up. Between dressing me, dressing the oldest, feeding the oldest, dressing youngest, feeding youngest, getting the bag ready, changing both diapers, it is a several hour affair. As long as I planned on having several hours to get ready, I would get out the door without a hitch and (mostly) on time.
  • This one took me a while to find a routine that works – bed time – bathe older one first. That way he’s ready for bed, and if baby starts to melt down, I can send oldest to his room to read or play or whatever and then eventually fall asleep. Or let him watch Mickey, whatever, but at least he’s ready for bed if it takes me longer than expected to get the younger one ready and down for bed.
  • Playing alone is okay! For both of them! It helps them learn and explore on their own and it helps me give (almost) undivided attention to the other …. or get some shit done around the house.
  • Get out of the house. Whether it’s for a walk, go to the store, whatever. I feel more like a human and less like a hormonal zombie if I get out and breathe some fresh air. My kids feel it too. They’re less fussy when they get out of the house too.

  • Going to the store – not as bad as I thought! But the whole thing will take a while. Getting two small kids in and out of the store is a feat in and of itself. Car seats, strollers, carts, loading and unloading, crying, feeding, snacks, pitching a fit… it’ll take a while. But as long as you’re prepared and know that going in, it’s not so bad!
  • Speaking of the store and errands – be prepared to abandon ship! And know your limits! Generally speaking you won’t be able to fit in maybe more than 2 stores or 3 total stops with 2 small kids. At least mine. They get over it pretty quick. Sometimes they surprise me and I can get more out of them than that, but I always go in expecting it not to last more than 2-3 stops so I prioritize. Whatever is most important to get done is first and second, and anything else is less important and can be done another day and often if we’re melting down, it is scrapped for another day. As much as I’d like to knock everything out in one trip that I need to do to save time, money and gas – with 2 small kids in tow it’s not going to happen anymore.
  • Don’t forget to take pics of the bigger one. I noticed my phone is a lot of pics of the little one whereas it used to be all pics of my toddler. He’s still young too I try to make myself remember to take pics of him as well.

  • Let it go – the clean house. Sing it if you want to (thankfully I haven’t seen that movie yet) but seriously I had to learn to let the idea of a clean house go. I came to accept that my house won’t be clean for the next 18 years and that’s okay! I have kids! I’m sure no one, if they did come to our house, would expect it to look spotless with two small kids. I do basic cleaning and I clean up toys at the end of the day. That’s it. You’ll have more time for the kids, or just to lay around with your feet up, but clutter and toys doesn’t really matter right now.

What were some of the big things you learned as your family expanded?

Review: Skip Hop Forma Diaper Bag

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Some women like shoes or clothes, I like bags. Always have. Purses, tote bags and now… Diaper bags. I get bored and change bags fairly frequently. I sell old ones or I’ll keep them if I think I might use them again.

Since my son was born 2 years ago, I’ve had a few diaper bags. I first tried a Vera Bradley diaper bag but found I couldn’t ever zip the bag shut and it’s one of those bags that just looks sloppy open so I sold it. I tried the Kate Spade Stevie and just found it too shallow for my tastes. I tried a Coach leather diaper bag and I found it too stiff and heavy.

Then I found on clearance at the Disney Store a Storksak with slight Mickey ear embellishments that was super cute so I got that one. That one has been my LOVE for the longest time over the last 2 years. Fits so much, looks cute, lots of pockets and DISNEY! But I started to get that itch again before my new son was born because I didn’t think it would be big enough for 2 kids in diapers.

I was at TJ Maxx shortly before my second son was born and found a Coach bag that wasn’t leather and stiff and a matching crossbody purse. PERFECT! I snatched it up and it’s been great for holding everything that I need with 2 kids. Having the matching crossbody is nice also because with 2 kids now I frequently don’t have spare hands or a shoulder to put a big bag on so being able to sling it across is perfect.

But I have the itch … again. Dangit! I was on a thread with my StrollerQueen StrollerSwap ladies (on Facebook – if you haven’t seen me mention them in my prior post, check it out here they’re awesome) again last week and someone was asking about diaper bags and someone mentioned the Skip Hop Forma. I was intrigued by the color and the cubes that it comes with. So I decided to check it out!

It’s a tote style bag with a zippered top that comes open. The fabric seems very sleek and stain resistant as well as washable. The biggest advantage is the front zippered pocket opens up and has these 2 cubes – one for bottles and one for snacks, spare clothes, etc. I measured it at 14.5″ x 5.5″ x 12″.

It has two side pockets for bottles or sippys.

On the front of that pocket is another small zippered pocket for your keys or personal items. 

If you take the cubes out, the pocket they fit in is very roomy if you decided not to use the cubes and there’s also some mesh pockets behind the cubes. 

The cubes themselves are pretty big and pretty handy. They are 6″ x 10.5″ x 2″.

The back of the bag has a pocket that zips open and has a cushy changing pad inside.    On the inside of the main compartment on the sides are stroller straps built in.  The main compartment has several pockets inside as well.

While the cubes are an advantage, the disadvantage is that they minimize the space in the main compartment because of their depth. They push in to the main compartment.

So for me, with two kids in diapers and one needing snacks and a sippy cup and also needing to carry a woven wrap in case I need to wear the baby, the space in this bag is very quickly taken up.

And there really is no spare room for anything else, it would be hard to get the stuff out of the pockets, and it would be hard to zip. 

So for me, as a mom of 2 in diapers and carrying a woven wrap with me as well, it wasn’t a good fit. For someone who only has 1 kid, or only 1 in diapers, I think it would be a great choice and I would highly recommend it for it’s features, functional pockets and cubes. I would get it again once I didn’t need to carry so much around with me. The color itself is actually beautiful as well. It’s available in a few colors – black, berry and this one is peacock.  There’s also a backpack version but that one is much smaller. I purchased mine from Amazon.

Since it didn’t work out for me, I returned it, and per another recommendation on that SQSS thread, I got the JuJuBe BFF. So that will be my next review! And as a tease … I LOVE IT! So stay tuned!