Saturday, February 23, 2019

Five Mama Essentials

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 Photo by Amy-Cole Photography
P.S. How was Charlie ever this small?! I can barely remember that!

I've officially made it 5 months as a Mama (23 weeks, to be exact!)!
It's been quite a journey & to be 100% real with y'all, it's not always sunshine and rainbows.
I am so incredibly thankful to have been entrusted to be Charlie's Mama. He's the sweetest, happiest little boy who makes my heart burst. But sometimes he also wakes up three times in the middle of the night, and sometimes he doesn't want to take a nap, and sometimes he is scared of the vacuum cleaner so I have to hold him and try to vacuum at the same time (okay, that last one is every single time!)
But despite all of those things, I wouldn't change my position for anything in the world.
But there are a few things that I trust to get me through each day. . .
Actually, I could name about one billion essentials, but these are the first that came to mind!
I've had an espresso machine on my wishlist for a really long time, but I couldn't stand the price tag.
Basically, all I really wanted was a milk frother to froth milk for coffees at home.
I picked this one up at Target with some Christmas money and it has made my inexpensive coffees at home so much more luxurious. Call it bougie, call it self-care...either way it's a small thing that has become essential for me.
I wrote a blog post about a year ago on how to get your best night's sleep & this was part of one of those tips. Now that I'm a mom, the sleep that I do get is so essential.
I was gifted an eye mask just like this one many years ago & it has been so helpful in blocking out the light and helping me get really good quality sleep in the time that I do get to rest.
The molded shape keeps the eye mask from irritating your delicate eye area, too!
I have been getting the Sephora Play! Box for several months now & have found so many awesome products in there that I have ended up purchasing full sized.
This eye cream totally changed the game for me after bringing Charlie home.
I knew just how important it was to make sure I was still taking care of myself while taking care of him, so I was diligent about using an eye cream-this one is wonderfully hydrating & magically makes my dark circles disappear after applying it. I will always repurchase this for my AM eye cream now.
I'm pretty sure I shared this in our one-month essentials blog post but it has definitely stood the test of time, until he's almost six months old & I think this will continue to be a staple for a long time.
If you're breastfeeding, you have to hydrate a lot-even if you aren't, it's so important to stay hydrated anyways!
This cup keeps your water cold and keeps ice all day long, I just use these straws and they work great. Definitely something you need to always keep on hand!
Oh, and another plus-you can use these for coffee too, that way that cup you pour at 6 AM will still be warm when you finally get around to drinking it at 8 AM.
This is probably the biggest help to me out of all of these things on this list.
I was recently sent this devotional book and while I always read the books sent to me, I don't always love them-and I'm always brutally honest about that with y'all.
I didn't know what I would think about this one; would it be cheesy? would it even really apply to me?
Well, it rocked my world.
I love that the daily devotions are short (usually just over two pages and totally readable), they are extremely relatable even to me as a young, first time mom, and they always seem to come just on time.
I love sitting down in the mornings with my planner & my first cup of coffee and catching up with the days devotion, but you know what-they are still as powerful when I don't get to them until after I've tucked Charlie into bed at night.
It's all a part of self-care for me, taking a few minutes to support my soul and lift myself up...that's definitely an essential.
And as a special surprise, I'm sharing a little giveaway with y'all for a chance to win this book for yourself or to give to any of your warrior-mom friends!

I hope y'all enjoyed this little roundup of some of my essentials; let me know-what were y'all's Mama-Essentials?!
Also, if you're the praying type, please consider sending some prayers out (or positive thoughts/vibes) for a friend of mine who is going through hard things right now. She was on my heart as I wrote this post & I'm just so, so heartbroken for her and her family.

Until next time. . .

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Charlie: Five Months

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 He looks SO displeased in ALL of these monthly pics 😂
(As of our last checkup at 4 months he was. . .)
Weight: 13 lbs 11 oz
Height: 25 1/2 inches
So he's probably added a little to both of those numbers!
He's feeling pretty good in his 3-6 months clothes and we're loving all the new clothes we're finally starting to be able to pull out of the closet.
I think some of my favorites are these overalls he's been getting to wear, little collared shirt onesies like this one, and pajamas just like these-so easy!
And that bubble pictured is giving me all the spring & summer vibes! This website has some similar ones available, but I found mine on a Facebook group.
Y'all, I am SO PROUD of Charlie-he's slept through the night twice in the past month and for the most part, has cut out both of his night feedings. If/when he does wake in the middle of the night, most times he can soothe himself back to sleep now, or I can go in and pat his back or give his paci back to him and that's good enough.
We've been following the Mom's on Call 4-6 month schedule and it has made a huge difference in his sleep. I feel so much better and I think Charlie does too, being on a schedule.
Although, the last few days have been a little off-schedule, I think it's because he's starting to teethe and it makes it hard for him to sleep.
Four months was really hard on us, until out of desperation I looked up Mom's on Call.
Now, on a normal day, Charlie's schedule looks something like this.
7 AM-Wake up & nurse
8 AM-Eat some type of solids (some days it's avocado, some days it's sweet potatoes-whatever I have made for him)
8:30 AM-Down for a nap, about 1-1 1/2 hours usually
10:30 AM-Nurse again
11:30 AM-Solids (I try to vary what he eats, I try to have at least two different options in the fridge on any given day)
12:30/1:30 PM- Somewhere between here, whenever he starts showing cues, we go down for another nap usually 1 1/2 or 2 hours.
3 PM-Nursing again
4 PM-Solids again
5 PM-Possibly take another nap here, if he's feeling tired
6 PM-Mom's on Call doesn't call for this, but we actually typically have solids again here and this is sometimes his biggest meal of the day. I think it's really helped him sleep through the night and it works for us.
6:30 PM-Bath time! We take a bath every single night now, but we only wash his hair every other night.
6:45 PM-Jammies, Owlett monitor, and bedtime story
7 PM-Nurse one last time
Between 7-7:30 PM-Down for bed
Little man is doing really well, we went to the aquarium earlier this month and he's been out and about to several other places so we were a little worried about germs (& Chris had some type of stomach virus, too) but he's been really healthy through it all.

 He's a cold-brew guy 
Y'all-those little pajamas kill me!
Charlie is seriously the best little guy.
His tears mainly stem from being tired or if he does happen to fuss during nap time or bedtime, but other than that there's very little crying!
 We're crazy about avocados!

I think that smirk might get him out of a lot of trouble in his lifetime, don't you?
Rolling all over the living room
Mama or Daddy blowing raspberries on his tummy
His biggest frustration in life is that he's not mobile already-he gets so mad because he can't crawl!
 I love these sweet brothers!
Y'all-there are no words!
Sleeping exclusively in his crib
Started solids: Has eaten strawberries, avocado, banana, sweet potatoes, prunes, apples, and summer & butternut squash.
Slept through the night (twice!)
 He's so ready to be out with his Daddy & Papa tagging calves!
Charlie was stoked to go shower Baby Daniel-we're counting down the days until his bff arrives!
I can't wait for Spring & bare baby toes!
Places You've Gone:
The Georgia Aquarium with Anna Claire
Cheaha Brewing Company
Chelsea's Baby Shower for Baby Daniel (aka your future bestie!)
To check cows, lots of times!
Got stuck with Mama in the pasture & PawPaw had to come pull us out 😂
Mama & Charlie's Favorites:
Charlie actually got this for Christmas from my oldest sister, but he's just now really getting to be big enough to use it. I love the grey color & the fact that it can grow with him as he gets bigger. It's perfect for sticking him in easily while I feed him and it cleans up really easily.
We usually use Huggies at our house, but when we were in Target a few weeks ago they were handing out sample packs of their new line of Cloud Island diapers and y'all-they are really good & priced well, too! 
I was sent a sample pack from Kiinde after registering somewhere (maybe Babylist?) and when I finally got around to using them, I really liked them. What sold me on purchasing was that I can use them for multiple things.
You can pump breastmilk directly into the bags, you can use them as storage bags and you just pop the bags into the bottle to feed, and on top of all that you can use the bags to create your own food pouches for baby food!
I've been making Charlie's baby food, but was purchasing pouches for on-the-go, but now I don't have to do that.
Here is a link to get a free Kiinde starter pack (you only pay shipping) that includes 1 twist pouch, 2 adapters for your breast pump (it's compatible with more than seven different pump brands), 1 twist active slow-flow nipple and case, 1 coupon valid for free 40-count pack of pouches, and 1 coupon valid for 50% off the Kiinde Twist Breastfeeding Gift Set. It's an awesome value & I wish I had those coupons before I ordered!
Charlie has really started playing with toys this past month & crinkle books are some of his favorite toys! He loves the sound and the feeling, we keep them stashed all over the house and in the diaper bag to keep his attention.
Charlie had a mild case of cradle-cap earlier in the month and I was having the hardest time clearing it up until my Mama brought me these scrubbers. I use them with a gentle shampoo and just scrubbed each time he was in the bath and soon, the flakes were gone. Now, I use it every time I wash his hair because I feel like it's gentle & does a better job than my fingers do.
I've tried a few different kinds of small containers to contain Charlie's baby food and these are my favorite so far. They come with two trays and eight cubes so they're easy to store in the cabinet when not in use or in the freezer while waiting for their turn in the fridge. They fit the perfect amount, too!
I honestly had never even thought of making my own baby food before seeing Mallory Ervin make her son's on YouTube, but here I am!
I chose this machine because it steams and blends & it's so easy to use and clean up. Everything can go right in the dishwasher.
I've loved everything I've made in it so far and so has Charlie.
These were another baby shower gift that I was so glad I had stored in Charlie's closet to pull out this past month when he started eating solids. These spoons are just the right length and shape, & the pack of six insures that there are always clean ones in the cabinet.
These bowls are perfect for Charlie's baby food!
They come in five different colors, are durable plastic, wash really well in the dishwasher...and the best part-they're only 59 cents!
Yep, fifty nine cents, so even if something did happen to them they're super easy to replace.

Another favorite is this recipe-I'm actually eating some of these right now as I'm typing!
No-Bake Energy/Lactation Cookie Balls
I found a recipe on Pinterest and wrote it down, but of course I can't find it now to link it, so I'll just share the recipe. These were SO yummy & perfect for snacking on while Chris & I were on our trip to New Orleans. I was trying to make sure my supply stayed up and I don't know if these had anything to do with it, but they were a tasty, relatively healthy treat that were easy to make and transport so I'll definitely be making them again ASAP.
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (but use crunchy if you like that!)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed (can be found at Wal-Mart!)
1 cup of shredded coconut
1/3 cup of honey (it's even better for you if you can find honey local to your area)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Just combine them all in a bowl, refrigerate for one hour, roll into balls of desired size and then either refrigerate or store in the freezer.

Until next time. . .

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

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Y'all-it's only 23 days until Valentine's Day!
We don't really do anything too big, and I'm sure it'll be even less of a "thing" this year since it's our first year with Charlie, but I always love just a little special, thoughtful gift to celebrate the day of love ❤

I've rounded up some ideas for you to forward over to your husband or boyfriend, or maybe even to gift to the galentine's in your life!

These are under $20 and come in a few different colors, so if you're not a pink kinda gal then there is still something for you! But I do love the sweet pink shade, it would be perfect with a little black dress on V-Day date night.
This is a product under $10 that every gal needs in her life!
Wet brushes are lifesavers if you have thick, long hair like I do and this one has special bristles that supposedly distribute the oils in your hair to really play up the shine which is always a good idea.
If you're one of my Alabama girls-you need to get these fun hot pink rain boots for Valentine's Day...especially since we've been having so much rainy weather here.
I think they would look great paired with these boot socks to wear while it's so cold outside too!
Quay is one of my favorite sunglass brands and I love, love, love these pretty pink shades!
They'll be great for going into Spring Break and summertime as well.
A pink lipstick is a must for Valentine's Day and this Mac formula is one of my favorites-these are well priced as well and would make the cutest little gift for each of your girlfriends.
I use this exact lip sleeping mask every single night before bed and I credit it to helping my lips survive this winter because they have been so dry from the cold weather.
You just slather it on like a thick lip balm and go to sleep, it absorbs over night and it smells so good too!
If you want to splurge just a little bit on your Valentine, then this super soft throw (that can be personalized!) is a real winner.
It comes in eight different colors, but the pink gives such a sweet vibe that is perfect for the upcoming spring season.
I'm not sure about all the hype surrounding gems and stones right now, but I do believe in the power of massage and this facial roller would be awesome for de-puffing and reducing the look of dark under-eyes if you stashed it in the fridge before using. Plus, how pretty would it look on your bathroom counter?!
This toiletry bag is designed to streamline your travel process and make it easy-peasey!
So if you're a gal on the go, this gift is perfect for you...stash a few of your favorite travel friendly items in the bag and it's a whole gift in itself.
I would put this dry shampoo, a few of these (so cute!), and this overnight mask (such a great formula).
Still a splurge, but currently on sale and under $100-this is a special piece that would be a game changer in the accessory department and a bracelet that would be treasured for years to come.
I don't own any Ugg slippers (yet!) but they are definitely on my personal wishlist.
These slip-on ones come in a few colors, but these pink are especially festive for Valentine's Day and they're currently marked down, too.
They have a firm sole so you can slip them out to run to the mailbox or take your puppy outside, which is a win for me!
Another gift that's perfect for the gals in your life is a polish in a pretty, feminine shade that screams Valentine's Day!
Treat the girls in your life to a mani-pedi and gift them this polish to use, it's a total package winner.
You've seen S'Well bottles, Yeti Cups, and Bubba brand coffee mugs...but have you seen the insulated champagne flute?!
These pretty pink flutes would be so cute as bridal party gifts, too!
I would pair with a mini bottle of your favorite champagne or rose' and call it a day.
This is such a hero piece for your wardrobe!
I love that it's personalized and hand painted, but I love it even more because you can use it as a clutch, an extra bag to toss in a bigger tote, or as a toiletry bag when you're going on an overnight trip...multi-use is the way to go.
These Sephora face masks are some of my go-to sheet masks to pick up because they're super affordable but also really effective.
These are cheap enough you could hand them out to all of your favorite girls, or invite everyone over for a sheet mask bar, movie night!
I would recommend this movie or this movie for girls nights-or this one for a couple's date night in!

I hope this fun post inspired you to celebrate this little holiday that so many of us actually dread-it doesn't have to be about the love you have for your (non-existant) significant other, it can celebrate any kind of love-for your best friends, your sisters, your mama...heck, you can even treat yourself!

Until next time. . .

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Charlie: Four Months

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 Similar Longall / Charlie's Oxford Shirt Onesie

Sweet brother picture!

It's so hard to believe that four months have already passed with our sweet Charlie!
If you missed it, here's his three month update & what he received for Christmas.

Weight: 13 lbs 11 oz
Height: 25 1/2 inches

Moving out of straight 3 month clothes (his jammies are starting to all get a little tight in the toes!) and into 3-6 or 6 month things. He's such a long guy!
We've made some strides in the sleep area!
He's not sleeping through the night yet, he's actually still waking up to eat about every 2-3 hours throughout the night.
A few nights throughout the month, he had a really hard time going back down after waking up to eat...I'm talking two nights I was up almost three hours with him, it was tough.
But I figured out that he wanted to roll over and he wasn't able with his current sleeping arrangement-so we ditched the swaddle 100% and moved him back into his Halo Bassinest without the Dock-A-Tot this time and bam-he was happy.
Turns out, he's a tummy sleeper just like Chris & I and that's what makes him happy.
His naps have greatly improved as well since he's napping almost exclusively in his crib in his own room.
We're starting to look for a good video monitor so we can move him into his crib at night if y'all have any suggestions?
Since I stay at home with Charlie, we have a pretty good schedule down on regular days. Not every day is an all-day at home kind of day, but a lot of them are.
He wakes up for good between 6:30-7:30 and then I pull him into our bed to relax for a few minutes and snuggle. He usually drifts off back to sleep in the middle of our bed while I brush my teeth, etc.
If he's still asleep, I'll feed & let out Forrest and start my coffee and then I'll go back and get him up since he's usually awake by this time.
We eat and play, he can usually stay awake for an hour and forty-five minutes to two hours until he's ready for his next nap.
I tend to follow his cues for eating and we just nurse on demand since that's easiest for us, but he's going about two and a half to three hours between feedings now.
He usually naps around 9ish, then 12ish, then 2ish, and then his last nap of the day is somewhere between 4 and 5.
Bedtime is somewhere between 7 and 8, typically.
Our sweet Charlie has still been a healthy little guy-no new sickness to report!
He's just the happiest baby, y'all.
He cries if he's overtired or over hungry, but other than that he's a happy champ.
He will fuss a little when he's frustrated with his rolling over or with a toy, but his hand-eye coordination is improving and he's able to really do what he wants more now!
Being a big boy and sleeping on his tummy (even though it still freaks me out!)
Being outside-this Spring & Summer is going to be so fun
His Skip-Hop Activity Table
Not being able to crawl or move independently-he gets so frustrated because he can't move on his own!

Rolling over-both ways, but he definitely prefers rolling from his back to his stomach
Sleeping in his crib for most naps (on his tummy)
Improved hand-eye coordination when playing with toys
Sticking his tongue out-his favorite!

Places You've Gone:
Bass Pro Shop to meet Santa for the first time
Prattville to pick up Mama's new vehicle
Spent the night with Nana, PawPaw, and Aunt Julie and another night with Gran & Papa while we went to New Orleans this past weekend!
Mama & Charlie's Favorites:
I decided not to do a big graphic for this month's faves because honestly, we're using a lot of the same things but I do have two or three things that have been good for us this month!
Even Super Heros Have to Sleep
This little book was a gift from my high school best friend's mom and y'all-it is SO cute.
For boys or girls, this is the perfect bedtime book.
Ameda Store-n-Pour Bags & Adapters
These adapters and bags are lifesavers when you're pumping while traveling.
The trip took us around 6 hours, so I had to pump in the car and it gets difficult trying to pour up bottles of milk into bags while going down the highway.
These bags & adapters hook up to my Medela pump and I don't have to pour up anything, I just label and toss them in the cooler!
No-Bake Energy/Lactation Cookie Balls
I found a recipe on Pinterest and wrote it down, but of course I can't find it now to link it, so I'll just share the recipe. These were SO yummy & perfect for snacking on while Chris & I were on our trip to New Orleans. I was trying to make sure my supply stayed up and I don't know if these had anything to do with it, but they were a tasty, relatively healthy treat that were easy to make and transport so I'll definitely be making them again ASAP.
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (but use crunchy if you like that!)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed (can be found at Wal-Mart!)
1 cup of shredded coconut
1/3 cup of honey (it's even better for you if you can find honey local to your area)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Just combine them all in a bowl, refrigerate for one hour, roll into balls of desired size and then either refrigerate or store in the freezer.

Until next time. . .