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Baby Family Finance Parenting

SAVING FOR BABY AXEL’S FUTURE

February 18, 2018

I love the topic of finances. In college, I read Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness and it changed my perspective on everything when it comes to money. My biggest takeaway from this book were that the money I earn is a gift from God. It’s really His money and I am the manager of it. He gave me the necessary skills and tools to earn the money. The phrase that was repeated over and over in the book was, “live like no one else so that you can live like no one else.” You might be scratching your head if you’ve never read the book. Basically, it means that it work your butt of now and put in the extra work then you can have financial freedom and be debt-free with no worries. I loved reading all of the real life stories of couples who were in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and how they implemented Ramsey’s strategies and became debt free. You just have to be willing to work hard and think outside the box.

When I became pregnant with my first child, I thought a lot about how I would save for his future. My husband and I had plenty of conversations of what we would give him and what we would make him work for. My husband and I have always been hard workers and we want our son to also work hard and not become entitled or spoiled. We decided to start with setting up a savings account that earned interest. I set up an automated transfer to it each week and I don’t plan on touching it until he is 18. Although my husband and I have separate finances, we both have emergency funds if needed. That way we don’t need to dip in to Axel’s savings.

Rewind back to before I had Axel. Andrew and I were slightly freaking out when we started looking at the cost of daycare and all the other costs that come with having a baby. We both have good jobs in IT but we were both feeling like we would have nothing left over to save! That’s when I started looking into starting a blog. I didn’t understand how blogs made money but I wanted to know more because it sounded like a good side income. I thought that maybe if I could earn even a little on the side I could start a savings fund for baby Axel. To my surprise (and I am honestly still shocked) I earned over $1000 within just a few months of entering the blogging world. Check out my recent post where I explain my blogging income sources.

Some bloggers post detailed monthly income reports. I think that’s great because I have enjoyed reading a lot of those myself. I was on the fence to whether or not I would share all of my details. I decided I would share every now and then when I felt it would be helpful to others. It seems a bit out of the norm for me to be so public with my finances but this feels a little different since I blog to share about my lifestyle and how to help others. December 2017, January 2018 and February 2018 were great earning months for my blog work. I have been able to start the savings plan for Axel and use the remaining earnings to start paying off debt – snowball style! The Snowball debt method is a strategy where you pay off your debts starting with the smallest balance you have. You do this because once you pay off one small debt it helps build momentum and encourage you to continue knocking out debt. I have a small loan remaining from grad school and my mortgage. Some people don’t consider their mortgage as part of their total debt but it is included for me.

Below is a screenshot of a savings scenario with final balance I got from an online savings calculator. If I continue to transfer over a portion of my side hustle income (from blogging and our Etsy shop) then by the time baby Axel graduates, I could have over $98k set aside for him and maybe his future younger sibling. We are still deciding if we want to have another child. We are in the dazed, tired phase of being new parents still! 🙂 This example just goes to show the importance of savings!

Now, when I shared this with my husband he was a little concerned about what an 18 year old would do with that kind of money. He said that if he would have received something like that when he was 18, he probably would have bought some cars. I don’t intend to just hand over a big chunk of cash to my boy. This gift will come with some guidelines. I want him to use it for college tuition, his wedding or maybe a first time home purchase so Mama might have to hold on to some of it for a little longer than 18 years. And who knows, maybe he will have a little brother or sister he has to share it with! 🙂

One thing I will totally own is that I have been told by my financial adviser and close friends that I “save to aggressively”.  Ha! I didn’t know that was a thing but it is. I do strongly feel that it is important to save and be prepared but I also want to find a good balance and make sure I am enjoying life too. I want to be sure I plan family vacations and fun activities in my budget and not obsess over saving every penny. It’s all about balance!

What are your savings plans for your little ones? Do you have a savings account, stocks or other investments intended for them? Maybe you want your kids to work and earn/save their own money. What are your thoughts? If you have kids and don’t have a savings plan setup yet – don’t worry. It isn’t a mandatory thing and if you’re thinking it’s something you may be interested in then just remember, it’s never to late to start!

Baby Compassion Family Motherhood Parenting

A LETTER TO MY BABY FOR GRADUATION DAY

February 5, 2018

My Baby,

As I write this letter, you are just seven months old. I feel like you were born just yesterday. Everything people told me is true – the time goes by so fast! I can’t believe you are already seven months old and crawling everywhere! You sure have kept us busy in these seven months. We are very tired but oh so happy to have you in our life. Right now, your dad and I both work at the same company in IT full time. Mama also started blogging to make some extra income to put in your savings account. We work hard for you and we want you to have the best life.

Your dad and I are very different. He is a bit more introverted and likes his quiet and alone time. He is extremely smart and can fix just about anything. He was scared when you were born. He didn’t tell me that, but I could see it in his eyes. Everything he knows how to do comes with a manual, but babies don’t. He was worried about knowing what to do when we brought you home from the hospital. He did a great job adjusting and he loves playing with you so much. His favorite thing to do after work or on the weekends is crawling around with you and making you laugh. He is so good at that. You just started saying your first word which is “Dada!” I was really hoping you would give me the honor of your first word. I even say “Mama” to you all the time but nope, you said “Dada” first!

I am more outgoing and love being social. I love to meet new people and talk a lot. I have been told I can be a bit dramatic and have lots of feelings. Your dad thinks you are going to be more like me. You seem to love daycare. You love playing with your friends and adore your teachers. You even have a few cute girlfriends. When Maria is in the room I don’t exist because you just stare at her. She is pretty cute though so I can’t be too sad about it. My hope for you is that you will be a little bit like both of us. I hope you inherit our best qualities and learn from our mistakes. One thing your dad and I both agree on is that we hope that you are hard-working, kind and considerate to others.

When I was pregnant with you, I imagined what it would be like meeting you and seeing your face for the first time. When that finally happened, you literally took my breath away. I couldn’t hardly breath or talk because I just couldn’t believe that I was finally holding you in my arms and you were so perfect. My life changed that day, June 18th, 2017. It was one of the best days of my life and you are such a gift. I am so lucky to be your mom and I hope your dad and I have showed you an abundance of patience and love over these last 18 years. I am sure I will remind you how much I love you quite often – you may even get annoyed by it 😊 Your dad isn’t as mushy as I am, so just know that he has loved you with all of his heart since Day 1.

I am so eager to see what hobbies and talents you have. You are so observant and aware of your surroundings. You love to explore and try new things. You are also quick to learn and almost always smiling. It’s exciting for me to think of the person you will become. If you ever feel like we are smothering you or being too nosey, it’s only because we care so much, and we want you to be safe and do the right thing. I know that sometimes I will have to let you make your own mistakes as that is the best way to learn.

Go out into the world and do wonderful things. Be kind and courteous to others and put others first before yourself. You may have heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder”. Well forget that, Mama is telling you to work smarter AND harder. That’s what your dad and I have always done and we have been rewarded for that. There is always a smarter more efficient way of doing things but don’t cut corners and always be honest. Whatever job you have, work at it as if you were the business owner. Don’t settle for ANYTHING. We want the best for you in all aspects of your life. If you are unhappy at your job – then go find something else that you love. Set your goals and expectations high because I know you can reach them. If I don’t like they way something is – I fix it or change it. Don’t ever tell yourself, “oh, I will be happy when I can make this much money” – be happy always, in every moment. Life is too short. Enjoy each day, each milestone, each year. Love your life every day. I love you so much my baby Axel. Happy Graduation Day.

Baby Compassion Family Health & Wellness Motherhood

EVEN THE HAPPIEST OF MOMS CAN STRUGGLE WITH POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION & ANXIETY

December 17, 2017

I wanted to write this post while I was at my lowest point and feeling all the weight of symptoms of postpartum depression weighing heavy on my heart. I simply couldn’t bring myself to do it at that time because I didn’t want to do anything. Not even the things I loved.

I am not writing this post as a cry for help. I am now taking the steps to get myself help. I am writing this post for two reasons:

  1. To remind myself to not be stubborn and know when to seek help.
  2. To show others that it is okay if you need help. You are not weak and you are not alone. If I can help even one mom be brave and admit they need help then I’ve done my job.

As I write this post now, I am back to my happy, normal self. Thinking back to the days I was struggling still makes me cringe. I didn’t know what was wrong with me at the time. I felt out of control. The best way I can describe it is…I didn’t feel like me. For those that know me well, I am a very positive and happy person. I am quick to make friends and get along with all types of personalities. For me to think I may have been struggling with postpartum depression was hard to swallow. I still haven’t said it out loud to anyone and it even feels hard to type the words.

“…I didn’t feel like me.”

Once I started looking up the symptoms I was feeling and it pointed to postpartum depression I felt ashamed. I felt like a weak person and a weak mom. I had so much to be happy about and thankful for so why am I feeling like this? I started to pray to God for help because I didn’t know who to talk to or who would understand. My first thoughts were my husband or my mom but I couldn’t bring myself to have the conversation. I will have that conversation before I post this. It’s not that they wouldn’t support me or try to help me because they definitely would. It’s more that I felt embarrassed and scared about it.

As I continued to research, I found that this can be caused by a hormone imbalance. There were streaks were I was getting little to no sleep caring for sick baby Axel. I was worried about his health and I wasn’t taking care of myself in a lot of ways. I think the combination of that and other factors is what caused me to not feel like me.

I have learned there is postpartum depression and baby blues. The two get confused quite often. I wanted to make sure I knew what I was dealing so I could figure out how to help myself. I found this helpful chart from a maternal mental health specialist, Rachel Rabinor. After reading the article and reviewing the symptoms from the chart, I realized I had experienced every single symptom on the postpartum depression side.

The worst symptoms are the insomnia and excessive worrying. I have thoughts throughout the day and bad dreams at night about baby Axel’s safety and well-being. My heart hurts in my chest as I separate from him when I go to work. I want to enjoy these milestones and moments with Axel not waste them with constant worry! I try to re-focus my thoughts and train my brain but I keep reverting back to the worry and anxiousness.

So You Think You Have PPD, Now What?

The breaking point where I knew something was wrong was when I was feeling very thin and decided to weigh myself. I thought maybe I was thin from being sick and power pumping to get a good milky stockpile for Axel. When I saw the scale I felt scared. I had lost 13 pounds from my already pre-pregnancy weight. I realized I weighed less than I did in high school. Again, I didn’t tell anyone (except my mom) because nobody wants to hear a skinny girl’s problems. I was also so exhausted to the point where I couldn’t think straight or sleep which sounds silly. I couldn’t sleep because I was so anxious and worried about Axel. He had been to the doctor three times in a week for a number of things such as ear infection, thrush, pink eye, etc. How could I sleep when my baby is miserable?

I vaguely remember calling my mom with a shaky voice and trying to talk through tears. I just felt out of control and like I couldn’t even make a decision for myself. I have never felt like that before. Part of the problem may be related to comparing myself to the amazing moms in my life. My own mom raised four kids and just – did it all. My younger sister has two kids and always seems calm and together. I have one sweet, easy baby so why do I feel like I am falling apart at times?! Comparing yourself to others is never a good thing because what you may perceive might not be reality. I mean, yes, these moms are awesome but they had their struggles too! After the pep talk with my mom, I finally got some much needed sleep and by the next day I was feeling well rested and like myself again.

My mom said: “take advice from someone who was tired for 30 years. I wish someone would have told me it was okay to take time for myself.” 

The days following that I had ups and downs. Some days I feel on top of the world. I feel like super mom like I can conquer anything and so happy. Other days I begin to feel down and overwhelmed. Axel’s smile gets me through the hard times. Luckily, the good days outweigh the bad. I have only had a small handful of bad days.

The moment I realized I may need some professional help was when the girls at work told me I looked very thin and my pants were baggy. My response probably sounded flustered and defensive because I didn’t want to admit there might be anything wrong. These girls know me too well and finally flat out asked if I was okay. I admitted I was struggling and they encouraged me to make an appointment with my doctor and I did. Sometimes it just takes talking out loud with someone who cares about you for you to realize you need some help.

I have my appointment coming up tomorrow and I feel comfortable telling my doctor everything. She was with me throughout my whole pregnancy and delivery so she knows me well. One of my friends at work also told me our employer provides free counseling sessions for dealing with stuff like this which I plan on taking advantage of.

Even the happiest of moms can struggle with postpartum depression. I consider myself a positive and happy person. I have great, supportive people in my life and so much to be thankful for. Despite that, I am feeling these symptoms and now I know I need some help. I now understand that I’m not a weak person and I’m not a bad mom. I’m going to get the help I need so I can be the best mom I can be. I finally had the conversation with my husband and it went much better than I thought. I showed him the chart and let him read my symptoms. He is glad I am going to talk to my doctor and get the help I need. He also stepped up tremendously and helped me out with some of my chores which makes me feel less overwhelmed. I should have told him how I felt sooner! I just didn’t want him to think I felt this way because of him because that’s not the case at all.

One good thing this has taught me is that I am never going to pretend like I have it all together. When I first became a mom I wanted to maintain a spotless house, homemade dinner every night and always be positive and on top of everything. This may be reality for some, but it definitely is not my reality and I have come to terms with that. I take each day at a time and try not to get frustrated with my to-do list that I can never seem to tackle. My family comes first and my chores and need for achievement can wait.

Depression was an unknown territory to me. Sadly, I have had people I know end their lives because of this and it was something I could never fathom. I have never had suicidal thoughts but I feel I understand this at a level I never did before. If you feel you are struggling with baby blues, postpartum depression or any form of depression please talk to someone. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed like I did. Seek the help you need. You are not a weak person for seeking help.

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Baby Family Motherhood Parenting Product Reviews

EatSmart Products Precision Baby Check Scale – Product Review

December 16, 2017

My husband and I became new parents this year. Sweet baby boy Axel was born this summer on Father’s Day so it was extra special for my husband. Before baby was born, my husband and I went shopping at a local baby store. We did one big loop and left with an empty cart. We were so overwhelmed. We had no idea what we really needed or what we even wanted!

On the way out, a cashier noticed the discouraged looks on our faces. She gave us a little pep talk and told us not to worry. She suggested just getting through my baby showers and then making a list of items I still need. That was the problem. I had read tons of articles and didn’t know where to even start because there are so many different opinions. I reached out to my younger sister and begged for help. I asked her what I really need now and what can wait until after baby comes. She is a mom of two and seems to always have it together! Yes, younger sisters can be role models too.

She emailed me an awesome, thorough list and included brands she loved. She shared with me the must-haves and the nice-to-haves. I have been a mom for six months now and I have been putting together a list of awesome items to have that nobody thinks to tell you. One item on my list is a baby scale! You wouldn’t think of this right away but there are so many reasons why this item comes in handy.

Where Can I Get a Quality Baby Scale?

You can get an amazing baby scale online of course! Thank goodness for Amazon! Check out EatSmart Products Precision Baby Check Scale, 9 Pound. We recently received our EatSmart Precision Baby Check Digital Scale and it’s amazing. It’s one of those items I wouldn’t have thought of but now that I have one, I recommend it to my fellow Mamas! It is reassuring to know that my little guy is growing at a healthy weight and it is fun to do weight checks at home. My husband and I have fun guessing how much he weighs each week. I thought for sure he would have gained some good weight after his calorie-rich Thanksgiving milk 😊

My mom loves the fact that baby Axel has his own scale because when I was a baby I would thin out quickly if I was ill because I had a crazy metabolism. My mom said she wishes she would have had a scale to make sure I wasn’t losing an unhealthy amount of weight in a short period of time. I am pretty sure Axel has the same metabolism as me because he has a big appetite and when he’s hungry, he lets everyone know. It is also fun to see the look on the nurse’s face when we take Axel in for his check-ups and we can guess exactly what his weight is down to the ounce. They are always very impressed and we never tell them how we know!

Why EatSmart?

Here are some of the many reasons why I love the EatSmart scale:

    • No assembly required
    • Batteries Included
    • The scale is light weight
    • One of the most user-friendly instructions manual I’ve ever seen
      • Includes guide that shows all functions with pictures
      • Troubleshooting section
      • Warranty and contact information
    • Digital easy to read
    • Easy to clean
    • Hold feature records weight
    • Easily converts from kg to lb
    • Accurate (matches Axel’s weight from doctor appts)
    • Available on Amazon, EatSmart Products Precision Baby Check Scale, 9 Pound
    • 2 year guarantee
    • Can be used for other purposes (weighing pets) 44 lbs capacity

I hate puzzles and dislike anything that takes thought putting together. My husband, on the other hand, loves assembly. When we received our EatSmart Baby Scale in the mail, I was pleased to open the box and find all I had to do was put the batteries in! The batteries that were INCLUDED I might add. Nobody likes to get a new, fun item and realize they have to make an extra trip to the store for batteries. This mom doesn’t have time or energy for that. Plus, I would probably go to the store and forget why I went due to severe case of mom brain lately.

My husband is a big advocate for reading and saving manuals. I have maybe looked at five manuals in my life. I started using our EatSmart Baby Scale before reading the manual because that’s how user friendly it is. I did read the manual afterwards to make sure I wasn’t missing any cool features and I am glad I did! There is a function where you can record and save weight and also a weight compare function.

This scale is light weight and has a sleek design that’s easy to store. EatSmart stands behind their products so if there is any sort of defect (other than damage caused by misuse) they will work with you to service/replace the scale.

It can also be used to weigh items or even pets under 44 lbs. Unfortunately, we will not be weighing our Great Dane, Quinn, as she weighs in at a whopping 120 lbs. I am very excited to use this scale for my online business as well. We sell a variety of handmade and vintage items on Etsy and it helps my customers get a better idea of the item they are receiving when I include the weight. I can also use it to package items and estimate shipping costs by weight before heading to the local post office.

Interested in learning more about EatSmart products? Visit their website at Eatsmartproducts.com and be sure to check out their blog! You can also follow them on their social media platforms. They are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Thank you so much EatSmart, we love our scale!

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Art Baby Shopping

3 SMALL SHOPS YOU MUST CHECK OUT THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

December 15, 2017

Being an entrepreneur myself, I am a big fan of small businesses. Especially when I can see the heart and soul they put in to their product or service. I have always been a hard worker. Growing up, my parents would remind me to “work smarter, not harder.” I decided that I would do both. Work smart AND hard and it’s been paying off. I can always pick out a hard worker when I see one because I usually see some of myself in them and I can easily relate.

As I was reflecting back on this year I started to cry. Tears of joy. We have had so many wonderful things happen to us. We had our first child – baby boy Axel. That alone made this year the happiest year of my life! My husband also got an amazing new job early in the year with a much better commute and my blogging journey has exceeded all my expectations. I feel like I have already helped so many people and it helps me to write about all my motherhood struggles!

This holiday season I thought I would pay it forward and pick out some of my favorite small businesses to highlight. Some of these folks I have met in person, others through social media. All of them have inspired me in some way and I want to highlight their one of a kind products and services.

1. Meet Bergen.

The only thing more stunning than her one of a kind artwork is her and her beautiful personality. I am not huge into art and I actually don’t know much about it at all but her work mesmerizes me and gives me goosebumps! She is a painter and designer living in North Carolina. Bergen does custom orders so please reach out to her if you are looking for something unique. She works with her clients to understand their needs and she definitely has the talent!

How would you describe your work?

“My art is an expression of joy flowing from the incredible beauty found in God’s creation. I have always found so much richness in discovery and exploration, and my work pulls the organic uniqueness and unending vastness from nature in a way that both mirrors my heart and exemplifies my client’s taste.”

How did you first get into creating Artwork?

“My artistic ambitions and zest for exploring the world around me sprang from a young age. All my life I have enjoyed creating. Whether it was my first painting of African wild dogs in elementary school (and yes, I was so proud of the first painting I ever did with acrylic paints that I still remember it today) or writing an article to be published in my small town daily newspaper with my almost-completed degree, I have never stopped creating, and I know I never will. It is the way I thank God for this life he has given me. It is the way I worship him for all that he is and has made in the world. ”

You can check out more of Bergen’s lovely work and what inspires her at her website. She also does giveaways every once in a while on Instagram including the below botanical line drawing. Be sure to follow her on Instagram for more giveaway opportunities!

2. Meet Chelsea Genevieve.

She runs an Etsy shop called ThePastelPug. Her niche is whimsical wood burned art. She makes all kinds of amazing wood burned and hand painted creations. I have been following her Instagram for quite some time and I just love every piece she does. Her most common orders involve pet portraits but she is very talented and loves custom orders!

Her work has been featured in:

  • Netflix’s “Lady Dynamite”
  • Pike market
  • Portage Bay Goods
  • Monster Art and Clothing
  • Michaels’, Joann’s, ACMoore Crafts’ and Etsy’s Instagram accounts.

This is how Chelsea describes her Etsy shop and inspiration:

“This shop is a little slice of me. Many of the pieces you see here have been inspired by my dreams. They fill my home, make great gifts for friends and family, and hopefully make you smile! Whether on wood or paper, each piece you see here is lovingly crafted with my own hands. I try to incorporate color, whimsy, and a touch of quirkiness into all of my pieces. I strive to make every piece unique and unexpected in some way. I love adding splashes of color, flower crowns, and floral borders to portraits so they’re extra fun (and not just a replica of the reference photo I’m using).”

3. Meet Wawita Baby Products.

I met the founder through networking on social media. In my conversations with them I noticed not only how hard working and determined they are but also how much they genuinely care about providing parents with safe and top-quality products for their babies. Some companies just want to make a quick buck and will cut corners even if it compromises safety. This company has consistently shown that they are willing to work hard and even pay extra for shatter resistant glass baby bottles. The bottles even change color to warn the parent that the contents is too hot for baby’s mouth. They saw the need for a great product and they went for it with all their heart. I am so excited to see where they go!

They just launched their website so if you need to do some last minute Christmas shopping, go check them out! They have some awesome bundle deals right now. My baby boy exclusively uses these bottles now and we aren’t turning back. His daycare teachers were raving about the bottles this week. They emailed me saying “these are so wonderful! Very easy to feed Axel!” When I got there to pick up Axel they were still talking about the bottles saying they had never seen anything like it. I blew their minds when I told them about the color changing temperature feature!

It’s always neat to hear how someone got started doing what they do. Here’s what Wawita has to say about how it all started for them:

“Although there are a variety of baby bottles on the market today, we saw a need for something unique and better. Everything started when I was at my friend’s house watching him fill his son’s baby bottle with formula when he accidentally knocked the bottle off the counter. The bottle dropped and shattered into many pieces all over the kitchen floor. At that moment, I knew that there had to be a safer and more efficient way to have a baby bottle be made out of glass. The rest is history and that is how the Wawita baby bottle was invented. We wanted to create a bottle that stood out among the rest. Safety and quality were, of course, at the top of our priority list but we also envisioned a vibrant and beautiful product design. After countless hours of research and hearing what moms had to say, our vision was brought to life! Today we are proud to provide shatter resistant glass bottles that babies love so there is no worry of shattered glass on the floor. We absolutely love hearing all the great feedback from our Wawita parents and are so excited to continue expanding our product line.”

Here is a picture of my son, baby Axel, enjoying his Wawita bottle. In case you were wondering, “Wawita” means little baby in the Peruvian dialect called Quechua. Be sure to check out their new website or check them out on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Maybe your little one can be featured on their social media just like baby Axel!

Shop Small, Shop Local

So whether you are all done Christmas shopping this season or just getting started, consider shopping local and shopping small businesses. There are so many benefits to shopping small businesses such as customization, great quality and great customer service. These people are putting their heart and souls into their business and giving it their very all. That shines through in their work. If you are a small business or would like to recognize someone for theirs please reach out to me as I will be doing a similar post in the future. The three highlights in this post are people I hand picked that have stood out to me. Thank you for reading! Please subscribe if you like what you see! Have a wonderful holiday season.

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Baby Family Motherhood Parenting Product Reviews

Wawita Baby Bottle – Product Review

November 21, 2017

I am very excited to share with all my fellow Mamas out there this new baby bottle I got from Wawita Baby Products. I am a first time mom and my little guy is five months old. He is just starting to hold up his bottle on his own during feedings, what a big boy! I am still nursing and just starting to add a tiny bit of rice cereal to his bottles because he has a good appetite.

When I was in the market for baby products, I was overwhelmed. There are so many products out there. What is safe and right for my baby? I remember standing in the bottle aisle at Target for several minutes with a blank stare. I was kind of hoping another mom would walk by and help me. I ended up doing some research and ordering a set of glass bottles online. These were nice but our daycare center told us it is a safety hazard if they were to drop and shatter. Boo.

Product Overview

It was like Christmas morning came early when I received our Wawita baby bottle in the mail! Keep in mind that I only promote products that I personally use and/or believe in. If I wouldn’t recommend the product to my family or bestie, then I am not going to recommend it to my readers. These bottles come in a variety of fun colors and you can choose the nipple flow. Funny story, I just learned about nipple flow sizes a few weeks ago when daycare told me Axel was spending a long time trying to finish his bottle. Poor baby had the smallest size. I had no idea that was a thing.

While I was on maternity leave I didn’t even want to think about bottles because I wanted to be the one that fed baby boy. I also thought that if he got used to a bottle then he wouldn’t want to nurse. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and having bottles available allows Daddy to do some feedings. This is good father/baby bonding time. Let Daddy help whenever he can and make sure to encourage him in his efforts. Daddy goes through a lot of new changes too!

Why Wawita Baby Products?

So, what makes Wawita baby bottles stand out among the rest? Here are a few reasons why you should snag one:

  • Made of shatterproof glass
  • Hot fluid technology – changes color if contents is too hot
  • BPA free
  • Wide neck nipple – anti colic system
  • Vacuum-free which simulates breastfeeding
  • Safe, lightweight & comfortable for baby or parent to hold
  • Leakproof – cap and lid secure tightly
  • Awesome color variety
  • Different nipple flow options available
  • GREAT PRICE
  • Available on Amazon Prime, yay!
  • They have a 5 star rating and fast shipping

Why does shatterproof glass matter? Some daycare providers won’t allow glass bottles as this can be a safety hazard. My daycare center will let me bring this Wawa bottle in since it is made from shatterproof, borosilicate material. I also appreciate the shatterproof aspect because my morning routine is a little chaotic these days and I am constantly dropping things. Being a mom has made me a bit clumsy. It’s not easy to get myself ready, eat breakfast, pack my work bag and breast pump, get Axel fed and ready for daycare, and leave the house all by 6:30am!

This hot fluid technology is AMAZING. I actually thought about this the first time I gave Axel a bath at home. I didn’t know how hot the water was supposed to be! I remember thinking, it would be cool if there was some color changing toy or device to help me know. So cool that they have this technology in a bottle!

Why should you care about BPA free? BPA stands for Bisphenol-A which is a chemical used in plastic manufacturing. This chemical very closely resembles the hormone estrogen and is not good for our system or baby’s system! Try to avoid it as much as you can.

The fact that they strategically designed this bottle to imitate breastfeeding makes me happy. As I mentioned earlier, I fear the day that baby boy no longer wants to nurse. I love feeding him and it’s our special bonding time. I don’t want him to get confused by using a bottle that is a much different feel and then he doesn’t want to come back to nursing. The less confusion the better! I am happy to say that Axel loves his new bottle and still loves nursing too – win!

All the other reasons I love this bottle speak for themselves. I even went to Amazon and read all the customer reviews. I even read that some people tried several of the big name bottle products out there and their little one loved Wawita the most.

FAQ

  • How do I know which nipple flow my baby needs?
  • Where are these products manufactured?
    • These are made offshore but are carefully inspected and packaged in the US to ensure safety and quality.

Other Happy Customers Share Why They Love Wawita:

This is the first glass bottle I have bought for my baby and I am very pleased with my purchase. The bottle is very easy to take apart and wash. I enjoy the feature that tells the temperature of the formula when is too hot because that way I can leave it on the counter for a few minutes and check on it after. Overall very satisfied with this bottle.” – Sara (October 24, 2017)

“I bought this bottle for my nephew and he loves it. He looks really cute with his blue bottle :). I like the design and the technology behind it. I would definitely recommend this bottle to friends and family.” – Kayla (October 16, 2017)

“I bought this baby bottle for my friend’s baby as a gift because I like that it is made out of glass and the color is really cute! My friend loves the feel of the bottle and says it is light weight and very easy to handle.” – RR (October 13, 2017)

“My wife and my son love this bottle. My little one is 16 months old and has been using Dr. Brown’s since he was born. We were tired of cleaning the extra parts so we decided to give this a try and we are glad we did. They are easy to clean, they don’t leak and I don’t need any extra parts when traveling. And the best of all is that is glass!” – Francis (October 16, 2017)

“This bottle is exactly what I was looking for. I’ve been using plastic bottles for far too long and wanted to make the switch to glass but was worried that the weight would be too heavy for the baby. Pleasantly surprised with how light the bottle is. The nipple worked great for the flow of the formula and the bottle changes color when the formula is too hot for my baby, what a nice feature! I’m very happy with my purchase and will be making Wawa bottles my glass baby bottle preference.” – Michelle (October 13, 2017)

Check out more reviews here!

Interested in learning more about Wawita Baby Products?

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This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Baby Marriage Motherhood Parenting

DOES HAVING KIDS TAKE A TOLL ON YOUR MARRIAGE? HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED TO US

October 16, 2017

I’m starting to feel it. The tension in our marriage. The impact that others warned me about. I am writing this post for three reasons:

  1. I want to remember how I feel in this moment and give advice to my future self
  2. If my husband reads this post I want him to know my internal thoughts (sometimes it’s easier to articulate in writing than verbally)
  3. I hope to encourage others and help keep their marriage strong

My husband and I were married about 3 years before we had our first child. We are one of those adorable, annoying couples that never fight. Really, we didn’t fight. There were never any big disagreements, no raising voices and we never went to bed mad. I’m sure there were a couple times we irritated each other here and there but I can’t remember specifics. We even work together and often commute together. Don’t worry, this isn’t a post where I am bragging about how we are such a perfect couple. This is actually quite hard for me to share. Nobody likes to admit when they are wrong.

When sharing my fairytale marriage to others, they would tell me “Oh, just wait until you have kids.” That kind of scared me a little bit but I wanted children and I was determined to not let it impact my marriage. Here are the main things I noticed once we had a child:

  • Less alone time with your spouse – you know what I mean. After baby, you need time to heal and you are extremely tired. And of course, newborns are demanding!
  • Less patience – I can function pretty well on little sleep but when you go months with little to no sleep and all your energy is going into taking care of your baby, you don’t have much patience left for your husband
  • Date night? Don’t count on it. Our families live a few hours away so orchestrating a date night takes extra effort – we need to get better at this.
  • Decreased affection – My husband has literally walked up to me to give me a hug and I didn’t know what he was doing or what he wanted. He looks at me like a crazy person and explains that he is simply trying to hug me. My first thought is – but I don’t have time for that. Woof, what’s wrong with me.
  • Snapping at my spouse – I am so mad at myself for this. Things were going so well and on multiple occasions I have found myself raising my voice or getting irritated for no reason. I usually go buy Andrew a coffee drink and deliver it to his desk (we work together) because I feel so bad – he likes that 😊

Now, we love our new life with baby boy but I miss the old “us”. So, what can I do?

  • Prioritize together time – when baby goes down for a nap, all I want to do is tackle my chore list but I have been intentionally thinking about my husband. Baby nap time = us time
  • Work on having more patience – your spouse is there for you to make your life easier so remember that. Check out my recent post on how sometimes Mama needs a minute.
  • Ask for help – you have friends and family that are willing to help. Plan a date night and do it. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Take a second to hug your spouse – sounds easy right? But if you think of your crazy busy week, do you remember the last time you took a moment to give your spouse a hug and kiss?
  • Don’t take things out on your spouse. If you are feeling overwhelmed then communicate that.

Andrew and I had our set chores and everything just worked smoothly. When baby came along – I took on a lot. He took on more too but I wasn’t paying attention to that. I was paying attention to the constant night feedings, bath time, stocking the nursery with diapers, daycare drop-off/pick-up. It takes a lot for me to ask for help. I like taking on the world and pretending I’m super woman (probably get it from my mom). So when I asked Andrew for some help with baby the other day, I was shocked when he was resistant. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t ready to jump at the opportunity to take something off my plate. I instantly got defensive and started raising my voice.

As I began to shout, “It’s not a competition!” I HEARD the words I was saying. And I was silent. In that moment, I listened to my own advice. It’s not a competition. It’s not about who does more, whose tasks are more tedious or who is more tired. Because if you think of it that way, you will start to build up that ugly resentment that can quickly deteriorate a marriage. If I start thinking to myself that I do more because I am up feeding all night then it could lead me to also think that Andrew does less and is lazy. That is not the case. If I let those thoughts creep in, I could give Andrew a little glare the next time he is relaxing on the couch. How dare him sit there and relax while I only slept 4 hours.

  • PLEASE, be careful of your thoughts and communicate your feelings
  • Switch up tasks once in a while so you can genuinely appreciate each other’s efforts
  • Remember – YOU ARE ON THE SAME TEAM

New Mamas go through a lot. I get it. I’m there right now. But don’t forget this is a lot of change for new Daddy too. Check out my recent post 9 ways to encourage new dads. If you are looking for a fun gift for a dad, check out Tactical Dad. They have the below patches including “Dad on diaper duty”. They also have top quality dad packs which are basically military style diaper bags! A bag daddy will be proud to carry!

I am really not fond of reading books because I get easily distracted or my eyes get sleepy but back in the day I read the 5 Love Languages book. It’s about understanding how your partner feels most loved. My love language is quality time meaning I feel most loved when Andrew makes an effort to spend quality time with me. His love language is words of affirmation meaning he feels loved when I verbally acknowledge what I appreciate about him or what he does for me. It’s important to know how to make your spouse feel loved and appreciated!


So whether you are newlyweds, thinking of children or have been married with kids a long time – it’s not too late to patch things up and work on each other. Don’t let yourself have negative thoughts. Don’t think of it as a competition. Remember you are on the same team and CHEER EACH OTHER ON! Encourage each other, thank each other and love each other. That’s where it all started anyways right? Two people fell in love.

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Baby Home & Living Marriage Motherhood Parenting

MOM’S DAY OFF? IS THIS REALLY A THING?

October 16, 2017

Have you ever dreamt of a day where you could do whatever your heart desired, uninterrupted? I would like to begin by saying I absolutely adore my baby boy and husband, don’t get me wrong, but ever since getting pregnant and becoming a mom, I have daydreamed about the days where I could take a long shower and finish my coffee while it’s still warm. You know, the little things.

So recently I was thinking, can’t I have both? Can’t I have this amazing life with my family and also take some moments for myself again? The answer is YES and here is how I did it.

I took a day off work from my full time job in IT. I asked my husband if he could do the daycare drop off/pickup that day (I usually do it). I planned an entire day of things that I wanted to do and it was AMAZING. This is what my day looked like.

  • I slept in until 6:35 am, WOOHOO! Yes, that is sleeping in for me
  • I took a long shower and was able to wash my hair and even shave my legs – WIN
  • I made myself eggs toast and coffee and enjoyed it, uninterrupted
  • Did a whole bunch of chores – cleaning relaxes me (laundry, dishes, sweep, dust, etc.)
  • Got to snuggle with my pup! I feel like I have neglected Quinn since baby was born
  • Listened to Classical music on our Amazon Echo
  • Watched lots of FRIENDS (my husband gets sick of my re-runs haha)
  • Worked on my Etsy shop
  • Worked on my blog!
    • Wrote new posts
    • Created pins
    • Checked stats

Within the first hour I was having a blast but also ironically, missing my baby! I even asked my husband if he would take my jeep to work so I wouldn’t be tempted to go pick Axel up early haha (I can’t drive Andrew’s car since it’s stick shift). But Andrew didn’t want me to be stranded so the Jeep was home with me, tempting me all day.

The thing is, it is not selfish to need or want time to yourself. You are not selfish. You are not a bad mom. My only complaint about my own mom is that she didn’t prioritize herself, like, EVER. She has always put others’ needs before herself.

Taking time for yourself is healthy and good for your mental health. It actually helps you to be a better mom and spouse. My mom always worked AND was the homemaker so she was tired, a lot. Dad worked and was the “fun” one. Always making up games and playing with us. It was always such a special treat when mom had an ounce of energy left in her body to play with us! One of my fondest memories is when my dad and I went night crawler hunting. This is where you go out in the night to catch giant worms for fishing. That night, we invited mom to join us, assuming she would say no. But she said yes! It was so fun. My mom is always “extra” (as the young folks say these days) so she was diving on the ground for these crawlers and at one point she stood up with 4 giant crawlers in her hands. It was hilarious.

When my boy, Axel, is grown he is not going to think back and say, “wow, mom always took care of the dust in the house” or “I’m glad mom always pulled the weeds”. He is going to remember how I was patient with him or how I took a break from cleaning and helped him with a school project. Now, my little day off extravaganza isn’t going to be a regular thing but I now have more clarity and will be able to know when to ask for help and when Mama needs a minute.

So whether you have one baby, multiple babies or you are a dog mom, treat yourself because you work hard and you deserve it. Looking to treat yourself or give a gift to another hard-working Mama? Check out The Spoiled Mama. They have a ton of safe & organic beauty products like sugar scrubs, nipple cream, body wash, stretch mark oil and more! When you take care of yourself, you have more energy to enjoy life’s precious moments.

 

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Baby Marriage Parenting

5 THINGS YOU NEVER SAY TO A PREGNANT WOMAN

October 12, 2017

When I was pregnant, I was overwhelmed with the amount of “advice” people were giving me. I did ask a lot of questions because this was my first child and I wanted to prepare myself for what was to come. During the course of my pregnancy, there are a few things that people said that really stuck with me (some of them came from my husband!).

So to anyone and everyone who is planning on chatting with a pregnant lady any time soon, here’s what to avoid:

  1. “Maybe you are so tired because you are sleeping too much My dear husband actually said this to me during my first trimester. I had an overall rough pregnancy but the first trimester was definitely the worst. I remember barely having energy to drag myself out of bed and go to work. I didn’t really show my baby bump until closer to six months so maybe in his mind he was seeing a lot of physical change even though there WAS a lot going on! I was going to bed around 8pm almost every night and napping during the weekends which is so not like me. I didn’t hold it against him, he meant well.
  2. “When are you due?!” I didn’t mind this question at all. I sure did get it a lot. But be careful to ask this unless you are certain the woman is pregnant! How awful would you feel if you asked this and they weren’t pregnant?! Awkward.
  3. “My labor was horrible…” Followed by some horror-film details. To be fair, I did ask plenty of women how their labor went. I was scared and wanted to know exactly what to expect. Some of the stories got very graphic and freaked me out a bit! Don’t share your story unless they ask and maybe leave out some of the graphics.
  4. “I had the most delicious donut the other day…” Oh my Lord. Don’t talk to me about delicious food unless you have some for me. I turned into a craving monster when I was pregnant. When people would talk about delicious foods that I didn’t get to enjoy in that moment, it made me crazy!
  5. “When are you having that baby?!” I got this so many times in my third trimester. Especially when friends and family know your due date. If you have had a baby you know exactly what I am talking about when I say I just wanted that baby out so badly. Every day the anxiety builds as your due date approaches, especially for new Mamas. You don’t want to be reminded every day that you are STILL PREGNANT. Fortunately for me, I had baby boy on his due date. To all the Mamas out there who were overdue – my condolences.

By the way, if you are pregnant and sleeping a lot, DON’T FEEL BAD! Enjoy that sleep. Sleep all you want. Once I got to my third trimester, I had such bad heartburn. (Yes, my baby had lots of hair which some believe is correlated to heartburn). My heartburn was the worst at night and it was so hard to get comfortable because I was so big! I highly recommend a pregnancy body pillow – check out the Leacho Back ‘N Belly Contoured Body Pillow. And of course, once baby is born, you won’t sleep well for quite some time. I’ve been a Mombie (mom zombie) for 4 months now. My baby was nocturnal his first few weeks but I was able to break those nocturnal habits!

There are plenty of things you should steer clear of when chatting with a pregnant woman so just be careful and think before you talk! My personality is social and chatty so I didn’t mind a lot of the conversations but not every person is like me so try to be respectful!

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Baby Motherhood

10 THINGS TO DO ON MATERNITY LEAVE

October 6, 2017

If you are about to be a first-time mom and have great expectations for what you can accomplish on maternity leave, let me try to bring you back to reality (other moms tried to warn me and I didn’t listen). I had a lot of expectations for what I thought was my “time off” for maternity leave. I shared my bright ideas with my co-workers who were already moms. I remember getting little smirks and they would make comments like, “oh that’s cute” or “well, that’s ambitious!”. I was ready to prove everyone wrong. After all, I’m driven, hard-working and an early bird! I was going to accomplish so much. Newborns sleep a lot right? I would have tons of time, right? I started compiling a list of all the things I wanted to get done on maternity leave:

  • Ramp up my Etsy shop
  • Keep the house spotless
  • Lots of meal prep and planning
  • Small house projects
  • Take baby and dog for a walk almost every day

Within a few weeks my big dreams were shattered as I realized that taking care of a newborn baby is life-changing and demanding! Big shout out to all the moms out there! It made me want to give my own mother a hug just thinking of all she did and sacrificed for me!

Once I came to the realization that I needed to rethink my expectations of what I could accomplish, I started to feel better about what I was and was not getting done. I am extremely goal oriented so I started giving myself small goals to work at. First and foremost, baby is always my number one priority each day (obviously). I would then pick a couple small tasks or chores to do each day and if I could at least accomplish one of those, it was a good day!

My husband was so amazing and understanding. Before baby we very much had the stereotypical gender roles going on in our household and it worked for us! I would make his meals and do dishes. He does the home, lawn and auto maintenance.

The first two weeks after we brought baby home was kind of a blur. I remember I was still recovering from labor, trying to keep this tiny and fragile human alive, and getting maybe a few hours of sleep a night in chaotic intervals. Andrew, without being asked, stepped in and took on many of my normal tasks. He made me meals and brought them to me. It was so wonderful. He cleaned up so much around the house. He did anything he could think of to try and make my life easier. Not sure what I would have done without him! So once I realized what I was capable of doing with a baby and he got into more of a routine, I was able to do some fun things! Here are some of the things I did that you could try too:

  1. Take baby grocery shopping: babies love exploring new things around them so taking him to the grocery store was fun! He would either be looking all around or sound asleep in his car seat. I would just put his car seat right in the cart and put groceries around him or on the bottom of the cart. It was a good feeling to watch him explore and get some errands done!
  2. Visit with friends or family: If this is your first baby, or even your second, you will likely have friends and family that want to visit. Setup a visiting schedule that works for you. You want to also spend adequate one on one time with your new baby so you can build your confidence as a new mother. Also remember to take the help that is offered to you. Your hands will be full with a new little one. Let people come over and hold the baby so you can get a few things done.
  3. Get outside: Depending on the season and your climate, get outside and enjoy some fresh air. If you have been used to going to work for years and are now staying home way more often, it can be nice to get out of the house for a little bit.
  4. Meet your spouse for a lunch date: Depending on how far away your partner works from home, set up a lunch date. My husband works 10 miles away so we met up a couple times and had a little picnic at a park behind the building with our new baby. My husband was really happy to take a break from the office and see his baby boy.
  5. Research how to make money online: During the times when Axel would doze off in my lap, I would research all about blogging and making money online with a variety of side hustles. I probably spent a good 60+ hours researching blogging! Check out my page dedicated to how to start a blog. Many moms have anxiety going back to work and sending their little one to daycare. A blog can be turned into your main source of income. I am back to work now and still work in IT full time but have made over $1200 from my blog within just a few months. A lot of my income came from networking through social media and directing people to check out my contact me/hire me page. I now get to write guest blog posts for an amazing baby company.
  6. Keep your spouse in mind: If you are first time parents, you are likely extremely tired and trying to figure out a new routine. You may find that you are so focused on the new baby or trying to get some rest that you are forgetting about each other. Try to think of small gestures to share your significant other that you care about them and appreciate them. Maybe pack their lunch with a love note or offer a back rub when baby goes down for an evening nap. Trust me, it is so easy to forget about each other but it is so important to keep your relationship strong.
  7. Create a workout routine: When babe goes down for a nap, get out your yoga mat and have some time for yourself! I really enjoyed a free moment when I could do yoga, although Quinn (our Great Dane) thought my downward dog was a game and she would try to knock me over. 🙂 There are also really great routines you can do WITH baby! I did a ten minute session where I would do a mix of jumping jacks, lunges and sit ups and I held/played with Axel while I did it. Obviously, be careful not to use weights while working out with the baby as that can be dangerous!
  8. Meal Prep: While Axel napped, I would use that time to make grocery lists, lookup healthy recipes and chop and prep food for meals. Never cook while holding baby as hot oil could splatter and there are too many sharp utensils!
  9. Organize the House: Start in small sections. Take EVERYTHING out and make piles (donate, garbage, keep). Take trips to the donation drop off location. You can organize while baby is napping or awake! It’s a little slower when they are awake but they like to see new things and hear new sounds so make a game of it. It will feel good to remove clutter your home.
  10. Sleep or rest: Yep, you heard me right. I know moms get so riled up when they are told to sleep when baby sleeps and I get it. All the things that I need to get done race through my mind when I am trying to relax but honestly, in order to function as a new mom, you do need SOME rest. So take it when you can get it and don’t feel guilty! Trust me, you will be wishing you did when you go back to work and you’re exhausted!

Going back to work after maternity leave was way harder than I thought! I love my job but after bonding with baby boy for 12 weeks, I did not want to leave him! My first week back to work was a huge mess. Check out this post on how I handled it!

*Bonus Tips*

  • To be honest, the last thing I wanted to worry about on my maternity leave was bottle feeding Axel or even attempting using my breast pump. The reality was that I would have to go back to work at some point and baby Axel needed to get used to a bottle. One thing I wish I would have done sooner was introduce him to a bottle and take my pumping more seriously to have a better stockpile for daycare. It took us 5 MONTHS to find bottles that we loved. They are shatter resistant glass, they change color to warn when the liquid is too hot, and there is no leaky mess! We exclusively use Wawita baby bottles now.
  • When friends and family were asking what I wanted for baby shower gifts I was so overwhelmed. I had NO IDEA what I needed or wanted. I ended up texting my little sis (who has 2 babies) and asked her for help! I asked what I really need as a new Mama. She gave me an awesome list which included the Phil & Teds stroller. She has this brand and she loves it. It can be adjusted to fit your family’s growing needs and has lots of awesome attachments. My parents gifted us with this stroller too and my husband and I love it! My favorite things are that it can be adjusted as Axel grows and the stroller itself compacts nicely and fits in the back of our Jeep. The only thing it’s missing is the cup holder attachment which my sister has! I might just have to steal hers 🙂 If you are one of those people that need to test it out before buying (like me) then go to a local retailer that carries it and check it out. Just be sure to do a price comparison so you are getting the best deal! I usually always end up going for the deal on Amazon. Check it out using the link below.

 

So whether you are going to be a new mom or you are in the middle of your maternity leave, just enjoy every day and every moment with your little babe! It goes by so fast – cliche but true! Having 12 weeks of leave was the most time I had ever had “off work” since age 14 (when I started working). Your 12 weeks will get filled up with friends and family wanting to visit which is great but make sure to have free time where you can just enjoy being a new family!

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.