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Parenting

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.

Family Health & Wellness Marriage Parenting Romance

A UNIQUE VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT FOR A UNIQUE PERSON

February 3, 2018

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage…

My husband and I have been married for almost four years. For so long, we were that annoying couple that never fought and seemed to be in the honeymoon phase forever. This last year has been life-changing for the both of us. We recently had our first child, baby boy Axel, and it has been wonderful and also a lot of change.

I wrote a post a few months ago about how having a child impacted our marriage. I am happy to say that we have come a long way since then and we are starting to become a really great team. Before we had a child, we had stereotypical gender roles going on in our house and separate checking accounts – and it worked just fine. When you have a child, every aspect of your life changes so we had to reset the expectations and get on the same page. Communication is KEY!

Then Comes Baby…

Having a child has been life changing. It has helped us become better communicators and even stronger in our relationship. I was experiencing some signs of postpartum depression and anxiety and finally admitted I needed some help. I didn’t want to admit that – I wanted to be the super mom that my mom was and still is. Invincible, always going way above and beyond, making sure everyone was taken care of, just “Mamazing”. But I didn’t feel like that person. I felt very tired and anxious. I felt like I had this new never-ending to do list and when was I supposed to have time to just relax and enjoy some playtime with baby boy? I finally got the help I needed from my doctor and I was honest with my husband. I finally asked for more help and he was very receptive. He didn’t mind at all and it felt like I should have just asked him for more help sooner – so silly!

Today, all the baby responsibilities are shared. We divvy up bath time, washing bottles, changing diapers – all that good stuff. We play with baby Axel TOGETHER. For weeks we were doing almost a baton hand-off style of parenting. One of us would watch the baby and the other would scurry around trying to get chores done and then we would switch off. It was just not enjoyable and even though we live/commute/work together – I felt like I hardly spent any time with my husband. I missed him and he missed me – which made us argue, again – so silly. He felt more like my roommate then my husband. We have come to a point where we prioritize relaxing and playing with the baby together. This way, we can visit with each other, talk about our work day and laugh at all the silly new things Axel is doing! I know we will need to adapt once again if we add another baby to the mix, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it 😊

A Little Extra Effort Goes a Long Way…

I always heard people talk about how marriage and relationships can be hard and “take work”. My first few married years with Andrew felt so easy – almost too good to be true. I never knew what people meant by that until we had a child. It does take some “work” or extra effort to be intentional about showing your spouse you care. When I am so exhausted from working full time and my new 24/7 Mama gig, when do I have time to give my husband some much-needed affection?

I do a lot of the night shift stuff with the baby because it’s easier for me to just conviently nurse him. One night as I was crawling back into bed after I laid the baby back in the crib, my husband rolled over and put his hand on my back and said, “Good job Mama.” Such a simple thing but it meant the world to me. And I told him that the next day! I told him how good those simple words made me feel.

After we agreed that we were starting to feel more like roommates, I knew that I needed to change things otherwise we were going to be one of those couples that just lived separate lives in the same house. I started thinking of small ways of showing Andrew I cared for him. My list consisted of packing him good snacks and lunches for work, making him a hot breakfast every once in a while, rubbing his shoulders, and simply giving him a hug. Those little things make a huge difference. Once your spouse sees that even though you are tired, you are still putting forth effort – they want to reciprocate! I was also brainstorming of thoughtful gift ideas. Something that really showed him I was thinking of him. Keep reading and I’ll tell you what I came up with!

The Things That Make My Husband Unique Are The Things I Appreciate Most

One thing that my husband and I love to do together is watch a good show or movie when baby goes to bed. It is a great way to wind down for the evening and we can usually find something good that we both want to watch. We recently watched the Netflix series, Atypical. It’s a great comedy about a young man with autism who is trying to make his way through life. He is high functioning (has a good tech job, does well in school and has a girlfriend). As I was watching the show, I couldn’t help but notice so many similarities between the main character and my husband. What gave me more goosebumps is when he gets a girlfriend who is bubbly, talkative and a bit quirky – just like me!

I never intended to bring it up but my husband turned to me during one of the episodes and said, “oh my gosh, do I have autism?!” He said it with a slight chuckle and I just chuckled back because I didn’t know enough about it to answer. Days after we finished the series I couldn’t stop thinking about it and started researching. I ended up finding a credible quiz online to help diagnose these traits in adults. He agreed to take it and scored within the range of strong signs of autistic traits or asperbergers. Here are some of the signs or traits that my husband shows from the autism spectrum:

  • OCD – very detailed and meticulous about maintenance/cleaning
  • Gifted – very smart! Can fix or solve most issues in such a creative way!
  • Fascinated by facts more so than people/feelings
  • Mild sensory issues with noise
  • Avoids social settings
  • VERY HONEST 😊

So, what does this mean for us? Not much because, in my opinion, there is nothing to “fix”. I view it more as something to be aware of and understand. Sure, there are times where my husband’s honesty can come across as rude to people that don’t know him but as far as our relationship goes – we’re going strong and we make a good team! It’s true – opposites attract! If anything, learning this about him has helped me to better understand how he operates and what I can do to be the best support for him.

My husband sometimes feels discouraged by these traits and his behavior. His OCD when it comes to cleaning and details sometimes even annoys him. He sometimes feels like most people don’t understand him or want to listen to him. He is smart ways of doing things and offers advice but people sometimes mistake this for being arrogant or condescending, even when he has the best intentions. There are times when he will make comments when I am cleaning something a certain way. His comments are honest advice but I explain to him how it can hurt my feelings at times. He has come a long way and I have told him that if he isn’t sure how somebody is going to take his comment or advice to just consider keeping it to himself.

These traits have impacted our relationship in many ways. I am spontaneous and easy-going. I can “go-with-the-flow” and make the best out of situations. Andrew needs to have a plan and know all the details. And when I say have a plan, I mean like – if we are going to go out to dinner, he wants to know about a week in advance, make a reservation (when it’s the least busy), look up where to park and the best route to get there. So with the two of us being so different in that regard, it has taken some compromising on both ends.

The only thing that bugs me about his traits are that he sometimes feels discouraged and like an outcast. It makes me sad when he asks, “is there something wrong with me? or when he says, “I hope our son is more like you.” I don’t want him to think that way. I want to live himself for who he is as much as I love him. If you are reading this and you know someone with similar traits, please share anything you know that can help! This is new territory for us and we are learning by research and meeting with a specialist. My ultimate goal is that Andrew accepts himself for who he is and is happy.

A Unique Gift for a Unique Person

So, of course, this Valentine’s day I needed to get something as unique as my unique, lumberjack husband. I got him this stunning, luxury watch (pictured below). This came in a beautiful wooden box that smelled like cedar. We also received oil and cloth with our box so that we can keep the watch looking nice! Andrew loves maintenance so that’s perfect! They had all kinds of different styles and woods to choose from. I wanted to make sure my husband LOVED it so I let him help pick it out before I ordered. Usually he is quick to make decisions like this but he had such a fun time browsing Jord’s variety. As I was helping him browse I realized that they also make gorgeous watches for women and I feel like Mama deserves one too! I might have to pick one out and treat myself. I have been eyeing up this Purpleheart beauty. 😊

As new parents, it is so nice to enjoy an accessory other than baby spitup and boogers! There was something about Andrew putting on the watch that made me go back to our dating days where we were so enamored with each other and always wanted to look nice for each other. This has inspired us to plan an upcoming date night and I requested that Andrew wear his new Jord watch and a splash of beard oil!

If you are tired parents or have been married for so long that you don’t “do Valentine’s day” anymore…well stop it because that’s lame! Keep the flame alive and invest in each other! Yes, it’s true that orchestrating a date night once you have kids takes extra work, but it is so important to continuously work on your relationship. Get your special someone a beautiful watch from Jord. They even do customized engraving, so you can make it extra special. Engravable watches make a perfect, thoughtful gift for any occasion.

Jord Watches – The Perfect Gift!

As I mentioned before, Jord has an enormous variety of personalized watches for both men and women. They have exotic woods to choose from such as purpleheart, bamboo, zebrawood and more! When you browse their website, you can chat with REAL humans who will help you with your shopping! They can help guide you to what you are looking for and what you need to decide before placing your order. How great is that kind of service? They also offer free shipping worldwide and they make it easy to get help with exchanges or repairs. Some companies make it SO hard to contact them for help, but they have a help tab right on their website and it is super user friendly! So, if you are browsing for unique men’s watches, look no further because Jord has you covered.

GIVEAWAY

Check out my giveaway where you could win $100 credit to Jord Watches! All entries will receive a special discount code.

I always love to learn a little more about how a company got started and what they are all about. I will leave you with this inspiring quote from their About page:

TELLING MORE THAN TIME

“The value of a watch is not in being able to tell how much time has passed, but in being aware of the need to make that time count. Moments are bigger than minutes and your watch should tell more than time.”

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you love birds!

Wooden Wrist Watch

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.

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?

Follow them on Instagram at wawitababyproducts

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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.

Marriage Parenting

UNPLUGGED: AN EVENING WITH NO ELECTRONICS

October 28, 2017

Shortly after I wrote the article about how having a child impacted our marriage, my husband and I had another quarrel. It was so silly I honestly have to take a minute to think back about what we were even arguing about.  It was a combination of me being over tired and over sensitive and him not fully thinking before speaking. We took some space from each and within a couple hours we were ready to talk. It’s much easier to discuss things when everything calms down. If you are in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to speak based on emotions and then you start to say things you really don’t mean.

After I had time to process alone, I calmly explained to him how his words made me feel. Baby Axel recently transitioned from the bassinet to his crib and he is now rolling over so I have had little sleep lately. Andrew apologized and explained himself. He was not trying to hurt my feelings, he was simply joking. I had no idea! I feel like I have been jumping to conclusions more lately.

The next day I thought about how we spend our evenings after work. It’s mostly made up of television, YouTube videos, blogging, scrolling apps on the phone – yikes. When are we spending quality time as a family? Yes, it’s relaxing to mindlessly scroll through Instagram but it’s easy to get lost in our electronics for hours. Yes, Andrew and I work together and sometimes commute together but it’s not like we get to spend quality time at work – we are working.

I took inventory and made a graph to visualize what we were spending our evenings doing. I did not count the time we are sleeping. This represents 5pm – 10pm on week nights. The electronics includes watching tv or time on lap top/tablet/phone.

I was a bit appalled by this visual. Did I really want to spend that much of my free time staring at a screen instead of my family? I am new to the blogging world and it is easy to get wrapped up in putting so much time into your blog (check out Why I prayed for my blog to fail). I know too much screen time is becoming a major problem today. I see friends or family out to dinner and they are sitting on their phones the entire time – what’s the point?! It seems like people put more of their worth into how many virtual friends or followers they have than their actual real-life friends.

I disabled my personal Facebook a few years ago and still don’t have one. I do have a business Facebook page where I share my posts. Some of my friends were kind of upset with me that I didn’t even tell them I was having a baby. I didn’t post anything about being pregnant on social media because to be honest I was scared and anxious about pregnant but also because I enjoy sharing that information face to face if possible (over the phone is the next best thing for me).

It’s not a bad thing if you announce this kind of information on your social media. I just have a different preference, that’s all. I do post pictures of baby Axel now because our families live a few hours away and they miss him so much!

So after reviewing the graph I made, I wanted to do something about it. I asked Andrew if he would be willing to have an electronic free evening. He thought it was odd but agreed to try it. So I laid down the rules.

The rules are:

  • No computers
  • No tablets
  • No phones
  • No Amazon Echo
  • No television

It is harder than it sounds my friends. Especially when you are so used to using electronics in your free time. I’ll admit that it was a little awkward at first and our house felt very quiet. The next morning, I woke up and felt the evening had been a HUGE success. I think Andrew would agree because he wanted to drive together to work and take me out for breakfast. What a nice surprise!

Here is what our evening consisted of:

  • Had dinner at our dining table for once (we usually eat separately on the couch in between holding baby)
  • TALKED – we shared stories from our day and talked about little house projects
  • Played with baby together – usually we are switching off taking care of baby but we played with him together and it was so fun. Andrew is so good at making him laugh.
  • Planned out how we could rearrange our living room to make more sense. Andrew made an awesome little blueprint with measurements and everything! (see image below)
  • Took the dog for a long walk
  • Mommy & Daddy time – baby Axel went to bed early and I so badly wanted to go to bed too but I stayed up and spent time with Andrew. It was just the two of us like old times and it was great!

Ironically, I am going to use an electronic as a metaphor to explain how I felt. You know when your phone or computer is all glitchy and freaking out and it just needs a restart and everything works fine again? That’s how the unplugged evening felt. I felt like it was a reboot for our marriage and was much needed. Who knew putting down the electronics for one evening would have such a positive impact?

We did this early in the week and I noticed a difference throughout the entire week. Andrew was doing all kinds of nice things for me without being asked. We were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. We even paid more attention to our Great Dane, Quinn. My favorite thing was how much we paid attention to each other. I wasn’t half listening to Andrew’s stories as I double tapped my favorite Insta pics and he wasn’t pausing his Youtube videos and looking mildly irritated as I spoke to him. We made eye contact and we were fully engaged in the conversations.

We aren’t going to do this every night but I think every once in a while it’s a good idea. Your evening will feel longer too, in a good way.

If you are going to try to get your family to do this, I would suggest the following:

  • Let them know ahead of time. Don’t just spring it on them last minute
  • Explain WHY. What is your intention of doing this?
  • Explain the guidelines. There may be exceptions like the kids need the computer for homework. As long as you are achieving the goal of more quality time.
  • If it works out, make it a regular thing!

Don’t give up if it doesn’t go exactly how you pictured it. It will take your family some time to adjust to this. When we started the evening unplugged Andrew said, “so are we just going to stare at each other all night?” Ugh, he has such a way with words sometimes 😊 It was weird at first but he did give it a chance and it had positive results beyond what I expected. So good luck to you and your unplugged challenge! Long live normal human interaction!

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Holiday Spirit Home & Living Motherhood Parenting

9 THINGS TO GIVE TRICK OR TREATERS INSTEAD OF CANDY

October 26, 2017

My husband and I love Halloween. Every year we watch Hocus Pocus and my brother in law will carve our pumpkins because he is so good at it! Each year he does something different and the neighborhood loves it. Baby Axel is too young to go trick or treating for his first ever Halloween so this year we are staying home to hand out candy. We will definitely be in costume too! He is going to be the greatest lumberjack, Paul Bunyan and I will be Babe his blue ox! I think Andrew agreed to wear a flannel and will also be a lumberjack.

Every year, I have to save Andrew from a belly ache and hide all the Halloween candy. He always seems to find it and then he hides it somewhere else so he has a secret stash. I usually don’t keep a ton of candy and sweets in the house. I told him that he is basically stealing candy from children but he doesn’t seem to care! I am convinced he is a 5 year old trapped in a man’s body.

I was recently reminiscing with my sister about our trick or treating days. I have three younger siblings and we loved laying out our candy collection after trick or treating and start trading! I ALWAYS wanted all the butterfingers, yum! We always got so much candy. I wonder if our parents ever took any from us. Mom & Dad, if you’re reading this – you owe me some candy! 😊

I started to think about baby Axel getting big enough to go out trick or treating. What the heck am I going to do with all that candy! I’m sure he will have a sweet tooth like his mom and dad so I’ll need to help ration his candy collection – and I can definitely help out with the butterfingers. 😊

Kids don’t need that much candy! I’m sure baby Axel will be wild enough without excessive amounts of sugar. I came up with this list of fun ideas of items to hand out that kids will LOVE besides candy! When you hand them something they are not expecting they are mesmerized which is fun to see!

  1. Stickers
  2. Glow Sticks
  3. Temporary Tattoos
  4. Coloring Books or Activity Books
  5. Mini pumpkins
  6. Vampire fangs
  7. Packaged Snacks
  8. Packaged Drinks
  9. School Supplies (fun pencils, crayons, erasers)

My two year old niece is OBSESSED with stickers. You can buy a book of stickers and cut them out into individual sections so they can grab a little sheet to use for later. I don’t know any kids who don’t LOVE glowsticks. You can string them and make a little necklace or get the tube kind that connect and make little necklaces or crowns. There are all kinds of fun temporary tattoos you can order online (check out Amazon or Etsy). I grew little sugar pumpkins in my garden last year. Some of them were to small to actually carve or harvest so I gave them away to my friends with kids. They are fun to paint or have as a cute decoration. Vampire fangs – enough said. Be careful about giving these to really little ones as they can be a choking hazard. Packaged snacks or drinks is a fun way to mix things up.

This list is geared more towards younger children which makes up most of the trick or treaters that come to our door. I did once have some teenagers come to the door. I don’t discriminate! If you are in costume, you get a treat from me! As I was complementing their costumes I said, “And you’re dressed up as…marijuana, okay!” Yes, one of the teens was literally in a pot leaf costume. They had a good laugh at my reaction. They probably needed that candy more than anyone.

If you are handing out candy, here is a list of things to avoid handing out:

  • Anything homemade – most parents are paranoid that these things could be tampered with so don’t waste your time because the parents may just toss it.
  • Anything store bought that is unwrapped or easily accessible – again, parents may think you are poisoning their children. I know people who throw this stuff away.

TRICK OR TREATING ETIQUETTE

Parents, if your children are going out trick or treating this year PLEASE:

  • Go with them or make sure they are with an adult who can supervise – keep them safe!
  • Follow your neighborhood guidelines and trick or treating hours (typically between 4pm – 8pm)
  • Check what time the sun is setting in your area if you want to avoid trick or treating in the dark with little ones (sunset in my area is 6pm)
  • Go up to the door with your little trick or treaters. Sometimes, people have signs that will say Take 2 but your little one may not be able to read yet so help them out. I totally let my trick or treaters take a handful because it keeps them coming back and less candy I will be tempted to eat at the end of the night! 😊
  • Sort through your child’s bag to make sure there is nothing dangerous or inappropriate for their age
  • Ration their candy for them, don’t let them get a bellyache! If you know they can’t eat it all, donate it or bring it to work to share. Your co-workers will love/hate you for it.

Have a Safe & Happy Halloween!

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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.

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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.

 

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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.