5 Baby Must Haves – The Second Time Around

Okay, so let me start off this post by saying no two babies are alike, so I am going to focus on baby must haves but also the things I purchased or saved from the first child that as a parent were helpful to have on hand.

#1 More than one kind of baby carrier

Personally, I used a Baby Ka’Tan with Caroline and saved it for baby number two. With CC, it was helpful the first three months but she was a big baby and quickly grew too big. Ella is the exact opposite. At almost eight months old, she still fits and is not going to outgrow the Ka’Tan any time soon. Cloth wraps are perfect for newborns and fussy nappers. The Baby Ka’Tan is nice and snug, but also very easy to use!

Before Caroline was born, we bought an off brand Ergo/Baby Bjorn type carrier that worked but was not as sturdy or supportive as I would have liked, so when I found out I was pregnant with Ella, I wanted to invest in an Ergo Baby carrier. I got the Original Ergo Baby with infant insert. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten the 360. The reason I say that is because the Original does not allow the baby to be front facing. Caroline loved front facing and I am sure Ella would to but after spending $85-ish on the one I have (I got it on Zulily, a discount site), I just can’t justify getting another one. Learn from me and make the splurge for the more expensive 360-version if you can!

# 2 Guava Family- Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib

The next MUST have for our family is the Guava Family travel pack and play. (I have posted about this before in a travel-related post.) What I love about this crib is not only the travel ability of the Lotus, but the quality and size of the crib. It sits on the ground so Caroline slept in it up until recently (three years old) and it is compact so it fits most hotel room corners. It also folds up into a light backpack! If you travel or just visit family a lot this is a must have.

#3 Baby Food Maker and Silicone Freezer Cube Tray

A baby food maker with steamer and blender is super convenient when making your own baby food. The first time around we did this all wrong. We would make the baby food and then store it in recycled baby food jars. It was a messy and made for lots of washing and wasted storage space in our fridge. Silicone cube freezer trays are wonderful. We make the food (way easier than I thought it would be), freeze it in the tray and pop them out into Tupperware, and then save them in the freezer. To use, I just pop one or two cubes in a microwave safe dish, and POOF – it’s ready to go.

#4 Wubbanub Pacifier

This genius pacifier with a little stuffed animal attached has been a lifesaver for me with both girls. With Caroline, I was determined NOT to give her a pacifier … HA! Then reality set in and before I left the hospital she was sucking away. Anyway, the Wubbanub is the perfect little friend and baby muter – I mean soother. Ella loves hers and it helps babies learn how to use their hands. They can even put this pacifier in their own mouths much sooner than with a plain old pacifier.

#5 Disposable Nursing Pads

This was something I did not think of the first time around because I had NO clue what would be happening to my boobs in the coming months. With baby #2, I was ready to go with my favorite disposable nursing pads by Johnson and Johnson. I tried all kinds of brands with my first baby, but ultimately these were the only ones that did not irritate my skin or feel funky in my bra. The only downside is the fake nipples imprinted on them. Not sure why they would do that.

A Bouns #6 would be magnetic jimmies! They are typically more expensive, but worth every penny. Nighttime diaper changes will be a breeze, so make sure to add a few pairs to your registry.

XO,

Laurie

Comment with your baby must haves!

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The Internet Says I can

I was surfing the discovery feed on Instagram and came across a post that I think we should talk about.

The photo was of a beautiful pregnant woman in a bikini with a comparison photo of her in the same bikini looking AMAZING, flat tummy, perky boobs and tan skin.

The post was praising this woman for having twins and looking so banging only SEVEN weeks postpartum. Under the image was a statement that there are “no excuses” for mom’s and losing the baby weight… wait what!

The post was from a MALE fitness professional of all people… Stuff like this is all over social media and contributing to the pressures us moms are facing with body image as we trying to navigate our post-baby bodies. So many men and (gasp) WOMEN were commenting on the post about how there is “no excuse.”

Not one body is created equal but these internet trolls make women feel like there are “no excuses” for access skin, stretch marks, and some extra cushion. They fuel this cultural image that childbirth and pregnancy are a walk in the park. Like you are just getting some routine outpatient surgery and if you stay fit during pregnancy you will walk out ready to go.

NOT!

The reality is, not all women are created equal. I follow several “fit moms” on Instagram and none of them are the same shape or size, some are skinny, cut, ripped, natural you name it. Being a “fit mom” can mean many things.

To me, it means staying healthy and working toward my post baby #1 body.

I feel you, Mamma… Even with the reality in my head that I am me and cannot compare my progress to others, I am constantly comparing myself to the images I see online of these rockin post-baby bodies and wishing I had one.

A trainer once told me reality sucks and what we have is not always a reflection of what we eat and how hard we work in the gym. Yeah, eating right and working out DOES help, but not everybody is created equal. What works for you might not work for me, or her or him.

The way we see ourselves is often very different than reality. I can’t tell you how many times I look back at photos of myself and think “Man how did I not know how awesome I looked!” Even now, I don’t see myself in the same light as others do.

Stay strong Mamma and you do you! If there is one thing I hope my readers can take away is to be the best YOU that you can be.

XO,

Laurie

Summer Time Prep

Who would have thought that summertime required so much prep for a pre-schooler? Here in the North Atlanta area, even the pre-schools take a summer break!

Who would have figured… summer break when your not even school-aged yet.

The perk of this is all the fun things going on this summer. They have events and even summer day camps for little tots. I am excited to sign Caroline up for a few princess dance camps and a ninja warrior themed gymnastics camps in-between our summer travels.

We will also try to venture into the city to visit the museums and other fun places we have yet to explore in our new city.

What are your favorite summertime activities?

PS if you’re in Woodstock, GA and you have a little girl age 3-6 check out Dance Imagination’s Story Book Summer Camps. 

XO,

Laurie

Insta Shopping

Before I had my girls I had no idea  Instagram shopping was a “thing.” Now, I can’t get enough of shopping my feed!

Ok, Amazon Prime is still on the top of my list when it comes to online shopping, but Instagram is a close second. You can find so many great trendy and unique things on Instagram for your littles and yourself. I discovered some of my most frequented online shops via Instagram.

The best part about social media shopping are the flash sales, and discount codes stores share exclusively with their social media followers.

Here are some of the many shops in my Insta feed you should check out:

@sweet_peekaboo

@swankyshank

@trendytreehouse

@meandzoey

@twinkletwinkleliljar

@alleyandrae

Also, this is NOT a sponsored post these are just a handful of the many shops I follow and shop on via Instagram, your welcome.

xo,

Laurie

A little Longer

Tonight I will hold you little longer, nurse you longer, gaze into your eyes longer… Because, I know when these moments pass they will become fewer and fewer. You will get bigger, start talking and walking and before I know it you will no longer be a baby. I am so grateful that life surprised us with you and a little sad this will be our last baby. For now, I will soak up your snuggles take in your smell and appreciate the long nights and days because the weeks, months and years are swift.

Love,

Your Momma

The Weekend

Before we moved to the Atlanta area, I was an Executive Vice President working a typical 9-5 day job.

When Friday at 4 pm rolled around, I would scoop up Caroline from school and spend the next two days soaking up all the time I could with my little love.

Now that I am home with both girls SEVEN days a week I find myself preferring the weekdays. Funny how that works…

On weekdays we have dance class, gymnastics, and story time at the library. On weekdays there is structure and way less traffic!

Weekends are unplanned for the most part and somehow feel like more work. My husband typically likes to do stuff around the house watch sports on the weekends.

Meanwhile, I am entertaining the children in our home. Not that I don’t love spending time with them, I do, but sometimes this momma needs a break. Even if that break is a 45-minute dance class or a trip to the HomeGoods.

Who would have thought? For now, I am enjoying my weekdays because soon I will be headed back to work and my SAHM life will be long behind me.

Xo,

Laurie

“Un”Curated Mom life

I think it is safe to say we have all done it… social media stalking mommy, fashion, fitness and travel junkie blogs. Often we find ourselves wishing our life could be that picture perfect.

Hey, I do it daily.

Reality is that their lives (bodies, houses or faces) do NOT look like that!!

My goal as a “mommy blogger” is to provide you with a dose of reality, some good old fashioned “Uncurated” #momlife.

Sure, I’ll still pop on a filter now and then, but what you will see and read on my blog and Instagram (@ihustleforher ) will be raw, real and 100% my life as is.

Never curated or staged, aways as is. Here’s to hoping this doesn’t get to scary 😂!

Xo,

Laurie

Staying Home

I never imagined myself as a “stay at home mom” but with recent circumstances and a sudden move right after Ella Jaye was born, I find myself doing just that…

With Caroline, I went back to work a few days before she turned three months old. I was thankful for the opportunity to start a new job and throw myself into crushing it at work AND being a present mother after hours.

I was surprised at how hard it was for me physically and emotionally but was proud of my work life success. Like most working moms, I felt a void only spending a few hours a day with my beautiful baby girl.

Time passed, and the working mom mode became second nature and even empowering, my career excelled, and Caroline was thriving. I was blessed to have a flexible work environment and an understanding boss who allowed me to “lean in” and be present as a mother.

Shortly after Ella Jaye was born, we moved our family to Woodstock, GA (just north of Atlanta) to pursue an excellent career opportunity for my husband.

I was torn.

I skyrocketed to success, starting as a Manager and within just three years was sitting on the Executive Management Team as a Senior Vice President running the Marketing and Development departments.

Loving my job (killing it) AND had achieved a fantastic work-life balance. Every working families dream! Ultimately, making a move for Jakes new opportunity made the most sense…

So here I am, home with both girls and only working a few PRN hours a week to finish off projects I had started before I left Florida.

I am torn because I never imagined enjoying being home as much as I am. Our new neighborhood is AMAZING, and I am keeping busy with new friends, old friends, and all the family I have nearby.

The thought of leaving my baby is hard. I imagined it would be easy since I did this before but for some reason, it is way harder with Ella Jaye.

I will do my best to blog about my new, stay at home mom /job hunting status as I find the time!

Did I mention it is exhausting? I feel like I have not had a single minute to myself since Ella was born.

Working on figuring out my next move but for now, I am living up the mom life and taking in all the baby smells 🙂IW5A2266

 

XO,

Laurie

 

 

Party of four!​​

Well, we are officially a party of four! Ella Jaye joined us on October 3rd, 2017 and we could not be happier. Being a mom of two is MUCH different and definitely more exhausting but we are doing well and falling into a routine after we turned our life upside down by MOVING out of state just over a month after Ella was born. More on our new adventure in GA as I transition to working full-time to full-time mommy and job hunter. Wish me luck!

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You and Me

Dear Caroline,

I could have never imagined a deeper bond than the one I have with you baby girl. From the moment we met, I knew you were the best thing to happen to me. I cherish the Mommy-Daughter moments we have on a daily basis and your constant need for me and no one else.

Tonight my heart broke as I rocked you and sang  “candles” your favorite mommy remixed version of a Rent classic. Today our perfect relationship just you and me changed forever. Your dad and I joke that we perfected it on the first try so no need to expand our family.

Well, sometimes things happen (we will talk about that when you get older) and life changes in the blink of an eye…

I am so sorry we won’t have that just you and I vibe for the rest of your life, but I hope this new brother or sister brings as much excitement and joy to our lives as you have. You are going to conquer the world little one, and I cannot wait to see how wonderful of a big sister you become.

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xoxo,

Mommy AKA your BFF for life

#Iwillalwayshustleforyou

Written on 2.16.17