A Letter to My Firstborn

 

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Dear Squishy Boog,

I am sitting here in the living room watching and listening to you through the baby monitor as you read “Little Owl’s Night” to your best stuffed pal, Anton the Alligator. I can’t help but laugh at how cute you are as your words drift off and then you strongly enunciate one word as you read aloud. You have so much passion in your voice, even as a two-year-old.

As I stare at your adorable little face, I can’t help but think that in a matter of days, we will be adding a little brother into the mix, and I know your world is going to change. All of our lives are going to change, but the one thing that won’t change is my love for you buddy. You’re my sweet cheeks, nugget, and love bug. My little best friend.

I strongly believe the changes that we will be experiencing as a family will all be positive. Our love for you will not lessen because we have another baby, but will grow! You are going to be a wonderful big brother. This baby is beyond lucky to have you. The truth is, he will probably want nothing to do with mommy and daddy, but everything to do with his big brother. He’s going to be your little shadow, following you around and mimicking everything you do. Who wouldn’t want to be like THE Rorie Ayden?

It’s important that you know, no matter how old you are, YOU little man, will always be my baby boy. Our lives began the moment you entered this world. Before you, daddy and I never knew how much we could truly love another person.  You are our firstborn; a true light of our lives.

With these approaching changes, I want to make some promises to you.

  • I promise to always be there for you, no matter what! You will never have to question my love or dedication for you.
  • I promise to always have my arms wide open for hugs and kisses. I’m not sure I could make it if I didn’t have my daily dose of snuggles.
  • I promise to make you aware of how proud we are of you every single day!
  • I promise to continue to tell you how much we love you (double the amount) on a daily basis.
  • I promise that you will ALWAYS be a priority and that you will know you are the heart of my universe.

Again, I can’t believe you are going to be promoted to big brother. A BIG BROTHER! Wow dude, that’s a big boy job, but out of all the kids I know, you are the most qualified. 🙂

I have to say one more time, that even though there is going to be a shift in our lives, a bump in our daily routine, and a new life in our household, I will always love YOU, and that will never, ever change.

It’s you and me little man!

With all of my heart and love,
Mommy (also known as Mummy if you’ve watched a lot of Peppa Pig)

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What’s in My Toddler’s Easter Basket – Hoppy Easter 2017

There are two things you should know about me; 1. I love most holidays and 2. I love to shower my loved ones with gifts. So, when the Easter Bunny asked me to step in this year and put together my son’s Easter basket, I hopped right on board!

My son is at a great age where he gets excited over gifts and celebrations, which means Easter 2017 is going to be a whole lot of FUN! I had a blast carefully picking out each stuffer for my son’s Easter basket.

Here’s a look at what goodies he will be receiving this year:

As I mentioned in my blog post, Toddler Favorites: Top 5 Netflix Movies and Shows, my son LOVES Disney’s Zootopia, so I wanted to make sure I included a few pieces from his favorite movie in his basket. I found this great action figure set of Nick, the Fox, and the characters from the ice cream parlor scene. In addition to this playset, I found a Zootopia Play Pack which includes crayons, coloring sheet, and stickers. The Play Pack is perfect to throw in the diaper bag and have on hand at restaurants or on-the-go.

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Zootopia Play Pack Grab & Go via         Dollar Tree

Spring is here and the sun is shining, quite brightly I might add, so I grabbed my son an adorable pair of mirrored sunglasses from Target. He’s always trying to steal my sunglasses, so now he can have a pair of his own.

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Toddler mirrored sunglasses via Target

Along with the sunglasses, the Target dollar section has adorable Easter items, perfect for any bunny. Of those items, I grabbed a blue bunny bubble wand and light up bunny baton. We are going to have countless hours of fun blowing bubbles outside and playing Troll Hunter with his light up wand.

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Bubble Wand via Target

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Bunny Baton via Target

My son has been mastering drinking from a cup without a lid, so I found the most adorable tribal cup from Target to add to his basket. It matches the plates and bowls we already have in stock. We will be practicing with water until we are spill-free for up to 10 days straight.

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Tribal Drinking Cup via Target

Finally, no Easter basket is complete without candy. My kid could care less about chocolate, it’s the only way we truly differ personality wise, so I grabbed him some gummy treats. Along with Zootopia, he’s a fan of both Mickey Mouse and Dory from Finding Dory. The gummy treats are accompanied by stickers. My son is obsessed with stickers and sticking them on everyone else except for himself.

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Disney Junior Gummies and Stickers via Dollar Tree

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Finding Dory Fish Gummies via   Dollar Tree

Easter 2017 is going to be exciting with a new baby and new home to celebrate in, but I want my son’s Easter basket to be an added piece of bliss on April 16th.  He deserves all of the hoppy-ness in the world.

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What are you putting in your kid’s Easter basket this year?

10 Ways I’m #RockingMotherhood

Motherhood cannot be perfected by a Nashville or Reyes filter like the life we often portray on Instagram. It’s messy and chaotic, but I personally wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t remember what life was like prior to becoming a mother. I truly believe my life started when my son was placed in my arms. He and I were instantaneously bonded. Now I will admit life as a mother has brought forth many challenges, but I can confirm these obstacles have been well worth the stressful and anxiety ridden days.

Mommy and Rorie

I want to send a shout-out over to Caitlin at Better with Babies for tagging me to participate in the #RockingMotherhood Challenge. Often as a mother, especially a young mom, I am often faced with the opinions (both appreciated as well as unwanted) of how I can be better, what I am “doing wrong,” etc. as a parent. I am going to take on this challenge and highlight the 10 ways that I think I am rocking this thing called motherhood.

Being the mom to an outgoing, fearless, loving, and stubborn two-year-old boy and soon-to-enter-this-world baby boy, my life is filled with constant surprises and unexpected adventure. I love being their mom; it’s my life’s work! Here are the 10 ways I am #RockingMotherhood.

The #RockingMotherhood Challenge is an opportunity for moms to encourage other moms by tagging them to highlight the 10 ways they are #RockingMotherhood.

  1. I Express Unconditional Love – The love I have for my boys is limitless. My sons, along with my husband, are my true loves. My boys have a strong hold on my heart. I would do anything for them, because as a wife and mother, I believe that is my responsibility.
  1. I Say I Love You ALL.THE.TIME. – Whenever there is an opportunity to say “I love you” to my sons, I say it! My kids will never have to question how much I love them. My two-year-old is constantly saying “I love you” and it just melts my heart.
  1. Family Comes First – No matter what’s going on in my life, if it’s a personal crisis, work, etc. my husband and my sons will always come first. There is nothing that I would ever put in front of them. They are my priority!
  1. I am Patient with My Son – I make a conscious effort to be patient with my son at all times. Whenever he has a moment of frustration or throws a toddler tantrum, I get down to his levels, talk him through what he is experiencing, and sooth him. There are a lot of feelings and emotions raging through such a small human being. He often doesn’t know how to handle what’s going on, and as a mother I’m suppose to guide and comfort him through it.
  1. I Play with My Son – Whether it’s reading the Pout Pout Fish 18 times a day, watching Troll Hunters and snuggling on the couch, holding a conversation on play cell phones, or building the tallest Lego structure, I take time to sit down and play with my son. I think it’s important to have that one-on-one time with my little guy!
  1. I Let Things Go – Before I had my son I was insanely particular about everything. If something was out of place, I would have an internal breakdown. Now as a mother, “I let it go,” as Elsa put it in Disney’s Frozen. My previous need for perfection is something I do not want to pass along to my sons. I want them to know it’s OK to make mistakes and not everything has to be perfect.
  1. My Son Has Manners – My two-year-old says please and thank you unprompted. I have a little gentleman on my hands. Whenever he asks for something he starts of his request with “please” and ends it with the sweetest “thank you.” I will take all of the credit!
  1. I Worry About Being a Good Parent – I worry about being a good parent all of the time, which in my mind means I am a good parent. I question if I am showing my son enough affection, am I teaching him the right things, am I responding to his needs appropriately, etc. My boys are my everything and I want to make sure I am doing my best as a parent to lead them down the right path, whatever that may be.
  1. I am Raising Good Men – As a mother it is my job to make sure my kids are working towards the greater good. The way I speak, react, and interact with my kids is all in hopes of raising decent human beings. They will be men who will care for others, be accepting of everyone, stand up for what is right, and show love and respect. We need to good men, and God-willing, I am doing my part to ensure that we do.
  1. I am a Certified Mama Bear – I self-identify as a mama bear. You may or may not see this as a good thing, but I wear the badge with pride. I am extremely protective of my boys and I will do everything in my power to protect my babies. Do you know the signs at the zoo that say “Please don’t mess with the caged animals”? Well they apply to my every day life as well. I should walk around with a sign that says, “Please don’t mess with my kids, because it will not turn out well for you.”

Hey moms, I’m tagging you to participate in the #RockingMotherhood Challenge:

  1. Brittney at Our Shouts of Joy
  2. Cacia at DIAMOM
  3. Jaclyn at Jaclyn Bree – Living the Rocky Life

 

#RockingMotherhood Guidelines

1.Thank the blogger that tagged you and link to their blog.

2.List 10 things you believe make you a good mother.

3.Tag some bloggers to join in the #RockingMotherhood Tag.

4.Grab the #RockingMotherhood badge and add it to your post or sidebar.

Hey moms! You’re #RockingMotherhood

Toddler Favorites: Top 5 Netflix Movies and Shows

Unlike most toddlers, my son enjoys sitting down and watching a full length movie. There are very few TV shows that grab his attention, but I will mention two here that he loves! He doesn’t want 15 minute clips, he wants a one-and-a-half-hour feature film; the whole enchilada (clearly I’m craving Mexican food #pregnancy)!

Like most American households, we love and utilize Netflix on a daily basis. My two-year-old can navigate through the app on his IPad better than I can on the TV. He has his select movies and Netflix original series that he defaults to watching every single day. I’m not exaggerating when I say EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I could probably act out every one of these movies and each episode of the shows word for word. Good thing he has good taste in his digital selections.

* Yes! My two-year-old son has an IPad and I’m OK with that. He uses it for much more than watching movies and shows. He plays educational games about shapes, colors, sizes, letters, numbers, and spelling. I’ve witnessed the benefits of using the IPad at a young age. * 

Here are my son’s top 5 Netflix movies and shows:

Disney’s Zootopia:

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Photo courtesy of movies.disney.com

This movie was one of the first movies my son watched all the way through. There are certain parts *SPOILER* such as Judy being scratched in the face by Gideon or when Nick goes back in time to relive his saddening experience with the boy scouts, that he is not a fan of. He is very empathetic child, and when he sees his favorite characters go through a hard time, it breaks him down.

When the opening credits start and he sees young Judy enter the screen, he squeals in delight, laughs, jumps up and down, and screams “JUDY!!!” When he’s not feeling well or when he just wants to sit down and relax, this is the movie he goes for.

I will say, as a parent, I enjoy watching this movie. There are plenty of jokes only understood by adults and the storyline is something I can get behind. I want my son to believe that he can do anything he puts his mind to, just like Judy who became the first bunny cop in Zootopia history. As his biggest advocate, I know he can!

Justin Time Go!:

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Photo courtesy of http://www.netflix.com

This Netflix original series is great for your little explorer. It follows a young boy named Justin and his two imaginary friends, Olive and Squidgy, who go back in history and travel the world. He goes to Alaska, Germany, the Polynesian Islands, and other far off destinations.

Each episode focuses on a particular lesson that kids face on day-to-day basis. For example, the importance of going to bed and getting a good nights sleep or facing your fears. If you have an older child, this is a great show for them to not only learn about the world, but to become more self-aware as they continue to develop and grow.

I think my son has a crush on the character Olive, because he often stops dead in his tracks when she comes on the screen. She is the voice of reason for Justin and it appears for my son as well. I often catch him mimicking Olive’s statements, i.e. “cuckoo clock”, “let’s go!”, or “be patient.” I love that this show encourages my son to step outside of his current vocabulary and phrase words together.

Dreamwork’s Troll Hunters:

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Photo courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.com

“JIM!!!!” is currently being screamed into my ear by my two-year-old. This Netflix original series created by Guillermo del Toro, is quite possibly my son’s favorite show to watch. It’s the story of a young boy, Jim and his friends, both troll and human, as they try to save two worlds from destruction.

You think “trolls? Geeze that must scare your son, right?” Well, you are wrong! My son often acts out the role of troll hunter, pointing his toy sword, a stick, light saber, whatever he can get his hands on, taking on the “baaaadddd guuuuuuuuyssss!” as he likes to put it. He can easily differentiate between the “good” trolls and the “bad” trolls.

We have watched this series as a family, because it’s great, about 7 or 8 times all the way through. I often catch jokes that I missed the time before as we re-watch and re-watch the series over and over again. This show gets two thumbs up from my entire clan.

Hotel Transylvania 2:

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Photo courtesy of http://www.sonypictures.com

Adam Sandler’s second installment of the Hotel Transylvania movie series is frequently observed in my household. Both Hotel Transylvania movies are cute and family-friendly. Even though it is rated PG for action, rude humor, and “scary” images, I don’t think it’s inappropriate for my son to watch.

As Dracula works towards bringing out the vampire in his grandson, who is half human and half monster, he learns the lesson of accepting his grandson for who he is. The movie really focuses on the importance of being true to yourself as well as the love of family.

My son often points at Dennis, the young boy, and says “you, you, you!” Which is my son’s terms, “you” is how he refers to himself. Dennis has curly red hair just like my son, so essentially in my toddler’s eyes they are the same person.

Pixar’s Finding Dory:

The pitter patter of small feet runs across the house as my son runs to his room to collect his stuffed Dory. He embraces the plush fish in both arms and gazes lovingly at the screen as the Pixar logo appears. His eyes light right up!

We are currently learning all of our animals, in particular sea life, so my son loves to watch all of the sea critters interact and come together at the aquarium within the movie. The beluga whale, played by Ty Burrell, cracks my son up! His little giggles echo throughout the house. It’s one of my favorite sounds in the world!

Even though my son is young, Finding Dory has encouraged us to talk to my son about holding our hands, staying close, and not running away. I mentioned earlier that he is extremely empathetic, so when Dory is separated from her family, his little heart breaks into a million pieces, but by the end of the movie he is whole again. We explain the sadness he is experiencing along with Dory, is what happens when we run away from mommy and daddy. So, when we ask if he is going to stay close to us and always hold our hand, he wildly shakes his head yes and says “Okay!” We just love Finding Dory and all that it offers our little one.

These are just 5 of the many wonderful selections Netflix has to offer in terms of show and movies for toddlers. My son likes what he likes and he always go right back to these 5 selections time after time.

Woodland Themed Baby Shower – Pinterest Perfect

I am currently 37 weeks pregnant and with every movement I make I feel certain the baby is going to just fall right out of me. Who’s to say when I will have this baby, but I hope it’s soon; very soon!

In preparation to baby brother’s (Duncan Emerson) arrival, my mom and sister showered me with the perfect woodland themed baby shower at my home with a close group of friends and family. These two are not only the greatest Oma and Aunt A to Rorie and Duncan, mom and sister to me, but they are also an all star baby shower planning duo.

Here’s a snap shot of baby Duncan’s woodland themed baby shower:

As you approach my front door, you are promptly greeted with a rustic and wildly true “mama bear” sign hanging on my front door.  It’s the perfect touch to welcoming guests to the shower, but to me it says “Welcome to MY den! A Mama Bear resides here. Beware!” I’m going to hang this up in my office.

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At any party or shower, it’s important to have a wide and delicious selection of beverages to choose from. Guests were able to choose from the “Make Your Own Mimosa Bar” (I abstained from the alcoholic beverages) or “Baby Shower Blue Punch.” I alternated between the punch and bottles of water. That punch is quite possibly one of the most delicious party beverages that I have ever had!

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Baby Shower Blue Punch Recipe

1 Liter of Ginger Ale

½ Container of Blue Hawaiian Punch

6-8 scoops of vanilla ice cream

Selection of adorable ducks

The yummy spread of food kept me at the dining table for the majority of the shower, and no, it’s not because I’m eating for two. My mom had ordered chicken salad and hummus from Zoës Kitchen. I cannot and will not stop consuming the deliciousness of Zoës Kitchen. I highly recommend them for your catering needs.

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The shot glasses of ranch with the three C’s of vegetables, celery, cucumber, and carrot, were a hit. First of all, we all love things that come in a small and compact form (adorable),  but secondly, this is a classic party culinary delight. As a matter of fact, I am chomping down on some carrots and cucumbers right now!

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The white chocolate dipped pretzel “twigs” satisfied my sweet and salty cravings while also staying on theme. Everyone wanted to take some of those home at the end of the shower, but there weren’t many left.

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The chocolate and vanilla cupcakes were ordered from Publix and they were great! The cake was moist and the icing was not too sweet. My toddler was all about the cupcakes later that evening and my husband was all about getting the vacuum cleaner out and following him around closely, sucking up the crumbs that trailed behind him.

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On the center of the gifts table was the cutest diaper cake! It kills me a little bit on the inside that I will have cut into that diaper cake someday soon, because diapers are precious when it comes to having a newborn. Am I right mamas?!

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As guests left the shower, they were given a small treat bag of trail mix “to fuel their next adventure.”  My mom meticulously filled, hole punched, and tied each bag, and they turned out fantastic! This would be a perfect treat for a woodland themed party (of course!), boy scout celebration, camping party, etc.

 

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I am beyond grateful for the love I received from friends and family in celebration of this new and exciting chapter in our lives. More importantly, I am blessed to have an amazing mom and sister who go out of their way for me and my family every single day!

My woodland themed shower was just perfect!

Pregnancy Heartburn – Just Call Me the Mother of Dragons

When I was pregnant with my oldest son I never experienced the true joy of heartburn. I was devastated to know that I missed out on the feeling of fire resting at the top of my esophagus like a dragon ready to take back Meereen (Game of Thrones reference anyone?) and the ulcerative effects of slightly leaning forwarding.

Please note the sarcasm above  

Don’t worry about me folks, because with this pregnancy I have heartburn ALL.THE.TIME. This is not an exaggeration. I will admit I can be overly dramatic from time to time, but this time around, I legitimately have heartburn all day long. As I’m typing this out, I’m also clawing at my throat, hoping that by ripping it out I will find some sort of relief.

Now I’m not a medical expert, but heartburn and I are tight; real BFFs. Since we have this unbreakable bond, I can tell you what works for me, aside from my beloved TUMS, when a volcanic eruption happens due to the slightest cough, sneeze, or body shift.

Here are my four natural remedies:

1. Bananas

Ripe Banana

Bananas aren’t just for potassium and cheeky monkeys. NO! They offer comfort when heartburn strikes. A ripe banana is full of antacid elements. These tropical delights assist in bringing down acid levels in the stomach. Who knew a banana a day (or night as I would recommend), keeps the burn away?

2. Chamomile

Chamomile Tea

Photo courtesy of http://www.amazon.com

A nice cup of Chamomile tea before bed has been known to relax the mind and body, but it can also calm the acidity building up in your gut. By making yourself a spot of tea before bed, you and your damaged esophagus will rest easy. I recommend Traditional Medicinal Organic Chamomile.

3. Almonds

Almonds

These protein packed nuts do a lot more than give you healthy lifestyle cred. A handful of almonds before and after every meal, snack, or drink can help cut down the acid in your gut. It won’t eliminate heartburn, but it will temporarily provide some much needed relief.

4. Teeny Tiny Bites

Small Bites

Photo courtesy of http://www.freeyork.com

You know how we obsessively cut our children’s food into small bite-sized pieces? We should be doing the same thing for ourselves. When we quickly consume large bites of food, we aren’t giving our stomachs the time needed to digest. So what happens when you don’t slow it down? You start to breath fire, or it feels that way.

Mother of Dragons

Photo courtesy of gameofthrones.wikia.com

Listen, Daenerys is a beautiful woman (again Game of Thrones), and I only wish I could look so flawless after seeking vengeance, but I don’t want to be the mother of dragons…I mean heartburn. I’m just trying to get through this pregnancy one day at a time without the constant fire breathing effects and these natural remedies really do make a difference.

A Toddler’s Review: Touch and Feel Books (DK Publishing) + Giveaway

If you’ve had the opportunity to sit down and read my son’s last toddler book review, you have an understanding of how serious he takes his reading and book selection. Take a moment and visualize a two-year-old sitting behind a giant oak desk, dressed in an Armani suit with horned rimmed glasses, pensively looking over his latest review assignment. In essence, that description sums up my son. Every time I look at him pacing back and forth in front of his bookshelf, carefully selecting his book, and thumbing through each page, I see the face of the next James Wood (New Yorker).

Recently my son was presented with a selection of DK Publishing Touch and Feel books focused around animals. When he caught a glimpse of the baby bunnies on the front of Baby Touch and Feel: Animals, his eyes lit up. Along with the constant desire to learn shapes, numbers, and colors, my son loves to point out and mimic animals. Aside from a good book, when there is a baby animal involved, my son is instantaneously hooked.

The following four books from DK Publishing are the perfect additions to your baby and/or toddler’s personal library as well as the last minute touch you need for your child’s Easter basket this year.

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The Easter Bunny will thank you for bringing these selections to his attention. He’s already hopping around all over the place, he doesn’t need to struggle with basket filler ideas as well.

Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm

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We recently took a trip to the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, North Carolina, and my son was surrounded my countless farm animals. When we had to leave and head back home, he was devastated to say goodbye to the cows, goats, and pigs. I’m fairly certainly he still longingly calls out for them in his sleep.

When I presented him the Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm, the sadness that once filled his deep chestnut brown eyes disappeared. When we sat down together and slowly turned the pages and lifted the flaps for the pop-up surprise, he giggled with joy from the anticipation of the reveal. When he learned the chicks were hidden behind the pile of eggs, you would have thought I presented him with a popsicle in every flavor, a meet-and-greet with Peppa Pig, and his long-lost pacifier – pure excitement!

Baby Touch and Feel: I Love You

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When I became a mother the first thing I told my husband is that our son will know how much we love him. We’ve successfully told our son “I love you” countless times every single day, and now he’s returning the sentiment. Not only is he saying “I love Ma” and “I love Da” he is now encouraged to express love towards baby brother who will be making his appearance any day now.

As parents, it’s important that we teach our children about how to properly show love and respect to those in their lives. Baby Touch and Feel: I Love You, is the perfect aid in promoting the feelings and understanding of the phrase “I love you.”

Baby Touch and Feel: Animals + Giveaway

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My son eagerly grabs for his copy of Baby Touch and Feel: Animals every night. We’ve read this book so many times, he could probably recite all of the animals in order from memory. He screams the name of each animal directly into my ear (I may have lost partial hearing) and feels each animals with a giant smile on his face.

We let him take two books to bed. When he clutches Baby Touch and Feel: Animals and snuggles up with his stuffed alligator, Anton, he goes to bed a little happier than the night before. I will sit and watch him through the baby monitor and hear him say “Kitten!” (giggle), “Puppy!” (giggle), “Tiger!” (giggle), etc.

My son loves Baby Touch and Feel: Animals so much, he wants to share the love and giveaway a copy.

ENTER TO WIN YOUR COPY OF
BABY TOUCH AND FEEL: ANIMALS

Really Feely Farm

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As I stated earlier, my son has a deep love for animals, in particular farm animals. The Really Feely Farm fills his constant need to be close to his farm brethren. Not only do the pictures of the animals have a tactile component, every illustration has something to feel. He truly enjoys pointing out the pig’s snout, the duckling’s beak, and the cow’s shiny nose.

With only five animals, this book leads to countless minutes of fun and education with the little one. We often read through this selection three or four times. When my son says “Book! Mine!” you know you have a hit on your hands folks.

DK Publishing’s Touch and Feel Books are not only exhilarating to a two-year-old critic (and mom!), but they are also extremely educational.

When I asked my son if he would recommend these books to all the toddler’s out there, he said “Yes! BOOK! Duck, Doggie, Monkey. MINE!”  Well, that says it all folks. You won’t regret the decision of adding these books to your child’s library.

** MAKE SURE YOU ENTER THE DK PUBLISHING
TOUCH AND FEEL – ANIMALS BOOK GIVEAWAY **

5 Minute Mommy Makeup Routine

As parents, we all know time is precious. Seldom do we have the chance to use the bathroom in peace, let alone “put on our face” as my Nana would have said in her southern belle accent. During this pregnancy I have rarely had a desire to put on my makeup in the mornings, but I do it because I work and have to interact with individuals face-to-face on a daily basis. Trust me; it’s for the best!

My morning is timed out perfectly. From the moment I open my eyes to when I get my son up for the day, there is a set routine in place, down to the second. I have perfected my “natural yet non-exhausted” look (or at least I think so). Just 5 minutes of my morning is dedicated to putting on my makeup.

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While you may not use these products, you can take what you currently use or what is best suited for your skin, and trim down your application time to 5 minutes a day. Really, it’s just 5 minutes!

Quick! Grab the stopwatch!

What’s in my beauty bag:

Here’s how you can add those 30 minutes back to your sleep schedule without having to rush in the morning:

Step 1: Apply selected foundation on face along with selected concealer under the eyes
Step 2: Use your flat angled blending/foundation brush to blend in foundation and concealer (seriously blend in well!)
Step 3: Lightly apply eye brow pencil, filling in empty spaces
Step 4: Apply eye crayon/eye liner to lower lid (I typically avoid the upper lid)
Step 5: Apply one coat of mascara to the upper lashes and one coat to the lower lashes to avoid clumping as well as offer a natural look
Step 6: Use flat blending/blush brush to lightly apply blush to cheek bones
Step 7: Use contouring brush to apply brightening powder below the eyes, the bridge of the nose, and forehead
Step 8: Use round blending brush to lightly apply loose powder to face, making sure makeup is smoothed over and not flaky
Step 9: Moisturize your lips with select lip balm
Step 10: Voila! Take a step back, look in the mirror, and make sure all makeup is blended in well. You’ve done it!

In 10 simple steps I make myself look fresh faced and ready for the day, even though I could use an IV drip coffee and whole lot of prayer! Let me know if this process works for you.

You Got This Girl

Photo courtesy of loveyouandthem.com

You got this girl!

Mommy and Toddler Adventure Time: Lazy 5 Ranch

I’ve been extremely dedicated (or stubborn as my family would put it) in making sure I experience all of these “life moments” with my son before baby brother makes his debut. It could be the hormones or mother’s guilt, but I am so worried my son is going to feel like I didn’t do enough with/for him before we had another baby. I’m the oldest child in my family, and I don’t remember ever feeling that way. Once my sister arrived it was like she had always been there. My hopes is that Ro feels the same way about his little brother (fingers crossed, toes crossed, and lots of positive thoughts).

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One of the stops on the Mommy and Ro Tour included a trip to North Carolina’s Lazy 5 Ranch; an animal park. The Lazy 5 Ranch has been a frequented spot of my family’s over the years. I recall one time when my sister and I went in the heat of July with my grandparents. We were wearing our tie dye dresses (mine was green and Alex’s was pink) that we had just purchased from a specialty shop with Nana. Even though we were beyond hot and sweaty, it is one of our fondest memories with them. I took my son in March on a cool day, and let me just say, it was the perfect day for a safari.

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While we didn’t take a wagon ride around the park, we caravanned in my tank of a car, and set out on an adventure to feed the animals. Now this adventure was going quite smoothly until the ostrich and emu appeared. I’ve experienced the persistent nature of an emu before, so I wasn’t shocked when it aggressively ate the feed from the back car window, but what that ostrich did, has probably scarred myself, my family, and especially my son for life. Have you ever had the entire head and neck of an ostrich in your car? Well, we have! I’m not certain if it was the ostrich in the car, my mother’s reaction, or both, but Ro was not having it.

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The persistent Emu

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THE Ostrich!

From that moment on, we had to frantically roll up the windows when a feathered friend approached the car, but we were open to the ox, deer, antelope, cows, etc. I did lose my bucket to what I believe was a yak and my sister lost her feed bucket to an antelope. The way those animals eat is how I feel when I try to diet for a week, “give me all the food!” Nonetheless, my son was thrilled to see his furry friends from the luxury of our SUV. He just wanted to stick his head out of the window like a dog, with a big smile on his face.

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* Please note we were driving well under 5 miles per hour in a controlled environment. At least my kid wasn’t sticking his entire body out of the car like the folks in front of us. I’m pretty sure a little girl lost her sunglasses to a large horned animal *

Once we finished our ride around the park, we hopped out of the car to checkout the exhibits and petting zoo portion of Lazy 5 Ranch. While we saw many animals, my son took a particular liking to a group of baby goats. I believe these goats are his spirit animals. They were climbing up a rotting tree branch and jumping off into the great beyond. Their fearless nature is the same as Ro’s. I’m sure if he was given the opportunity, he would take that leap with the baby Billy goats. I would have been a wreck, but he would have loved it!

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After being in a car for a number of hours and no nap on board (we tried, but he preferred to roll around and talk to his stuffies), he did a great job! He was a champ and I am thrilled to have had this special day with my nugget. He may or may not remember our adventure, but I will always hold these memories close to my heart. What’s next on the Mommy and Ro Tour? I’m not sure, but you can best believe it will be one for the scrapbooks!

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Product Review and Mom Approved: Creekside Kid Organic Cloth Wipes

Don’t you hate it when you go somewhere and they have that rough toilet paper that feels like you’ve taken a wad of sandpaper to your rear? It’s horrible! Do you ever think our kids have the same thoughts when we use not so comforting baby wipes on them during their most vulnerable moments? I don’t know about you, but as a parent all I want is for my little ones to feel comforted at all times. I can now make sure this happens with Creekside Kid GOTS Certified Organic Double Layer Flannel Cloth Wipes.

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Now I’m not just saying this, but these wipes are a wonderful addition to my household, and my son demands their use during all diaper changes. It just so happened I didn’t have one right next to me during a bathroom emergency the other day, so I grabbed a “standard wipe” and my son gave me a look that I believe could destroy someone’s soul. It’s a look I would not like to see ever again. From that moment on, I have never been without my Creekside Kid cloth wipes.

For years, Creekside Kid has been the go-to place for all moms and dads out there who are looking for quality, environmentally conscious products for their little ones. I’ll be honest, using cloth wipes was nerve-racking at first, but once we started to use them, we decided to never look back. We have made the best decision for our son (soon to be sons) as well as Mother Earth, because Lord knows she needs it (80 degrees in February and March in North Carolina…for shame!), by introducing and using cloth wipes in our daily diapering routine.

We are so serious about our Creekside Kid cloth wipes, they are placed throughout the house and in the car. You never know when you are going to need them, especially with boys in tow! I have to mention the other great thing about these wipes, they can be used to safely clean not only little tushes, but spaghetti sauce covered faces, sticky apple juice spills, and mud pie covered hands. They are a lifesaver!

Along with cloth wipes, Creekside Kid offers cloth unpaper towels, facial rounds, and nursing pads. There is something for every member of the family. I can’t recommend the use of these family and environmental focused products enough. Parents, make sure you check out Creekside Kid on Etsy and order your set of organic cloth wipes TODAY! It’s one purchase you will not regret.

** Please note: Creekside Kid closes their Etsy shop every Friday evening (sunset EST) and re-opens on Saturday evening (sunset EST). You won’t be able to see our purchase products until the store reopens. **

I love Creekside Kid Cloth Wipes so much, I’m GIVING AWAY a 20 Count Set of Blue and Grey Polka Dot Flannel Cloth Wipes ($24 value)!

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ENTER HERE for your chance to win!
Congrats Lisa Johnson

Enter by Saturday, March 11, 2017 (11:59 PM EST) for your chance to win a pack of Creekside Kid flannel cloth wipes for your little one! The winner will be announced on Sunday, March 12th (5PM EST) on @MakingMillMama via Twitter.