Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Disney Baby: 10 of My Favorite Items for Baby

In my (almost) six months of being a mommy, there have been MANY things that we've bought and found to be more of a waste of space/money than they were helpful.

Top 10 Baby Items
However, there have been ten things that I have found to be indispensable, and would highly recommend for anyone with a new baby on the way.

Baby nails- they're sharp and will scratch that precious baby face. I tried clipping Will's nails two or three times- and stopped when I clipped the skin under his nail. Oh my gosh I felt so horrible. Enter, this magic wonder. It's an electric nail file and I know it sounds bizarre,
but this has been our saving grace to Will's little face. Plus, I use it for my nails too.

We had splurged for one of the fancy swivel bedside bassinets and in all honesty, I wouldn't get it again. This little number proved to work better for us; we could put it in the bed with us, could travel with it to Nana's and put it in his Pack n' Play for bedtime, and used it in his crib when we transitioned him to his room. It made him feel cozy and safe and secure, and the only reason we stopped using it is because he outgrew it!

I waffled back and forth on this for weeks, debating on if it was worth the spend, and so far, I'd have to say yes. I would have used this in the Deluxe (small) size instead of the above bassinet if I had known about it sooner, but as it were, when it came time for us to transition Will out of the Lulyboo bassinet and into his crib, he needed the Grand size. This is not recommended to use in the crib, but we do, and it's given Will that secure feeling that he liked from the Lulyboo, only in something that he can use up to age 3.

We bought a traditional diaper bag (Skip Hop), but didn't find it all that functional. This insert turns any purse or tote into a diaper bag. I have both the small and large version, but find myself using the small as my everyday purse and only use the large one when we take trips. This is also great for touring the theme parks- I've had many comments from Security at bag check about how nice and organized it is, and therefor easy to search.

Swaddling is one of the '5 S's' that are essential to newborn sleep, and these were so easy to use. Will slept through the night at right around two months of age, so I'm pretty sold on these. When he started consistently breaking out of them (and rolling over), we switched to the sleep sacks to keep him covered and 'contained' while allowing his arms to be free.

Another key factor to good sleep habits is the white noise machine. I've used one for years and was happy to find it encouraged for newborns as well. We even used it in the hospital, so Will's associated the sound with sleep since day 1.

Another life saver. This is one of the few places Will would nap in his first few weeks, and we set it up as our command station for diaper changes and the like. When he outgrew the Napper, we used the higher setting for the mattress. Now he's in the low setting and it's a great space for him to stretch out in the mornings and play while I have my coffee (I wheel it outside with me), or to sit while I cook in the kitchen. We've got one at my parent's house too.

I know, I was abhorred too when I first heard about this, but damn if it doesn't work. This particular kit is the best because it comes with a nasal mist and extra filters. From the looks of it, you'd think you'd suck up snot or boogers into your mouth, but the junk never even makes it into the tubing thanks to the filter. I've read of some babies who laugh and carry on when their parents use this one them; Will hates it with a passion, but it's been golden for the three times he's had a cold.

Many people opt not to use a baby bathtub, but for us this has been great. We've used it every day since he was around two weeks old and his umbilical cord stump fell off. It's got a sling to use with newborns, a seat to use with sitters, and can also just be used as a small tub. I like that we don't have to run a ton of water to fill a whole bathtub, and Will stays fairly submerged so he doesn't get cold during his bath.

We own at least six of these, and use them under Will's p.j.'s and pretty much anything he wears during the day. They're great on their own in the Florida heat, too. And for the low price of less than $10 for two, you can't beat 'em. I buy the 18/24 month size for my 22 lb kid, fyi. Size up. 

BONUS! Moms On Call
This book (I actually prefer the Kindle version to have on my phone for easy reference, and that's coming from a 'physical book' lover) was the key to getting Will on a schedule and sleeping through the night. I know to schedule/not to schedule is a hotly contested and highly personal topic, and to be honest, I was all about just going with baby's flow. BUT- I can't tell you the amount of relief I felt once I had an idea of what a typical day should look like, how long and often he should nap, how much he should eat and when, etc etc. This is written by two pediatric nurses (and mom's!) with 20+ years of experience. It includes basic first aid, links to products, and SO MUCH helpful advice, broken down by age in weeks. Everything I've read in it has been repeated by my pediatrician (without prompting or referencing the book-- it just is good advice!). GET THIS BOOK!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Disney Baby: Epcot Baby Bump Pictures

Here's a quick, fun little post for ya. 

Each month of my pregnancy, John took a picture of me and my growing belly in front of Spaceship Earth. 

While I technically got pregnant in November of 2015, we confirmed the pregnancy in early December, so our pictures start there. 

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

 April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

Sadly, I don't have any Epcot photos from August. Guess we never made it there that month. Considering Will was due August 4th, we were probably playing it safe. Little twerp didn't make his debut until two weeks later-- August 19th! 

Here's my last park photo, in August, at the Magic Kingdom.

August 2016

And here's my very last belly photo just a four days before Will's arrival! 

August 2016

 And this... this is our first visit to Epcot with our baby boy, in October of 2016. 

Pregnancy, birth, babies... pretty grand and miraculous, don't ya think?!

XO, Ashley 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weekend Wear-abouts (Past TWO Weekends!): Family + Disney + Artegon + A Whole 30 Update

Not gonna lie, had this post in a draft (title only) to write about LAST weekend, and lo and behold I'm just now getting round to writing it. SO- we have a multi-weekend 'wear-about' post, m'k?

Last weekend Will and I checked out some more of the International Festival of the Arts at Epcot. Didn't eat any of the food (hello, Whole 30) but tried all the photo ops and enjoyed the atmosphere. We also bumped into Kate (KateJuneau) and her friend. 

On Saturday, we headed to Artegon, a unique indoor mall filled with various vendors selling alternative wares. Artegon closed as of January 29th- it was pretty empty when we were there, but we found some neat photo opportunities. 

On Sunday we enjoyed a cool morning at Magic Kingdom. 

This past Friday, my mom was in town and she, Will and I headed to the Windermere Library for story time followed by a visit to the Windermere Farmer's Market. Windermere is such a charming little town and feels worlds away from Disney, which is only a 10 minute drive away. John and I also had a date night while my mom stayed home with Will. We headed to Fantasia Mini Golf and had a great time putt putting. He and I had played twice at Winter Summerland before we had Will; I won one match and John one another. This round was to crown the winner and it was... John. I only lost by three strokes though, and the course was so cute and fun. 

On Saturday I kind of hit bottom and was just in a foul mood, including feeling like I was starting to catch a cold (more below in our Whole 30 recap). After a few tears, I holed up in bed for a couple of hours to decompress and nap. I woke up feeling much better, physically and mentally. It was a nice cool day so we headed to Animal Kingdom for the last few hours of the evening. Oh, and we went and had our taxes done that morning. FUN! ;)

On Sunday we drove an hour north to Ocala to visit John's grandfather and aunt in The Villages. It was so special to see Will with his great grandfather. We took lots of pictures to remember the day. 

Ok, a little update on Whole 30. We've been doing really well, documenting our food via Insta Stories on Instagram, and staying excited/motivated to try new recipes and such. It hasn't been awful, not in the least, but I'm not gonna lie, there have been a few rough patches. For one, whenever we visit the theme parks, it's tough not to grab a 'walkin' beer' or a sweet treat. Also, there's been two nights so far where I just wanted a glass of red wine SO BADLY! Our date night would have been the perfect chance to have an adult beverage and split dessert. And on Saturday, I was DONE. D-O-N-E. I had no desire to plan and prep meals. I was seriously thisclose to throwing in the towel. I honestly don't feel like I've gained a ton of energy since being on the program, and I don't think I've lost any weight (you're not supposed to weigh yourself during the program, so I haven't. John has, being the rule breaker that he is, and has lost about 5 pounds). We just finished Day 14 and I hear it's day 16 where everything just *clicks* so I'm looking forward to seeing if that happens. 

So why haven't we just given up on Whole 30? I personally work better when I have a defined time and know there is an 'end' to my goals; hence, I know that in 15 more days, I'll be done with Whole 30 and can indulge in some of my cravings again (french fries, cheese, wine, chocolate). Also, if we just stopped Whole 30 but still tried to commit to eating clean, I know I'd think to myself, "A little piece of cake or small fry from McD's won't hurt." Which is true, it won't, but those will add up and I'll basically give up on clean eating. For me, it's easier to just DO IT and see it through. Plus I hate giving up. PLUS I'd hate to fess up that I gave up, via Instagram (which is why I'm documenting it to begin with). I've had some GREAT support through there and can't thank everyone enough who has written words of encouragement or asked questions about the program. 

Ok, long enough post. You still here?! Awesome! :) I'll check in again and let you know if I've felt the TIGER BLOOD euphoria that is supposed to kick in within the next week. 

Hope you had a great weekend and thanks for reading!

XO, Ashley

Friday, January 20, 2017

Disney Baby: Will is Five Months Old

This kid. How'd we get so lucky, nay, blessed to be his parents? 
In this past month, Will has:

- Celebrated his first Christmas and New Years
- Met Mickey Mouse
- Spent the first cold day of our Florida 'winter' in the Magic Kingdom
- Had a few overnights at Nana's
- Visited Tampa and cheered on the Clemson Tigers as they won the National Championship
- Mastered rolling over
- Became an expert 'scooter'- army crawling all over the place
- Discovered his love for jumping in his jumper 
- Started rolling over in his sleep and sleeping on his stomach with his face FACE DOWN on his bed- making his momma very nervous
- Tried lots of new foods- his favorites being oatmeal, pears, carrots, and tastes of lemon and pickles
- Sat up on his own for a few minutes at at time- including in shopping carts, highchairs and the like

As he gets more mobile, these monthly pictures become more of a challenge to take. Here's a few outtakes from our photo sesh. 

*Sigh* I love him so much. 

Thanks for reading! 

XO, Ashley