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    Family

    Enjoying the Now

    My little baby has somehow become over 3 months old! WHEN? Thankfully she still has the softest sweetest baby skin and the most amazing smile. I took so many more photos with Margot than I have with Lainey! I remember people saying that would happen but I didn’t really think that would be the case for me because I love taking pictures. This is one of the reasons I love blogging – it reminds me to take photos. Normal life can become so common and mundane we forget to cherish it. I know these are the days I will look back on with hearts in my eyes. The says with spit up in my hair and a toddler yelling from the bathroom “MOMMY!! I wash my hands! ALL BY MYSELF!” only to find a flooded bathroom, a soaking wet child, and no signs of actual soap usage.

    I was recently introduced to the brand Bambino Mio. They, in the past, have been known primarily for reusable cloth diapers but have now come out with some new products. Lucky for us because it is all great quality and super soft, which is perfect to protect that baby soft skin I love so much! More on some of their great products below as well as all the crazy mundane, wonderful, every day things I want to remember about life right now.

    Things to remember:

    • I love how Margot says “Yay-ne” instead of “Lainey”
    • How Lainey grins from ear to ear at one tiny glance from mommy, daddy, or Margot.
    • Margot is so in love with Lainey – she will announce to the whole family “LAINEY’S AWAKE!” when she hears her wake up, she wants to smother her with kisses and she’ll often introduce her to new people by pointing and saying “This is my Yay-ne baby sistoww!”
    • It is so difficult to find time for just me and Julian but I love how we look at each other when we finally do find that time, like we are each others rest.
    • We often joke that Lainey is just “happy to be here”  – This started because one time it got to hectic getting Margot ready for school and we finally realized Lainey had been laying on her play mat for at least 20 minutes! When we came over to her and she just smiiiiiiled, just so happy to be a part of the craziness!
    • Lastly, some of my favorite quotes from recent history:
      • “Don’t lick the bottom of your shoe!”
      • “Are you blowing your nose in your fingers?”
      • “I just ran over a diaper in the driveway…”

     

    I also wanted to acknowledge Babino Mio for sending us one of their new baby gift sets. It comes with a onesie, pants and matching blue hat (which my first born stole, hid, & now doesn’t remember where it is…but trust me, it’s cute). In the past bambino Mio has mainly sold reusable diapers but they have recently expanded their product list. Which is great news for us because it is all high quality materials and SOFT…SO SOFT! Especially the swaddle – we received two of the feather blankets and Margot immediately claimed one as her own (we’re thick in the middle of “mine” territory these days) because it was so cuddly. We are also loving the pants because they give plenty of room for her wiggly little legs to kick around 🙂

    They also have these little clips, which at first I wasn’t sure exactly when I would use them – I threw a couple in my diaper bag and guess what – I use them alllll the time! They come in such handy to hold a blanket in place over the car seat while Lainey naps, to keep a blanket in the stroller so it doesn’t fall on the ground, you could even used it to hang a wet bathing suit from the stroller so it doesn’t have to go in the diaper bag – seriously so many uses if you get creative!

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    Family, Lifestyle

    Hollar: family of 4 + Favorite baby items

    Here we are, one month in with our new bundle and a new family of 4. It’s hard to believe that back in 2006 I said I would never date this man.  I spent the next 6 months wrestling with myself about it until he finally won me over in May of 2007. Then we blinked and we had 2 kids! I remember the first time around feeling so very clueless and being so thankful for the few of my friends who had already done it. I texted them about everything. There’s just so much out there and so many decisions to make! This second time around has felt so much better, less questions and more comfortability. I am more confident in who I am as a mom and Julian is more confident in who he is as a dad (…at least with a newborn…we still have no idea what we are doing with Margot.)  I remember about a week into having Lainey home thinking it felt like a vacation. Julian had been home from work and his mom came in town to help. One afternoon we were in the back yard- Jules smoking a brisket, Margot jumping and playing with her Mammy, Lainey dreaming about milk (I mean, probably), and me thinking to myself, “surely this isn’t real,” because I never imagined bringing a second child home could feel so simple. Not necessarily easy because it’s never easy to wake up at 12am, 3am, and again at 6am… but simple as though we knew no different than a life as 4 – it all came so naturally. I know there is chaos to come and difficult days are inevitable but I sure am thankful for the ones that feel so perfect. Lainey came into the world quiet and cuddly on October 30th weight 5lb 5oz. and we have loved getting to know her. Margot has been obsessed with her new sister, to say the very least.

    With Lainey I realized how many things you forget between kids! So I figured while I’m in the middle of to all I should list out some baby things that have become my favorites. From carriers to nursing bras and everything in between; scroll down to see it all. Feel free to contact me with any questions because chances are pretty high I’ve either researched it, tried it, or know someone who owns it!

    Photos taken by Kate Keating

    Strollers:

    Uppababy Vista– I just got the vista when Lainey came around and I am obsessed. 100% the best stroller out there. Pricey, yes, but if you get it for the first kid it can last you throughout all kids. We are loving the bassinet attachment for Lainey bug, I have always hated strapping a newborn into things so I love that she can just lay in there. I love that the seats can face both in and out. Margot, my child who has been protesting her old outward facing stroller since about 20 months, has really been enjoying facing me and chatting! No protesting! It has an excellent amount of undercarriage storage and is beautiful to look at – especially with those new leather handle covers! Lastly, we are loving the piggy back attachment (it’s basically a little skateboard that attaches for toddlers and older kids) Margot likes to ride on it, hold on to the handle, and “push Lainey”, which is precious. **Money saving idea: the bassinet is approved for nighttime sleep and is very breathable. You can buy a stand for it, so, rather than getting another bassinet on top of all the stuff you have to buy – you can just use this one** We have also used it for traveling and just put the bassinet on the stroller in our room.

    Bob – This guy can’t be beat when it comes to running. It IS heavy an it IS wide BUT when it comes to jogging or hiking it’s the easiest ride.

    Yoyo by Babyzen – Ok, I don’t have this one but when we went to France I discovered it because EVERYONE in Paris has it. It is definitely the best travel stroller/ umbrella stroller and I wish I had known about it sooner. It folds up so tiny and even fits in the over head space in the air plane!

    Diaper Bag:

    Biggest advice here: get a diaper bag with a backpack option. You already have your hands full with a little one and I have found that adding a bag to my shoulder only complicates things. These are my two favorite ones:

    Freshly Picked – They JUST came out with a diaper bag and it’s pretty great. I have had mine for a few weeks now and have zero complaints. Vegan leather which is totally wipeable and easy to clean, so much storage, pretty design, and interchangeable strap options.

    Fawn Design – I have always liked their bags. The basics of the bag are similar to theFreshly Picked bags it’s just personal preference to which bag suits you.

    Bassinet:

    Baby Bjorn – This is a topic I’m pretty passionate about and I really think thesis the best bassinet out there. As a new mama the last thing you need is another thing to worry about and the mesh siding on this basinet is such a peace of mind because you don’t have to worry about baby rolling into the siding and being unable to breath. When you’re already limited to a few hour increments  of sleep the last thing you need is to lie awake worried about your baby’s safety! I also love the bouncy feet it stands on, safer than rocking feet but still allows you to easily bounce baby while you are eating, lying in bed, working, etc…

    Travel Crib:

    Lotus travel crib by Guava  – We have loved our Lotus crib. Margot was on about 15 airplanes by the time she was 1. Yes, we are crazy people. This crib got us through all of it. It packs up into a backpack carrying bag, it can fit in overhead storage, it has mesh siding, and is super easy to set up and take down.

    Baby Carriers:

    Wildbird – I have been loving this sling with Lainey. I had a different carrier for Margot but the Wildbird sling is so much simpler than any other I have tried. Super quick in and out and it feels really secure. I also love all of their colors and patters and baby just looks so cute nuzzeled up against your chest.  🙂

    Ergo 360 – This one is best for activities like hiking or when baby wants to face out or go on your back.

    Nursing Covers:

    Covered Goods OR Milk Snob – I honestly don’t know what the difference is between the two besides patterns. I have two of the Covered Goods ones and I have friends who have the Milk Snob ones, they’re all great. Full coverage so you don’t have to worry about baby kicking the cover around and flashing someone while nursing in public, they are super stretchy and take up minimal space in a diaper bag. They also double as a car seat cover for naps or keeping baby in the shade during those first 6 months.

    Swaddles: 

    Solly – I LOVE these swaddles. They are super stretchy, buttery soft and not too bulky. Since they are so thin they are also a great little blanket to throw in the diaper bag without taking up too much space.

    Little Unicorn – They are my favorite when it comes to designs. The bamboo fabric is soft (not solly soft, but nice). The fabric is similar to any other swaddle cloth out there but the designes can’t be beat!

    Nursing Bras:

    NOTE: it was recommended to me at a nursing class I took when I was pregnant with margot to hold off on underwire nursing bras until your milk regulates, so about a 3-4 weeks postpartum you could start using them. The reason for this is that you don’t want the wire to inhibit milk flow,  leading to more clogged ducts and risk of mastitis.

    Third Love – I have been wearing their bras for a while now because they are the comfiest and so well fitted. I was THRILLED when they came out with their nursing bras. They have an underwire nursing bra and a wireless option as well. The cups have the normal clip down feature and they fold down so easily with minimal bulk around the breast while feeding.  It also has a front closure if you need to completely open up to feed.

    Motherhood maternity clip-down – This exact one is just an option, but any spandex-y clip down bra is a must. These bras are excellent for sleeping in (especially in the beginning when you’re prone to leaking) and just a basic everyday comfy easy to use nursing bra.

    ** I also suggest getting some of the reusable nursing pads . They are so much softer and more comfortable than the disposable ones and easy to throw in the washing machine. Plus the disposable ones always make me think of that waterproof pad thing you have to sit on during delivery after your water breaks..

    Crib Mattress:

    Lullaby Earth 2 stage mattress: I don’t have much to compare our mattress to because its the only one we have ever had but I do like it. Here are the points that initially sold me on it: It is fully waterproofed and has a firmer side for infants and a softer side for toddlers. It’s pretty lightweight which makes sheet changing easier. Probably the biggest selling point though was that it meets all regulation standards without any of the weird chemicals. According to it’s website, “Lullaby Earth crib mattresses pass all government flammability standards without any flame retardants or chemical barriers and are made without polyurethane foam and questionable materials such as vinyl, PVC, phthalates, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), formaldehyde, and more.” … so that seemed good to me. 🙂 It’s also held up well, Margot used it for 2 years and its still in great condition for Lainey. This link it to the brand website but you can buy it at most baby stores.

    Crib Sheets:

    Little Unicorn – Again, the designs are so sweet, but also, their brushed cotton muslin fabric for the crib sheets is sooooo soft and cozy.

    Additional  Items:

    Poppy Lane & Co baby bracelets – Precious little baby bracelets. They are all real metal and stones so no flaking paint even if baby sucks on it. They also have adult sizes so anyone, especially mama and sisters, can match baby. Seriously the cutest!

    Ryan & Rose Cutie Clips – Cute not overly baby-ish paci clips. We used these NON STOP with my paci obsessed Margot. Especially once she got older and could take them out and put them in herself. It keeps mom and dad from having to bend over 100 times to get it and gave her the ability to grab it herself. Also it kept her from dropping it in the car and me having to endure the rest of the car ride with a crying baby who couldn’t find her paci! They can also be used to attach teethers, toys or just about anything.

    Changing pad liner – These are a necessity for me. 1) they keep the changing pad from getting pooped and peed on so you don’t have to change it / wash it so often. 2) I keep one in just about every room in the house in a little basket with a couple diapers and some wipes. That way I don’t have to jump up and go into the nursery to change her diaper each time (like, every 10 minutes).

    Baby Wise – This is a scheduling technique that (hopefully) allows you baby to seemlessly start sleeping through the night on his own. I followed it with Margot and the first time she slept through the night (10pm-6am) was at 10 weeks old. From there she was sleeping 11/11.5 hours around 12 weeks. I am using it with Lainey also and she is sleeping really well! We’re only 4 weeks in so I can’t get more than a 4-5 hour stretch out of her but, hey, I’ll take it!

    Moms on Call – They also offer some sleeping tips but this book is just great for all questions you might have with regards to your first child. It’s kind of like having an older nurse friend who’s already raised 8 kids and is available to you at all hours of the day.

    Bobux baby slippers – I just got these for Lainey girl, the leather is silky soft and the shearling is so cozy!

    Lush massage bar – Someone gave this to me as a gift before Lainey was born and it ended up being a game changer. I produced a lot more milk this time around and my breasts were soooo sore. I got several clogged ducts and I would bring this bar with me in the shower, it melts on your skin and makes massaging those ducts out so much easier. Plus – you have a great excuse to ask husband, friend, whoever for a massage later on.

     

    That’s about it from me! I intentionally didn’t include car seats in here because we had the Chicco Key fit, it gets the job done but I think there are some other options out there that are just as easy to click in but have better features and design.

     

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    Family

    Dear Margot

    Dearest Margot,

    Last night I woke you up in the middle of the night. I asked if you wanted to come sleep with mommy; you said “yes” grabbed your pacis and laid your head on my shoulder as I carried you up to my room. You pressed your little body onto my chest and mumbled “snuggle mama” quietly. Then you turned your face to mine and shut your sleepy eyes. One paci in your mouth and one twiddling between your fingers. You see, in the next few days your little sister will be brought into the world…I can not wait to meet her. I cant wait for YOU to meet her. But I needed some solo Margot time before that happened. We spend all day together and then when you go to sleep I miss you. I cant wait to come get you in the morning, bright eyed an bushy tailed ready for life every day at 7:30am. I’ve never thought anyone should have to wake up before 8am…but somehow you make 7:30 seem not so bad. Before life gets too crazy I wanted to take a moment and tell you some things…

    I love you more than you will ever understand, so often I just watch you and I cant believe how amazing you are. How beautiful and caring you are. In your 2 years of life, and though decades separate us, you have become my friend. I love your personality, your excitement for life and for your friends. If I ever wondered wether or not extrovertism was an inherited trait, I think you have answered that question. I am so excited to be your mama, God has blessed me so much more than I could have ever imagined by giving me you. You are independent and strong. When you fall you come to me for a “kissy” and then get right back up. I know that a day will come when my kissys may not make everything better but I certainly love that that time has not yet come. Last night you kept pretending to get hurt so that I would give you more kisses, I told you I would always give you kisses wether you were hurt or not but I think you just liked the game of it – I did too.

    You have been such a big girl lately transitioning into a real bed, potty training, starting school AND minimizing pacis to only sleep times. Sometimes I forget what  huge transition time this is for you also. You have really been handing it so wonderfully, like such a big girl. It seems that over night you went from a baby to a little girl and I can hardly stand it. All this time I have been so excited for you to start talking, have opinions, and play with me – now that it’s here I just want to stop time. I want to keep you this way forever. Your little made up words and the way you can’t say certain words that begin with “s” ..your water ”-pilled” or you saw a scary “-pider” How you say “YOOK-IT!” when you want me to see something or that you decided octopus is pronounced “opee-dee”. You always want me to come with you to watch the ice cream truck go past our house and while I try to resist getting it most days the main reason I’ll give in is just to watch your face light up as we run to catch it. I think the reality of you growing up and the passing of time is just so evident right now.

    I love that I am your world right now and I feel it as such a privilege when you look at me and say “mama”. How did I get to be so lucky? It’s not always perfect around here and lately I have been exhausted – unable to give you all the attention that I feel like you deserve; but I can tell you that looking back to years ago, my life seems so bland with out you in it – you make every color more vivid. Just when I think life is mundane you laugh or smile at me and it’s like all the lights turn back on. I love your round little baby dinosaur teeth..I love that you have my eyes and your daddy’s wild curls.

    My prayer for you as a big sister is that you will learn early on the bond of sisters, that you will look to Lainey as a support system, expect the best intentions of her and never stop fighting for her if it gets hard. You are each others gift and such a blessing – a life long best friend. May you accept and celebrate her differences from you but feel honored in the ways she wants to be like you. May you cherish your role as sister and learn to be a trustworthy companion for her. May you be an example to her in what loving Jesus looks like and open your life to her.

    I cant wait to have both of you babies in my arms at one time. Somehow the Lord allows our hearts to grow more and more just when you think it can’t possibly get any bigger.

    I love you little peanut.

    With all my love and more,

    Mama

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