Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Most Thankless Job There Is

Last night I finally climbed into bed after an exceptionally long and exhausting day. 

I was beyond tired, having woken up for the day before 5:00 AM, and thanks partly to the fact that I spent much of the night before comforting a child who had woken up terrified in the midst of a thunder storm, and nursing a baby who loves nothing more than to eat.

You would have thought that I would have fallen fast asleep the moment my head hit the pillow (like my husband does), but instead I just stared at the images on the video monitor, as it scanned back and forth between my children's bedrooms.  I was afraid to fall asleep, because I knew as soon as I did, like clockwork, one of my children would need me.

I have been feeling very needed lately, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly can wear a mother out. There have been days where I have felt stretched beyond what I am capable of, and then some.  The daily routine that has become finding a way to divide my attention between the constant needs of an almost 4 month old, a busy and inquisitive four year old, and a sassy and sometimes dramatic 2 year old, is no doubt taking it's toll.

Yesterday in particular was one of those days where I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle of rosé.  It was the third summer day in a row that we were trapped inside due to rain, following a weekend that I had single-parented my way through because my husband had been away. Over the course of these last few days, I had pulled out all the stops to entertain my little crew... movies, coloring, board games, Playdoh, even Happy Meals (gasp!)... you name it, I tried it.  Despite my attempts, the usual tantrums still occurred, the sibling battles ensued anyway, and the baby still wanted to be constantly held... I was feeling defeated.

I'm not the first mother to have three kids (or more for that matter), and I know for a fact that I won't be the last, but when you're outnumbered, you're outnumbered, regardless of by how many.

I spend my days sipping on coffee that has gone cold, wearing yoga pants that are covered in spit up stains, and much of the time my hair is tied up in an uncombed top knot.  Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I don't even recognize the reflection staring back at me.  There are bags under my eyes and the gray hairs that are growing in are too numerous to count.

I spend my nights wishing that I had accomplished more that day, struggling with the inevitable "mom guilt", and thinking that I really should make more time for myself.

Motherhood is one of the most thankless jobs that there is.  Much of the "work" involved often goes unnoticed. It is expected, and not always appreciated...

That is until after listening to you rant about the chaos that has become your life, one of your friends lets you know that her day has gone very similar to yours, and suddenly you realize that you are not alone.

That is until just before bed, when your four year old climbs into your lap, wraps his arms around your neck, and says "you're the best mommy in the whole wide world"!

Suddenly it ALL seems worth it, because you have just gotten all the thanks you need.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Nursing Essentials

August is National Breastfeeding Month, and seeing as I'm currently in the midst of feeding my third little nursling, it seemed to be a fitting time to share some of my nursing essentials. These are the products and items that I have come to love during my nursing "career".

I call it a career, because sometimes nursing honestly feels like a full time job.  My first two children were exclusively breastfed, and if you have been following me for awhile, you might know that neither of them ever took a bottle.  There wasn't a thing we didn't try when it came to attempting to get the two of them to drink pumped breast milk, but it didn't seem to matter, M&E only wanted the boob, and that was the way it was. If you want to do the math, I have either been pregnant or nursing for almost 5 years now... and when you have babies who refuse bottles, the equation works out to a mama who doesn't often get away... or at all for that matter.

Thank the good Lord, as of this moment, Theo is taking the occasional bottle, and I am desperately hoping the streak continues.  The comotomo is his bottle of choice, and you better believe I'm buying stock in them, since this is the ONLY bottle any of our kids has ever drank from. We have tried to make it a routine to offer him a bottle every other, to every 3 days, to keep him in the habit, but in the meantime he breastfeeds like a champ, and the following are the "essential" items that I use to keep up with feeding a baby who just LOVES to eat...

cover me ponchos nursing cover- Even after nursing three babies, I still don't feel comfortable doing so without a cover.  These ones are my favorite because their functional, fashionable, and they double as a car seat cover.

water bottle- If you nurse, you want to have a good milk supply, and in order to have a good milk supply you need to stay hydrated.  I don't go anywhere without a water bottle these days.

oat mama bars- Not only are these absolutely delicious, but they're full of ingredients to increase supply. The chocolate almond coconut are my favorite.

nursElet nursing bracelet- One of the most brilliant inventions I've seen, this bracelet can be used to hold your shirt out of the way while you're nursing, and it can be worn on your wrist to keep track of what you side you fed your baby off of last.

nursing/teething jewelry- Babies love to have something to play with/hang on to while nursing, so it helps when you can wear jewelry that is both stylish and safe for them to chew and tug on at the same time.  A few of our favorite shops are Mama and Little and Wright Design Co.

milk storage bags- If your baby takes a bottle, and or you must return to work, you will need to have a milk stash.  These are the bags I use to pump and store milk in.

bralettes- Comfort comes first these days, so I'm all for these pretty bralettes that just so happen to be easy to nurse in as well (I just pull them to the side at feeding time).  If you are large busted, I can't say for certain how these will work for you, but I wear a C or a D while nursing, and still find them to be supportive and comfortable.

nipple balm- This organic nipple balm is my favorite (as is the rest of this line of products), particularly in those first days of nursing when feedings can be a bit painful.

breast pump- This is the breast pump I have had since day one, and to this day, I don't have a single complaint about it.

undercover mama tanks- (not pictured) These are a new discovery for me, and I'm hooked (no pun intended). These tanks hook onto the straps of a nursing or regular bra and make nursing a whole lot easier.  They come in a bunch of colors and they are super comfortable.

Happy National Breastfeeding Month!

*** This post contains affilate links, as always your support of this blog is much appreciated.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Swoon Worthy

Cheers to the weekend my friends!  Can you even believe that it is almost August?  Why does the summer always have to fly by so quickly???

This past week was a hot one, and while I tried my best to avoid the humidity, I also rang in my 34th birthday! 34... What?  Didn't I just graduate from high school?

Anyhow, the day was mostly uneventful, but we did head to the racetrack to watch some horse racing, and my husband and kids gifted me with a pretty generous gift card to a local winery, so bottoms up I guess!

I took some time to peruse the internet while I sipped on my vino this week, and here's what I'm swooning over at the moment...

1.  One of my favorite writers finally released her latest book, and you better believe that's what I've got on my agenda for this weekend.

2.  My sweet friend Astleigh just released her new line of fall candles, and not only are they beautiful, but the scents sound amazing too!  I already ordered mine!

3.  If you don't already know by now, I can't get enough of s'mores, so naturally I am dying to try this recipe!

4.  I ordered this amazing (nursing friendly) wrap hoodie from the Nsale, after another blogger recommended it, and I am obsessed!  It's selling out fast, so nab one while you can!

5.  Pink lemonade is one of my most favorite drinks ever, but this version might just make it even better!

6.  Swing dresses are totally my love language this season.

7.  Have you guys seen the new Cat & Jack line at Target?  This skirt and this tulle cape are AH-mazing! I can't wait until the baby stuff drops on August 7th.

8.  I just adore a good monogrammed mug!

9.  My love for nautical things just took the form of the cutest little outfit ever!

10.  I need this salad in my life as soon as possible!

Have an amazing weekend!


Friday, July 29, 2016

Curly Hair Favorites

It's that time of year... summertime, when the temps are so high, the mere thought of turning on your blow dryer is painful, and the humidity makes even Texas size hair seem small.

If you have curly locks like I do, this time of year can make for some less-than-great hair days.  In all honesty, I prefer to blow my hair out, and then curl it with a large barrel curling iron... skipping a few days between shampooing.  However time (hello, 3 kids!), and the weather, don't always allow for that method, so I have come up with a no-muss, no-fuss routine that says "the heck with it", and allows me to rock those ringlets... and I'm not talking about "The Plop" (although I am totally intrigued by it)!

Let's start in the shower...

I have long been a fan of Pureology's Hydrate line (and this is the cheapest I have seen the set), but if you have a shampoo and conditioner that you prefer, feel free to stick with them.  I will note that moisture is key when you are hoping to reduce frizz.

I don't like to wash my hair everyday... I aim for every other, and sometimes even longer between shampooing.  if you must get your hair wet, I recommend only applying conditioner to the ends and skipping shampoo, your scalp's natural oils are a good thing.

Once I get out of the shower, I lightly towel dry... being careful nut to rub my hair dry, as this adds frizz.

I then spritz Shea Moisture Hold & Shine Moisture Mist all over.  After that, I mix a quarter sized dollop of Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding with 1-2 drops of argan oil (you may need to adjust this amount based on the length and thickness of your own hair), and  I apply it liberally from roots to ends.

THEN, I use my Wet Brush (or a wide tooth comb) to detangle and evenly distribute the product.  After that I scrunch a little, and twist a few one inch sections away from my face.

Now, you can either allow your hair to air dry this way, or you can use a diffuser to speed up the process.  Either way, try not to touch your hair a lot, as this also leads to frizz.

Once my hair is 100% dry, I occasionally use a curling wand to touch up and shape some curls, but other than that, that's it!

If you have curly hair, what are your favorite products?


Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Best Baby Laundry Tips

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeToBe #CollectiveBias

There is no doubt that becoming a mom for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. 

Looking back, I distinctly recall feeling as though I had a question about every single thing "baby related", prior to giving birth to my first child. What diaper brand should we go with?  Who makes the best pacifier?  What baby shampoo brand is best? 

It's only natural that you might feel a little anxious when you are inundated with so many choices while you are preparing for your little one's arrival, and  it goes without saying that every parent wants nothing but the best for their child.

I was totally uneducated about many things before I had my firstborn... Particularly how to handle baby laundry.  I didn't know how to properly prepare my baby's clothing prior to his arrival, how to care for it once he arrived, and how to get it ready for storage once he had outgrown those itty bitty items.

Now that I have had three kids, and I regularly do A LOT of laundry, I feel a little more on top of my game when it comes to this stuff, so I thought I'd share my best tips on how to handle baby laundry.

Preparing Laundry BEFORE Your Baby Arrives

It's no secret that babies have super sensitive skin, so in my opinion, it is always best to reduce the chance that your little one might come into contact with something by pre-washing anything that will touch their skin.  This includes clothing, blankets, bedding, towels, and washcloths.

You'll want to use a free & clear detergent to wash these items.  My favorite detergent to use is all® free clear detergent and all® free clear Mighty Pacs®... because it is the #1 detergent recommended by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians for sensitive skin.  Doing this will ensure that you have removed any chemicals that these items have come into contact with during the shipping process, and that any germs that they have contracted while hanging in the store have been removed.

We purchase ours at Target in the Laundry Detergent section of the store.

Knowing that all® free clear detergent contains no dyes, perfumes, certain chemicals, and irritating residues means that its safe for all of these items that will be touching your precious babe's skin.

Since I like for all of my babies clothing to be super soft, I also like to use all® free clear softener, because it softens clothes and makes them that much more comfortable.

I follow up all of this washing, by drying baby laundry in the dryer on a low temperature, and then I fold or hang the items in baby's closet or dresser.

Caring for Laundry AFTER Your Baby Arrives

Once your baby arrives is when the real laundry fun begins.  It goes without saying that you will be washing load after load of teeny tiny clothing.  I continue to regularly wash clothes, as needed, just as I did to prior to baby's arrival, but once baby is here, the element of stain removal gets added into the mix.

That's right, babies spit up, poop, and stain their clothes on the regular!  My favorite way to tackle these tough stains is also as simple as using all® free clear detergent.  It's awesome for fighting tough stains, it whitens whites, and it brightens colors... all of which are essential when you have kids!

Preparing Laundry for Storage

Sadly, babies outgrow things very quickly, which means it will be time to make room for the bigger stuff.  I like to store my kid's outgrown clothing (for future siblings), in large plastic or rubber totes, that I label by size on the outside.  That way they are easy to organize and to find when it's time to dig them out again.  Prior to storing them, I always clean the inside of the container and wash all of the items that will be going into it with all® free clear detergent or all® free clear Mighty Pacs®.  Washing these items with the #1 sensitive skin brand means they'll be ready to go for future babies.

Unfortunately none of these tips will make your dirty laundry disappear, but they will help make your life easier and help you feel better about caring for your baby's sensitive skin!

Want to find out more about all® free clear?  Join the all® community and connect with parents just like you!


Monday, July 25, 2016

What's In My Diaper Bag

Maybe I'm nosey, but I love a good "What's In My Bag" post.  

I think it is so much fun to see what other people cram into their bags, and I've discovered some of my favorite products thanks to other bloggers sharing the contents of their purses.  So, after a few requests to share what I tote in mine, today I'm spilling the beans (or the contents of my bag).
First lets start with the bag... There are so many good diaper bags out there these days! There are diaper bags that don't even look like diaper bags, but seeing as I already own a closet full of pretty purses, when it comes to the one I carry around every day, while out and about with my three kids, I went with a crossbody style (which can also be worn backpack style), from Little Unicorn.  I loved the color, and the fact that it had a ton of pockets and compartments, which as you can imagine, I totally fill with junk!

Now let's have a peek at what's inside!  In an effort to keep things as authentic as possible, I pretty much just dumped my bag out onto our table and arranged things so that you could see it all...

I'll cover the baby stuff first...

Of course there are the essentials. diapers and wipes, which I keep stashed in an amazing wet/dry clutch from Logan & Lenora (you can enjoy 15% off of your purchase from them, by using any of the links to their site in this post).  This clutch is my favorite, because it makes it super easy to get to the items that I need to change Theo or Ella, without having to dig through my entire bag, and as an added bonus, on the rare occasion that I go out without kids, it's the perfect size and style to carry the things that I need just for me!

Next, I always make sure to carry a pacifier (and we keep ours close by using these awesome pacifier clips from Loved By Sophia Claire), as well as teething toys, like these amazing silicone ones from Little Standout and the infamous Sophie the Giraffe.

I also always keep a bandana bib (our favorites are from Ollie & Tate and Hemming Birds) and a burp cloth on hand, because babies drool, and they spit up... it's a given.

An extra outfit when you have a baby is a necessity, in my opinion... you never know when a diaper blow out is going to strike.

{bandana bib c/o Ollie and Tate | camera teether c/o Little Standout | pacifier clip c/o Loved by Sophia Claire | burp cloth}

I don't go anywhere these days without my Solly Baby Wrap.  I've already confessed my love for baby wearing here, but honestly, this wrap is a lifesaver when I don't feel like hauling the stroller out of the car.

You can always find snacks stashed in my bag... mostly for bribing my older kids, but on the occasion when hunger strikes, they have come in handy for me as well.

It goes without saying that hand sanitizer is a must-have in a diaper bag, as are tissues.  I'm not obsessive about sanitizing things, because I honestly believe that exposing your kids to stuff is good for their immune system, but when it comes to diaper changing, and wiping runny noses, I like to have this stuff nearby to keep things in check.  I also like to keep a bottle of gripe water in my bag just in case Theo seems extra fussy or gassy.

{clutch c/o Logan and Lenora}

Ironically, the bag that I carry actually houses very few items that are exclusively for me... sunglasses, a wallet, and my phone are about it, besides my bag full of lip balms/sticks.  Even if I'm out and about sporting athleisure, some color on my lips helps me feel somewhat put together, and what can I say, I'm all about having a variety of choices!

That about sums it up.  Nothing fancy here, just the stuff that gets this mom of three through the day to day.  What are your diaper bag or purse must haves?  I'm dying to know!


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Swoon Worthy

So there was no Swoon Worthy post last week. We escaped, totally last minute, to the beach, and it left me little time to plan, or to get it together.

I'm back this week though, with a bunch of good stuff... because you know I couldn't leave you all hanging two weeks in a row.

Here's what I'm swooning over at the moment...

1.  This Function of Beauty shampoo and conditioner.  Is there anything cooler than custom made hair products, designed exclusively for your locks, with your name on the bottle?

2.  You guys know that I LOVE me some iced coffee, but cold brew pops??? Sign me up!

3.  Currently obsessed with my diaper bag clutch from Logan and Lenora... keep your eye out for a giveaway.

4.  I love a good pair of studs... especially when they're on sale.

5.  In case you missed it, grilled guacamole is where it's at.

6.  I can't get enough of everything tassels!

7.  You can't go wrong with a good basic T.  I want to buy this style in every color.

8.  Itty bitty bubble vests will get me every time!

9.  I need this cocktail in my life!

10.  One of my favorite skincare lines at a great price... while it lasts!

Have a great weekend!


Friday, July 22, 2016

Grilled Guacamole

I love guacamole so hard you guys.

I could literally eat the stuff on everything.

I've always felt good about my recipe.  Like it was pretty tasty just the way it was.  Then one day I had a leftover ear of grilled corn, and while I pondered what I could use it for, an idea suddenly came to mind...

What if I grilled the ingredients that make up guacamole before throwing them all together? I mean everything tastes better on the grill!

Grilled guacamole... It was genius!

So here's what you need to make it:


4 ripe avocados 
1 ear corn on the cob
1/2 red onion
1 tomato (cut in half)
1 small jalapeño (cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed)
1 lime (cut in half)
2 cloves of garlic
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil


Preheat grill to medium high.
Cut avocados open, remove pits, scoop into a large bowl and mash.
Mince garlic cloves and add to bowl.
Brush corn, red onion, tomato halves, and jalapeños with olive oil.
Place all of the above items, plus the limes, on the grill, cut side down.
Cook until all items have char/grill marks (about 5 minutes, a little longer for the corn, which will need rotated).
Remove from grill and allow to cool slightly.
Cut corn off of cob and to bowl.
Diced onion, tomato, and jalapeño and add to bowl.
Squeeze like juicd over everything.
Add s&p to taste.
Stir all items together.
Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale | Favorites

Yesterday I shared some of my favorite items from the #nsale for kids, and today I'm back to share my favorites when it comes to everything else!

There is just so much good stuff... I honestly had trouble narrowing it down.

Happy Shopping!


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Nordstrom Anniversary Style | Baby Favorites

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is my favorite time to stock up on items for my kids.  Fall is right around the corner, and this sale is the perfect opportunity to purchase coats and shoes for the upcoming season, as well as other great items, at prices much lower than they usually are.

There are same great deals to be found on brands such as North Face, Aden and Anais, Tea Collection, and more.

If you have a Nordstrom debit or credit card, you can take advantage of early access on these amazing prices, and if you don't yet have one, it's not too late to sign up. Early access runs through July 21st, and after that the sale is open to everyone.

I've rounded up a few of my favorite sale items for babies, and will be back with more favorites over the next few days.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Theo's Three Month Update

I honestly cannot believe that today marks three months since Theo entered our world.  I totally sound like a broken record, but with every baby, the time just seems to pass faster and faster, and this time it's flying by at warp speed!

Trying to remember what life was life before Theo came along, is nearly impossible... it's as though he has always been here, and things have just permanently been this crazy!

We had a bit of a rough start with him in the sleep department, but things appear to be improving.  Lately he has been sleeping roughly 6-7 hours at night, only waking to nurse once (occasionally twice), and then going right back to sleep. 

This week we are going to attempt putting him in his crib at night for the first time.  We have been holding off on this, because he and Max will be sharing a room, and we were worried about him waking his big brother at night.  Hopefully this transition will go smoothly, and everyone will get into a good nighttime routine (fingers crossed!).

Otherwise, this kid's personality seems to really be developing.  He smiles a ton, and loves to be wherever the party is (serious FOMO issues!).  I think he is particularly fond of being outside, where he can stare up at the trees and watch the leaves move with the wind.

We have officially reached the point where he is trying to put EVERYTHING in his mouth, and drool flows on a constant, hence our love for bandana bibs.  I can't tell if he will be an early teether, or if it's just his way of checking things out.

He's not too fond of tummy time,  but thanks to some pretty strong head control, he really seems to enjoy sitting in the Bumbo seat and the highchair.

Theo nurses like a pro, and to this point, we're still pretty much on an "on demand" schedule.  It still shocks me sometimes that he will take a bottle and enjoys a pacifier, seeing as he is the first of our kids to take either.  It is amazing to watch him fall asleep with the paci in his mouth since both M&E almost always had to be nursed to sleep.

I have had a lot of fun using these Milestone Cards to document his growth over these last few months... I feel guilty admitting it, but these days it's tough for me to keep up with a baby book, so these cards have been an easy and sweet way to snap photos of his milestones along the way.

{c/o Milestone}

I know that there will be lots of BIG changes in the coming weeks and months, and I'm looking forward to using the milestone cards to capture those moments.

 In the meantime, I'll be searching for a way to slow down time, because this boy is growing much too fast for me!!!

*** This post was sponsored by Milestone Cards.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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