10 Things I Wish I Knew and You Should Know Before Welcoming Baby Number Two...

 
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You Should Know…

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  1. It will be easier than you think. This was a welcomed surprise. I was so worried about the exhaustion, juggling both schedules, feeling like I could give enough attention to each child, or having enough patience and mental stamina to get through it. I must say, I even surprised myself with how well/smooth I made the transition. I’m not saying we haven’t had difficult days or moments because we have, but I think already being a mother to one and in “mommy-mode” so to speak, helped to ease the transition a little.

  2. Your second baby will live in the carrier/sling so invest in a good one (or two…or three!). I kind of feel guilty (just what we need right?! MORE GUILT), that Malia takes most of her naps in the carrier but it just has to happen right now. She loves to be close to Mommy, she naps almost 2 hours twice a day and more importantly - I NEED TWO HANDS! I want to be able to play with London and get things done around the house; the carrier allows that to happen. We used the Baby Bjorn until recently and we just made the switch to the Ergo 360. For a sling we use the Wildbird slings…they’re cute and functional!

  3. You’ll have some pretty high highs and also some low days too - and that’s ok. You can go from feeling like supermom one minute, to incredibly deflated the next. It’s so up and down the first few months but cut yourself some slack; you’ve welcomed a brand new human into the world and your family dynamic has changed drastically. Understand that like any major transition (and it doesn’t get more major than a new baby!), time is your friend - and eventually you’ll get to a place where there are more highs than lows.

  4. If there’s ever a time to meal prep and stock the freezer, it’s now. Actually, while you’re at it, just stock up on EVERYTHING; toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, wipes, pads (for that lovely postpartum recovery), Ibprofen, toiletries, etc. Anything you don’t want to be running to the store for, grab now! Better yet, just order it all on Amazon Prime Pantry - LIFE SAVER!

  5. Your heart actually will grow another size. All the time spent worrying about this will seem silly when you hold your baby for the first time; it all just fades away. I felt like my heart could burst the moment they placed Malia on my chest. It was just as beautiful and special as the first go-around with London. I personally spent WAY too much time stressing about this - so if you’re about to welcome baby number two, just trust me on this one; it will be WONDERFUL.

  6. Take FULL advantage of leaving the house with just one child and do ALL the things. I mean it…do ALL the things. I will say, we lived it up this summer. We hit the beach numerous times together, had lots of Mommy + Me dates, and took a few weekend trips as a family. You’ll quickly realize what a treat it is to leave the house with just one child when you take your first road trip or really even just your first Target trip. Like anything though, getting around with two in tow quickly becomes your new norm and you’ll manage just fine :)

  7. Asking for help or rather, accepting help that is offered should ABSOLUTELY be done. I was better prepared for this after we welcomed baby number two. I have met wonderful people here and haven’t been afraid to lean on them for support. I’ve had friends to drop off meals, groceries, come by for a visit just to give me some time, and neighbors who have offered to snuggle Malia so I could spend some quality time with Lo. Sometimes it can be difficult to accept help but it’s necessary to keep your sanity, so don’t be afraid to ask when you need it or accept it when it’s offered.

  8. The bond you have with your second baby may feel different than your bond with your first…and that’s ok. I remember feeling guilty at the very beginning that I didn’t feel “as connected” with Malia as I did London. I voiced this to my husband who quickly calmed me down and assured me that the bond would grow as time went on. Now I feel kind of silly for even thinking that was a “thing” at all. I mean, of course you’re not going to feel as deeply connected to your second born in the first week of their lives as you do with your first born. Be gentle with yourself and your feelings..It’s totally normal and fine to feel that way. (Also, shout out to my amazing husband who always listens and calms my soul - LOVE HIM)

  9. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” doesn’t ever happen…so do it as much as you can when you’re pregnant. I wish I did this more because guess what, even if I wanted to take a nap when Malia was napping now, it’s a lost cause with London running around. I will say, I took lots of naps to survive my pregnancy and the tiredness that comes with it…so I like to think I took advantage of that saying a bit while I could.

  10. There’s plenty of love to go around. LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of it. There will be more love than you can even imagine…more moments that will make your heart melt and you’ll find more reasons to love your spouse and your first born. You can be worried and stressed about a lot of things - but please don’t stress about this one. There will be no shortage of love in your heart…you’ll be overflowing and it will be the absolute best.

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I mean…how could my heart not just BURST when I look at this muffin?! It’s like she was with us all along…

I love you all, and if you’re reading this and you’re expecting your second, or third, or fourth…I hope this helps even a little!

xx,

Ashley







Fall Kickoff: 10 Budget-Friendly Activities for the whole Family...

Is there anything better than fall in Boston?! I love when I can feel the air start to change; the mornings are a bit crisp, pumpkin-flavored everything reappears, and the trees are so beautiful with their fiery red-orange leaves! I'm also a sports fan so fall for me equals football season! Last year, I placed second in my fantasy football league...just saying! :)

The beginning of this fall felt different for us as a family because London started school! It was really fun to do all of the "back to school" things with her like pick out a backpack, fill it with supplies and buy new school shoes! Since she's now officially beginning her educational journey, it also got us thinking about more ways we can save and prepare for her future. Yes, we're already looking ahead to saving for college because it’s never too early to start saving when it comes to your kids! Anyone who knows me at all knows that I'm a planner so I'm sure this does not come as a shock!

Summertime always brings a lot of costly activities, getaways and vacations so fall is a great time for us to re-visit our finances and find better ways to save! One way we can save more is to find budget-friendly options and fun things to do in the city that won't break the bank! Here are some things for you and your family to enjoy this fall season...

1. Embark on a "kid-friendly walking tour." There are so many historical sites around Boston! Get some exercise and fresh air with your kiddos while learning more about our amazing city! These educational walks are sure to keep their curious little minds entertained!

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2. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and take a "foliage walk." There's nothing more stunning than fall in New England - and what better way to enjoy all that it has to offer than a walk through Arnold Arboretum! If you're feeling extra motivated, plan a scavenger hunt and bring a bucket to collect the items on your list. 

3. Visit the Boston Public Market. There is so much to look at in this market! Choose one special ingredient to try, and have a picnic on the scenic Rose Kennedy Greenway. We love to grab a few donuts and iced coffees before finding a spot on the Greenway while we watch London explore. This is one of our favorite weekend family activities!

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 4. Nothing screams, "fall" more than apple picking...HELLO! I'm the most basic girl ever, but every fall I have to visit the orchard for crispy Macintosh apples, cider, and a photo opp, of course :) I'm really excited to do this as a family in a few weeks because I think Lo will love picking her own apples and then baking something special at home together. There are so many beautiful orchards in the Greater Boston area - you should definitely check one out this fall season!

5. Hit your favorite bakery. Fall isn’t complete without pumpkin-spiced everything! Visit your local bakery to get a special fall-inspired treat. Find the nearest playground,  enjoy your goodies then run around together. If you're looking for a great playground, the Esplanade has a nice one with beautiful views of the Charles River. 

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 6. Take a stroll through the Public Garden. While you’re walking through and taking in the beautiful fall foliage, make sure to pay a visit to Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings! Then cozy up on a blanket with a snack and a copy of the classic book Make Way For Ducklings

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 7. Bring your music-loving child to one of the MANY festivals. Throughout the month of September, numerous towns around Boston host "porch fest," where people perform mini concerts on their porches. Visit Davis Square in Somerville the first weekend of October for a free music and dance festival your kids will LOVE! There are so many more multicultural events so make sure to check your town calendar.

8. Visit the Pumpkin Float at Frog Pond. This event is so budget-friendly that it's FREE! Bring your own carved pumpkin and the staff will illuminate it then float it on the pond with hundreds of others. It's so beautiful to see them all lit up! There are also refreshments, music and other fun activities along the pond.  

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 9. Celebrate Halloween in the best way possible, trick-or-treating among the animals at the Stone Zoo! The "Boo at the Zoo" looks SO fun and we can't wait to go this year. They offer crafts set up for kids, a haunted maze, costume contests! In addition, there will be a U.Fund Dreams Tour tent, which will offer games for the kids and an opportunity for parents to learn about the importance of college savings. (I’ll be attending with my kiddos and I hope to see you guys there!)

 10. Take a trip to the library. These visits are a great way to Develop and nurture your child's love of reading at a young age! The Boston Public Library is an amazing resource for your family, offering free "nursery rhyme time" and a beautiful space to enjoy books together.

I would love to steal some of your ideas for my family to enjoy this season! What are some of your favorite fall activities?

xx,

Ashley

This blog post was brought to you by Fidelity and MEFA. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

 



Mom Life Made Easier with Incredibundles...

 
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Happy Thursday!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week! We have been battling the annual “change of season” / October sickness that always seems to find our household. I’ve basically been stuck at home with both babies but hoping we can start to venture out again in a few days.

When baby number two came along I quickly realized that everything was double the work and double the stress. What was once a simple “coffee run” is now non-existent because it’s MUCH easier to make it at home then pack up two kiddos. Same goes for trips to Target (which used to happen once a week) and even to the grocery store (I now shop online and have them delivered). I’m constantly looking for ways to make mom life easier/smoother and decrease the number of things I have to think about on a daily basis.

Enter: Incredibundles which makes life INFINITELY better.

How It Works:

Incredibundles offers diaper subscriptions for 3, 6, 9 and 12-month terms! Your order gets sent right to your doorstep or you can choose to gift to another parent. You’ll receive the cutest Announcement Package that comes complete with a reusable box, an adorable and incredibly soft Teddy Bear (pictured below), and the certificate highlighting the subscription you chose! The ordering process is super easy and straight-forward. All you do is create an account, choose from a variety of diaper and wipe brands plus the size that you want and they’ll show up at your door like MAGIC :) One less thing to worry about! You can sign into your account and adjust the diaper sizing at any point before the next shipment date as well! This would also be the ultimate gift idea for any baby shower! Trust me…it would be a major hit!

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HERE IS THE GOOD STUFF…

I’ve partnered with Incredibundles over on my Instagram (@stylegraceandlace) for an amazing GIVEAWAY to gift one LUCKY parent a 3-month diaper subscription! That’s right…receive diapers to your doorstep for FREE, three straight months. To enter, click my IG username above and to learn more about Incredibundles, click here!

xx,

Ashley

Best of H&M...

H&M is one of my favorite stores to shop at because it’s so budget-friendly and also has items that wear super well IT’S AMAZING slash horrible for my bank account! HA! I’m trying not to go overboard but there are just so many amazing things for this season. I wanted to share a few of my faves so you could shop a little quicker - since H&M always has 75,000 products to sift through :) I did the leg-work for you! Enjoy!

xx, Ashley

Malia's Two Month Update:

Happy Friday!

I’m going to try and give monthly updates on Malia here - so you guys can see what she’s doing and kind of follow along in our journey through the first year. I’ll also give a little sample schedule of what her day looks like for the time being! Honestly, can’t believe I’m already writing this one…her TWO month update! It’s incredible how fast time goes, especially with your second baby. The days fly by because there is ALWAYS something that needs to be done slash can be done. (Raise your hand if you’re already cleaning! Will it ever end?!)

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Malia is just as sweet as she’s always been. At her doctor’s check up she weighed in at 11lb, 10.5 ounces and is 23.5 inches long! She’s totally starting to have longer periods of awake time which is fun! She’s super smiley and LOVES to coo and talk. I’m basically obsessed when she makes noises and gets those little spit bubbles on her lips. Mamas…you know the ones! :)

She loves to lay on her play mat and watch her star toy light up. The baby Bjorn bouncer is great for right after she eats - because I like to keep her semi-upright. The seat is at an incline and has a toy bar too; she just stares at it for now, but I’m sure she’ll be actually playing with it before we know it :) Basically when she’s awake (usually anywhere from 60-90 minutes), I rotate her between the play mat, Bjorn bouncer, this Fisher Price seat (under $30!) and her swing! The swing I usually do last and she fusses to let me know she’s ready for her nap.

We bottle feed and right now Malia is eating 5 ounces about every four hours during the day. She wakes just one time to eat in the middle of the night (anywhere from 3:00AM - 4:30AM) and then goes back to sleep until 6:45-7AM. We are currently starting to wean her off of her night feeding because she’ll usually only eat 2 ounces, 3 at most, before her eyes are closed to go back to sleep again! I shared a few books that we love on my Instagram recently; Twelve Hours of Sleep in Twelve Weeks and Newborn 101. The second book actually starts from pregnancy so there’s a wealth of info in there. The Twelve Hours book is mostly about feeding/sleeping. We suggest both to all of our friends who have kids :) One big thing that happened this month is Malia starting putting herself to sleep at bedtime. We feed her, kiss her goodnight and put her sound machine on…place her in her crib awake and she goes to sleep on her own. It’s pretty amazing. She has a 7PM bedtime and it gives me 30-45 minutes to be one-on-one with London - which I thoroughly enjoy. I love being able to catch up with her before she goes to bed.

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Nap times for Malia have usually been 8:30 - 9:15AM … then 10AM - 11AM. She’ll eat, play, then be ready to go back down around 12:45PM to take her long nap of the day. She will typically sleep until 3-3:30PM. Again, she’ll wake up to eat, play, then cat-nap from about 5-5:30PM. Those are her naps for the day. After her last nap, I’ll play with her until it’s time for the bath at 6:15pm. Yes, I’m one of those moms that gives her kids baths every. single. night. London’s I may skip here and there depending on how much energy I have (Ha! Energy? What’s that?!) … but Malia gets one every night. I do this partly because I think it is a great “indicator” that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep and also because let’s be honest, she’s pooping and peeing in a diaper all day and she needs a good scrub! It’s not lengthy, but 5-10 minutes and we’re in and out! For those wondering if this dries out her skin/scalp. It doesn’t. I lather my babies head to toe in Aveeno and we’ve never had that issue!

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Ok, I think that’s a good round up for this month! As promised, here is a sample schedule of what our day looks like (of course, there are slight changes often - but hey, that’s newborn-life right?!) :)

6:45AM - Malia wakes up, change into clothes for the day

7:00AM - Feed 5oz bottle

7:30AM - 8:30AM - Play time!

8:30AM - 9:15AM - Nap #1

9:15AM - 10AM - Brief play time

10AM - 11:00AM - Nap #2

11:00AM - Feed 5oz bottle

11:30AM - Play time / go pick up Lo from school / more play time :)

12:45AM - 3/3:30PM - Nap #3 (longest of the day!)

3/3:30PM - Feed 5 oz bottle

4:00 - 5:00 - Play time

5:00 - 5:30PM - Nap #4 (shortest of the day!)

5:30 - 6:15PM - Play time

6:15PM - 6:30PM - Bath and start nightly routine

6:30PM - Feed bottle (she typically won’t take a full 5 oz…usually just 4 at this time)

7PM - Down in crib awake

I hope you all have a fab weekend! We are going to take the girls apple picking FOR SURE and hopefully make some yummy treats! Also…GO PATS. Can we get a freaking win this Sunday?! (I’ll say an extra prayer at church! Ha!)

xx, Ashley




My Current Beauty Favorites...

 
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Sometimes mom life becomes consuming and I go days without doing anything for myself. I’ve been trying to be better at just taking a few minutes to myself in the craziness of each morning to wash my face and do a quick makeup application to make me feel a little better! Even if I don’t have anywhere to go for the day and am not planning on seeing anyone but my kids, I do it. There are five products that I consider part of my daily routine and can apply in just 2-3 minutes tops!

  1. Tinted Moisturizer: I love the Laura Mercier brand but not all of us want to spend $50 on a tinted moisturizer, amen? I recently tried the Sephora brand version, Bright Future Skin Tint ($18, currently on sale for $9!) and I really like it! I don’t think I’ll be switching back to Laura Mercier anytime soon :)

  2. Concealer: My best friend nowadays :) I had been using Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, but again didn’t want to spend as much so I bought the Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer for $14 (I got it on sale for $7!) and I’ve been using it for about a week! I love it. It goes on smooth and has all-day wear.

    3. Anastasia Brow Wiz: This is the BEST for brows in my opinion. If I’m applying anything to my face for the day, I never forget my brows. Trust me on this one - you NEED it.

    4. The Honest Company’s Mascara + Primer: It’s only $14.99 and I actually feel like the primer gives my lashes an even fuller/longer look! I love it and the makeup from Honest is all natural so…yes please.

    5. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer: I’ve been struggling to find a really good bronzer for some time now. I was using a really cheap brand from Target but it wasn’t doing the trick. Another blogger posted about this one so I thought I would give it a try. I’ve been using this for about a week now and I LOVE IT. It gives my cheeks a glow and highlights just the right spots!

    6. Sephora Cream Lip Stain #40 is my ABSOLUTE favorite lip color/stain of all time. I wear this SO much and always get complimented on it. Again it’s really inexpensive ($14) and lasts me at least half a year! It’s perfect for everyday or even a night out. I’m wearing it in the photo above so you can see!

Here are a few other products that I have and love, but don’t necessarily use every day.


xx, Ashley

Fall Faves Under $50...

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a great weekend! We went to Maine and it was so fun (per usual!) Lo and Malia stayed with my Mom and Dad while Chris and I went to a beautiful wedding in Camden. It was so nice to get dolled up a bit and have some time just the two of us!

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite fall finds under $50! Shop by clicking any photo below :) Happy shopping!

xx,

Ashley

Back To School: Toddler Style...

 
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Lo is in her second week of preschool and so far so good! Drop off has been a little tough for both of us - mainly because she cries and clings to me and it crushes my soul to leave her - but the teachers assure me she is fine two minutes after I leave! I’m hoping it will get better when it becomes our new normal!

I have had so much fun finding cute fall outfits for Lo to wear to school! I wanted to share some of my favorites. We like to get her stuff from H&M, Target, and Old Navy. Of course she has clothes from other places - but those are the mainstays. The clothes are cute and not too pricey. At Target we like the Cat & Jack brand and Genuine Kids by OshKosh :)

Here are some cute styles to shop below if you’ve got a little girly girl fashionista :) Enjoy!

xx, Ashley

Nordstrom Summer Sale...

Nordstrom is having another big sale through September 9th with up to 40% off PLUS free shipping and free returns! I wanted to share some of my favorite items which are still in stock in most sizes (but probably won't be for long!) 

I hope you all have a great weekend! We are thinking of taking the girls to the zoo tomorrow since Lo has been asking to go all summer! Thankfully the weather won't be as hot as it has been. I never thought I'd complain about the heat, but 90+ degrees with this humidity is insane for September and I'm kind of over it. It's been a HOT summer! Bring on the chilly air, sweatshirts and hot cocoa please! 

Anyway, here are some of my fave items from the sale...

xx, Ashley 

Labor Day Weekend Sales...

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

LDW is a great time to snag things you've had your eye on all summer! There are lots of amazing sales going on (my favorite is Nordstrom and Sephora!), so you should take advantage! Sephora almost never has a sale...and when you can get an extra 10% off for being a beauty insider ... it's worth it! I'm in MAJOR need of bronzer, an eyebrow pencil/filler, a new foundation brush, and under eye concealer! I also have my eye on this tinted moisturizer. Moral of the story - my bill from Sephora will be UP THERE. Anyway - here is a little round up of some of the amazing sales happening this weekend! Enjoy! 

Nordstrom: SUMMER SALE up to 40% off through September 9th

Anthropologie: 40% off sale clothing, 40% off sale home, 20% off furniture

Urban Outfitters: 30% off all sale items

J.Crew: 40% off using code BIGSALE

Sephora: Extra 10% off Beauty Insiders and up to 60% off on sale items!

Loft: 40% off your entire purchase using code: LABORDAY

Target: Up to 30% off select items

xx, 

Ashley 

 

New Mommy/Baby Must Haves...

 
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I've been working on this post for awhile now (like, an embarassing amount of time) and am FINALLY finished! I'm excited to share some of my favorite baby items and "must haves" with you all! Most of these I've tried and used with Lo...and others I've discovered this time around with Malia. Either way - it's to make your life easier and aren't we all here for that?! I know I am! 

1. DockATot: For REAL, you need this. It's seriously the most important thing we have for Malia because SLEEP! We put this on our bed and she sleeps between us at night. For naps during the day, she sleeps in this and sleeps 3+ hours most naps. It's wonderful because of how portable it is and easy to just move around the house to whatever room you're in! LOVE LOVE LOVE! 

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Runner up: Lulyboo Baby Lounge To-Go ($59.99) is perfect for co-sleeping safely or travel!

2. Dr. Brown Bottles: This is on the list because I've gotten lots of questions about which bottles we use. We really LOVE Dr. Brown. There's an "anti colic" vent that helps reduce feeding problems. Both London and Malia took very easily to them! 

3. Fawn Design: Do yourself a favor and snag one of these backpack diaper bags. Don't even both getting a shoulder bag ... you will definitely always need two hands! Fawn Design has classic/chic bags that easily fit everything I need when leaving the house with two kiddos! 

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4. WildBird Sling: I absolutely love my sling from WildBird. It's super cute and totally makes life easier. I actually used this with London before Malia was born when we went to church, because she still wants to be held all the time. It was perfect and Lo loved it. If you have two kiddos, you're guaranteed to need hands free so this definitely allows for that while keeping baby close to you - just where they want to be :) 

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5. Ergo 360 Carrier: An absolute MUST HAVE. London napped at least once a day in this thing until she was 5 months old! It's super comfortable for both parent and baby. I also love that you can wear your baby four different ways with this carrier and that it's machine washable! This style/color is currently 20% off!

Runner Up: Baby Bjorn. I really like this carrier for when the babies are itty bitty aka newborns :) I use this A LOT these days with Malia but when she gets a bit bigger I'll switch to the Ergo for comfort. I think it's more comfortable with the strap around the lower back!

6. BOB Revolution Flex Duallie Jogging Stroller: Absolutely recommend this stroller! It's worth every penny (I recommend getting a used one - they have them on Amazon!) It's a BEAST of a stroller, with a huge compartment underneath for storage (yes please), the smoothest ride every for your littles, and also - so easy to push with one hand (hard to believe, I know!) I'm so glad we got this stroller! It will definitely make walks/runs much easier! 

7. Travel Stroller: BabyZEN YOYO Stroller (pictured below) I am OBSESSED with this stroller. It literally folds and can be carried over your shoulder like a purse - it weighs just 15 lbs. At least one person comments on it when we use it to travel (we have take it to Charleston, SC (twice), Disney twice, and lots of road trips!) It's amazing and I highly recommend!

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Maclaren Twin Triumph (double): I have done LOTS of research because we have some trips planned with both girls when Malia is 6+ months old and will be sitting up. The Maclaren double stroller has been on every list for the perfect double travel stroller. It's pricey - but I know we will get lots of use out of this!

 8. Video Monitor: As far as I'm concerned this is also a must. We have a Motorola monitor and love it. If you plan on having multiples, I recommend getting a monitor that you can "add a camera" too. We just bought another camera for Malia's nursery, but can watch both girls on one screen - so it saves us from having to keep track of two screens which would be very annoying.  

9. HoMedics Sound Machine: It's just $16 on Amazon, but it might be one of the most important things you'll purchase! White noise is a must for babies/toddlers! It helps lull them to sleep with the consistent sound and also provides a relaxing environment. We bring it with us when we travel too - it's super compact and just plugs into the wall. We have been using this in London's room since she was 2 months old and Malia has one too! We also use this little butterfly and play the same lullabye for Lo every time she goes down for her nap or at bedtime. Again, super inexpensive but goes a long way! 

10. Boon Naked Collapsible Bathtub: This tub is perfect for small spaces! It's collapsible and comes with a hook that you can easily hang on the back of your bathroom door or in your child's bedroom. We love love love this tub! 

11. Baby Bjorn Bouncer: This is super lightweight and can be easily moved from room to room - which is very convenient! Malia hasn't been in this much but I think that'll change when she gets a bit older! 

12. Best Blanket: Little Giraffe Luxe Baby Blanket. The absolute SOFTEST blanket and worth every penny. It's sooo beautiful!

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Runner Up: Copper Pearl: They have the prettiest prints and the fabric is stretchy so it's perfect for swaddling! Here is the rose print that we got for Malia!

13. Wubbanub: I have five of these pacifiers, if that tells you anything :) 

 

Are there any products that you absolutely couldn't live without?! 

xx, 

Ashley 

 

 

Life With Two...

 
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So, I promise we'll make our way back to some style/fashion stuff one of these days, but for now my life is all motherhood and learning how to juggle two babes! I can't believe we're already two weeks and some change into this "family of four" gig...but so far it's been pretty smooth sailing! I'll attribute that mostly to the fact that Malia is such a calm, sweet girl and she sleeps like an absolute champ. I think life would look a whole lot different if we were dealing with sleep deprivation but since basically night two at home, Malia has been waking up once at night to eat! Insane, right?! London was not like that AT ALL. She wasn't a terrible sleeper - I actually thought she was pretty great - but now that we've got Malia to compare the "newborn stage" too, it's been pretty crazy different. 

If you've been following my pregnancy journey this time around then you probably know how worried/nervous/anxious I was about how London would adjust. She has always been such a mommy's girl and pretty possessive of me - to the point where holding another baby would cause a major meltdown for her. I'm so happy to share that she's been absolutely AMAZING and has adjusted so well thus far with this transition. I'm just so proud of her. Of course, she has her moments as all toddlers/three year olds do ... but overall it's been incredible to watch her embrace her new role as "big sister!" She loves to kiss Malia and calls her "sweetie pie" ... gives her the paci when she's upset and says in the sweetest voice, "it's ok honey!" It's magical to watch! 

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I struggled with some major baby blues for the first probably 6-8 weeks with London. I literally cried multiple times a day and my hormones were so up and down! I've been SO relieved because I don't have any of those feelings with baby number two. It's been the complete opposite. I'm able to be present and embrace this stage more - which I struggled so much with the first time around. I think when you go from zero children to your first child it's a GIANT life change. When you transition from one to two kiddos, you're already in "mommy mode" and everything seems less overwhelming. Basic things like changing a diaper or knowing how to feed or burp your baby aren't a big deal because you've been there, done that. The crying doesn't stress you out as much because you know why they're crying and you're also just used to the chaos :)

Getting out of the house is challenging, I will admit to that. Something so simple as running to Target isn't as simple anymore. I must say, ordering our groceries online helps because it's one less outing I have to plan. We've been hanging at the house a lot and if we do anything, it's in the morning when Malia takes a shorter snooze in my carrier. Thankfully, London loves her new playroom so she doesn't really want to leave the house too much anyway! Malia has been sleeping a good chunk in the afternoon (usually 4-5 hours!) so I haven't wanted to venture out because the sleep is not only good for her but it's good for me! I'm able to get London up from her nap and we can spend the whole afternoon together reconnecting and playing. I think she really loves the time and so do I! 

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In short, life with two is way less overwhelming than I had anticipated it would be! It's been so beautiful and if anything, even more enjoyable than I thought it would be! If you've got a toddler and you're expecting...try to relax. Mom's of multiples told me that too and I still couldn't - so trust me, I get it ... but it will be ok. Your heart really does grow in size when your second is born...yes, you instantly love them just as much as your first, and your first little love is going to be JUST FINE. 

Leave a comment below if you have any questions about juggling life with two or if you're expecting and anxious! I'll def try to give my best advice! 

xx, 

Ashley 

Malia Skye: Birth Story...

 
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It's been the most magical week and five days since little Malia Skye entered our world! She fits so seamlessly into our family, as if we've known her all along. I've called her a "unicorn baby" many times because of her sweet disposition and champion sleep habits. Big sister London has been a champ as well. We had no idea what to expect but I must say, we have been so pleasantly surprised and she has exceeded our expectations. Watching London take on her new role with enthusiasm is a big reason why this past week has been as amazing as it has been. I'm just so proud of her. Of course, she has her moments because it is after all a massive transition - but overall, it's been a pretty smooth adjustment :)

I wanted to share Malia's birth story because I've gotten lots and LOTS of questions on Instagram about being induced (i.e. why, how it was, etc.), whether I got an epidural or not (I DID!), if I'm breastfeeding (NOPE!), and more - so I thought I'd put it all here :) 

The Induction

Both of our babies were born on their due dates because we decided (in conjunction with our doctor) that we would be induced. With London, honestly, a lot of it came down to timing and Chris' job. He travels basically the entire month of July, and since London's due date was July 1st, our doctor suggested we be induced. She knew mommy + baby were both healthy at 40 weeks and that I was pretty stressed about Chris being gone so soon after the birth. We were all for it considering we could plan the time/day of induction and plan with our family so they could be here to experience it!

Fast forward to July 25th - which was Malia's due date - and we found ourselves with a planned induction once again. A lot of people asked me why we chose to be induced...and my answer was kind of like "why not?" We had the most amazing birth experience being induced with London and I wanted a similar experience this time around as well. I asked my doctor the same question and she sort of had a similar answer like, "why wouldn't you be?!" I trust her 100%. She is incredible; has been doing this for 30+ years and delivered over 6,000 babies! We absolutely adore her, so when she said we could do another planned induction we were all for it.We were scheduled to check into Brigham and Women's at 9:30AM. When we arrived they took my vital signs, did the necessary paperwork and got us onto the floor pretty quickly! My sister arrived for the fun around 11AM, just after my nurse (who was amazing by the way!) started my IV. I don't know why, but getting the IV started was something I was most nervous about...I think I'm crazy ha! Anyway, once that was in place we just hung out for awhile until Dr. Bunnell (my doctor) came to check on us and run through how the day would progress. We were all so excited to get the show on the road and meet our girl! They started me on Pitocin around 1pm (the same time they started me with Lo!) and from there they kept increasing the drip until come 6pm, my contractions were lasting 45 seconds and about 1 min, 20 seconds apart. 

The Epidural

I waited pretty long (I think) to ask for my epidural and maybe even wish I had asked for it sooner. Holding completely still so they could place the catheter in my back while simultaneously having contractions was less than fun. Not to mention, the resident had a difficult time finding the right "space" and by the end it took prob 20 minutes and I was dripping in sweat. It also took about a half hour for the epidural to kick in and even then, I didn't fully cover the pain. In fact, I started feeling CRAZY pelvic pressure shortly after and called my nurse in around 7pm. My exact quote was "why am I feeling this? I don't want to feel anything!" My doctor came in and checked me and said as calm as could be, "well, I think we could push once and have a baby!" I'll never forget the feeling I got when she said that! I just wasn't expecting it and it was like a huge rush came over me. I instantly started shaking with adrenaline and Chris and my sister were SO excited. We just couldn't believe it all happened so fast! 

The Birth

Malia's actual delivery really was in fact, one push. I pushed for a whopping 7 minutes with London, and this time (according to my doctor) it was 45 seconds and through one contraction. There's no rhyme or reason but my doctor tells me I'm made to have babies...who knew?! Either way, I'll take it! Malia Skye entered the world at 7:13pm weighing in at 7 lbs, 6 oz and measuring 21.5 inches long! She looked SO much like London when she came out with her slanted eyes and squished nose...Chris and I felt like we were having deja vu! Her fingers and feet were so long - we noticed right away and the nurse even measured her foot! It was 4 inches! Ha! She also didn't make a PEEP when she came out. No crying, whimpering, nothing. At first I was worried, but no one else seemed concerned at all, so we just went with it. She didn't actually make a sound for about three hours. Her name is Hawaiian, meaning "calm and gentle waters" and I just kept saying that she totally lives up to her name. I still feel that way 12 days later.

The post-birth snuggles are so magical. I felt like this time around I was able to be so much more present and really soak in the moment. It was beautiful and I will cherish it forever. Every fear I had about making space in my heart for baby number two went completely out the window the moment I pulled Malia onto my chest. It was like I had known her my whole life and she had always been part of our family. She has captured our hearts in so many ways and we just feel so blessed to have two sweet, beautiful girls to love and spoil forever! 

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Thank you all for your incredible love and support! Your messages were read and noted ... and even though we couldn't respond to every single one, we felt them all! It's so fun sharing this journey with you all - especially beautiful moments like these!

xx, Ashley 

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What's In My Bag: Part II...

 
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It's BABY WEEK! 

I can't believe we will actually be meeting our sweet girl in just a few days! It's SO surreal and we couldn't be more excited/anxious/nervous/ALL of the above! As promised, I wanted to share what I packed in my bag for the hospital! When we had London, I made it a point not to overpack and was pleasantly surprised because I felt like the hospital really had a lot that we needed.

I'll start with what I put in my diaper bag:

- Baby Markwood's "going home" outfit

- Birth Plan (I did this last time too and gave it to my L&D nurse when we arrived for our induction)

- Swaddle blanket from Copper Pearl (We got this one!) 

- Wubbanub paci plus a regular paci (probably not necessary, but, I packed them mostly for the days after we get home anyway)

- Newborn diapers, wipes, changing pad (again, probably not necessary)

- Letter board for baby announcement (under $16!)

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Now I'm going to list the things that I brought in my own bag ... which is actually a small tote from Target.

- Toiletries / make up bag (yes, I put make up on the first time around too - it made me feel like a human ... so I plan to bring it again!)

- Sports Bra / comfortable bra for post-birth 

- Underwear (literally could do without this...you'll end up wearing the super-attractive mesh underwear provided by the hospital because they're SO COMFORTABLE) 

- Bathrobe; I am bringing this floral robe for photos but also a warmer one with long sleeves because hospitals are always cold!) 

- Pajamas with buttons, I have this in gray and it's the BEST! Here is the shorts/top version (only $35 for the set!; I say "with buttons" because obviously if you're breast feeding it's easier...but also it's easier for skin to skin with your new baby, which is the best ever!) 

- Phone/Phone Charger for ALL the pics and/or a video camera

- Your pillow from home; I'm SO glad I brought my own pillow the first time around. It was so much more comfortable and I picked my own cute pillowcase for photos :) 

- Comfortable/roomy "going home" outfit; I opted for this Daisy Cami Maxi from Forever 21 that is loose fitting because let's be honest, you're not going to feel your absolute best!

I totally suggest making a small list of things you can't forget but also can't pack until you're just about to leave for the hospital! For me this was: phone, phone charger, toiletries, make up bag, and pillow! I strongly advise against overpacking. You'll have enough to worry about, but packing the car with 5 large bags shouldn't be one of them! I think if you want to bring a diaper bag, great - but if you can fit the baby's stuff with your stuff, that's fine too!

I hope this helped any parents-to-be! I'll make sure to post some updates / baby Markwood's birth story soon! If you want to follow along even closer, check my Instagram stories!

xx,

Ashley 

More NSale Favorites...

Hey All! The Nordstrom sale is still going on but this is the LAST day for cardholders to shop before it opens to the public! Lots of items are already sold out and super low in stock, so I wanted to share some more favorites with you to grab before tomorrow! Enjoy! 

xx, Ashley 

What's In My Bag: Part I...

Happy hump day! It's already been a WEEK prepping for baby but also recovering from a 24-hour stomach bug. Thank goodness my mom has been with us - she's such a lifesaver! I am working on a part II post to go along with this one - and it will be all about what's in my hospital bag! This time, I wanted to share my favorite diaper bag, Fawn Design, what I pack in it on a daily basis and also for when we head to the hospital! 

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I was using a shoulder diaper bag when I had London and quickly learned how much easier it is to use a backpack. I LOVE Fawn Design because not only is it a backpack, but it also gives you that shoulder strap option if you want it as well. I went with the "original black" because I think it will go with everything + I love the softness of the leather. It also doesn't scream "diaper bag" which, for me, is important :) I wanna still look stylish! 

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There a few "staples" that I never leave home without and ALWAYS stay in my bag:

- An extra pair of clothes/undies for Lo

- Snacks...snacks...and more snacks

- Wipes and hand sanitizer

- Dum Dum lollipops (because sometimes desperate times call for treats!)

- Books and a few activities on-the-go with a packet of crayons

Now that we're about to welcome baby number two, I've added a few more things to the bag and guess what - it all fits! Yay! Here's what I have for the babe: 5 diapers, disposable changing pads, Burts Bees diaper cream (I swear by this! I used it every diaper change on Lo and she never had one rash!), muslin blanket (love this feather print, under $15!), Wubbanub / pacifier, and an extra outfit and socks!

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The Fawn bag has so many little pockets inside to keep things separate. I always carry "on the go" Neosporin and bandaids just in case because TODDLER and I of course need a spot for my wallet and phone; there's room for it all! 

I hope you all have an amazing rest of your week! I'll work on my "hospital bag" post - hopefully before this baby decides to join us ;) Thank you all for following along! 

xx, 

Ashley 

 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Favorites...

Nordstrom is having the BEST sale of the year now through August 5th! (Are you tired of hearing about it yet) ;) It's SO amazing if you're a Nordstrom cardholder, which you def want to be, you can shop the sale before it becomes open to the public! Trust me - SO much is sold out by the time it's open to the public so you'll want to sign up for a card. It's super easy, I did it for the first time last year ... worth it! 

I wanted to share my personal faves ... and I'll continue to update it along the way. Also, follow me on Instagram and IG stories for quick "swipe up" options on my more of my faves! 

xx, Ashley 

Family Shoot...

 
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We did a family shoot a few weekends back with our dear friend, Patty with Kivalo Photography. She has been a part of our biggest moments and captured our wedding, baby announcements, this maternity shoot and many others. I went back and forth on if I wanted to get photos done mostly because June was such a busy month for our family however, I could NOT be more excited about how these came out. Patty knew that we didn't have a lot of time and she captured this all in under 45 minutes with a rambunctious toddler, on a bright sunny morning (both which make for challenging photographs) She is such a pro and we just love her so much. I wanted to share some of our favorites, which was hard considering how many we loved! 

Thank you, Patty for working wonders! 

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xx, Ashley 

Happy Birthday, London!

 
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Our sweet girl is THREE in just a few days and we have been so busy getting ready for this move that it came ridiculously fast. I can't seem to wrap my head around it. HOW is our little 6 pound, 12 ounce little sweetie already this BIG amazing girl?! The time has literally gone by at lightening speed and I just want it to slow down.

London is truly a dream come true in every way and she's blossomed so much this past year. She's incredibly bright, witty, sweet, courageous, and BEAUTIFUL. People tell us all the time what a leader she is and how "no one will ever push her around" and it makes my heart so happy. We are trying our best to raise a world-changer; a champion for God, for what's good and right, and maybe for those who don't have a voice. I'm enamored with her in every way and there aren't enough words to describe my love; it's just overwhelming. She truly is my best friend and I'm so excited to see what this next year has in store...and how she will embrace her new role in just a few weeks! 

Happy Birthday, sweetheart! Maybe one day you'll see this and just know how OBSESSED I am with you...I love you BEYOND! 

xx, Ashley (Mommy)

All photography was done by Kivalo Photography

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Fourth of July Inspo...

It's moving week for us - so it's been crazy hectic! It's hard to even imagine what our 4th will look like this year ... but I'm hoping we can steal away for a little bit and celebrate! I love this patriotic holiday - and REALLY love the red, white, and blue style looks! I'm sharing some cute options below that would be perfect for any BBQ, parade, or just going to see the fireworks! Hope everyone is having a great week! 

xx, Ashley