Copy of How To Maintain Curls + Curly Hair Wash Routine...

Happy Wednesday!

I ran a poll on my IG stories last week asking if you all would like a mini tutorial on how I manage London’s hair and since 94% of you voted HECK YES … here it is! :)

It has taken me 3+ years to get to a place where I feel like I have somewhat of a clue when it comes to curly hair! I have completely straight hair so it’s definitely been a learning curve! I’m not an expert AT ALL so I’ve asked lots of questions about products, researched products, a little trial and error to see what works and I finally think we have a concoction that’s working right now!

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I will mention that I basically harass Allysha from @HouseofTurcotte because her hair is AMAZING and she recommended the Shea Moisture product that we use….which we LOVE and makes a huge difference! If you have curly hair or curly-haired kids you should check her out :)

Here are the products that we currently use on London’s hair:

  1. Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Shampoo

  2. Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Conditioner

  3. Garnier Fructis Damage Repairing Treatment

  4. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

  5. Proclaim Olive Glossing Polish

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Step 1: Wash / Condition

I typically wash London’s hair 2x a week. I found that if I washed it more it would dry it out, so twice seems to work well. I shampoo her hair once and condition it twice. I found that on the second pass of conditioner - if I use my wet brush while it’s wet and she’s still in the bath - I can brush the tangles out so much easier! The wet brush has been clutch - I love it. Sometimes I do the Leave-in mask for a few minutes after combing her hair and after the shampoo/conditioner, as the last step before I do a final rinse.

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Step 2: Apply Smoothing Cream

I also took Allysha’s advice on this too and use one of Chris’s white t-shirts to wrap London’s hair in. I used to towel it off and it would make it really frizzy from the start - but the t-shirt works! Then I use the smoothing cream. I start at the root and usually work the cream in all the way to the ends. Lo’s ends can get frizzy so I make sure I add a bit more of the smoothing cream on those. I let that set for a few minutes and sometimes I’ll finish it off with a braid or just let it air dry.

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Step 3: Apply Proclaim Glossing Polish

First off, this oil smells SO amazing. It has olive oil, for frizz and to make hair look super shiny. I put a nickle-size amount in my palms, rub them together and them work it all through London’s hair - typically from the bottom-half down to the ends.

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I do typically braid her hair when she sleeps because it minimizes the tangles. In the morning, I’ll spritz it with a little water and add more of the Shea Moisture smoothie cream to bring her curls back to life! It seems like a lot of steps and sometimes it is - but we have it down to a little routine now and I feel like we’re getting the hang of it. If you have any more tips/tricks you’d like to share - please send them my way! I know a few people have recommended a silk pillowcase and I have one in my Amazon cart right now - I think that’ll help with tangles also.

Anyway - I hope you found this helpful in some way! Have a great week!

xx, Ashley

How '1-2-3 Magic' Worked For Us...

 
I got my eyebrows microbladed literally YESTERDAY sooo… don’t mind those ;)

I got my eyebrows microbladed literally YESTERDAY sooo… don’t mind those ;)

Happy Week of Loveee :)

I am one of those people that really LOVE Valentine’s Day and all the hearts, all the pink, and all the red! What better week than this one to talk about our favorite thing ever: Toddler Discipline. HA! Kidding…Eww. I know. It’s not fun - but I’m writing this post in hopes that it can help other parents who may need a new strategy or who feel like they’re walking on egg shells around their “threenager” like we did! This isn’t sponsored by “1-2-3- Magic” … and I highly suggest you get the book to read it for yourself … but I just want to share WHY we started using the techniques discussed and how it has worked or rather TRANSFORMED our home.

The WHY

As parents we have always tried to be super consistent with every aspect of our children’s lives. We are consistent with their routines at bedtime, at nap time … we were consistent with potty training … we are consistent when it comes to the morning routine, etc., and it’s all good because it works for us. There was one area that we weren’t being consistent in and that was in our approach to discipline. (i.e. are we doing time-outs? are we ignoring? are we just talking calmly? are we distracting?) For awhile it wasn’t much of an issue because London always cooperated and listened fairly well. We used the “distraction” method as long as we could - but when London neared 3.5, I was feeling pretty helpless. I had tried different tactics but none of them seemed to be working. London was starting to do things like slamming doors and saying disrespectful things to both Chris and I. I know, she’s 3 and that comes with the territory (somewhat), but I really felt like if we didn’t nip it now, it would get worse later and MORE THAN THAT…I’m NOT okay with anyone slamming doors in my face. Even though our doctor said “just ignore it; it’s normal toddler behavior,” I didn’t really want to ignore it. It seemed like I was getting into these power struggles with this tiny human leading to more and more meltdowns.

I had read a few books before this one about staying calm, ignoring tantrums, avoiding time outs and taking “time-ins,” speaking directly etc., some of which worked for half of the day… but by the end of most days, after I was exhausted from lectures and repeating myself, I would often lose my patience. I was raising my voice more often than I wanted, which never made me or London feel good. I was essentially crying to Chris every night when he got home and felt like I was failing at my “job” which feels absolutely TERRIBLE especially when your job is being a stay at home mom. I knew that we needed to find a way to fix this or we would all go literally insane!

HELLO Magic!

A few weeks back, I went to my alumni basketball weekend at the University of Maine and had the best time with some of my former teammates. A lot of us are now raising kids that are around the same age - and we started talking about some of the challenges that I was facing with London and the constant power struggles. That’s when my friend recommended the “1-2-3 Magic” book. I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical because like I said, I had read other books already that led me to lots of dead ends. After I listened to how it had transformed her household, I pretty quickly ordered it. Thank GOD I did.

I LOVE that this book, unlike the others I have read, actually gives you a consistent plan when it comes to discipline. Any behavior that you want to stop such as whining, disrespectful talk, hitting, throwing etc. can be “counted” using the 1,2,3 counting method that the book discusses! The first thing we did was sit London down and tell her that we have new “house rules.” The book instructs you on how to do this and the reason in doing it. I think it’s an important step because it shows that you and your spouse/partner are a united front and are both on board. We also did a dress rehearsal to demonstrate what it would mean if we counted to ‘3’ and she had to take a “time out.” (London thought it was hysterical to send Chris to our room for 3 minutes. Ha!) Also, we do three minute time-outs because Lo is 3 years old. She spent the next two days after our little house rules chat testing us to see if we were going to follow through. We did :)

An important part to this whole thing being successful is NO TALKING on the part of the caregiver. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT and it was REALLY hard for me at first. I was so used to lecturing / explaining WHY we don’t do something or say something that isn’t kind etc. It is also my favorite part of the entire process because by eliminating the talking - my days instantly became a lot less exhausting.

Just to give you an example of how this works…one thing that London would do that always seemed to DRIVE ME CRAZY was that whenever she got frustrated she would say “I don’t like you” to anyone that was around; could be me, a friend, her grandparents, a stranger … literally anyone. I tried putting her in time out anytime she said it, didn’t work. I tried ignoring it completely, didn’t work. I tried explaining to her that this hurts feelings and isn’t kind, DEFINITELY didn’t work … but for whatever reason - THIS WORKS. She has only said this once since we began this entire process - which is a major win!

For the purpose of this blog post, here is an example of how an exchange might go (there are LOTS of examples given in the book which really help too!)

London: “Mommy, can I have a cookie?”

Me: “Not right now. It’s too close to dinner time.”

London: “I want one now!”

Me: “That’s 1.” (said calmly and holding up one finger)

London: “I don’t like you, Mommy!”

Me: “That’s not kind. That’s 2.”

London: (yelling) “No!!!”

Me: “That’s 3, take 3.”

At this point ideally Lo would go to her room but if she doesn’t go on her own, I would calmly pick her up and put her in her room WITHOUT SAYING A WORD and start the timer for 3 minutes. When the timer is done I would go into her room and say, “timer is up!" and that’s IT. I wouldn’t lecture or explain why she got a time out … we start FRESH and move on like nothing happened. London is usually smiling saying “let’s read, Mom!” or even “I’m sorry Mom!” … it’s pretty amazing.

Here is another example of the same situation as above, except this time ending in a MOMMY WIN…

London: “Mommy, can I have a cookie?”

Me: “Not right now. It’s too close to dinner time.”

London: “I want one now!”

Me: “That’s 1.” (said calmly and holding up one finger)

London: “Okay, maybe I can have one after dinner!” (exits room)

The first example looks a lot like how things would have gone 2+ weeks ago before implementing this strategy. The second example is absolutely what happens now. Let it be known, I have definitely used this outside of our home as well. I’ve counted at the doctor’s office, at Target, at London’s preschool pick-up and in front of friends/family. If you’re worried about feeling embarrassed when counting in front of other people - throw that out the window. It’s pretty freaking awesome to be able to just say “that’s 1” to get your child to stop doing whatever it is you don’t want them to do.

Our house is definitely a more relaxed place and just calmer overall. London was certainly craving consistency in the area of discipline and we were totally NOT fulfilling her needs. I think children really crave boundaries and the meltdowns that London was having were almost a cry for help. She was frustrated, I was frustrated … and now I feel like my girl is back and we are completely enjoying our time together.

I wanted to share this with other parents because maybe you’re feeling a bit helpless like I did. Don’t lose hope. Parenting is really freaking hard…like REALLY hard. We are all just doing our best. Please take a peek at this book and let me know what you think. I truly hope it meets you where you are! As always, please message me here or DM me on Instagram and I will respond to you if you have any questions! Love y’all! Keep being amazing!!

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xx, Ashley

Malia's 6 Month Update...

 
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It’s safe to say I’m kicking 2019 off with a bang and already forgetting to do a write-up on Malia’s 5th month! Second child problems! Honestly … there wasn’t much of a crazy change in her schedule in regards to sleeping/eating/playing etc. in her fifth month, so it kind of works out well that I’m skipping right to six :)

Malia actually turns 6 months today - so I’ll do a little update on where we are at now! She’s still a champion sleeper, is starting to engage so much with the world around her, sits up unassisted (which is a game changer), is eating solid foods and is just as cheerful as she’s ever been! We are so in love with her…honestly, SWEETEST BABY EVER. I’m sharing lots of info regarding her eating schedule now too, per request, so take a peek below :)

Sleeping

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Malia is still napping relatively well and sleeping through the night. We had about a week of bad naps and poor night sleep when she was sick with a cold, so it really made me realized just how spoiled we are by her amazing sleep habits on a normal basis. She is definitely able to stay awake longer before needing a second nap. I would say her wake times are about two hours…maybe 2 hours and 15 minutes. She is taking 2-3 naps a day, but typically still three with the third nap being the shortest a majority of the time. Her morning nap continues to consistently be the longest of the day (typically 1.5-2 hours), her second nap is anywhere from 45 minutes - 1.5 hours and her third nap, like I said, is about 30-40 minutes. (What can I say, this girl loves her sleep and I’m not complaining!) I’m sure in the coming weeks, we will have her nap just twice a day, but for now this seems to be working. Her bedtime is between 6:15pm - 6:45pm.

We put her down awake at every nap and at bedtime and I’ve found she is much more aware now that she’s older. She fusses a little bit sometimes, but usually not more than 10 minutes before falling asleep. I highly recommend that if you do nothing else sleep wise, that you start putting your baby down awake around 2-3 months old. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be and the more problems you will have. We basically sailed through the 4-month sleep regression because Malia was already consistently putting herself to sleep. The issues were extremely minimal and I know it was due to that. Trust me on this one…teaching them this skill is MAJOR and will help you so much in the long run!

Eating

I consistently share what my girls eat for their meals on my Instagram and ALWAYS get questions about it - especially concerning Malia. I’m not an expert by any means but I’m just sharing what seems to be working for us! This section will be a little longer than the others, because I want to try to be as thorough as possible!

I started purees with Lia around 4.5-5 months. I didn’t put too much pressure on it or have any expectations, I just kind of wanted her to start trying foods, learning to push foods to the back of her mouth and swallow, etc. I know a lot of people like to wait until 6 months with the Baby Led Weaning approach - but this is what we did with London and it worked out well for us so we stuck with it. We are still just doing one meal per day and always at 5pm when London and I eat dinner as well. When we started with just purees Malia typically would eat 1/2-1 jar and 1 Tablespoon of rice cereal at a sitting. Like I said, we did this for about a month or so - letting her just explore different tastes of different foods. Some days she would eat more and others she would eat less … I just took her lead :)

Recently (like, in the past week) I have started to give her more solid foods to try. For example, this week she gnawed on some broccoli and I fed her little pieces of salmon and sweet potato. She loved it all! She actually ate quite a bit of salmon too! I typically put it all in a plate, but she hasn’t quite figured out that instead of smooshing the foods in her hand she can bring them to her mouth - so I help her with my fingers or a spoon. If I remember correctly, London started around 7-8 months using her fingers and feeding herself. I would say just experiment with it and have fun! Let them explore different textures and let them get messy! Try not to get too stressed (I know that’s easier said than done) but keep in mind it is SO good for them to just explore. I love making mealtime a production i.e. when it takes 20-30 minutes I’m thrilled! It’s an activity and it takes up time, so that’s a win! The brand that we love is BeechNut (this is not an ad) and we also do Earth’s Best. I usually get them at Target or the grocery store.

Here are the foods that Malia has tried thus far (not purees): sweet potato, asparagus, avocado, banana, salmon, and broccoli. She has seemed to like all of it which makes me happy! I want to steam some carrots and also try zucchini with her next. I really like following @Feedinglittles on Instagram as a great resource!

Playing

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Lia has definitely been more interactive and expressive as of late. She is now in her stand-up activity saucer which keeps her entertained for a good 15 minutes at a time. She is starting to sit up unassisted which I’m so happy about. She seems to love books, especially ones with a “flap,” she loves to grab for toys/stuffies and of course she enjoys watching her big sister run around and play. She’s finding her voice and exploring all the ways she can make noises with her tongue and lips. It’s so cute to watch. I also just bought a bathtub seat for her which is seriously the best - and I’m so mad that I didn’t buy it sooner! I’ve been able to put the girls in the bath together this week and it’s made life so much easier! They both LOVE it. All baths have been 25-30 minutes long so that’s also a win.

If I remember from London’s first year, SO much happens between 7-9 months and I recall loving those ages. Crawling is next and then comes pulling up and eventually walking - and I’m just so excited for it all. At the same time, I want time to slow down because I can’t believe my baby is already half a year old! It doesn’t seem possible.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Let me know if you’d like me to work on any specific posts coming up - you can comment on my latest Instagram post and I’ll see it there :) Love you all!

xx, Ashley

A Letter To My Second Born...

 
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My Malia Skye,

You are already almost half a year old. It has been 167 days of “getting to know you” my sweet girl…and it has been every bit as glorious as one could imagine. I am going to cry through writing this letter to you, my very first one, but I want to be able to express all of the love I have in my heart for you!

Before you were born it was just Daddy, your big sister and I. I was nervous about our dynamic changing and the big transition we would encounter when becoming a family of four. As soon as they placed you on my chest, every fear or feeling of anxiousness dissipated. It was like you had been with us all along. Every day from that moment forward you have continued to bless us with your sweet disposition and your contagious smile. You are truly the happiest baby and you make life EASY for me; for that I am eternally grateful. When we looked up the meaning of your name, “calm and gentle waters,” it could not be more fitting. You embody that in every way; you have a calming presence and an ease about you that is evident and always commented on by anyone that meets you.

I am so blessed to be your Mom.

I am sorry that far too often you get the short end of the stick when it comes to time and attention from me. The day gets bombarded with a never ending “to-do” list and your sister needs lots of love too. Thank you for being patient. So many times you’re watching me from the playroom while I’m running around the kitchen making dinner feeling like I should be reading to you or playing with you … and our eyes meet. You give me the sweetest side smile and time stands still. In that moment I feel like you really “see” me to my soul…and it’s almost like you’re saying “I’m ok, Mommy. I’m good.” Thank you for the unspoken understanding that you give to me. I live for your little smiles that melt my heart into a giant puddle.

I was already someone’s mommy when you came into the world, but you made me a better one. Just know, you were the missing piece that completed our little family.

Loving you is easy, Miss Malia. I will love you with every part of my heart forever…

Mommy xx

Baby Favorites...

Hey guys! I’m committing to blogging more in 2019! The past few months have been so hectic, I don’t feel like I’ve been delivering my best content or as much content as I would like!

Today’s post and yesterday’s post is more of the things you can expect … more motherhood + lifestyle since that’s just fitting my life these days and seems to make sense :) I always get questions about my favorite products for baby and even though I’ve done a similar post with “mommy must have’s” I feel like today’s post offers a little more detail about each product and WHY I love them so much. If you have any questions - please comment on my latest Instagram post! I’m more likely to see it there and I will get back to you!

xx, Ashley

Honest Product Review...

 
Makeup: Wearing the cream blush, “Blossom” lip crayon and Mascara - by The Honest Company

Makeup: Wearing the cream blush, “Blossom” lip crayon and Mascara - by The Honest Company

I’ve gotten so many questions on my IG about how I like the The Honest Company beauty products! This blog post is totally not sponsored - I just wanted to share some clean, natural beauty products with you guys because you’ve been asking…and I want to make content that you actually care about :)

So…The Honest Company reached out to me (still pinching myself) and said they wanted to send me some products from their beauty line to which I said YES PLEASE! I already use their diapers, wipes, lotion, bubble bath, and shampoo (for Malia) anyway - so I thought it would be fun to try some stuff for myself! I’m really impressed with their skincare and makeup so below you’ll find a list of the products that I’ve tried and I’ll link them so you can shop!

  1. Everyday Primer Matte: I’m not sure how I feel about this one. The consistency is a bit thick compared to what I’m used too. I typically use the Sephora brand primer and it’s pretty lightweight. I must say, I do think it preps your skin well and the smell is very “earthy” which I also like! Again, the verdict is still out - but I’ve used it twice under my tinted moisturizer and foundation and it seems to prep my face well without giving any extra oil!

  2. Cream Blush: I’ve never used a cream blush before but I actually LOVE it. It’s a really soft pink (“rose pink”) and blends really well without leaving your skin feeling super oily! I’m wearing it in the above photo. ($12.99)

  3. Organic Beauty Face Oil: Speaking of oil … OBSESSED. I never thought I would be one to jump on the “face oil” bandwagon but I’m sold. This stuff is actual GOLD. I love how it makes my skin feel when I apply it in the morning and evening before bed. Since it’s winter and everything is extra dry, I feel like my face just soaks it up immediately. I’ve noticed a total difference in how vibrant my skin looks since using this! HIGHLY recommend! ($27)

  4. Mascara + Primer: I am the queen of cheap mascara’s because I feel like I’ve tried a lot of the expensive ones and they either don’t work or they make my eyes / lash line itchy! (Anyone else have that problem?!) Not only does this mascara/primer duo lengthen your lashes and make them look fab, but it’s also affordable so, YAY! ($14.99)

  5. Lip Crayons: YES YES YES! So much yes. Again, because they sent these to me I had never tried a lip crayon and mainly used stains. I absolutely LOVE their lip crayons because you can apply them heavy or light, depending what look you’re going for. They make my lips feel moisturized too, which is an added bonus. The Demi-Matte lip crayons are great because they’re more pigmented for a night out (I love “Blossom”), but I use the Lush Sheer crayons for my natural / every day look. ($12)

  6. Make Up Wipes: I’m not going to lie, I just used these for the first time last night but they did remove a full face of makeup! I’m a big fan of make up wipes in general, but sometimes the scent is too strong so I really like that these have a pretty muted smell! ($3.99)

  7. Eyeshadow Palette: I was VERY excited about this palette - which I shared on Insta-stories. I can’t believe its under $20! The colors are so rich and beautiful and I’ve used it every day since I received it. Highly recommend you snag this up! ($19.99)

    *I also received the “Elevated Hydration Mist” which seems like it would be GREAT for cold, dry winter months. I haven’t used this yet, so I can’t really give a review!

xx, Ashley

New Year's Resolution...

I think resolutions are silly and they always seem to fade away shortly after making them … BUT, I am hopping on the bandwagon and making ONE resolution this year. Are you ready for it?! It’s a real shocker… my resolution is to…

WORK OUT CONSISTENTLY

I have found myself saying recently “I’m going to work out consistently in the new year…that’s my goal.” For whatever reason, every cookie I ate (and there were a lot of them) over Christmas was followed with this internal thought of “I’m going to work out in 2019.” I was getting back to my workouts for a bit, but after Malia got sick and I missed a solid week - I fell off the wagon again! It’s always easy to do anytime you have sick kiddos and honestly, I’m just not as motivated when I’m functioning on very little sleep.

My husband got me 10 & 15-lb weights and a stability ball as one of my Christmas presents and I was so happy because I’ve been needing them. I want to start a lifting program from home because it’s more realistic for me at this season of my life. I’d love to go to the gym and I know I’ll get back there, it’s just not going to happen consistently right now so I’d rather not spend the money on a membership! So…I’m vowing to work out consistently and maybe by posting this blog, I’ll be able to stick to that! The word “consistently” has a different meaning now than it did pre-kids. I used to workout 5-6 times a week but now, I’m happy with 3-4 times a week..I think that’s a realistic goal. I’m also vowing to get up early to work out. I was doing this for a bit and it was AMAZING. I would get up at 6AM and sneak a quick workout and shower in before the girls woke up! I loved it for two reasons: 1. my workout was done for the day and I didn’t have it looming over my head, and 2. I was super energized! After a little morning “me” time, I felt awake and ready to take on the day, so - I’m going to get back to that!

Anyway - I wish you all a happy and healthy NEW YEAR! It has been such a magical year for us as a family…so we will see if we can top it in 2019! Love to you all - and thank you for following along!

xx, Ashley

Gift Ideas For Your Preschooler...

 
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I cannot believe Christmas is just two weeks away! Thank goodness I did a lot of my shopping over Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend … because there is still things that I need to get! Mostly stocking stuffers - but STILL! Never ending!

I’ve been wanting to share some gift ideas with you for your toddler / preschooler! A lot of these toys London already has and LOVES or is getting this year. It’s a lot of “pretend/imaginative play” which she’s super into right now. A fellow mommy blogger on IG suggested buying toys that don’t need batteries … but that can be used over and over and imagined in different ways. That’s sort of the route I am taking this year and probably moving forward when it comes to gift giving!

I did the majority of my shopping on Amazon because they have “Holiday Lists” already made up by age group, which is super helpful. I also hit Target because well, it’s Target! I love to get all of my last-minutes there and stocking stuffers. For stockings, I definitely try to stock her up with new paint, paintbrushes, crayons, etc and then fun things like some candy and gum (which she’s obsessed with).

I hope you’re all enjoying the time leading up to Christmas. It’s so special to have these memories and I’m wishing you all happy shopping in the days to come ;)

xx, Ashley

Malia's Four Month Update...

 
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It’s time for a little Malia update! I can’t believe she’s four months and one week! I’m so excited to share all of the new things she’s been doing!

I guess the major milestone of this month is that we started feeding her some solids! We have started with apples for now - and she seems to like them! Her pediatrician said we could start anytime between 4-6 months and because she has great head control, we decided to try it out with her. She ate about 2 tsp of apples and was basically over it :) We aren’t pushing it…really just sort of letting her experiment. London started out with rice cereal and pears at 5 months old. Literally, the first day she turned 5 months we started it and she ate her entire serving! Like I said, Malia is taking VERY small amounts right now, but I think in a few weeks she’ll get the hang of it!

She’s even more engaged with the world around her now. She grabs for toys and loves anything that plays music or lights up! Her absolute favorite person in the world is London. It melts my heart to watch their growing bond. Malia looks at Lo like she walks on water - and London loves to entertain her.

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We had a bit of a scare this month when Malia spiked a fever and had difficulty breathing. She had been battling what we thought was bronchiolitis for 5-6 days with a lot of congestion and poor appetite. She was drinking maybe half of what she normally would and it was MAJORLY stressing me out. The day her temperature went up, we were told to take her to the ER. She ended up being diagnosed with pneumonia and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). She is just now starting to feel better after battling this stuff for well over a week. Poor baby! It’s always so scary and difficult when our babies are sick…but Malia is SO little - so it was extra terrifying. Anyway, we are glad she’s on the mend and hoping we can all stay healthy over Christmas! Also, look at this picture of her in her little Johnny! I can’t handle it…she looks so nervous! Ugh! I love her so much.

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Sleep wise, she’s been a champion napper and takes them in her crib now. That’s been a total game changer, not only for my back since she was taking every nap on me in the carrier, but also because when she naps I can have special time with London. She usually takes her longest nap of the day in the morning, which is two hours! She’ll take about an hour nap in the afternoon and usually a 30-40 minute catnap around 3:30/4PM. Bedtime has been 6:30pm for awhile now and she’s been sleeping until 6:30/6:45AM. Typically in the last third of the night, after 3AM, she may need some soothing. I think once she starts to eat solids, she’ll fully extend her night without needing us to rock her/soothe her to sleep at any point during the night. To be clear, we don’t rock her fully to sleep - we may pick her up and soothe her or go in and pat her back (since she’s a belly sleeper) … just something to sort of help her get back to sleep. If you want to read more about how we sleep trained - I just did a full blog post on it and you can click here.

I can’t wait to celebrate Malia’s first Christmas in just a few weeks! She turns 5 months on Christmas day…so that’s extra special :) Our first holiday as a family of four…I’ll make sure to share how it goes!

Have an amazing week!

Xx, Ashley

Sleep Training Tips...

 
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I’m just going to start this off by saying I AM NOT A SLEEP EXPERT. I have done my fair share of research, read my fair share of books, and also worked with a few sleep experts from Baby Sleep Science - and used the same techniques on both of our girls, with much success. I posted a poll recently on my Instagram stories asking if a post like this would be helpful and 89% of you said YES, so I’m giving the people what they want ;) The other 11% can ignore this post, or just check back later when something interests you again!

The first thing you should RUN and do is buy the book “Twelve Hours of Sleep by Twelve Weeks.” Just trust me on this one - it’s a game changer. It’s a super easy read, is very straight-forward and gives you an ACTUAL plan of attack. If you’re anything like me, you’ll appreciate the detailed plan because it gives you sort of a baseline to work from. I didn’t do absolutely EVERYTHING the book says, but I will say, probably 90% of it I did and both of my girls are amazing sleepers. London slept through the night (7pm - 7am) at 5 months old, and Malia slept through the night at 13 weeks (6:30pm - 6/6:30am).

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Here are a few things that I think are important when it comes to grooming your babe to be a good sleeper…

Establish a feeding schedule

Try to do this around 8 weeks. The book spells out exactly how to do this whether you are bottle feeding or breast feeding. The goal is to try and consolidate feedings so your baby isn’t just “snacking” all day but instead, eating at set times a day. For both girls, we decided on a 7am, 11am, 3pm, and 7pm feeding schedule (give or take 15-30mins).

Establish a consistent bedtime routine

London is 3.5 and we’ve had the same routine since she was 8 weeks old. It consists of a bath (yes, she gets one daily), lotion/massage/pajamas, brush teeth, read books, and prayers. She knows what comes next and bedtime is smooth as can be literally EVERY night because we have been super consistent. I’m a big fan of baths before bed - it’s a pretty clear signal for bedtime and also it calms them down. I also have the sound machine going and play the same lullaby song every time I put my babies down to sleep.

“Eat, Play, Sleep” Schedule

This is also important. If you try to keep this in mind - you’ll avoid the habit of feeding your baby to sleep. I get lots of messages from moms that say their kids will only go to sleep while drinking their bottle or nursing. Of course, that happens when they’re super little because they sleep SO much, but around the 8-10 week mark, if you work to establish this “eat, play, sleep” schedule you can avoid getting into that habit! For example, Malia wakes in the morning and we change her, feed her then let her play for an hour or so before her first nap. We rotate her between her Bjorn bouncer (pictured below), play mat and usually my lap :)

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Put your baby down awake at bedtime

This is KEY. I’m not going to lie, I was SHOOK when it was time to do this with London, but by night three and at 12 weeks old, she was putting herself to sleep with just 1-2 minutes of fussing. We used the “limited crying” method that the book suggests. Essentially, you put your baby down, pour yourself a glass of wine (do NOT skip this step), and if he/she starts crying then you start a timer. After 3-5 minutes, you enter the room and “shush” him/her, give them a pacifier, pat their backs - whatever it takes to calm them without picking them up. When they calm down, you leave the room and repeat. If you buy the book, there are even more details to help you with this part - but I think this is the CORNERSTONE of helping your baby learn to good sleeping habits!

Nap Tips

Nap training is zero fun. I put it off until London was almost six months but started earlier with Malia. I would say the key here is to try and wait until your baby is consistently putting themselves to sleep at night. If you know they’ve mastered this skill, than you know that they will be able to put themselves to sleep at nap time. There may still be some crying…but you’ll get there. I would say doing a shortened version of your bedtime routine at nap time is a good place to start! Skip the bath of course, but if you change their diaper, put the sound machine/lullaby song on, read a book - those are all indicators that it’s time for sleep.

I think it’s typically the 5-6 month mark when babies can connect their sleep cycles, so don’t get discouraged if you get some short naps. You’ll get there. You can try letting them cry for 5-10 mins if they wake up after one cycle, to see if they’ll put themselves back to sleep. I did that with Lo and after just a few weeks she would put herself back to sleep after a short nap.

If you guys have any questions - let me know! Like I said, I’m not an expert, but I have done lots of research on this sleep stuff because mama is a BEAR if she doesn’t get her rest :) I hope this helps some of you!

xx,

Ashley




Toddler Travel Made Easy...

 
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London and I are taking a quick 3-day trip to Charleston this weekend to watch some of Chris’s games and spend some one-on-one time together! That photo above was taken the very first time we visited Charleston! Lo looks like such a baby!

Seriously, traveling with her is so much fun. Some of you might read that and think I'm crazy - but she gets so excited for the whole experience. She loves being at the airport, going through security (wonder how long that'll last), getting on the airplane...etc. This will be the 11th flight she has taken and each time gets better and better. 

I wanted to share some "must haves" when it comes to toddler travel. I know it can be stressful at times, I get it; but I think if you try to make it as fun as possible than they will feed off of that energy. First things first...I highly recommend traveling with a BACK PACK as a carry-on. Just trust me on this. You need two hands (and sometimes three). I really love this one by Skip Hop and if you’re looking for a cheaper version, this one is under $70.

The next thing that's a "must have" is a lightweight, compact, and easy to fold stroller. Our BABYZEN YOYO+ stroller is an actual lifesaver and I can't say enough about it. It's folds up in literally five seconds and is small enough to fit in the overhead compartment on the airplane. Once it's folded, it has a shoulder strap for easy carrying and it weighs just 15-lbs. I can't tell you how many people comment on it when they see us fold it up or open it; just how easy it is! There's also a pretty convenient compartment underneath to store small items if needed. If you’re looking for a less expensive travel stroller, I’ve heard great things about the Nano Travel Stoller by Mountain Buggy.

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Now, for a few tips while you’re on the plane…

I typically like to time flights so they’re during London’s nap time. Now that she’s older (almost 3.5 years), I just booked the cheapest flights :) She does still nap, but will be able to handle a missed nap for one day. Prior to flying, I alway hit the Target Dollar Bin for some activity books, sticker books, and anything small I can fit in my carry-on backpack for her. I pack a few of her favorite snacks, books, plane-friendly games, and of course – the iPad. Lo is old enough to understand how headphones work and she loves wearing them. I got these Mpow Kids Headphones for this trip - and they’re great.

Important tip: I highly suggest bringing a travel pack of Purell Sanitizing Wipes. It gives me peace of mind to wipe down the germ-infested airplane. I also bought the travel-sized Purell to attach to the strap of my backpack. I cannot tell you how many times I use this throughout the day when we travel!

I don’t leave home without…

Blackout shades; these are cheap paper shades that I always travel with. Actually I just keep them in my car. I use them when we stay at friend’s houses, hotels if needed, etc. They’re easy to fold and carry in your suitcase.

4Moms Travel Playard: Hands down, best ever and easiest set-up. It comes with a travel bag so we just usually check it in for the flight. I’ve struggled HARD with other pack n’ plays, but this one is absolutely AMAZING.

Sound Machine; Another thing I never travel without is this $20 plug-in sound spa. You never know what the noise level will be at the hotel so I prefer to make sure unnecessary things don’t wake my babes! Doesn’t take up a lot of room in your luggage either!


Lastly, as far as I’m concerned all bets are off when traveling. Screen time increases, the amount of snacks can go through the roof and I’m not above a good dum-dum lollipop bribe! You just do what you have to do, knowing that things will return back to normal as soon as you exit the aircraft HA! The moral of the story is to HAVE FUN and try to enjoy what can sometimes be a stressful experience, but doesn’t have to be!

I hope this is helpful for any of you that’ll be traveling with toddlers soon! Make sure to follow along on my Instagram to see our adventures in Charleston!



Malia's 3 Month Update...

 

Happy Monday!

Major news of the 3rd month is that...Malia is SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT! It’s been six straight nights of 12 hours for her (7p-7a) and it’s just so amazing. London slept through the night when she was five months old - which is still wonderful - but 13 weeks for Malia and we are THRILLED. Chris has been hoping she would master this before the start of the season and it looks like he got his wish, since their first official game is tomorrow!

She also rolled for the first time at 12 weeks exactly! We watched her on the monitor one night go from her belly to her back and she just did it again this past week - also in the middle of the night. Of course, I would prefer she practice her skills during the day, so we have been doing lots of tummy time and I’ve been helping her roll both ways! I’m already kind of dreading the 4-month sleep regression, which I know is kind of inevitable. Just hoping we can navigate it well...and without creating any bad habits! Anyway, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. 

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I love that she can recognize me from across the room now. Nothing makes me happier than seeing her giant smile when our eyes meet! Any parent knows how amazing that feeling is! She is super smiley and giggles when I do funny things - like hit myself in the head with a plastic water bottle ON PURPOSE (there’s no shortage of things I’ll do for a baby laugh). I’m convinced she’s the most chill baby ever; she just watches London play and tracks her all around the room as she dances and sings. London is built in entertainment around here and God knows I love that! Lia rarely fusses; only when she’s tired or hungry. We are seriously so blessed by her sweet disposition...she’s just an angel!

She has a big trip to Maine coming up! She’ll be spending 4 days with Grammy and Grampy while I take London on a trip to Charleston to catch a few of Chris’s games! I’m really excited she will have this time with them - and I know they’ll appreciate it too. 

Above you’ll see a photo from her first Halloween :) She wore her cousin’s costume from last year - just adorable! I’m gearing up for my Charleston trip next week so I’ll make sure I post in preparation for that - all of my tips on traveling with a toddler! Be on the lookout!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

xx, Ashley

Fall Adventures With The U.Fund Dreams Tour…

I don’t know about you guys, but this Fall has seemed to fly by INSANELY fast. I feel like we have almost skipped it here in New England - for the second straight year - as it went from 70-degree weather to temps in the 40’s, basically overnight! Maybe it’s having two kiddos that makes time go by even quicker, but just like that it’s almost Halloween! Ahh!!

Speaking of Halloween, I spent last Sunday with London at the Stone Zoo for their “Boo at the Zoo” event! We had never been to this zoo and we’d also never participated in their halloween-inspired event. London had THE BEST time seeing all of the creative costumes. I tried to get her to wear one but she turned me down…and of course the second we arrived at the zoo she wanted her costume. Toddler life, right?!

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Of course we saw every animal on exhibit for London, but I also paid a visit to the U.Fund Dreams Tour tent to ask a few questions about setting up a college savings account for Malia. While Lo was participating in the fun activities located in the tent, she made my heart burst when she asked to hold up the sign that read “I want to be an astronaut.” It further solidified my thoughts that we made the right decision starting a college fund for her early to help her achieve her dreams!

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The U.Fund College Investing Plan is offered by MEFA and managed by Fidelity Investments. MEFA is a nonprofit that seeks to make higher education more affordable for families and has been doing so for more than 35 years! If you save early by making regular monthly investments in a tax-advantaged account it can make a big difference. In a graphic provided by the team at the U.Fund tent, I learned that saving even just $50 a month could be worth approximately $23,000 in twenty years.

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I LOVE the fact that family and friends can contribute to your child(ren)’s account with online college gifting. This makes it super easy for everyone!

It’s never too early to start saving. We’re super excited to support both of our girls, just by putting away a small amount each month. If you’re interested in learning more or opening an account for your little one, go here.

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This post is sponsored by MEFA and Fidelity; as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.

xx, Ashley

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 couldn’t 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 (I basically cried all last week!), 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 at least 2 straight 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 when we 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), Ibuprofen, toiletries, etc. Anything you don’t want to be running to the store for, grab now! Also, if you aren’t an Amazon Prime member…now is the time! I have done groceries maybe twice since Malia was born (she’s 12 weeks old). I’ve ordered from Amazon Fresh at least twice a week and I highly recommend!

  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 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 drop off meals, groceries, come by for a visit just to give me some adult conversation or keep me company, and neighbors who have offered to snuggle Malia so I could spend 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” can’t ever happen now…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 is 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…a million 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

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

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

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