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

Holiday Gift Guide: For Your Man...

Happy Friday! I’m slowing rolling out my Holiday Gift Guides … slower than normal this year because HELLO four-month old :) It’s a bit challenging to find time throughout the day! Anyway, today I’ve put together a Gift Guide for the special MAN in your life!

I always lean toward buying Chris clothes for Christmas because he honestly rarely buys anything for himself throughout the year! It’s fun to pick things out for him - even though it can sometimes be a challenge because he can be picky ;) Or maybe I just put pressure on myself to find things I know he’ll LOVE. He’s always had such a great sense of style…so I want to make sure I do right by him when I pick out clothes.

My go-to stores are Zara, H&M, and Nordstrom! I love Nordstrom because it’s free two-day shipping … so if you’re last minute, that can be super helpful! I went ahead and chose a few things to hopefully give you some ideas when shopping for your man! Have a great weekend!

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




Cyber Week Sales Roundup...

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate until you were about to burst ;) I cooked for our little family of four at home and it was my first time cooking an entire dinner. I got approval from the hubby and most importantly, London, who’s a pretty tough critic! She was so excited to “have a feast” as she called it.

Anyway, it’s that time of year again! I love doing my shopping from the comfort of my couch - and I want you guys to be able to as well - so I’ve rounded up my favorite sales happening NOW! I think I’m personally most excited about the Crate + Barrel and Anthropologie because ADULT…but when it comes to clothing - Nordstrom is having a major sale and HELLO Gap/Gap Factory! Also, Old Navy has the cutest family pajama situation and 50% off…so definitely check those out!

Here are the best sales for you guys to check out!

Abercrombie & Fitch: 50% off site wide + free shipping

American Eagle: up to 40% off + free shipping

Anthropologie: Up to 25% off

Crate & Barrel: Up to 40% off

Express: 50% off everything + free shipping

Gap: Up to 50% off

Gap Factory: Up to 60% off

H&M: Up to 30% off + free shipping

J.Crew: Up to 40% off using code: TOGETHER

Loft: 40% off the entire site with code: THANKS

Madewell: 25% off entire purchase with code: DEALWITHIT

Nordstrom: Up to 60% off

Old Navy: 50% off entire purchase

Revolve: Up to 50% off

Sephora: Up to 50% off

Target: Up to 50% off

Urban Outfitters: Up to 50% off

Wayfair: Up to 80% off

xx, Ashley

Holiday Gift Guide For HER....

Nordstrom has already posted their BLACK FRIDAY SALE and so many things are 60% off! It runs through Monday, but everything is going to sell out FAST. This sale is incredible. I am sharing some of my favorites from the sale below and make sure you check my Holiday Shop for more gift ideas! I’ll be adding/updating this often throughout the weekend! Happy shopping!

 

Stocking stuffers for her:

xx, Ashley

Baby It's Cold Outside: Best of Outerwear...

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

I’m starting to put together my “gift guides” as Black Friday nears - and this one seemed fitting considering we got out first snow here in Boston recently! Ahhhh! I need to get out all of my winter gear - but I’m procrastinating because I’m never ready for that!

Here are some of my fave jackets as well as other outerwear items such as hats, gloves, and scarves to keep you toasty warm this holiday season! I’m highlighting four of my favorites and then you can shop the rest below the graphics!

  1. Cropped Padded Jacket

  Also comes in black, red, and blue!

Also comes in black, red, and blue!

  LOVE this color so much…and just how oversized it is! MAJOR WANT!

LOVE this color so much…and just how oversized it is! MAJOR WANT!

  Also comes in black - but almost sold out in this color!

Also comes in black - but almost sold out in this color!

  Perfect dressy coat for the holidays! So Classic!

Perfect dressy coat for the holidays! So Classic!

 

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!



Nordstrom Fall Sale...

Happy Sunday!

I’m sharing my favorites from the Nordstrom Fall Sale which runs through November 18th! There are so many items already close to selling out - so don’t wait to snag your favorites! Personally, I love this hooded moto jacket by BP and I also want this slouchy long-sleeve (only $15!) BP is one of my favorite brands - the quality is good and the prices are reasonable!

There are some really great boots/shoes on sale as well! Love these Vans, only $32 and this classic black heel would be perfect for any holiday party! Also, Hunter Boots rarely go on sale, and my favorite classic tall black are under $100 right now! (RUN to get those).

I’m sharing the rest of my favorites from the sale below. Also, in case you hadn’t heard, Anthropologie is having a home sale with 20% off! You can order now and get your items by Thanksgiving (if you’re hosting or need a gift for the host!) They always have the best smelling candles, perfect for gift-giving. Shop below by clicking on any item directly! Hope you all have the best week!

 

Sweaters/Cardis

 

Jackets

 

Boots/Sneaks

 

Denim/Leggings

 

Accessories

xx, Ashley

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

Best Of Asos Sale: Casual Styles...

Happy Monday!

Starting today you can get 15% off the entire ASOS site using the code: WOW15! Here are some of my favorite casual styles from the sale!

xx, Ashley

Cozy Loungewear + 5 Movies To See Right Now...

Happy weekend! There’s chili in the crockpot, my pumpkin-spice candle is lit and both of my babies are sleeping. This rainy Saturday had me inspired to share some cozy loungewear with you guys! I’ve found my favorites from H&M, ASOS, Nordstrom, and Old Navy … Click any image below to shop directly! Also, check out my top 5 favorite movies because isn’t it just the perfect movie day?! Enjoy! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

  1. A Star Is Born

  2. To All The Boys I Loved Before

  3. Tully

  4. The Greatest Showman

  5. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

I’m not going to give a synopsis on each movie but HONESTLY It’s actually embarrassing how many times I’ve seen To All The Boys I Loved Before. It’s a Netflix movie and I think once you watch it, you’ll get why I loved it (I mean, if you like rom-com’s based on the lives of highschoolers HAHA! Also, Tully is the movie I watched most recently and it was REALLY good. Such a true depiction of motherhood and the crazy exhaustion associated it but the utmost bliss at the same time. It’s a MUST see and only 96-minutes so I kind of loved that. Last one … A STAR IS BORN is out of this world amazing. Lady Gaga is a beast and Bradley Cooper will win an Oscar for this move…I’m calling it now! The soundtrack is TO DIE FOR. Ok, I’m done :) Have a great weekend babes!

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

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