Hey Mom, Hold My Hand.

I’m officially 35 weeks pregnant and I can”t believe we are almost near the end of it. It’s strange to think that this might possibly be my last pregnancy if things don’t pan out for a fourth. Day to day I’ve been struggling whether with allergies, back and butt pain, or even the most recent emergency dental visits to take care of a painful root canal/gum infection (which is still going on, but luckily with the meds I’m on the pain has subsided). However even with it all, I’ve been trying my best to enjoy this pregnancy as I did the last two.

There are the kicks, the jabs, the turning, and so on in which I got to enjoy with each baby very early on (12/13 weeks is when I started to feel all three of them). However there’s something so special about this one baby in me. The connection we have already. It really all started about 31-32 weeks when I could feel her tiny little hand pressed against the inside walls of my belly. I remember reaching down the right side of my belly and actually feeling the little outline of those fingers. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is/was her hand. Gliding my hand above hers I could feel her press the inside walls of my belly out a little stronger, almost as if she were trying to grasp my hand and was telling me, “Hey Mom, hold my hand.”

Elated with the overwhelming feelings and emotions, I just couldn’t stop tears from coming. I grabbed my husband’s hand and pressed it against my belly. And of course nothing. She gave no movement for daddy. I was a bit saddened at first, literally for two weeks she showed no back and forth reaction with her dad as she had shown me. But then it happened! One night after 10 minutes of mommy and me time, I grabbed my husband’s hand once again and placed it on my belly. This time she pressed her hand against her daddy’s. She moved it around and played a sort of cat and mouse game with his fingers which ran across my belly. From that night on every time he does a little poke at the right side of my belly they would play this game for a few minutes. I really truly believe she knows the difference between the two different interactions and I’m very lucky to get to feel all this until she makes her appearance.

Mama’s Current Skincare, Haircare & Oral Care

It’s funny how with each pregnancy the amount of thought put into every little sharing detail goes down a hole and is easily forgotten. Say for instance – announcing that I was pregnant! I think I waited near 15 weeks this time around, whereas with the last two I had excitedly announced somewhere along the 12/13 week mark. In actuality I could’ve waited for the baby to be born to even announce if I never cared to post a single picture of myself up to then this time around. However we had a fun family Halloween costume and how could I not post without explaining why I was the Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas and why did I have a belly? My husband wasn’t too excited with the idea of being the Mayor as he said, “who really cares about the Mayor?” but of course being the amazing husband that he is he was in good spirit come the night of Halloween and loved our costumes in the end. He even added a grand entrance modeling our costumes off to the family with the theme song to our silly character bunch. And of course my little one made an adorable Max while our eldest was super excited to wear real makeup and have her hair done to look like Cindy Lou-Who. So there it was, our pregnancy announcement!

So I am currently 19 weeks pregnant and since I’m no first-timer to all the ins and outs of what pregnancy does to a woman’s body, specifically my own. As we all know a lot of things that come with body issues may actually be hereditary after hearing about and/or seeing our own mother’s having gone through the same issues.  In my case, excessive skin around the mid-section, bat wings, freckles, dry skin, sore gums, allergies, and the dreaded postpartum hair-loss and regrowth…

So here it goes, my tried and true favorite products. These are not endorsed or sponsored by any of the brands mentioned, there honestly my favorites that I’ve used!

mama-fave-care

For the FACE: (daytime) Always use a moisturizer, especially one with SPF and especially while pregnant, even if you don’t think you’ll be in the sun. As mentioned, I’m prone to get freckles while pregnant! I don’t believe in anything under SPF50 so as an “everyday ” lotion I use Clinique Face Cream SPF50 with Solar Smart. I like that it’s lightweight, not oily and actually absorbs into my skin! Another top contender is La Roche-Posay Dry Touch Clear Skin Facial Sunscreen SPF60 – it’s very lightweight and feels more like a second skin than a lotion. For days when I know I will be in prolong sun exposure or will be outdoors for the most part even when it’s not sunny, I will wear Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF100+. (nighttime) To be honest sometimes I struggle with putting on all the layers of moisturizer I’d hope to put on before bed… but I always try to at least moisturize with one product either my Laneage Renewal Water Sleeping Mask or my Philosophy Miracle Worker AntiWrinkle Moisturizer. Between those two faves and my humidifier – I just love waking up to a dewy complexion and soft skin.

For the EYES: There is no lying when you ask me a question, I’m a terrible lier and have no poker face whatsoever. So if you asked me about my lashes – they are fake! I love them! I’m addicted and love that I look somewhat awake and put together sans makeup (which is most days). I haven’t inherited killer lashes or hair with that much strength or resilliance so I actually have to maintain the health of my lashes and with a amazing lash lady and my maintenance care routine I have been able to somewhat retain a healthy abundance. Twice a day I apply Art Naturals Eyelash Growth Serum, Lashfresh Eyelash Extension Conditioner with Silk Protein, and Eyelash Extensions Blink Black Diamond Costing and Sealant.

For the LIPS: Simple lip balm like EOS Evolution of Smooth Lip Balm work well for me and my daughters love using the fun ball shaped lip balm as well. I also love a tinted lip balm for moments I feel I need some color I like Fresh Sugar Rose SPF15 Lip Treatment.

For the Teeth: With all my pregnancies my gums tend to be on the sore side and while I should be using Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening as I did with the last two pregnancies, I actually had a bulk order on our family favorite Tom’s of Maine Natural Whole Care Toothpaste with Fluoride and I am riding it out with our current tube of toothpaste. With sore gums, I actually dread flossing but I understand the importance of it and continue to floss every night despite some bleeding gums here and there. My favorite flosses are ones that glide easily like Oral-B Glide Pro Health Comfort Plus or Oral-B Complete Satin Floss.

For the Belly & Body: Bio-Oil has always been my “go-to” to prevent stretch marks on my boobs, belly, and butt and hasn’t failed me yet. I tend to slather this oil on and never use it sparingly so for the rest of my body I like to use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter.

For the HAIR: First off I have color-treated hair and to maintain my color I try to wash my hair every third day, unless it starts feeling oily or grimy then I wash earlier rather than later. I’m currently using Biosilk Color Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner. I love how my hair feels afterwards and I’ve managed to keep my hair color longer with this set than with other shampoos and conditioners I’ve used in the past. When I want a quick refresh I always use a dry shampoo and I’ve used the same dry shampoo I’ve used for years since I in middle school actually! I love that Batiste Dry Shampoo now has an assortment of smells and even has one for brunettes!

For the most part I keep it rather simple with my skin, hair, and oral care while pregnant. I actually use less products now than when I’m not pregnant. If you have any pregnant mama faves please share, I’d love to hear and learn about some other products!

 

 

 

Stay-at-Home-Mom Life: It’s not always rainbows and butterflies.

Journaling, because this is a long “day in life story”…and there’s no pictures to go along with it.

Let me tell you first and foremost after leading with the title above, I do not and will not apologize and/or regret choosing to be a stay-at-home-mom. I love it! Like I really love it! I know I am very lucky to be able to stay at home raising my children through these first years of their lives. My husband and I both wanted this. It’s not easy, but we make it work the best we can.

If you follow me through social media you would see loads and loads of photos of my happy family, mostly of my children, and posted almost daily! In all reality this is what we want to capture isn’t it? Happiness. Who wants to see the angry, crying, frustrated child or even worse, the angry, crying, frustrated parent? However we all know it’s there and that is good enough for me. The majority of us leave those memories out of our photo catalogs, thank goodness! Happiness, seeing happiness in photos (your photos, friends and family photos, heck, with social media these days even total stranger’s photos)… seeing happiness, well, it’s quite addicting if you let it be! And I strongly encourage it.

Some days I don’t post anything. Days like today I won’t post any photos. Especially when I haven’t got on my rose-colored glasses and merely see a recuperating sick babe and an antsy, dramatic, tantrum-throwing toddler. I must’ve forgotten my second cup of coffee or something… or maybe it was the lack of sleep. I commend those who stay up in the middle of the night, multiple times in the night, not because they want to, but because they have to… be it crying baby or whatnot. Thankfully, I am not use to this. I breed/train good-sleepers/nappers.

Last night was not the case with a teething baby (four molars coming all at once) with a fever of 104.3 – eesh!

However this morning she was a lot better.

The morning started off well since I had cleaned the house, mopped the floors, and washed the dishes the night before. Simple egg and sausage burritos, grapes, and chocolate milk for breakfast. They wanted refills of their milks, but we ran out, which led us to the grocery store first thing! It was a successful shopping trip, especially since I remembered the milk!

Then it went downhill when we got home. The little babe threw a fuss, drool, snot, and tears running down her face and another fever was coming on. A little Tylenol and I sent her back to bed. Luckily she only fought it for a couple minutes and was fast asleep. I began to feel the sleep-deprivation… I was so tired.

Before I go on, I have to let you all know this: I know my children and I truly believe no one knows their child better than his or her own parents. I know what my children are capable of.

My eldest was not tired at all. She slept well last night, a full 12 hours of sleep! I wanted to nap so bad (I never nap) and I wasn’t about to make her nap if she didn’t need/want to. She was such a good girl last night and this morning. So I sat her next to me in bed let her watch some tv (terrible mom, I know…for those judging) and took a little nap. I wasn’t worried about her.

Within 30 minutes I woke up to use the restroom, because pregnant women always need to use the restroom! I turned in bed to find my girl had fallen asleep hugging me. Such a blessed moment! I crawled back in and we slept a little longer.

When we had all woken up I did a couple loads of laundry, pulled out our Chinese food leftovers and we had lunch before heading back out again to run yet another errand. We were signing my two, almost three-year-old up for preschool! This was very exciting for all of us!

We headed over to our community center, brought all our necessary paperwork and signed our girl up for next month’s session! We even took a little tour of the classroom and met the teacher. Someone was very very excited about getting to go to school here.

We then headed to the Dollar Tree nearby to buy some cheap gift bags for a little Christmas get-together we have this weekend with one of our mommy groups. We ended up spending way too long in the store getting caught up in cheap toys that I promised to get the kids if they were good during our little shopping trip. Unfortunately this is when it all went downhill and don’t even get me started about the line. My eldest started throwing balls and toys around the store, I bribed her with my cell phone and some DCTC time if she sat still in the stroller, little did I know my phone would then die halfway through our shopping trip. My youngest kept grabbing everything off the shelves saying “I want this!” and I ended up following her through the store putting things back on the shelves. Such a little store, but felt like a huge one when dealing with two uncooperative kids.

By the time we were halfway in line, I was about to have what felt like a mental-breakdown. I called it quits and decided to leave our basket of gift bags and randomness and head home. After strapping both kids in their carseats I started putting my stroller in the trunk of the car and realized that the cellphone was not in my daughter’s stroller seat or tray… “Where’d it go?!” I yelled at my daughter who I thought had been playing with it throughout the store… she responds, “In the toys?” And I hurridly unstrap and grab the kids out of the carseats and head back in the store. We spent about an hour looking for my “dead” phone and ended up leaving information with the manager in case it somehow showed up. As I left with the store doors swinging behind me, sweat dripping from my forehead and the look of agony on my face… I had an “A-ha” mom moment and realized we never checked the basket we had left behind and so I ran back in and sure enough, there it was, at the bottom of the basket!

All the yelling, “Where is it? Where’d you put it?” all the frustration and worrying seems trivial now, but it somehow left me very worn out…

I came home later than I had hoped… didn’t make dinner, ate more leftovers… and the rest of the day didn’t seem any better as the tantrums and crying never seemed to stop, although I do appreciate my husband for taking the initiative in bathing and putting down our crying, teething baby before he fell asleep himself. I came out of the bath and saw our eldest playing by herself on our bed next to her sleeping dad and it was past her bedtime. The end of my night was perhaps the best part of the day. As I was putting her down we sang a few songs (she’s currently learning Silent Night) and ended the night with lots of I love you’s, hugs and kisses. It seriously was the best!

All I can do now is reflect about the day and try to think of only the positives so that I can look forward to sleep tonight and better days ahead!

More New Nuby Sure Grip Tableware Review & Giveaway

Lately I have been struggling to get out of the house and get things done. My health was a bit out of wack last month and I am finally recovering and venturing out again. If you know me personally you would already know that I am usually quite active. Last night I felt over-ambitious and told myself that I would be taking the kids to Disneyland today since the girls have been feeling a bit deprived of their second home LOL!

Instead we took things easy and went to Ikea, not because we needed anything in particular but because I like the prices/food and family-friendly atmosphere and the free cup of Joe offered with their family program doesn’t hurt either – mama needs her fix!

Which brings me to our review of the new additions to the Nuby Sure Grip Tableware line. As mentioned in our LAST REVIEW with our experience using Miracle Mat Suction plate yay to no more dropped plates and fighting our babes to feed themselves. While I still prefer the size of the original Miracle Mat to take on-the-go and travel with, I had found myself in quite a predicament this morning. When I said I’ve been struggling to get things done, I also meant get things done around the house, say like washing dishes… my dishwasher has been on the fritz lately and I end up hand-washing almost everything these days…so as usual with the rush to get out of the house I tossed what I could in my diaper bag and headed out. I chose to take our new Nuby Sure Grip Miracle Feeding Placemat, Miracle Mat Bear Suction Plate and Suction Bowl (all available to purchase at Babies R Us). When I pulled out all our Nuby faves and placed them on the table as the kids played in the play area of the food court there were lots of stares and questions from onlooking parents; “Where do you get those?” “Those look awesome!” “Do they really work?” and as usual I let them watch my kids go at their food to demonstrate first hand how it all works. My youngest is always the tester if you seen our video on the original Sure Grip plate (via Instagram) you can see what I mean. The cleaning was a breeze, I just wipe the surfaced with a paper towel or baby wipes so I could stow them away and wash them more thoroughly when I get home. Some of my favorite things about the Nuby Sure Grip Feeding line is that they are BPA Free/PVC Free/100% Silicone, integrated section plate, non-slip base that sticks to flat surfaces and of course dishwasher safe (although I will honestly tell you that I feel all these products have worked best for us after hand-washing, but this maybe due to our hand water issues with our dish-washer).

And now for a Giveaway! I’ve partnered with Nuby to give TWO lucky winners a choice of either a Nuby Sure Grip Miracle Placemat, Bear Placemat, or Suction Bowl. Please let us know in the comments below what are some of your kid’s favorite meals for either breakfast/lunch/dinner?  Giveaway ends 11/6/16 winner will be announced here 11/7/16

 

 

Ella’s Bows Vintage Headband & Lace Dress

We received the most beautiful mail day with some of the prettiest things from Ella’s Bows. Just looking through EB’s Instagram feed you’ll see that these headbands make for picture perfection! There are also an assortment of rompers, ruffle butt bloomers, and more.

Just wanted to share some photos with Huntley’s new favorite dress! Can’t wait to dress it up for our next family photo session and dress it down  for casual boho look, I’m thinking with a vest? How would you style this pretty lace dress?

Go check out all the wonderful goodies at Ella’s Bows!

Nûby™ Sure Grip Miracle Mat Suction Plate Review & GIVEAWAY

Ok, so we’ve been using this for some time now and well, I’ve got to tell you – honestly, this is probably my #1 favorite item of Nuby! I mean, what’s not to love about it? Finally, a suction base that really sticks – even to woodgrain/textured table tops like ours!

When I heard about this product I thought immediately, “yeh, I’ll give a try” especially since we do BLW (starting around six months) and with BLW comes a lot of mess and the last thing I need on the ground is the whole bowl/plate itself with all the contents on the floor as well. However I am not one to be easily convinced, especially with a baby girl that has yet to find a suctioned bowl or plate she couldn’t easily rip off the table and throw to the ground. For some reason when our littlest Penelope sees a bowl/plate in front of her, her instinctual actions always has her pouring the contents of said bowl/plate over her face (trying to get it in her mouth and only to succeed maybe 10% of the time, if that). I find that the problem with MOST of these suctioned bowls/plates is the actual base itself. The suctioned part of the product only covers a small area of the actual size of the bowl/plate leaving little hands to easily grab the largest part and yank off (especially easy when the suctioned part barely sticks to the wood grain/textured tabletop like ours).

The Nuby Sure Grip Miracle Mat Suction Plate however covers a wider area, well over the actual bowl size. The (whole) plate itself is made of 100% silicone, BPA free, with super gripping action and a built in suction grip that easily seals to tabletops. Unlike other mats this one is thinner than most  of the better gripping action mats but not as thin as the flimsy counterparts, better yet, this one has the bowls attached! My first thought upon receiving this mat is that it seemed kind of small, but once food was placed into the bowl I realized it was perfect size for baby’s portion control. And by this, what I really mean is mama’s portion control. I always tend to over-do the amount of food for my babes and most of it ends up on the chairs or floor. The size of the bowls on this mat however seems to be just enough. The mat is also a great size for most small tabletops as those that fit to your highchair already. It’s also perfect for travel as you can easily stick this in your diaper bag no problem and wipes clean easily.

TIP: When I read first few the arguments about this mat under the comment section on Nuby’s IG when they posted our sample video HERE, one that really stuck out to me was that some babies can probably still peel off and throw this mat (which in reality, maybe he/she can), but really if you think about it the bowl is centered and if you actually press down on the center of the bowl before pressing down on the “thin” edges of the mat you can actually create quite the suction and with the thin edges of the mat little fingers are harder to pry under. Also, make sure the tabletop is clean! Penelope is always up for a challenge and I would be lying if I said she never once peeled up this mat, but I will tell you, when she did it was usually because I didn’t place the mat down in the most effective way as I just mentioned. So my tip is to place the mat down first in the position you’d like it to be then add the food. Hope this helps!

Now available to purchase at: Amazon and Babies R Us or better yet, WIN ONE! We have teamed up with Nuby for a GIVEAWAY! We are giving you two chances to win a Nuby Sure Grip Miracle Mat now!

One way to enter: You may enter by leaving a comment below telling us what your baby’s favorite foods are.

Second way to enter: Head on over to our IG pages and FOLLOW @TiffWall & @NubyUSA, like the post featuring the Nuby Sure Grip Miracle Mat. And that’s it! (BONUS EXTRA ENTRIES – Tag your friends or comment below telling us why your kid needs this mat, separate comment for separate entries).

Good luck!

 

Potty Training at Two

You may have remembered that once upon a time we cloth diapered, pretty much to one and a half years old with Huntley. She would get rashes and didn’t do to well with disposables. I also really enjoyed CD’ing with one child as it was a lot easier then to line-dry/sun-bleach/etc. and was quite satisfying to know that she had such a a well-taken care of bum – all things considered! With that I will tell you that with CD’ing she was great at letting us know when she had a dirty diaper and wanted it cleaned. This led us to using the potty before one and half and actually having some success!

However, with such fun/busy lifestyle… I’ll admit – I was lazy…

It was hard to keep up with and I rarely wanted to take her to the potty after having put her in the car and being ready to leave. It was even harder during pregnancy with Penelope, and especially after having baby girl x2. I mean, can you imagine my scenario? I would literally have gotten both kids ready, buckled in their carseat, bags in the car, and everything. Suddenly you hear “poo-poo” (which Huntley calls 1&2, so in actuality she might be just talking pee). What am I going to do?  Take her in and leave a baby in the car? Unbuckle both girls (from their carseats) and take both in? I chose to NOT do either… I chose to just drive to my point B (wherever the heck I was going whether it be Disneyland/mall/Target/Starbucks/etc.). So yes, there you go, it was my being lazy and I missed that window of opportunity when she would just yell “poo-poo” in the car. Oh well! At least we got to where we needed to be.

Once we hit two it became apparent (think about the amount of food and liquids this girl eats and drinks, as I said, she’s a great eater). It was definitely time to make this shitty situation a thing of the past!

We had heard great things about the Three-day (pant-less) potty training technique and had to try it out. And you know what? It worked great…while at home…wish I could say while we were out too! But it didn’t. While it may have worked well for others, it just didn’t work with us.

My sister, at Joie De Viv had the whole potty training down nearly before my niece turned two. Earliest person I know! I had to get tips and advice from her! One of the main things I found crucial that I had learned from her was to take Huntley to the restroom every time I had to use the restroom and guess what? Put her on the potty, even if she doesn’t necessarily need to go. To this day, this stills stands (not just for mommy, but for daddy, grandma, grandpa, auntie, and other close family members). I really do think it worked for her since she not only sees the person going, but also knows that she can ask to go potty when she needs or that it’s readily available (potty-ing is nothing to be ashamed of and everyone does it).

Another habit we have acquired is using our portable potty in the trunk of our car before getting into the stroller. It’s really been working for us and she will usually hold it knowing that as soon as we get out she can use the potty. (Side note: We had an incident after being lazy with potty-training on our last vacation and came back with her actually wanting to use the pull-up vs the potty. Then trying to get her to go on the potty at Disneyland and having an auto-flush toilet actually flush while mid-pee. We were quite dependent on the porta-potty for a couple weeks after that incident. I carried this darn potty everywhere for those weeks and would always wipe down the potty with Lysol wipes after each use.)

When we started our whole potty training venture we loved the potty chair we had chosen, but since then have graduated to the NextStep toilet seat cover which has been awesome for our small-bathroom needs. So yes, we use(d) three different kind of potties…

Sweet Treats and other prizes for the win! At first we were using M&Ms (sometimes we still do) as an incentive to use the potty. It really was a big push for Huntley since she loves chocolate and doesn’t get it often unless it was in her milk. I’d carry M&M minis everywhere and would give her a couple if she did no1 or four if she did no2, I’d give her even more whenever she did both. It later moved onto stamps/stickers/temporary tattoos as some of you may have noticed in our snaps and IG pics, she’s covered in them. We have yet to stop treats, but I’m not too worried. She already seems to be weaning herself from them. At Legoland today she forgot on multiple occasions and never even asked for a treat.

One of the biggest problem we had (up until recently) was that we were still dependent on pull-ups at night, or at kids club (our gym’s daycare), and pretty much anywhere that we would leave her with someone other than family. The fear of an accident happening or having to change the sheets constantly was really getting to us and our potty-training success. Every time we were near our last pull-up I would tell myself, NO Tiffany, don’t buy anymore! And sure enough I would be strolling through Target picking up diapers for Penelope and see a sale on pull-ups and finding myself bringing home another two boxes or so…we would see a pull-up and get lazy again…

Until finally (recently) I would only buy undies for our big girl. I made it a big thing! I let her choose the two packs of seven Disney undies which she loved and give her a choice of which one she would be wearing every time we changed out. She especially likes matching things and loves having her undies match her princess nightgowns.

Although I can’t say we are “fully potty-trained” we are way more successful now (at 2.5 months) than we’ve ever been! We’ve gone three whole nights in a row without an accident in her undies/bed! During the days we avoid accidents by taking her constantly and giving her the option to go. Most times when asked “do you need to potty?” She’ll reply with a “no” but we’ll put her on the potty anyhow and she’ll still manage to go, not even knowing that she had needed to go. However, we are still human and sometimes forget to ask her or sometimes don’t even realize until after the fact that she was trying to tell us that she needed to go potty – accidents still happen. That’s when we bag it up and wash at home. But for the time being, we are super proud of our little undie-wearing big girl!

As I always like to say: every kid is different, there are so many different parenting styles & techniques, and no two family dynamic/situation is the same. So what may work for one person may not work for another. But if you would like to know, here are some of our favorite potty-training necessities (oops, spelled wrong below*). What I would like to know is what you did or plan to do or use when potty-training?

 

[At-home-potties BABYBJORN Potty Chair & Mayfair NextStep Child/Adult Toilet Seat + Portable Potty OXO Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty for Travel + Diaper Bag Dispenser Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser + Undies Disney Toddler Girls 7 PkLysol Disinfecting wipes + Treats M&M Mini Milk Chocolates + SafeRest Waterproof Mattress Protector]

UPDATE: We are officially six days OVERNIGHT/Accident-free! I forgot to mention how our overnight underwear-adventures went for those first few nights. Let me tell you first off – you bound to have an accident or two, or three or more (luckily for us this part only lasted two nights (2-3 sheet changes each). But don’t worry it doesn’t last forever! In the meantime, be sure to have 2-3 mattress protecters ready! I chose the above, but there are plenty choices available. Good luck!

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Penelope

Dear Penelope,

I cannot begin to tell you how complete you make mommy and daddy feel from the moment we laid eyes on you! I say this not in the sense that we are done having children, but in the sense that you make us feel whole. You make us feel like a FAMILY. You know your dad and I come from families with more than one, two, and even three siblings more than ourselves. And maybe because of this we feel that it’s only right for us to have at least more than one child. So this is what I mean by a complete family (for us, this little Home with Walls, that is).

Unicorn baby, is what your Ai-yi dubbed you. Perfect from birth we joke as your birth was the most beautiful birth that I know, but of course I’m biased and I technically know only two births in my lifetime. However, my birth story with you really was perfect in every way and I would be over the moon if every birth I give here on out (that is if we have more children) is the same way. (Penelope’s Birth Story HERE)

Sweet P really suits you! And when you cry daddy calls you our salty Peanut (I love it). However, you are rarely sad or angry. Hangry, but not angry. You were/are a great sleeper/napper from day one. A thumb-sucker, a self-soother, and truly the easiest baby I know. We moved you into your crib after three-months and had no difficulty with the transition. How did we get so lucky?! If all babies were as easy I think the earth would be overpopulated.

You are charming with people, even strangers, and especially with cute boys three to five-years-plus your age. And although we chuckle about this, we all know it to be true. Even on the cruise you were able to charm an older boy from Holland (and quite the gentleman if I do say so myself) who asked your daddy if he could dance with you on the dance floor. I still wonder how you do it!

Having your sister born first and having been such a great eater, I never thought I could have another child who would eat as well as she did/does. Then you came into our lives and  showed us that another child could in fact out-eat Huntley! You never cease to amaze us! You are so smart! Flipping, crawling, and walking may have come a tad later to you than it did with your older sister (you still hit those milestones fairly early, like I said, you amaze us), but what really has us in awe, even to this day is your talking! I never knew babies could talk the way you did/do all before even turning one. The amount you understand and the words that come out of your mouth is astonishing to your daddy and I.

You may have learned a lot, and we can thank your sister for most of it. Huntley loves you so much. She wakes up in the morning looking for you. She cannot wait to climb into your crib and give you morning kisses, tell you to jump up and down with her on your mattress, and hold you in her arms telling you how much she “lob” (loves) you.

The joy you bring into our lives is something we are not taking for granted. We all love you so much and we cannot wait to spend more and more years watching you grow before our eyes! Happy Birthday Penny! I love you so much.

Sincerely,

Mama

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Nûby™ Stainless Steel Food Jar

Anyone who knows my kids also knows that they love to eat! If you follow us on Instagram or SnapChat you’d see numerous clips of my girls eating. Why is that? Because they just love food and I just love letting those little palettes of theirs explore different foods and flavors! Watching my children eat and enjoy different foods excite me. I love seeing their reactions: head nods, scrunch faces, sour faces, spicy faces – you get it. My family loves to eat, we love to eat different things, and we explore different cultures through food.

Variety is key in feeding my littles! We rarely have to think about bringing breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for these girls when we go out, thanks to baby-led weaning. However, when we do go out on family hikes, park/beach dates, or anywhere that food isn’t readily available we like to make sure to bring food with us. As I’ve mentioned before, I love using stainless steel products and food containers are no exception. We have and use several brands (all which I am very happy with), however when I had the chance to try out the Nuby version I was very pleased with the special features that the other ones don’t come with. We’ve actually been using this jar quite a lot lately with our trips to the beach, hiking and Disneyland, so I can actually tell you from past experiences that like almost all of these products (cups and jars) they are actually a bit temperature sensitive. So be careful opening after trekking up high altitudes or leaving it in the car during a hot sunny day. A pop sound might occur after opening but don’t be alarmed, nothing to worry about.

First off, as with the others, this food jar is made of dual wall insulated stainless steel to keep warm foods warm while still having an exterior that stays cool to the touch (so no random sweat beads dripping into your bag).

One impressive special feature is the separate compartments for this food jar. It included two separate compartments the large part for liquids or wet foods and a small hidden compartment for dry foods (perfect for snacks or treats). I especially like that above this small compartment is the mini tray that fits and includes a foldable spoon for easy feeding on the go! The tray sits above the small compartment and this actually makes for hiding those yummy treats from your little a cinch, until they finish all their food in the jar first.

Lucky for you, this food jar is currently on sale at Babies R Us as part of their Mega-licious Mealtime SALE (3/1/16 – 3/31/16). Visit Babies R Us stores to view Nuby’s full assortment of feeding products & SAVE BIG! Also be sure to check out the FREE Mega-licious Mealtime Event on March 12th at ALL Babies R Us stores! 

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I did not receive any compensation for this post, although as part of this program I received items to sample or review. As always, all opinions are my own and 100% honest.

 

Mama’s Top 5 Everyday Makeup Essentials

When I was younger I took way better care of my skin and would have an array of makeup palettes and different kinds of lipsticks and mascaras in my makeup bag. Gone were the days when I would work patiently with my Mac Fuidline eyeliner creating the perfect cat-eye (which I still love, but realistically don’t have time to create and use everyday). Truthfully, I consider myself lucky if I even have a swipe of mascara on my lashes before heading out the door! Which brings you to my favorite everyday must-have makeup essentials list:

  1. Daytime Face Lotion: Wait, does face lotion even count as make-up? Yes, when sometimes you don’t even have time for makeup! It’s my number one make-up essential as it goes on before anything else. Back when I was young and thought I had money to spend, I would use face lotions I’d buy from the cosmetic counters at the department stores but my favorite still to this day and is pretty reasonably priced for how much you get –  Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. I love the clean light silky feel and that it’s fragrance free, the only downside is that it doesn’t already contain SPF which for my current California lifestyle I’m in dire need! (Also try the Moisture Surge line for night, love it!) These days I rarely have a moment to myself let a lone time to hit a make-up counter so I find myself buying most of what I need at Target. Which brings me to my current face lotion  Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging UV Moisturizer with SPF 15, it’s under $15 and works wonderfully. What’s not to like, it already has SPF, it’s an anti-aging face lotion (I turned 28 this month so that’s pretty important to me), it’s full of vitamins and get this it actually exfoliates too, and best of all fragrance-free just the way I like!

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2. Foundation: I remember when my sister (over at Joie De Viv) and I would watch the infomercials for the original BareEscentuals back in 2004/2005 back when I was a junior in high school. I remember learning about the breathability and lightness of this powder as they tested it on I believe a pair of twins (one with the make-up and the other with a regular foundation) as they supposedly went for a run and came back into the studio. Of course one had runny make-up where she had been sweating, while the other with the bare mineral powder still remained naturally on her skin and looking flawless. We were instant suckers for the brand and ordered over the phone (through the infomercial) and remain loyal even to this day! It got easier and easier to acquire as it was available for a time at Nordstrom, but is still available at Sephora and Ulta, they even have their own stores popping up at every mall. When they introduced the Matte version of the powder, MATTE Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15, it has then become my favorite go to foundation! Also another perk, it adds another layer of SPF protection!

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3.  Mascara & Eyeliner: Urban Decay Total Perversion! I like that you can buy these two in a kit, because they really do go hand-in-hand with each other! Both are fuss-free in the blackest of black shades! I’ve bought many eyeliners that say black, but you’ll notice that when you sharpen them there may actually be a trace of blue tint left on the pencil…but not with this eyeliner. It glides on smoothly, also gel-like because it was actually created with 50% moisturizing ingredients (like jojoba oil, vitamin E and cottonseed oil) while also being waterproof! It also dries quickly for full-day wear! As with the pencil, the mascara also glides on super smooth with its full feathery brush. Because of how smooth it glides, if you’re like me and like to use one mascara for day and night wear, this one you can go ahead and pile on stroke after stroke for more effect without the clump!

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4. Eyebrow Kit: I’m really a believer of your eyebrows being a framework to your face! When you have neatly groomed brows the rest of the face pulls together quite easily. I’m admittedly terrible at doing my own brows since I barely have a natural arch which is why I always go get threaded (I may not be one that focuses on vanity such as getting my nails done, hair done, facials, waxes, etc, but I will always get my eyebrows done!) Sonia Kashuk Brow Kit Arch Alert 12 is my go-to! I’m not opposed to using cheap brow kits like Wet n’ Wild or ELF cosmetic’s, but I find that this one is gel-based and isn’t a two-step kit which is key for mom life (less work, less time).

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5. Lipstick: Lipstick is one of those fun pieces that make it look like you tried, even when you haven’t maybe because it tends to be the last thing you put on. It kind of pulls together a look. As with my powdered foundation, I like my lipstick matte as well (this will probably change when I hit my 30’s as I’ll probably want skincare with more moisturizing agents) but for now, I like the non-sticky/non-transferring feeling of matte products. My favorite lipstick even from my early days of just experimenting with make-up is always NARS Matte Lipstick in pretty much any form of red (a favorite of mine is Scarlett Empress).

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What are you’re favorite make-up products, what are your everyday must-haves?