Thursday, October 16, 2014

The World Is Their Oyster - Letting Our Babies Grow Boldly

We’ve all heard the stories about second, third (and fourth and fifth..) babies. These are the babies that learn quicker, grow faster and seemingly have no fear of anything or anyone whatsoever. They are the babies for whom we no longer pack large diaper bags, often throwing one or two extra diapers and a pack of wipes into the stroller basket or back seat of the car and saying a quick prayer for the best. They are the babies for whom we no longer consult the depths of parenting books, turning instead to our mother friends who have gone before us, our own tried and true wisdom of babies past, our proverbial Internet Friends on Twitter. These second, third (and fourth and fifth…) babies are the babies for whom we no longer worry as much about because we know how resilient babies can be.
However, no matter what number baby it is, one thing remains the same, and that is the incredible gift it is to witness that baby grow and explore the world around them. As the saying goes, “the world is an oyster” and it is especially true for the brand new.
Even though Collins is my third baby and I’m no spring chicken when it comes to the dance of motherhood, it still blows my mind, just as it did for the very first time four years ago, to witness the rate at which he is growing, learning and exploring the world around him. To see the wonderment in his eyes as he watches the leaves sway in the wind, the shock spread across his face the first time he rolls himself over, very much to his surprise, the contentment he must feel as that sly smile spreads across his face the first time he pushes up on all fours, mere weeks away from the world of mobility.
I can remember distinctly each of these moments as they happened with my first baby and then with my second. The newness of it all and the celebrations that ensued when milestones were reached. The highs of mothering are so very high and accordingly, the lows are so very low.
Along with the first roll, the first tripod seat, the first crawl came first shots, the first boo-boo and with two older brothers, inevitably the first cold. These are the faux milestones no mother wants to reach but they are the reality of motherhood, of allowing your babies the freedom to explore and to venture out into the world around them. As much as we mothers may wish to keep our babies in bubbles, shielding from the world around them, we know it’s silly and ultimately a disservice to their inquisitive minds.
While we as mothers equip our babies with the tools they need to explore, Babyganics helps make their world safer, healthier, and a place for them to grow boldly. They believe the adventure of a lifetime starts as early as birth and because of this belief, created a line of products to make that journey safer, healthier, and happier for both mom and baby.
As we creep, quite literally, into flu season, one Babyganics product I do not leave home without is their Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer (Mandarin Scent). One pump each is all we need to keep those germs away and I love that this particular hand sanitizer doesn’t dry out our hands or leave behind that eye-stinging, lingering alcohol scent. Before we even leave the walls of my oldest’s preschool, everyone gets a pump. It’s the perfect size to toss into a purse, diaper bag and glove compartment.
Another favorite Babyganics product that I rarely leave home without is the Face, Hand & Baby wipes. I consider these our “emergency wipes” because they can be used all over baby- from their face down to their bottom. These wipes have a permanent home in the back seat of our car and travel everywhere with us- from the park to the pool, to school and home again. Strong enough to handle the messiest of messes, I worry less about leaving the house with all three when I know these wipes are tow.
Understandably so, it's near impossible to keep both baby and his toys off of the floor. Using Babyganics Toy & Highchair spray, a non-toxic cleaning spray, allows me to rest easy knowing that baby has a safe surface to eat from and play on. Unlike soap, it's rinse-free -- I just spray it on, wipe it down and let dry. Collins can immediately place the toy sprayed with Toy & Highchair spray into his mouth. I love this spray so much that I’ve started bringing it with me to my monthly Mothers of Preschoolers meetings and using it on the communal toys. 
Similarly, their Foaming Dish & Bottle soap is another Babyganics product I love having on hand in the kitchen. With a crisp citrus scent that isn't overpowering, and a formula that rinses clean without leaving behind any residue, it's perfect for rinsing the kids' dishes and occasional baby bottle. 
As we wind down with bath time each night, the last Babyganics product in my arsenal is their Daily Moisturizing Lotion in Chamomile Verbena. Bath time is a favorite time in our house and I tend to look at it as washing away the day's exciting adventures and gearing up for another day full of exploring and fun. Whether Collins was rolling and creeping along the floor with his brothers or out and about running errands with me, bath time is a welcome necessity. Babyganics moisturizing lotion absorbs into baby's skin without leaving that behind greasy residue and its all-natural scent is both soothing and comforting without being overwhelming. It's gentle enough to be used even on eczema prone skin.
As mothers, there is very little we don’t worry about, even if it is our third baby. We practically live in a constant state of worry, in turmoil over everything from, “Are they sleeping enough?” and “Are they eating enough?” to “Is that a red rash?” “Is it getting bigger?” and “Did he just make a funny noise?”
With Babyganics, we as mothers have one less thing to worry about, allowing us to shift our focus and enjoy the moments. Even if just for a handful of minutes each day, we can put our worried minds at ease and rest assured that we're equipping our babies with the love and attention they need to grow boldly. After all, the world is their oyster.  
How does Babyganics ease your motherhood worries? Leave a comment for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card.

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Three Is The New Two. {5 Reasons Having 3 Kids Is Awesome).

Growing up it was a rarity that a friend or friend of a friend or friend of a friend's cousin had more than one sibling. Two kids seemed pretty standard back in the early 80's if you weren't an only child. I'm one of two, each of my cousin's are one of two, my childhood best friend is one of two, my babysitters were both one of two- the list could go on and on. 

Today it seems as if the social norm has shifted. Three seems to be the new two as not only have we dove head first into the waters of three but a few of my girlfriends have also taken the plunge along with the few that are currently testing the waters (or playing with fire, depending on how you look at it). Many of my peers on social media have also eagerly joined the ranks of three (many also under the age of five).

I've been quite open about how our transition to three affected me. In summary, one week in and I was seriously questioning our decision, as if there was anything I could do about it with a sweet, intoxicating newborn on my chest. It felt as if all my fears about altering the delicate happy balance of our family were materializing and there wasn't a whole lot I could do except be a witness of my own train wreck. Three weeks in and it wasn't looking any better. It wasn't until we hit the three month mark that I really felt like I'd hit my stride as a mom of three and nearly six months later, I can hardly remember our life before our third was born. It's as if somewhere between months 2 and 3, a switch was flipped and I'd begun to surface from the depths of insanity. 

Sure we still have our days (don't we all?) and for anyone whom I might've caused to seriously re-think their decision to have a third, I want to take a moment to say how truly awesome having three kids is. 

Before I do that, however, I want to make it clear that I am much more aware that with three (or four or five) comes more of the not so great stuff. More responsibility, more financial obligations, more time to spend less one on one time with each of them, and ultimately more to worry about. I get that. I'm living it but while all of that rings true, I think by the time you decide to have three kids, you tend to be better equipped at handling those circumstances or you learn very quickly how to make it work. As it is, you've already adjusted to surviving on less (less time, less sleep, less resources per child). Adding a third just means even more less.

You shouldn't let someone else's fears dictate the number of children you decide to have. Yes, our first few weeks were scary. Horrifying if you were to ask the sleep-deprived side of me. Our world was knocked on its side with the arrival of our third but that doesn't mean you'll have the same experience I did. I want to take some time to reassure you that despite any fears you may have, you will survive having a third baby and perhaps become a bit better for it.

Here's (my) five reasons why having three kids is awesome:

1. Mommy Wars are inconsequential at this point. By my third baby I've ultimately become confident in my abilities and decision-making as a mother. After my first baby, I wore this confidence like a dress-up costume. I wanted people to believe I was confident in my decisions but I questioned them as much as my neighbor. After all, just like necessity is the mother of invention, insecurity is the mother of the Mommy Wars. After my second, I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing but I still let judgment creep in. Three kids later and not only do I not have time for the Mommy Wars but I can look at my older two and confidently say, "I've got this." 

2. More kids means more to love. This may seem obvious but it's true. Yes, the boys are dirtier, louder, messier and some days three times as obnoxious, but there's so much more love in our home because of our third baby. The boys can't get enough of him, we as his parents can't get enough of him and when I see my older boys and my husband reduced to puddles of mush over the third baby, I love them even more. It's kind of like a giant love fest every single day. And when my kitchen floor is coated in goldfish, Cheerios are flung around my house like nerf balls and the baby won't nap? I just remind myself of those moments. 

3. Zone Defense is fun. What? No one has ever said that before? Some nights my husband and I like to play "Rock, Paper, Scissors" in the kitchen while all three of the boys melt down simultaneously. We like to think this kind of game keeps us sharp and on our toes. It's especially fun if you try to guess why each one of them is melting down. The answer in our house always seems to be, "there's too much cheese sauce on his macaroni." We also sometimes like to play Eenie Meenie Miney Mo which is especially helpful when you have three, although your kids may find it mildly irritating. 

4. Running Errands Feels Like A Party. Actually, scratch that. Any outing which involves the lot of you feels like a party. When you have three kids as close in age as I do, you roll deep every where you go. Whether it's to the barber shop, the grocery store or to the local cafe for coffee and chocolate milks, it feels like a party. Even bed time most nights feels that way. It could be because someone, usually the middle child, is always singing Happy Birthday. 

5. A wise somebody once told me, "you'll always regret the baby you didn't have, but never the one you did." And truer words have never been spoken. If you're really on the fence about adding a third (or a second or a fifth), think about it that way. For us, there was never really a question about having a third baby. I never knew I wanted three but once I had my second, I knew I wasn't done yet. I don't for a second regret having our last little baby and I'm not sure I could have lived happily with myself had we not taken the plunge. 

Ultimately only you (and hopefully your significant other) can make the decision as to whether or not a third baby is best. Sometimes that decision is made for you. Sometimes you have to trust the higher powers that be know something you don't. And just sometimes, you may surprise yourself at just how much more you can handle. At just how much more you can love, laugh and cry. At how many more balls you can juggle. 

And in my household, just how many more (sets of) balls you can raise. 

What can I say? I have three boys. There's much more potty humor where that came from.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Baby Gift Sets with Boden (Plus A Cozy Giveaway!)

Somebody special in your life just had a baby. Even though you showered them with gifts and advise prior to their precious little one's arrival, you still hate showing up to the hospital or their home empty handed. But what do you bring? Or if you can't be nearby, what do you send? 

Chances are they have most everything one would need- but that's where Boden comes in. That's where it's between you and Boden to surprise them with a little something extra. Something a little bit fancy, a little bit cozy and a lot of bits sweet. 

Recently Boden launched their Baby Gift Sets, a perfect compilation of baby items for the newest baby boy or girl. A full matching set complete with a one piece romper, knot hat, drool bib and blanket whose cuteness will only be rivaled by the baby who wears it. 

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I am a huge fan of Boden clothing, not only for myself but for my children as well. Their pieces are undoubtedly an investment with quality that is superior to many other brands on the market, especially for children. 

Baby and children's clothing should be durable and above all resistant to typical wash, wear and tear and that's exactly what Boden clothing is. In fact, I have pieces of mini Boden clothing spanning four years that all three of my boys will be able to wear thanks to the quality with which Boden is synonymous for. 

Boden's Baby Gift Sets are made of 100% cotton making them not only ridiculously adorable but also lightweight, comfortable and breathable- perfect for brand new babies with sensitive skin and curious crawlers who need a little extra stretch in their step. 

Worn one piece at a time or all together, this gift set is the perfect gift for the newest little baby on the block. Even though Collins at five months old isn't very new anymore, we will get plenty of use out of our gift set, especially the items that will grow with him as he grows. 

The knot hat is perfect for the chilly Fall temperatures we're experiencing and the drool bib is undoubtedly our latest and greatest accessory. Not to mention, what mom doesn't need an extra baby blanket (or forty-seven)? Between stroller rides, floor play and errand-running, it's safe to say that we go through at least 2-3 blankets every day and with a print as bright and bold as the London print, it makes for the perfect tummy time mat.

Baby Gift sets are currently on sale for $36 with FREE SHIPPING on all orders placed over $50. (You would be crazy not to take advantage of such an awesome deal).

You can also enter to win your choice of a Boden Baby Gift Set right here on ILYMTC the Blog. Entry is simple. Head on over to Boden, check out their awesome line of babywear and leave a comment below telling me your favorite item! 

Last but not least, Boden is currently running their Mid-Season sale with all items priced at up to 40% off sitewide. Happy gifting!
Giveaway is open to US Residents only. 
No purchase necessary to win. 
Giveaway ends 12am EST October 16th, 2014. 

I received a Boden Baby Gift Set for free but the thoughts and opinions expressed are all my own. I did not receive financial compensation in exchange for my thoughts. We just truly adore Boden! 

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