Friday, August 31, 2012

Rest Stop Roulette

That's the name of a little game I like to play when I'm driving home to New Jersey with the boy(s) in tow. I can remember, quite vividly, the first time I made the four hour trip with Carter when he was just a mere 6 weeks old and Rest Stop Roulette damn near killed me.

In fact, it still gives me nightmares. 

If you're familiar with the beginning of the New Jersey Turnpike, you would agree with me when I say exits 2-4 are absolutely meaningless. With a bazillion miles between each exit and rarely a place to pull off, god forbid there should arise an emergency such as, oh, say, a six week old screaming as if you were slowly ripping off each of his tiny fingernails, the beginning of the NJ Tpke is the bane of my existence. 

As I embarked on that fateful trip, I can recall driving past both the Maryland House and Chesapeake House Rest areas with a tiny voice in my ear that whispered, "I know you're new at this mom-thing, but be a smart Mom. You really should stop here. Who cares that you've only been on the road for an hour?" That voice was quickly subdued by an overwhelmingly naive snicker, "But you've only been on the road an hour. You can surely make it to Delaware.. And maybe even New Jersey! C'mon, be a rebel!" 

Play a little Rest Stop Roulette.

Needless to say, that trip? I made a dire First Time Mom mistake. I chose to be a rebel. Carter's screams continue to haunt me to this day. As he screamed and yelled and cried his little heart out, I could have sworn the walls of my mid-size SUV were closing in on me. 

For ten whole miles. TEN MILES. 

I was never so happy to see a road sign for Camden, New Jersey in my entire life. Those of you familiar with Camden know exactly what I mean. The end of the story? I pulled off the turnpike and into the parking lot of a hotel where I proceeded to lock the doors and climb into the backseat with Carter. I'm not sure who cried more at that point. 

Not only did I learn my lesson that afternoon but I also learned that I should stay far, far away from gambling. 

Well, friends. I made the Maiden Voyage with both boys in tow yesterday afternoon. By myself. With a car packed to the gills of baby and kid shit, which in itself deserves a whole post of its own another day. 

By the grace of God, the highway saints, and my Second Time Mom Smarts we made it in one piece and without a single meltdown.

Did I push the envelope a bit? Of course. But I planned ahead with goldfish crackers, cereal bars, pre-filled sippies and an iPad full of favorite movies. I knew my 2 hour limit and made it to the Delaware Welcome Center just in time to feed MacFatty (someone please tell me to stop calling him this!). 

Twenty minutes later, we were on the road and made it to our destination with nary a tear. 

Rest Stop Roulette? You ain't got nothin' on me. Although I sure as hell know we're not leaving New Jersey any time soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pearl Pretties By Way Of Grace Adele

Meet Laura. 
She's the official Grace Adele Consultant here at ILYMTC. 

She's also a mom to a beautiful little blondie 
and expecting another baby in January 2013!

Haven't heard of Grace Adele? Let me fill you in. 
It's the newest line launched by the brilliant minds 
that brought you Scentsy and Velata. 

It's beautiful purses, clutches, wallets, 
rings, necklaces, bracelets, makeup bags, 
scarves and earrings... this gorgeous pearl pair
that Laura graciously sent me.

I wasn't sure what to expect when it came to these earrings. 
Would they feel "cheap?" Could they withstand tiny grabby hands?
Or would they feel too heavy and be pulling at my earlobe?

Most importantly, would they stand up to my specific taste 
in simple yet sophisticated jewelry?

The answer is absolutely yes, yes and yes! 
I just LOVE this pair of pearl earrings 
and have already received so many compliments on them! 

And what's even better?
THEY ARE ONLY $15.00. 
Outstanding quality for a fantastic price.

I would much rather invest my extra "blow" money
each month in Grace Adele jewelry than say another
cheapie mall accessory store where the jewelry falls
apart and tarnishes just weeks after wearing. 
Ahem, I'm looking at you Aldo Accessories, Forever21 and H&M.

Want to know more about this fantastic new company?
Want to join Laura's incredible team of consultants?
Want to host your own Grace Adele party and 
earn rewards, perks and some pretty new accessories of your own?

Check out Laura's website
Follow Laura on Twitter
Be sure to check out her blog!

Thanks so much, Laura, for helping me choose a beautiful pair of earrings and sending then my way!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nuby Microwave Steam Sterilizer and Bottle Review

Non-Drip™ Bottle

Although I am exclusively breastfeeding three month old Maclane, it's nice every now and then to be able to get out of the house without having to worry about the next nursing session and better yet, it's nice every now and then to get out of the house sans baby. Not to mention that much of the errands that I do run on a daily basis, with toddler in tow, aren't necessarily conducive to nursing in public. 

For a couple of weeks, Maclane did great when it came to taking a bottle. He would take one from me, my husband, our neighbor- if you had the milk, he would drink it. It was during this time that we tested the standard Nuby Non-Drip bottle. 

With a nipple that features anti-colic valves, it greatly reduced the risk of Maclane swallowing too much air- resulting in both an unhappy mama and baby later that night. 

Although the bottle came with a medium flow nipple, Maclane immediately took to it and happily consumed his 3.5oz of milk before bedtime. These bottles are also a great shape, one that I foresee little hands being able to hold without an issue further down the road.

What else do I love about these bottles? Not only are they BPA-free but they also don't come with a gazillion parts which makes them incredibly easy to clean. 

Microwave Steam Sterilizer

Shortly after testing our Non-Drip bottles, we washed them in the sink and took our Nuby Microwave Steam Sterilizer for a spin before putting them away in the cabinet. 

There are so many things that I love about this steam sterilizer. First and foremost, it is quick! In just 4 minutes, your bottles, nipples, pacifiers, sippy cups, straws and lids are sanitized and sterile. Second, it is both easy and efficient!

It breaks down into three pieces making it incredibly easy to clean when necessary. The bottom tray holds up to seven ounces of water and the product tray is large enough to fit a variety of items of all different shapes and sizes. 

Rather than have to fumble with loading bottles, sippies, nipples, o-rings and lids into our dishwasher, I simply fill the steam sterilizer and pop it into the microwave. Once done, I don't have to fish around for scattered pieces like I would if I were to use the dishwasher or worse leave them to sit in the sink!

You can find the Nuby Microwave Steam Sterilizer at The bottles can be found here and here.

Also, be sure to check out Nuby's latest happenings on the web! They're currently running some great giveaways including a Scavenger Hunt and Twitter party!

*I received no monetary compensation for this post, however, as an official Nuby Mommy Blogger, I did receive the product free of charge in return for the honest reviews which I have provided.   

"What To Wear...WHERE?" the Link-Up!

I don't typically do link-ups. 

Sure I may hop on a band wagon here and there but for the most part, they're just not my bag. However, when you take one of my favorite {mom} bloggers and mix in a chance to put together some outfits that my post-baby body would KILL to wear minus, oh, twenty pounds, plus a forty-hour-per-week paycheck, I just couldn't pass this up. 

You see, each installment of "What To Wear...WHERE?" comes with a time and a place to be. Your job? Put together the outfit you would don for the occasion. You can either model the outfit and cajole your significant other into snapping pictures of you or you can be like me and turn to Polyvore, since, well, Carter hasn't quite mastered the DSLR. Maybe next week. 

This week the inaugural occasion is Back To School Night. As you can see, Fall is in the forefront of my mind and I am jonesing after that presh polka dot sweater. I already own the Minnie pant, studs, lipstick and shoes. And who doesn't love a little blue Kate Spade thrown in for good measure?

I think this outfit screams, "Take me seriously. I may have spit up in my hair but I care about my child's growth and development, you over-priced private pre-school!"

Back To School Night

J.Crew slim pants

Tory Burch ballet shoes

Louis Vuitton monogrammed bag

Kate spade jewelry

Kate Spade stud earrings

Essie nail polish
$22 -

So, what are you waiting for? Grab a coffee, take shower, do whatever it is you must to link up with the Prettiest and Wittiest and promptly come back here and tell me you did so that I may drool over even more clothes that Maclane can spit up all over. 

cMm :: Twenty Four Months :: Better Late Than Never

Just weeks before you're second birthday, we rocked your world by giving you a little brother. I braced myself for epic tantrums, meltdowns the size of Texas and regressions like I'd never seen before. 

You shocked the heck out of us, kid and eased into your new role as Big Brother both impeccably and seamlessly. We couldn't be more proud of you. 

You show your brother compassion that I once thought only came with time and experience. When he fusses you're right by his side patting his belly, rubbing his head saying, "Oh no! No ky. No ky. Is kay." {Oh no! No cry. No cry. It's OK!}

You occasionally try to cover his head with a blanket but we know you're only trying to be nice. 

You're wearing 4T tops and 3T bottoms with a size 9.5/10 shoe. Thankfully we can still squeeze your tush into size 7 diapers. You love to pick out your jammies each night after your bath and nine times out of ten you reach for your "choo-choo" jams. 

Speaking of jammies, bedtime is still a bit of a chore. You're sleeping great- 9pm-8am nearly every night but sometimes it takes an hour to put you to sleep. There's just too much going on in your little world and it appears a bit difficult for your to turn it all off at the end of the day. Sounds just like your Mama. 

We celebrated your 2nd birthday with a Curious George party here at the house. You loved it and you loved having all of your little friends over in your playroom. You also really loved the cupcakes. And the banana pudding. And the cupcakes. Again, just like your Mama. 

Your Aunt Pam and I took you for your first haircut on a whim. I dialed up Aunt Pam and asked her to meet me at the mall where we whisked you into a Master Cuts salon with a JLo-esque hairdresser who spoke broken English. It wasn't exactly how I envisioned your first haircut but despite my reservations, nerves and clenched fists, she did a wonderful job taming those beautiful golden curls. 

Did I mention you screamed and cried? 

You absolutely love taking walks in the neighborhood and will gladly lead the way with Daddy, Maclane, Sheepie and me in your wake. You'll know your way to the local park and tackle the giant jungle gym with ease, giving Mama a heart attack every time you go down the twisty slide all by yourself. 

You spent some time in Mr. Steve and Ms. Lisa's pool this summer and we were so thankful for such wonderful neighbors (and fiancees) who welcomed you with open arms and taught you how to "kick kick kick" and "blow bubbles" while wearing your floatie. You just wanted to do your own thing. 

You love giving hugs, especially to other kids your age. So much that you'll chase them at the local park just to wrap your arms around them. Who knew you'd be such a little lover?

Your favorite toys are your Melissa and Doug train table, a gift from Gammie, Poppy and Woobie and your remote control car from Daddy's company. You could sit and play with each of these for the longest time. 

You've got a big heart, Carterito and it's quite evident at just 24 months old. You're turning into such a unique, compassionate, spunky little boy. You love to laugh and play and we can't get enough of you! 

Happy 24 months, Carterito. We love you more than carrots!

Monday, August 27, 2012

You're Missing Out...

...if you're not reading at least one if not ALL of these incredible mamas! 

This month, I was so thankful to be introduced to some fantastic new blogs through the Half-Off Flash Sale that I hosted for ILYMTC sponsors. In fact, it was so successful that I may just share another code (ahem, "ILYMTC50") for 50% ANY ad space. 

Now, hurry up and add these incredible, fashionable, hilarious and creative mamas to your readers! But not without stopping by and saying "hi" first!

I adore Meagan's blog. Of course, I'm sure it has something to do with our shared love of photography and our sweet kiddos. She takes incredible pictures and even shares some fantastic tips and tricks! Here's what Meagan says about her little space on the internet:

"My blog is my place to share my photos, my kiddos and my musings with you. Andrew is my spunky, smart, super funny three year old. Caroline is my baby girl: sweet, cuddly and chubby. You'll see lots of pictures of them. My husband Brian is my partner on this crazy journey. I share the occasional photography or Photoshop tutorial. But mostly I talk about my kids and my journey to be the very best mother I can be.

You can send Meagan an email: or find her on Facebook and Twitter. Or you could always stop by and leave her a comment. She really loves those.

Ladies, you absolutely must check out Rachel's new blog, Suburban Strut. Realistic fashion for REAL women. I mean, could you love that any more? It's always a treat seeing what fabulous outfit Rachel pieces together next and I love her use of bright bold colors, patterns and statement accessories! Rachel writes: 

"My goal with Suburban Strut is to give y’all my tips on how to look fabulous in every day life, even if we feel like a hot mess!  My promise is to never take myself too seriously and to give you enough fashion know how to look stylish at the park, the grocery store or date night." 
Be sure to follow Rachel along as she shares fashion tips, tricks, finds and faux-pas! You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Lindsay writes, "I'm a full-time working mom of twin boys. I work in radio and run an Etsy shop on the side. I like to bake, and I'm even a little good at it, but almost always burn whatever I cook."

One of the things I love most about Lindsay is her honest and refreshing take on motherhood. She has a great sense of humor (a must have when mothering one boy, let alone TWO!) and tells it like it is. She recently wrote this post, "Surviving Twins" and it's definitely worth reading! 

Be sure to follow along with Lindsay and her three handsome men here, here and here!

Last but certainly not least, meet one of my most favorite blogging mamas, Mandy. I can't remember how I stumbled across her blog a few months ago but I am so glad that I did. She is also a Mama to two sweet boys, both of whom are very close in age to Carter and Maclane and I just adore her. 

As she writes, I swear we are living mirrored lives of each other just on opposite sides of the US. You can read all about this darling Mama here on her about me page. Warning: as soon as you see pictures of her two blue-eyed cuties, The Fevah will strike in full force. You can't say I didn't warn you! 

Be sure to follow along with Mandy here, here and here!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Fellow Mama Meet & Greet {A Tommee Tippee :: Etsy} Giveaway

Meet Megan. Isn't she sassy? She's one of my favorite {newest} reads. We share a similar sense of humor and downright obsession for our sweet babies. She's also one of my latest sponsors here at ILYMTC. 

You should really get to know her. Here's a bit about her: 

Hey Everyone! My name is Megan and I blog over at 
The Memoirs of Megan. I am a stay at home Mom 
to my 9 month old daughter, Vivien. 
I am a Southern California girl, born and raised who married a former sailor in the Navy. 
We got married on Halloween 2010, 
and welcomed Vivien into our lives in October of 2011, 
just 11 days shy of our first anniversary. 
We moved to Denver, CO in April of this year, to be closer to my husband's family, 
and to support my dream to be able to stay at home with my daughter full time. 

Being a domestic kind of gal is all new for me, 
and up until 2 months ago, I think I only cooked something edible (and palatable) 
maybe twice in my life. I am learning to become a housewife and Mommy, 
one mistake and diaper at a time, and I blog all about it. 
I'd love it if you dropped by; I can promise about a million adorable pictures of Vivien 
(if that's a motivator for anyone?)

Believe me. You're going to want to drop by. In fact, I may already be planning future nuptials between one Miss Vivien and one Master Maclane. I'm thinking perhaps even a masquerade-type wedding just like the one Megan and Eli had back in October of 2010. 

On top of being all around awesome, Megan has also offered up some goodies for a fabulous little giveaway here on ILYMTC! To ONE lucky Loyal, she will be giving away a Tommee Tippee Explora feeding set as well as ONE custom bib from Etsy shop Luna and Bean! How stinking cute!

Before you use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter, be sure to visit Megan and Vivien over at The Memoirs of Megan! Thank you SO much Megan and Happy Monday, Loyals! Be sure to check back here tomorrow.. lot's to come around these parts this week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 25, 2012

And Then I Knew I'm Not Done Yet.

When Carter was ten weeks old, I never would have thought so ferociously about having another baby. 

When Carter was ten weeks old, I never would have broken down in tears at the thought of him being our only child. In fact, the thought of that happening is enough to make me giggle just a bit.

When Carter was ten weeks old, I could never imagine having another baby after him, much less another after that.

So why then, did I break down into tears last week while folding all of Maclane's 0-3 month clothing? Why then, did I break down into shaking sobs as I packed them away in dusty, informal blue Tupperware bins? The ones that so plain and simply bore the words "Baby Boy Clothes NB-3mo." After all it was all a familiar scene, something I had done just eighteen months prior when my first baby outgrew them. 

When Carter was ten weeks old, the age that Maclane is today, the thought of having a second child would never have crossed my mind, much less would I feel that innate need for another child so soon. 

When Carter was ten weeks old, I could hardly stomach the thought of having sex with my husband again, something that I'm quite certain is an integral part of procreating, is it not?

I would imagine that thought never crossed my mind because of the overwhelming exhaustion that comes with having your first baby. Or perhaps it was the immediate and all-consuming lapse into Newborn-dom that often leaves little, if any, room to think about much else. 

It may have also had a teensy tiny bit to do with the fact that, back then, I had no idea what kind of mother I would be.

On Wednesday evening, as I was sitting in the middle of the nursery floor folding tiny blue and white onesies, some embroidered with brightly woven trucks, another with soft sweet lions, I came across my favorite all white Ralph Lauren layette sleeper worn by Maclane for such a brief amount of time. It was then that I was absolutely blindsided and downright frightened by the thought that this could very well be the last time I do this. The very last time

And that's when the tears came. That's when I knew I'm not done yet. We're not done yet. 

I never wanted three kids. Way back before the house and the vows and the ring, before Sheepie, back when it was just Michael and Ashley, back when we could only fathom what our future would hold, I never wanted three kids.

Back when I was seven and playing with my baby dolls in my pretty pink bedroom with the pretty pink bedspread and the  pretty pink plastic doll carriage. I never wanted three babies. 

But I do now. I need three babies.

Because the thought of never again getting to see the look on my husband's face when he meets his freshly born baby for the first time, the thought of never again getting to rock another teensy tiny baby to sleep, the thought of this being my very last baby to nurse, to sing to, to comfort, absolutely rips me apart.  It breaks my heart into one million tiny pieces.

The same heart that has grown exponentially over these last ten weeks. More so than I ever could have ever imagined. It's no surprise that it grew with the birth of Maclane but it has grown so much more since then, with the love that I have for my husband who is such an incredible, passionate father to our boys and for Carter who has seamlessly transitioned into his role as a big brother. 

Carter, who has grown what seems like years just in these past ten weeks.

Every time he runs over to Maclane and rubs his head when he fusses or drapes a blanket over his feet (and occasionally his face, I can't lie), it takes my breath away. How can someone so small know that kind of compassion? How can someone so small understand what it means to soothe someone who cries and better, feel so compelled to do so?

This cannot be the last time I feel these things. Maclane cannot be our last baby. 

And in that moment, while folding those little blue and white onesies I knew it. 

I'm not done yet. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

{Homemade} Treats Fit For A Sheepie

Last week we celebrated Sheepie's 4th birthday. In years past, we've treated the big guy to a frosted {human} donut from the local bakery but that was before he was privy to hoards of table food cast awry by the toddler. 

This year, it's no secret that Sullivan needs to shed a few pounds. I still wanted to "treat" him on his special day but figured he could do without the processed sugar. 

Needless to say, Sheepie absolutely LOVED these frozen homemade treats and they were SO incredibly easy to make. Not to mention that the ingredients also make a delicious {human} treat as well! 

What I Used:

16 ounces Greek Yogurt (Plain or Vanilla)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 tbsp organic natural honey, give or take
1/3 cup old fashioned oats

What I did: 

Dump all ingredients into your food processor. 
Pulse until smooth and creamy.
Pour into ice cube trays or silicone baking mold.
(I had a heart-shaped mold from Valentine's baking last year)
Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

There's my sweet boy waiting patiently for his "yum-yums." 
And in just one hour, somebody was ready to enjoy his delicious birthday treat.

"Mom. Seriously? Just let me eat it."

If Sheepie had thumbs, I think it's safe to say he would give this "dessert" two thumbs up!
Just look at that smile...

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