Thursday, October 30, 2014

Collins Mason, Month Six! (Holy Smokes...)

Once upon a time I wrote out these glorious monthly updates on my kids during the first twelve months of their tiny little lives. Not only was I prompt with these updates but I was witty, too. I would stick those little monthly stickers on their onesies, set them up for a photo session in the nursery and start snapping away. I didn't even have to refer to the Notes section on my iPhone when it came time to write up their posts because each of their milestones was fresh in my memory.

I started off strong when it came to Collins, our last little baby. In fact, I made it a whole two months before I completely fell off the organized, monthly updates wagon. Suddenly he turned six months old last week which seems awfully silly considering I just had him like, yesterday. But he turned six months old and that's when I realized the last update I shared about him on my blog was four months ago

Now, of course, like any mother would, I've still been recording his milestones. Unfortunately some of them are scribbled on the backs of envelopes, others in the Notes section of my phone and a couple of them were even written down on our chalk wall in the playroom. 

But the truth is I've used this blog as a kind of memory keeper for my boys and I'd hate for Collins to get the shaft. I've loved looking back on what each of the boys was doing at a specific age (Carter, 6 Months and Maclane, 6 Months) and I know I'll love being able to do the same for Collins down the line. So today, just as he was waking up from his first nap of the day, I snuck into the nursery camera in hand and snapped a few pictures of Mr. Six Months Old. 

Collins Mason, you are six months old this month! You weigh 21lbs. 12 ounces and you're 27 inches tall! This makes you the exact same size as your older brother Maclane at this age. Friends and family are quick to say that you're starting to thin out but I think that's just because we've hidden all those delicious rolls beneath shirts and pants. Thankfully we've been blessed with a few unseasonably warm days lately which means those chubby thighs come back out to play! 

You're wearing 6-12 month and 12 month clothing and size 4 diapers. Your hair is looking awfully dirty blonde lately and I think it's safe to say you have big brown eyes like me and your brother Mackie. Each day you prove to us you are your own little person with traits that are a perfect blend of each one of us in your family. It's pretty neat how that works!

You're rolling all over the place (back to belly, belly to back), tripod sitting, blowing raspberries and "talking" all day long. You love making noise and it seems like you really found your voice this month and aren't afraid to use it!

You're still nursing every 4-5 hours throughout the day. Around five months you were showing quite the interest in our food and so I thought we'd give purees a whirl (something we skipped right over with Maclane) . If there's one thing you can't stand, it's being fed with a spoon. It wasn't until this month that I wised up and started giving you food in the Kidsme Silicone Feeder and you instantly became obsessed with it. So much so that when I try to take it from you to refill it, you pitch the biggest fit. Patience, when it comes to eating, has never really been your strong suit! So far you've nommed on apples, kiwi, banana, pears and sweet potato. 

You started sleeping in your crib much earlier than your brothers- around the four month mark. You love your crib which makes me love you even more, if that's at all possible. We're on a good schedule, you and I and although I know it can change on a dime, it makes our days run pretty smoothly. You take two naps, one at 10am and the other at 2pm and you go down for the night at 8pm. I dream feed you around 11pm, before I get into bed and you'll sleep on through until 4am when it's time to nurse again. You fall right back to sleep until you're up for the day around 7:30am. Once I slip you into your Merino Kids Baby Sleep Sack and turn on your Dohm white noise machine, you know what's a' comin and you get all kinds of excited. You are a dream baby, indeed. 

The Merino Kids Baby Sleep Sack is definitely one of our favorite sleep sacks for a myriad of reasons. Not only is the superfine Merino fabric soft and comfortable but it's durable, too! It's of a much heavier weight than others we've tried but not so heavy that you wouldn't want your baby wearing it to sleep. Collins is such a hot-natured baby that I constantly struggle with dressing him for bed, playing with the AC/heat in our house and trying to get the temperature in his room just right. With the Merino Kids Baby Sleep Sack I simply dress him in a long sleeve onesie beneath the sleep sack and he's perfectly comfortable.  I love the hidden zipper and how the sleep sack opens completely flat for easy dressing. It unzips from the bottom for easy diaper changes (the kind that don't wake sleeping babies!) and even has the ability to be buckled into a car seat or stroller. 

Speaking of strollers, you love going for walks outside in the stroller. The minute we buckle you in you start kicking your legs like a wild man! You also love grabbing faces, pinching skin, your brothers, bath time, your activity jumper, Alphabet Activity Cube, Comotomo teetherNum Num Dips spoonsFranky the Hanky Whale, and your 4Moms mamaRoo . I worry so much about your love for the mamaRoo- our days in that bad boy are numbered but it's been one of your favorite things since you were born! It's also been a favorite of mine and I'll be one sad panda the day we have to pack it away. 

There isn't much you don't love these days, Collins. If I had to pick something, it would definitely be being fed from a spoon! Other than that, you're truly the happiest baby in the entire world. People remark all the time how they can't believe "what a good baby you are!" And it's true. In ever sense of the word. You're a wonderful, easy baby. 

You've always been the best tiny traveler. You love going places! Whether we're riding in the car to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware or DC, you're happy as a clam as long you have a dry diaper, a toy to teethe on and a blanket to snuggle close to your face. We're getting ready to celebrate your very first Halloween and you'll undoubtedly be the cutest darn Dalmation dog on the entire block.

It's been a whirlwind six months since you joined our family, Collins and without a single doubt I can say you've always been the missing piece to this crazy puzzle of ours. Our family is complete and whole with you in it and you've blessed us with more love and laughter these last six months than we could have ever imagined. Even though I'm sad to see these months fly by, I cannot wait to see what amazing adventures the next six months hold. We love you more than carrots, Collins! 

Your crazy, loud, sometimes way too touchy-feely-lovey-dovey family.

I was provided a Merino Kids Baby Sleep Sack for free to review. All thoughts expressed above are honest and my own. I did not receive financial compensation for those thoughts.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween PJ Party Link Up!

Woo-hoo! It's Pajama Party Time! I've loved linking up with these ladies every year and this year I'm so excited to be hosting right alongside Darci, Ashley and Natasha. If you don't remember last year's Pajama Party, here's a pair of matching brothers before the littlest became the middle.
A lot has certainly changed in the last year- our biggest change being the addition of baby Collins! As you can see from the pictures below, the biggest brothers have also gotten really good at asserting their own independence as neither one of them wanted to put their pajamas on for pictures. 

Not only did they pass up donut bribes and a late night showing of The Great Pumpkin but they even refused coins for their piggy banks! I thought that last one was a shoe-in for sure but they clearly had other plans in mind. 

Thankfully Collins is still at that age where he gets to do whatever I say. I mean, I have to take advantage of that while it lasts, no? As you can see he was also less than enthusiastic about our morning endeavors. 

Be sure to link up with us and even share your images on Instagram using #HalloweenPJPartyLinkup! I can't wait to see all of your little ghouls and goblins in their Halloween jams!

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Friday, October 24, 2014

In An Attempt To Ditch The Daily Yoga Pants...

Recently I've been trying my hardest to get dressed every day. I know to most people that task seems simple enough (like, heller, just wake up and throw some clothes on idiot!) but after having three babies in four years, I can't just waltz into my closet, pull something off the rack and be ready to take on the day. 

That scenario looks much more like "Open closet door. Stand there for several minutes trying to remember why you walked into your closet in the first place. Leave and nurse crying baby. Break up brotherly fight. Return to closet. Pull four pairs of jeans from hangers. Throw two on the floor of the closet after only being able to pull them up to your knees. Throw one into the hamper because of an indistinguishable stain on the knee (spit up? frosting?). Jump up and down forty-seven times to pull on the fourth pair. Contemplate maternity jeans... And already an hour has passed and you're sweating, still topless and it's time to make lunch." 

Therefore, pouring myself into black yoga pants, a nursing tank and an open cardigan (also known as The Uniform of The Nursing And Exhausted Mother) became my Normal. But now I'm tired of that normal and I've begun to notice that kind of normal day in and day out isn't good for my sanity. 

I guess what I should have said is that I've been trying my hardest to get dressed up every day. And I've been trying my hardest to do this because it makes me a better wife and a nicer mother. 

Now, it's taken me quite a few months to get to this place. Not only did I have to emerge from the dark and foggy haze of Newborndom where I could hardly put one leg in front of the other each morning let alone put those legs into something other than yesterday's yoga pants, but I also needed to get to a place where I felt comfortable and confident enough with my post-baby body to want to show it off in something other than forgiving cotton. 

After two months of completely re-hauling my eating habits, I emerged on the other side of the funk. The funk that comes with being in that middle place after having a baby. The one where Tired meets Nothing Fits and Hormones occasionally comes to crash the party. I dropped the extra post-baby weight, old clothes started fitting again and I was less exhausted. Still tired, mind you, but not so exhausted each morning that I wanted to drown myself in my mug of lukewarm coffee. 

Getting dressed in the mornings became easier. Instead of having only two pairs of pants to choose from, I now have five or six. My options are still a bit limited when it comes to shirts and tops because I am still nursing frequently throughout the day but I try to remind myself that this is a good problem to have- that I won't always have lopsided porn star boobs and one day I won't have to judge my t-shirt purchases by how easily I can stretch the neck down to whip a breast out.

What I've realized about getting dressed up each morning is that it makes me a better wife and mother by giving me the motivation I need to go out and get shit done. I'm much more inclined to finish a lengthy to-do list if I'm dressed in something other than pajamas. For example, I won't cringe as deeply when I run into my child's pre-school teacher at Kohl's when I'm wearing something I can't sleep in. Sure the bags under my eyes might give her a good scare but at least I won't walk away from our encounter trying to imagine the myriad of questionable thoughts running through her head. 

I also seem to yell less when I'm dressed up. Why? Because chances are I've taken the boys somewhere fun which means they've spent less time in the house, less time driving each other crazy, less time throwing Legos all over the family room and crunching up Goldfish into the floor and more time expending energy and making a mess somewhere else. Preferably somewhere where I didn't have to vacuum up after them. 

And it's kind of nice to see my husband's face light up the way that it does when at the end of a long day he walks through the door and sees me in something other than what he saw me in ten hours ago when he left the house. 

As I said earlier, my transformation didn't happen over night and I still have plenty of days where I reach for yoga pants over something a bit stiffer and muffin-top-accentuating. Yoga pants days are good for my soul (and the circulation of my lower half) too but even on those days I realized I don't have to walk around looking homeless, which is pretty much how I looked for the first three months of each of my kids' lives. 

On those days I'll wake up a bit earlier, despite how painful that might be and spend a little extra time on my hair and make up. It's on those days that I remind myself of that age old saying, "a little goes a long way." A little mascara, a little bronzer and a touch of lip color make a big difference and won't send friends and neighbors running in the opposite direction. On these days I don't mind running into friends at the park or opening the door to an annoying and unexpected salesman because I know my appearance won't have them questioning whether or not they need to call child and family services. 

If you're curious as to what's got me kicking ass and taking names most days, here's a few staple wardrobe pieces I've been wearing on heavy rotation lately as well as my go-to face products! 
Fall Style Staples

* * * * * 

Quick and Easy Face

Speaking of quick and easy, I've recently become a major fan of Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes. Whether I'm spending the day in yoga pants or boyfriend jeans, it's become a staple addition to my morning routine. Even my husband noticed the difference and that's saying a lot because, as he says, "guys never check out a girl's eyelashes." 

Check out the difference below in my own Before and After's! 

The application process took a little bit of practice until I could figure out the right balance of my own mascara, transplanting gel, fiber application and gel reapplication. The more I played with the product, however, the longer and fuller my  lashes became! With a price tag of $29.00 I feel it's absolutely justified because not only will it last a long time but it eliminates having to wear liner and use a lash curler most days! At the end of the day I simply use warm water and a dab of eye makeup remover to take them off. 

Like I said, quick and easy! 

I didn't receive any monetary compensation for this post and will not receive any compensation for the Younique Fiberlash party hosted by Molly, the Mascara Lady

She has graciously offered to give away all of the party rewards (Ycash and half-priced items earned to ONE lucky ILYMTC reader and winner who makes a purchase during the party!) Entries are simple! 

One entry: ANY purchase, big or small. Even a $10 pigment!
Two entries: purchase over $50
Three entries: purchase over $100
Four entries: purchase of any collection 

The party will close at midnight on November 2nd.
Click here to shop!

Happy Shopping and Good Luck to those who enter!

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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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