My heart is so full because of you my sweet little Valentine. I’m so lucky I get to be your first kiss, first love and first friend. You’re my world. Happy Valentine’s Day.
We took the exact photo for Valentine’s Day two years in a row. Richie was so little and sweet in the first. This year, his is such a big boy but still so sweet. My little Valentine and I had a great day together.
Those cute little thermal leggings Richie is wearing are from Jojo Maman Bebe, a U.K. based clothing company we fell in love with the moment we opened the first package. The fit was perfect, the fox on the tush was beyond adorable, and come on, baby thermals - amazing! I never had to worry about him being cold when we were outside and they easily fit under his clothing. Richie was just five months old in the photo above and since then, we have purchased a ton of different items from the all-weather, nautical inspired clothing brand.
From rain boots and winter hats to sweaters and jumpsuits, we have never been disappointed. Here are a few reasons we are obsessed:
The clothing is stylish and trendy
You'll see everything from Nautical designs, and classic blue gingham to dainty embroidery and smocking. You'll will also love it just as much as your children do. In my opinion there are a ton of brands out their making cheesy children's clothing and it doesn't need to be that way. You should be able to dress your child in fashionable items that are affordable and well-made. This brand offers just that.
The quality is outstanding
Even after many wears, I was able to save and store away all of the items I purchased for the next baby. Also, washing their clothes never comprises the fit. A huge bonus in my book.
The apparel is comfortable
Richie is always able to move around with ease and comfort. I'll admit was hesitant about the snow and rain boots but he was able to walk in them without an issue.
Another one of my favorite things about that brand is that they have such festive and beautifully made clothing for Christmas. The sweater vest Richie wore to visit Santa, his Christmas morning pajamas and the adorable cashmere jumpsuit he wore for our family photo shoot were all purchased from JoJo Maman Bebe.
We couldn't wait to get Richie out into the snow in his new boots (pictured below) which are fleeced lined for extra warmth and super easy to get on. Next year, we'll get another pair and will likely get his winter coat from the brand as well.
On the site, you'll also find maternity clothing, nursery items and gear, as well as gifts and toys. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.
We just received some gorgeous new Spring items from JoJo Maman Bebe which we will be sharing on our Instagram page so be on the look out for those.
Happy Shopping, Mamas!
The happiness that was Christmas. Watching our babe open gifts for the first time was everything and more. This one goes down in the books as my absolute favorite.
We originally made this ginger bread cookies for Santa but Richie decided that Old St. Nick would be just as happy with chocolate chip so we've had nothing but crumbs left.
His fascination with our snow globes was nothing short of magical. If only we could see the world the way they do.
This is our little spot in the morning. He waves goodbye to his Dad out the window then we sit and have a drink. He has his juice and I have my coffee. Here he is trying to tell me a story. I’m not sure what that story is but his animated facial expressions, hand gestures and blah blah blahs are at an all time high. He has also been sharing his food and really won’t stop holding it out until you eat it. It’s very cute that he wants to share but we are all, “no thanks, kid.” Especially when it’s a half eaten snack covered in slobber.
Dad comes home. The babe runs to hug him, Dad changes his clothes, they lay in front of the tree together and snuggle. Then, I run like a crazy lady to find my camera and snap because my goodness this is so darn sweet.
This is what it really looks like to work from home. He climbs on the table, I yell at him to get down, he starts crying and I'm trying to listen in on a conference call and hold him so he doesn't fall down.
Baby proofing is no joke. Since I work from home, it is super important that my house be insanely baby proofed for a few reasons - we are in the house often, I'm busy juggling a lot at once and sometimes I can't pay as close attention as I would like to. Don't get me wrong, Richie is under constant supervision but for the times I jump on a conference call or have to type an email, my eyes are not glued on him. Its important that I can have a little bit of ease knowing he isn't going to get hurt if I look away for a few seconds.
I always laugh at the moms who say they are going to watch their child and not go crazy with baby proofing. Even if you have help, we all get interrupted from time to time to answer the door or run to grab your phone that's ringing in the other room. It's important and less stressful to know your home is safe. Plus, the constant vigilance of baby-death-and-injury-watch is utterly exhausting.
See below for some tips on how to baby proof and for a list of essentials, check out our 8 Universal Baby Proofing Must-Haves.
Richie getting ahold of the fruit in the kitchen. I allowed him to play with this bowl of fruit but whats important is to pay attention to what they can reach for. He is growing so quickly that he is now able to grab things of the counter.
When to start
You should make your home safe the moment your baby starts sitting up for long periods of time or even before that if you can.
Richie was sitting then started crawled out of nowhere. Just boom. Off to the races. We couldn't believe it. We didn't see it coming and of course, we were rookies so we had to rush to baby proof the entire house which was a little stressful. I'll be honest too. I was procrastinating because I knew I would have to put away a lot of cute decorations and furniture. SO, my advice is don't do what we did and get it done as soon as possible so you don't have to worry or rush.
Lower the crib
We lowered the crib once just before Richie was about to sit on his own then again when he was sitting. As soon as we caught him standing up, we lowered it all the way. Don't wait. Lower it. Better safe than sorry.
Rugs or mats
It takes babies some time to become expert crawlers. I remember Richie getting tired and putting his head down a lot when he first started. We were afraid of him hitting his head on the tile and hardwood floors so we gated the non-carpeted areas until he was crawling for a solid 3 weeks. Then, we let him explore a bit more because we knew he wouldn't hit his head on the harder surfaces. We also put out a colorful play mat for him to crawl on which was cushioned for his protection. If you decide to put down carpets, don't forget non-slip pads.
Store your bag safely
From mints and makeup to loose change and Advil, there are so many hazardous things in my bag so I always store it on top of my dresser in my bedroom. We lock the bedroom door too because its the one room that is completely off limits for Richie. I make it a habit to put it in the same exact spot every day.
For the times I do allow Richie in our bedroom (which is rare), he is into everything including the closets. Even for a room that you mostly keep off limits, it is important to baby proof them anyway.
The dishwasher is so extremely dangerous and corrosive for children - the sharp knives, glass plates and poisonous detergent. In order to keep Richie safe from it, I only load the dishes when he has zero access to it so that means nap time, when he is in his high chair, or when my husband is playing with him in the other room. Its just not worth it for me to turn my back for a second to grab a dish out of the sink and boom, he grabs a knife.
Plastic bags from the grocery store
Throw those bad boys out as soon as you unload your groceries or use cloth or paper bags instead. Reason number 2948846 that I love Traders Joe's - paper bags. I never have to worry about Richie get ahold of a plastic bag and it ending up over his head.
Get down on their level
This seems like a no brainer but its actually a smart thing to do. Get down on their level and look at all the things they can see, touch and grab. This is important to do this at each stage when they are crawling, walking and have the ability to climb. There may be hazards that you don't even know about. For example, Richie is now tall enough to grab things off of the counter so we have to be even more cautious of what we put down and how close we leave it to the edge where he can easily reach it.
I know, just the thought of it is exhausting but it is so necessary. Richie is 15 months old and still sometimes puts random things in his mouth. You'd be surprised how easily something hazardous could fall onto your floor. Loose change from your husband's jeans, a screw from a piece of furniture, the plastic ties from tags on clothing...the list is really endless. I vacuum every single day, sometimes even twice a day. I bought a cordless light weight vaccuum which has been super helpful.
My boy is a climber. I think most boys are so we put safety bars on the windows we tend to keep open to prevent him from falling out - God forbid. Something important to note: safety bars should only be installed in main rooms where you keep windows open. They are not to be put in bedrooms in case of a fire. If you would like to install bars in your child's room, make sure they are the kind that can easily be taken out. If your child's room has more than one window, then I would recommend only putting them in one window so you can free up the other. Its also important to wrap up all the dangling cords to our blinds so that they don't pull the blinds on top of themselves. Long cords can also get caught around their necks so its a good idea to wrap them up so they are out of reach.
Make sure the toilet has a lid lock on it. If your baby pulls themselves up onto the toilet, they can fall in and not know how to get out. There are some scary statistics out there of babies drowning this way. Lock the toilet and if you can, keep the door shut at all times.
He is able to climb now so its important to keep the bathroom door shut but also put a lock on the cabinets that I thought were too high for him to reach.
Cabinets & Drawers
Lock all cabinets and drawers, not just the ones in the kitchen. We locked the cabinets and tried to keep the drawers above them free from lock but as soon as Richie was tall enough, he was also able to open those.
Dresser drawers are important to lock because children not only can open them but pull them hard enough that the dresser falls on top of them. Very scary and it happens way more often then you could imagine. It could also be deadly. Another solution for this is to use a brace that secures the dresser to the wall. There are many companies that sell the hardware for this and some new furniture companies provide the hardware with the dresser. We recently purchased a new dresser from Wayfair that came with the hardware to secure the piece to the wall.
Store away furniture that can be dangerous
For us it was our coffee table because it had sharp edges, it was in the middle of the room he spends the most time in and was easy. It's important to discipline your child and educate them on what is hazardous but its a lot of work to keep out piece of furniture that can put them in harms way.
For a list of essentials, check out our 8 Universal Baby Proofing Must-Haves.
Baby proofing is a big, tedious and sometimes expensive task. What you'll need may depend on the features of your home but we've rounded up our favorite universal child safety products to make your life easier.
For tips on child proofing, check out A Work From Home Mama's Tips on Baby Proofing.
These help protect children from sharp edges. We prefer these to the foam ones that stick around the entire piece of furniture. The foam ones ruined one of our side tables. Richie was able to pull it off (which completely defeats the purpose) and when he did, it took the paint off of the table. They also aren't as nice looking. These corner guards are sleek, simple and get the job done without ruining furniture.
The Hamptons Baby Caring Corner Guards, 8 pack, $11.99
Kids have a fascination with doors. At least my kid does. This guard protects their little fingers from getting pinched or jammed. The foam guard attaches to the door providing a soft cushion between the door and door frame so that your child's fingers do not get caught. It also prevents children from getting locked inside the room.
Finger Pinch Guard by Wittle, 4 pack, $10.97
Locks for your Stove
The regular plastic covers didn't fit around the knobs of our new LG stove so we got these locks instead. What's great about them is they not only protect your child from turning on the gas, they also come down long enough to lock the oven door. They also look nicer than the big bulky plastic knob covers.
Stove Stoppaz Universal Kitchen Stove Knob Locks, 5 Count, $9.99
Magnetic Child Safety Locks
These magnetic locks are genius because you cannot see them from the outside, they don't ruin your furniture, and they help from getting your child's fingers stuck in between. We used these for all our kitchen cabinets. They stick on in the inside of the cabinet and are adhered with strong double sided tape so they can easily be removed. However, there are a few small catches. It can be a pain in the neck to open cabinets constantly with a magnet and you have to use them on cabinets that have enough of a lip to adhere them to. For the cabinets we couldn't use these on, we used the safety latches (below).
Kiddos Plus Magnetic Safety Locks, 8 pack, $19.99
These safety latches stick on without having to drill holes - a huge plus in our book. The also come in different colors to match your furniture. We used these for the stove, drawers to bedroom dressers, and drawers to our furniture in the living room. Its super important to keep the dresser drawers locked so that they can't pull the dresser on top of themselves. We also tested them out and they needed a lot of strength to peel off so we knew they were safe for Richie (who loves to pull things). The adhesive didn't ruin our cabinets or drawers either.
BabyKeeps Child Safety Locks, $18.97
Cord Wind-up for Blinds or Curtains
Its important to wrap up dangling cords from blinds for your baby's protection. There have been some cases of babies getting the cord wrapped around their necks. Richie is now tall enough to grab ahold of the cord and likes to pull on it. Our fear is that he may pull hard enough where the blinds could come falling down on top of him. These plastic wind-ups get the job done and are easy to use. We always err on the side of precaution and for less than 10 bucks, why not?
Rhoost Blind Cord Wind-up, 2 pack, $8.99
Toilet Seat Lid-Lock
We keep the bathroom door shut at all times but as a parent its impossible to get dressed alone (or in peace ) so for the times Richie is in the bathroom with me, this lid-lock comes in handy.
Mommy Helper Lid-Lock, $7.60
Electric Outlet Cover
Covering your outlets is most likely the first thing parents will think of when baby proofing but these outlets are by far the best we have used. Richie is so great with his fingers and was able to figure out how to get off the cover to the outlet. He was also able to pull out the plastic ones that plug in. What's fantastic about this brand is that it not only is very hard for children to figure out, you never have to take it off to plug something in because they slide over, immediately locking the outlet. You can also use one outlet while the other remains locked and safe. In addition, they look exactly like a regular outlet so they aren't an eye soar in your home.
Universal Electric Outlet Cover, Self-Closing Switch Plates Guards Kit, 4 Pack, $9.99
For tips on child proofing, check out A Work From Home Mama's Tips on Baby Proofing.
We did our own little photo shoot in the house the morning of Thanksgiving. Our little ham was all for it. Sharing a few from the day.
Richie was just two months old last Halloween so this year felt more like his first. Since he is older and mobile, we were able go all out with his costume and take him to a kiddie party to celebrate. My husband even took the day so that he could come with us to watch Richie play with his friends, see a show and play in the ball pit. It was so special.
When I was younger, Roald Dahl was my favorite author. I loved all his books; James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and Fantastic Fox. But my all time favorite was and is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory so it was only natural, I'd want Richie's first real costume to be a character from the book. I also thought it would be that much more special if I made his costume myself, so I did.
Leading up to Halloween, we found a fox costume in the store. Richie loved it because it's super soft so we bought it. He would randomly bring it in to me from his room so that I could put it on for him. Including some images of that one below as well. It was such a memorable Halloween.
I was lucky enough to nurse my baby just 30 minutes after he was born. I’ll never forget it. They laid Richie on my chest and my husband and I stared at him for a good while then he ran out to get all of our family members in the waiting room. While he was gone, Richie kept moving his way up my chest and to my breast. I looked at the nurse and said, “Oh my God, I think he is trying to nurse.” Then BOOM, all the things I learned in my breastfeeding class popped into my head. I was like, “I got this. I’m going to feed this baby right now.” And I did, just like that. It was a gift for it to happen so natural and easy for me.
My goal was to nurse for an entire year. That didn’t work out. Welcome to #momlife. Things don’t always go as planned. Fine. I did however; nurse Richie exclusively for 9 and a half months then slowly introduced formula before completely stopping at 11 months when I started him with whole milk. I’m so super proud of that but I will likely do a few things differently the next time around. Here’s what I learned that I think will help me to nurse for a year and maybe even beyond with my next baby.
For more on breastfeeding, check out my posts on The Biggest Breastfeeding Myth and My Favorite Breastfeeding Foods.
Handle one day at a time
Something about that 9 month mark made me feel like I just couldn’t take anymore. I needed a break. It was then that I also took my first short trip away from Richie and my husband for my sister’s bachelorette party. While I was gone, my husband had to use my entire stash of frozen breast milk. It was gut wrenching. The thought of having to pump again to build it back up was nauseating. I enjoyed nursing but loathed pumping. Had I just relaxed and took one day at a time, I would have recovered from that feeling but instead, I went out and bought the formula.
Find ways to introduce Dad
I didn’t do this – at all – which is why I was so exhausted and run down and over it. When you nurse, you are solely responsible for feeding your baby. What I should have done was use my stored breast milk and have my husband feed him one bottle a day (probably best to have done at night) so that I would have had a break and got some well deserved rest. It was a total rookie mistake. I wanted to take it all on and the truth is, I loved nursing him and I’m also a control freak but after awhile, I was just worn out. Had I let my husband help earlier, I probably wouldn’t have burned out so quickly.
Wait until 6 months to introduce solids
Unless your doctor advises otherwise, I would suggest waiting until 6 months to introduce solids. I was so excited, because Richie is my first, to introduce him to purees and cereal. I couldn’t wait to see his reaction to different foods, sit him in his new highchair, and prepare food for him. What I didn’t realize was that he would nurse less because of it and in return, my supply would drop. I was able to continue to nurse him but it was harder to get extra milk from pumping. Prior to solids, I was making so much extra.
I also didn’t realize how much more work I was adding to my already busy schedule. If your baby is gaining appropriately and it is safe, my suggestion is to wait so that you can nurse longer.
Different women may have different reactions to dieting and exercising when nursing but for me (and a bunch of other Moms I have spoken to), it completely affected my supply. I was still making milk but not nearly as much as when I ate more calorie packed foods. For example, I was dieting then one night I cheated and had pizza. That night, I woke up completely engorged. Calories helped with my supply. Big time.
Also, as a very personal side note, that was another reason I wanted to be done with it. I was vain and hated the fact that I couldn’t drop the last 10 pounds because of nursing. I regret that now. The weight doesn’t matter. I won’t care about this next time around. You are lucky to be able to go through this phase at all – having a baby and nursing them is a gift. My vanity got in the way.
I enjoyed it very much. I was good at it. I loved the bond we shared but what I didn’t know was how fast it all goes even though everyone was saying it. When you are exhausted and can’t see straight, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is an end and the newborn phase goes FAST (just not while you are in it). For my next, it will easier because I now know that the first year flies by and you inevitably miss those sweet tender (and insanely exhausting) moments when you have breast milk all over you, haven’t showered, and are a walking zombie. Trust me. You will.
This post is sponsored by Cuddl Duds and Kohl’s but my love to #liveinlayers is all my own.
There are so many things to love about fall - the beautiful colors of autumn leaves, the crisp smell of the air and the excitement of putting together new (warmer!) outfits. Our favorite way to curate our autumn wardrobe is L A Y E R I N G.
Layering is about pairing together different types of clothing to create a warm but thrown together look that seems effortless but stylish. I'm pretty sure it all started in the mid-90's when the Olsen twins were throwing on mountains of bohemian fabrics, coats, and long scarves. A decade later and its still on the fashion agenda. Toss in the confusing up and down climates of fall and we're left wondering how anyone expects us to dress for weather that can run from 50 degrees in the morning to 70 by late afternoon.
There is a secret formula that layering involves and we've complied three looks in partnership with Cuddl Duds to help navigate through the transition of seasons as well as some tips for layering this year's most coveted styles. A quick tip: You'll find that Cuddl Duds long cardigan and a black turtleneck are key, long-wearing purchases (both can be found at Kohl's).
A roll neck turtleneck will work under almost anything.
natalie ferro aurigema
Sharing all the things that make me happy through this blog.
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