Monday, June 11, 2018

Dear Cody... You're 7 months old

Sweet, squishy Cody Bear....

How can it be? 7 months old! It's been another big month for you - especially because you got your first TWO teeth. You got teeth so much earlier than your siblings that I wasn't expecting them and it was pops who saw you had one poking through for the first time. It all made sense though, because you haven't been sleeping well and you've been a little less "chill" than usual (yet, still very chill). I couldn't believe it - and now you have two little front bottom teeth.

You've also been eating much more solid foods this month. It took a while for you to get used to the idea of eating anything besides milk, but you're starting to eat more. Your favorite is rice cereal and slowly I have added in sweet potatoes and prunes which you are okay with. You also like to eat avocado, which I have been letting you feed yourself.

You are up quite a few times at night right now, probably because of getting teeth, but you are officially sleeping in your own bed and this month I moved our rocking chair into your bedroom for me to use at night. I sure miss having you next to me, but you're only a few steps across the hall away. Before getting teeth, you did give me a night or two where you were only up once. You nap pretty well during the day for an hour or two at a time, twice a day. We aren't on a super schedule because we are on the go a lot, but I try to get you down for at least your morning nap.

You are one of the happiest babies I know. You smile very easily (unless you're tired or hungry) and you are still extremely ticklish. Your giggle makes me melt and you belly laugh all the time. This month you have also started reaching for people, which I love. You definitely know your "people" and you love to be held and snuggled. You are growing very fond of your Pops, and he loves to put you down for naps on his "popsurpedic" chest. I love seeing your relationship grow with your Gramz & Pops.

You are wearing mostly 6-12 month clothes and 9 month sizes. You can still barely fit into the 6 month size, but I am not ready to get rid of it all yet. You are still in size 3 diapers and lately you've been blowing out of those easily. At your last appointment, you were 17lbs 12oz and 26.5 inches tall. You are in the 50th percentile for weight and the 35th for height. You're growing well and the doctor said your head was looking better (after being a little flat).

You have started rolling a little bit more this month, especially belly to back, but you've only gone back to belly once or twice. The doctor said it's okay, though! You are a pro at sitting up and you really prefer that to laying down, so you will sit and play most of the time.

You are great in the car, which has been very welcome to us after your big brother and sister hated it so much. You love playing with all your toys and they're a great distraction for you when needed. You also LOVE your baths and you splash a ton and get everyone and everything wet. You're a blanket baby and I think you're going to love them as much as Andie and Nolan as you get bigger. You also like to sit in your jump-a-roo. But your absolute favorite thing is to be held and carried around so you can see the world. You are on the go with us all the time and you really just go with the flow.

I am so proud to be your mommy. You are a wonderful baby and I love watching you take everything in just like you love watching all of us. I am relishing in you as often as I can because I know it's going to fast. Your daddy and I talk about how cute you are all the time. We can't get enough of you.

I love you so much, Cody. Forever and ever times infinity.

Love,
Mama

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Summer Favorite: Swimzip Swimsuits

A couple of years ago (when Andie was about 2) I found this little company called Swimzip on Instagram that was started by a woman who was passionate about protecting our bodies from the sun (she was diagnosed with skin cancer at 26!). I loved her swimwear because it was stylish and great for the kids. I am not a huge fan of putting sunscreen on the kids every hour, so her suits make me feel less stressed about the sun and the kids really love them. She also has things for men and women - so much cute stuff and it's all great for the summer.

Before we left for Hawaii, I wanted to get some really cute pieces to bring along because I knew the kids were going to be living in their suits. They were amazing! Especially for Cody, because they're not supposed to have sunscreen before 6 months of age.

Check them out if you're looking for new suits for yourself or the kids for summer. It's fun to support small businesses, especially fellow mamas who have a passion for helping others!




Saturday, May 12, 2018

Dear Cody... You are SIX months old.

Sweet Cody-Bear...

You are SIX months old. One of my all time favorite ages. The last month you have grown stronger and every day you're getting cuter and cuter (which I didn't think was possible). You love to be held and snuggled and I love getting to hold you so much.

You are getting heavier, I am estimating about 18 pounds, and you have little chunk rolls all over your body. You are eating a couple of solid foods - you've tried a few bites of avocado and a few bites of sweet potato, but for now, you are pretty set on your milk. You and I are still rocking breastfeeding and I am so happy we have made it to 6 months. I plan on working a few more foods into your diet in the next month.

Your sister turned 5 years old today as well. It's crazy that you two are 4.5 years apart. She and Nolan both adore you and are very interested in everything you are doing. And you are very interested in them!

You still aren't rolling regularly - you have gone tummy to back about 3 times - but you are a pro at sitting up by yourself. You can go for minutes at a time with out losing your balance and you really prefer to be able to sit up. You are very strong and you're scooting forward and backward on your tummy. You are also very good at moving your fingers and reaching for things. You love to grab your hands and feet and will stare at them quite a bit.

You took your first flight to Maui, and you did wonderfully well. You absolutely loved being near the water, especially with your little feet in the pool and ocean. You slept for 3 hours on our flight home and everyone around us couldn't believe we had such a little guy with us who was so great. You spent lots of quality time with your Gramz & Pops, and our little family loved having you with us for the very first time.

You are spending lots of time during the day in our arms, on the floor with toys, watching your brother and sister, and you will sometimes sit in your little jump-a-roo. You automatically put everything in your mouth - you love to have blankies and toys right up in your face. You are also still drooling, although it has slowed down a little bit in the last month.

You are babbling quite a bit now, too, and it sounds like you're saying 'dada'. You love to stare at us and laugh or fake cough. You are also still very ticklish and will sometimes laugh when we change your diaper because it tickles.

You are one of the sweetest little babies I have ever laid my eyes on. You are mellow, content, super easy going, and you just love your people. You smile and giggle all the time! When you smile, you make me want to freeze in time forever so I can just stare at you. I want 100 more babies if they are like you. You're just a wonderful little guy and your daddy and I can't believe how blessed we are to have you. I am already so proud to be your mommy. I love you SO much and I look at you at least once a day and wonder why I get to be so lucky to have you. You're amazing, Cody.

I can't wait to see the doctor next week to get your updated stats and get you all checked out. I still worry about you too much, but deep down I know you're absolutely perfect just the way you are. You're already teaching us about life.

Love you to the moon and back times infinity. Forever. Never forget that, son.

Love,
Mama

Saturday, April 28, 2018

How we Hawaii with kids

I had a couple people ask me how we traveled with 3 kids to Hawaii recently. Before 3, we have taken quite a few flights with Andie and Nolan, and before that we traveled a lot with Andie (we got in as many flights as possible while she was free before 2). We have learned a few things about what works and what doesn't, and each vacation with kids will be different based on what your plans are while there. For example, what makes Hawaii great is that we stayed at our resort most of the time - the ocean and pool were at our doorstep, and we could walk almost anywhere else we wanted to go. That makes it super easy as opposed to a vacation where you are constantly on the go and needing to travel everywhere while there.


How do you fly there with 3? Well, for this trip, Cody was a lap child and Andie and Nolan both had their own seats on the plane. I packed hefty carry-on backpacks for them with all sorts of activities (which really helped Andie especially) and we loaded an iPad for them to watch and keep them occupied. We have a direct flight that lands in Maui with no layovers, so that also makes it super convenient. Side note: Alaska Airlines is fantastic. We have something called the Companion Fares through their credit card. Basically you pay full price for one flight and then bring a second person for $99 (+ taxes & the annual fee which brings it to about $200 total roundtrip). Tim and I both have a credit card and we book one of us with one kid and it significantly saves us! Click here to read more about it - but especially if you are planning on annual air travel to Hawaii, it is absolutely worth it. Anyway - both flights this year with 3 were smooth and the kids were great. The more traveling you do, the more they get used to it. If you get to choose your seats - Tim and Nolan sat in one row and Andie, Cody and I sat in front or behind them.

Do any of your kids ride in a carseat on the plane? This was the first trip Andie didn't have a 5 point harness carseat on the plane, only Nolan. My dad actually purchased a carseat by Diono that can fit into a backpack carrier, which makes it compact enough to carry on the plane. Any carseat you bring on the plane must be approved by TSA (there is a small airplane emblem on the back of this carseat so it makes it obvious for flight attendants). It's not light, but that's why I married a pack mule, I mean man who doesn't mind lugging it on to the plane. Tip... use your umbrella stroller through security/airport and push the carseat on that so you're not carrying it around - then you only have to carry the actual carseat once you gate check the stroller before stepping on the plane. If you have an older child who sits in a booster, bring that along on the airplane. Then both of those can be transferred to a rental car once you land. There is actually a really cool booster that inflates to bring along - I haven't purchased it, but we probably will for our next trip for both Andie and Nolan. Cody's carseat was put into a travel bag and we checked that for free when we got to the airport.

How do you get everything packed and ready for the trip? Ha, this is actually comical when you realize how much crap you have, but remember, it takes a village. Because we had 4 tickets (if you have an Alaska Airlines card each person gets one free checked bag), I packed everything into 4 suitcases. We also had 2 umbrella strollers (which we gate checked in their travel bags), Cody's carseat (checks for free), 4 backpacks (one for each of us), and then Nolan's carseat. For babies, everyone is different about what they pack, but I do pack diapers and wipes to bring along, then it frees up space in your luggage in case you purchase anything. We also had a washer and dryer where we stayed, so I purposely packed less pajamas, etc and did some laundry while there. Because it's Hawaii, I also packed their floaty wings (they're hard to find there), a blow up duck from Target to put Cody in on the beach, bath bombs (the kids love them and it's an incentive to get them in from the pool and they took baths everyday), sunscreen (cheaper than buying there), and all of the regular packing essentials. I had one suitcase for me, Tim had one for him, Andie had hers (which I also packed my breast pump in because I knew I would need it), and then Nolan and Cody shared a large suitcase. Because their clothes are so small, that is where I also packed the floaty wings and extras I named above.

As for getting to the airport, we drove. Tim dropped me, the kids, and allllll of our stuff off at the check in area and I began the process of getting us checked in. My parents and their friends were on our same flight this time, so they were there to help me with the chaos, but in the past when they haven't been, the airline has been super helpful about helping me manage everything. I always make sure we are there early so if I just have to stand there and wait for Tim to park the car in the long term area it won't make us late for our flight. I wore Cody in a carrier and both kids had their umbrella strollers (we open the carseat so we don't have to carry it and sit it on one of the strollers so they can ride, but they usually just run beside the strollers). With the kids, early is key - and make sure everyone goes potty before getting on the plane! Also, plan on taking trips back and forth to the curb when you arrive and get ALL your luggage off the belt - there's definitely some sweat equity and hustle involved.

Hawaii is super kid-friendly - at least where we stay. We stay at the Westin Villas in Kaanapali and it is a wonderful place for families. No one looks at you funny if you breastfeed, your kids can run around everywhere, they have activities and awesome pools (& waterslides), and the beaches are beautiful and easy for swimming. There are also several places to stay on Maui (& other islands, too) that you can find good deals on if you pay attention.

If you have been contemplating taking a trip there but are nervous because your kids are young... don't let the fear of it all stop you from taking the leap. Vacations are different with young kids, obviously, and it's not everyone's cup of tea. But we have really enjoyed seeing them experience it all and it makes for lots of special memories. It can be expensive, but if you stay somewhere with a kitchen you can alleviate some of the cost by stopping by Target or Costco and eating in (which we did for half of the nights), but we personally feel like the best money we spend is for memories with our family. We don't typically buy physical presents for each other, we spend that money on memories. We have also figured out a ton of tips and tricks for traveling there for less money - pay attention to flight deals, travel off-season (if you're willing to take kids out of school), check costco for rental car deals, and plan ahead to know what you need to save up.

I can't think of any other tips for traveling with kids, but we kind of just have a little system now. I do get some anxiety before we fly because I always worry about the kids being good and not disturbing others - but we have been so lucky and they've been great travelers... don't expect to sit back, watch movies and drink mai tais the whole time (unless your kids take 5 hour long naps). I was up, holding Cody, coloring with Andie, busy with them to keep them quiet and satisfied. But it was all worth it and all 3 kids were good! Do you have anything you do that really helps? I am always up for learning more about what works for people. XO


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Friday, April 13, 2018

Traveling with kids: What we carry on


Tim and I have been traveling with our kiddos since Andie was 4 months old to take advantage of the 'free before 2' flights. Fast forward almost 5 years and quite a few more trips, we definitely are NOT experts - but we have learned a few tricks.

The kids both have their own backpack they carry-on to the flight (now that they have their own seats). I pack mostly items that they've never seen before - or items they haven't played with in a while - to make it interesting and keep their attention. These things usually work as a double because I use them when we are out to eat on vacation as well - lots of great stuff to play with in a restaurant. I also keep an item or two in my suitcase to surprise them with on the flight home. Something simple, but it does the trick!

Here's are some of the things in Andie's carry-on backpack (Nolan's is similar, just with some other themes he's a little more interested in):

I don't pack ALL of this in her backpack, it would be too heavy - I save a few of these items to trade in for the way home. I also bring an iPad for them, but it's pretty heavy for them, so Tim and I keep them in our bags for them, but that's why you see her headphones. I also always make sure to pack their blankies since they like to snuggle with them while they sleep. We have a few blankies for each kid - so I designate an airplane blanket and leave another one in the suitcase for the hotel to keep it clean. Another great thing I will throw in their carry on... a few snacks (I will grab a piece of fruit in the airport, too) and I always put in an empty ziplock bag. It usually comes in handy!

Here are some extra pieces I take with me on our trips to keep them entertained while we are out to eat or trying to keep them busy:

Another little trick I have learned... I always bring an extra change of clothes for them and a plastic shopping bag in my carry on - just in case! The plastic bag has come in handy for several reasons. We ALWAYS have a fresh pack of baby wipes and hand sanitizer, too!

Most of the items pictured are from the target dollar section or amazon. A lot of them can be re-used over and over again, too, so they're a good investment. Michael's carries coloring books and sometimes has huge sales on them ($1 or less), so I will stock up on a few of them when I see them!

(lacing kits from the dollar section at Target)

Here's a few things that are great to pack in their bag: 
lacing activities
sticker books 
play-doh
beading activities (Andie loves these) 
the on-the-go packets at Target
color crayons & color books
empty ziplock bag
headphones
snacks
blankie or comfort toy
books (keep it light)
and any other activities that are easy to take on the go and don't make a big mess.

In my bag for them:
baby wipes
hand sanitizer
extra change of clothes
ipad
band aids
empty plastic shopping bag
snacks

Both of my kids are interested in everything pictured - but if your child is interested in something, figure out a way to bring it if possible.

I am sure I am forgetting lots of things - this is just where I like to start when prepping for a trip with little ones. :) What are your go-to items for kids while for traveling?