What A New Mom Really Needs


All of a sudden I feel like all my friends and family are having babies. It is so wonderful! For the longest time I was the only one with kids my age (we started young). So, with all these newly pregnant moms come the inevitable facebook post “Help! What do I REALLY need for the baby? And… go!”. You know the post I’m talking about? So I decided to share what I honestly and truly use as a mom. Most of them are unconventional and not even “baby” type items, but they are necessary for my survival. Obviously a baby needs onesies, diapers, and a crib, but these are the items that aren’t really thought of, yet so important to my day. So here we go!
*Scroll to the bottom of the post for easy shoppable links*

Amazon Prime Membership

Amazon is life. Every mom I know has Amazon Prime because it is life. It is an absolute necessity. The ability to order an item and have it at your doorstep is vital. Not having to go to WalMart and fight the long lines of cranky people to get your toilet paper is worth its weight in gold! Skip your big box membership and buy into Amazon Prime. You don’t have to leave your house and everything you need is delivered to you, for free.

Alexa / Echo Show

We only got the Echo last year, but let me tell you- lifechanging. As a mom (or dad!) your hands will be constantly tied up, whether you are holding, feeding, or rocking a baby, preparing food for said baby, or cleaning up after that baby. Being able to order items or add to your shopping list with just your voice is brilliant. Dare I say, even necessary? Or ask her to play some background music to detract from the insane amount of kid noise… You would think I was asked to advertise for this but no, I just love it that much.

Dyson Vacuum

If you have kids, you will have lots of food on your floor. It is amazing that any food actually enters my children by the amount that is on the floor at the end of every meal. I vacuum every day. Every. Single. Day. It would be wise for you to invest in a vacuum that works extremely well, has a good turning radius, and a great company that with fantastic customer service (seriously- mine clogged and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it and the customer service guy helped me through it, and he stayed on the phone with me so I could attend to a crying baby and didn’t even flinch. He actually encouraged me to leave the phone and attend to her. I will be forever committed to Dyson. I’ve also had a couple small things break and they sent me replacement parts, no fuss!) Invest in good items from quality manufacturers- it will pay you back!

Steam Mop

This is an item I didn’t know I needed until I got it. I used a regular mop and bucket until just a couple years ago, but listen. This is something you need. With little babies crawling on the floor (and licking it… that’s a conversation for another day *cough*Eloise*cough*…) I like to have a clean floor. This thing is awesome. It disinfects, so I feel a little better when the kids are eating food off a floor that has a percentage of less germs. It is so simple to use, just put on a reusable pad, fill with water, press a button, and steam away! No bucket for your kids to spill and you aren’t pushing around dirty mop gunk.

Nest

These cameras are a lifesaver. We had the Motorola Video Monitor initially and they were fine. It was nice to be able to pan and look around the room. But with the Nest, there isn’t a need for that since the camera will show the entire room. They also connect to wifi so you can check in on the babysitters. The stream is encoded so no worries about anyone hacking in (and who wants to see my house, anyway?). They are so wonderful and totally worth the investment. You also don’t have to have your monitor on all night to hear the babies- it will send you a notification when it hears a sound or sees movement- such a great feature considering all my kids sleep with sound machines! (Moms with multiple monitors know what I mean…sounds like Darth Vader in your bedroom every night!)

Knives

This one may seem weird, but hear me out. As a stay at home mom, my main job is to feed these kids. That means three meals a day, plus two (or more) snacks, and maybe a dessert thrown in there. That means a whole lot of chopping, prepping, and cooking. Do yourself a favor and invest in a good set of knives which will make your life a whole lot easier! Prepping food with ease and not cursing your dull knives. You can thank me later.

Baby Jogger City Select Stroller

I will joke with people that I like my stroller almost as much as I like my kids. We bought this when I was pregnant with Levi, anticipating having more than just two kids. It was such a good investment. I am not the type of mom to stay at home all the time, so I needed something that would allow me to get out of the house with my gaggle of children and function like a normal human. The stroller pushes so easily and navigates so well! I can swerve in between clothing racks like nobody’s business (but who am I kidding- when is the last time I’ve been to the mall with kids…). And bonus that I can fit three kids on the stroller. Can’t do much better than that!

Wraps – Ergo (Infant) Solly (Newborn)

With having multiple kids, baby wearing has become a must. The need to have my hands free is invaluable. I will wear Eloise when pushing the older two kids in the stroller and everyone is restrained, happy, and comfortable. I can help older kids onto the toilet or prep dinner, all while wearing a happy, sleepy baby. In the beginning I preferred the Solly wrap- so comfortable and easy to use (not like the Moby which was way too much material and a beast to wrap). Once the baby was a bit bigger, after four months or so, I switched to the Ergo. Easy to wear, comfortable, and all my kids liked it!

iPad

We live in the 21st century. My kids don’t use my iPad a lot, but occasionally we will use it for educational games or movies. Also, if you get the Nest cameras, you can download the app and have it displayed on the iPad. So yes, invest in one. You’ll need it, the kids will use it, and you will all be happy. (Just make sure you also invest in a good kid-proof case).

 

So if you have a new mom in your life, reconsider buying that adorable (but unnecessary) outfit. I promise you that baby has enough clothes. Buy her something that she will really use, or give her money towards it. If you have kids you know how expensive they can be. Help start off their life by giving her a gift that she really and truly will use, and will be used for more than one short phase of the baby’s life. She will thank you for it!

 

 


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Life Lately

To put it simply, life has been a bit overwhelming. I took an unintentional but much needed break from blogging and IG and all that. Here is one of the main reasons why…

We moved!


But back to chronological order. Scarlett had her first visit to the ER a few weeks ago. The kids were being a little wild and despite my attempts to calm them down, it finally ended up with someone getting hurt. Scarlett smashed her face into a glass vase and ended up getting two stitches. She was so tough! My angel of a friend watched the two younger kids and I was beyond grateful. The ER had a crazy wait before we even got to see a doctor! She was so calm and didn’t even cry during the procedure. “No crying, just tears.” She said.
Right when we got admitted. Even with a sliced lip she’s the cutest!


Watching these girls bond is the best thing in the world!


We were then hit with the plague. Eloise got it first, but Levi got it the worst. The poor thing was down for the count for a loooong time. Then Scarlett got it, then Eloise again. December was a tough health month!

Poor Levi. He was so bad off for a few days! I didn’t mind the cuddles though.

We took a short day and a half trip to New Hampshire to go to Marcus’ work party and to check out some houses. I had everything packed, but somehow the suitcase didn’t end up in the car. So after we got to my parent’s house we went and saw a few houses, then ran to TJ Maxx and the grocery store for party clothes and diapers. Nothing like forcing you to be a little more flexible, right?

So on Christmas Eve we decided to put an offer on one of the houses. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t meant to be.  Apparently someone as crazy as us submitted an offer on Christmas Eve too? We ducked out of a bidding war. No point in overspending on a home.

We had such a wonderful Christmas! We stayed home with the exception of my run with my sister. There is nothing like relaxing and enjoying the day with your kids.

Marcus and Eloise when she had round 2 of the cold on Christmas Day. A man and his baby=cutest ever.


Eloise turned seven months old! She is now crawling, pulling up, and moving more than I have the energy for. She’s obsessed with the cats and will scream at them. We love her so!


Our friends from Florida came up for a week and we showed them what winter in New England is all about! We took a 24 hour trip to NH so they could experience snow.


Eloise is still unsure about it.


While at my mom’s house I discovered this gem. I’m the baby on the left: Eloise is the spitting image of me as a baby!


We made a trip to NYC on the train the next day. Because we are crazy like that. But we had a great time!  We didn’t get to bed until after midnight that night. It was  totally worth it!

Somehow Eloise slept the entire time on the train. One less baby to chase=thankful!

The kids and I at dinner. As crazy as life is with three kids three and under, it is totally worth it!

Date night with my sister and brother in law and our friends! Went to a new restaurant in New Haven called Olives and Oil. So good!


I am trying to take more individual pictures of my kids. It’s so tough to when they are all so young! Can you even stand how cute they are?!

This girl. So sweet. So caring.

How handsome is he? And so smart. So silly.

Marcus’ grandfather’s health had declined. Marcus went to Maryland Sunday night and was able to spend the last days with him before he passed. He was a great man!

Packing, crawler edition.

How to pack a house when your kids are young: screen time FTW.

The big day finally arrived! I’m still in denial we moved out. We will miss our first home!


And that’s been the past month. So now we are settling into my parent’s house and waiting (im)patiently for homes to come on the market. Levi has figured out how to get out of his crib, so we are now battling the escapee toddler syndrome. Please, oh please send advice my way. How did you get past this stage? All the tactics we used with Scarlett have been futile. Help!

Prepping for a Showing When You Have Young Children

Prepping for a showing is hard work, nevermind adding children to the mix. If you are considering selling your home and you have kids, let me just say a little prayer for you right now because yeah… it isn’t easy. But it is totally doable! Continuing on with the home selling series, we are moving onto how to prep for a showing.

Plan Ahead

More than likely, you will have some lead time before a showing. I would do as much work as possible ahead of time so that when the showing was close, we wouldn’t be stressed. If I had a day’s notice I would vacuum, mop, and declutter as much as possible the night before. The more cleaning I could do when the kids were sleeping, the better! The day of the showing I would do the final cleaning and tidying, but when the kids were awake I was far less efficient.

Have Designated Drop Zones

Prepping for showings was a lot of work. Adding children (miniature tornados) takes that to another level. If I was cleaning for a showing, no doubt that there would be a mess made where I just cleaned up. Usually we were pressed for time trying to get out the door, so we had designated areas where we would just throw things. We had a junk drawer and cabinet in the kitchen, the dryer in the bathroom/laundry room, laundry basket in the master bathroom, and laundry baskets in the kids’ rooms. The house looked clean, which is all that mattered! Was it organized? No. But I just dealt with that later.

Give the Kids an Activity

In order to prepare the house how I wanted for a showing, I needed some dedicated cleaning time. Sometimes (a lot of the time) that meant cleaning when I was home alone with the kids. While cleaning with kids is great, all moms know that it isn’t exactly the most productive or efficient method. What I would do is have the kids near me (in a bedroom or living room) and give them toys and ask them to stay there while I tidy. This usually worked out pretty well. I could clean the bathrooms while having the kids in earshot, but not have them underfoot. If I was downstairs and I needed to mop, I would set up an activity (nothing complicated or messy) on the kitchen island and that would occupy them while I did my work. Or there is always the option of a show/movie. You gotta do what works to get things done! Were they always perfect? No. But it helped most of the time!

Get ready, then Get Out!

As soon as the house was ready, we would leave. Even if it was a few hours before the showing: the longer I was home, the bigger the mess that was made. Especially if we were approaching a mealtime. That is just how life is with kids! I would do as much as possible and then get out of the house for the meal itself. Any parent who has kids knows that the mess only increases exponentially when food is involved!

Be Reasonable

When we first started showing our home, I went a little overboard with cleaning and decluttering. I went as far as hiding the cat food and water bowls, drying rack, and turning every light on in the house. In hindsight it was unnecessary and only added more stress. People who are looking at your home understand that you actually live there. Leaving daily-living items out won’t stop them from liking your home. Put laundry away, open the blinds, and pick up, of course, but don’t go overboard like I did.

Ask (Or Pay) For Help

We are so fortunate to have a great group of friends and neighbors. I know for a fact that I could call on them if I needed an extra hand cleaning or watching the kids. Do yourself a favor and ask for help if you need it! That is what friends are for. Showing your home can be very stressful, so any extra help you can get is great. If you don’t have friends around or no one is available to help, consider paying someone to help clean your home or watch the kids for a few hours. A few dollars can go a long way to help preserve your sanity! Consider it an investment.

 

The reality of having your home on the market is that you need to be flexible. You won’t always have a lot of time to prep for showings. My biggest piece of advice would be to never turn away a showing. Even if you only have an hour to prepare, do what you can and let it be. They might love it regardless! I am a licensed realtor myself, so I am speaking from experience. (And if you do have real estate questions, feel free to contact me!) I really hope this helped. It isn’t an easy feat, but it can be done. And as long as you hire a good realtor and are realistic, your home should sell in no time! Good luck!

Have you missed the other posts in the series? Check out Selling Your Home When You Have Young Children and We’ve Been Keeping A Secret.

We’ve Been Keeping A Secret…

Some of you know that our house has been on the market. What you may not know is that it has been on the market since April. April 15, to be exact. Our family had entered a season of waiting. Patience. Anxiety. Confusion. Hope. Having your home on the market for eight months can be taxing on you mentally and wear on your relationships. So. Many. Showings. But after nearly eight months…

We are under contract!

 

This was a lesson for us in being patient in God’s timing, not our own. We thought we would be moved at this point. We thought we would already be in a new home. Honestly, I thought we would be under contract before Eloise was born- six months ago. But God had different plans. I will be completely honest and admit that this has been very hard for me. Patience has never been my strong suit. But, this pause in our lives has caused me to draw closer to God. We saw the doors open so clearly to move and put our home on the market, only to have it sit. But I learned that instead of leaning on my own understanding, I need to go to God first when I am confused. Reach out to Him when things aren’t how I planned. That is the wonderful thing about having a relationship with Him- He knows my heart. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. He wants me to lean on Him when I am weak. He is fine that I am not strong. His blessings are not dependent on my works or merit, and he loved me just the same!

This was our first home. The home we brought all our babies home to. The place we celebrated four (almost five!) Christmases. The place we lived when my brother came home from the Army. The home where we saw four anniversaries. We celebrated many birthdays, had lots of parties, holidays, and basically any excuse to have friends over. We had many dinners with friends and sleepovers. But our time at this home and chapter of our lives has (finally) come to a close.

So if you are still with me, here is part two. We are moving, but not staying in Connecticut. We are moving to…

New Hampshire!

We are so excited to move to be closer to family. We love Connecticut, but we are in love with the idea of more land, lower cost of living, a slower pace of life, and of course, family. We have been in Connecticut for seven years now, so it will be a huge adjustment! Not only are we moving near family, but we are moving in WITH family. Until we buy a home, we are moving in with my parents (gulp). But honestly, we are so thankful we have a familiar landing spot while we get acclimated! Stay tuned for more updates on our adventure!

Surviving Family Pictures with Young Children

 surviving family pictures with young children

Family pictures. It makes me sweat just thinking about it. Between picking out outfits (sorry to all my friends and family for the incessant outfit approvals…), picking the right time of day, making sure everyone is fed and not tired and happy…ugh. It can be overwhelming! I am not great about getting good quality non-phone pictures of my family, so our yearly family pictures have become very important to me. I have learned what NOT to do the hard way, so I figured I would share to hopefully help you out in the future!

Season

Don’t have your family pictures done in the heat of summer, if you can help it. For whatever reason, last year I thought it would be a great idea to have our pictures done in July. JULY. Granted we live in Connecticut so summer is mild compared to other states, but still. It was one of those days where you could not escape the heat and my makeup was melting off, nevermind my hair was flat by the end. So learn from my mistake. Choose a mild temperature month.

We just had our pictures done in October, and everyone was so much happier across the board. The sun wasn’t intense, we could layer a bit (which looks nicer in pictures anyway!) and the kids could run around and play without having heat stroke. Win.

Time of Day

We chose to have our pictures done at 10. Usually, this is a great time for us. The children would be well rested, but be awake enough to not have the morning crankies. The morning of, I checked the weather. It was 47 degrees at 10. Crap. That is really cold! I mean, I had a four month old (at the time). Thankfully our photographer is awesome and was flexible, and we agreed to change the pictures to 11. It was only 5 degrees warmer at that point, but I would say it was worth it! I was a little nervous moving it later in the morning, fearing we may have entered hungry/tired/crazy mode. But I took the chance. And we survived! Mainly due to the next point…

Overfeed Your Children

We try and feed our kids balanced meals and teach moderation. But on picture day, anything goes. You want an extra side of cheese in addition to your cheesy eggs? Sure. Quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for some munchkins? You got it. Because a kid with a full belly is 100% happier than a hungry kid. And we all know a hungry kid is a disaster to work with.

Bribery

Now listen. I am firmly in the do-not-bribe-your-child camp. However, rules do not apply on family day. I purchased that box of munchkins with not an ounce of shame and would kindly remind my child that if they smiled for the camera, a nice sugary treat may await them. You can bet my kids smiled their faces off!

Short and Sweet

You know your kids, and every kid, no matter how well behaved, will have their limit. They are like little bombs, just waiting to explode. Don’t twaddle (did you know it was spelled that way? I had no idea. Ha!)- take those pictures like you mean it. Get everyone into their position as fast as you can, and then move to the next spot. I am no photographer, but I know I need to be as efficient as possible for the best success. Plus, you will keep your kids on their toes. It sounds silly, but if they are moving around and being stimulated, they may not have time to think about whining.

Location

Kids have lots of energy. Keep that in mind when choosing a location. If at all possible, choose a place where they can run and get some energy out. They will be so much happier and pleasant! If they are contained inside, it will only cause them to get stir crazy. And on the plus side, candid shots are amazing. Get some of them running and having a good time. The smile on their face will be so much more genuine!

Plan and Prepare Outfits in Advance

Think simple, comfortable, and coordinated. Please, oh please, don’t have everyone in jeans and a white top. You are capturing a glimpse into your life at this time, so wear something that you might normally wear, just a little more polished. I know there are tons of resources out there to assist in pattern mixing and what not, but if you are stuck, just don’t overcomplicate it.

And now, onto our pictures!

family pictures
All looking? Win!
family pictures
I can’t even with this one. My heart just bursts with pride!

 

family pictures family pictures

family pictures scarlett
My sweet (and spunky) Scarlett

 

family pictures men
Just so handsome.
I mean...I just can't.
I mean…I just can’t.
FAVORITE
FAVORITE
I know I've said it before, but how did I get so blessed?!
I know I’ve said it before, but how did I get so blessed?!
So much love.
So much love.
See what I mean about letting them run? Just look at Levi's face!
See what I mean about letting them run? Just look at Levi’s face!

run

Love my man and sweet Eloise
Love my man and sweet Eloise
I miss them already at this size!
I already miss them at this size!
Partners in crime.
Partners in crime.
Oh, this boy. His personality is developing so much lately and he is just the goofiest and sweetest thing.
Oh, this boy. His personality is developing so much lately and he is just the goofiest and sweetest thing.

scarlett

run

Oh, my heart.
Oh, my heart.

OK I know that was a lot, sorry (not sorry). I am so glad we had the opportunity to take pictures this year and am beyond ecstatic with how they turned out! (Shout out to Greg for the great pictures and managing to get the kids to all look/smile! Make sure you check him out if you are in Connecticut and tell him I sent you!)

I hope you can learn from mistakes of what not to do, and hopefully you can have a successful family photo session. I know how important it is to document these times! As we all know, time is fleeting with these kids at this age, and I want to remember every moment.

Did you have family photos done this year? How did it go? While ours was 99% successful this year, some little boy (not naming names, but it wasn’t Marcus) had quite the blowout at the end. I’m talking out of the pants and shirt. Everything. Safe to say that our session ended then… Do you have a story that can top that? Let me hear it!

surviving family pictures with young children