The Top 5 Things On My Baby Registry

This isn’t my first rodeo so I know exactly what I want for this baby. I have seen some new things since I last had a child but I’m trying to be extremely reasonable this time.

1. Travel System

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I had one for each of my children and they are a lifesaver! You will outgrow the car seat before the stroller but it’s worth it. I’ve always had a Graco one but this time I want to try a different brand as I’ve heard so many great things about the Chicco brand.

 

2.    Pack n’ Play

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Yes, yes, and yes!!! This is a MUST. When a guest would come over I would have my baby in the Pack n’ Play. So they wouldn’t have to come in the room to visit with her. The older my kids got they were able to use it as a playpen. The best part about it is it’s transportable.

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My girls enjoyed their swing! It was great but I will warn you it doesn’t last long. By 4 months you can give it up but it’s nice to have. After a bottle, I could sit them in their swing and off to sleepy town they’d go. I was able to get so much done. (For the first few weeks, sleep while they sleep but once you’re able to move around…do it!)

4. Bottles

 

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Forgive me now, but yes, I’m one of those moms that’s particular about her baby’s bottle. With my last child, I used Tommee Tippie and that what I’m planning to use again. I have used Dr. Brown’s in the past but they are a headache to clean!

 

5. Pampers Swaddlers

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I am also a Pampers snob when they are first born. The hospital typically gives those out when the baby is first born and I fell in love. After 6 months, I’m using any brand  I choose but when they are tiny Pampers is my only choice.

 

What are your must-haves for a new baby?

 

Bonus Items: I'm considering getting some of these things for my baby!

 

1. Bookbag Diaper Bag

I'm really digging this trend. I can see how easy it would be for mom or dad to use it. The first one was found on Amazon for under $40 while the other is a brand favorite SkipHop at Target. I don't think I will be taking the plunge and spending $100 on a diaper bag. 

 

 

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Lately, I've been finding really great things on Amazon! Check out these cute shoes here

Maternity Style : Shop Pink Blush

The natural state of
MOTHERHOOD
is unselfishness.

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Bringing another life into this world is scary but exciting. For my previous pregnancies I've been sick and it reflected in my appearance. This go around I've been doing well...better than I expected. 

So, I plan to make it a big deal. This is the LAST baby and since I feel well enough to put on clothes, I will. I was so excited when Pink Blush reached out to me for this collaboration, I knew I couldn’t refuse.

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Purple Floral Delivery/Nursing Maternity Robe

A floral printed delivery/nursing maternity robe to make sure your visit during and aft... [More]

Price: $44.00

The goal of this company is to “provide the modern mother with affordable and on trend fashions for every transitions in her life – from maternity to motherhood and beyond.” I feel they have executed this precisely!

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The first piece I selected was the maternity robe! How stinking cute is this? My favorite part about it is that it’s not your traditional robe. It has a tie on the inside to expand with your growing belly as well to keep you covered if you decide to nurse. I want something that I’m comfortable enough to walk around the house in when we have guest over and this is perfect. It’s light weight with a thick cotton.

Sizes Available: 1X, 2X, 3X

Style Pictured: Purple Floral Crochet Trim Plus Delivery/Nursing Maternity Robe

 

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The next piece I choose was a fall floral maxi dress! I can’t wait until fall and fingers crossed it will be here soon! As most of you know, I’ve been stepping outside of my comfort zone lately and trying some color! This dress caught my eye and I knew I couldn’t pass it up! I love the hints of light blue (as I’m praying for a boy, lol) and burgundy as they work so well together.

The dress provides great stretch. I can see this working well later into my pregnancy as well. The top is roomy for my bustier girls. I felt extremely confident and comfortable. The dress hit at a pretty good length I paired my dress with flat sandals but a bootie will be perfect as the cooler weather comes.

Sizes Available: 1X, 2X, 3X

Style Pictured: Navy Blue Floral Print Sash Tie Maternity Plus Maxi Dress

 

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Navy Blue Floral Print Sash Tie Maternity ...

Feel comfortable in this sleek and flattering floral print sash tie maxi dress. The tex... [More]

Price: $68.00

I hope you have enjoy these looks brought to you by Pink Blush! Make sure you check out their latest fashions online. ALSO, if you're looking for a cute baby shower dress check here!

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P.S. Not a mom? They have something for you too, check out their other stylish fashions HERE

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Moms to be...are you looking for the perfect dress??

Hi Mom!

I know the struggle can be real and with all of the fabulousness of maternity photos these days you want these images to be perfect and what a better way to do that than to start with the basics! Dress comes first - they are easy and most likely you're going to be taking these photos somewhere between 25-35 weeks so you will start feeling some discomfort. Make it easy on yourself!

Let me show you my top 5 picks for dresses!!! I hope I have something for everyone if given the chance to do this again I'm opting to bare my belly! I have never had a maternity photoshoot before. Well, I took some photos with my first but they were NOTHING to brag about. 

Keep an open mind and remember any maxi dress can be turned maternity if it has the right hem...above the belly. So you can get a 2 for 1 deal there! 

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1. Open Belly - Long Sleeved Dress

I'm not sure of the exact dress the lady is wearing pictured below but I found you some great options and I read the reviews! Option 1 and Option 2 

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2. Strapless 

Option 1 or Option 2 or Option 3

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3. Fitted Maternity Gown

Option 1 Option 2  or Option 3

 

Photo By:  Jessica Legacy

Photo By: Jessica Legacy

4. Pink and Blue Floral 

This dress is available in plus! I found a similar one in regular S-XL here.

 

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5. Maxi Dresses

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Double Duty - These can be worn at your baby shower, gender reveal, or photo shoot. This is if you don't want to want to do the formal type of dress. This dress comes in 5 colors: navy, black, olive, pink and red wine! 

Here are a few more options worth mentioning here and here.

Have you taken maternity photos before? Do you plan on it? Try something cute and sassy for next shoot and be sure to let me know what you wore! 

Affirmations for Kids 👧👦👶

Self Affirmations for Kids

 

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My daughters mean the WORLD to me. I'm not sure what I would do without them. Despite how much they challenge me. My goal is for them to know they are loved, beautiful, and smart. I want them to know about self-love. I encourage them to ask me questions. No question is off limits (and granted that can get out of hand) but it keeps a healthy and open relationship between us.

After realizing how important affirmations can be I decided to place sticky notes above my daughters' beds and recite them with them every morning. Sometimes, it doesn't happen every morning BUT we I always make sure that before we pull out of the driveway I give them an encouraging word to remind them just how great they are! 

Below are my top 20 POSITIVE Affirmations that I share with my daughters. Some are gender neutral so feel free to do this with your son as well. Remember, the goal is to raise confident little humans!

 

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20 Affirmations for Kids

1. I like me.

2. I am beautiful/handsome.

3. I am smart.

4. I can do all things!

5. My body is PERFECT the way it is!

6. I am happy.

7. I am loved.

8. Today WILL be a great day.

9. I CAN listen and learn!

10. I am capable of doing the impossible.

11. I love myself.

12. I forgive myself when I make mistakes.

13. I believe in myself.

14. I am strong.

15. My voice/opinion matters.

16. I respect others even when I don't agree.

17. I am allowed to have feelings.

18. My skin is a beautiful shade of brown. (This is my favorite for Kay!)

19. My hair is perfect straight or curly!

20. I can be anything I want to be IF I put my mind to it. 

 

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As a mother of little brown girls, it's important that I teach them how important it is to love themselves. I don't feel I was really taught that growing up. I'm sure my mom said something here and there but it wasn't what I envisioned or give to my daughters now. What I can say is...I'm so grateful that my mom knows how important being it is that I express love to my girls through affectionate behaviors. She has a thing that she does with each of them to remind them just how special they are and I love it. 

I guess its true, the things you wished for as a child you parents in turn give it to your children. 

Self Empowerment For Moms

What kind of attitude do you have towards motherhood?

•    Is it something you look forward to?

•    Is it something you simply want to survive?

•    Is it something you’re not sure how to deal with?

I think we’ve all experienced each of those feelings at different times. Sometimes we’re excited about motherhood; sometimes we’re overwhelmed.

It’s a big, important job. We are shaping little humans, whether we like it or not. No matter what we do- good or bad- our children are watching, and they are learning by example.

There’s this pressure in our society that motherhood is second best. That when you choose to become a mom, you're essentially "throwing your life away." Our culture can be very "me" centered, and motherhood is the opposite of being focused on yourself.

As a mom, I began feeling trapped. I felt like I wasn't living up to my "full potential." I bought into the lie that I can't have a life because I'm a "mom."

But I realized something: if I have a defeatist attitude, then I’m going to pass that same attitude down to my kids.

There is nothing more detrimental than the words “I CAN’T.”

I found myself as a mother, saying things like:

"Oh, I can't go do that because I'm a mother."

"I can't have a social life because I'm a mother."

"I can't go do that because I have two kids under two."

"I can't because I'm pregnant."

"I can't because it'd be too hard."

Good grief I turned into the "can't" parade.

How I spoke to myself and my children needed to change. I was getting depressed because of all the "can't's."

I decided to try a little experiment with myself- I could no longer say the word “can’t”, I had to change it to a CAN.

So I changed:

"I can't do that because I'm a mom" to "I CAN take my kids to do that with me!"

"I can't have a social life because I'm a mother" to "I CAN teach my kids how to interact socially at a young age, so they are better prepared as adults!"

"I can't go do that because I have two kids under two" to "I CAN be brave enough to try things with two kids!"

"I can't because I'm pregnant" to "I CAN be active while pregnant!"

"I can't because it'd be too hard" to "Yes, it is difficult, but I'm a mother, which means I'm capable and CAN do it even if it is hard!"

My view of motherhood changed completely with that simple exercise. It empowered me as a mom and enabled me to do more with my kids.

Don't adopt a defeatist view. You are a MOM! You are capable of these amazing things. You grew a baby in your body; you went through the heart-stopping stress of adoption; you are pouring yourself into your kid's lives. You can be an amazing person who is a mom!

Don't sell yourself short!

 

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Special thanks to Carina for guest blogging today! Keep up with her below.

Instagram: @carinajaneblog

Facebook: Carina Jane

Pinterest: Jane Chambers  

Blog: www.carinajane.com

Strawberry Picking 🍓🍓🍓| Boone Hall Plantation

I love, love, LOVE the low country and I've been on a mission to explore all things, South Carolina. It's where I'm from and I should know a thing or two about my state.

Surprisingly enough, I have never been strawberry picking. My dad's family were farmers and they grew a little bit of everything but when I was younger, I was too cute for the fields. Now, it seems as if the things I didn't enjoy; I have a long for now. 

I stumbled upon Boone Hall Plantation while discovering things to do in Charleston, SC and I knew this was the place I wanted to go. Now, I will say it took me a while to do some digging to figure out exactly when they would be open but after reaching out to them they were very helpful and the prices weren't bad either $1.99/lb.

Photo: Dave Allen Photography/Shutterstock

Photo: Dave Allen Photography/Shutterstock

The drive down was beautiful, I'm in love with the oak trees there. It feels like you're going on a magical adventure.

I'm a kid at heart and I believe I was more excited than anyone else. I couldn't wait to get out and  see everything.

Warning: The plantation and patches are in two different locations. Not far from each other about a 1/2 mile apart.

 

 

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The weather was a little iffy but it still made for a great day. There were only about 100 hundred people out there when we arrived but the fields are large enough to where you don't feel crowded. Everyone was so pleasant and resourceful. The ladies ringing up our strawberries gave us great tips to keep our strawberries fresher longer. 

Our sweet treats - Strawberry Shortcake 

Our sweet treats - Strawberry Shortcake 

Mom Tip: This was a great inexpensive trip that my daughter won't forget. We were able to talk about farming/where your food comes from and healthy eating habits. We spent $20 for 10 lbs of strawberries. You can freeze them for smoothies, bake them in cakes or pies, your options are limitless. Get creative!

Most importantly you're getting your children outdoors and active. 

5 Tips To Help You Better Prepare For Your Next Family Photoshoot

Photo By: Denise Benson

Photo By: Denise Benson

Family sessions are something most moms get excited over, yet dread simultaneously.  It's probably been far too long since you last had photos of your family taken so you know you're long overdue to book a session, but the thought of getting yourself, possibly your spouse and your kids ready and prepared is a daunting task.  Sometimes so daunting that you put if off over and over again.  Being in the photography industry for seven years, I've worked with many families and I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be a huge undertaking.  If you go into your session with a positive attitude and the following tips then you'll be ready to knock it out of the park the day of your shoot.

 

1. Tell the kids all about it.  Let the kids know well in advance that you've booked a session.  Get them excited about it and if they're old enough have them help you pick out their wardrobe and accessories.  Involving them in the process will make them feel special and like they had a hand in making this happen.  Tell them about the photographer that will be working with them.  Give them his/her name and even show them a photo so they won't feel like a total stranger the day of the session.  The more they understand about this entire situation, the better they will feel going into it.
 

2. Go with the flow.  I tell all of the parents that book with me that most children between the ages of 1-5 years old have a limited time span to be in front of the camera.  It's not in their nature to sit still and smile pretty for an hour so if you can book a shorter session with your photographer or catch them when they're doing a mini session special that will be the most ideal situation.  But if that's not an option then be okay with giving them breaks when they need it.  Don't become frustrated or angry when they don't cooperate.  Instead give them a few minutes to play or do their own thing.  During this time the photographer can either take a few photos of you alone or with your spouse (because when was the last time just the two of you had photos taken? I'm guessing it was on your wedding day!) or they can use that time for candid moments while the kids are just being themselves.  Either way go with the flow and it'll make the experience better for everyone.

 

3. Don't be above bribing.  I know most parents expect their children to be well behaved at all times, but it's not realistic.  And the chance for a mid-shoot meltdown is quite possible so before the session even takes place let the kids know that if they behave well that you'll take them out for ice cream afterwards or that you'll all watch their favorite family movie once you're back home.  A little incentive never hurt anyone.  And if the session starts to take a turn you can use this incentive to help get them back on track.

 

4. Pack the essentials.  Make sure to bring along one or two toys that will make your child feel better should they become upset during the session (and make sure you're okay with this toy possibly making an appearance in some of your images), pack drinks and/or snacks in case they get hungry or thirsty (nothing with a lot of food coloring that could stain their clothing or mouths), wipes, lotion, lip balm and possibly even a change of clothes in case of an accident.  The more you're prepared in advance the better you'll feel the day of your shoot.

 

5. Preparation is key.  Most moms become flustered the day of the shoot because everything is done last minute.  The more you can do in advance of the shoot day, the easier the day will flow.  This includes, but is not limited to, getting any haircuts/salon visits done a few days in advance, for an early morning session this could include bathing the kids the night before, laying out everyone's wardrobe 1-2 days before the shoot, and packing up all of your essential items (snacks, toys, etc) the day before.  The more you can get done before your session date arrives the more relaxed you'll feel.

Photo By: Denise Benson

Photo By: Denise Benson

 

These are just a few ways you can prepare not only your children but yourself the next time you decide to book a session and make the entire process easier for everyone involved.

BONUS TIP:  Make sure to schedule your session around nap time whenever possible.  No one wants a cranky or groggy child during their session so whenever you can schedule it before their nap takes place or well after so they're rested and ready to go!

 

Thanks, Denise for sharing great tips and stay tuned because my family session photos are coming soon! 

Motherhood Uncensored: It's Okay to Cry

Motherhood is difficult...and rewarding.
— Gloria E.
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Whoever said motherhood would be glamorous lied! They didn't tell you that some days you'll spend more nights crying than you do laughing. They didn't explain that when your child messes up it doesn't make YOU a failure.

Maddy Grace and I

Maddy Grace and I

Parenting is hard work - a job that can't be taken lightly. I believe it takes a village to raise a child. Children need supportive people pouring into their lives. They need to see what role models look like in real life - not what they see on television. 

Lately, motherhood has been hard and I mean REALLY HARD. I can't remember the last time I've cried this much over my children. In case you're not hip to me, I have two girls currently 9 and 5. My 9-year-old is a cake walk compared to the 5-year-old. The 5-year-old, Maddy, is a complex creature; one minute she is affectionate and courteous and the next it's like the Bride of Chucky. My mom says she is just like me; I was a handful growing up. I know I was challenging but my goodness, I did not know it was this bad. I was very strong-willed and you 'no' was never a word. (It still isn't, I don't like to hear it, lol)  I have apologized a dozen times because if I was anything like this, OMG!  

Sometimes, I get so frustrated because it feels like I don't get a break. I'm constantly working to better myself so that in return they can have a better life. Some days,  I wish I had my tag partner so I could tap out for just a few but I don't...unfortunately. I'm not complaining...just venting. I remember being told that when a woman gets pregnant she has to know that she may have to do it ALONE. I didn't understand that at first but Lord knows I do now. 

I'm not saying every part of motherhood is bad because that would be a lie, but it can be difficult. I'm going to wipe my tears and keep trucking but I want other moms to know that we will be okay. One day we're going to turn around and wonder how did we raise such wonder humans. I'm certain this won't be the last time I cry over the rough patches but in the end they will be worth it. 

 

"Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants pain, but you can't have a rainbow without a little rain." -Unknown 

 

Mom, you deserve it!

Often times we feel guilty about doing things for ourselves. As a single parent, I constantly deny myself to make sure that my children have what they need and want. One thing I believe we fail to realize is that we need to be taken care of too. 

To my fellow single moms out there, do something for yourself. Every now and then...do something. I picked up a cute pair of shoes. I saw them online and KNEW I had to have them. It's the small things. 

Brownies...Anyone?

Soooooooooo, I’ve had a major sweet tooth lately and while shopping in my local Walmart, there was a huge display for brownies. I have a thing for fudgy brownies and when I saw the box labeled “fudge” I knew they were just for me. Surprisingly, I didn’t go home and bake them right away but I waited for the weekend and O-M-G they were worth the wait! I followed the instructions exactly and got the fudginess that I was looking for. Good look Betty!

P.S. Moms, this was super cheap and fun to do with the kids.