Monday, August 17, 2015

Favorite Things: Two under two edition

When you add a second baby to your family, no matter the age of your first, your family dynamic changes. You are not just mommy and daddy taking turns and "oohing" and "ahhing" and playing with one sweet baby. You are now in man to man coverage and on days when daddy isn't around much, you will generally shift in and out of survival mode as there are now two little humans whose lives you are responsible for sustaining. Yes, I am absolutely over the moon in love with both of my boys and would not change a single thing about being their mommy. I have no doubt that no matter what age your first child is, adding a second baby adds some new challenges that you haven't experienced before. Having a second baby before your first baby's second birthday adds a whole new level of excitement. I will preface this by saying that I realize every toddler is different. Finn was 18 months when Ryder was born. He was running and climbing and I wasn't able to turn my back on him for a single second. He wasn't old enough to walk through a parking lot while holding my hand (and still isn't) so this means I carry both boys into stores until I can get to a shopping cart. I wrote a post shortly after Finn was born about my favorite baby products thus far. You can find that one here. Here is a list of things I feel are helpful as mommy to two very little littles.

Our strollers:
The City Select with second seat
With two under two, this has been a lifesaver! I have friends whose toddlers were a little bit older than Finn when their second baby was born, so they were on the fence about getting a double stroller or were able to make do without one. With Finn still being so young, I knew that it was a necessity for us. I love the seat configurations that this one offers and that Finn is able to face out in the front. When Ryder was first born, we used the car seat adapter on top, but from about 3.5 months he's ridden in the regular seat facing me. The downside is that it is extremely heavy to get in and out of the car (but I don't know many double strollers that aren't). It's also only as wide as a single stroller, so it's very manageable around stores, doorways and city sidewalks.

*Also, I didn't realize just how much I would still use my single stroller. There are many times that I will end up wearing Ryder in my Ergo carrier (see below) and only pushing Finn in the stroller.

The Maclaren Twin Techno
Let me just start off by saying I bought this used off of a facebook exchange. This is a great lightweight stroller for traveling. With the City Select being our primary double stroller, I would not have paid full price for this one brand new, but I highly recommend a light-weight umbrella stroller for traveling. We used it on our beach trip and it was perfect, because there was no way we could've fit the City Select in the car with all of our other stuff. Both seats recline separately, which accommodates both boys perfectly. This is the one we'll also use for flying.

Summer Infant Pop'n Play
If there was one thing I could recommend to any mama of two under two, it would be THIS! When Ryder was first born, Finn at barely 18 months was definitely not old enough to be left alone in his room (or any room for that matter) nor was he able to roam freely about the house while I was feeding Ryder without pulling all lamps and picture frames off of tables, getting into all of the kitchen cabinets or pulling on the blinds. We got this right around the time I found out I was pregnant when Finn was 10 months old and he's been used to his "play space" ever since. He'll sit and look at books or play with his toys in it even now. I still put him in it when I feed Ryder if Dustin isn't home, because he's still a little too mischievous to let him just roam around the house.
Summer Infant Dual View Video Monitor
This monitor has been pretty great to have with both boys. With a camera in each room, it'll scan every 8 seconds or you can view in split screen mode. Now, if I'm being completely honest, we haven't had the best track record with Summer Infant monitors. Our single monitor had to be replaced twice because it kept losing signal. This monitor actually has already been replaced once. I know what you're thinking- then why are you recommending it?? Summer Infant- hands down- has the best customer service I've ever experienced with replacements. Each time, they sent us a brand new one within a couple days completely free of charge and prepaid shipping materials to return the broken ones. The current one has actually worked perfectly!
The Ergobaby carrier
This is actually the ergo that we have, but if I were buying one today, I would buy this one. This model wasn't around when Finn was born, which is when we got ours. I love the amount of back support they offer as opposed to the Baby Bjorn and the weight limit goes up to 45lbs. I honestly didn't use this nearly as much when I just had Finn. With two under two, you need hands-free A LOT. This is how I survive the grocery store or any other store where Finn rides in the cart. Even if you don't choose an Ergobaby, I would still highly recommend some sort of carrier or wrap as you will still need to carry your young toddler most everywhere (bring on the sculpted mommy arms).
Diono Radian RXT Carseat
We moved Finn to this car seat when he turned one after it was graciously given to us by Nonna and Pop. I love the safety ratings and the fact the he can stay rear-facing until 45lbs, which he's only about 26lbs at almost two. I also love the narrow, steel construction frame. We're still able to have an open seat in the backseat in between Ryder's infant car seat and this one to accommodate any other passengers. This is important, because you'll need some space between your toddler and your baby in the backseat. If he's anything like mine, he wants to poke his baby brother's eyes, squeeze his hands, and throw anything he can reach at him. The narrow-ness of it also allows you to fit three of them in the backseat if and when that time comes, because this converts from rear facing to forward facing to a booster with a five point harness to just a booster that accommodates up to 120lbs. It's essentially the only car seat you'll ever need.
Fisher Price Bouncer
So this is something that I never had with Finn, because we have a mamaroo swing that he loved. I love our mamaroo and probably would have used it more with Ryder, except I couldn't keep Finn away from it and was afraid he'd break it. The mamroo is also stuck in the living room whereas a bouncer like this can easily be moved from room to room with the new baby while moving around the house with your toddler (i.e. feeding him in the kitchen, bathing him upstairs, playing outside, etc.)
 
Stitch Fix
So this really has nothing to do with the babies and everything to do with being a busy mama. If you know me, you know I love a good deal. Before babies, I would drive to Target, TJ Maxx, the Mall, Old Navy, Outlets, etc. to scout out good finds. Any mama knows that is just not at all possible right now, even though my closet definitely needed some updating. Stitch Fix is an online personal stylist that picks out clothes or accessories and sends them to you. With each shipment, you get five items. You keep what you like and send back what you don't in a pre-paid shipping envelope. If you keep all five items, you get a 25% total discount. Before your shipment, you fill out a survey online complete with measurements and you can even link a Pinterest board to it to give your stylist ideas. I did it twice and kept all five things in the first shipment and three things in the second. It is SO convenient! The style was spot on and everything fit perfectly. I plan to do it again once it starts getting cold out.

Amazon Prime
This should really go without saying, but Amazon prime should pretty much be a necessity with more than one kid- especially when they're little. If I can avoid loading everyone in the car to go to five different stores, I will most certainly take it. Amazon Prime gets me anything in two days- even some things the same day since we're in Atlanta. If I could grocery shop on Amazon I would.


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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kitchen Update

This has really been a long time coming. When we moved into our house five years ago, it definitely wasn't the worst I've ever seen, but it needed some work. At the time, we didn't want to put the money into it to really update it, so we did what was supposed to be a temporary fix. We painted the cabinets and counter tops, replaced the faucet with a fairly cheap but better looking one, added the necessary appliances (microwave and fridge) and gave the walls a bright and cheery update. We are NOT DIY'ers, that is for sure, but we were happy with our minor update and had full intention to do the real thing within a couple of years. Here is what it looked like when we bought it. Not terrible, but not what we wanted.

And here is the progress when we updated it with just some paint.




Like I said above, we are not DIY'ers by any stretch of the imagination, but we were pretty happy with the results for the time being. The painted counter tops were far from durable and I would actually keep a sharpie close by to fix up any nicks. I would have to put a towel under almost anything in order to work on it, so it truly was not as functional as I would've hoped. But like I said, temporary fix. We knew that in order to sell down the road, we'd need to paint the walls as green would likely scare off potential buyers, so we figured now was as good a time as any.

And here is the progress from the past week...

 This little boy was in heaven watching Mr. Josh work with his tools. After asking around, I stumbled across Josh Israel with All Fixed Up Handyman Solutions. He put in the back splash and painted the walls for us and I would recommend him to anyone in the Atlanta area that needs some work done around the house. His customer service and work speak for themselves but he is also an all around nice guy. We were happy to have chosen him and will definitely call him for any future jobs.


New faucet form Home Depot

White ceramic subway tile with white grout

Wall color is Collonade Gray by Sherwin Williams. 

Curtains are Tommy Hilfiger from Homegoods. Honestly, I probably would not have put the yellow canvas art back up on the wall, but it purposely hides a very ugly phone jack. 

Granite is Luna Pearl.

The (almost) finished product. I say almost, because we are having Josh repaint the cabinets for us. The look pretty in pictures, but up close they are pretty scratched up with a lot of visible brush strokes and goopy paint- remember when I said we were not DIY'ers? SO, he's coming back sometime in September to refinish the cabinets.  Anyway, we're pretty happy with the result!

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Seaside

This past week, we took our first little family vacation as a family of four. Honestly, it was our first little family vacation period. We went to Destin last summer with Finn along with Dustin's side of the family, but we never made it anywhere just the three of us. We went down to Seaside, FL and stayed in the most beautiful condo belonging to one of the sweetest KLife families. We stayed for four nights, which was plenty long enough for our first little trip. Going to the beach with two babies under two is tiring for sure, but it was so worth it. It was loud. It was exhausting. It was hot and sticky. It was perfect.

The trip down there was as expected with two babies who dislike their carseats.


Thankfully, Mickey Mouse and Daniel Tiger made the trip a little more bearable. (Sidenote: you can mount an iPad with a few headbands for a lot cheaper than buying a fancy headrest attachment)

6.5 hours later, we made it just in time to walk to dinner in the rain.

This was the gorgeous view from the balcony of the condo. We were on the 3rd floor overlooking the square.


Both boys were up by 5:30 every morning since we were in central time. I like to think they were just helping us maximize our time there.


In true second child fashion, Ryder was a trooper. He got his naps in wherever and whenever he could. He only went in his bed for a nap after lunch when Finn did.





















Afternoons were spent at the pool after naps.





Our new favorite spot is called The Hub. It is a small area with restaurants, live music and beanbags. Finn would live there.

We took our travel double stroller so the boys were able to ride next to each other for the first time and Finn would hold Ryder's foot. Melt. my. heart.




One night, both boys were in bed by 7:00, so we got some take-out and watched all of the action happening right below us. I am so thankful for our little getaway. It was more work than I would've ever imagined and the boys won't remember a thing. But we certainly will. We will remember Finn's smile and squeals as he ran on the beach. We will remember how well Ryder napped on the beach in the mornings. We will remember how Finn waved and said "hi" to everyone he saw. We will remember how he danced his little heart out at The Hub.


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