Monday, August 31, 2015

Five Months

Better late than never. Our littlest man turned five months old last week two weeks ago. I feel like I am going through these little belly stickers at a much faster rate than I did with Finn. Our sweet, Ryder, you are such a loved little guy! This past month has been a big one for you and you are learning just how fun and loud and crazy our little family is. Your big brother loves you a little more each day. He snuggles you when you're lying on the ground and you get the biggest smile on your face. You love watching him eat and talk and sometimes it looks like you have your own little conversations.

You took your first trip to the beach this past month and loved it! You're still an excellent sleeper with 11-12 hours of sleep at night and one good 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon at the same time as Finn. You do still get a morning nap and will nap on the go, but neither of those are super consistent being that you're our little go-with-the-flow baby brother. A couple weeks ago, you found your toes and you can't get enough of them. You're rolling across the floor and now are no longer in the same spot I leave you. I know it's just a matter of weeks before you're completely mobile!

You're up to 16lbs and you're now in size three diapers (although I'm still finishing off a pack of size two). I'm not sure of your length, but I definitely think you're getting taller. You're now wearing 6 month clothing that your brother didn't wear until he was around 8 months. Here are some highlights from the month.
Our playgroups have grown and we've since added one more since this picture was  taken! I'm so thankful we get to to do life with this crew.
You give us the biggest, gummiest, open mouth smiles and we love it!

Your big brother is learning to share. It's going to be a long road, buddy.

You now have your very own highchair like your brother's since the bouncy seat just wasn't cutting it at meals. You like to sit up with us and watch all of the action.

You went to church for the very first time and loved Waumba Land. We would've gone a lot sooner, except you like to eat right between 9:30 and 10am which is right in the middle of the service.
You broke in our new sink with a bath while your brother was napping.
You got to swing for the very first time.

post signature

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.

post signature

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!

post signature