Showing posts with label baby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baby. Show all posts

How to Raise a Happy Baby & Foster Independence in a Toddler




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It's official, Delainey is a true toddler - melt downs galore, wiggling until the cows come home with silly little giggles involved, constantly gracing us with potty training chatter, pretty much falling and scuffing herself up daily, and non-stop expressing her opinions... she's a full blown toddler, in every way. Most days, no matter the task, she insists she "do it" and only is content when things are being done her way... and for that, I'm equal parts thankful and intimidated.

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This little girl of mine definitely has a mind of her own, with such a personality behind it. She's a little fireball and so full of love. She is flourishing and her adoration for being independent is evident, she expresses her emotions easily and freely, and she often shocks me with the amount of knowledge she has. From surprising me with being able to complete new tasks without even being taught how, to saying new words and sentences without prompting, she really fills me with pride and is my greatest joy.
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Speaking of awe-inspiring joy, D's really been teaching me a lot about life and parenting lately. I'm a "recovering helicopter parent" and I'm really trying to do my best to help Delainey succeed in life without interfering. Wondering how you can find the fine line between doing too much and too little?

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I think it all starts with encouraging manners and fostering independence. That all sounds great... but I bet you are wondering... How do we do that?

Today I'm sharing a few tips on how we've been trying to let D be "independent" while still making sure she's safe. If you have a little wild child, these tips are great ways to make sure your little one can gain independence while also learning.

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One of the easiest ways to help a toddler feel like they are independent is with food. I'm not suggesting baby led weaning is for everyone, but it worked for us. D will eat nearly anything and everything and enjoys eating. We don't have a picky toddler, at all... she loves broccoli, chows down on her Happy Tots Yogurt, and goes to town on any and all fruits.

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We started with Avocado whenever she was a little over 6.5 months old and slowly introduced more and more foods, once at a time. She loves them all now... and is willing to try any food we offer now! She recently had a veggie roll at our favorite sushi joint and she loved it. How many 18 month olds can say they like sushi?

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With that said, one of her absolute favorite foods right now is Happy Baby Yogurt. She loves to "coop" out big bites on her own with her tiny little spoon. She lights up with delight with each bite, partly because feeding herself is the thing she's most proud of in her life and because she adores each flavor we've tried so far - from blueberry to banana & sweet potato!

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Whether your packing these babies in a daycare lunchbox or sharing them as a snack, they are the perfect way to make sure your little one is getting the nutrition they deserve! Sometimes we hand one to D and tell her it's her "dessert" and she just gobbles it up... who doesn't love delicious, healthy dessert?

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Want to let your little try yogurt for the first time? Find out how Happy Family fits into your toddler's nutrition and grab a coupon here. But one thing I bet you'll be overjoyed to know now - they have NO ADDED SUGAR... that's a definite #momwin, am I right? I'm definitely a fan of these healthy "treats"!

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Speaking of being a fan... I'm pretty much Delainey's #1 fan. I love cheering her on and telling her she's doing great with everything she does. The thing is, we are now at the point with her that she's constantly expressing likes and dislikes, even with her clothing... and while I would love to tell her that she can regularly wear bloomers on her head, a backwards dress, tights with holes, and rain boots on her hands (like she sometimes does)... that's just not gonna fly all the time. So instead of fighting her and just dictating to her what she must wear each day, I allow her to choose between a few options...

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I show her 2-3 outfits to choose from every morning, all laid out and ready to go... and she chooses which one she likes better. This makes us both happy... she feels heard and acknowledged with her choices and I know she's not wearing shoes for gloves, that's a definite win. I know as the years go by, this fashion battle won't be one worth fighting... but for now, I'm happy that we're both satisfied with this solution.

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Another way to foster independence in a toddler is allowing them to take the lead. I don't mean that they are in charge all the time, because that's just not going to end well for anyone. BUT, sometimes allowing your kiddo to choose which direction you walk or letting them go ahead on a walk for a few paces can be rewarding for you both.

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Almost any time we go on a walk or to the store lately, D loves to run ahead of us by a few feet, stop turn around, smile, and keep going. She's practically showing off for us on most of our adventures and she eats up that attention. It's an easy way to allow her to make choices and overcome obstacles without endangering her.

From walking through the park and selecting which slide to go down to spending time navigating the busy aisles of Target, I think it's important to let her wander sometimes and while this can be difficult to not police - I've noticed the less I demand D stay nearby, the better she is about just wanting to be there with me. I know some kids are a little more wild and like to get into everything... so maybe start doing this only on a couple of woodsy adventures first... and I'll bet your trips to Publix for Happy Tot items become a little calmer too.


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Speaking of calm, I think an often overlooked way to encourage independence is teaching her self-care routines early. From calm breathing while she's upset to teaching her to brush her teeth, I want D to feel like she's capable of and enjoys taking time to care for herself.

We've been encouraging her to brush her own teeth (after we give them a good brush), we do the same with brushing her hair... and when she's upset I work with her to calm her breathing and we talk through how she's feeling. While she's only 18 months old, my hopes are that we are starting healthy habits young and fostering good personal care in all aspects.

Speaking of all aspects of independence, one that we haven't touched yet is cleaning up after one's self. This is definitely a hard one to teach a toddler. D would much rather spin like a tornado and take everything off the walls than to pick up the pieces and put them back where they belong, but we're working on that.

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From encouraging her to help throw away pieces of trash, to spending time helping her clean up her books and toys, we are doing our best to teach her to clean up after herself. She's also started to help unload the dishwasher, put away the groceries, give the dog her daily vitamin, and sometimes she even helps water the plants. Some may say 18 months is too young to teach her to do chores... but she loves "helping" out around the house and I love watching her learn a new skill, especially one that teaches her to be more independent!


So tell me, how do you (or did you) foster independence in your toddler? I'd love to hear your experiences with your fireball in the comments below!

3 Unique & Adorable Gerber Baby Apparel Looks for Your Toddler

Did you know Delainey is now a paid Brand Ambassador for Gerber Childrenswear?! What does that mean exactly? It is just is a fancy way of saying this post is sponsored... but as always, all opinions expressed below are mine alone!


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Alright y'all... let's be real, before I even had Delainey I always thought baby clothes were adorable... what girl doesn't? I knew I would love being a mama, but I really had NO IDEA how obsessed I would become!

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While Delainey and I always have a ton of fun doing all types of activities together, I'll be the first to admit - we love playing dress up... and I do mean "we". This girl loves bows, clothes, and shoes, just like her mama. So she's always willing to get her sassy pants on and run around the yard while I take some pictures.

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 With that said, today we want to show how versatile the coordinating Gerber sets from Walmart are, more specifically we are going to show you how we style our onesies for fall, from bow to toe - in 3 completely different ways.

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Some may say babies don't have "style", if that's the case - they haven't met this baby! She's full of style and sass and these three Gerber looks show it:


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We'll start with the simple pretty in pink look. This one is possibly my favorite, it's classic with a twist of fun. For this look, I paired White Pearls & Lace distressed jeans with her pink striped Gerber onesie and a Bloomology bow. We finished the look with a pink rose bib and some grey converse and she was set for a day on the go with daddy.

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This look is pretty much an everyday outfit for Miss Delainey and it should be for your babe too. Since the Gerber coordinated baby apparel collection is available at Wal-mart at a super affordable price, every girl should own a handful of these classic onesies.

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Whether you're currently expecting or dealing with a fun little feisty toddler, like me, the Gerber apparel collection offers just what you are looking for...

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On that note, the next look we have is this "Sweet Baby Blues" preciousness. Delainey is showing off in her "Sweet" blue onesie. Paired with some polka dot leg warmers and a glitter bow, this look is perfect for hanging around the house and chasing her pup from room to room!

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Plus, with her baby blue eyes, I can't get enough of this gorgeous blue color... we MUST have more and luckily, there's other items in the coordinating collection that match it!

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And the last look we're going to share today is her punk rock princess persona. I'm not even joking when I say she loved the way she looked in this outfit. From giving herself a smooch in the mirror to giggling the whole time we played in the backyard, I think this look was D's absolute favorite.

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We paired a purple Gerber hat, with a fun floral print Gerber Onesie, and a coordinating tu-tu that we just happened to have... but isn't it beyond perfection with this print? We completed the look with a fun bubble necklace, some Gerber socks, and another pair of Converse!

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So, now that we've shared three completely different, fashionable, and adorable looks with you, be sure to leave your favorite stylish combination to dress your toddler up in below!

5 Ways to Tame Toddler Tantrums

Some days are easier than others parenting Delainey. The days when she's an angel and so easy to please are the best. But we also have the days when she is a terrible teething mess, when all she does is throw tantrums and toddle around whining. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for everyday with her but the latter is definitely more challenging.

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While we can't find a cure all for her temper tantrums, yet... we're working on it and today I want to share FIVE ways to tame toddler tantrums!

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1. Communicate - This first idea is maybe the most obvious but also likely the most complicated since most toddlers throwing tantrums are still learning to communicate.

When we hear our sweet girl winding up for a fit, we've started encouraging Lainey to "use [her] big girl words" and also teaching her sign language. Instead of letting her throw a fit when she wants a snack, I show her the sign for "eat", say the word "eat", and then provide her with something to eat.

While she can't tell me she wants to go to the park just yet, soon enough I have a feeling she'll be chatting away and asking to do all kinds of fun activities... but for now, I'm going to try and tame her tantrums by helping her learn to talk.

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2. Identify & Treat - It's also pretty important to try and identify why your toddler is throwing a fit.

If he's sleepy, it's time for a nap. If he's aching, maybe try some essential oils. If she's hungry, feed her a snack. And if she has diaper rash, the only way to prevent and treat it is Desitin Maxium Strength. I'm not going to lie, I would say like 50% of the time when we just can't figure out what's going on with D, she seems to have a bit of diaper rash randomly pop up. I blame it on teething, but who really knows? All I do know is that we put red to bed and help make things better with Desitin.

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3. Learning - Another way we try to solve tantrums in our house is letting her roam free... Whether that means walking down the street (and letting her choose which direction we wander) or just wandering around looking at ant hills in our backyard.

With that said, sometimes (when she has diaper rash), she gets to explore SUPER freely and by that I mean, in her birthday suit. Not only are we allowing her to feel, touch, explore, and learn in a different way, she's also getting fresh air on her bum - which is great for diaper rash too!

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4. Explain - While we've been working on her communication during a fit, I've been trying to get better at using my communication skills as well. Instead of just telling her "NO!" when she's doing something she's not supposed to, I'm doing my best to try and tell her why she can't do it.

For example, instead of just exclaiming when she goes for an outlet, I immediately respond "no", but then I pick her up and point at the outlet and explain "OW! That's electricity, baby girl. That can hurt you very badly, so no-no touch! Okay, Delainey?"... and while she may not understand it ALL right now, I think she seems to somewhat and she also tends to listen better after I explain why something is a "no-no".

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5. Understand - Speaking of understanding, try not to get too carried away trying to prevent and tame  tantrums... remember that your little one is just a kid. Learning something new each day, exploring and taking it all in and while that's amazing, it's also overwhelming for them and I know we all can understand what that feels like. So don't freak out if nothing helps to calm a fit sometime this week, it happens to the best of us and it'll likely happen again.

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So tell me, how do you tame tantrums in your home? I'd love to hear in the comments below!




A Letter to My Daughter: This is The End & The Beginning

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My sweet one -

As I sit here, writing this letter to you, my dear daughter, I can't help but laugh and cry simultaneously.

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This is such a joyous time in our lives, you're gaining independence, you are becoming a little tiny woman... and I'm so incredibly blessed to get to be a witness to the miracle that is your life. I'm so thankful to be the arms you run to, the one that you seek comfort in, and occasionally still, your source for nourishment.

With that said, we've been slowly cutting down on feedings, going from the moments when I thought it would never end, when all that would comfort you was cluster feeding, to each day slowly lessening the time you spent nursing, and now... well, now you only need me for a tiny bit of time each day, mainly suckling as a source of comfort as you drift off to sleep.

And as you lay here, I can't help but feel pure adoration watching you slowly go from your wild, curious self to a sleepy, sweet little bundle of love. I also can feel my heart getting a little heavier, my soul aching because these sweet moments with you will soon come to an end.

My sweet girl, it's so crazy to me how quickly you have grown. You are now almost fifteen months old, that's almost 456 days of pure love and devotion - each day dedicating several periods of time to special, sweet moments between just you and I.

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That's over 450 days we have spent together - learning, growing, struggling, and successfully mastering breastfeeding, 10, 950 hours since your first latch and so many minutes spent admiring your beautiful face while watching you receive the nourishment you have loved so much.

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Through every bit of pain as we had to adjust our position and finally learned to get an excellent latch I knew nursing you was the right choice. For each and every inch that you've grown and each time we've seen the scale go up a pound, we've celebrated our achievement. Each time you peek up at me, every time I see the way you embrace me, I know, deep within my soul every single second of our 15 month breastfeeding journey was worth it.

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Breastfeeding isn't just something we have experienced though, it's part of who we both are... and it has been since you took your first breath. So seeing this all come to an end is bittersweet and amazing in so many ways.

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Maybe it's knowing that you need me that makes ending this all so hard, maybe it's the fact that it's truly a connection unlike any other... I'm not sure. But as the tears stream down my face as I think of you, my little nursling, I know and will always know breastfeeding you was the best decision I could ever make and I wouldn't take a second of this journey back.

You are worth it.

And, although our breastfeeding journey is coming to an end soon, this is only the beginning of another more amazing journey together. Just remember, I'll always be here to comfort you, I'll always be the one that helps you to learn, who encourages you to grow, and who hopefully helps you achieve success through the struggles.



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Always & Forever,

Your mama



Are you a breastfeeding mom or mom to be? As you probably picked up on, nursing is so worth it all. With that said, not everyone has a breastfeeding journey as easy as ours was... some need nipple shields, others can't handle the pain, and some breastfed babies even need probiotics specially formulated for them... and that's where Evivo comes into the picture.

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With breastfeeding and D's health being of utmost importance, it comes as no shocker that we have her on a probiotic to make sure her gut is as healthy as it can be. Evivo not only helps her gut stay healthy now, but we're setting her up for a healthy future too. If good bacteria (like what Evivo offers) are thriving before a baby is fully weaned from breast milk they're more likely to develop a healthy metabolism and immune system later in life. Learn more about Evivo and how it can help your baby from the inside out here.

My 14 month old's Christmas List...

I can remember when I was little I would sit down with a catalog and circle all the toys that I wanted for Christmas each year... ranging from art sets to dolls, I was spoiled and always got what I wanted and then some.With that said, Delainey is only 14 months old so she won't be circling any items in a catalog or browsing online with me for toys, but I have a good idea of some of the items on her Christmas list this year and today I want to share them with you, whether that's to inspire you to grab something super cool for your little one or to start shopping for your grandbaby. So happy shopping...

Let's get started with the most epic little princess ride, possibly ever. This would be perfect for any little princess that loves to explore, especially one named Delainey Kate.



Next on her list, the most precious little princess tent. Completed with a cute little rug and some decorative lights and she'll have a sweet cozy place to hang out now.... that eventually can grow with her into a reading nook.



Another item that I think every little girl would love is a "play kitchen"... and since D is OBSESSED with being in our kitchen and watching us cook, this beautiful little play kitchenette is at the TOP of our list.



Okay, well, maybe this item is more on mama & daddy's list, but it's definitely FOR her - this little bench would make the perfect toy box/organizer for all of her wonderful toys and it would also match our house pretty well, so that's a win!


Another item every Florida girl has on her Christmas list this year is a water table and this one definitely won't disappoint!

One item that I know D would absolutely FLIP over is this little playset, she's obsessed with playgrounds so having one at her house would make her way too excited for words!



I'm not going to lie, this "roller coaster" looks like it would be a great toy for all ages of children and it's such a good deal!




Since D is in love with birdies lately and she's always been a foodie, a placemat like this one is perfect!




I'm certain we'll have more to add to her list and I'll even be sharing a handful of great gift ideas in our upcoming gift guide... but that's all we have in mind for now. So tell me, what do you think it something every toddler should have? Can you remember a Christmas gift from your childhood that took your breath away... what was it? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!

How to Wear Leggings: 5 Fashion Rules for Leggings





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I used to really love fashion and I always wanted to follow the latest trends... but I'm not going to lie, since I became a mom I've also kind of neglected buying things for myself. I know I'm not the only one that's suddenly started spending on their spawn and cut back on their own stylish efforts, right? Yoga pants are life and leggings are equally as important.

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So I've made a decision, after a year of concentrating solely on Miss Delainey and her fashion, this mama deserves to be stylish again too. With that said, I'm also not willing to sacrifice what I've learned to love... I mean, I most definitely still want the comfort of yoga pants.

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And that's where Cuddl Duds comes into the picture... whether I'm wearing my FlexFit or Fleecewear Leggings, I know I can look fabulous while also feeling comfortable enough to chase this tiny little toddler around town.

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I love that I can pair these leggings with anything and if I'm being frank, both pairs are the SOFTEST leggings I have ever owned. Like I've heard of "buttery soft" fabric before but these leggings are even softer.

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With that said, there's a certain way that leggings should be worn. We've all seen those trainwreck outfits on others that make us question whether this garment of clothing should even be "allowed" in public... but here's the thing - leggings are easy to wear and pair items with! So today, I'm here today to discuss a few "fashion do's and don'ts" regarding leggings:

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1. Let's start with the obvious, always cover your behind and your front butt when wearing leggings.

When it comes to tops long enough to wear with leggings, I'm seriously so in love with Cuddl Duds Softwear Stretch Cowl-Neck Tunics!  I'm not even joking when I say my cowl neck top from Cuddl Duds is a new staple item in my wardrobe.

It's the perfect pairing for both pairs of leggings and it's so versatile I feel like I can dress it up with a nice pair of slacks or down with some leggings and stay cozy all day long. I'm a huge fan and recommend everyone have one of these tunic tops to pair with their leggings... and I'm hoping to add more colors to my collection soon!

2. Make sure you find the right fit & the right length - Leggings should fit comfortably at the waist and NOT squeeze your middle. Length wise leggings should fit at the ankle, any higher will make you look short and any longer will obviously be uncomfortable and look awkward with footwear.

3. Speaking of footwear - choose the right pairing! Don't wear your yard work shoes with your leggings, choose shoes wisely. I'm not even going to deny the fact that I wear flip flops with everything... but honestly, they aren't the best pairing with leggings! I love pairing mine with boots or simple flats. But you could also pair Cuddl Duds with some simple heels too.


4. Mix it up - While I'm guilty of finding something I like and wearing it religiously, that's out of habit... not style. So this is more of a "do as I say, not as I do" piece of advice. Be sure to mix up your look - Try leggings and a button down one day, another day rock a duster and your Cuddl Duds Softwear Stretch Cowl-Neck Tunic! Variety is the spice of life after all, so don't stick with the same style!


5. Consider the occasion - Last but certainly not least, know where to wear your leggings. Job interviews, weddings, or any occasion that calls for a more reserved look is the WRONG place to wear your leggings. While they are comfortable, fashionable, and fun, they aren't business wear so be sure to dress up when needed...*(Not to contradict myself, but if you think you have the perfect business-casual outfit that involves leggings, remember there are always exceptions to the rules)!

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Now that we've chatted about how to wear these leggings, I'm going to pretty much DEMAND you check out Cuddl Duds at Macy's... you can thank me for bringing your attention to this life-changingly soft line of clothing later!