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In The Kitchen



Baby Products I'm Loving

I received products in exchange for a review. As always, all opinions are completely my own.
Helpful Baby Products

It is amazing to me the day and age in which we live. We have so many products and technological advances at our fingertips, making life so much easier. With almost five years between my children, I've discovered some pretty great baby items that have helped make newborn life easier the second time around. I use these items quite often and find myself saying "I wish I had this with my first born."

The Ollie Swaddle
From day one with both of our children, we have swaddled our babies when they sleep. Swaddling helps to keep a baby's startle reflex from waking them up, gives them a sense of protection and keeps them warm. We credit the use of a swaddle with helping to build a foundation of great sleep in our children. We used muslin blankets to swaddle Kendall when she was a newborn and they worked alright. But this time around I discovered the Ollie Swaddle which makes any other swaddle pale in comparison.
The Ollie Swaddle is so easy to use. There are no tricks or multiple steps to this swaddle, you simply wrap your baby and fasten with the big velcro strips. Swaddling your baby with the Ollie Swaddle takes all of 30 seconds. The velcro strips are long, making it so the swaddle will grow with your baby - no need to buy multiple swaddles. Also, the swaddle features moisture-wicking fabric so your baby won't overheat when swaddled. And perhaps the best part about the Ollie Swaddle: the bottom is open so you can change your baby's diaper without having to completely unswaddle them.

2.) DockATotDockATot Lounger
My love for the DockATot runs deep. In fact, I wrote an entire blog post about the amazingness of the DockATot since I love it so much (you can read that blog post here). But let me just say, I'm encouraging every pregnant woman that I know to buy one because it is so fantastic. I use my DockATot daily and Knox is always calm whenever he is lounging in it. The DockATot is easily portable, making it so simple for me to carry my baby and the lounger from room to room. My favorite use for the DockATot is when I have to sit down to pump. I will lay Knox in the DockATot right next to me on the couch. I don't have to worry about him rolling or falling off the couch because he is protected by the raised sides and he is right within arms reach. More often than not, he will take a little snooze while I pump because he is so comfortable in the lounger. I love being able to have him right by me while I'm connected to the pump and definitely appreciate that he is safe.

Now this product is genius!!!! I've attempted trips to the grocery store with Knox in his car seat carrier however that limits the amount of items I can purchase. The car seat carrier takes up almost the whole basket of the shopping cart. But the shopping cart hammock from Binxy Baby attaches to the cart, allowing you to place baby comfortably inside and still use the basket underneath for all of your groceries. And the hammock includes a harness so you know that baby is secure and won't fall out. You can use the hammock for awhile as it can hold up to 50 pounds. This is DEFINITELY a product that had me saying "why didn't I think of that?!"

A baby's nursery is often one of the most soothing and calming rooms in a house. I love to decorate and as we prepare to move into our new house, I've been on the lookout for cozy items that can still be functional. Enter Lorena Canals rugs. They have a beautiful selection of rugs for use all over your house. The best part?!?! They are machine washable!!! With a baby, laundry is inevitable. I love that I can have a gorgeous rug in my little one's room and I won't have to stress about how to clean it when a sudden spit up occurs.

Have you ever tried any of the above items? I'd love to hear your thoughts on them. 

Knox's Birth Story and Newborn Photos

Ever since I had Kendall and shared my own birth story, I've been obsessed with hearing birth stories from other mamas. I've also found that so many of my friends enjoy swapping stories and sharing the exciting details that make every birth story unique. So today, I'll be sharing the fast and furious birth of Knox! (Please keep in mind that I'll be sharing the majority of the details - bodily functions and all. Read ahead at your own risk!)

I actually have to start this birth story from a place that, at the time, I wasn't even aware was going to be a part of Knox's birth story. On Thursday, February 15, I woke up like any normal day and realized that I was having very mild cramping in my lower abdomen. I wasn't alarmed and didn't even tell Tolar about the cramping because I was sure it was nothing and would stop soon. More often than not, I get all worked about things that end up being nothing. It's the theatre person in me - we are dramatic with everything. :) I was only 36 weeks anyway.

The cramping didn't stop after about 2 hours, so I called Tolar and told him about it. He suggested I call my doctor to see what they said. After all, Kendall was born at 37 weeks so an early baby was certainly possible! Before I called the doctor, I immediately started packing our hospital bags since I hadn't gotten around to that yet (I was actually planning to pack my bags that coming weekend). When I called my doctor, they asked me all sorts of questions including had I felt the baby move recently? Honestly, I was so distracted by my hurrying to pack that I didn't pay attention to if the baby had moved, so I said no. Well this sent up a huge red flag, so my doctor told me to go ahead in to the hospital to get checked out. I called Tolar, told him to get home asap and then off we went.

By the time we reached the hospital, the cramping had turned into very minor contractions that were very inconsistent with their timing. The contractions were not painful at all, I could totally manage them. The hospital nurse strapped some monitors on me to check on the baby and let me lay down for about an hour and a half. I had several contractions while at the hospital, but the timing was all over the place: 3 minutes, 8 minutes, 13 minutes. They tested to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid and found out I wasn't. So they sent me home with instructions to rest and to drink TONS of water; one glass per hour.

I listened to the nurse and drank as much water as I could. I napped on the couch for a bit and realized that the contractions stopped around 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. I went about my day like it was any normal day. Then the contractions started back up again around 10 p.m. Again, the pain was very minor so I wasn't that uncomfortable. And the timing was still all over the place which made me think I was just having another episode of what I assumed were Braxton Hicks contractions. I drank some water and decided to go to bed. The contractions kept on through the night but they never got worse. I drank water and kept thinking "when is this water going to work and make them stop again?" I was able to sleep off and on through the night. Sometimes the contractions would wake me up, but I was able to get some sleep since they were not that painful.

Around 4:45 a.m. my eyes shot open because I all of a sudden felt like I was peeing my pants! I ran to the bathroom and barely made it. I found this so strange because this NEVER happens to me, I'm always able to hold it, but I did drink a ton of water to get the contractions to stop. However I kept thinking something was off. So I googled (yes, I did!) what it feels like to have your water break. My water never broke on its own with Kendall, so I had no clue what it felt like. I read something that said you will often feel a pop right before it happens and I was 95% sure that I also felt a pop. So I decided to wake up Tolar to see what he thought. Not long after waking up Tolar, I had two instances where water started leaking down my leg and I was unable stop or control it. After that happened, I KNEW that my water had broke. Then I immediately started having really intense contractions. Tolar got on the phone with my doctor and I called my parents so they could come stay with Kendall. The timestamp on my phone said that I called my parents at 5:08 a.m.

The contractions were pretty steady now and VERY intense. We had to repack the few items that we had taken out of our suitcases and I was having contractions every three minutes apart, so it was about 5:30 a.m. before we finally left to head to the hospital. The contractions continued to be intense and I had several in the car. Poor Tolar, he had to listen to me scream the whole way to the hospital. They say that you forget the pain of childbirth - it is true! I do NOT remember my contractions being this intense when I was in labor with Kendall.

Once we got to the hospital and walked inside, I had another very intense contraction at the nurses desk. The nurse even made a comment about how intense it seemed. She didn't take us to triage and check me out first, she walked us straight to a room - this baby was on his way!

The nurses got me into a bed, strapped the monitors on my stomach and asked if I wanted an epidural. Of course I wanted an epidural!!! I am quite the wimp and do not handle pain well. At this point, I was in so much pain and ready for some relief asap. I had an epidural with Kendall and was looking forward to not feeling anything again and hopefully getting a nap or two. The nurses checked my cervix and told me that I was dilated 4 cm. Funny thing, I was actually 4 cm when I got admitted to the hospital with Kendall. They called for the doctor on call and everyone went about doing what they needed to do to monitor me and the baby. I continued to have very intense contractions every 3 minutes. I don't remember much as I laid on the bed, I just know that people kept coming in and out of the room and all of them were very encouraging to me. Everyone kept telling me how awesome I was doing. Tolar was by my side, holding my hand and encouraging me. We don't know what happened, but all of a sudden Tolar got very dizzy and white in the face. The nurses had him lay on the nearby couch and put his feet up. I kept telling him to stay laying down because I didn't want anything to happen to him - I did NOT want to do this without him!

My contractions continued and by this point I was in so much pain and quite exhausted. Tolar felt normal again and was back by my side. I asked one of the nurses when I could get my epidural. She checked my cervix then said what I feared most of all..."you don't have a cervix anymore, there is no time for an epidural." I almost passed out. I remember looking at Tolar and I know there was pure panic on my face. HOW WAS I GOING TO DELIVER THIS BABY WITHOUT ANY DRUGS?!?! I didn't have a choice.

The next thing I knew, Dr. Devlin showed up and suddenly there were about nine other people in the room. Dr. Devlin asked how long I pushed with my first child and we told her about 30 minutes. She said "great, you should have a baby in about 10 minutes." I was in extreme pain, I was tired and miserable and scared. I felt the need to push immediately. I pushed and then Dr. Devlin gave me some pointers on breathing properly to help my pushes do more. She wanted me to grab a hold of my own legs and pull them towards me. I was in so much pain and remember telling her "I can't." She was super encouraging and told me that I could. Well, I don't think I did. I vaguely remember some nurses helping to pull my legs up and I do know that I grabbed onto Tolar's hand and a nurse's hand and squeezed HARD.  The entire time I pushed was quite a blur to me. I remember Tolar saying very sweet things to me and telling me that he could see Knox, that I was almost done. I had tons of questions for Tolar about the delivery because I just don't remember everything. I guess I kind of blacked out from the pain. I do know that three pushes later I heard Dr. Devlin tell me to look up. There he was!!!!!! He was born at 6:53 a.m. (remember, we only left the house around 5:30 that same morning???).

Like with my first, I busted into tears. I was so excited he was here and SO RELIEVED that it was over.

As I type this story, I'm still shocked that I delivered a baby naturally, without any drugs. That was NEVER a part of my plan...EVER. I never thought I would be able to do it without an epidural. As I think back over the time when I was in labor, I remember the two nurses who strapped the monitors to me. I saw them both lock eyes with each other as they were trying to find the baby's heartbeat. They kept moving the monitor lower and lower on my stomach. At the time, I didn't think much of it. But now I know...they knew that Knox was on his way and that I wouldn't have time for an epidural. But I must say that I am very proud of myself. I'm living proof that you are stronger than you think. And now I have the most precious baby boy who came into this world fast and furious.

Newborn photos by Stephanie Parker Photography.

1 Month Old!

1 Month Old Baby

What an incredible first month of life it has been for our precious Knox! He is quite the amazing baby with such a calm temperament. Having a good baby has made the transition to a family of four pretty effortless for us. I used to be sad that my children weren't going to have the same age difference between them as my sister and I (we are 2 1/2 years apart), but I am actually thrilled that they are almost five years apart. Kendall has been such a BIG help to me and I know that if she was only 2 1/2 instead of almost 5 that things around the house would be much more chaotic.

Knox is our last baby and I am well aware at just how fast time flies with little ones. I'm trying to hold him as much as possible and cherish every single moment because his itty bitty days are fleeting.

Stats: At Knox's most recent doctor appointment he weighed in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces. That is 2 pounds and 10 ounces more than at birth!!!! His pediatrician said his weight gain is from proper nutrition...meaning the boy can eat! At two weeks old he was 19.5 inches long, but I am certain he is longer than that now as certain pieces of clothing don't fit his length.

Development: Knox seems to be right on track with all developmental milestones. He has had a very strong neck since birth and is able to hold his head up for a good while. I often try to hold him upright over my shoulder and he will always look around to see what is happening. He smiles a lot in his sleep and has smiled at both me and Tolar at different times. We can't wait until the smiles come more often.

Loves: Knox loves his DockATot. It is incredible how calm he is whenever I place him in the lounger. He will nap and just hang out in the DockATot a lot because he loves it so much. He also loves his sister! As crazy as it may sound, he really does recognize his sister's voice and touch and is always calm and happy when she is around.

The Diaper Bag That Dreams Are Made Of

Thank you Lily Jade for the diaper bag. All opinions expressed below are completely my own.
Lily Jade Meggan BackPack

With a baby in the family, a diaper bag is quite the necessity. But there are SO MANY different kinds of diaper bags on the market, how do you decide?

Here a few things I realized I needed in a diaper bag after having my first child:
-Lots of space. Babies require a lot of stuff, it always baffles my mind that someone so small needs so many things.
-Organization. I'm a neat freak and very much a person who follows the rule that everything has its place. Organization is key so you can find everything you need.
-Backpack carry. I don't want a diaper bag that will easily fall off my shoulder. With two kids now, I need a diaper bag that will stay put and allow me to have both hands free.
-Something stylish. Just because I'm a mom doesn't mean I want to give up my style. I like items that are fashionable yet functional.

Enter Lily Jade.

I first saw Lily Jade on instagram a few years ago when I was just about out of the diaper bag phase with Kendall. I was so jealous of the stylish bags I saw moms carrying and wished I had such a fantastic bag when K was a little baby. Once I got pregnant with Knox, I knew I had to have a Lily Jade bag.

My bag is the Meggan in Grey and Silver and I'm in love with it! Upon first glance, you see that the bag is gorgeous. It doesn't even look like a diaper bag, it could double as a laptop or travel bag. Would you like to know my favorite part? The leather is incredibly soft and smooth. Seriously, you can say it is smooth like butta! I can see myself carrying this bag even when it isn't needed as a diaper bag.

And talk about organization...scroll down below and check out the inside organizer. There are so many pockets and plenty of space for me to keep everything baby needs, plus some items for me too. I love that all I have to do is open the bag and everything I need is visible. The Lily Jade bags offer so much space, I don't have to worry about not fitting everything I need.

A HUGE selling point on their bags is that you can carry them multiple ways. You can carry them either as a messenger bag, a tote bag or a backpack. I primarily carry mine as a backpack so I can carry the baby carrier in one hand and hold on to Kendall with the other. I have used it as a tote many times and found that it stays on my shoulder really well.

I highly recommend Lily Jade for their quality, for the organization and space you receive and because I know you will use the bag for years to come!!!! It is highly worth the investment.

And for fun, here are few things to note:
They just added some bags to their Outlets section on the website. The discounts won't get any deeper than this, so now is the perfect time to grab a discounted bag before they are gone.
Lily Jade also launched new lifestyle bags that are PERFECT for travel. They are gorgeous...check them out here. You don't even need to have a baby to rock these bags!

Lily Jade backpack carry
Lily Jade Meggan Diaper Bag
Lily Jade kids
Lily Jade Meggan Grey Interior
Lily Jade Meggan Pockets
Lily Jade
Lily Jade diaper bag baby
Lily Jade diaper bag
Lily Jade Mommy's Little Helper

House Update #2

Since my original blog post about the progress of  building our house, a lot has happened! In about two months time, we went from only having our footers poured to having something that actually looks like a house! I'm certainly itching to have the house complete.

Our bricks were delivered first and the foundation for the house was constructed. We selected a white painted brick for the foundation of our house and I'm absolutely thrilled with how it turned out. I almost wish we were going to have more brick, but the exterior of the house will mainly be siding. Our siding will be light grey and will be added later.

Just a few days after the foundation/crawl space went up, the first story walls were built. I was actually quite surprised at how quickly everything came together. Five short days after the first story was complete, the second story was there. And then two days later, we were under roof. Seeing the whole process take shape has been so much fun.