The Number One Staple For Your Maternity Wardrobe

20160827_8269_6

With a five year old (wow, still have to get used to that) and a one year old running around and a belly that seems to be growing outwardly by inches every single day, I need clothes that feel comfortable and allow me to move without restrictions. I usually opt for dresses as my everyday go-to because I have this weird issue about anything constricting my belly while pregnant, but maternity jeans with a good fit are a must for every maternity wardrobe.

Maternity jeans are a usually an investment and since you’re only going to wear them for six months at a time, it’s important that you choose the right ones. These NYDJ AMI  Skinny Maternity Leggings are worth every penny and are a staple piece that will save your wardrobe when you just want to throw on a t-shirt and sneakers, feel comfortable with your ever expanding belly, and most importantly, flatter your figure.
njdj_maternity_jeans_2

nydj_maternity_jeans_4

nydj_maternity_jeans_3

nyjd_maternity_jeans_10

 


Munchkin LATCH Bottle for Breastfeeding Mothers

20160103_8111

20160103_8098

20160103_8123

20160103_8126

20160103_8129

20160103_8064

20160103_8093

20160103_8113

20160103_8121

I’ve teamed up with my friends at Munchkin to share this story with you.

I’m 18 weeks into my third pregnancy and still nursing this sweet one and a half year old of mine. Looking back, I realized that in the past five years, I have only had a six month break from breastfeeding (which is kind of hard to believe) and with another baby on the way, it looks like I’m going to have a couple more years (and maybe more after that with another one if we are so lucky)! I have always told everyone that my babies don’t take bottles, but the truth is that they don’t take bottles because I don’t like to introduce them. I honestly don’t like to miss any of that special bonding time that happens when you’re nursing your infant, don’t enjoy pumping (cleaning all of those parts ugh!), and have had a hard time finding a bottle that I love for my babies.

However, this third time around, this sweet babe of mine is going to need to take a bottle. With two others to look after, one of whom won’t even be two years old when this new babe of ours is born, I’m going to need the ability for others to feed him or her while I take care of the other two. Holden is already talking about feeding the new baby and I know Gray will want some part in that as well. So I’m feeling ok this time around about letting others do some of the feedings (just a few though ha!) so that they get to experience a similar sort of bonding as I do.

Munchkin, one of my favorite brands, just released a new line, Munchkin LATCH, that is specifically made for breastfeeding mamas and babes. Honestly, knowing that something is made with nursing moms in mind makes me feel more at ease about introducing it to my little ones. The Munchkin LATCH bottle has an accordion-style nipple that stretches like the breast, helping your baby latch easily and correctly. The other nice benefit of Munchkin LATCH is the anti-colic valve on the bottom of the bottle, which helps to remove air from the milk inside it. And the line includes an easy sterilization kit for pump parts, breast pads, bottle and pump brushes.

So if you’re a breastfeeding mother who wants to introduce a bottle to your baby and wants to find something that is as close to mimicking breastfeeding as possible, check out the new Munchkin LATCH.

***This post is sponsored by Munchkin. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!


A Fifth Birthday and Batman Shoes

20160822_7860

I’ve teamed up with my friends at Zappos.com to share the shoes that will make your child feel like a superhero.

Today, my oldest turned 5! There is something about the number 5 that just seems so old, doesn’t it? I know it’s so cliche, but it honestly feels like I gave birth, blinked and here we are, celebrating his 5 years on this planet. He really is such an amazing boy, teaches me so much about life, and makes me want to be a better person every single day. He is the kindest and most caring and empathetic boy in the entire world and truly has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met. I feel so proud and honored that he is a part of our family.

Since we are moving in less than a month (more on that later!), we ended up doing a small birthday party with family and a few close friends over the weekend and then celebrated with just us all day today ending the day at Corvette Diner (a place that leaves my ears ringing for hours afterwards, but makes dinnertime so much fun for the little ones).

For his birthday this year, all Holden wanted was a Batman outfit. I have never introduced him to any of the super heroes and since we don’t even own a TV, I’m not quite sure how he even discovered Batman – but he suddenly seems to be into ALL of the real boy stuff and well, Batman is at the top of his list right now.

I almost always shy away from dressing my boys in character t-shirts, shorts, and shoes, but I do think that every kid needs a costume or two in his closet for impromptu dress-up. I found a Batman costume at Costco and then when I saw these Stride Rite Leepz, I knew they would be the perfect way to complete Holden’s Batman ensemble.

We ordered them from Zappos and they arrived the very next day (at no additional cost!), which was amazing since Holden asked me every five minutes after I ordered them when they were going to arrive ha! I was a little nervous about ordering online and not getting the correct size, but you really can’t beat their 365 day return policy. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry because they fit and haven’t left Holden’s feet since they showed up on our doorstep.

Holden has wanted light up shoes for the longest time and I’ve always convinced him out of them because I didn’t consider them “cool” or “in style” and when he was younger, he didn’t have the strongest opinions about what he wanted to wear, so it really wasn’t a big deal. But I have gotten to the point now that he’s older that all that matters to me is that he is confident and feels “cool” in what he wears (not what I think)…and you guys, you can tell that he feels like he is the coolest kid on the planet when he is walking around in these shoes. And you know what, I really love them too!

The Stride Rite Leepz light-up this neon green on the sides every time he walks or jumps or runs and people stop him everywhere we go to comment on them. I’m pretty sure (if you can’t tell from the photos ^^^) that Holden thinks that these shoes give him real-life super hero powers. At night, they look pretty incredible when he’s running around in the dark and all you see is a flash of green light. They aren’t gimmecky or cheesy, but are a really well-made shoe that will last until he grows out of them (despite the fact that he will probably wear them every single day until he can no longer fit his feet into them). So if you’re boy needs a pair of Batman shoes, or just a really cool pair of light-up shoes that you will both love, then these are the ones you need.

20160822_7888

20160822_7921

20160822_7943

20160822_7904

20160822_7927

20160822_7923

20160822_7914

20160822_7899

20160822_7870

20160822_7981

20160822_7967

20160822_7954

20160822_7945

20160822_7885

20160822_7892

20160822_7975

 


Where to Stay and What to Do with Kids in Santa Barbara

1U2B2878

1U2B2873

1U2B2858

1U2B2834

1U2B2831

1U2B2792

1U2B3031

1U2B3015

1U2B2965

1U2B2941

1U2B2947

1U2B2928

1U2B2912
1U2B2914
1U2B3162

1U2B3095

1U2B3134

1U2B3175

1U2B3182
1U2B3292

1U2B3174

1U2B3282
1U2B3196

1U2B3194
1U2B3346

1U2B3488
1U2B3477
1U2B3629
1U2B3614
1U2B3543

1U2B3548
1U2B3506

1U2B3552

1U2B3685

1U2B3692

All photos by Kristen Beink

Dress by Echo & Atlas

When we were in Santa Barbara, we stayed at the most amazing Airbnb and had the most amazing photographer, Kristen Beink, come to document our family in this sweet little home and I couldn’t help but share some of the images. And if you live in Santa Barbara and are looking for a family photographer, she was absolutely wonderful with kids!

Where to Stay in Santa Barbara:

There are lots of hotels to choose from in Santa Barbara, but most of them are pretty pricey and we always find that Airbnb’s workout better with kids. With an airbnb, you have your own space and you don’t have to eat out every single meal, which doesn’t always work with children’s schedules. We rented the The Fig House for the week and it was perfect. It was within walking distance of downtown which was great for morning strolls to the get coffee and pastries or for just wandering before any real activities are planned. They had a great outdoor area for al fresco dinners, hammock swinging, and rock collecting. It had plenty of space for the boys to play and relax…and a fully stocked kitchen where we were able to cook the majority of our meals.

What to Do with Kids in Santa Barbara: 

Santa Barbara Zoo – the zoo is a smaller-sized zoo, but there is so much to do that you could spend all day here. There’s a train that goes around the entire zoo. There’s a giant hill with cardboard that the kids can slide down and we honestly spent most of our time here versus seeing the animals.

Natural History Museum – This is one of our favorite museums of all time. Currently on display is Sue, the second most complete T-rex skeleton ever found. We also got to walk into the butterfly exhibit where we were surrounded by hundreds of butterflies. Another amazing part is that there is open woods part of the museum for exploring, picnicking, and climbing trees, in nature.

East Beach – Tucked between the pier and the volleyball courts, this wide expanse of beach is perfect for kids. It has a playground in the sane and there’s a cafe for food when the little ones need a snack.

Picnic at the Rose Gardens – A beautiful rose garden perched at the bottom of an open, grassy hill. Perfect place to stop for a picnic and let the kids run around and roll down the grassy slope.

Turtle Pond in La Arcada Shopping Center of Downtown – If you’re exploring downtown and your kids need a break from shopping, make a quick stop at the turtle pond. It’s filled with twenty to thirty different turtles and the kids will love watching them swim around and poke their heads out of the water.

Top of the Courthouse – It’s completely free and there’s an elevator so you can take your stroller with you to the top and get a 360 degree view of Santa Barbara from the mountains to the ocean.

Chase Palm Park – Pond with Koi Fish, Carasoul, Shipwreck Playground


The Ultimate Guide to Venice Beach with Kids

IMG_7210

where to stay in venice beach 2

20160707_4635

20160707_4646

where to stay in venice beach 1

where to stay in venice beach 3

where to stay in venice beach 4

where to stay in venice beach 5

where to stay in venice beach

where to stay venice beach

IMG_7105

IMG_7013

IMG_6952

IMG_6508

IMG_6569

IMG_6581

IMG_6607

IMG_6527

IMG_6639

IMG_7172 IMG_7185 IMG_7190
IMG_6485

After our trip to Palm Springs, we continued north stopping in Los Angeles for a week. Throughout the week, we stayed in a couple of different areas of Los Angeles to get a real feel for the city and Venice Beach was one of our favorite spots in L.A. A lot of that had to due with the walkability factor – not having to hop into a car with little ones in tow in a city that is known for it’s heavy traffic was one of the big reasons we loved this area. It was eclectic, with a variety of things to do, and felt like it’s own little town despite being in the big city.

WHERE TO STAY

We rented the cutest Airbnb in Venice Beach. The house is located on a quiet, walk-only street and yet is only a block and half from the beach and a short walk to some amazing restaurants and shops. Beautifully decorated and styled, the house was perfect for our family: stocked with snacks for both us and the kids and some great family-friendly board games that kept the boys entertained during our downtime in the evenings.

SHOP

Kid Firefly (1405 Abbot Kinney Blvd): A modern baby store stocked with unique pieces that both you and your kiddo will be drooling over. The shelves were filled with handmade toys, interesting books, and beautiful pieces of clothing. I would have bought out the entire store if I could have. There were jars of little trinkets where the boys each picked out a little toy to bring home with them.

EAT

Gjusta: There isn’t a sign on the door or prices listed on the menu and the ordering is a little chaotic, BUT this place is an absolute gem and you can’t go wrong eating breakfast or lunch here. 320 Sunset Ave, Venice, CA 90291

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop: A casual spot with healthy lunch options, beautiful interior style, and a sunny patio that was not only delicious, but kid-friendly so we didn’t feel bad when Gray climbed on the table or Holden dropped a pile of ketchup on the ground.

Salt & Straw: We couldn’t walk by and not go in for a scoop. Favorite ice cream store that we’ve been to in a long, long time.

SEE

The Mosaic Tile House: This house, composed completely of mosaic tile pieces, is a must see. Just make sure to make an appointment for a tour so you can go inside the house (we made that mistake and only saw it from the outside…although still amazing).

Heart Wall: Make a quick pit stop for a photo against this bright and colorful wall while strolling down Abbott Kinney.

Venice Beach Boardwalk: Filled with interesting and eclectic people and shops, you can’t miss this spot. We walked up and down with the kids, found a store filled with figurines made from scrap metal, a man selling beautiful wind chimes, and listened to a really good singer. Holden even got took a ride on an electric skateboard with a surf instructors that we ran into in the parking lot. When the kids are done with walking, hit the playground in the sand or walk down to the water to relax for a little bit before walking home.

Venice Canals: Fashioned after the Venice Canals in Italy, it’s a great place to stroll and let the kids get out some energy. Very serene and a completely different feel from that of the boardwalk.