Top 5 Reasons I Love MommyCon

Top 5 Reasons I Love MommyCon

I have a secret… Well it’s not really a secret if you know me, but I am a huge fan of MommyCon. This will be my 3rd year in a row going, and I am already trying to decide which one I will go to next year. (I am attending MommyCon Philly this year.) There is a reason I am so in love with MommyCon. Actually, there are several reasons I love MommyCon, and this year with the closing of Toy’s R US/Babies R Us I am reminded of them. Below are my top 5 reasons why I love MommyCon. (Oh, and a free ticket giveaway as well!)

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Marvel Avengers Infinity War Collectibles Gift Pack #Giveaway

Marvel Avengers Infinity War Collectibles Gift Pack #Giveaway

Avengers Infinity War brought together all of my favorite Marvel characters. So to celebrate I joined forces with some amazing bloggers to bring you the most epic Avengers giveaway. It’s so epic it needed its own blog post. ūüėČ

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One (1) WINNER in U.S. or Canada will receive an AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR inspired gift pack, with new collectibles and toys from Disney / Marvel. The AVENGERS gift pack giveaway includes:

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Assembler Gear
Hasbro 6‚ÄĚ figure (Iron Man)
Black Widow Titan Hero FX Figure
2 Funko Mystery Minis
Just Play Plush (Thanos)
AVENGERS INFINITY WAR Keychain
1 Reusable Tote Bag
AVENGERS INFINITY WAR PopSocket
Spider-Man Chair Cape
Groot 4-Inch Wooden Push Puppet with Silver Pot
Hulk Tiki Tiki Totem
Guardians of the Galaxy Gamora Tiki Tiki Totem
Captain America Tiki Tiki Totem
Captain America: Civil War Captain America vs. Iron Man Pin Mate Wooden Figure Set
Doctor Strange Pin Mate Wooden Figure
Black Panther Pin Mate Wooden Figure
Avengers: Infinity War Water Bottle
Avengers: Infinity War Iron Man Pocket Pop! Key Chain
1 36″x24″ Avengers: Infinity War Poster
Marvel Mighty Muggs Spider-Man
Marvel Avengers: Infinity War Collectors Keyring
Avengers: Infinity War Finger Puppet
Avengers: Infinity War Reusable Plastic Water Bottle
Performa Perfect Shaker ‚Äď Avengers, Infinity War Bottle ‚Äď Star-Lord
Performa Perfect Shaker ‚Äď Avengers, Infinity War Bottle ‚Äď Black Widow
Antsy Labs Marvel Character Fidget Cube Rocket Raccoon Design

(Whew! That’s a lot of stuff!)

Good luck to all the participants! You can see the whole list of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR inspired merchandise HERE.

ENTER NOW for your chance to win this gigantic AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR gift pack with AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Collectibles! Giveaway runs til July 6th, 2018.

ENTER VIA RAFFLECOPTER HERE

Make sure you are following me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up to date!

 

This giveaway is hosted by: The Positive MOM and Disney Mom Guide

Co-Hosts:  The Jedi Father, Pretty in Baby Food, Dangerous Cupcake Lifestyle, Mom Start, Teacups and Fairytales, Picturing Disney, Little Gray Thread, Mama’s Mission, Two Married Geeks, WhollyART, Green Monorail, The Autism Diva, Raising Three Savvy Ladies, Que Means What, 2 Dorks in Love, Candy Polooza, Classy Mommy, Ottawa Mommy Club, A Savings WOW, Comic Con Family, and My Mommy Style.


Blessings Come in All Sizes: Wee Blessing Review

Blessings Come in All Sizes: Wee Blessing Review

I have never been the kind of person to sign up for a clothing subscription box. You know the one’s where someone styles you, and they send you a box of clothes to try every month. If you like them you pay for them and keep them. If you don’t like them you send them back. I just didn’t think they asked the right questions to get my personality, my style, or my budget. (Even though my style is jeans and a t-shirt. Haha!) Now that I have 2 kids I find going to the store a little more difficult. Not only for clothes for myself, but also for them. So when I got a chance to try out Wee Blessing for my 2-year-old I figured I would give it a shot. Haven’t heard of Wee Blessing? I hadn’t either, but now I am glad I took the leap.

Thank you to Wee Blessing for sponsoring this post by providing my daughter her first box! As always, the thoughts, experiences, and opinions expressed here are my own. I would not recommend a product I or my family didn’t personally try, use, or love. : )

Wee Blessing is a subscription, or single order, styling company that will send you a box of 4 outfits every month selected just for you by their stylists. You fill out a style profile that asks what your child’s likes are, what their sizes are, what they already like or dislike to wear, what their hobbies are, their favorite colors, the brands they usually wear, etc. The other part I really like is they will ask your budget. You can select the price range per outfit. (This eliminates my fear of receiving clothes I love, but can’t keep because they cost too much.) Then Wee Blessing stylists will go shopping for clothes they believe will match your child’s style profile. After your blessing comes in you try on the clothes and only pay for what you want to keep. Like everything and you will get 10% off your order. Don’t like something? Not a problem. Just return it in the prepaid return envelope they provide.

After completing my daughters style profile I waited to receive her blessing in the mail. When it finally came in I was quite shocked and impressed. (You can ask my husband. Haha!) Everything in the box was neatly packaged and the instructions were super easy to understand.  LRM_EXPORT_20180420_184643

My daughters blessing came with a thank you note, instructions, and a sheet stating the retail price for each piece of clothing and right next to it the Wee Blessing price you pay for the piece. (Which was significantly less than retail.)

Her blessing came with 2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts, 1 sun dress, and a formal dress. I do not know how Wee Blessings knew we were going to an event that would require us to dress up, but the dress they selected for her was a lot prettier then the dress I had picked out for her. Haha! They also sent a shirt with her favorite Disney character, Rapunzel, on it. 2904-2018-095398967899029099It was the first piece she tried on, and she did not want to take it off. Her 4 outfits were all spot on. Every piece fit her perfectly, and matched her personality and likes.

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The price for each piece was also spot on. (The most expensive piece was the formal dress, and that was around $20!) They were prices I was fine with paying if I had found them myself in the store. Best part was I didn’t have to go to the store! I didn’t have to wrestle my 2-year-old into the car, and I didn’t have to wonder if my 2-year-old was going to throw a temper tantrum in the store or not.20180426_143836

So would I order again? Yes! I am totally impressed and very happy with my daughter’s Wee Blessing box. After going through the whole process I will be ordering from Wee Blessing again. This time for myself, and probably for my new little squish once she is a little bigger. (They style everyone!) 2904-2018-090798587171640807A box from Wee Blessing would also be an awesome gift to give someone. Especially from family/friends who live far away or live in an area where the closest stores are a ways away. A super-duper double plus is Wee Blessing has been kind enough to give you 20% of your first Blessing! (Box)

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If you order I would love to know what you think! You can start your Wee Blessing fun HERE. I will write another post reviewing my own Wee Blessing box once I get it ordered!

 

What is a Doula? An Interview with Alyssa Kinney, Certified Birth & Postpartum Doula/Certified Childbirth Educator

What is a Doula? An Interview with Alyssa Kinney, Certified Birth & Postpartum Doula/Certified Childbirth Educator

Do you know what a Doula is, or what they do? Most first-time parent’s, and sometimes repeat parent’s, do not know what a Doula is. Or they have heard of Doula’s, but they still do not know what they do/are for. I personally first heard of Doula’s when I was pregnant with my first child. I was sitting in the waiting room in my Ob’s office and saw a sign for Doula services on the Midwife side of the office. I remember saying to myself I should google what a Doula is when I got home. I forgot. Later on, after I had my daughter via C-Section, and I was questioning the care and choices made by myself and my Doctors during my daughter‚Äôs birth I remembered the sign I had seen months earlier. I quickly googled what a Doula was and what they did, and I instantly realized I really could have used a Doula during my daughter‚Äôs birth. Hindsight is 20/20, but since my C-Section was not an emergency C-Section, and I felt pressured into having one I now believe that if I had a Doula my daughter‚Äôs birth would have gone differently. While a healthy baby and mother are very important after child-birth a mother happy with the way in which she birthed her child is also important. (Please do not let anyone tell you otherwise.) That is why while pregnant with my second I made it a mission of mine to learn all about my birthing choices, and to learn about Doula’s and what they do. I was very fortunate to meet¬†Alyssa Kinney of Bella Rose Birth Services, a certified birth and postpartum Doula, and also a certified childbirth educator at the Birthing Circles Birth and Babies Fair in Frederick, MD. She was very kind to let me interview her so that I could help others learn more about what Doula’s are and what they do. Below is my interview with Alyssa.

What exactly is a Doula? (Can you give us a little history?)¬†“Doulas, as we know them now, are individuals that provide a wide range of non-clinical support to pregnant folks (and their families) throughout pregnancy, during labor and birth, and even during those first few weeks and months postpartum. Doulas are often trained and certified by one of many certifying organizations; these trainings and the doula’s own values guide them in providing their clients with the informational, emotional, and physical support that meets the clients’ needs throughout the perinatal period. Modern doulas have evolved from an extensive history of birth companionship; although the doula profession is a more recent development,¬†non-medical¬†family and friends¬†have supported¬†women during birth for centuries.”

Are there¬†different kinds of Doula‚Äôs?¬†“There are all sorts of doulas! Doulas are a diverse bunch, their style and support is as unique as the families that they work with. Some doulas specialize in birth support while others are also postpartum doulas, newborn care specialists, and sibling doulas.”

What is the main role/biggest benefits of a Doula? (Before, during, and after a birth? Or after a C-Section)¬†“I think that the biggest benefit to having a doula is the continuous support and presence that they offer. Your doula is there prenatally- establishing a relationship with you (and your family) and providing you with the informational and emotional support that you need throughout those 40-something weeks. Your doula is there throughout the entirety of your labor and birth experience- providing a positive and calming presence, working with you to navigate the physical intensity of labor and birth, as well as simply holding space for the emotional ferocity that often accompanies birth. And in those first days and weeks postpartum, when the birthing person is healing and engulfed in new parenthood, your doula is there to provide the emotional support that you need without allowing the more practical stuff like aiding in physical recovery, assistance with newborn care, housekeeping chores, and just a few uninterrupted hours of sleep or self-care to be forgotten.”

When should individuals start looking into hiring a Doula. (A certain Trimester?)¬†“I’d suggest that folks start interviewing doulas as soon as they think that doula support is something they are interested in. It could take a little time to find the doula that’s right for you as we are all a little different. Getting a jump on the process ensures that the doula of your choice will have availability around your due date and also allows plenty of time to establish a friendly and comfortable relationship with each other. Beginning your search early in the second trimester is probably a great time to start. All that being said though, it’s never too late to find a wonderful doula!”

Are Doula services covered under health insurance?¬†“Generally speaking- unfortunately no, doula support is often not covered by health insurance. However, many individuals can use funds from Health Savings Accounts (or the like) to cover doula support or, depending on their insurance coverage and plans, partial reimbursement for doula support is sometimes a possibility. This is always something to speak to your health insurer about, you might be pleasantly surprised! If nothing else, more folks inquiring about doula coverage under insurance might make it more of a reality in the future.”

What would you say to someone, or a spouse, who is skeptical about using a Doula?¬†“The choice to invite a doula into your birth experience is a very personal one and deserves kind and thorough consideration from all involved. The health and wellness benefits of doula support have been well established and I don’t know a single individual or family that has regretted their decision to work with a doula. Support¬†will be tailored to what you foresee your individual needs and preferences being and open communication during the interviewing process as well as throughout your time with your doula is key to creating the type of support you desire. Doulas do not take the place of partners but, facilitate stronger and more meaningful connections between them during the birth experience. And finally, if the added cost of doula support is part of one’s skepticism know that doulas are often open to alternative payment schedules- doula support is worth every penny invested!”

Why did you decide to become a Doula?¬†“I decided to become a doula after a few years of teaching childbirth classes. I had two very positive and empowering birth experiences, it was after the birth of my first daughter that I knew I wanted to work within the pregnancy and birth world. Teaching birth classes gave me that opportunity and aligned well with where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do as it pertained to raising my own children and maintaining my household fulltime. As my children got a little older I found myself with the time and energy I felt that I needed to train and establish myself as a doula, in addition to my birth education offerings. Through this work I feel as though I am helping families create positive, informed, and joyous¬†birth experiences; it is an honor and a joy to witness and sometimes help others realize their own power and¬†autonomy through birth.”

Do you feel the use of Doula‚Äôs is on the rise? If so why?¬†“I sure hope so! Slowly but surely, I do think that the use of doula support is on the rise. More folks are realizing the immense benefit to having that continuous, compassionate, non-judgmental, and experienced support throughout pregnancy, birth, and early postpartum. The birthing years are monumental times in people‚Äôs lives, everyone deserves and can benefit from the added support that doulas provide. However, the percentage of birthing individuals and families that actually utilize doula support is still extremely low (something like 3-5% but, I’d have to dig up the research there); so, I think that there is still lots of work to be done in increasing society’s awareness of doulas and the value of that support.”

What is the most important piece of advice you would give to expectant parents looking to hire a Doula?¬†“The most important piece of advice that I would give to expectant families looking to hire a doula is to find a good fit! Interview a few, consider what’s important to you like personality, experience, cost, values, etc., and make sure you’ve found someone that you feel overwhelmingly positive and happy¬†about. There are lots of great doulas out there and each one should be kind, non-judgmental, and professional but, we all offer support that’s a little different from the next. You will find the one that’s perfect for you!”

What is the most memorable experience you have had while being someone‚Äôs Doula?¬†“It’s hard to narrow down the most memorable experience I’ve had while being a doula, in all honesty beauty abounds in each and every experience that I’ve had. There seems to come a time though¬†during every birth experience, no matter what “type” of birth one is having, that the birthing person has to access the power deep within themselves to navigate their journey; seeing women tap into this very intrinsic strength and energy is awe inspiring every time. Comedy abounds in lots of birth experiences too- another moment that sticks out to me was when a doting dad-to-be forgot to pack himself a pair of pants in the¬†birth day go bag and spent the entire birth experience in his fleecy Disney pajama bottoms;¬†mom had the wherewithal and humor to tease him throughout as well.”

What services do you provide as a Doula?¬†“I¬†work as¬†a certified birth and postpartum doula and am also a certified childbirth educator.¬†I offer conscientious, compassionate,¬†and affordable birth and postpartum doula support as well as private and group childbirth education options. As¬†a doula I am with my clients¬†every step of the way- from emotional and informational support as they navigate their pregnancy and explore all of their¬†options prenatally to birth support¬†and care into¬†the fourth trimester.¬†I approach prenatal education, birth, and the postpartum period in a holistic manner;¬†I¬†make¬†certain¬†that the individuals and families I work with have access to¬†evidence-based resources and information as well as support for total wellbeing- mind, body, and spirit.”

I want to thank Alyssa so much for letting me interview her, and I really hope the above information in this interview has helped you to understand a little bit more about who Doula’s are and what they do. Being educated about your birthing choices and options is very important. A lot of information about birthing options, tips/tricks, or resources are not given or shared by most OB or even some Midwife practices. Birth is still a big unknown, but with research and a supportive team behind you the big unknowns grow significantly smaller.

***If you reside in Maryland and are looking for a Doula or childbirth education classes please make sure you consider Alyssa Kinney of Bella Rose Birth Services. She can be found online via her website https://bellaroseborn.com/ on Facebook Here and on Instagram Here


Holiday Charity Giving Guide

Holiday Charity Giving Guide

I was really torn about whether or not I wanted to do a couple different gift guides this year or not. I could list what I thought were the best toys for babies, toddlers, teens, moms, and dads, but it seems like every blogger was putting out a gift guide of some kind. So, I have decided to take a different approach this year. Since my husband and I make a conscious effort to teach our daughter that the holiday season is for giving back to others I wanted to write a post which rounds up just some of the charities/opportunities for individuals to take all of those gift guide posts/ideas, and give back to the community.

Charities that donate toys/clothes to children in need:

Toys for Tots – The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program is the first gift giving charity that comes to mind when thinking of the holidays. You can walk in to so many stores and see a Toys for Tots bin, and all the toys donated go back to those children in need in that community. The program usually helps children up to the age of 12, but you can check with your local chapter and see what their age range is.

Angel Tree – If you are in Maryland the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree is a great way to give back to those children and special needs adults that are in need during the holidays. You can go to the Salvation Army’s website to find a local mall or pick up location where you can pick up an Angel tree tag with the information and needs of a local child/special needs adult. You then purchase the items, and return the items with the tag at a designated drop off location. Many local churches in Maryland also participate in the Angel tree program as well.

Shoes that Fit – Shoes are really important. Especially for school children. Shoes that Fit take donations on their website, or you can purchase a tag at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. Your donation then goes towards the purchase of new athletic shoes for children in need across the United States.

Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child – This is a charity that my daughter and I have been donating to for the last three years. You can donate on their website, build a shoebox full of items online, pick up a box, fill it with items and then return it to a designated pickup location. The boxes are shipped all over the world to children in need. The boxes can contain toys, hygiene products, clothes, etc. My daughter and I go to our local Chick-Fil-A during the beginning of November to pick up our box. Next year we will be picking up two boxes to fill up since we will be adding another little one to our family as well.

Shop at businesses that give back this holiday season:

While you are shopping for your own family this season why not shop at stores that give back/donate to the community. Below are just a few great small businesses who donate back to their communities throughout the year or during the holiday season.

Lighthouse Kids Company – While this is a cloth diaper company Lighthouse Kids Company makes a point to give back to their community by donating 5% of their profits to¬†Hannah’s Home of South Florida. Hannah’s Home helps pregnant women get back up on their feet and offers them resources to help better their lives and in turn the lives of their children.

Bohemian Baby Boutique –¬† Bohemian Baby is a natural parenting store located in¬†Knoxville, Tennessee. While shopping for your own family you also have the option to donate to their Toys for Tots bin. Just search for “Toys for Tots” and you will be able to add a monetary amount to your cart and the lovely employees will select toys up to that amount to put in their bin.

Nicki’s Diapers and Hope Love Care – Nicki’s Diapers in¬†New Glarus, WI runs a non-profit called Hope Love Care. For every Nicki’s Diapers company cloth diaper and swaddle blanket purchased a cloth diaper or swaddle blanket is donated to children in need all over the world. No family should have to choose between purchasing food for their family or diapers.

Non-monetary donation opportunities:

Donate your Time – If you do not have the monetary ability to donate to a charity during the holidays than donate your time. Volunteering at your local food bank, homeless shelter, women’s shelter, church, etc. is just as good as a monetary donation.

So, again. Put all of those gift giving guides to another use and help children and families in need this holiday season. Have a charity you would like to share with us? Go ahead and list them and their information in the comments so more people can see!


The Birthing Circle – Birth and Babies Fair 2017 Review

The Birthing Circle – Birth and Babies Fair 2017 Review

I live in one of those states where there are really no baby shows or fairs. In fact, I would have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to be able to get to the nearest one. It makes me sad since I wish more women had access to baby shows/fairs/trade shows. So, I was so excited when I ran across The Birthing Circle’s Birth and Babies Fair.¬†If you live around Washington D.C./Maryland then this birth and babies fair is for you, but it is different from your average baby show/fair. Held at the Carroll Creek Park in downtown Frederick, MD The Birthing Circle’s Birth and Babies fair brings together some of Maryland’s Midwiferies, Doulas, Chiropractic offices, Massage Therapists, Maternity & Newborn Photographers, and more to help you in your pregnancy, delivery, and parenting journeys. Admission is free and it was more of an informational baby fair, but is totally worth the drive to attend. (You can purchase a VIP ticket that comes with a bag full of goodies and extra raffle tickets.) I loved having the opportunity to talk with different Midwife and Doula practices, learn about belly wrapping and home births, and just walk among the vendors soaking up the vast array of knowledge that was in attendance. This fair was not just about babies, but about mothers and birth. One of the fair’s goals, and the goal of The Birthing Circle, is to help educate women and families on their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum options, and to help them find resources in their area.¬†As an individual looking to rock a VBAC this second time around I found this Fair to be so helpful and inspiring. Below are just some of the vendors, my favorites, who attended the fair and what I learned.

Doulas:¬†There were two Doula’s that stood out to me at the fair that I loved chatting with. The first one was Doulas of Central Maryland. The moment I walked up to their booth there were smiles on all of the ladies faces and they were so welcoming. They helped give me a sneak peek on how to wrap my postpartum belly, and also how to use a ring sling as a belly support band while pregnant. (I believe it was Deborah who assisted me.) They infected me with their smiles and kind heartedness, and it carried with me throughout the rest of the day. The other Doula who stood out for me was Alyssa of Bella Rose Birth Services. She as well had an aura of happiness, and love for her profession. While I am already seeing a Midwife, I personally, have not delved into the world of Doulas, but after leaving the fair and speaking with these ladies I am personally looking into using a Doula.

Maryland Families for Safe Birth: As a woman who feels like my C-Section was unnecessary, and that more could have been done to assist me in getting the natural birth I so wanted the Maryland Families for Safe Birth booth really spoke to me. Their goal is to help lower the C-Section rate in Maryland, which is over 33%, and to help eliminate/close any racial gaps in maternity care. I can tell you first hand that in the state of Maryland something must be done to change maternity care. Doctors are not the only ones who can deliver babies, and actually they are the ones that carry the higher C-Section rate. (And with a higher C-Section rate there is also a higher maternal mortality rate.) Women deserve to be able to have access to all maternal/birthing care options and to be able to choose how they give birth, and in the state of Maryland, Maryland Families for Safe Birth is working towards this goal.

ICAN (The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc.): Is an organization that believes in promoting VBAC births, provides support for women who have had C-Sections, and wants to reduce the percentage of unnecessary C-Sections. This is done through educating women or their birth options, and providing peer groups for women to discuss and receive information. When I went up to the ICAN booth there was so much information available for me to read. I walked away with multiple booklets of information going over the myths of repeat C-sections and VBACS as well as how to tell if your hospital is VBAC tolerant or friendly. (I have found many OB offices will say they are VBAC friendly when in fact they are actually VBAC tolerant. There is a difference.) Visiting the ICAN booth just further emphasized how much information was not shared with me by my OB’s office or in my birthing classes.

Other Booth’s and Activities:¬†Since the park, where the Birth and Babies Fair was located, was huge there were so many booth’s and activities. From essential oil, skin care, pharmacy’s, swimming schools, and more there was something for every stage of parenting. There was also a raffle at the end of the Fair. If you purchased a VIP ticket you get a bag filled with awesome samples, and also receive more raffle tickets to up your chances of winning something during the raffle. I was super excited I won a pumping essentials gift basket. Even though I plan on breastfeeding my second child I am aware, from my experience with my first, sometimes things do not go as planned and having the resources already on hand to pump can be crucial.

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So again, if you are in the Washington D.C./Maryland area, looking to start a family, pregnant, or looking for more information regarding your birthing choices, make sure you look up the Birth Circles Birth and Babies Fair.  If you have any questions please feel free to drop them below in the comments!


Lighthouse Kids Company Cloth Diaper Review: If You Do Not Have A LKC In Your Stash You Should

Lighthouse Kids Company Cloth Diaper Review: If You Do Not Have A LKC In Your Stash You Should

If you are a cloth diapering parent I am sure you have run into this issue. You purchase a really cute cloth diaper print and you are so excited to get it prepped and on the bum. You get it on your baby’s bum and within 5 to 10 minutes they poop. I have now dubbed this the approval poop. It means your child approves of your cloth diaper choice. Haha! This happened to a Lighthouse Kids Company cloth diaper I recently received for my daughter. I bet you might be wondering who/what Lighthouse Kids diapers are? If you have already heard of them you probably have at least one of their cloth diapers in your diaper stash by now with hopes of adding more in the near future. If you don’t have one in your diaper stash you should. Lighthouse Kids Company cloth diapers are new to the cloth diaper market having only been around since the beginning of 2017. They already have a strong following on social media, and after using their diapers I can see why.

The Diaper: Lighthouse Kids Company diapers are a Bamboo/Stay Dry All in One and are a little different from other bamboo/stay dry All in One’s currently on the market. These diapers are not pockets, and the main insert does not come out. The main insert is actually sewn onto the diaper creating a tongue. The tongue is a book fold, and the length of the diaper. (You fold it kind of like a prefold.) The main insert has a bamboo side, and on the other side is stay dry fleece fabric. This gives you the ability to decide which fabric you would like touching your baby’s skin. If you have a potty training child and you would like them to feel when they are wet you can use the bamboo side. If you do not want baby to feel wet you can use the stay dry side. It also comes with an extra 2-layer bamboo booster insert you can just slide right in where you need it. The outside of the diaper is made of a water proof TPU, and the inside of the diaper shell is made of a jersey fabric, has a tummy panel to help stop leaking around the belly, and rise snaps to adjust your fit. The fit for these diapers is advertised from 10 lbs. to 32 lbs., but after using them you probably could fit a smaller or larger child in these diapers. It all depends on body type. They also sell their diaper shells as swim diapers. Their swim diapers are just like their AIO except they do not come with inserts or have the sewn in tongue. The swim diapers are also great to use as acover with your own selected inserts.

Absorbency:¬†All in all, depending how you fold your Lighthouse Kids Company diaper, you can get 16 layers of absorbency. (4 layers when flat, 8 when book folded, and if you fold the tongue under you get 16.) Add the booster in and you can have 18 layers. There are many families who use Lighthouse Kids Company diapers for both day time and nighttime use. The second time I got this diaper on my baby’s bum I was able to get over 2 hours of use out of it.

The Prints/Colors: Oh, the prints and colors of these Lighthouse Kids Company diapers. I want to take a moment here to say that the prints on Lighthouse¬† diapers are unlike any other diaper prints out there. Why? Because they are pieces of art drawn by the owners of Lighthouse Kids Company themselves. Many are watercolor prints which I personally love. The first diaper that lured me in was their siren song print. It is a gorgeous mermaid watercolor print. They also have a monochrome solids collection, and recently released a Moana inspired collection. But there is one… my DISO, Jupiter Song. It is a water-color nautical print with sea monsters, sail boats, and lighthouses on it. It is by far the prettiest diaper I have ever seen.

(Top left diaper is Siren Song and the rest are Voyager from the Moana inspired collection.)

Our Experience: I really like these diapers, and my daughter chooses these diapers a lot when I tell her to pick a diaper out to wear. Because my daughter is a heavy wetter the majority of our diaper stash is full of bamboo diapers. We also do not use the pocket function of any diaper we own. (I am a do not stuff the fluff kind of person.) These diapers fit right in. They are not only slim when worn, but they also do not take up a lot of space when storing. (Don’t know if this is a good thing since you will be able to fit more diapers in your diaper storage container or location. Haha!) My daughter is 2 years old and weighs about 25 lbs. She is currently, depending on how many extra inserts I put in, on either the last rise snap or has all of the rise snaps out. However, her waist snaps are pretty far in. These diapers will easily last her through potty training and probably till she is over 35 lbs. (Due mostly to her height/weight distribution.) The jersey fabric and elastics on these diapers make them very stretchy, but they do not dig into my daughter‚Äôs legs or belly. We have had no leaks, and have only received complements on these diapers. I have plans to purchase more in the coming months to add to our new baby’s diaper stash. (Shh! Don’t tell my husband. ūüėČ )

 

Price: The price for one AIO diaper is in the same range as competing bamboo diapers. For solids, you are looking at a price of $20.99, and for prints $22.99 a diaper. A swim diaper will run you $16.99. Currently Lighthouse Kid’s Company diapers are only sold in 12 stores throughout the United States and Canada. (This includes their website.) I would not be surprised to see this diaper brands growth to explode in the coming year, and I am so excited to see what they have in store for the cloth diaper market.

The Company: Lighthouse Kids Company diapers were developed, and are owned by a working mom/small business owner. Vanessa started out by owning her own natural parenting store, GreenPath Baby, and has since also created Lighthouse Kids Company. Having cloth diapered her own children she took notice of what her own children needed in a cloth diaper, and what others might need in a cloth diaper, and with that knowledge she decided to start her own cloth diaper business. Bam! So now, not only does she still have her natural parenting store, but she also has her diaper company as well. It is hard-working mom’s, like Vanessa, who have a dream and make them happen that inspire me every day to be a better mom/business woman.¬†Lighthouse Kids Company also gives back to their community by donating 5% of their net profit to an organization called Hannah’s Home of South Florida. Through this organization young single mothers can find assistance to better their lives and the lives of their children.

So, if you do not own a LKC diaper yet I recommend you look into trying one out, and if you get hooked you can blame it on me. ūüôā

**Disclosure Statement: Even though I received a free product in exchange for this review all opinions are my own. I am a parent myself and would never recommend a product I wouldn’t be comfortable using on or giving to my own child. **


Diono Radian rXT Car Seat Review – The Only Car Seat Your Child May Ever Need

Diono Radian rXT Car Seat Review – The Only Car Seat Your Child May Ever Need

I am just going to say it. Choosing a car seat can be hard. There are so many on the market it can be overwhelming as a parent to narrow one down. Preference is big factor as well. Do you want an infant bucket car seat, a convertible car seat that grows with your child, or a car seat that will go from infant to a booster seat? Cost then factors in. You could spend over $200 purchasing an infant seat, but your child will outgrow the seat causing you to have to spend probably over $200 again to purchase another car seat. Then if you purchase a convertible car seat that doesn’t turn into a booster seat you will need to purchase yet another seat. Then you have to decide how long you want your child to rear face.

My husband and I have been in this situation before, and now that we are expecting our second child we are in this predicament again. What car seat do we get? After much thought my husband and I decided we would use our current convertible car seat for our new baby, and look for a new car seat for our 2-year-old. We are big advocates for rear-facing children in their car seats for as long as possible so we wanted to find a car seat that could rear-face our 2-year old in our vehicle as long as possible. (Did you know rear-facing your children is 5 times safer than forward facing? The Car Seat Lady has a great article explaining why Here)

We also wanted a seat that could be used to eventually forward face, and then also turn into a booster seat. In our search, and after talking with a couple other parents, one of the car seat companies that stood out to us was Diono. We were intrigued by their full steel car seat design, the fact their car seats had 5-point harnesses, were convertible and would last a child from 5 lbs. – 120 lbs., and were slim. (Measuring our vehicle, Jeep Grand Cherokee, we found we would be able to fit three Diono car seats across in our back seat. Another parent I know, who drives a Pontiac Vibe, was also able to get 3 Diono car seats across her back seat.) So, my husband and I dove into the world of Diono car seats. What car seat did we get? We got the Diono Radian rXT.

The Seat:¬†My first impressions of the Diono Radian rXT convertible car seat was that it was a SOLID seat. (I would expect nothing less from a full steel frame seat.) At 30 lbs. the seat is heavier than our current car seat. The second impression was how soft the seat fabric was. I actually have not felt fabric so soft on a car seat before. The harness strap pads are super thick, and the seat sits low so my daughter can more easily climb in and out herself. (Which as a 2-year-old she loves.) Because this seat can grow with your child it comes with an infant insert, and has 5 rise slots for the shoulder straps and 3 buckle positions. The Diono Radian rXT allows your child to rear face from 5 lbs. up to 45 lbs., forward face to 80 lbs., and can be converted to a booster seat that goes up to 120 lbs. This seat will last you a long time due to its 10-year lifespan. The Diono Radian rXT also comes with a safe stop harness for those who would like to forward face their smaller children once they hit the legal age and weight limit. It is also FAA certified, which means you can use it on an airplane, and you can even purchase carrying straps or a travel case so you can take it through the airport. (Did you know not every car seat is FAA certified, and if your seat isn’t certified you might have to check it? I personally did not know. You can read more about FAA certified car seats, and flying with kids on the FAA’s website.¬†https://www.faa.gov/travelers/fly_children/)

Our Install Experience: If you were stumped on what car seat to purchase then just wait till you have to install it. While my husband and I are sure we could have installed the Diono Radian rXT correctly ourselves we wanted to make sure, and since neither my husband nor I are certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST), we took our new Diono to a CPST to have it installed. We also figured while we were there we would have our current car seat inspected as well. I am glad we went. After our experience I HIGHLY recommend parent’s take their car seats to be inspected by a CPST. Why? Because there are so many things to think about when it comes to correctly installing a car seat, making sure your child is restrained properly in the car seat, and from our experience a lot of information that is hard to find.

We contacted a local Police Department and set up an appointment with one of their Officers who is a CPST. (Side note: Not every Police Officer or Fire fighter will be a CPST. If you want to take your seats to a Police or Fire Department please make sure you call ahead and ask to book an appointment with one for their CPST’s, if they have one. You can also search on¬†http://cert.safekids.org/¬†for CPST’s in your area.) During our appointment the Officer inspected our current car seat, and we passed with flying colors. He also checked for items that could turn into projectiles in the car if we were in an accident. One of these items was our rear-facing mirror installed on the back-seat head rest so we could see our daughter. He made sure it was installed correctly and tightly and reminded us to check it often since in an accident it could turn into a projectile if not installed correctly. He also spoke to us about correct shoulder strap, and buckle placement. Then we moved on to the Diono Seat. When we brought the Diono Radian rXT out our CPST was impressed. (I think the words he used to describe the Diono was “Space Ship”. Haha!) He walked us through the differences between LATCH, or Super LATCH with Diono, and seat belt installation. Letting us know that either is fine to use. It just comes down to our preference, but that to use LATCH install the weight of the seat and child cannot be over 65 lbs. If the combined weight is over 65 lbs. then the seat belt must be used to install the seat. He explained to us about the tether, and that we should use it when installing a car seat whenever possible, and he also let us know about the 1-inch movement rule after you think you are done installing. (A correctly installed seat should move less than an inch from side to side or front to back.) He then put our daughter in the seat and he went over how to correctly buckle her into the seat.

Install Hiccup: The biggest issue we ran into when installing the Diono Radian rXT was it braced against our two front seats when installed rear-facing.  Our CPST let us know that due to the types of airbags in our seats, and our air bag sensors, that the car seat should not touch the front seats. He moved our front seats forward to show us how much room we would have to make it so the Diono seat did not brace against ours. The driver and passenger seats were cramped. (My husband nor I would not be able to drive comfortably or safely in either of the front seats.) So, our CPST showed us how to correctly install our Diono Radian rXT forward facing. (By law our daughter is old enough and weighs enough to forward face, but we just prefer to keep her rear-facing as long as possible.) We thanked our CPST for taking the time to inspect our seats and educating us on proper car seat safety, and I went home to ponder my rear-facing predicament.

Research:¬†When we got home I looked through the Diono Radian rXT seat owner‚Äôs manual, and my car manual again just to make sure I didn’t miss some information. When I still couldn’t find the information, I needed I went to Diono’s website to see if they had any information on if their car seats are allowed to “brace” in your vehicle. Their site says they can, but you should check with your car manufacturer. So, I contacted Jeep. They did not answer my question. Instead they referred me to¬†Safekids.org¬†and the NHTSA.¬†I could not find the answer to my question on either of those websites. I then went back to Diono’s website to see if I had again missed any information, and found that they sell an accessory, an angle adjuster, that is supposed to give you a couple more inches in space for rear-facing car seats. (I had missed this in the owner‚Äôs manual.) So, I purchased one in hopes this would solve my bracing issue. (Even though Diono says it’s OK for the Radian to “brace”, but our CPST said it wasn’t, I wanted to err on the side of caution and find a way to properly install the car seat without it bracing against the front seats.)

Solution:¬†Turns out the angle adjuster was just the ticket we needed. We installed the Diono seat, rear-facing, with the angle adjuster, and it no longer braces against our front seats. Both driver and passenger seats can be far enough back to be comfortable and safe. We also purchased Diono’s Ultra Mat to go under the car seat to help protect our leather seats.

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Overall Thoughts: I am so glad we got this seat. Not only does my husband and I love this seat more than our other car seat, our daughter loves it more. (My husband‚Äôs reaction to the Diono Radian rXT was stating, ‚ÄúThis seat is no joke.‚ÄĚ Haha!) It was slightly more difficult to install than other car seats we have had, but the pros of this seat outweigh the install hiccups we encountered. (Please make sure to read, and re-read, your car seat and vehicle owners manuals before you install your car seats.) Our daughter has more leg room, and is just over all more comfortable riding in the Diono Radian rXT then her other seat. (I mean look at those smiles! She did not smile that much in her other seat.) She loves the fact she can get in and out of the seat herself, and she calls it her big girl seat. Because the Diono is so slim I can actually see over the seat when I am driving. (I also love the fact I will be able to rear-face both of my children which I feel will make it harder for my older daughter to both our newborn. Haha!) The biggest thing we love about this seat though is we feel, due to the seats full steel construction, that our daughter is safer, and we are happy she will be able to use this seat for a very long time. (While we know she was safe in our other car seat the difference to us is huge.) If you are in need of a slim convertible car seat I highly recommend you look into Diono car seats, and their car seat accessories. You might just end up a Diono car seat family just like us.

Price: The Diono Radian rXT retails on Diono‚Äôs website for $359.99. The angle adjuster and Ultra mat are not sold on Diono‚Äôs website, but you can search for stores in your area that sell Diono accessories via the Diono website. Near where I am located the Angle Adjuster retails for $8.54 and the Ultra Mat retails for $19.40. So over all you are looking at less than $400.00 for the Diono Radian rXT with Angle Adjuster and Ultra Mat. Even less if you purchase them on sale. For a seat that can go from newborn to booster, 5 lbs. ‚Äď 120 lbs., it will definitely last you for its 10-year lifespan and save you TONS of money.

**Disclosure Statement: Even though I received free product in exchange for this review all opinions are my own. I am a parent myself and would never recommend a product I wouldn’t be comfortable using on or giving to my own child. A big thank you to our CPST for his installation help, guidance, and service.) **


Baby Tula Toddler Carrier Review: Older Children Love Being Worn Too!

Baby Tula Toddler Carrier Review: Older Children Love Being Worn Too!

I love wearing my daughter. Ever since she was born I have worn her in a wrap to keep her close, and to do skin to skin. As she has grown I have continued to wear her so I can be hands free, and of course keep her close to get our snuggles in. I am now pregnant with our second and my growing baby belly has made it difficult to continue to wear her on my front in certain carriers. So, I have switched to carrying her in back carries. This helps her to see the world around her, and she loves it. I was finding though I was having some issues with my daughter in our current soft structured carrier. Being a 2-year-old, my daughter is very active and LOVES to touch things. Haha! She also likes to lean back when in back carries which scares me sometimes. (You know what I am talking about. I see it A LOT with older children in back carries. I try really hard to correct her, and tell her calmly why she shouldn’t lean back while I am carrying her, but you can only do so much with toddlers.) I came to the hard decision our current carrier, which I love, just wasn’t working very well for us in a back carry. I needed a different carrier for a larger child. So I did some research, and decided on Baby Tula’s Toddler Carrier.

The Carrier:¬†The Tula Toddler Carrier is a soft structured carrier designed for carrying children, in a front or back carry, who weigh 25 lbs. to 60 lbs. (They also have other soft structured carriers such as their Standard Tula for children 15 – 45 lbs., and their new Free to Grow for children 7 – 45 lbs.) The Tula Toddler carrier is a light weight carrier with a larger panel helping to keep your child more secure, padding on the sides of the carrier where your child’s legs go to keep them more comfortable, a pouch in front to hold small objects, wide shoulder straps and waist band with padding, and comes with a matching hood. The carrier also allows you to adjust the waist band and shoulder straps to fit your body. This allows individuals of many body types to be able to use this carrier. (My husband also uses this carrier. He just ends up having to adjust the waist and shoulder straps to fit his body after I have worn it.) Other perks of the Tula carrier are they come in so many prints and colors, and some prints come with a mesh panel, their Mesh Coast Tula’s, to help keep baby and wearer cooler in the heat. (The Tula Toddler Carrier I am using in this review is named Olive.)

My Experience: My husband and I both love the Tula Toddler Carrier for our daughter. She weighs 25 lbs., and is at the beginning weight for the carrier. We feel she is more secure in the Tula carrier, due to the larger panel, than our current carrier. I laid the Tula carrier on the floor and placed our current soft structured carrier on top and there was a HUGE difference. The Tula panel was several inches wider and longer than our current carrier. The Tula waist band and shoulder straps were also wider by almost an inch. While the padding on the Tula shoulder straps are not as thick as our current carrier I have found out I prefer a wider padded strap to a thinner more padded strap. (More weight distribution across my shoulders.)

Another plus of the larger panel on the Tula Toddler Carrier is my daughters lean is contained. Even when she has her arms out of the carrier and tries to lean back she really can‚Äôt. I have also found, due to being pregnant, comfort wise I prefer there to be no added extra support around the waist since I position the waist strap under my baby belly. (My current carrier has an extra lumbar support that causes my belly discomfort now that I am pregnant.) The differences in the Tula Toddler carrier have made it so I can wear my daughter longer and more comfortably. My daughter also seems to enjoy the Tula carrier more than our current carrier. Every time I have put her up in the Tula carrier she starts stroking my back and arms, and she leans her head against my back. All things she didn’t do in our other carrier.

Price:¬†A Baby Tula Toddler Carrier retails for $169.00 on Baby Tula’s website, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend that much. They do run sales throughout the year, and you can also purchase Baby Tula carriers at many natural parenting stores as well as Target, and Buy Buy Baby. I personally, after using the Tula Toddler carrier, feel it’s worth every penny, but I am also aware not everyone can spend that amount on a baby carrier. That is why it is awesome Baby Tula sells their carriers at so many different stores. Giving us the consumer the ability to purchase a carrier from a small business store or a big box store we might have gift cards to.

I am excited we got this carrier since I feel I will be able to carry my daughter for a couple more years in it, and I want my daughter to get all of the attention and snuggles she needs when her new baby sister gets here. Once the new baby does come though I can’t wait to front carry my oldest daughter again while Dad wears the little one. (Or vice versa.) I also look forward to learning how to tandem baby wear my daughter, in the Tula Toddler Carrier, and our new little one as well. Always remember older children love been worn and snuggled too. Wear all the babies!

I want to thank Baby Tula so much for sending me a Tula Toddler Carrier to review, and for also allowing me the chance to share my new Tula Toddler Carrier love with all of you! Baby Tula has been so kind and has sponsored a giveaway in conjunction with this review. Click the link below to enter to win a Tula Toddler Carrier in Olive!

Click here to enter to win a Tula Toddler Carrier in Olive!

Open to residents of US and Canada. Must be 18 years or older to enter. Winner to be randomly selected on October 10, 2017

**Disclosure Statement: Even though I received a free product in exchange for this review all opinions are my own. I am a parent myself and would never recommend a product I wouldn’t be comfortable using on or giving to my own child.**

 

 

Rock-A-Bums Cloth Diaper Review: Because We All Have a Little Rock and Roll in Us

Rock-A-Bums Cloth Diaper Review: Because We All Have a Little Rock and Roll in Us

Are you a parent who loves to cloth diaper but finds the prints to be not rock and roll enough? If you are a fan of Softbums diapers then you are in luck. The same company who owns Softbums has a 5 in 1 cloth diaper called Rock-A-Bums. These diapers are different in many ways from their cousins, Softbums, but for a good reason.

The Diaper: Gone are the patented elastic toggle system, and in their stead Rock-A-Bums uses rise snaps on the front of the diaper. This new diaper can be used as an all in one, an all in two, a pocket, just as a cover, or used with their hybrid insert. The inside of the diaper is made of a black polyester material with a waterproof backing. You can get the diaper in either hook and loop or snaps. Unlike their cousins, Softbums Echo and Omni shells, Rock-A-Bums fit starting at around 8 lbs. (So, if your newborn is on the smaller side you may need to purchase a newborn stash or purchase the Softbums Echo shells to start.)

The Inserts: 2 Inserts are sold with the diaper, and are made of a microfiber material topped with a layer of bamboo charcoal material. They also sell hybrid inserts that are made of bamboo viscose. These are great for on the go or even daycare since they can be thrown away and are biodegradable. They do not have a backing that sticks them to the diaper shell so you can layer the hybrid inserts to fit your needs. (I love this since I have a hard time getting the adhesive off my shells from a competitor’s brand.) They make for a very trim diaper. My daughter is 2 years old and 25 lbs. Her Rock-A-Bums diaper fits, with no gaps, on the last rise snap. Like Softbums inserts I was taken a little by surprise at how absorbent Rock-A-Bums inserts are. My daughter can last through a 2-hour nap with both of the microfiber inserts in the diaper. While a little bulkier with the 2 inserts then the Softbums we have not experienced any leaks. Using the hybrid insert we have gotten a much trimmer fit. If you have Softbums inserts they can be used interchangeably with Rock-A-Bums diapers since they can be snapped or stuffed in.

(Rock-A-Bums diaper with two inserts on the left, and the Rock-A-Bums diaper with a hybrid insert on the right.)

Other Accessories:¬†Wet bags. I am a wet bag collector. I probably have more than I actually need. Haha! 20170919_171925One of the things I really like about the Rock-A-Bums wet bags is they have two handles. (This makes hanging the wet bag from a stroller so much easier, and it acts like an extra pocket.) They measure 12″ x 11″, and I have been able to stuff 4-5 diapers in my wet bag. I hope they come out with more solid colors like an Electric Blue. Unfortunately, since Rock-A-Bums do not use the elastic toggle system they do not sell elastic replacement kits, nor do they sell replacement hook and loop kits. So, you are back to replacing your elastics or sending them off to be replaced.

Price: On to the second most important detail. Price. Retail price for a Rock-A-Bums diaper with two inserts on their website is $17.95. Which is slightly cheaper than other all in ones or all in twos on the market. A pack of their hybrid inserts costs $7.95 for a pack of 20, and their wet bags cost $8.00. (All great prices compared to competing brands.)

If you are not a fan of the Softbums toggle system for adjusting the elastics on your diapers, but love the shells and inserts than Rock-a-Bums are a good replacement. Their inserts, while not as soft as Softbums, are still VERY absorbent and took me a little by surprise. The prints are different as well, and I hope they start coming out with Rock band inspired prints. (Gun’s & Rose’s anyone?!) They definitely are more rock and roll then other diaper prints. ¬†(The print my daughter is rocking in this review is called Zanadu.)

So, if you are ready for a no fuss, no mess cloth diaper, make sure you take a look at Rock-A-Bums.

**Disclosure Statement: Even though I received free Rock-A-Bums products in exchange for this review all opinions are my own. I am a parent myself and would never recommend a product I wouldn’t be comfortable using on or giving to my own child.**