April Adventures with Everly

This month marked 21 full months with our little Everly. She is talking in sentences, getting into trouble, and melting my heart daily. She’s the sweetest, most curious little girl. BUT she also has her stubborn side. I post a lot of our daily activities in my Instagram stories, but thought I’d recap the month of April on here.

Everly’s Toys

We got a few new toys/activities this month including Kinetic Sand, our favorite Crayola Color Wonder Coloring Pads, a bubble gun, and even a harmonica (from her Pa Pa). She could walk around playing it all day… but I’m not tryin’ to go deaf by 35.

Moving Update

Yes, we’re moving, so most of Everly’s toys are packed up a little storage unit. We’ve been trying to sell our house — heyyy! Someone come buy it, please! Between open houses and showings it’s been pretty stressful to get Everly and the cats out and keep the house clean. The new house is in the same neighborhood, just a few streets over, but it has more square feet and PARKING! Woooo!

Easter

We headed to Cape Cod to visit with family for Easter. It was the first event of the year at the country club with a special visit from the Easter bunny. (BTW Everly is scared to death of it). There was a small egg hunt and sooo much food including raw bar, omelet station, beef tenderloin, etc. I’m still full from that dang buffet… ha not really though.

Baby Showers

I was lucky enough to co-host a baby shower for my best friend in Florida early in the month. We took a trip to South Florida to enjoy the festivities. Everly did great on the flight down, but ended up with a horrible case of separation anxiety/teething while we were there. The shower went off without a hitch – highly recommend ordering everything baby related on Etsy. It was so simple! And of course, now my baby fever is at an all time high because my best friend is due in June!

 

Franklin Zoo

We took a day trip to the Franklin Zoo with Everly. I’m not usually a fan of zoo’s, but this one has tons of green space and an enormous playground that Everly loves. We saw all kinds of animal and even went into the feeding area. It was really fun to see Everly’s face when she recognized an animal in real life from a book or movie. The gorillas and the petting area were the highlights!

Everly’s Meals

Between months 6 and 18 I put a lot of unnecessary effort into making Everly’s meals. I would make Jake and I dinner and then always make something else for Everly and I got completely burnt out. In the last few months we have started giving Everly the same thing that we eat for dinner almost every night and she’s actually been eating it! I could probably do a full blog post on this, but my best recommendation for new moms is to give your children the same food as you from day 1! There is no need to make a separate mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and steamed broccoli when your child could be perfectly fine eating the same thing as you. I learned this the hard way and had to re-train her, but lately it’s been great! For lunches I will make her some of her favorite staples: homemade chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, cheese quesadillas, etc.

Her favorite foods right now are steak, roasted sweet potatoes, pickles, smoothies, and cottage cheese! BASICALLY all of my favorites too 🙂

Jake and I have been making Green Chef meals for almost two years and we love them. We have the Omnivore box and get three meals weekly for each of us. Here’s a coupon code if you’d like to try it out!

That’s a wrap on April – we’re ready for May! AND warmer temps 🙂

xo,

Jacci

Hiring a Babysitter 101

Hiring a Babysitter 101

Jake and I were clueless when it came to searching for a babysitter. Our needs were simple – the occasional date night sitter and someone to take E off of my hands for me to run a few mid-day errands. Other friends had used Care.com, so I decided to give them a try! We were able to post the job listing, easily respond to messages, and hire a sitter within a week! There are a few tips that I learned in our search that I’d like to share to make your hunt a little bit easier than ours.

Turn on notifications from the care.com app

I used the app on my phone (instead of the website) to respond to messages really easily and in real time. I actually never logged into the website for any of our search and found that the app was easy to navigate. Once you post your job you will get LOTS of messages… be prepared to respond to them as soon as you can in order to move the interview process along.

Have a clear job posting with needs and wage

We were shocked to find out what the hourly rate was for sitters in our area, but that’s the price you pay (literally) for someone capable to watch your child! Be sure to list out all of your needs – include feeding responsibilities, bathtime, bedtime/naps, etc.

Meet your potential babysitters in a public place before you hire them

After I narrowed down the babysitter hunt to two potentials, I planned to meet them both at a local coffee shop. I had a few questions I was planning to ask them, mainly about experience, but I really wanted to see how they reacted around Everly. Would they help her when she tossed a toy out of the stroller? How would they react if she got fussy/started crying? Were they attentive when I let her out of the stroller? Everly’s at the age where she loves strangers, but I was also interested in seeing how she acted around them. Did she start to cry/run away when they offered to hold her? Did she seem happy around them?

Have a list of questions ready to ask/interview

Treat this as a serious interview – if the prospective babysitter is not prepared to answer your questions, that should be your first red flag. If you bring your child along with you, you are guaranteed to be distracted, so have the questions written out/typed up on your phone.

Once you hire the babysitter…

It’s stressful to leave your child with someone new. I found comfort in leaving lots of lists! I had everything written out easily for the babysitter to refer to. I also plan to stay close to home for the first couple of times the sitter comes, in case I did need to head home for any kind of “emergency”. I’d also recommend laying out any rules that you have during a “walk through” before you leave – ie: put baby to sleep on back, instructions for diaper change, bottles, etc.

I hope this post was helpful for any moms or dads looking to hire a babysitter! If you have any additional tips, leave them below in the comments!

xo,

Jacci

 

Toddler Breakfast Ideas

Everly loves having yogurt in the morning, but we’ve been stuck in a breakfast rut. She goes a few weeks eating the same things until she doesn’t want it anymore and then we move on to the next one! Here are some breakfast recommendations I received from other moms on Instagram along with a few I researched on my own.

Avocado Toast

SO easy to make in morning, cut up into small pieces.

Almond Flour Pancakes

A friend of mine sent me the easiest recipe after we got the Arthur Flour care package. Everly isn’t really a fan of pancakes or waffles, but I’m sure someone else will enjoy this recipe.

Beat together 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1/4 cup heavy cream.
Add to 1 cup of almond flour and a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.

Egg cups with veggies

(easy to bake these in muffin tins). You can use any vegetables! I dice up carrots/sweet potato, butternut squash, zucchini, or peas.

English Muffins with peanut/almond/sunflower butter and bananas.

Top with hemp seeds!

Whole milk yogurt with honey and fruit

Scrambled egg, bean, and cheese quesadillas

Banana “pancakes”

mix one egg + 1/2 banana and cook in a pan like a pancake

Chia Seed Pudding

Oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon

Smoothies!

Blueberry/apple sauce muffins

Any other breakfast ideas to share?

xo,

Jacci

Bedtime Routine from Day 1

Bedtime Routine from Day 1

The sooner you begin a bedtime routine, the better. We started a routine with Everly around four weeks. It’s evolved as she’s gotten older, but it’s been the key to longer stretches of sleep. Those longer stretches eventually lead to a full night of sleep (10-11 hours for a one year old). PRAISE GOD! I don’t know about you, but I am a MUCH better mom when Everly is sleeping well – for naps and overnight. Here are some tips from my personal experience… obviously, if something is working with your baby, don’t change it!

Babies thrive with a routine that is scheduled. A bedtime routine can be as simple as diaper change, PJ’s and white noise or as complicated as three sound machines, a bath, swaddle, book, songs, etc. The first step to a bedtime routine is creating a consistent schedule. Jake and I loosely followed the E.A.S.Y. method (from Noob MommyEASY-Schedule-Cheat-Sheet I’m not sure if other people have had success with it, but it worked for me! It helped me figure out what time Everly should be napping and eating and that was good enough.

E.A.S.Y. method

E: Eat

A: Activity

S: Sleep

Y: Your Time

A hungry baby (or person in general) is not going to sleep as well as someone that is well fed. They are also not going to interested in any activity time. When Everly was younger her activities ranges from songs, tummy time, books, staring at her reflection in a mirror, sitting in her bouncer, etc. Now that she’s 12+months the activities are much different. She really has to wear herself out to be tired enough for a nap. We will usually go to the park, read books, color with her water books, build with blocks, use her “food truck” to cook, play with her babies/strollers, and the list could go on. Walks in the stroller don’t count as activities anymore – she needs exercise.

4 weeks – 4 months: Everly was still sleeping in her Rock N Play in our room — our bedtime routine looked like this…

Bath, Lotion, PJ’s, brush hair, swaddle, sound machines (white noise), breastfeed until sleep, put in rock and play and turn that thing on full blast!

4 months – 6 months:

Everly was moved into her nursery in her crib. We switched over to the Merlin Sleep Suit (if you don’t own this – buy immediately). Everly wore hers until she started rolling over daily.

Bath, Lotion, PJ’s, brush hair, sleep sack, sound machines, breastfeed to sleep, put down in crib.

At 6 months we also did cry it out — I’ll write a whole separate blog post on this. Long story short. It’s worth it.

6 months – 12 months:

At 6 months Everly started getting a bottle of breast milk before bed. Eventually, we switched the breast milk to formula (pumping is not fun).

Bath, Lotion, PJ’s, brush hair, Halo Sleep Sack, sound machines, bottle of formula, put in crib awake.

There’s no right answer for the perfect bedtime routine. Create what works for your family’s schedule. It is important to stay consistent and create a calming environment for bedtime!

Good luck!

Flying with Infants: Tips & Tricks

With my family living in Florida, Jake and I knew we would be flying a TON with Everly. She made the best travel companion and we took her everywhere! Everly had been on 14 flights before her first birthday — the majority of them have gone smooth, so here are my tips and tricks.

1. Plan your travel ahead of time.

Book your flights far enough in advance, so you get to pick your seats. I would highly recommend picking your seat even on airlines that charge an additional fee. The aisle seat is usually the best for adults with a lap infant. On every airline we’ve flown children under two are free as long as they sit on your lap (ie: JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, and Delta).

Most babies will nap anywhere and everywhere – which is great! You are probably able to choose anytime to fly. As your baby approaches 4-6 months you might need to schedule around a nap. Flights first thing in the morning work better for us than bedtime/red eye flights.

2. Organize Yourself

Arriving to the airport alone on the curb with a car seat, luggage, stroller, diaper bag and baby is top 5 most stressful moments of my life. Everly and I took a 9 day trip to Florida and Arizona (without Jake) and boy was I nervous! I ended up surviving — all thanks to being organized. I pack all of our essentials in the diaper bag. There’s no point in bringing an additional purse with you – it’s just one more thing to carry. The night before, I organize her diaper bag by taking every item out and starting fresh. Have your ID, credit card, and boarding pass put in a pocket that’s easily accessible to get through check in.

I also have a travel diaper changing pad that holds wipes, diapers and creams. I can easily grab that instead of bringing the whole bag to the worlds smallest bathrooms on the plane.

3. Carrier or Stroller?

I’ve been asked this question dozens of times. And I always say both. Especially for babies under 6 months. You will fill your stroller up with your water, coffee, breakfast, diaper bag, etc. I always wore Everly in a carrier to get through security – this was super easy for me because most of the time she would be asleep (and you don’t have to take them out).

The Uppababy Vista folds up easily to go through the security check – you will need to take off the wheels too! If you don’t want to fold it, you can push it through the metal detector and they will swipe your hands (not 100% why, but they do!)

Once you get through security you can put baby in the stroller or keep in the carrier. It always worked best to keep Everly in the carrier until we got on the plane.

Gate checking strollers is super easy too – just grab a tag from the gate. I’d recommend putting your stroller in a bag to help avoid extra scratches.

4. Breast milk and Breastfeeding

Everly was exclusively breastfed until she was 6 months old. Before a flight I would usually panic and think I needed to go buy formula for the flight… not sure why! I was always stressed that she wouldn’t latch or my supply wouldn’t be enough to last through the flight. Breastfeeding really gets to your head, man 🤦🏼‍♀️. I would bring between 5-10 ounces of frozen breast milk in a small cooler in my diaper bag with an empty bottle and freezer pack. Security will test any milk that’s thawed, but we’ve never had a problem with that. They also test any water cups, juice cups, and pouches over 3.4oz!

Everyone recommends feeding baby during take off and landing so that their ears can pop too! I traveled with a black nursing cover. It worked as a blackout curtain for sleeping and gave me some privacy. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing for nursing on a plane!

5. Toys AND snacks!

I’m always packed with toys and books. Everly plays with a toy for 2 minutes then is on to the next thing. Before a flight I buy her a brand new toy (as a surprise for the plane). I also packed lots of snacks for her in containers including blueberries, Cherrios, and teething crackers. My favorite snack container is made my Ubbi.

I always travel with Lysol wipes to wipe down the whole row, seat, seatbelt and TV. Planes are a breeding ground for germs.

We have six flights coming up before the end of the year and I’ve been stressed about flying alone with Everly now that she’s a little older. We bought a travel car seat and purchased a seat for her. She’s easier to control when she’s buckled down 💆🏼‍♀️

What are you tips for flying with toddlers? Share any tricks!

Personalized Gifts for Newborns

Hi! I’m a huge fan of monograms, personalizations, and custom made items for baby showers/newborn gifts. They make for such special gifts that families will keep for a lifetime. I’ve come up with a great list of vendors on Etsy and thought that I would share. If you know anyone that is expecting, keep these shops in mind! Now if more of my friends would start having babies that would be great! 🙂

Milestone Blankets

I ordered a milestone blanket for Everly when she was a few days old. I was so excited to get a picture taken monthly on the same blanket to see how she was growing. By month 7 she didn’t want to lay on the blanket… she was more proud of sitting up on her own. We’ve made it work though! I ordered from a small Etsy shop, LittlePeonyCo. The shop has hundred of items available for personalization including blankets and beach towels. The blanket I ordered for Everly has a floral wreath design and comes in a super soft mink material. The blankets come in different sizes too – I’d recommend ordering a larger size (50x60in).

Custom Lovey’s

A lovey might not seem like an immediate necessity, but they are so adorable and great for cuddling. Now that Everly is older she brings her lovey everywhere with her. When she was a couple of months old I was buying little crinkly blankets from an online Etsy shop, DwellDarling. This shop has hundreds of blankets, loveys, and crinkle pages available to be customized with a name or monogram. The prints are so adorable and come with a soft fur backside! They have a great Instagram page that highlights all of the new prints too!

Announcement Pillows

Another option for monthly milestone photos would be to take a picture of the babe propped up in a chair next to an announcement pillow. I ordered one for Everly’s room from Empowering Decor on Etsy. It has her name, birthdate, weight, and height printed with a beautiful design.

Custom Clothing

There’s nothing cuter than a baby in a monogrammed onesie. Seriously, a perfect photo opp. I like to order outfits for holidays that have Everly’s name or initials on them. I ordered from an Etsy shop, LaineyKayDesigns, but there are lots of options available.

Decor Pieces

My go to spot is Pottery Barn. You can find any and every baby item there and they add personalization to 90% of their items for a small fee. Everything from furniture pieces, Boppy covers, lunch boxes, and towels… the list could go on forever. Sign up for their emails to know when the sales are going on too!

What gift ideas did I miss?

xo,

Jacci

Countdown to ONE!

(Milestone Blanket: LittlePeonyCo Etsy Shop)

Everyone says this, but it’s so true! The first year goes so fast! I remember sleeping on the couch for the first two weeks of Everly’s life wondering how the hell I was going to do it.(Yes, I slept on the couch because I was too afraid to wake Jake in the bedroom when Everly would cry… Hahahah)

And we’ve done it…almost! We’ve made it to her 11 month birthday and have begun the countdown to her first birthday party. Overall, Everly has been a great baby. She’s happy, social, curious, a great eater, and a great sleeper.

Things have not always been so easy and it was very difficult to think ahead and know that things would get better. I remember sleepless nights, LOTS of crying, lots of spit up, difficulty breast feeding, difficulty getting her out the door, and struggling to know if I was doing well enough. I always doubted myself, my intuition. I would stay up late reading blogs, articles, ebooks on everything – how to get your baby to sleep in 5 steps, why is my baby crying, why won’t my newborn sleep, is my baby eating enough. It made me crazy to a point. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself – you’re doing AMAZING and she is going to be just fine! Because that’s exactly what happened. She’s thriving, bubbly, and smart and every single day is better than the last.

If you have a newborn and are struggling, just know that it is going to get easier and that you are not alone. As everyone says… it takes a village. Take help when you need it and stay strong!

xo,

Jacci