Anchored East | Diaper Bag

If you are a new mom looking for your first diaper bag to put on your registry, or you are a seasoned mom needing to replace your old one that is falling apart, this is an amazing option!  Anchored East has created a functional yet fashionable bag that can work for any mom and for any occasion! As a backpack style, it is perfect for busy moms on the go and for chasing after your little ones as they run around.  The interior has space for everything you need for baby and there are even a few spots perfect to keep your personal items!  As a mom, I love being able to support other mom owned businesses, so read on for a behind the scenes look at this adorable diaper bag and the woman who made it happen.  If I have already sold you and you just can’t wait to have this bag for your next day out of the house you can grab it right here!IMG_5992-2.jpg

THERE IS MORE TO MAINE

The Anchored East Company is based out of Maine, bringing to mind sailboats and New England style lighthouses scattered along a rocky shoreline.  The name itself is a blend of th classic nautical theme and the feel of being at home on the east coast.  The founder and owner of Anchored East, Emily, was born and raised in the state and still lives there today with her husband and two children.  She began the company after her second child was born, wanting to expand professionally as well as contribute to her family’s finances.  This is something I believe many full time moms can relate to, myself included.  And since she is able to run the business remotely, thanks to the flexibility of the internet, she still gets to spend her days with her children while continuing to build and grow her business.

The birth of the company occured in June 2017, only after the design was perfected to create the ideal combination of fashion forward and mommy function approval!  As production began, all the final details needed to launch the small business were completed. Emily hopes to add other color options for the bag in the future along with other products to the line.  The diaper bag can be bought from Amazon (Prime members rejoice!) or from a few local boutiques located throughout Maine.  This is great news because with Amazon you can get your 2 day FREE shipping and their customer service PLUS you can put it on your registry!

MOMMY’S BAG OF TRICKS

Diaper Bag Product Review on Mom Blog

When I look at this diaper bag, this is what I think of, because there are so many useful pockets and spots to put stuff!  I don’t know about you, but I stressed way too much over picking out my first diaper bag when I was still pregnant but if I had seen this one it would have been a much easier decision!  The color, a nice neutral gray (I seriously love me some neutrals) even makes it easy for Dad to carry too!  They say parenting is a team effort, why would that not also refer to the diaper bag, right?  The material is waterproof/juice-proof/spit up-proof basically all things messy proof which is a must for a bag like this.  This is consistent on the interior of the bag as well, which is large and spacious with room for pretty much anything you can think of! This includes, an insulated slot to put a bottle of breastmilk or formula, for a day trip or just running some errands, as well as 3 other pouches and one zipper pocket.

Some of my favorite features are on the exterior of the bag, besides the color and material.  On one side, there is a pouch to put a packet of baby wipes with a zipper for incredibly easy access, which has already come in handy on numerous occasions!  On the other side is a pouch perfect for your personal water bottle of any size.  The front has a pocket that is great for anything you need to grab nice and quick- pacifiers, favorite teether or snacks- or even your own personal items – wallet, keys, and chapstick.  And the last pocket on the exterior of the bag is actually on the back, putting it between your back and the bag when worn.  This is for anything you want to keep safe or out of reach, and there is padding to protect your back from anything you put in there.

Like I have already mentioned, this is a backpack style bag, but what I haven’t mentioned is that it can stand alone when you set it down.  You see, it has four little metal feet on the very bottom which allow it to stay upright every single time you set it down.  This is such a great feature especially for when you need to get into the main section of the bag.  It’s ability to support itself makes for easy access to all the pockets and also keeps things from falling out.  Last but not least, it includes adjustable clips that can be used to attach the bag to just about any stroller and/or shopping cart.  This bag basically has every single one of the best diaper bag features for a fraction of the cost without having to sacrifice on style.  And what makes it even better, is it doesn’t have to be used as a diaper bag! With it’s sleek design and versatility in can be used for almost anything you need a bag for!  So if you are just dying to have this adorable bag all to yourself you can head on over to Amazon to get your very own Anchored East diaper bag!

 

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This ‘Spotlight Article’ was sponsored by Anchored East however, all suggestions and opinions are my own. I do not represent or endorse any business I do not feel deserves praise or would not be of interest to my readers.  Supporting small businesses is my passion and helping them grow is my goal!

 

Cue The Guilt: How I Learned to Deal With my Working-Mom, Mommy Guilt

All moms provide for their babies to the best of their ability. In a society where so many families need two incomes, not all mommys have the option to stay home. Us working moms need to stop beating ourselves up. What’s right for one family isn’t always what’s best for your family. Your baby won’t love you less because you work.

CUE THE GUILT

I’ve come to the decision that if you’re a mom there will always be some form of mommy guilt. In my case it’s from working full time. I feel guilty waking him up on my early mornings, who wants to wake a sleeping baby?! I feel guilty when my mom or sister have to distract him with a toy or cartoons so I can sneak out the door. My half hour commute is filled with guilty thoughts, “did I give him enough snuggles, did I spend enough time with him the night before, should I have let him play in the bath longer, did we read enough stories, I should have sang him one more lullaby”.  I drove myself crazy. I knew it would be hard but we made the decision when I was pregnant that I would need to continue full time, I just didn’t realize how hard it would be.

I returned to work the day my son turned 7 weeks old. It seemed crazy to me, they don’t even let puppies leave their mothers that soon. But, when the limited disability ran out I didn’t have a choice, if we wanted our house, our two cars, food on the table, we had to be a two income family. My son actually handled it really well, it made it easier that he’s with family, but stress and anxiety quickly got to me. Major was not the worlds best nighttime sleeper and my husband worked the over night shift. One week shortly after my return to work I got a TOTAL of 12 hours of sleep. Most days I was a mombie (get it “Mom” “Zombie”?) I quickly figured out the whole nursing while lying on your side thing. Which was great for a while! We were both getting sleep and I could catch up on snuggles, but I swore I’d never bed share, so when I was and it was working, I still felt guilty.

It wasn’t long before I found something else to feel guilty about. Major was already getting half formula half breast milk during the day, and my supply was dwindling. I tried everything to pick it back up but eventually it was gone and Major was a full-fledged formula fed baby. I felt awful and did I mention guilty?!

MAKING PEACE

I was stressed to the max. I wasn’t happy; I ugly cried daily and most importantly I wasn’t letting myself enjoy the time I did have with Major. After being away from him all day, I’d come home and was completely overwhelmed by my wife and mommy duties. I found myself anxiously waiting for Major’s bedtime. Seriously? I was away from him all day! I felt like a terrible mother. I begged my husband to let me quit or go part time, but deep down even I knew it wasn’t possible. I felt so guilty and like I was missing out of so much of Major’s life. I was so concerned about making sure Major had a routine and keeping the house perfectly clean all while maintaining a full time job that I was missing out even when I was home, I had mentally checked out and that wasn’t fair to Major, my husband or myself.

Something had to change and after an always enlightening conversation with my mom I realized it was me. She told me that 20 years from now I won’t remember if the house was spotless or if all the laundry was done. I’ll remember my little moments with Major, the ones I’m taking for granted now. She told me how one day I’ll give anything for these nights back, and after more ugly crying I realized how right she was. Once I finally realized this, I made myself relax and enjoy evenings with my baby. It’s like the storm lifted, I was happier and more importantly Major was happier.

MAKING THE MOST OF IT

Things are much better now. When I get home we play and make funny faces at each other through dinner and after I lay him down at night I usually find myself sitting on the couch, missing him, staring at the video monitor watching his chest go up and down. As a full time working mom, it’s easy to feel selfish for still wanting time to yourself. It’s not, you’re allowed to, and you deserve it!

Don’t get me wrong there are still days that are really hard, and I tear up while leaving him, but I’ve made peace with the fact that I work, and realize I’m just doing the best I can and he’s going to be okay. This has helped ease the guilt so much. Major is now 8 months old and has such a great personality. I was worried mommy leaving him everyday for work would ruin him, but he’s such a happy little guy, and the smile I get when I walk through the door after a long day is priceless.

I guess us working moms will always find something to feel guilty about, but reminding ourselves we are doing the best we can with what we have helps. I think all moms can relate to that, whether you’re a stay at home or working mom we’re all just doing the best we can, because we love those little babies so much it hurts!

Routines are for Babies | Why You Shouldn’t Stress About the Bedtime Routine

ROUTINE ROUTINE ROUTINE

After my son was born and sleep became a commodity I began combing the internet for tips and tricks to get my baby to sleep better.  Everything I read eventually came down to getting your baby on a routine, and this terrified me.  I have never been a routine person, my husband and I even have a hard time remembering the garbage pickup routine, which is only one day a week!  I remember a few years ago, when my smile wrinkles around my eyes started to show up, I invested almost all of my Christmas loot into expensive face care products.  Almost $200 for a face scrub, wash, toner and lotion to be used in a specific order every night before bed.  I think I stuck it out for oh, maybe a month before I started missing a night here and there, then it eventually got to a point where I was only remembering to do it a night here and there.  I still have some of the toner left…

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

My point is, I have never ever been good with routines and I was pretty sure this time would be exactly the same way.  Cue the ‘stressing for no reason because I am a new mom’ moments and also my belief that I was never going to get good sleep ever again.  Well guess what, I had nothing to worry about.  My son basically established a routine for me- bath, story/playtime, bottle, bed around 6 months old when we transitioned him to his crib in the nursery.  If any one of the steps are skipped he doesn’t go to sleep for a long time, so there has never really been an option to stray from the routine.  And surprisingly I have really embraced this whole thing.  We aren’t super strict down to the second about when to start bedtime, that alone would make it stressful, but once we are done with dinner and maybe hang out a little bit, little man will start the eye rubs and that is generally our cue.  This can occur anywhere between 6 and 7, maybe a little earlier if we didn’t get in a good second nap, sometimes a little later if his second nap went a little long.

Bath Time  

Bedtime gets kicked off with a bath in our Fisher-Price 4-In-1 Sling ‘n Seat Tub which is the same tub we have used since my son was first born.  The sling was great for when he couldn’t sit up yet and now the seat is perfect for letting him feel somewhat independent while still giving him support.  There was a little bit of an awkward stage where he didn’t want to lean back anymore but also couldn’t fit in the seat, but it wasn’t a very long stage.  My little guy has always enjoyed bath time; well minus the first few that were pretty dramatic; and he enjoys splashing around with the bath toys.  I’m not completely convinced that he finds it very relaxing but I think it is more of a trigger for him to know it’s time to start winding down for bed.

Playtime

Once he is dried off and I have wrestled him into a clean diaper we will play in the play room for a little while.  I am sure there are some people who will disagree with this strategy but it works for us and that is what matters.  This is usually the best time my husband gets to spend time with our son during the week and so we enjoy the time we have.  We will sometimes read a book or two during this time and it also gives him extra time to scoot around and work on his mobility.  Once he starts getting cranky or the eyes get really red it’s time to get the sleeper on and move into the nursery.

Bottle

This part of our bedtime routine will have to be phased out shortly but for now it is still in the lineup.  This is also another one of those things some people might disagree with because the argument is you don’t want your children relying on the bottle to fall asleep.  The difference is, my little guy doesn’t fall asleep after he has his fill of formula, instead he rolls around in my lap and we get a few burps out before I put him in the crib.  If he is tired enough, he will sometimes snuggle with me in the glider after the bottle and this is the most adorable and sweetest time we have together throughout the day.  I leave my phone out of the nursery, the sound machine is going and we just enjoy being together.  This is my favorite part of the bedtime routine, although sadly it doesn’t happen every night.

Bed

Once all of this is done, into the crib he goes, wide awake but happy as long as all the gas is out.  He gets his pacifier and lots of kisses from mom and dad before leaving him to settle himself.  He will generally roll around and talk to himself for about 5-10 minutes before finally passing out face turned against the mattress, butt up in the air.

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TO EACH THEIR OWN

If you were to ask 10 different moms what their bedtime routine is with their kids I would assume you would receive 10 different answers, or maybe even more.  And guess what, not a single one is the ‘correct answer’.  Because there is no such thing.  Each family and each baby will figure out what works for them, so don’t stress about it.  This is something that will just naturally occur for the most part, with maybe a little bit of nudging in a direction that works best for you.  Have faith in yourself momma and read all 10 different answers, then pick and choose which one works best for YOUR BABY!

Iza Marie Bella | Online Baby Boutique

WHERE YOU CAN GET ALL OF YOUR CHILDREN’S FASHIONABLE CLOTHES!

If you love fashion, especially on your kids, you need to check out Iza Marie Bella, an affordable online fashion boutique for children!  I am already hoping my next child will be a little girl but after seeing the items Iza has in her inventory, I now have all my fingers crossed!  She doesn’t just sell adorable bows and outfits for girls however, boys have just as many options to choose from and they are just as cute! If you are already as excited as I am about supporting this woman owned small business jump right on over and check out her inventory here,  or get the inside scoop on this shop and its quality items below (then go ahead and shop away!).

 

FOR THE LOVE OF FASHION

If you walk into a Target or a Kohl’s a lot of what you see is all the same stuff.  While much of it is adorable, as most items of clothing are when they are small enough to put on a tiny human, their clothing is also the same pieces you see everywhere.  Iza has done a fantastic job at finding not only adorable but also unique clothing at an affordable price, making your little one the most fashionable baby at daycare!

Iza is a female small-business owner who runs her online boutique out of her home near Phoenix, Arizona.  She began her journey as a business owner creating adorable custom bows for her friend’s children and eventually the demand grew enough to build it into a business.  Her impeccable style and passion for quality fashion at an affordable price are what allowed her to grow that business into the online boutique she has today.  Her love of fashion is why she runs this business in her spare time after her demanding full time job.  While her finance job is her professional career, she fills her free time with this fun and fulfilling endeavor to fuel her artistic side!  She hopes to one day expand to a worldwide audience as she continues to grow her vendor base, adding more and more adorable children’s clothing to her inventory!

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DRESS TO IMPRESS

Not only are the clothes adorable, the quality is amazing with soft materials where they should be soft, clever sayings and some humor and flare thrown in!  My son has recently decided he is too good for clothing and diaper changes which means I am generally following him across the playroom floor trying to get his clothing on as if trying out for a circus act.  Many of the outfits are nice and stretchy which makes these on-the-go dressings just a little bit easier!  I mean, if you have ever changed a small wriggling child you can appreciate how nice clothing with a little elastic to it is.  The clothing is also to size which is incredibly important, and just in case you are unsure what size would be perfect for your little, Iza has included sizing charts to refer to.  

You really can’t beat the array of options and the great prices all in one place! Need to find an outfit for your little girl’s first special event?  No need to go anywhere else.  You can find the outfit the shoes and the bow all here at Iza Marie Bella!  Does that little boy in your life need some more t-shirts and shorts because he won’t stay out of the mud?  Again, so many options and I promise you will not be disappointed in their quality or condition.

Her adorable brand reps, 5 month old twins, Jayne and Zoie, can be seen wearing all the different styles Iza Marie Bella carries on Instagram @jayneandzoie.  Keep an eye out for a reveal of a new outfit every Monday on Instagram by the twins!

BABY BOUTIQUE AND MORE!

Navigating her website is very easy, and intuitive with no frills or confusing links. If you input your email when you enter the site you will be greeted with a coupon code for 10% off all first time subscribers no matter the purchase price!  For babies, the website is broken down first by gender and then by age (size), which makes it so easy to find exactly what you are looking for without having to dig around.  The toddler sections are also broken down by Boy or Girl and you will also find Footwear and Accessory sections.  And last but not least there is even a section for Mom too, where long maxi sundresses and the comfiest looking floral pants can be found!  I am anxiously awaiting mine to come in the mail so keep an eye out on Instagram for my review!

Within the navigation, you will also find her Iza Bella Headbands, the original products she started out making.  The handmade headbands are the sweetest little things, ranging in colors and designs from polka dots and plaids to glitz and glitter.  They are packaged in beautifully designed boxes and are the perfect gift for an expecting mom or a lucky little girl with great style!  Not only are they the most dainty little bows you have ever seen but you can receive them in only 3 days, for free!

Speaking of free 3 day shipping, her customer service is exceptional, setting her apart from other online boutiques, with a quick response time and FREE SHIPPING on all orders placed within the U.S.!!! Certain items even have free three day shipping!  Almost as good as Amazon Prime but single handedly provided by a one woman team!  How can you not get behind this store and the woman who put it all together?!?  So if you are now even more intrigued than you were before reading this ‘Spotlight Article’ head on over to Iza Marie Bella to get your shop on!  Make sure your coupon code MOMLIFE15 is applied to your cart to get 15% off your purchase of $50 or more!

 

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This ‘Spotlight Article’ was sponsored by Iza Marie Bella however, all suggestions and opinions are my own. I do not represent or endorse any business I do not feel deserves praise or would not be of interest to my readers.  Supporting small businesses is my passion and helping them grow is my goal!

 

 

 

The Illusive Pacifier | Why I Chose to Use One

The illusive pacifier in its natural habitat likes to hide in dark corners and camouflage itself to its surroundings.

But seriously where the hell do all the pacifiers go?? I think we own at least 15 of them and I currently only know where 3 are at this exact moment.

And then all of a sudden they all seem to reappear at once, turning up everywhere I go!  Who else has this phenomenon happened to?!?

TO PACIFIER OR NOT TO PACIFIER

Before my son was born I had seen a lot of information  discussing why you shouldn’t start your child with the pacifier- become too dependent, thumb is easier to wean, teeth issues down the road and things like that.  I had decided to try to go sans the pacifier for as long as possible.   I very quickly backed out of this conviction the second night home from the hospital during a 3 a.m. diaper change.  My husband and I were both once again trying to wrangle our screaming newborn out of his dirty diaper and into the new one, his screams piercing our overtired ears.  On a whim, I pulled out one of the pacifiers sitting in the drawer beneath the changing table and popped it in his mouth.

Silence.

We both let out a sigh we hadn’t even realized we were holding as his little body relaxed and he became somewhat peaceful.  That was the day my son started using the pacifier and still does at 8 months old.  At this point, it is really only needed to get him to sleep but he will still use it throughout the night at times too.   And guess what- he’s still okay!

YOUR CHOICE

I can’t tell you how many times I was grateful to be able to pop a pacifier into his mouth when he gets cranky, either before bed our while we were out in public or just whenever.  This is not an advocate piece for the use of pacifiers, in fact if your child doesn’t need it then that’s great! But what I do want to say is if you do end up using a pacifier because it helps your child soothe, then that’s okay too.  Sometimes I think people take these little topics and blow them way out of proportion.  I hate to break it to you but people have been raising babies for thousands of years, we aren’t the first ones and they didn’t have pacifiers.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had people tell me how much they wished their child would have taken a pacifier but instead were fussy.  So I choose to be grateful that I can plug up the crying and give both of us a little peace.  It is my personal opinion that everyone should do for their baby what works best and not care for one second how other’s feel about the topic.  Below are the Mam and Avent ones we used and the soothies are also a great option!