Easter “Basket” Fun

Trinket Ideas for Infants 0-1 Years

Happy Easter Friends! I hope you all are able to enjoy time today with your loved ones and celebrating our Awesome Jesus and the life he’s given us. Today I wanted to share a quick tid bit on what I put in Declan’s Easter TRUCK. Holidays and themes are my favorite, but this year especially because it’s a year of firsts for Declan. Well, I’ll hop to it! Here a few things we threw in Declan’s basket and could be purposeful for any baby 0-1 years old!

IMG_3337

Start with your base, the actual basket:  Baskets don’t always have to be traditional!  Get creative with it! Trucks, play purses, or a beach bucket are always a neat spin to throw on a basket and also reusable!  I used a dump truck that I received from a dear friend at Declan’s Baby Shower.

Books- This year we celebrated Declan’s ½ birthday and our friends and family stocked him up on good Easter themed books. Touch and Feel books are Declan’s favorite right now being as he is starting to develop his pincher reflex. I’m all about new textures!

Pacifiers- you can never have too many! Plus Declan just hit 6 months so we had to restock on all pacifier sizes and nipples.  (Side note: If I were to go back and register for items at my baby shower, I would register for the first year of sizes for pacies and nipples)

Carrot Teether– I got this cute carrot teether off Amazon! What baby doesn’t need this??  It’s simple, affordable, and fit the theme perfectly.

50 first word picture cards– for babies 0+ and up! I love these because they have real photographs with colorful words and on the back there are antonyms.

Plastic Eggs- Mostly for decoration, but I filled 4 with rice and sunflower seeds to make egg shakers! We also used them for another activity we did with Declan on Easter Morning.

Stuffed Bunny- What Easter basket isn’t complete without a cute plush toy? My cousin got this for Declan before he was born. We play with it all the time so I tossed it in for fun!

IMG_3346

Okay, now for the real fun! Declan just started scooting around last week and guys he’s picking up his speed!! We got some balloons and tied them to the egg. Declan thought this was so fun and it’s also a perfect cause and effect activity. Declan would scoot to the balloon and then tug on the string watching the balloon go up and down. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t just have to be an Easter activity. IT’s a cheap way to entertain your little one and get them moving!

IMG_3345

What did you all put in your little ones Easter Basket?? I’m curious!

How We Survived Teething

Tips and Tricks to help your little one cut those teefers!

IMG-7678

It’s official Declan Bear has two front teeth and as much as I thought I would miss his gummy smiles I adore his little pearly whites.  I suspected Declan’s teeth were about to break through about two weeks before they actually did and I didn’t realize it for certain until he chewed on my fingers one day (a couple weeks shy of 6 months). I pried his mouth open and saw two white ridges peeking through. Declan had a few symptoms before teething that made me think we were about to hit a new milestone:

  1. Chewing on his pacie and fingers
  2. As odd as this sounds (and to some it may seem crazy) but I noticed his saliva became thicker
  3. All of a sudden sleep training was just not happening for us, we hit a huge regression wall (infants sleep less at night when their teething because they’re not distracted by things to chew on to numb their gummies) which was really tough because he would wake up crying and just inconsolable
  4. Eating less, the bottle was more of just a chew toy

Declan did NOT have any physical signs. His gums weren’t swollen and I couldn’t see any teeth prior to me feeling them. We really got double whammied here when these bad boys broke through, which took about a week to get him settled.  Man, did the sleepless nights make sense after this. I wanted to share some of the teething hacks we used to make Declan as comfortable as we could during this process with hopes that some can help your little too! Also, it’s never too early to let infants play with teethers and such, anything to help the gums thin around 4-5 months is always beneficial to the process!

We only used Tylenol once with these lovely hacks!

  1. Sophie the giraffe WENT everywhere with us, she’s such a champ. We got two one for the car and one for in-house play. Yes, that $20 giraffe in the baby aisle is worth every. Single. Penny.
  2. Chewbeads necklace this was perfect and adorable for momma to wear, easy for baby to get to and munch on with supervision!
  3. Chewbeads rattle
  4. Chewbeads ring
  5. Simple as it sounds- a frozen baby washcloth for him to suck/chew on
  6. I diffused lavender essential oils in his room for an hour or so at an initial bedtime routine
  7. Nuby teething ring. He’s obsessed with this thing and it also has hygienic bristles. I love this because you can put in the fridge and it also is enjoyable at room tempature. Great snag on this one Mimi bear!
  8. Frozen peas! That’s right, a dear friend and one of the mommas I always turn to for advice, recommended getting a munchkin mesh food feeder and putting frozen peas in it. Declan loved this and it entertained him for a while!

I’m sharing these tips for many reasons, but mostly because teething is tough and it’s important to keep your little one comfortable.  Trying a new and a variety of comfort tips is important to find what works best! The sleepless nights may call for extra cuddles and when they don’t want to be put down just squeeze ‘em a little tighter and remember this too, shall pass.

 

How To Stay Productive As a Stay At Home Mom

I’ve mentioned before that I never planned on staying home with Declan for an extended amount of time. Eric’s job offer came right at the time of Declan’s due date and things changed for us incredibly fast. I’ve been in a rut several times where being at home made me nuts. When Declan was a wee baby I slept a lot and did dishes and that made me crazy, I felt unhealthy and unproductive. I felt like I wasn’t contributing to anything (except raising a child, lol)  Now that he’s older and more mobile being home has been a whole new ball game. I do plan on going back to work in the fall, but until then I wanted to share for those in the same boat, that it is possible to be productive at home!

I would say I’m a very “busy” person and I thrive off crossing things off my to-do list.  For some people, list making is not helpful and doesn’t make them feel productive, rather overwhelmed. I make list and I make lists to make lists. And if you’re not a list maker, that’s totally fine because I’m going to share a few ideas that everyone can use to stay productive while staying at home!

  1. The first thing you must do every day is this: MAKE YOUR BED. I learned this from my husband. This way if you don’t accomplish anything during the day, at least you made your bed. On the other hand, if you had an insane busy day there’s really no  better feeling than crashing into a beautifully made, comfortable bed.
  2. Get ready for the day. Even if you plan to be home all day with a little one, you’re going to feel better about yourself and motivated if you’re ready for whatever the day entails. Take time to do your make up, play with your hair, and dress up. When you look good you feel good, you perform better.
  3. Take time for yourself. Believe it or not being home all day results in a really messy house. I always feel like I have a limited time to do a million things while Declan is napping which ultimately makes me feel more overwhelmed.  I always take his first nap to drink my coffee and just be still. I mentally prepare for the day (sometimes I make lists, hehe, but I’m working on just existing).
  4. Know your time windows. This will come with routine, but knowing how long your baby will be awake and how long they will sleep is really helpful for errand opportunities.  For example, I know that Declan will be awake for 2-2.5 hours before taking an 45- 60 minute nap (he’s not the best napper, I’ve relinquished control of this.)

Knowing your time windows is key! Here’s how I utilize Declan’s nap time to stay productive while being at home with him.

7:00- Wakey, Wakey, Eggs, Bakey. Eric gets up and ready before Declan and I. By the time me and my snuggle bug are up Eric has breakfast made and spends time with Declan while I get ready for the day and make our bed.

9:30- ME TIME. Coffee. Sip. Repeat. I organize my brain, I make a list (grocery or to do), or reflect.

Noonish- Daily Errands. I’ll toss a load of laundry in and fold some before we head out. This could also be a grocery trip or Declan’s gymnastic class, possibly the library. It depends on the day and what needs to be done.

4:30-5:00ish- I’ll straighten up the house, prep or start dinner.

8:00- Declan hits the hay and Eric and I will eat dinner and catch up on our days.

Okay ladies, how do you stay productive while staying at home with your little one? What does your routine look like?

Trilogy Part 2: Things You Didn’t Know You Needed To Know

If only there were a pamphlet to life’s big changes, I mean how helpful would that be? I’m going to share with you some pointers and must have items before you make that overwhelming cross-country move.  This is specific to our move to Utah, but also things to consider when you move anywhere!

  1. Where is the nearest liquor store and what are their hours? Hey, Welcome to Utah. Grocery stores don’t sell any beer or wine over 4% AC. So you’ll need to find you a liquor store so you can go get you that bottle of wine in order to be all in for Monday Night Bachelor/ette. Know the state laws on recreational things like this or prepare to be out of luck.
  2. What are the appropriate clothes for the drastically different weather?  Some good boots (I got L.L Bean Boots for every day wear and then my Merrell hiking waterproof boots), wool under layers (LAPSA Wool is pricey, but so worth it), an insulated jacket or parka, and LAYERS! Last week I wore ski pants to Wal-Mart and there were locals wearing shorts…I must have looked crazy. I tell just about everyone I encounter, “I’m from Florida.”
  3. Does your car need an emissions test? Do your animals need to be registered? Where do you get your state driver’s license…I had to take a driving test to get my Utah License. I was terrified I would fail and not be able to drive the streets of Salt Lake City. (If you’re wondering, yes I passed) FYI if your married and you’re going to get a new state license do not forget your marriage license! I did and I had to go home after waiting in that typical DMV line only to start over. UGH!
  4. As soon as you get to where you’re going locate the nearest hospital, emergency room and pharmacy. These types of things often get looked over, but the last thing you’ll want is to be in a situation and not know whether or not to turn left or right at the intersection in an emergency.
  5. If you are moving from humid weather to dry weather make sure you’re stocked on lotion and lots of it and also a humidifier! I overlooked the humidifier, but got one within 2 days of being here. Declan’s soft baby skin was so incredibly dry, we were lathering him up several times a day and finally we found some Baby Bum that worked wonders for him.
  6. We moved in the thick of winter, if you’re in the same situation make sure you have a snow shovel AND snow scraper BEFORE you get there and are snowed in. hehe.
  7. Social media is such a huge part of our lives now a days, I found out a lot about the area we moved to by following the local news, police and sheriff, and fire departments, as well as a our neighborhood community Facebook page.
  8. Sunglasses. This may sound silly to some, but the snow reflects the sun so intensely that driving anywhere was blinding.

What were some obstacles you encountered when moving? How did you pull through and what did you learn?

Yes, Our Front Door Is Green

IMG_7269

The first month of being “Utahians” has been what has seemed a really long vacation. I’m sure that will subside now that we’re all finally in a routine.

Declan is now 5 months old and while I never in a million years planned on being home for 5 months with him, I am incredibly grateful for those 5 months. Needless to say, he is definitely a Momma’s Boy and basically my favorite little human.

When Eric and I came out to look for our home, we wanted our new house to have zero work we had to do to it to make it a home. We landed ourselves an outstanding, personable relator that reminded us of our forever-favorite realtor in Florida and we hit it off right away. We flew out in December and looked at 8 homes. We looked at some amazing homes but nothing was really feeling like “home” or “move in ready”. In fact everything that we looked at required some type of work or renovation. With a baby and new job, we just didn’t want that to be a burden.  We were in town for one more day and our Utah relator called us late that night and said she found a house that was just put back on the market the day prior and we had to go look at it.

We were a little hopeless by this point but little did we know we were about to walk into our dream home away from home. It could have been the charm, the cinnamon rolls that the owners left out for us, or the immense about of love this little family had displayed on the walls, but we left knowing that there was something special about this house!

We were sitting on our plane to fly back to Florida and our forever-favorite realtor from home called us. An offer was put in on our home in town, full asking price no ifs ands or buts. We just knew, it was meant to be. Moving across the country is definitely difficult especially when you plan to purchase property. We had to align closing dates, contingency plans and all the fun stuff that goes with it.  It is in fact nerve wracking.  All I can say is have faith that things will work out and whatever obstacles pop up, take them in stride and be prepared to walk away. I’d say that we weren’t fully relaxed about it until we closed on our house in Florida.

Fast forward two months of inspections, appraisals, and packing and unpacking, we’ve been absolutely loving Utah.  I don’t think we will ever run out of things to do.  Being here makes me more excited for when Declan is tad older and ready to explore with us.


But for now, I wanted to share all the “touristy” things we’ve done since being here…so when you come visit you know exactly how you want to spend your time. Mind you- its obviously been really cold here, so outdoor activity has been limited and has me ITCHING!

 

  1. Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper, Utah is an absolute must. No shame, we’ve been twice. Monday nights are family night and you get $5 off entrance fee. I’ve never been to an aquarium with better exhibits. It’s interactive and they replicate the animals’ natural environment. Even though Declan is still little, he loved tracking the fish, sharks, and jellyfish! It was really amazing to watch. 

  2. Grab brunch at Eva’s bakery to satisfy every sweet tooth you’ve ever had. I’m not a fan any other French toast, not even if its smothered in tart fruit and filling. But Eva’s has me hooked on their stuffed French toast; it’s to die forrrrrr.Their chocolate coffee is made in house and it is every ounce of deliciousness.IMG_1274
  3. Antelope Island is a place that I will absolutely be visiting again soon once it warms up. But if you’ve got a little one like us, this state park has paved roads that lead to their trails which made it nice because we could still explore and stay warm and get this…there are approachable herds of bison and antelope. My brother got up close and personal when he was visiting. 

  4. Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum is wonderful. There is a place for every age group 0-12. I say 12 because I think any 13 year old may feel a little too cool for this place. So many creative ideas to explore and they even do birthday parties. I didn’t get any pictures because we were so busy.
  5. Big Cottonwood Canyon Drive was breathtaking. We drove up to the top of the mountain to the ski lodge.  While there are plenty of trails to pull off and hike, we just drove because it was just too cold out for Declan.  We saw a baby moose, spots for sledding and tubing, hiking, and of course 2 ski lodges. I’ve never seen so much snow in my life and I can only imagine what it looks like in the fall. 

  6. The Morman Temple was amazing the second time around too. The architecture is unbelievable and the Temple really peeks an outsiders curiosity. This is a must see because after all it is the center of what Salt Lake City stands for.  There are several buildings that are open to tourists that give a history breakdown not only of the Morman Religion, but Jesus Christ too.IMG_2529
  7. Easton Salt Lake Archery Center is a must see! The director is so kind and welcoming and the staff and coaches are super friendly and helpful. They have a state of the art facility that attracts Olympians and archers from all over the world. There are classes and programs for all ages. If you leave there and are feeling the itch for taking up archery they offer private lessons too.  Lastly, they offer cosmic archery. I’ve not tried it yet, but definitely plan to when the time is right.

IMG-5233

Even though we’ve been staying busy that doesn’t mean there’s been rough days away from home. We miss everyone a lot especially our friends and family. I can’t just “swing by mom and dads,” we definitely miss Sunday Dinners, and I don’t run into familiar faces at the grocery store. Eric and I wonder a lot if Declan will attend the University of Florida or Utah and is he considered a Utah native or Florida native? Will he love the beach as much as us or is he a destined snowboarder? These are serious questions we talk about after putting this little guy down to bed. Day to day we open that green door (because of my Amazon packages…hahah) and love wondering what opportunity the day has in store for us here in Salt Lake City, Utah while patiently waiting for warmer weather to get out on the trails in less layers!

IMG-7267

Ensign Peak SLC, UTAH

IMG_3063

 

Ensign (pronounced en-sng not en-sign) Peak is a very popular hike in the city. It’s easy to access and not far from the city at all. The best thing about this hike besides the easy access, is that there are 3 different trails. The first trail is paved and super short, it takes you to a look out where you can find a map of what you’re looking at. In the picture above you can see the capital building to the far right.

Eric, Declan and I made this our first hike in SLC. It was a really clear day out and we decided to give it a try. Given the snow and rain combo the more extensive trails were wet and muddy. We tried our best to get to the main overlook, but I was such a nervous nelly about Eric (who was wearing Declan) slipping in the mud slide and both of them being cold, wet, and muddy). Not that I could have done any better, a lot of hikers were turning around.

History Lesson in 5 Seconds: Brigham Young (and 7 other pioneers) came to the top of this mountain to map out the city years and years ago shortly after they arrived in 1847.

If you plan to visit this hike in the snow I would suggest getting some spikes for your hiking boots because under the snow was a thin sheet of ice. You’ll also need some boots/shoes with ankle support because the trail is also incredibly steep. Eric and I also found it helpful to do some side stepping, which we felt inclined to tell everyone that struggled past us. It was like watching baby deer trying to walk on ice.

We can’t wait to go back and try this trail in the Spring when the snow melts so we can make it to the top!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Declan’s first “mini hike”

Head on over if this peaks your interest! 🙂

Trail Head Address: 1002 N Ensign Vista Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 

Utah Trilogy

Yesterday I was talking to my other half who’s million miles away, back home in Florida.  We were diagnosing my Cabin Fever that had developed over the course of two weeks which, for the record was also a combination of homesickness. Moving across the country has definitely been an adjustment. From getting my 4 month old on a plane, setting up our new home, learning my surroundings, and a million trips to Wal-Mart to get things that nobody told me I would need I’ve been shell shocked. We were discussing how to bring down my fever, haha. While Krista and I’s typical conversations are about how we plan to be super teachers, execute and save the world and all the little children in it, our failed attempts at dinner plans and life through and through…  this conversation started off with me writing a story about my dogs. While that would have been super entertaining for a second grader (love you, Krista) we concluded that a trilogy on the move would be more appropriate. SO, I’m going to share with you a three-part adventure of moving out west and all that it entailed (so far).  Like every good teacher does, I’ll break it down into three categories.

Part One: Flying With A (very busy) Infant
Part Two: Moving Out West (The Things You Need But Didn’t Know You Needed)

Part Three: Unfamiliar Places and Faces

Let’s get rolling.

 Part One:Flying With A (very busy) Infant

IMG-6419

Declan was just shy of 4 months old when we flew from Florida to Utah, a 4 hour and 30 minute direct flight from Orlando. This flight had me stressing from the moment I booked it two months ago. Don’t be like me, because you have me! I’m going to help you not be stressed!

  1. Book a flight that is the best time of day for your babe. Declan has been a morning person since the day he was born. In fact, we don’t set alarms because we wake up to the sweet coos of Declan Bear. He’s most happy and chill after a good night’s rest.Also, book an aisle seat incase you have to get up and walk the aisles with your little bear.
  2. But also be prepared to throw your schedule that you worked so incredibly hard on (trust me, I know) out the window for the day and possibly the next day because you will be playing catch up, or adjusting to a new time zone.
  3. Take your car seat to the gate. This was something I had my mind set on from the get go because I’ve witnessed carseats getting tossed under a plane or just falling off the luggage cart in the middle of boarding. While I appreciate the people getting our luggage from point a to b, my carseat is also an investment. So, treat it like Fine China people. Also, how horrible would it be to arrive at your destination and your carseat be back where you left it?
  4. Wear your baby in a comfy carrier. This keeps them close to you, you limit their germs and people touching them, its secure and if your baby is anything like mine, people watching is a must. Number 3 and 4 might seem excessive and you’re probably saying “yeah, right I wasn’t born with 8 arms.” BUT here’s how we managed.  We used the handle on the carry on luggage and flipped the carseat over the handle.
  5. Formula prep! I mentioned before my formula dispenser has been a life changer (see original post in baby registry must haves). I use it every day from day to day to the night shift. I prepped bottles with the idea in mind that our flight MAY get delayed. I made a bottle for each hour that we would be in the air and I labeled them with small sticky notes. I made some full servings for Declan’s big meals, then I also prepped a few 2 ouncers for when his ears pop with elevation change.  I then went through security with two baby bottles with water in them. When you get to security just tell them you have formula and it’s not a hassle at all. We ending up using all 5 feedings that I had prepped. I will share a little secret … go through security with an empty water bottle (or two if you wish) and when you get on the other side of security you can use your empty water bottle to fill up at a water fountain. This saves you money because you won’t have to buy water to use for bottles on the plane.
  6. Entertainment for your baby. I read some blogs before I went that suggested hiding some of your kid’s favorite toys a week a head of time. This way when you reintroduce them on the plane, they’re excited. Well I tried this and Declan really could have cared less about them. So, my advice would be to just go to the dollar store and get you some new toys that light up.
  7. Head to Burlington or any home goods store and get a kids travel pillow. I used this thinking my arms would need some cushion while holding Declan during naps, which it worked great for. Declan also used it for Tummy Time on the plane and thought it was the most hilarious thing he’s ever seen. This may as well been his new toy.
  8. The last bit of guidance I have is, be patient and calm. I found myself getting super anxious during the descend and Declan was totally feeding off me. I also felt like every time Declan squealed or even started to cry everyone was judging me, like they were never a baby or something. I got up and walked Declan a couple times and luckily we had no turbulence so the seat belt sign was off most the time.

How I Packed Our Diaper Bag For Travel

  1. Make sure you have enough diapers to match bottles plus an extra. If you have a boy you always run the risk of a water fountain before you even get the fresh diaper on…
  2. Spare outfit for baby and you. Just incase there some projectile vomiting you don’t want to be wearing it the entire flight.
  3. Pack a gallon sized zip lock bag to put those soiled clothes in. Chances are you won’t need it, rather safe than sorry.
  4. A receiving blanket just incase the temperature on the plane is a little chilly.
  5. Phone charger, wipes, changing pad, and toys are a given.

Over all our first flying experiences was really positive and I’m forever grateful for my momma who flew with us. She was such a huge, huge help and confidence booster. Maybe some day I’ll fill those shoes…

Am I missing out on any more tips or tricks to flying with a little one? I figured this would be the easiest time flying since he’s so young. When we fly home next he will be a bit older and I know it will be totally different. Share with me!