Life With A Toddler…and a Shaved Head.

African American baby

I just realized that I never wrote Elle a letter last month. I am severely slacking. Oh well. Not stressing it. Because that’s my new mantra in life “To not stress the small stuff.” So what if I didn’t write her a letter last month. That doesn’t make me a bad mama. Just a busy one. Whatever yo.

Last week was a crazy week. Between Matron of Honor duties, a sick Elle and lots of work at work, I didn’t have much time to run or sleep. But I’m hoping things are a little better this week. I’m attempting to take it one day at a time. Just one day. I think I’m going to start doing a list of weekly goals. Y’know…just a list of attainable, practical and simple goals. I NEED to feel accomplished at the end of each week.

I’ve also got wedding brain! Esposo and I eloped and I think it was romantic, and fun and cheap but I don’t know…after being in my cousin’s wedding, I’ve been thinking about how I too want to a rock a gorgeous dress and have all our family members surround us as they support our love. But I don’t want to plan anything. I kinda just want to show up and have a beautiful affair. For free. Doesn’t David Tutera do pro-bono work? Ha! A girl can dream.

Here’s hoping to a great start of the weekend! I’m totally missing that hour of sleep but I’m going to tryyyyyy to go to bed early tonight.

Oh and I shaved my hair off again.

Short natural hair

Esposo wasn’t happy. But girls, I ROCK the short cut. And it feels good to literally wash and go. I think I’ll keep it until the end of the summer and then grow it out…*sigh*

Let’s see if I can crank out 2 posts this week. I have SO much that I want to share with and I hope that I have the time to get it out.

Have a fantastic upcoming week!

I Hosted A Care Cards Party!

A few weeks ago, (Grand)Mama Clumps and my sister helped me with a very awesome project. As a Johnson Baby ambassador, I not only get the opportunity to introduce some of their newest and innovative products, but I also get to be a part of showing love to mamas by having a Care Cards party.

DSC_1881

A ginormous box of products landed on my doorstop and the task was simple. Organize said boxes and write sweet letters to expectant mothers. As a new Mom, I was all over this project because I know what it’s like to be a pregnant mama and be absolutely clueless. Sometimes the smallest bit of confirmation can make such a huge difference. And pregnant mamas need this kind of support.

DSC_1879

Plus, any day that I get the chance to play with markers is a GOOD day.

DSC_1876

So, it was quite the honor to be able to write little words of encouragement to so many mamas. We did this over Thanksgiving and chit-chatted away. It took a few hours to decorate the cards, write the sweet words and pack everything up.

DSC_1890

There are so many charities that I know would love passing these out to expectant mamas but I thought that the Beta House here in Orlando would be a great fit. The Beta House shows support to teenage mothers through residential programs, educational opportunities and just making sure that younger parents have as much support as possible. Charities like the Beta House work so hard to provide so much and I know that they are thankful for anything that they can get.

For more information about the Care Cards and to send your own, check out Johnson’s Baby’s Facebook page!

Johnson’s Baby Intense Moisture Cream – it’s not just for babies!

Johnson Intense Moisture Cream Since I live in Florida, I guess Winter really hasn’t hit us yet. I mean, anything under 60 degrees and requires a jacket and I am whining and don’t want to go out of the house. But for those of you who are already knee deep in snow, the lovely people at Johnson’s want to make sure that your skin stays hydrated and soft. The Johnson Baby Intense Moisture Cream isn’t just for your little one’s skin. You can use it to keep your skin soft during those harsh winter days. The cream is “clinically proven to improve dry skin after just one use and it seals in 24 hours of moisture for baby soft skin.”

Johnson Baby Intense Moisture Cream

I am usually skeptical about lotions that promise many hours of hydration, but as far as keeping your skin soft and hydrated, the cream does its job. Just like all of Johnson’s baby products, it has a wonderful light scent that isn’t overpowering like other lotions. The Johnson’s Baby Moisture Intense Cream is available everywhere and definitely worth the purchase. I already have gone through an entire bottle and keep one in my car. To me, nothing ruins an outfit more than dry skin.

Johnson's Baby

And then there’s my precious baby niece who suffers from really dry skin. I think it’s great that there’s a product out there that can not only help my skin, but that can work well on her skin too. I’m a nanny and watch a lot of babies and every time I visit one, I always make sure that I have a bottle of Intense Moisture Cream in my back. Juuuuuust in case.

Johnson’s is the best when it comes to baby skincare products and I’m just excited they have something that works for me too!

 

 

*Disclaimer: Brittany is a Johnson’s Baby ambassador and received this bottle of lotion as a sample.  

 

About the Author:

Courtney is the younger sister of Brittany and a 2012 graduate from Florida State University. Courtney loves listening to Katy Perry, nail polish, reading, and a good work-out. She hates peas, lima beans and negativity. She also ate deodorant once because her lovely older sister made her do it. [B's Edit] Follow her on Twitter at @CourtNichelle.

Beauty in Mommyhood: Elle is 10 months old

Dear Elle,

I love that I’ve been writing you these letters. I love that when you’re older, you’ll get a chance to read my thoughts about what it was like to be your mama when you were just a wee babe. You’re growing up so quickly and it’s hard to remember everything. That’s why I make it my duty to document the basics each month.

10 month old

Look how pretty you are in your red Christmas dress! Unfortunately, you were more interested in eating leaves than smiling for the camera so we have to do a part II of attempting to get you to smile for your Christmas card photos.

You’re almost a year old and while in the past I’d get all weepy about this, I’ve decided to stop that. It is a blessing that you’re growing and developing the way that you are. There isn’t anything to be sad about. We’ve taken a few thousand pictures of you so we’ll always remember how teeny and small you were but to see you go from a tiny lil’ thang to this almost walking and talking little being…that’s sheer amazement! So no. Mama will not get choked up every time I think about how fast you’re growing. I will thank God that you ARE growing and that I get to enjoy this life journey with you.

Baby loves Christmas trees

Look at that. You’re not the only one growin’ up. Mama is too. Your 2 bottom teeth broke through this month and you didn’t cry one bit. In fact, your sore gums bothered me more than they bothered you. And it still surprises Daddy and me how quickly you went from scooting on the floor to crawling 30 miles per hour to now standing with no hands. Wow! You never cease to amaze us.

Oh…and you’re also talking. And A LOT! Some of your favorite words:

-Bob
-Butt
-Pop (you heard Daddy say this once and wouldn’t stop saying it!)
-Mum
-Dada
-Hiiiiiii
-Buh Buh (bye-bye)
-Pat, Pat, Pat
-Uh ooooohhhh
…and the unavoidable “NO”

I noticed you saying “No no no” a few weeks ago and I blamed myself because I got in the habit of telling YOU “no”. Daddy and me are trying to get in the habit of using words other than NO. It’s hard but we certainly don’t want you to go around saying NO! every minute of the day.

A few weeks ago we had a playdate with Sebastian and Cat. I’ve seen you interact with kids older than you but I’ve never seen you around kids smaller and younger than you. You were so sweet! It was as if you knew to be gentle wit him. You even gave him a kiss which just blew my mind!

DSC_1557

FOOD

Okay, mama will be honest. This food thing has me frustrated. Some days you’ll eat a ton of eggs and gluten-free toast. And other days, you’ll toss everything that we hand you. We offer you food multiple times a day but most days you just don’t want it. Mama has to practice patience because it’s a bit disheartening to give food for a baby that just won’t eat. You’re already petite and I want to get you on solids so that the breast milk train can stop a chuggin’ but it’s tough. You really are a picky eater. Daddy has been teaching me how to be patient and you keep developing beautifully so I’ve got to learn how to trust that one day, you’ll eat just fine. Can you believe that I’m still pumping? I’m so proud that I’ve been able to give you breast milk for this long!!

 

Duck face baby

SLEEP

I find solace in knowing I’m not the only mama with an older infant who won’t sleep through the night. It has become tougher since I have a grueling work schedule but I’m hoping that the end is near. Waking up every 3-4 hours at night is tough on your Mom and Dad. We’ve tried letting you cry it out but honestly, that just seems cruel and it’s heartbreaking to hear you scream “Mum” in dispair. Especially when a snuggle or milk is all that want. You sleeping through the night will change our lives for the better so help a family out, baby. Please?

Merry Christmas, baby
PERSONALITY

Girl. Your personality is so alive. You are hilarious. You do silly things (like go around screaming “butt”) that makes everyone chuckle. You also have your moments where you don’t want to smile. You don’t want to be bothered and you don’t want to be held. But then you have your needy days where you cry if someone puts you down. You’re so sweet. Sometimes when I carry you on my back, you rub and pat my arm. The most random things can make you giggle. We have learned to watch what we say because you repeat everythiiiiiing. And you want to get into everything too!

Happy baby

I’ve been learning to let go a little bit too. I’ve realized that I have become such a helicopter mama. I know hovering isn’t always a good thing so I’ve learned to let you play by yourself sometimes. And not always with baby toys. I stopped trying to block you from everything in the house and so you now have free range. That’s right, you’ve been known to dive right into mama’s stash of beauty products. I keep a close eye on you and let you play. Life is short. I don’t want to spend it limiting you to only playing with certain toys, in a certain room and at certain times.We started going to a new church and you’re not a fan of sitting still but you loooove the nursery. You’re such a social baby and I love that.

With every month there are different challenges, celebrations and I am just amazed at how much we are all growing. Daddy watched you for 3 days straight and he did such a good job! Some people call that just “parenting”, but hey…not every Daddy can go grocery shopping with a baby on their back. I am unbelievably proud of him and I love seeing how you can bring out the best of us. And I love the relationship that you have with your Daddy. It’s so beautiful to see you bonding with him.

Father and daughter

I love our little family so much. And we love you so much. You are the light of our lives and I thank God everyday for your health and happiness.

Untitled

Love you, baby.
Mama

 

A Month of Thanks 2013: Day 12 – Caretakers

Crawling baby

I am so grateful for Elle’s in-home daycare provider. I am thankful that she loves my baby as if she were her own grandchild. She cuddles her and knowing that my child is being watched by someone that I can trust makes being away from her so much easier.

It’s SO hard to find good caretakers. I get sad wishing that I had an Aunt or cousin nearby who could watch Elle. But we live in this big city by ourselves and I’m just ever so thankful that we have caretakers that we can trust.

AVEENO Baby collection giveaway!

Yo. It’s gettin’ cooler ’round these parts. By the way, I was never one to say “Yo”. I clearly watch way too much Breaking Bad. Best show everrrr! And when it comes to Elle’s skincare, AVEENO Baby has been rocking our world. The brand sent me some of their products and we’ve loved them so much that we’ve already gone and re-purchased some things.

Aveeno Baby skincare

Remember how bummed out I was about Elle and her eczema-ridden skin? I was breaking my neck trying to find a product that could not only alleviate her flare ups but prevent them from happening. Since she still drinks breast milk I decided to go gluten-free for 2 weeks and lo and behold, her skin cleared up. I’ve been on a gluten-free (and dairy-free diet) for almost 3 months and so far so good. Elle’s skin is flourishing. Every now and then she’ll appear with some dry patches and that’s when I like to use these AVEENO Baby products.

I used to be all “natural skincare ONLY!” but when your baby is clawing at her itchy skin to the point that she begins bleeding, you’ll try anything. Coconut oil and shea butter just wasn’t cutting it. I find that the AVEENO Baby products are mild enough to be used daily and Elle’s skin seems to feel better when I used them. Like the Baby Cleansing Therapy Moisturizing Wash…

Aveeno Baby Calming Wash

Baby girl doesn’t get baths daily (they’re too drying for her) but when she suds up, this creamy wash rocks. I love massaging it on her drier areas. The Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream is my favorite though…

Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy

We use this daily and it’s the only product that not only makes her skin FEEL better but it lasts throughout the day. We ran out of this stuff and ended up buying more.

Are you a mama that has a baby with dry skin? Or are you a mama to be? Or do you know a mama who could get some use out of these? I’m giving away the full AVEENO & AVEENO Baby Eczema Therapy collection.

Good luuuuck!

 

(congrats to our lucky winner – Patricia in Connecticut!)

JOHNSON’s Drugstore Beauty Challenge: The Results!

Remember when I had the JOHNSON’s Drugstore Beauty Challenge and picked a few folx who promised that if they won, they would share their experiences with dabbling into some luscious products?

Check out what Liz has to say!

JnJ Body Wash

After scoring some awesome Johnson’s products (Vanilla Oatmeal Baby Moisture Wash and Baby Lotion, Baby Bedtime Moisture Wash and Baby Bedtime Lotion, Baby Bubble Bath & Wash, Baby Moisture Wash, Soothing Vapor Baby Bath and Baby Shampoo), I had only just brought them in before my Mr. asked if he could use these products, too, if they were in the shower. When I told him he could, he got REALLY excited about the Soothing Vapor Baby Bath, and immediately tried to inhale the scent. Too bad the safety seal was still on the bottle!

Of course, once I told people I was trying Johnson’s baby range, I heard a whole host of stories about their daily use of baby lotion, baby oil, and baby oil gel. To this day, my mom makes a concoction she refers to as “goop” which consists of a mixture of petroleum jelly and Johnson’s baby oil (there is NOTHING like goop on your feet! Nothing.).

JnJ Lotion

Browsing in the stores, I was very surprised at the range of Johnson’s products, including a natural range and cream in a tube that I imagine would be perfect for the dry autumn and winter months! The best thing of all is that I not only have a ton of products to use, I’ve found a new favorite thing. I have found my HG eye makeup remover, and it is Johnson’s baby shampoo! I already use Johnson’s Baby Shampoo to clean my makeup brushes; it cleans them gently, but thoroughly, so I’m not sure why it never occurred to me that it would make an AMAZING eye makeup remover. My daily work eye makeup look includes eye primer, two eyeshadows, brow pencil and two different mascaras, and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is thorough yet gentle in removing ALL of that.

See! Who says you need an actual babeh to make good use out of these products! Thanks for sharing, Liz!

Beauty in Mommyhood: Elle is 7 Months Old

Baby is 7 months old

Dear Elle,

Oh my big girl…you’ve been going through so much this past month. Between teething pain, learning how to get up on all 4’s and developing some attachment to Mommy and Daddy, you have taken us on quite a trip. And that’s okay. Every day we’re noticing how much you’re changing. It is painfully obvious how much our baby is growing. When you want something, you won’t hesitate to let us know by shrieking. You’re grabbing at everythiiiiing (including Daddy’s beard) and I love watching you inspect a toy thoroughly before jamming it in your mouth.

Happy baby

My favorite thing to do with you is take you outside to see the fountain in the neighborhood. You LOVE this fountain. You’re just like me in that regard because I love water too. You also love taking a bath. And you had your first trip to the pool this month!

Baby bathing suit

It’s so much fun watching you splash around in it. You skin is clearly up and it’s due to mama kicking gluten out of her diet. I feel terrible that the reason why your skin was going haywire was because of me consuming gluten. Your skin used to be itchy and red and you used to scratch it so hard that you would bleed. But not anymore!

Pretty baby

We went to our first playdate a few weeks ago and I got to see how excited you are around other kids. You are really a social butterfly. It’s amazing to watch you giggle and squirm when you’re around babies your own age. It was always hard sending you off to your sitter at 3 months but now I’m glad I did because it’s obvious that you need and love the social interactions. Oh…and you learned how to wave! Which, I think, is the cutest thing eeeeever. You can wave hello and bye bye.

And then there’s food…

Baby eats peas

We officially started you on food at 6 months but you weren’t really interested. Things have changed and now you are giving food a chance. But only if you can feed yourself. You want to be in control. You have no interest in purées so we offer you smaller versions of the fruit and veggies that we eat. It’s called “baby led weaning” and so far it has been working for us. You’ve eaten sweet potatoes, carrots, strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, bananas, peas apples, eggs, spinach and lots of other veggies. We’re staying away from grains (remember, you’ve got that gluten allergy), meat and dairy. Feeding you this way has allowed us to eat healthier so it’s working out for everyone. You are also drinking water or breast milk from a cup after you have food. You are surprisingly good at not spilling it everywhere.

Every time I take a picture of you I am noticing how you don’t look like my little bitty baby anymore. You’re growing up and ohmigoodness, I’m tearing up just typing this. Mama doesn’t know why. I adore watching you grow but but…I don’t know, I just loved the newborn period. As hard as it was, I loved it. I know each month and year will come with challenges and while I’m excited to see what cool thing you do next, I also get sad.

Baby at table

I know it sounds strange but I think other parents can relate. I’m finding so many ways to continue to be close to you though. I know you want to be independent and not cuddle up on mama so much but between babywearing, taking walks and reading stories…

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

…I manage to continue to baby you. And will do so for quite some time. Oh! And this crawling thing is starting to happen…

Baby crawling

I can’t believe it. I was all freaking out at how you didn’t show any interest in crawling and then one day you popped up on all 4’s and did that. Now I want you to take your time. Ha! I’ve finally managed to get you in cloth diapers 100% of the time

Sunbaby cloth diapers

My crunchy mom status has gone to new height. I always thought cloth diapering would be a good way to go but I never thought I’d actually do it. And yet, here we are. Saving a TON of money on not buying diapers.

Elle Stats:

First Word Was Said: DaDa!
Favorite Food: Eggs and stawberries
Favorite Toy: Sophie the Giraffe
Favorite Place To Be: On someone’s back
Most Hated Place To Be: Your car seat
Things That Make You Laugh: When Daddy takes you on flights, when Mama steals your neck sugar, playing peek-a-boo, having your tummy kissed and when FaceTime’ing with Gam.
A Sad Moment: You had your first fever this month. It lasted for 2 days and you were miserable. We figured it was due to teething and while we can see those 2 teeth at the bottom, they haven’t popped up just yet.

Oh, and guess what? You are starting to look more and more like me! This makes your Mama very happy. And Daddy is jealous. You’re so loved and adored that we both want you to look like us.

Keep making us proud, baby girl.

Love You,
Mama