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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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!)

Baby Goodies from Alex and Alexa

This post is sponsored by Alex and Alexa. I’ve featured this super cute baby site on Clumps of Mascara before. Elle is quite the fashionista. No thanks to me because my fashion-sense is somewhere between boho and hippie. But dressing  a baby girl is so much easier. Elle Belle is pretty petite for her age and it’s a great thing because she can really get some use out of her clothes before growing out of them. I’m okay with spending just a little bit more on ’em because I know we’ll get our money’s worth.

…that is, if she doesn’t poop ’em up. Parents know what I mean. 😉 Check out some of the baby stuff I’m lusting for on Alex and Alexa.

Alex and Alexa

Sophie La Girafe

Let’s talk toys first because Elle, after all, is a baby. She could care less about dressin’ cute. She just wants to play! Sophie the Giraffe is this insanely popular toy for teething babies. I haven’t purchased it because it’s upward $30 but I can totally get down with the bath tub version. Elle Belle loves splashing in the tub so I know she would enjoy this.

Bang Bang Copenhagen Navy & White Stripe Headband

My sweet girl rocks the headbands. They’re her signature. I’ve never seen one so cute and retro. She doesn’t have a lot of black in her wardrobe so I’m thinking around winter, she’ll have some darker shades. This headband will fit beautifully in her already large headband collection.

Tate Publishing Shape by David Goodman and Zoe Miller

I’ve been reading to Elle since she was in my belly. It’s a little hard reading to her these days because she likes to eat the books but that doesn’t stop me from trying. I like how colorful this book is. I mean, it’s beautiful, full of colors and shapes. And it’s the kind of book I’ll be okay with reading a thousand times.

Mirella Pink Dragonfly Tutu

All little girls need tutus. I promised not to be that Mom that would make her daughter dress super girly but I can’t help it. She’ll just look too darling in a tutu. I doubt we’ll go anywhere in it but I am so okay with taking pictures of her in it and calling it a day.

Sneakers

Elle needs kids sneakers but her feet are so so small. She can barely get into a size 2. That’s okay though. I’ll be stashing sneaks until her feet grow a little bigger. Alex and Alexa have such adorable shoes for babies and toddlers.

 

Mamas, Grandmamas, godmamas, Aunties, or friends who have friends with babies…did you see anything cutesy?

 

5 Perks of Cloth Diapering. And my cloth diapering story.

Cloth diapers

When it comes to cloth diapering you’ll come across 2 kinds of people. Those that would never try it or those that swear by it. There are very few people in between.

And then there’s me. Y’all know I like to keep it real. So if you’re a mama, expecting mama or just like reading about cloth diapers (I was into that before I had kids….), carry on.

Rainbow cloth diaper

I always knew I’d give cloth diapering a whirl but soooo many people told me how HARD it was. And of course these were all people who had never tried it themselves. But c’mon…many people label me as this crunchy/hippie mama who had a baby in a birthing center and had her placenta encapsulated so doesn’t cloth diapering kinda follow that label? It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. And there are really so many reasons to love it!

Saves money

Duuuuh. Average diaper costs range from $.14 to $.23 per diaper. A newborn has to be changed at least every 2 hours. So in one day of newborn’s life you’re spending at least $2.00 a day in diapers. Meanwhile, our cheapest cloth diaper is $5 and guess what? It will last until our babe is potty training. AND…we can use it for consecutive children. Hells yeah!

Landfills

Now I never claimed to be the most eco-conscious person in the world but dang, the thought of tossing out over 10 diapers a day just seems…wrong. I feel better knowing I’m freeing up some landfill space by not havin’ my babe’s poopy diapers slung all over the place.

Prettier

Yeah yeah…call me vain but they really are. Plain white diapers with some random cartoon character on them? Boar-riiiiiing. Changing diapers will never be fun but I’m in better spirits when I’m changing a rainbow diaper.

Gentle

Especially if your baby has sensitive skin like my babe’s. Cloth is gentler on her bum .

Customizable

We prefer to use one size pocket diapers and they are awesome because you adjust the absorption by adding different kinds of inserts. You can also adjust the leg sizes on many diapers and this is a huge perk for smaller or larger babies.

Inserts

But there are downfalls to cloth diapering too…

-Emptying a dirty diaper pail will never be fun.
-Touching poo is bound to happen.
-No one will want to change your baby because cloth diapers confuse some people (i.e. daycares)
-It’s a bit inconvenient on the go.
-Finding a routine can take time.

Cloth diapers for babies

I thought cloth diapering was something you did or didn’t do. That you either WEREN’T going to do it or you had a stash of 30 diapers before your child made their entrance in the world. But naw playa. After we went through all of the disposable diapers that we received from our baby shower, we slowly transitioned to cloth. We clothed at night and on the weekends. Then I found a sweet local mama who was selling a huge stash of diapers for a crazy awesome price.

And then it took forever to find the perfect wash routine.

But do I have any regrets? Noooope. Cloth diapering works for our family and I’m so glad I didn’t listen to the naysayers and gave it a whirl. We only wash diapers every 2-3 days and we’re saving hundreds of dollars on not buying diapers.

Ours

Brands We Own:

Charlie Banana
Blueberry
Sunbaby
Kawaii
City Knickers Diapers

Approximate Number of Diapers:

25-27

Style of Diapers:

One Size Pocket diapers with snaps and aplix

Inserts used:

Microfiber
Charcoal Bamboo
Hemp/Cotton

Where did/do we purchase cloth diapers from?:

Local co-ops
Moms who make customized cloth diapers
Target (Charlie Bananas)
Second hand from local mamas

Cost Spent on Diapers and Accessories

Around $200

Accessories we own

1 small wetbag for diaper bag
1 wet/dry wetbag for when Elle goes to her sitter
1 large wetbag for traveling
1 diaper pail (aka trash can)
1 diaper pail liner
30+ cloth wipes (aka baby washcloths)

Any cloth diapering mamas out there? Or moms who tried it and didn’t like it?

JOHNSON’s Baby Drugstore Beauty Challenge – win a gift card!

Oh darliiiiings, I’ve got a super cool challenge for you. For years I’ve been talking about the awesomeness that is JOHNSON’s Baby products. I’ve featured several ways of how you can use them. And not just in your beauty routine either but throughout the house, your car and office too. I’m a multi-purpose kind of girl and I’ve found a dozen ways to use these babies.

Johnsons Baby

And while I can brag about them alllll day long, I’d love to see how you’d use ’em. That’s right. I’ve got a super cool Drugstore Beauty Challenge. I’m calling all willing participants to spend some money (not your own, of course) on JOHNSON’s Baby products and show me how you’d use JOHNSON’s Baby products to replace beauty products in your stash.

Baby

The unknown reality is that you really don’t have to spend a ton of money on beauty stuffs. You’ll find all kinds of amazing ways to use baby products  and they can really fit very well into your daily life whether you’ve got a babeh or not. So if you are willing to take the challenge, here’s what I need from THREE of you lovely ladies…or gents.

Drugstore Beauty Challenge

Sounds simple enough, huh? This opportunity is only open to my U.S. guys and girls. Good look and I can’t wait to see what awesome ideas you beauty babes come up with.

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Beauty in Mommyhood: NUK’s Seal n’ Go Breast Milk Bags

Okay, so now that I’ve got more time on my hands, I am going to be doing more baby-focused reviews. I know. You’re excited, huh? Every time I turn around I’ve got another friend expecting a babeh and asking me something related to breastfeeding. I can never offer any advice because breastfeeding was a total FAIL for Elle and I but what I do know is pumping. I pump my life away yo. Nuk so graciously sent me some of their breast milk bags to review and I couldn’t be happier.

Breastmilk bags

While I was sent some of these to review, I have also purchased and been giving manyyyyyyyy breast milk storage bags from my moms who I donate milk to. In the 7 months that I have been exclusively pumping I have filled up thousands of breast milk storage bags. So I know a few things about ’em.

Nuk breastmilk bags

About NUK’s Seal n’ Go Breast Milk Bags:
-100% leak-proof double zipper seal
-Superior oxygen barrier for freshness
-BPA free
-Leak proof double zipper seal protects against leaking

Nuk

I’ve tried 3 different brands of breast milk storage bags and Nuk’s get the job done, mamas. I do more filling up than I do defrosting them but both tasks require having sturdy breast milk bags. These are nice. They aren’t my absolute favorite because I find that the zipper seal can’t be easily sealed but I use them regularly and haven’t experienced any leaks. I like to fill my bags up to 7 oz  and these bags are completely stuffed at about 7 oz. I find that I can get more milk in other bags.

Breast Milk Storage bags

And like all breast milk bags, the measurements on the bag are all kinds of wrong. I usually measure my milk in a bottle and don’t refer to the bag.

And these bags aren’t just great for breast milk. We like storing Elle’s homemade baby food in them too.

Baby food

Esposo and I like to steam and purée fresh vegetables for Elle, put them in ice cube trays, freeze them, pop ’em in breast milk bags and then take them out when we need them. These bags are fantastic for storing food! The food stays fresh and tasty.

Bottom line: If you’re a lactating mama or a mama who likes to freeze homemade breast milk, you’ll like these bags. Plus, they’re pretty affordable too at only $6.99 for 25 bags.