Flying With Kids (the reality)


The first few times we flew with our son, he was young enough to be entertained by the safety pamphlet on the plane. I was sure that flying with him this time, at over a year and a half, wouldn’t be so simple.

You can bet that I planned out the perfect checklist for keeping him happy during our flight from North Carolina to Texas (including one 3-hour Atlanta layover).

Of course, you and I both know, that no matter how much you plan and prep, things can always go a different way. My dream flight turned into reality very quickly.

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6 Tips for Packing for Kids

Hello I’m Jordan. And I’m an over-packer. I’ve always been this way; packing for every type of weather, taking full bottles of shampoo for one weekend, and having my suitcase bursting at the seams when I close it.

(Pictured above: Our trip to Texas the previous Summer where I thought packing a whole separate suitcase would be a good alternative. Try dragging that thing around airport after airport…)

The first trip we took after having our son was hard for me. Not because I was afraid he’d get cranky or because we’d be on a germ infested airplane, but because it meant I would have to pack both my things AND my son’s in ONE suitcase!
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#RockingMotherhood Challenge


10 Ways That I’m Rocking Motherhood!

I say it all the time…”I’m totally winging this whole motherhood thing.” I spend half of my day trying to get my toddler to eat something other than hotdogs and cheese and the other half arguing about why he needs to keep his diaper on.

When my friend and fellow mom blogger, Little Bit Of Learning, challenged me to write out 10 ways that I’m rocking motherhood, I pushed it to the back of the writing pile. It’s difficult to boast about what you’re doing right when you’re constantly unsure of what you should be doing in the first place. Now with Mother’s Day here, I thought I’d give myself a little gift and brag away.

So here are just 10 ways that I’m rocking motherhood:
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Breastfeeding Diaries: Nursing Essentials

This post may contain affiliate links that result in my compensation. These links are for products/service I would or do already use. Thank you for your support!

No matter what project you take on you need the perfect set of tools. You get a manicure and you have nail polish, a file, clippers… you paint a picture, you have a paint brush and a canvas. To me, breastfeeding was no different. Of course nursing a baby is much bigger and more important than painting your nails or a picture, but it does require a certain checklist if you want to do it efficiently and comfortably.

Of course your breastfeeding essentials may vary from my own but if you’re just starting out or preparing to nurse and have no idea where to begin, feel free to check out my list!

1. A good nursing bra.
One that clips in the front! This will save you from a lot of fumbling as your baby quickly grows hungry. They’re also incredibly comfortable and you may find yourself wanting to wear them for months AFTER you’ve weaned the baby from the breast.
Found at: Target
Tip: Wait to be fitted until after the baby is born and your milk has come in then buy the bra. 


2. Tank Tops.
If you’re more on the modest side and don’t want to lift your entire shirt up in public then this will be a staple in your closet. Layer it under your shirt and simply pull the top down for the baby to eat (this will help keep your tummy covered).
Found at: Old Navy or Target
Tip: Don’t pay for overpriced nursing tanks; instead buy some simple tank tops that are big enough to pull down!

3. A good cover.
Blankets will work for this but I recommend using a light weight, breathable one. I personally decided to invest in an Udder Cover and am so glad I did! These not only come in some extremely cute prints but they are light and airy with a little plastic insert that allows you to see the baby as your nurse. Each one also has a strap that’s acts almost like an apron keeping the cover securely attached to you. This provided a huge peace of mind and made it much easier to maneuver the baby without letting the cover slip.
Found at: Uddercover.com
Tip: use the code 767593 at checkout to save $35 on yours today!


(using my Udder Cover after crossing the finish line at a 10k)

4. A reliable pump.
Whether you plan to go back to work or just go out to see a movie, you’ll want a good pump you can depend on. My recommendation is to use one that is easy to travel with. My Medela came in a backpack so it was great on the go.
Found at: Target
Tip: Check with your insurance..they may cover some or all of the cost of a pump!

5. A bottle you’re comfortable with.
As a mom who felt strongly about breastfeeding it was very important to me that I find a bottle that would be as similar to the breast as possible. There are a variety of options. Do your research and you’ll find one that you’ll feel comfortable with. We used bottles very seldom but when we did we used Munchkin Latch bottles.
Found at: Target
Tip: Keep in mind that many bottles have “stages” based on age/size of baby. Don’t get one that is too big or small for your little one. 

6. Nursing pads.
A Breastfeeding mom’s worst nightmare…leaking! Chances are, the leaking may begin towards the end of your third trimester. Having nursing pads on hand will save you some discomfort and a lot of embarrassment. They tuck securely into your bra and are comfortable enough that I had no problem wearing them for the entire 12 months that I breastfed!
Found at: Target
Tip: if you’re leaking and using these, I recommend also getting a “sleep bra“. It’s a thin cotton bralett type of bra that will help jeep the pads securely in place through the night. I found mine at Here at Target as well.

 (Picture via www.breastfeedingmamatalk.com)

7. A mommy-worn teething necklace.
These adorable accessories come in handy for much more than teething! During my breastfeeding experience my son would paw at me like a puppy. To be honest, being scratched and pinched by little baby fingers isn’t ideal. Wearing a teething/nursing necklace will keep those little hands busy while nursing. It allows them to grab and hold onto something other than your boob or shirt (which you are probably trying to keep up and off of the baby’s face!). My absolute favorite nursing necklace is by The Vintage Honey Shop. They’re absolutely beautifully handmade and they offer a variety of styles/patterns. Best of all, I’ve teamed up with them to GIVE one lucky reader a $25 gift card to their shop in an INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY!

To enter:
1. Visit our Instagram @beautifullyimperfectmama and follow us!
While you’re there, like the giveaway photo for an entry!
For more entries tag a friend (1 entry per friend) or Share our post (be sure to tag us so we know!)
2. Head on over to @thevintagehoneyshop and follow their page as well!
Giveaway ends Tuesday April 11, 2017!

You may find that you need some or all of these items but either way I definitely recommend checking them out. Life doesn’t give you a checklist for motherhood and winging it can be tough. I hope my Nursing Essentials here at least gave you an idea of what to look for!

What was your MUST have product when you breastfed? Do you have a concern and need a product to help? Comment below and maybe we can find an answer for you!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our series. This includes product recommendations for breastfeeding for the first time and tips on nursing in public!

**Still need to create your baby registry? Click here to create yours today!

Breastfeeding Diaries: Nursing in Public

This post may contain affiliate links and result in my compensation. These links are true recommendations for products that I would or do already use. Thank you for your support.


Nursing in public was once one of my BIGGEST fears about breastfeeding. There are all sorts of stories about women getting dirty looks, lectures from strangers, or even having an accidental slip of the cover! As if I really needed more pressure as a first time mom right? But I did what any overwhelmed mama would do and pushed those fears aside, figuring I’d cross the bridge when I got there.

That bridge appeared one afternoon two weeks into my postpartum adventure. My husband, my mother in law, and I took the baby to a store on base to browse around (really I was just getting cabin fever from being stuck at the house). Things we’re going smoothly as we wandered the store then the inevitable happened… the baby got hungry. In a panic I debated going to the bathroom (gross) or the dressing room (awkward) to feed the baby. Instead I settled on the car.

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Breastfeeding Diaries: The First Time

 

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This article contains affiliate links and may result in my compensation. These items are true and honest recommendations for things that I would or do already use. Thank you so much for your support.

   If you’re reading this then you have likely decided to breastfeed or are seriously considering it. Now, I have to tell you that I am not writing this to talk you into it one way or another just as it is not meant to freak you out. I am however, here as your friend, to be honest; the first few times nursing can be TOUGH. Again, I am here as a friend. I am not a doctor, nurse, or breastfeeding expert. I am here to give advice from my own personal experiences with breastfeeding. Always consult your doctor or an expert should you have any continual difficulty. 

   Let me start by painting you a little picture: you’ve just given birth, you’re tired, emotional, and probably very sensitive (both emotionally and physically). They hand that sweet baby to you for his first feeding, you don’t even have time to think, you’re just so in love with the little life you’ve create, he latches to your nipple and OUCH!

   That was not what you were expecting. The nurses will of course explain that it’s perfectly normal, that your breasts just need time to adjust and they’re right. Breastfeeding in general should not be painful but those first few times (when you and your breasts are new to the game) can be difficult and uncomfortable. Here are some tips to help you push through those first few days:

  1. Ask for help.
    Simple and very true. Breastfeeding can be tricky and you need to listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, you need help getting baby to latch, or just need some encouragement, don’t hesitate to ask for your hospital’s lactation consultant. If they are unavailable you can call the Le Leche League helpline (visit llli.org to find a local chapter in your area or call 1-877-4LALECHE). Many hospitals are now offering classes as well.
  2. Be Prepared.
    There are a few items that I wish I had known about from the very beginning. I recommend looking at the following list and deciding which items to stock up on ahead of time, or even register for! (Haven’t created your registry yet? Click here to begin!)

    Lansinon Lanolin Cream This cream will both sooth and protect dry, sore, and cracked nipples (eek the truth hurts I know!). The best part is that it is a 100% natural product, meaning it is safe for both you and baby.
    Found at: Target
    TIP: some hospitals will provide you with samples but to be safe I recommend having a tube on hand.

    Disposable Nursing Pads These won’t help with pain but they will save you a whole lot of embarrassment when your milk comes in! Simple to use and comfortable to wear, I used them the entire year I breastfed.
    Found at: Target

    **These last two items are for extreme cases (I personally used BOTH of these those first 2 days at the hospital)

    Soothies Gel Pads These provide instant cooling relief and are even reusable for up to 72 hours.
    Found at: Target
    TIP: You can also use cabbage leaves (cooled in the fridge first) or you can even put a (unused) diaper in the freezer and apply directly to the breast when needed!

    NUK Nipple Shields These are basically armor for your nipples. Just because your nipples are sore doesn’t mean baby will give you a break and stop eating. These provide a great break for you while still giving baby what he/she needs.
    Found at: Target

  3. Remember it will pass.
    Yes, it hurts and yes, it’s hard; but so was childbirth and you got through that right? Be patient with your body. If breastfeeding is something you truly want to do then remind yourself of the reasons and remember that you will be happy you stuck with it in the long run.
  4. Look at your baby.
    A big reward of breastfeeding is the connection it gives you and your baby. The endorphins nursing releases may just be the ultimate helping hand in sticking with it. So just take a deep breath, look at that beautiful baby, and enjoy the moment.

I hope this helps! If you have decided to nurse, please just remember that breastfeeding should not be painful. Remember that you are not alone mama and please take advantage of some or all of these tips. You will survive those first couple of days and it will be smooth sailing from there!

The “Wild Ones”


There are the “terrible twos” then you have your “threenagers”, but nobody ever warns you about the “Wild Ones”. 

My son can’t even speak in full sentences yet but does that stop him from telling me off? Nope. He’ll baby babble at me until he’s blue in the face.

He’s only been walking for 6 months but has somehow mastered stomping and dramatically dropping to the ground for an oscar worthy tantrum. 

I never thought my son looked much like me (he’s the spitting image of my husband) but that look he just gave me when I said, “no more fruit snacks”, has me written all over it. Oh if looks could kill…

These are the “Wild Ones”; I don’t know where they came from and I don’t know when they’ll go away but I do know we (moms) can survive them.

Maybe this is God’s way of preparing me for the 2’s, 3’s, or worse..puberty! All I can do is stay strong and survive my 1 year old with the help of:

Coffee. I try to limit my caffeine intake to only one cup a day but some days (days when my son protests naptime like he’s fighting for world peace) I will have a second cup or a third…heck, I might even drink a fourth! And I’ll make it strong. 

Friends. I will call up a friend or two and invite them to my house (even if it looks like The Rolling Stones just passed through on tour). I will use adult contact to keep my sanity! Chances are she’s been there and knows just what I’m going through. 

My husband. There is no greater help than my husband. I depend on him as he does me. He understands better than anyone the joys and struggles of my daily life and does everything he can to help and support me. Especially if that means taking over bathtime!

Humor. Lastly, as my son is laying on the grocery store floor screaming because I insisted that he wears his left shoe, I will laugh (Of course I will do my best to do so where he can’t see me. We wouldn’t want to reinforce the bad behavior. But yes, I will turn and giggle or laugh in my head as we get dirty looks from strangers). I will do this because he is 1. He’s little and upset for a ridiculous reason. I will laugh because life (and his childhood) goes by fast and isn’t it better to spend it smiling rather than scowling? 

Image via some cards

Of course there are also many wonderful things about this stage of my son’s life. We have fun and laugh, learn and discover. We snuggle and sing, play and rejoice. The hard parts will pass. The tantrums, the fits…my son will grow out of it (with the right guidance and discipline of course). One day the “wild ones” will be a distant memory (one that I can remind him of as he calls me one day to complain about his own unruly 1 year old).


Until then, wish me luck. And remember, if you too are experiencing the “wild ones”, you’re not alone mama. Stay strong. 

Learning Through Everyday Activites

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One of my favorite parts of parenting is seeing my son learn and discover new things every single day. From puzzles to animal noises and even to learning how to brush his own teeth, my pride swells up with each new accomplishment.

Now I’m no professional educator, I’m completely winging it when it comes to motherhood. But I have found that being a stay at home mom has allowed me to find new ways to slip some learning into our normal everyday activities. Some of these I started without even realizing it was a “lesson” (I’m sure you can relate to the boredom that sometimes leads to you breaking out in “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes”).

Here are 5 of my favorites to do with my little one:

  1. Sing your ABC’s while brushing your teeth and while washing your hands. This will also prevent them from rushing through the activity itself. 
  2. Count stairs. Perfect if you have stairs in your house or live on the upper level of an apartment.
  3. Name body parts while getting dressed or washing in the bath. This one is easy to do and chances are you’ve already been doing it all a long!
  4. Make up your own songs. I don’t like things quiet so I find myself singing things like “Stir, stir, stir…stir, stir, stir,..stir your dinner..” to the beat of “Shake your body” by KC and the Sunshine Band. 
  5. Get on the floor with them. If they’re doing a puzzle on the floor, get off the couch and do it with them. If they’re watching TV, ask them questions or play along with the show. My son loves Sesame Street, so whenever the “Number of the Day” comes on I drop whatever I’m doing and stomp/count along with him and Count Dracula. If he is showing interest in something throughout the day, I do my best to support and encourage that. 

There are many more activities you can do with your little ones if you just look for the opportunity. Turn mundane activities into learning experiences and your little ones will be grateful for it. Days spent at the house can be boring, why not spice it up and have some fun? Even if my child doesn’t say his ABC’s at an advanced age, at least we had some fun while brushing our teeth. It’s the little things right?

What daily activities do you turn into learning experiences for your children?

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Even Moms Need a Time Out

 

  “Me time”. We take it when we can get it; during naptime, at 11 PM when you know you should be catching up on sleep…even hiding in the bathroom. 

   As moms we dedicate our lives to our family and we do it proudly. There is no shame in loving what you do as a mother and wife but there’s also no shame in taking time for yourself. A “time out” of sorts. There’s nothing wrong with pretending you had to pee for 5 minutes so you could beat a few levels in Candy Crush. It’s okay to ask their dad to give them a bath so you can shower in peace. And there is definitely no harm in having hobbies that have nothing to do with your children or husband.

   Here are a few of my favorite Mom Time Outs:

  1. Writing. Whether for my blog or for my working novel, writing can be a kind of therapy. It’s a time to reflect and grow or a chance to create a world in which I’m not “mama mama mama”. If something comes out of it, great! If not, then at least the room was very, very quiet for the moment.
  2. Coloring. Yes, coloring! A pastime not just for children anymore. They even make “mom life” coloring books (which I relate to on a frightening level) and “bad word” coloring books (for the moments when you’d like nothing more than to shout them out but can’t because little ears are always listening). Oh and the best part…there’s no one to tell you that you have to color in the lines!
  3. Shower. For no reason other than I can take the time to shave my legs. When I first had my son I would try to prop him up in the bathroom with toys, books, even snacks. While I may have had time to wash and condition my hair, a meltdown typically ensued by the time I picked that razor up. Now that I’m a more “seasoned” parent, I’ve learned to schedule my day so that a shower takes place at night (when my husband is home and can give my LO a bath). My husband taking over bathtime = quality time for father and son + quiet silky smooth leg time for mommy. 

   So there you have it! A mom’s version of a time out. It seems simple, but to a busy mom (whether you’re a SAHM or a working mama) those little moments make a world of difference on our overall happiness. What are some of your favorite mama time outs?

Xoxo J.

Celebrating The Little Big Things

My son is 1 and in his world there is always something new to discover. I find that as a parent it is easy to forget that to him, everything is new and exciting.

I try my best to remember this and to celebrate each new discovery with him. Yes, I knew a leggo would fit in that cup, but he’s just figured it out. So when he plopped that leggo into the cup and did a happy dance, shouting “YAYYY!”, you can bet that I joined in on the festivities.

As parents our lives are busy and filled with things like bills, grocery lists, cleaning, etc. We need to remember that those things aren’t going anywhere, but the wonder and magic in our children’s lives is. It will not last forever; they will not be easily impressed or wildly entertained by the little things.

That is why I will drop whatever I am doing and dance around the living-room with my son, shouting “YAYYY!”, like I just won the lottery, all because he put a leggo in a cup. I will celebrate the little things for the simple fact that they are big to him. I encourage you all, as parents, to do the same.

xoxo JW

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