Easter Basket Fillers

Easter Basket Fillers

Easter basket fillers are so much fun! I typically go with a theme when it comes to filling Easter Baskets for the boys – this year its beach themed. So I am filling their baskets with swim shorts, towels, hats, and water bottles! When filling Easter baskets, I always want it to be practical but also something they will be excited to get.

We’ve rounded up different ideas for Easter baskets for all your littles: babys, boys, girls, and gender neutral ideas!

Happy shopping!

Kids Easter Baskets

Kids Easter Baskets

I am having a hard time believing that Easter is just about 1 month away! I don’t know what it is, but I feel like time is flying and although April sounds far away… it will be here before you know it. That being said, it is time to order those Easter baskets – especially if you want them personalized. We have rounded up a handful of Easter baskets that we think are darling.

Sports Basket – a perfect Easter basket for your sports loving little
Gingham Basket – these are the baskets that I have for the boys (Prestons light blue/mint color) is no longer available
Peter Rabbit Basket – this basket is absolutely darling for a boy or a girl!
Petal Basket – how precious is this floral, petal basket?!
Polkadot Basket – this is such a simple, yet classic basket that will last your little girl forever!
Canvas Bunny Basket – you can buy this in a set of three or individually. How perfect for brothers and sisters!
Plaid Basket – this basket just scream spring to me!
Blue Bunny Basket – this basket is precious and if you have somewhere to take it to get personalize, that would make it that much more adorable
Personalized Baskets – this is the basket that Michelle has for Kylie, it is so cute and well made!
Searsucker Basket – this also comes in a pink color for girls!

Wellness Wednesday Pregnancy Edition: Earth Mama Products

Wellness Wednesday Pregnancy Edition: Earth Mama Products

For both of my pregnancies I have made it my goal to continue my active, healthy lifestyle. For my first pregnancy, this was “easy” as I didn’t have a toddler to look after. I had the luxury of going to the gym when I wanted, having all the time in the world to make home-made meals, and was able to put myself and goals first. This second time around I’ve had to get a little creative in taking care of myself which is why I have loved Earth Mama Organics. They make clean, safe, and effective products for the entire motherhood journey and make nourishing the body easy. I also love that the ingredients used in all products are safe and trusted- it makes it a no brainer when filling up on motherhood essentials! I’ve rounded up my favorite Earth Mama Organics products-ones that I am currently using, planning on using/have used in the past with Kylie! Earth Mama Organics was so nice and provided a code for TMB readers! If you are interested in any of the products below please use:

Coupon code: MeridianBliss at checkout Discount: 15% off regularly priced purchases (offer does not include travel kits or Lavender Hand Sanitizer) **offer expires 3/31/21

Products I’m using while pregnant:

  • Third Trimester Tea: I drink this tea at least once a day (typically at night) and I love how it supports the unique needs of late pregnancy. Bonus that it’s so yummy, too!
  • Belly Butter: I started using this product during my first pregnancy. The winter months leave my skin so dry and this luxurious lotion helps with hydration and stretch marks. Earth Mama Organics also sells a Belly Oil but personally I prefer a lotion (just my preference!)
  • Heartburn Tea: Another tea favorite! This tea is SO soothing and love that it relieves heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux without having to take medication. Bonus: this tea helps if you are expecting or not!

Products I’ll be using with Baby C:

  • Baby Wash: Love that this moisturizing hand and body wash can be used with the whole family! We keep one on the bathroom sink and in our tub!
  • Diaper Balm: This diaper cream is both gentle and effective – its a fan favorite over here!
  • Nose & Cheek Balm: This ultra rich balm helps keep dry skin stay soft and moisturized. With all the baby drool that’s to come I have stocked up on this!
  • Baby Lotion: This lotion comforts and soothes sensitive, delicate skin…and so easy since it’s good for the whole body!

Products for me (mama!) postpartum:

Earth Mama Organics believes that postpartum is a time to connect, rest, and heal. I absolutely love their passion and drive in supporting the new mom. These products are focused on baby and mom connecting and getting to know one another by supporting postpartum needs of mom. These products also emphasize the need of rest and sleep and make the healing process for mom a bit more manageable.

  • Organic Herbal Sitz Bath: Easy to use, individual herbal sachets for brewing and using as a stiz bath or a cooled compress to provide direct relief to the perineal area. This is a must have in my book!
  • Organic Perineal Balm: This helps provide lasting cooling comfort and because it’s a balm it allows herbs to stay and help heal. Use this with the Perineal Spray (see below)
  • Organic Perineal Spray: This touch free spray serves up quick, temporary relief. It’s a mist with an upside-down sprayer makes it easy to access hard to reach places…another must have for recovery and healing!
  • Organic Periodic Tea: This postpartum recovery tea can be consumed within the first hour of giving birth! It helps with bleeding, cramping, and hormone shifts after birthing…I’ll be chugging this 🙂

My Hospital Bag

My Hospital Bag

I’ve exchanged multiple texts with my girlfriends around what to bring in my hospital bag…it’s crazy how much you forget from the first time around! But with my due date quickly approaching (slow down time!!) I have complied a list of what is going in my hospital bag.

Let’s start with my bag!

Clothing:

  • Pajamas-I’m packing 2 pairs that are nursing friendly… these are my favorites!
  • Robe-one that’s not too bulky (I love my Kate Spade robe, similar one here in black)
  • Outfit for going home (aka baggy pants and loose fitting top, I’m not concerned about looking cute on my 5 minute ride home!)
  • Shower sandals
  • fuzzy socks and ugg slippers

Postpartum Items:

Toiletries:

  • Lip balm
  • Small selection of makeup (tinted moisturizer, maybe some eyeliner)
  • Face moisturizer
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Hairbrush
  • Body wash
  • Toothpaste/toothbrush
  • Contact solution, case, glasses
  • Shower cap (I won’t be washing my hair there)
  • Hair ties
  • Deodorant

Miscellaneous:

  • Phone charger
  • Blanket & pillow
  • Boppy
  • Snacks
  • Light – to have at night (those bright hospital room lights at 3am are killer!)

For Baby C:

I am packing all of Baby C’s items in the diaper bag….

  • Outfit for going home
  • Hat
  • Blanket for the car
  • Newborn nest – absolutely obsessed with the Newborn Nest! The founder of the company is was a labor & delivery nurse and the pieces (swaddle, fitted sheet, gown, blanket, headband/bow) are made beautifully. Can’t wait to wrap Baby C in this! Also, wonderful customer service…if you’re looking for an adorable way to show off your new baby this is it! *would also make a great baby shower gift!
  • Mittens/hand protectors
  • pacifiers-not crazy about the color/design but whatever does the trick!

3rd Trimester Update & Preparing for Postpartum

3rd Trimester Update & Preparing for Postpartum

I can’t even believe that I am 37 (almost 38 weeks!) pregnant. This pregnancy has really flown by!! It seems like just yesterday I was writing my first and second trimester update, and here we are…almost go time! I am SO excited to meet this baby!

I feel so lucky to say that I am still feeling really great! I’m still able to keep up with Kylie, workout 4-5 days a week (check out our pregnancy workout highlight on IG!), and get a good amount of sleep at night. I mostly do strength training and low impact cardio workouts and always end with a good stretch. I’ve definitely slowed my pace down and my workouts help with not only my stress levels but also energy levels. My goal this pregnancy has been to stay active and get moving and I’ve been able to do so this whole time! I am also totally in the nesting mode, organizing is my jam right now and I’ll find just about anything to re-organize lol!

Below are some things that I have started to get together to help with postpartum!

  • Moms on Call-I used this with Kylie and she adapted SO well to this schedule/journey. Hoping Baby C is the same! I dusted this off last week and keeping it on my bedside (have yet to open it lol!).
  • Pajamas- I have a couple pairs of button down pajamas that are nursing friendly. These, these, and these are my favorites! Trust me, you’re going to want multiple pairs!
  • Nursing bras and tanks- these bras and these tanks
  • One-hand open water bottle….stress on the words one-hand!
  • High waisted postpartum comfy undies. I used these last time and will be purchasing again!
  • Nipple butter – love the Earth Mama brand
  • Belly Bandit- this Belly Wrap was a life saver for postpartum recovery with Kylie. Not only did it provide comfort to my c-section incision but it also helped strengthen my core muscles that weakened during pregnancy. Will definitely be using again!

My goal this next week is to start getting my hospital bag together and momma’s I NEED your help! What items were in your bag? What things can I leave at home? Send any tips my way or comment below!

Newborn Essentials

Newborn Essentials

The other day one of my girlfriends asked if I was ready for baby #2 to make his/her arrival. My honest answer? I said welllll I could use about 20 more weeks and I meant it. While I am SO excited to meet this baby I am feeling that the end is nearing and I’m nowhere near “ready.” When I was 36 weeks pregnant with Kylie I had newborn clothes washed, hospital bag list written out, and the nursery clean and crisp. Now? Newborn clothes are still in a bin somewhere in the basement and haven’t thought twice about that hospital bag….#reallife

But with that all said, I have started compiling some things that were helpful last go around. These are all items that made my life easier as a first time mom with a newborn so I will most definitely be using these items again

Items:

  • Tubby Todd products. I absolutely love this brand! Tubby Todd makes body care basics for sensitive skin and I love that it’s made with clean ingredients. Some of my favorite items are; All Over Ointment-love this balm and use it for everything! Also it’s great for eczema prone skin. Hair & Body Wash– pure, hypoallergenic wash that I will use for Baby as well as Kylie! A little goes a longgg way! Love that it’s made with plant based ingredients, too. Everyday lotion– my favorite moisturizer! Lastly, with spring and summer (and hopefully warmer temps coming!) I threw in this sunscreen in my cart. It’s a mineral sunscreen and perfect for all the outdoor activities! Need a shower gift or know of a new mom? This basic set, the Regulars Bundle, or Newborn set would make the perfect gift!
  • Bath Tub- I recently ordered this newborn/infant tub after a girlfriend recommended it! It’s good up until 6 months of age. What I love about this is that it is so easy to use!
  • Zutano booties-Kylie wore these nonstop her first couple months! They are fleece and kept her feet so warm. I love the two adjustable snaps to help keep them in place.
  • These long sleeve onesies with built in mittens
  • Hands down the best diaper rash cream-stock up on this!!
  • Hands free pumping bra-this one was my fave!
  • Love our HelloBaby monitor and will be using this for Baby C as well!
  • DockATot-we used this ALL the time with Kylie
  • Hands free wearing was a life saver with Kylie…needless to say my Solly wrap is ready to go 🙂

If you have another product that you love(d) please comment below and leave a suggestion!

Black History Month: Books for Kids

Black History Month: Books for Kids

Books are such a great way to open up conversations with your children, about any topic! See some of our favorite books to help you celebrate Black History Month with your little ones. The topics range from jazz music and confidence in your appearance to slavery and marching for civil rights. Many of these books are biographies but all are inspiring!

Books Linked Below
ABCs of Black History – this book takes you thought the alphabet of Black history and culture
Dream Big, Little One – this book features 18 black women who have blazed the trail in American history
Hair Love – this book features the relationship between a father and a daughter, where he has to do her hair for the first time
A Smell of Sweet Roses – this book is about two young girls who sneak out of their house to not only witness but help change history
Trombone Shorty – this book follows Trombone Shorty’s dream of becoming a musician and how, despite the odds, he became an international sensation (this is a favorite of my boys, they like listening to the read aloud on storylineonline)
Follow Your Dreams, Little One – this book highlights true stories of black men in American history
Henry’s Freedom Box – this is a true story of a slave who escaped by mailing himself in a crate to freedom
The Power of Her Pen – this book tells the story of Ethel Payne and her journey from growing up on the southside of Chicago to becoming a journalist, where she was one of three black journalists who were issued a White House press pass
Let the Children March – this book tells the story of thousands of children who volunteered to march for civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History – this book educates and inspires as it tells true stories of 40 black women in American history (this book is the “older child’s” version of Dream Big, Little One that we mentioned above)
The Oldest Student – this book tells the story of Mary Walker, who was born into slavery in 1848 (she learned to read at the age of 116)

Second Trimester Update

Second Trimester Update

Even though I am well into my third trimester (31 weeks tomorrow-ahhh!) I wanted to share a second trimester update as well as some things I have bought for Baby C (if you missed my first trimester update you can read it here)! My second trimester spanned the months of September, October, and November and I focused most of my time on getting Kylie’s “big girl room” ready since she is still in the nursery. I’ll share a post in the New Year about her new room but for now, back to Baby C!

I feel so lucky to still be able to keep up with my same routines (exercising, cooking, working, etc) and Kylie for that matter! Ha! My relationship with exercise has gone from super intense and sweaty sessions to low-impact/moderate exercises. I still workout 4-5 days a week and I feel my best when doing so (check out our Workout Wednesday series for some pregnancy friendly exercises!).

Update on recent purchases/what I’m currently using:

  • This pregnancy pillow…I love the head to toe support it offers
  • Living in leggings (what else is new though) and these are by far my favorite for everyday wear and these for exercising
  • I plan on nursing Baby C and stocked up on some favorites from postpartum with Kylie; these nursing pads, milk storage bags, pump cleaning wipes
  • Haakaa silicone pump
  • These zipper onesies with built in mittens
  • This is our changing table, I love that it has a scale embedded to track weight gain in between doctor visits

Hope this is helpful! XO!

Kids Christmas Pajamas

Kids Christmas Pajamas

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is buying the kids new pajamas each year! It’s such a fun and easy way to kick off the holiday season. Plus, there’s nothing cuter than seeing kids all cozied up next to the tree in their seasonal pajamas! Add in a Christmas movie and some hot chocolate and there’s my ideal night.

This year we went with one of our favorite stores, Cecil & Lou. We had so much fun matching the kids together. Kylie’s pajamas are the Pink Mini Stripe Christmas Tree Pajamas and the boys pajamas are the same, but in blue.

Cecil & Lou is one of our favorite brands because not only are the clothes and pajamas so soft and comfy, but the patterns are adorable! We also love adding an extra special touch and monogramming their pajamas and Cecil & Lou make it so easy to do so! If you are still looking for Christmas jammies, here are some other faves from Cecil & Lou:

Your little one will be Santa ready in any of these options!

ISR

ISR

Wow! The amount of questions that I have gotten from you all, and in the past, about the boys swimming lessons is crazy! We figured that it would be something you would be interested in hearing more about. I am taking the most frequently asked questions that I have gotten and answering them here So, here is the scoop on ISR…

  1. That is insane! What are these swimming lessons you are doing with your kids?
    Rob and I have signed all three boys un for ISR (Infant Swimming Resource) which is a one-on-one swimming programs that is completely customized for your child. ISR teaches children how to “self-rescue” in the water if they are ever in the position where they are drowning. Children (6-12 months) learn how to flip over to float on their backs and remain their until help arrives. Older children learn the swim-float-swim sequence. This sequence is taught so children are able to swim with their head in the water, flip to float (breath and rest), then continue swimming.
  2. Why are you doing ISR?
    Every family is different and every child is different but Rob and I decided that this was the way to go for our children. We had Hunter in 2 different (very well known) swim schools and Grayson in 1 before finding ISR and neither boy was successful in actually learning how to float/swim. So we started looking for something new and found ISR. We figured why not? We had tried 2 others and although Hunter was learning – the progress was sloooow. And Grayson, well was not learning (he was terrified of the water).
  3. What is the difference between ISR and standard swimming lessons?
    A LOT! First, the schedule is intense. ISR lessons are 10 minutes per day (yes only 10) 5 day per week (yes 5) for about 6 weeks! There is a lot of science and reasoning behind all of that but essentially in order for children to learn anything they need constant repetition, waiting 1 week between lessons is not enough repetition to learn. The purpose for 10 minutes is because these sweet kiddos get tired! Since lessons are one-on-one, the children are swimming/floating (basically working) the entire time that at the end of 10 minutes they are fatigued. And 6 weeks is about the amount of time that it takes for children to master these skills. All three of my boys have completed the program and all three had different lengths. Hunter completed all of his checkout procedures after 4 1/2 weeks and then finished out the week, so he ended at 5 weeks. Grayson took 7 weeks. Preston took 6 weeks.
  4. Does your child cry and how do you handle that?
    YES. They all cried, some more/longer/harder/louder than others, but they all cried. Is it hard as a mother to sit there and listen/watch? YES… but it is SO worth it in the end. Mine and Rob’s parenting style is focused on the “end goal” and my “end goal” for my children in life is that they grow up to be capable, independent, tender-hearted men that are able to stand up for themselves and what they believe in. So major parenting decision or transition that we go through with our children we are focused on that end goal as opposed to the here and now. I know how important it is to be able to self rescue if (God forbid) my little loves are ever put in that situation, so I just focused on that end goal and remembered that although it was hard – it was also good.
  5. How much does it cost?
    The cost of ISR can vary based of off instructor (since they are independent business owners) and location (cost of pool rental/etc). But I can speak to the general cost as it compares to swimming lessons at different well-known swim schools, from my experience. While it may seem to be more expensive, you are paying weekly, it really is about the same as a typically weekly swim school program. The price is very comparable, especially when you think about how at a swim class your child may be sitting on the edge for 15 minutes of the 30 minute class, and with ISR they are getting one-on-one, customized swim instruction.
    Additionally, here in Chicago there is an opportunity to apply for a scholarship to help with costs if that is a concern for you. CAST Water Safety Foundation is a nonprofit organization who works with families to provide scholarships to make lessons more attainable to all. If you are considering ISR but don’t think you can financially make it work, definitely look into their scholarship programs.
  6. Where do you go for lessons?
    We’ve gone to 2 locations. The first one, that Hunter & Grayson went to last year, closed because of COVID. This year, we took Preston to the Forest Park, IL location.
    If you are not in the Chicagoland area then you can go to the ISR site and ‘Find an instructor near you’ to see where lessons are being offered in your area.
  7. What happens after they finish?
    After they “graduate” the program your instructor will recommend next steps for your child. It was recommended that Preston go for a “Refresher Course” in the spring of 2021. A refresher course is just a review of what they learned in the 6 week sessions but is condensed into one or two weeks. Once again, the custom programing is amazing – at the end of the older boys 6 week course their instructor knew that when Hunter came back for a refresher that he would only need 1 week and that Grayson would need 2 weeks, and of course she was right!

If you are still reading this, then good for you! And you must be interested in giving ISR a shot – if that’s you then please reach out to them. The CAST team here in Chicago is amazing. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.