Must-Haves for Baby List: Gear & Favorite Items

So, as a third-time Mom, I’ve learned through experience to sort through the items you actually need and those that you don’t. And then I’ve been able to decide what luxuries are MY must-haves. (Cute baby accessories, obviously.) I’ve learned what I like in a carseat and stroller, and what is unbearable. I’ve learned what are luxuries and what are necessities. Having said all that, things on one’s list will definitely vary from family to family, based on your lifestyle, budget and your baby’s personal needs. Here I’m breaking down for you the items I’ve purchased (or received, from the companies I’ve collaborated with) for our baby #3, what I think you NEED and the fun stuff I just LUV to have. I’ve broken down for you what I think about these items and why:

  1. CAR SEAT & STROLLER: This is obviously the most important purchase and should be at the top of your list. Unless you never plan to get in a car, it’s something that you have to have, so obviously it’s at the top of my list. With our first child, we purchased the car seat based solely on safety ratings. It was ranked the #1 car seat on the market in safety ratings, but we quickly learned it was extremely heavy! Having had a c-section, I had a really hard time getting from place to place holding the baby in the seat (which you do pretty much everywhere you go in the beginning). This time around, I took several things into consideration…

I actually went to the store to check out/test out some car seats and strollers, and went with a specific brand in mind that I had researched extensively and thought I would get this go-round. I even was offered a collaboration with the brand, so I would have been able to have this stroller and car seat at no cost. However, when I got to the store, I discovered the stroller and car seat we ultimately ended up purchasing. Yes, we gave up a free $1,000+ set to purchase one, because I liked these ones I found SO much!

I remembered how hard it was to carry the heavy car seat I had with my daughter. (We even ended up buying a cheaper car seat for my son just so we didn’t have to lug that heavy one around again.) So THIS ONE I recently found appealed to me majorly, because one of it’s greatest highlights is that it’s the lightest weight rear-facing car seat on the market at just over 5 lbs. I’m telling y’all… it’s LIGHT! Knowing I’m going to be having extensive surgery this delivery, I was pretty much sold at that, but the amazing safety ratings were enough to sell me site on scene. Bonus, it’s not chemically-treated and it comes with certified organic cotton inserts.

THE STROLLER glides like an ice skate. The all-terrain wheels and all-wheel suspension make it a super smooth ride, in comparison to all of the other strollers on the market I’ve pushed. But one thing that has proved to be SUPER important to me in a stroller is storage space! I like to shop! (I know, shocker.) So it has to be able to hold a significant amount of shopping bags and my diaper bag. And it needs to be able to hold extra bags and souveniers, etc. for when our family of 5 is at Disney World, Busch Gardens or the other parks we frequent. Because the honest truth is, a stroller isn’t always just for pushing a baby… it’s for holding all of our stuff too! So I LUV how accessible and open the storage compartment is. The adjustable-height vegan leather handle makes it feel like the Cadillac of strollers, as far as quality is concerned, and it’s helpful for my husband, who is the one to push the stroller a lot.

On top of all of that, it’s like-flat reclinable. (If you’re a new mom, this is A MUST!). The UPF50+ canopy folds SO far over the seat that it makes for perfect dark napping and great sun protection when outside for long periods of time. (I live in Florida, so this is crucial.) There’s also a large, mesh peekaboo window on the top of the canopy so the air circulation is great, and you can see in to check on baby. OH!!! I also LUV that it has the cool little pocket on the back for your keys/phone, etc. so those things are easily accessible. There are even more features, but the last I’ll say is this… above and beyond all of this, it’s sleek and stylish. Total function with stylish appeal. Want to know more about it…? Read the reviews from users themselves… they’re all awesome…

2. HALO BASSINET SWIVEL SLEEPER: So, with our other 2 kids, we had a traditional cradle by our bed that we’d use the first few months after bringing them home. Again, having had c-sections, it wasn’t very convenient. I always wanted the baby right by me in the beginning, so I could easily look over and check on them… (You know that constant “are you breathing?” check we do over and over, in the beginning?!) So, I’d put the cradle right by me where I could see them easily. But because of my c-section incision, it was really hard in the beginning to get up and down and to bend over to get the baby in and out. It was also hard to get in and out of the bed with the cradle right up against the side of my bed. So, when I had to get up in the night to get baby supplies, go to the bathroom, etc., I had to do the awkward scooch all the way down the bed to get out of the way of the cradle without waking baby, WITH the abdominal pain from my surgery. It was just never convenient.

One of the main selling features of the Halo is that it can be right up against the side of your bed, but the bassinet can swivel a full 360 degrees so you can get in and out of your bed easily, without having to move anything, or scooch to the end of the bed. The other main selling point for me is the retractable sidewall that lowers. So, with major surgery, I can pull the baby right up next to me, pull down the sidewall, and easily get her out to feed in the night, without even having to get up. THAT, FOR ME, was 100% the selling point. I’ve never wanted to fully cosleep. But I do LUV that this has the benefits of cosleeping, having baby right next to you, without actually having to share the bed.

One con people have mentioned in reviews is that the base of the Halo is heavy, so it’s not easy to move it room to room. However, they’ve added a new option, where you can remove the bassinet from the base and get an extra, easily mobile base to attach the bassinet to, so you can use the Halo in any area. This feature makes it easy for travel and being on-the-go, too. I know, with this delivery, I’m going to require help from loved ones after baby comes. I LUV that this new feature makes her sleeping quarters easily movable. It also has a nice little storage caddy you can put on the side for diapers, etc. Another convenient feature that lets you stay put in bed more often. (Believe me, in the beginning, this is clutch.)

3. DOCKATOT: One item that didn’t exist when I had my other babies, but I’ve been told is the holy grail of baby gear these days, is the portable sleeping station called the Dockatot. OK… so when we brought home BOTH of our babies, we had issues with them not wanting to sleep in a big, open sleeper. If you think about it, babies are used to being fit snug inside your tiny womb and wrapped into their own little ball. Enter world… their arms and legs are out in the open and they’re supposed to sleep in this (to them) big, huge bed. So with our other babies, we’d either put them in the car seat to sleep and put that right in the cradle, or their portable swing chair, or anything that made them feel more nestled and not so wide open.

The Dockatot is created to feel like a comfy little nest, that keeps baby feeling snug all night long. Added bonus, I’ve been told it fits perfectly inside the Halo Sleeper. So, I’m hoping I can use it right in there. Say baby falls asleep on the sofa next to you, in the Dockatot. You can easily bring her in the Dockatot to the Halo/crib/etc. and put her down for sleep where you want her located for bedtime. It’s also ultra-portable and great for travel. AND… best part… when you’re ready to transition baby from sleeper to crib, you can use the Dockatot in the crib too, so they still feel equally as snug in the now even bigger bed.

Dockatot has also added an awesome bonus feature where you can add a toy arch with removable toys to the top of the station for baby play. So, if you’re trying to narrow down how many items you have to purchase, this serves as a playmat too. Kills two birds with one stone, so to speak.

4. DIAPER BAG: Obviously you’ll need a bag to bring around with all of baby’s necessities. One option I ABSOLUTELY LUV is using this diaper bag organizer. It comes in 2 sizes and can be used in your favorite tote that you already own, and keeps everything organized and compartmentalized perfectly. I plan to use the large version in my LV Neverfull and also ordered the smaller version for other bags I may use day to day. Some other options for diaper bags I think are super cute:

5. ROCKER: I’ve heard mixed reviews from different moms on whether or not their kids liked to swing. I, for one, can say BOTH of my kids LUV’d to swing! The swing was a Godsend when I needed to get things done or just needed to be hands free a little. (Note: Babies LUV to be held!). The Fisher Price Rock N’ Play didn’t exist when I had my other kids but I will say other moms have RAVED about this item! It can function as a sleeper (kind of like the Halo I spoke of above) AND has a soothing rocking/vibrating feature, so can be used for this as well. I am still unsure if I’ll use this, however, because of having the Halo for sleeping and also having received the 4Moms Rockaroo Infant Swing off my registry (also heard good things), but I’ll keep you updated on this.

I will say… since it’s been a while since we had our last child, I asked publicly on my Facebook what baby items my friends thought were the must-haves of today… and the 2 top products mentioned were the Dockatot and the FP Rock N’ Play.

OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER:

Swaddles: I’ve been told that Ollie Swaddles and Halo Sleeper Swaddles are the best, so I’ve ordered both. The Ollie Swaddles make great gifts because they come in the most adorable little boxes. They’re SUPER soft and have great reviews. Don’t believe me? Google them.

I also have an assortment of muslin fabric swaddle blankets. I say you can’t have enough of these because you use them all day for wrapping baby, burping baby, covering baby, etc. So… swaddles… necessity.

Cart Hammock: Ok, so this isn’t a NECESSITY! lol But if you follow my Instagram stories, you heard me talk about the Binxie Baby Hammock. One day (when we were TTC) I saw a baby in Target chilling in her little baby hammock, while her mom sipped her Starbucks and perused the aisles of every mom’s favorite store. Let me tell you… this baby was HAP-PY! So, bottom line.. I knew if/when we were to get pregnant, I was getting a baby hammock.

Nursery Decor: I’ll do a separate post of the nursery reveal, so stay tuned for that with all details of what’s in Dakota’s nursery. (You can also see the nursery design in this earlier post.) But I did want to share a brand I was introduced to this pregnancy: Lorena Canals. She has the most adorable, soft, quality-made decor and organizational items for any nursery. I mentioned these completely machine-washable rugs in a recent Instagram post, which would be great for any child’s room. I’m also using this adorable tassel basket in the nursery for her toys and this comfy floor cushion I envision her eventually sitting on during playtime. She’s got tons of great options available at Nordstrom.

Some of My Nursery Decor & Organization:

Clothes, Accessories, Blankets: The most fun part… wearables. There are tons of adorable onesies, gowns, accessories, shoes, etc. that I could speak of for far too long. But for now I’ll just link some of my favs below and will continue to post them on my Instagram as I get to dress my little doll. So stay tuned…

Some of the Fav Wearables, Blankets, Accessories:

To summarize, below are clickable photos (will take you directly to shoppable links) of my baby gear favorites and must-haves:

I’ll continue to update you after baby, as I’ve actually been able to use each of these items. So stay tuned to my Insta and other social channels! If you have any questions or opinions on any of the items I’ve mentioned, I’d LUV it if you’d comment on this post! Thanks for sharing this journey with me. I can’t wait to get to the other side of this difficult journey I’ve been on and just be able to enjoy the fun stuff and snuggle my little angel. Can’t wait to introduce you…

*Some items in this post have been sponsored or gifted, and affiliate links have been used with most of the items I have linked. This means I receive a commission if you purchase items at my recommendation. This did not influence my decision to pick the items I’ve mentioned, as I hand-selected what I wanted to use and endorse. Thanks, as always, for your support.

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Project Nursery: The Design

The items for the nursery are starting to arrive, but I’ve been so excited to share with all of you! I wanted to give you an idea of the design I’ve put together, so when it’s complete, you can see the concept come to life. Click on the photos in the carousel below to shop any of the items! Wall mural is Rebel Walls.

Can’t wait to show you what it looks like when it all comes together! Please tell me in the comments… what do you think?! 🙂

*Thanks to my partners at The Mine and Rebel Walls for working with me on this space. Some items linked are affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you purchase the items at my recommendation. Thanks, as always, for your support.

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Pregnancy Update (Almost 22 Weeks) & a Memorial to a Courageous Woman

So, I’ve mentioned in several of my Instagram posts and stories that I’ve been diagnosed with some pregnancy complications and how that has led to me being on a modified version of bed rest. Until I had a better idea or “confirmation” of my diagnosis, I didn’t want to formalize anything. But this morning, my MFM (Maternal-Fetal Medicine or “high risk” doctor) called me with the results of the MRI I had yesterday and confirmed what I can now share with you. Here’s my story so far…

Because I was to turn 35 right before my original due date, they considered me “Advanced Maternal Age”. (Way to make me feel even older.) What that originally meant to me is more testing than usual, and light-heartedly, I was just excited that I would have blood work done at 10 weeks to find out the gender much earlier. Of course, when you’re pregnant, you feel the joy of all of the blessings that babies bring and don’t focus really on potential negative outcomes that could come from these testings. Well, at least I didn’t.

The genetic testing came back perfect and we were ecstatic to find out we were having another little girl. Honestly, I didn’t care much if it was a boy or a girl, as I already have one of each. After the journey we have been on to be able to have this baby (see original blog post for more on that), I would take ANY baby God would give me! Skip forward to my 18th week of pregnancy, and it was ordered that I have a “Level 2 Ultrasound”. I guess this is typical when you are considered AMA. I was excited to just get a good look at the baby from a 3-D perspective and didn’t even consider the fact that I might find anything alarming when I walked in that day.

I remember the US technician being very quiet. And me, being the chatty Kathy that I am, talking her ear off and asking her if she could give me as much of a play-by-play as possible. She remained politely quiet, but I was starting to get the feeling that something was off. She said she was finished and that the doctor would be in shortly. The MFM that I saw that day was one of the most gentle physicians I’ve ever encountered. He came in and communicated the findings to me as softly as possible, but I remember the majority of it sounding like a foreign language.

He first told me that I have Complete Placenta Previa, which I’d heard of before but really knew nothing about. He showed me the US images on the screen and did another in-depth US on me while he was telling me about it. It was obvious to me that things looked very differently than what I was used to seeing in my previous pregnancies. But he also told me that many women have placenta previa and that things can change and move when you’re pregnant (though I later learned that probably wouldn’t be the case with me) and I just tried second by second to digest what he was saying. I remembered hearing about Kim Kardashian having PP and also remembered my best friend talking about another blogger who had shared her story with PP, when it was told to me very early in my pregnancy that I could have PP. But again, I didn’t really know much.

The photo below helped me to visualize what Placenta Previa looks like:

What I understood of PP was that it could cause early bleeding and preterm labor, but also understood that each case is very different. It wasn’t until later that I realized what exactly this could mean for my current situation, but the bottom line is that every single case is different and there’s no way of knowing your outcome until you just live it.

More on placenta previa here:

Baby Center- Placenta Previa.

His next finding was the one that really set off my fearful antennas…

He told me that, in addition to the CPP, he was pretty certain that he could see a Placenta Accreta. I had NEVER even heard of this before, but I could tell from the change in his tone that this was serious, and so my tone changed immediately as well. He honestly didn’t tell me all too much about accreta that day, or what it really meant for ME or my baby, but he basically  said that it was a result of my prior c-sections and described it that my placenta had grown into my uterus and that he could see a good deal of blood flow down south that wasn’t supposed to be there. He showed me what that looked like on the screen and it definitely explained (to me) a lot of the “pressure” I had been feeling down there that I’d never experienced with my other pregnancies. He also explained what that meant for my PP as the baby can tend to gravitate to where the richest blood supply is, and mine is showing richly south of my uterus where the accreta was invading my uterus (and could potentially invade other areas with time). I know this sounds confusing… it’s still confusing to me, but basically the bottom line is that lots of blood flow= higher risk of mom hemorrhaging. So we just don’t want to see that.

For a few moments, both the doctor and the US technician had to leave the room, and I immediately picked up my phone to Google “placenta accreta” and find out what I was really looking at. I learned there are three levels of accreta: accreta, increta and percreta.

Source: Info on Accreta

Yesterday I had an MRI to determine if my accreta was 100%, in fact, actually an accreta. And if so, to what extent has it penetrated the uterus. This morning, my doctor called me with the news I was praying not to receive. Not only had my placenta invaded the uterus (accreta) and gone past the uterine wall (increta), it most likely has started to invade other organs (percreta). Right now, we’re seeing it looks to have started to infiltrate the bladder. So, of all the outcomes, mine is the rarest and can be the most complicated.

At this point, I can’t tell you exactly what it means for me specifically. The doctors have told me to keep my feet up as much as possible, not to lift anything and to take this seriously as I’ll 100% be having a hysterectomy with this delivery. If you’ve read about what we’ve been through to have this child, I’m sure you can imagine how earth-shattering this news is for me. But if it means I can have this baby, healthy in my arms. And I can live to experience it… well, it’s the least of my concerns. I’ve also been prepared to have my bags packed as early as 24 weeks and that the potential for hospital bedrest isn’t highly unlikely. If I were to have any severe bleeds, my situation is extremely critical and could require constant watch. But again, all of these are uncertainties, and I will continue to pray every second of every single day for the best possible outcome that God could deliver and will hope for a miracle. I, for one, believe in miracles and know anything is possible with the power of prayer.

My support system is one that I can’t even explain. I don’t say this to be boisterous. I say this to honor and cherish the people that I have in my life. My husband is literally my angel. From the second we got this news, he’s stepped up to the plate 100%. From spending every second of his time with the kids, to grocery shopping and cleaning and helping to plan the holidays… he’s my rock. Even more than that, he’s constantly optimistic and supportive and genuinely the most caring and loving person I could ever have wished for in my wildest dreams. We’re surely not perfect. We can bicker like an old married couple. But then God shows us how life can test our vows, and EVERY SINGLE TIME… this guy steps up to the plate and reminds me why I chose the possible possible partner I could have asked for. Basically what I’m saying is this.. Jason Thomas Pfeiffer, there’s no soul on this planet who means more to me than you. I hope you never think I take a second of your love for granted and I hope that you know that NO MATTER what happens, you are my person and I thank God for you every single day.

I can’t let this post end without honoring a very special woman…

Last night when I went to bed, I was shaken with some devastating news. You see, when I got this diagnosis 3-4 weeks ago, I immediately found and joined a support group on Facebook for women who currently have a previa/accreta diagnosis or those who are survivors of accreta. This group has been everything for me over the last few weeks, as this has been such a rare diagnosis that it has felt a little isolating and lonely at times. We lean on each other with questions, fears, success stories, and even yes… sometimes we’re faced with our greatest fear… those who do not make it through this scary beast. Last night as I was going to bed, I was shaken with the news that a beautiful woman in our support group passed away yesterday during labor from complications with percreta (the diagnosis that I was to wake up today to receive). As we all seem to fear from this diagnosis, she just lost too much blood and after delivering her (third) BEAUTIFUL little girl successfully, lost her battle with accreta  and went to the Other Side to meet our maker.

It’s impossible to understand how or why these things happen, but it’s definitely not the common outcome. (Though statistics say maternal mortality has been reported as high as 6-7% in women with this diagnosis, I’d like to believe in all the stories I’ve heard personally shared in our group that I don’t believe it to be that common.) But it does happen. And it happened last night to a courageous women who left behind a loving husband and 3 beautiful girls. I can only imagine what this family is currently going through, but I do know she has a whole community of women who have her constantly in our prayers and thoughts and we’re sending all of our love to her family during this extremely difficult time.

I can only imagine the financial burdens we will encounter from these difficult complications, and now Maribel’s husband is left to sort them out a single father of 3 girls. I ask of you… if it moves any of you to donate, her family has set up a GoFundMe account to help them through this difficult time. Every dollar counts, and I know they would appreciate any size donation.

Simple click on this link: https://www.gofundme.com/maribel-sanchez-memorial-fund and donate any amount you can.

Maribel Sanchez, I send you love and light and will pray over your family every single day.

*To learn more about Placenta Accreta, you can follow along at Hope for Accreta on Facebook.

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My Cozy-Time Necessity and How I Plan to Get Organized in the New Year– with Yankee Candle from Walmart

This time of year I almost ALWAYS have a candle lit when I am home. Something about having the tree lights on and having a candle burning just makes everything feel that much cozier. Whether I want the scent of something sweet (like I have a tray of cookies in the oven) or something crisp (because I absolutely LUV to have a clean house with a clean-scented candle lit), it just creates a sense of calm that makes me feel cozy and warm. Yankee Candles are pretty much the superior ranking when it comes to  all candles. And you probably don’t have to just take my word on that, as almost everyone in America has either owned or been around the scent of a Yankee candle at some point, so you probably know what I’m talking about.

Not all candles can disperse a scent throughout a large space, and I’ve always found that Yankee candles just have that power. I can light a candle in the kitchen and still smell it in the living room. I just LUV the power of their scents. Since you know I’m all about finding a deal, I’ve rounded out for you some of my favorite Yankee scents at one of the most affordable places to order them… the place where you can always find a deal… Walmart, of course! The everyday prices are already lower than many other retailers AND they have FREE shipping options right now!

Shop some of my favorite Yankee Candle scents at Walmart:

As the holidays quickly come and go, I really LUV to stock up on scents that I can use year-round. As soon as the holidays end, I can’t wait to get my decorations down, so that I can organize and rethink my decorations for the new year. I typically like to purge this time of year and really clean out things that aren’t serving a purpose or bringing me happiness. Lighting a crisp scent while I clean and organize really seems to get me inspired. Can anyone else relate?! My very favorite scent to use year round, especially when the holidays end and I’m doing my New Year/Spring cleaning, is Yankee Clean Cotton Scent.

You won’t believe the everyday deals they offer on Yankee scents at Walmart! And right now, they’re offering FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING* on tons of your favorite scents, so it’s the perfect gift to order your friend, mom, sister, mother-in-law or as a hostess gift because it will arrive quickly, AND this makes it super affordable! Whether you order my favorite scent, Clean Cotton, or any other scent… your gift is sure to be a hit! I can’t imagine a person on the planet who wouldn’t LUV to receive a Yankee Candle.

Also… some of my favorite holiday scents at Walmart:


*Order by December 19 and get FREE SHIPPING on select items before Christmas. Order online by December 23 at 4 pm and pick up in-store as late as 12/24.

**This post is sponsored by Walmart and Yankee Candle, but all opinions and thoughts are entirely my own. Affiliate links are used in this post, which means I get a commission if you purchase items with the links I’ve provided. Thanks, as always, for your support.

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Gift Guide for Kids

I’ve scoured the stores and the Internet, and I’m breaking down for you some of my top picks for gifts for kids! Many of these I’ve either purchased in past years for my kids or have purchased as gifts for them this year! Others are gifts I think are fitting for kids with all interests! Just click on the photos of the items in the carousels below and it will take you straight to the links to review and/or purchase! Happy shopping!

For the Tiny Homemaker:

For the Science-Lover:

For the Make-Believer:

For the Creator:

For the Music Lover:

For the Adventurer:

Hope this proved helpful for those of you shopping for the kiddos in your lives! Don’t forget to check out my Gift Guide for Her and stay tuned for future holiday-related posts!

*Several hours were spent shopping for and researching the items I’ve linked above. This blog post contains affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you purchase items at my recommendation. Thanks, as always, for your support! It’s what keeps this blog of mine alive! 🙂

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My Holiday Cards with Tiny Prints & Our Family Photos 2017

It’s that time of year again! I absolutely LUV Christmas cards, and this is about 6 years in a row that I’ve ordered my cards from Tiny Prints. I thought I’d give y’all a little slideshow of our pictures this year, in celebration of our card announcement! Kind of like a virtual card to each and every one of you! Today is actually the last day to get the cyber week deal of 40% off your cards, so hurry and order now! Just CLICK HERE and use code: CYBERCARDS at checkout…

Thank you Kristin LaDriere Family Photography for another year of awesome photos! You always capture our family perfectly! xxoo

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Shop our outfits:


*Some affiliate links were used in this blog post. Which means I get a commission if you purchase any items at my recommendation. Thanks, as always, for your support! xoxo

 

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Gift Guide for Her- Gifts for All Interests & All Budgets

I’ve scoured my favorite shopping destinations and broken down for you my best gift ideas for the special ladies in your life (or yourself). Just click the photos in the carousels below and head straight the items to shop! Got any questions? Just ask! 🙂

My Shirt / My Rug

Gifts for the Beauty Junkie:

I ordered this beauty kit about a month ago, and I use each product regularly now! My favorite is the High Brow Pencil. I use it in the corners of my eyes and right under my brows and it brightens my entire face! The bronzer is great for contouring and the highlighter is another great way to brighten your face. It also includes a full-size macara! This is a great gift to give to almost anyone! Even yourself… 🙂

Gifts for the Skincare Guru:

Gifts for the Jewelry-Lover:

Gifts for the Techy Girl:

Splurge-Worthy Gifts for the Designer Gal:

Gifts for the Home:

Cozy Gifts for the Homebody:

Gifts under $50 and Stocking Stuffers:

My Shirt// My Watch// My Bangles// My Gold Cuff Bracelets// My David Yurman Bracelet

(All of the items I’m wearing and linked above are also great holiday gifts!)

Hope this helps you put a nice dent into your shopping lists! I know I’ve been busy shopping tons of these items already! Comment in the comment section what other gift guides you’d like to see or any other questions/comments you may have! Thanks for using my shopping guides and links this holiday season… it’s because of you guys I get to continue to do what I LUV! Which is share all the things I LUV with all of you! xxoo

*Affiliate links were used in this post. Which means I get a commission if you purchase any of the items you click on. A TON of work goes into making these selections, so I SO appreciate you guys using my links and supporting my blog! As always, all opinions are my own.

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All Good Things are Worth Waiting For (Our Unexpected Journey to Have Another Child) <3

Well, surprise! If you’ve been wondering why it’s been so quiet over here on my end, here it is!!! It’s been a crazy 3 months, but we’re finally so excited to share that we are pregnant with Pfeiffer Kid #3, or as my dad endearingly calls she or he “PK3”.

If you’ve been following along, you may have read my very personal blog post about my devastating loss a few months ago. After speaking with our doctor and doing some personal reflection, we decided that we would continue to try the following month. I understand this topic is a very personal one, and each family probably has their own opinions about when they decide to try after a loss. But, it was very early on for us, and we decided we were emotionally ready to keep trying.

So here we are 3 months later, 3 months pregnant! I’m just now at the end of my first trimester, but boy oh boy has it been a rough couple months! I’m now remembering why I thought I was done having kids after my second pregnancy. I’ve been feeling pretty sick, extremely exhausted, and due to some complications, I’ve been instructed to lay pretty low. So it’s been lots of unplugging and resting and trying to keep this baby cookin’! But we’re OVER-THE-MOON with joy and gratitude that God has blessed us with this miracle!!

We’ve now seen the heartbeat a total of 5 times, so we’re feeling pretty good about the progress of little PK3, and we should even find out the sex within the next week!

I’ve been pretty open about our journey, and I plan to continue to be, as I hope that our story can inspire even one person. After having 2 kids, we decided we were both done, and my husband had a vasectomy. Fast forward 4-5 years later, my youngest was going to school full-time, and I started majorly second-guessing that decision. I just didn’t feel like I was ready to be out of this chapter yet. Life felt so good and I wondered why we made such a big decision at such a young age, and I started questioning completely if we’d made a huge mistake…

After lots of discussion, pondering and PRAYER, we decided to move forward with doing a reversal. Going into it, we weren’t sure what the outcome would be. We were told that statistically we were the perfect candidates for this procedure, as we as a couple have had 2 healthy babies together, we did not have a history of fertility issues, we were both still “young” AND it had only been 5 years since the original procedure. Still though, there were no certainties, so we had to go into it unconditionally with as much hope and faith as we could muster up.

The very first month we were able to try I had a positive pregnancy test around when my period was due. However, within 24 hours I got my “period”, and I learned that this is typically considered a “chemical pregnancy”. I’d never even heard of this before, but I felt a mix of emotions that day. On one hand, I was pretty disappointed once I realized I wasn’t actually pregnant. But, on the other hand, I felt optimistic that we showed signs of being able to get pregnant again so quickly, so I was also very hopeful.

Over the next several months after this I had my own personal health scare that postponed our baby journey completely. While I sorted out my own health, we had to put the idea of a baby on hold, which was extremely difficult after everything we’d been through. But several months later, we were ready to try again! (Maybe I’ll share more on that another time…)

The early miscarriage was more devastating than I could have ever imagined. But after the almost year-long journey from the reversal to now, I can honestly say it makes me even more full of gratitude for this blessing God has given us now. I know that my story is unfolding as it is supposed to, and God will continue to answer my prayers and teach me through unanswered prayers that He is in charge and that I can plan as much as I’d like, but some things are simply outside of my control.

With that, I accept this journey unconditionally. I pray for health and happiness and that this baby is the perfect completion to our little family. The kids are gleeful that they are going to have a baby brother or sister, and that makes my heart explode even more! When I consider how lucky I am in this world to be surrounded by so much unconditional love, it only seems right to consider adding another soul to our loving circle.

I so appreciate all of you coming on this journey with us. After my last blog post, I was flooded with the most kind, caring, considerate messages from so many of you, I couldn’t even believe it. While we can all knock social media and the issues that it can cause, it is also be the most incredible forum for a bunch of strangers to come together for so much good. Your support has meant the world, and I hope that you know that I’m here for each and every one of you who may have a similar story or ANY story of your own! Please feel free to comment below, and I’d LUV to connect with you!

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**Amazing photography by Kristin LaDriere Family Photography! If you’re in the Tampa Bay area, check her out! She’s done our photos for many years, and she rocks!!!

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Our Behind-the-Scenes Experience with the New Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream

For those of you who have followed along for a while, you probably know that my mom was a professional ice skater, and I basically grew up in an ice-skating rink. One of my fondest memories as a child was attending the big ice shows when they would come to town. My mom usually knew people, so she’d get us backstage passes, and we never took for granted mingling with the professional skaters and getting a behind-the-scenes look at the shows. As I’ve gotten older, I’m realized how lucky we were to be able to have these experiences and how much the ice-skating world has made such a mark on my heart.

Whenever Disney on Ice comes to town, we always make a point to attend. It’s kind of like going to Disney World- it’s just magical and you can FEEL the magic when you’re there. The smiles are priceless and the memories are too. So, when Feld Entertainment contacted me about a behind-the-scenes experience at Disney on Ice, there was zero hesitation! The best part… I got to bring my mom! After all of the years of her treating me to backstage passes, here I was getting to bring her! So amazing! With that, we headed down to Ellenton (a little over an hour from us) to get a sneak peek at the newest show Dare to Dream. Here’s a peek at our behind-the-scenes experience…

We first met the Feld staff and other bloggers/influencers with their kids in the hotel lobby and caravanned over to Feld Entertainment Studios. Once arriving, we started off with a little mat session of stretching and exercises with some of the hosts and skaters from the show! I believe this back area is where the staff let get to loose before a show. There are ping pong tables and some of the staffs lockers and looks like it’s a place they like to hang out (which the kids thought was cool). The kids thought the staff were the coolest people EVER! They were incredible with the kids, and the facility is top notch!

We were then treated to some Moana-themed snacks, in honor of the addition of Moana to the show lineup.

After our snack, we headed over to the costume area and got a hands-on presentation of some of the most elaborate, gorgeous costumes you could imagine. I mean, you see them from afar and think they’re gorgeous, but up close, they’re even more amazing. Corbin was stoked he got to hold “Maui’s hook” and Em was enamored by all of the gorgeous dresses.

After the costume designers answered a few questions and let the kids touch the props, we headed rinkside. There we got to chat with the director of the show and some of the skaters about what the new show was all about. We got to hear about technical aspects of the show, listen to some of the performers’ feedback and watch choreography practice! (My mom and I really enjoyed that!)

Next, we headed upstairs for an amazing, healthy Moana-inspired dinner, complete with crafts and goody bags for the kids! The coolest part… we got to chat one-on-one with Show Producer Nicole Feld. She was incredibly sweet and down-t0-earth and happily obliged to answer all of our questions.

After dinner was complete, we headed back down to the rink to watch the first ever public performance of Dare to Dream. It was amazing to experience being at this performance and seeing this incredible show before anyone else was able to see it! We were joined by families of the cast, crew and staff, and sat directly rinkside. As someone who has such a special appreciation for ice skating and the art of performing, this was an experience I was incredibly grateful to be a part of!

Included in the act were Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Frozen and the newest addition… Moana.

(Em dancing with her new bestie! lol She and Hollie Woodward‘s daughter Brielle were inseparable from the start!)

(Em and Corbin, after the show, excited to get on the ice!)

(with bloggers Hollie Woodward and Destiney Green)

The final cherry on the cake was after the show when we got to actually get on ice and skate with the hosts and performers. For my mom & I, this was certainly the highlight of our day. It was like a flashback to my childhood to be on the ice with my mom and all of these performers, but with the added bonus of having my own kids with me. It was heaven on earth.

If you’re looking for something fun, magical and heart-warming to do with your families, I’d highly encourage you to attend a Disney on Ice show. The newest show Dare to Dream is now touring. For a list of show dates/times and to find out when this show will be in your town, head here!

I hope you enjoyed this peek at our experience behind-the-scenes. Thanks for coming along with me! I hope you’ll get a chance to check it out for yourself when the show comes to a town near you! Got any questions? Comment below, and I’m happy to answer!

For links to any of our outfit details, shop below:

*Disney on Ice hosted and sponsored this event, but all opinions are 100% my own. There are also some affiliate links in this post, which means I get a small commission when you use my links to make purchases. Thanks, as always, for your support.

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The Quartz Countertops that I LUV, Why I Think White is Here to Stay & The Truth Behind Our Pretty Photos

Of all the questions I get on my social, some of the most frequent pertain to the countertops in my home… What are my opinions on quartz vs. granite, marble, etc? AND I’m asked ALL THE TIME how I have so much white in my house with little kids and how I keep it clean.

(Our master bathroom, featuring Ella by Cambria Quartz)

To the first question… We have had granite countertops before and now have 2 different brands of quartz countertops in our home. We started our renovations in the kitchen a couple years ago and selected our white quartz, based mostly on price and our budget. I wanted something mostly solid white, with very simple veining. The style I selected fit the bill for this, and I was pretty happy with it when installed. (More on this later…)

If you don’t know a lot about quartz, there are 2 main reasons it has become so popular…

1- It’s beautiful. To me, granite can look overly flecked and uniform. Because of the way quartz is manufactured, the patterns are all completely unique. I had the pleasure of visiting the Cambria Quartz production plant in Minnesota, and watching the materials being made was mesmerizing, to say the least. The creations are gorgeous, ornate and full of character. It has the look of marble, and {almost} everyone LUVs marble. But unlike marble…

2- Quartz is super low maintenance! Granite and marble both require regular maintenance and need to be sealed regularly, as they are extremely porous. Quartz is typically pretty stain repellent and naturally impervious to acidic substances. While real marble is absolutely gorgeous aesthetically, if you are going to choose this material for your home, you must be completely open to the idea that stains and etching could be inevitable. Quartz requires zero sealing and is more likely to maintain its original character, as it is highly durable.

I often follow the second question (about how I have so much white with kids) by reminding my followers that what you see is not always what you get when it comes to a bloggers’ photos. Typically I’m photographing a space that is freshly cleaned, and for every clean space that’s being photographed, there’s typically a mound of laundry or some other type of mess hiding just behind that space. Having said that, I believe there is something to be said for light surfaces, in terms of keeping them clean. The granite countertops we previously had were a dark blend of blacks and metallics, and quite honestly, you’d never even know if they were dirty, because they hid EVERYTHING. While some may find this idea nice, the thought of what lurked beneath what meets the eye always gave me the heeby jeebies. When a surface in my home is dirty, I know. I can feel confident when food touches my countertops that they’re not bacteria-ridden, both because I keep them cleaner (because they are white) and because they aren’t porous.

So to prove to you my point that bloggers’ photos are not always an accurate depiction for what everyday life looks like, I’m going to show you some staged photos of my kids’ bathroom vanities and then show you what they look like more often than not…

Here’s how my daughter’s bathroom came together. The color we selected is Ella.

OK, now let’s be real… Here’s a more accurate depiction of how her bathroom typically looks. Em’s daily rituals are as bright as her personality. She likes to come home from school and add a rainbow of hair chalk to her hair. She usually has the hamster on her countertops while she brushes her teeth. And, despite the fact that she’s 8 years old, she LUVs applying makeup.

I mean, you can be afraid of white surfaces all day long. But for me… what’s scarier is thinking about what my kids put on their countertops (ahem… hamster butt) and not being able to see if they are actually clean. Non-porous sounds pretty good, when you think of it this way, huh?!

Corbin, on the other hand, is a certified neat-freak, like his mama. He doesn’t like anything to be dirty. But one thing that seems to linger is toothpaste residue. (Someone tell me why children always get more toothpaste on the countertops and in their sinks than their actual toothbrushes?!) AND, like Em, there’s often an animal on the counter. He has had a fish here for the last year, that just passed, rest his soul. But the kids put the dog on the counter to drink water out of the sink and Em tends to bring her hamster in here as well. So, again, I really like that their surfaces are non-porous. Here’s what his vanity area looks like when I typically photograph it for my social…

And what it more frequently looks like…

 

So, as you can see, non-porous is the key when suspicious bacterias could be lurking on your surfaces. (Ahem, dog on counter and then toothbrush in mouth…)

While I would have LUV’d to do unique designs in each of our bathrooms, we decided to keep a unified look throughout the house, for both resale value and budgetary reasons. We used white shaker cabinets through our kitchen, bathrooms & laundry room and simply chose different hardware and finishes, to make each space a little unique from the other. Like I mentioned before, we chose a quartz countertop brand based on price when we first did our kitchen, and the bathroom renovations came a year later. After a year of using our kitchen quartz (not Cambria), I wasn’t completely happy with the durability of them. They do, in fact, scratch a little and they have become a little more dull than I had hoped. So when we went to select the quartz for our bathroom renovations, I went with the brand I had coveted from the beginning… Cambria. Cambria’s cutting-edge technologies make their designs more durable and higher-quality than all of their competitors. Some key notes I learned about Cambria when visiting their facility last winter…

  • Cambria is American-made!
  • Cambria is a quartz surface product made of 93% pure, natural quartz- one of the hardest and most common minerals on Earth.
  • Cambria offers more variation than any other quartz manufacturer. (AND, recently introduced a matte finish material into their product line as well.)
  • It is non-porous, scratch and stain resistant, maintenance free and never needs sealing! Liquids and bacterias are never absorbed.
  • Cambria invests extensively in research and development, delivering the most technologically advanced surfaces available in the market.

So, in a nutshell, Cambria leads the way in technological advances, when it comes to quartz countertops, and seeing with my own eyes how it is made, I really was able to see what makes it the best. All of that aside, I can speak through experience that it really is superior when it comes to quartz countertops. Our kitchen quartz (not Cambria) has scratched, chipped and stained. Something I never thought would happen. We’ve now had Cambria in our bathrooms and laundry room for more than a year and have not seen one scratch, one stain or one imperfection. (This post may be sponsored, but that is a fact and my own experience and 100% truthful!)

Having said all of this, our “white’ish” Cambria quartz countertops have been one of the best design decisions I have made in our home. Again, I LUV that I can always see if they are dirty and I LUV the versatility of the design. In my next home, maybe I’ll go outside my comfort zone with a little color (who knows?!). But I’ve been extremely happy with how cohesive the designs in our home feel. I’m guessing white is going to stick around a while. It’s versatile; (You can change out the hardware and/or decor and have a different look.) It’s bright and beautiful; and I think it’s here to stay.

Got any other questions about my experience with the countertops in my home? Just ask!

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* This blog post was sponsored, but it was arranged a year AFTER having chosen Cambria for our home on our own. This experience has 100% been our own, and I agreed to do this collaboration because of my positive experience with the brand.

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