My Fave Baby Products After 3 Babies (0-3 month edition)

October 6, 2019

Now that we are three babies into this parenthood journey, I’ve been thinking a LOT lately about baby gear. I’ve reflected a lot lately on what products I’ve loved through all three kiddos, what has stood the test of time and what was worth the money spent. I figured it was high time I did a round-up of those favorite products in case it might be helpful!

Note: One of the things that stands out to me most is that I wish I would have just gone with quality from the outset. There are plenty of expensive baby products that are not worth splurging on, in my opinion, but when it comes to basics, it’s worth spending a little more money for quality that will last through multiple kids.

Our Favorite Car Seat // UPPAbaby Mesa Car Seat
I love this car seat! It’s lasted us through three kiddos and is fantastic quality. It’s easy to install/use, looks great and all our kids have enjoyed being in it while they were babies.

Also: I was encouraged when I read this review from Lindsay Dahl about car seat toxicity and how well the UPPAbaby Mesa rates.

Our Favorite Car Seat Adaptable Stroller // UPPAbaby Vista Stroller
Full disclosure: We did NOT buy the UPPAbaby Vista at retail price. We actually stalked our local Craigslist ads for people selling this stroller and bought ours used – so it looks a lot less cool than the newer models – but it’s worked great! The frame is AMAZING for easily collapsing and storing in the back of our car and I use it all the time when our babies have been little enough to be carried around in the actual car seat since it snaps in and out easily.

Our Favorite Jogging Stroller // BabyJogger Summit X3 + Summit X3 Double
We have LOVED this stroller – both in the single and double versions. I balked at the price of jogging strollers when we were first looking into them, but we have put hundreds of miles on both strollers and frequently take the kiddos on runs/long walks in the strollers. I love that it lays back nearly flat. We have traveled through airports with this stroller and during times when unexpected delays happen, the fact that this stroller reclines nearly flat is great for a makeshift bed for little people.

Note: This stroller is also adaptable with the UPPAbaby Mesa Car seat with the correct clips, if that is of interest to you.

Our Favorite Changing Pad // Keekaroo Peanut Changer
WORTH EVERY PENNY. In fact, I would pay even more than it costs for this thing. I can’t even imagine having a changing pad that was fabric or needed a cover. When your kiddo gets pee or poop on the pad, just wipe it right up and move on with life! We have it in the oatmeal color and it’s worked great for all three kiddos!

Soft Baby Carrier // MOBY Wrap
Full disclosure: I didn’t have this for all three kiddos. I actually had the Solly Baby Wrap for the first two but bought this one for Truett and love it more than the Solly. I love the material – how it’s both substantial yet soft and Truett loves being in the wrap. I have the classic wrap!

Structured Baby Carrier // Ergo 360 Baby Carrier
Our kiddos have LOVED this thing! Especially as they get older + bigger and start to have better head and neck control. Collins especially loved that she could be outward-facing in the front carry in this carrier – I wore her a LOT during the first year of her life in this thing.

Diaper Bag // Fawn Design Bag
I love this backpack diaper bag! I didn’t really have a diaper bag I loved when Ainsley was a baby, so when I found this bag while Collins was a baby it was love at first sight. It’s functional + cute and relatively reasonably priced. Plus, I love it even when I don’t have my kiddos with me!

Our Favorite Baby Gym // Skip Hop Cloud Baby Gym + Play Mat
We had a different baby gym for our first two kiddos, but I got so sick of looking at that primary-colored baby gym every day. I’m so much happier looking at this cute baby gym!

Our Favorite Baby Seat // Baby Bjorn Bouncer
This seems crazy expensive at first glance, but it’s 100% worth it! I borrowed one from someone when Collins was a baby and then asked them if I could buy it from them because we got so much use out of it and I knew that we would want one for our next baby. Now, Truett is enjoying it just as much!

Our Favorite Pacis // Avent Soothie Paci
Our first two were never really Paci babies, but Treat sure is! He has LOVED these paces – and we have tried many different brands – but these continue to be his favorites. We buy them in a jumbo pack to make sure we have plenty on hand.

Our Favorite Swaddle // Love to Dream Swaddle Up
Our kids have all loved the Swaddle Up! I love that it’s easy to use properly and find that my kiddos seem to enjoy having their hands up like this vs. a traditional swaddle.

Our Favorite Sleep Sack // Merino Kids Sleep Sack
This is more of a big-kid thing rather than a little baby thing, but I wanted to include this since around 3 months is usually when people are transitioning out of swaddle products and into sleep sacks and the like. I bought two of these when Ainsley was a baby and about died at the price – they were SO expensive. Was it worth it? 100% yes! I’ve bought other less expensive sleep sacks and they have all broken down over time, but these Merino Kids Sleep Sacks have gotten years of use between my two girls and been washed hundreds of times and still look great! Collins is actually still sleeping in one of the larger versions!

Things we wish we would have purchase differently:
-I would have purchased a better + nicer portable crib/pack and play. There are a lot of great, functionally-designed and portable options out there that I think would have been worth the money.

-I would have purchased a NICE umbrella stroller for the kiddos as they got bigger. I’ve spent a good deal of money on cheap umbrella strollers that break and don’t last the test of time.

-I’m glad that we didn’t spend any money on expensive niche things like wipe warmers, bottle warmers, baby formula bottle makers, etc. In general, I love the phrase “go in the way you wish to continue!” Meaning that if you don’t want to always have to warm up your baby’s bottle of formula, don’t get them used to it at home, etc. 😉

-We bought an expensive video monitor with Ainsley and it broke twice. After that, I switched to a cheap audio-only monitor and enjoyed it much more. For someone like me, I found being able to hear/see every little movement just caused me more anxiety than it was worth! It’s a very personal thing, though.


Everlane Faves

September 30, 2019

Hi there, friends! Postpartum momma searching for clothes that fit her body right NOW and make her feel great when going on nights of little sleep and full/crazy days. Can anyone relate? Regardless if you’re postpartum or not, Everlane has become one of my favorite stores to shop for beautifully made basics for any stage of life. They are also a company focused on making ethical clothing at affordable prices – which is something I can totally get behind!

As I’ve refreshed my wardrobe for fall, I thought I would share some of my favorite finds from Everlane this season. Read on for the full run-down!

Everlane Cashmere Crew Sweater
I have this in black in a size small that I’ve owned for years and the golden color pictured above in a size medium for a looser fit. I love both and have worn the black one time and time again. It’s such a versatile piece!

Everlane Link-Stitch Crew Neck Sweater
This is pictured in white above. It’s one of my most favorite sweaters to date! It’s great quality and such a great fit. It’s casual enough to wear with jeans yet pretty enough to dress up with a skirt or dress pants.

Everlane High-Rise Skinny Jean
I have been a Madewell jean gal for years but I gave these a shot because the price is great and I had heard good things from so many people. Now, my only question is WHY did I wait so long to get a pair? They are so comfortable ad the fit is fantastic!

Everyone The Italian GoWeave Easy Pant
These are perfection! (Pictured above in olive) They are casual enough to dress down with a sweatshirt – I can see them being perfect airport/travel pants with the comfy elastic waist – but the material makes them dressy enough to wear with a sweater and heels or mules for the office/church/events. I’m planning on buying them in every color.

Everlane The Clean Silk Short Sleeved Square Shirt
I am wearing this in the striped pattern above. It’s nothing special on the site and when it arrived I didn’t think it would look great on, but I was wrong. It’s so easy to wear and great for tucking into jeans or pants.

Everlane The Cotton Turtleneck
I have this in navy and it’s another easy-to-wear sweater going into fall/winter. I love it! It’s not heavy or scratchy and has a great fit. It runs true to size!

Family, Pregnancy

Truett Joseph: A Birth Story

September 11, 2019

Hello, friends! It’s been a WHILE hasn’t it? I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting to the blog since the very beginning of blogging, but then again I’ve never had a month like the month of August. From the beginning, I’ve always had a goal in this space of sharing transparently, but also not blogging before I’ve had time to process what I’m blogging about. So in that spirit, I’ve had to take some time away before I was ready to share both Truett’s birth story AND the month following and subsequent heart surgery.

It wasn’t until I looked back at photos to use for this blog post that I realized what a haunting feeling it is to look back at photos of yourself before something monumental and traumatic took place. I scrolled through the photos of our time in the hospital after Truett’s birth and I shudder a little – knowing what those smiling, happy faces would have to endure, thinking about the lurking and serious heart defect that was waiting to surface in our seemingly perfectly healthy baby.

Whew. It’s a lot, friends. A lot to process over the last month and a lot that I’ll continue to process in the months to come. But what I do know is this: We are so incredibly thankful for Truett’s life and I want to make sure that the beauty of his birth isn’t overshadowed by the events soon after. So, with that said, here is our sweet Truett’s birth story….

Truett’s birth story began two days before he was born. On Wednesday, July 31st I went in for a regularly scheduled 38-week OB appointment. I had been feeling great but definitely having some signs that baby wasn’t too far off from coming. At my appointment our OB checked me and discovered that I was already 5 cm dilated and about 80% effaced. Honestly, I didn’t even know you could walk around that far along and not be in active labor! Because of how far progressed I was and how quickly Collins came once active labor started, paired with the fact that I already had two kiddos and a husband who works about 30 minutes away, our doctor said it was entirely reasonable to put an induction on the calendar for Friday. Initially, I declined, but as I went home and talked with Joe, we both preferred the idea of a more controlled timeline for Truett’s birth.

We made a plan for me to come in on Friday to be induced and started planning everything else around that – including childcare for the girls, getting bags packed, etc. I had SUCH a wonderful induction experience with Collins, which actually gave me quite a bit of fear surrounding this birth because I thought there was no way another induction could go quite so well. but I felt peace in our decision to put a date on the calendar for this baby to be born.

When I checked in on Friday I was having some occasional Braxton Hicks contractions but nothing regular or painful. It turns out I was already 6 cm and 90% and was STILL not in active labor which was even crazier to me – it also made me feel very affirmed in our choice to induce because there is no way I would have made it much longer without going into labor.

After being monitored for about 30 minutes, our doctor came in around 8:30 am and broke my water. Our hope was that breaking my water would be the only intervention needed to move things along. Our doula arrived shortly after and she started us on some exercises and movements to get baby into an ideal position for labor. We also started doing some abdominal lift and tuck exercises timed out with each contraction to help get my contractions more regular so I could make progress.

We spent the next couple hours walking inside and outside the hospital – since I was negative for Group B this time around I didn’t need an IV or any antibiotics but they did have me checking back about every 45 minuets to monitor baby. From about 8:30 until 10:40 I could tell I was having regular contractions that were starting to become more noticeable but I was not in any intense pain up until that point.

I specifically remember looking at the clock at 10:50 – while standing in the refreshment area of the labor and delivery wing – and saying, “Oh shit, that one hurt!” Joe has a photo of me at that point still smiling, but it was a serious effort to put a smile on my face as things were getting more and more painful. I returned to the room to be monitored around 11 and after that I felt certain I was ready to stay in the room and quit walking the halls.

At 11:20 I moved from being monitored on the bed to the ball and tried bouncing on the ball as a way to distract from the intense pain of each contraction. Our doula pressed on my back and Joe held my hand. As I had mentally prepared for labor before it began, I wanted to be “in my head” through the pain if at all possible, which for me meant focusing intensely on my breath and making it through each individual contraction. I had listened to my labor and delivery podcast a LOT on runs, walks, and through workouts in the months leading up to labor and delivery. When my run was hard and I wanted to quit, I used those times to think forward to delivery when I was going to be experiencing intense pain and tried to mentally prepare for those moments. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but I truly think using that time in advance of labor to mentally prepare helped tremendously when the time came to have Truett. Even though the pain was intense, I felt calm and focused.

This is also a good time to note that one distinct difference in this labor from others is how comforted I felt by Joe’s presence and support. I don’t mean to say I didn’t feel that way in previous deliveries, but Joe’s presence was especially comforting to me during Truett’s birth – through hand holding and back rubbing and just being near. I remember telling everyone around this point that, “Everyone should marry a man like Joe Hofmeyer.” I mean it 100%.

Around 11:35 I got into the tub. It was really hot and felt so good as I labored through some really intense contractions. Both with Collins and Truett’s birth, the tub toward the end of labor helped make transition bearable!

I got out of the tub around noon and slowly made my way to the bed through the next few contractions. At 12:08 I was checked again and my doctor informed me I was complete and could push whenever I felt ready. In the weeks leading up to labor, our doula had talked to us about the benefit of waiting for your body to be truly ready before pushing – using your own body’s cues rather than when you were told to push. Even though I was complete, I didn’t yet feel ready to push. I waited about 10 minutes until my body felt ready and in the matter of about two contractions Truett made his arrival at 12:22 pm weighing 9 lbs. 1 oz!

Truly, I couldn’t have asked for a better birth. I think the experience this time around taught me that there is no “ideal” birth. Each one of my births has been different and yet perfect for that particular point in time and life, and in many ways having such a wonderful beginning with Truett – including great bonding and breastfeeding – helped fortify this momma’s heart for what was to come in the weeks ahead.

One of the big mercies in Truett’s delivery was the fact that despite Truett being my biggest baby by over a pound, I had just a tiny little tear and very little blood loss. My recovery compared to the girls was SO much easier and better, and there were countless times that I thanked God for my recovery being so great because it was one less thing to think and worry about as we prepared for Truett’s heart surgery.

Thank you, Jesus, for the life and gift of Truett Joseph, whose life is a gift I am now exceptionally thankful for.

Chunky Peanut Butter Granola

July 24, 2019

Over the last year I learned that one of Joe’s favorite breakfasts is yogurt with granola and fresh berries. I don’t know when I came to this realization – I believe it was on vacation when he mentioned one time while eating yogurt, berries and granola – that he could eat that breakfast every day. And suddenly I realized that I hardly ever had that very combination on hand at our house.

Since then, I’ve been working on sampling and subsequently creating a stellar granola recipe that is worthy of sharing over here and today is the day that I think I finally have something that’s more than worthy. It contains peanut butter – because we have a strong love affair for peanut butter in our home – and makes the most perfect, crunchy yet soft granola clusters. Granola clusters are a must in order for granola to really be granola, IMHO.

Here’s to many more breasts of chunky granola, fresh fruit and Greek yogurt, friends!

Chunky Peanut Butter Granola
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups old-fashioned oats

Heat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat (Silpat). Set aside.

Place butter, honey and peanut butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 to 45 seconds, until ingredients are hot and butter begins to melt. Remove from microwave and stir until butter is melted completely and ingredients are well combined. Stir in salt.

Stir in the oats until oats are evenly coated. Spread into a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake 75 to 85 minutes or until oats are just beginning to look slightly toasty. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Break into pieces once cooled and store in an airtight container until ready to eat.


My Maternity Favorite Favorites

July 17, 2019

Now that I’m nearing the end of this pregnancy, I thought it was time to do a recap of the items of clothing that I’ve worn and truly loved throughout the entire pregnancy. Sometimes it takes a full pregnancy to really look back and figure out which items of clothing were the best purchases and investments along the way.

So, with that said, here are the favorite favorites that have stood the test of the last 36 weeks!

1. Kindred Bravely Sublime Support Nursing & Maternity Sports Bra
This has been my hands-down favorite nursing bra I’ve ever purchased. It’s made out of the world’s most comfortable material and is a great blend of supportive yet comfortable. I find myself making sure I’m on top of our family’s laundry just to have this clean!

2. Madewell Over the Belly Maternity Jeans
It’s not secret I’m not a huge fan of maternity jeans but these have been the pair I found myself reaching for time after time over the many other pairs I have. Note: Size down!

3. Isabel Maternity Inset Panel Midi Jean Shorts
I’ve really loved these jean shorts for much of my pregnancy! Now that I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy and my belly is getting a lot bigger I find I’m reaching for my full panel maternity shorts (below) more often, but for most of my pregnancy these have been a favorite.

4. Gap Maternity Full Panel Denim Shorts with Raw Hem
My favorite full-panel maternity jean shorts! These are so comfy and as I’ve gotten further along in pregnancy I’ve appreciated the full panel.

5. Old Navy Dolphin-Hem Run Shorts for Women
These aren’t maternity workout shorts, but I’ve found them to work great for pregnancy when sized up! I’ve lived in them all of this summer – like I do when I’m not pregnant, too!

6. Hatch Collection The Slouch Dress
Make no mistake, this was a total maternity splurge and in all honesty I haven’t worn it a ton but it’s been nice for a handful of occasions to have it on hand and know that I have a dressy yet comfy option as the need has present itself.

7. Gap Maternity Ruffle One-Piece Suit
I have LOVED this maternity swimsuit – and trust me that’s not something I would have ever imagined myself saying about a maternity swimsuit. I ditched the option thin strap and actually ended up wearing the straps like normal on my shoulders vs. the off the shoulder look and it worked great + was super functional for mom life at the pool!

8. LOFT Maternity Mixed Media Shirttail Tank
I have this tank in two colors and LOVE it. It’s worked great throughout many stages of pregnancy and I love that it doesn’t look maternity in the least bit, making it something I could see myself wearing in the first few weeks postpartum, too. I’ve also tossed it in the dryer on accident and it still fits great. Total win!

9. LOFT Maternity Fern Mixed Media Shell
Another LOFT favorite this pregnancy – I’ve worn it so many times and love how comfortable it is and, yet again, non “maternity” looking.

10. Carly Jean Los Angeles Stella Half Sleeve Dress
I’ve worn this dress all throughout my pregnancy and LOVE it. I just sized up one size and it still has plenty of room for this growing bump.

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