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Harvey’s Birth Story

Monday, March 6, 2023

Now that Harvey is one month old, I figured it’s time to document his birth story. Life has been a little chaotic, as you can imagine, with a toddler and a newborn. I knew it would be hard to juggle but I think my biggest concern was making sure Merloe felt loved and received attention from mommy. 

Let’s jump into it! Buckle up, it happens quick… 




January 18, 2023
I went in for another ultrasound at 36 weeks because he was measuring big. The doctor wanted to make sure he wasn’t getting too big. Surprise surprise, he was still measuring big! So they suggested I consider getting a c-section. They also saw something small on his heart and referred us to a specialist to have another look. They said it wasn’t super concerning but they wanted a second opinion. 

January 19, 2023
We went to Desert Perinatal for the ultrasound and the staff was so kind. They were able to see that his heart rate looked normal, he was swallowing so his kidneys were working and overall he was very active. After the ultrasound we went into another room for heart rate monitoring where they had me sit in a recliner chair and hooked me up to the monitor. They asked me to drink cold water to get him moving. Before we could leave they wanted to see his heart rate go up and down a few times. Luckily, he took really well to the water and did exactly what they needed right away. The doctor came in to go over the ultrasound and said everything looked normal. She mentioned sometimes they see something like this on bigger babies but it was nothing concerning. She also said he was measuring big already at 8 lbs. 8 oz — knowing I still had 4 weeks to go I was slightly scared! I was hoping to have another vaginal delivery but if he got over 9 lbs. they were going to highly suggest I get a c-section. 

January 25, 2023
I went to my OB for my 37 week check up, this time I decided to get a cervix check. I was dilated to a 2/3 and already thinned. I mentioned I had to get induced with Merloe and he said since I was already thinned, I would be able to skip the step of getting cervidil— which if you read my birth story with Merloe, this was great news! With my first pregnancy, I went into the hospital for an induction dilated at 2. It was excited to hear my body was making progress, maybe because this was my second time? Either way I told Seth after the appointment we need to make sure we’re ready to go because he could come soon!


January 26, 2023
I had my weekly heart rate monitoring at Desert Perinatal. They did a quick ultrasound to check his position and he was head down on my right side. They hooked me up to the monitor and watched him move for about 20-30 minutes. He wasn’t cooperating as much as they’d like so the nurse said she was going to get a noise maker and before she could leave the room he started moving. Overall they said he looked great!  

 

January 28, 2023
It was a beautiful Saturday morning. We got up and got ready to head to the Farmer’s Market. Before we stopped at the market we went to have breakfast at Life’s A Bagel. Merloe loves bagels and we were trying to spend as much “special” time with her as we could. At the market we picked up some blueberries and strawberries before heading home. Later that night when I was sleeping I started feeling contractions in my back but they weren’t close together and I was able to go back to sleep each time. 

January 29, 2023
I woke up around 4:00 AM to go to the bathroom and once I sat back down in bed I felt this gush of water that I couldn’t control. So I woke Seth up thinking my water just broke, but I wasn’t sure so I went to the bathroom. But it continued to leak down my leg so I knew we had to get going! I called my mom to come over and watch Merloe as we started loading up the car. My contractions started coming quick and they were getting painful fast so I knew we had to hurry. I was working through contractions the whole way to the hospital and I was in such pain I had Seth drop me off at the ER doors, I couldn’t wait for him to park. 

As I made my way up to Labor & Delivery I worked through two sets of contractions, painful enough I had to stop and hang onto the doors. I finally made it up and let the nurses know what time my water broke and my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and that I wanted an epidural! They asked me to fill out a clipboard (!!!!) and said they needed to do a cervix check and bloodwork before they could call the anesthesiologist. I immediately undressed in the room, mind you my water is still continuously coming out (my pants were soaked by the time I arrived). The nurse did a quick cervix check and said I was dilated to an 8! Last time I got my epidural when I was at a 4, so I was in major pain at this point. They said they would call the anesthesiologist but sometimes they won’t come until the bloodwork comes back but thankfully he agreed to come anyways. By this time Seth arrived to the room, THANK GOODNESS! I needed someone’s hand to squeeze. 

This is where I started getting worried because my contractions were so close together and so painful. I was feeling a lot of pressure too so the nurse mentioned if I felt the need to push to let her know and they would get the on call doctor. I don’t know how women deliver without the epidural, I was not prepared to do this! Around 15 minutes later the anesthesiologist arrived so as he was getting set up, I probably worked through 4 more contractions. They were so painful but I knew if I could hold out for a few more I would be pain free. As soon as he got the epidural in, I immediately felt my left side tingle. I couldn’t have been any happier in that moment. To me, the epidural is not painful. Especially if your contractions are painful, at this point nothing compares. 

Around this time my doctor arrived. She was already awake because she had a scheduled c-section at 6:30 AM. She decided to do a quick cervix check and I was dilated to a 10! At this point, I remember looking at the clock and seeing it was 6:00 AM and I thought to myself, "there’s no way it’s 6:00 AM... the clock must be wrong." But they assured me it was not and I was ready to start pushing. I could not believe how quickly everything was happening!

During my first set of pushes Harvey's heartrate dropped. The doctor gave me an oxygen mask to put on and informed me that if his heart rate continued to drop they might have to use a vacuum to get him out or I'd have to go in for an emergency c-section. I was able to catch my breath and relax for a minute which helped because then his heart rate remained steady. I think I was overwhelmed because everything moved so quick I just needed a minute to do a few deep breaths. 

I pushed through 4 more contractions and during my last set of pushes the doctor had me push and pause as she maneuvered his shoulders out. And at 6:44 AM, Harvey Hayes Turner was born! He weighed 8 lbs. 13 oz. (Seth would like to make note he was 8 lbs. 13.9 oz -- almost 14 oz.) and he was 20" long. He had a headful of dark brown hair, which can't be seen during his first few photos but it's much darker than Merloe's hair was. We had Christian music playing during labor and he was born during the song “Wait On You” by Elevation Worship. 
 

From the minute my water broke to the delivery of Harvey, my fluids were continually leaking. Because of this Harvey swallowed amniotic fluid on his way out which caused some blockage in his lungs. The doctor said this was common for babies born quickly. After he was cleaned up the NICU nurses arrived and took him for a few hours to monitor his breathing. Luckily Seth was able to go with them as I was getting stitched up from my second degree tear. They said he would be there for a few hours. 

This was a completely different experience compared to Merloe because as soon as Harvey left, so did all the doctors and nurses. I was alone in the hospital room after this monumental and overwhelming moment, now to sit in complete silence. The nurse brought my breakfast in on a brown tray -- french toast with sausage links. I was so excited to have a son, exhausted from all the pushing, numb from the anesthesia and shocked that I just had a baby. Seth was able to take photos and send them to me with updates which helped me feel not so alone. I tried to take advantage of this quiet time but it was weird for me. It did give me an opportunity to text family and friends to share the news!

While Harvey was in the NICU, they monitored his breathing to make sure the fluids were flushed from his lungs. They fed him formula to make sure his blood sugar levels didn't drop. He passed all of his tests and after 4 hours, he was able to come back to our room so we could try and breastfeed. 

Throughout the evening, he did have a few instances where he sucked in air like he couldn't breathe. The nurses checked his lungs and heartrate, everything looked great. He was still working through the fluids he had swallowed. It was a little scary to experience this, especially being a tad sleep deprived. 

 

We had a few visitors including a special Big Sis who came to meet her Little Brother. Merloe was so sweet with Harvey and wanted to hold him. She kept trying to put his blanket over him and put his binky in. She brought Harvey a stuffed dinosaur and Harvey gave Merloe an Elsa baby doll. I know she’s going to be the best big sister!

 

After one night in the hospital, lots of tests and check ins -- we were able to go home!  Coming home with our new baby was a scary but exciting feeling. After your first kid, you have some experience and knowledge of what to expect during those first few nights. Merloe and Poppy were so excited to greet him at the door! We had to keep Merloe away from Harvey for a few days as she had a double ear infection -- of course! Before we left the hospital they let us know his bilirubin levels were on the higher side. Not enough to keep us another night or have him put under the lights, but that following week we were in and out of the pediatrician's office almost daily. Thankfully by the end of the week due to breastfeeding and extra sunshine, his jaundice levels had gone down! 

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Now that he's a month old we have a little more "routine" to our day, we love having our little bubs in our family. Poppy loves licking his toes and Merloe loves giving him hugs, but says he's heavy if she holds him for too long. Mommy loves our breastfeeding journey and Daddy can't wait to play catch with his son one day.

Baby It's Cold Outside Baby Shower

Friday, January 20, 2023

My mom, my mother in law and my sister in law hosted my baby shower in early November and went with the theme of "Baby It's Cold Outside". I know having a baby shower for your second kid is taboo, but when I was pregnant with Merloe it was the height of covid so I didn't get a real baby shower with her, we just did a drive by shower (which was also a great experience). But I'm so thankful they were willing to still shower me and baby boy with extra love!

We all met up weeks prior to talk about the shower and what food we should serve, games we should play and what vendors to use. Luckily I had won a contest on Instagram for a free room rental at a local event space called The Grey Room. Their rental included so much like the tables, chairs, white or black linens, balloon arch, bowls, catering items and even some d├ęcor. They added a Christmas tree to our room to go along with the theme!

  

Balloon Garland designed by It's Poppin' Events // Shop Outfit Details Here

 

Cake Pops and Cookie Decorating Kits produced by The Sweet Treats Emporium

 

We played a few games including a diaper raffle, which is a must in my opinion! We got so many diapers and wipes which is so helpful to get you through those first few months. We included the Diaper Raffle cards in the invitation but had extras on the table if someone forgot theirs. This 'Letters to Santa' mailbox matched perfectly with the theme and doubled as our raffle drum. The winner received a gift basket with fun holiday baking items from Williams Sonoma. 

Our other game was a "Kisses Guessing Game" where guests had an opportunity to guess how many kisses were in the jar. I made these graphics on Canva and printed business cards for them to write their answers on. The winner received the tall glass jar with all the kisses inside. 

The final game we played was a 'Left Right Story' which we found on Pinterest, found here. Guests were seated at their round tables, we placed one gift on the table and as the story was read out loud, guests had to pass the gift left or right. Whoever ended up with the gift at the end of the game won the prize! Prizes were gift bags filled with holiday themed items like a blanket, hot cocoa kit and mug. 

 

We had to have a Hot Cocoa Bar for the party, we rented the dispenser from RSVP Rentals, a local rental company, and we purchased all of the accessories to go with it. The dispenser was filled with warm milk so we had different packets of Hot Cocoa on the top for the guest to choose their flavor. We also provided all the toppings: mini marshmallows, peppermint marshmallows, gingerbread cookies, sprinkles, whipped cream, flavored syrups, crushed peppermint candies and candy canes.

Baby It's Cold Outside Cocoa Sleeves & Cups purchased on Etsy
 

 

We wanted a cute tablescape but also easy cleanup, we found these plates on Meri Meri, the snowflake felt chargers were from Target, we ordered snowflake napkins and put them through a snowflake cookie cutter that doubled as a napkin ring. The utensils came from Amazon, which matched the theme perfectly! We found the candle wreath centerpieces through Costco, which were faux so we could keep them after. The linens also came from RSVP Rentals, we used the 'Storm Velvet' which was a beautiful blend of blue grey. 

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Hopefully this helps you plan your winter themed baby shower!

What games did you play? Did you do a diaper raffle?
Let me know in the comments!

I have included commissionable links on this post. Thank you for supporting me and my family!


Second Trimester | Q+A - Baby Boy

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Oops.... posting this as I'm approaching 30 weeks. 

I've been so horrible keeping up with my blog with baby #2 so here we go, starting with Second Trimester details. I'm currently 26 weeks! Baby is around 14" long and 1.7 pounds (per The Bump app). 

 

He's VERY active, much more active than when I had Merloe! I hear that's a boy thing? He's constantly moving as soon as I sit still for a while. I feel like he's horizontal in my belly still, which is normal but I feel more "wide" with him than Merloe. I also feel like I'm carrying lower which they say is common for a second pregnancy since my body already knows what to do and how to expand. 

I first felt him kick or move around 19 weeks. We were packing for a Disneyland trip for Merloe's Second Birthday. I wasn't able to get in to my 20 week ultrasound until after the trip but it made me feel so much better to feel him moving knowing he was active. We had our 20 week ultrasound at the end of September. The tech is the same one we had with Merloe, so it's always fun going back and reconnecting with them. The 20 Week Ultrasound is always so nerve racking because it's a full body scan to make sure everything is developing as it should be. It usually takes a while so you just lay there in silence praying that everything they see looks good. This is where my doctor does the gender check, they don't offer it any earlier or any blood tests to confirm. We had already been to an outside Ultrasound to check and so we were hoping she would confirm it was the same gender we had been told. Sure enough, halfway through our appointment she goes "Well I hope they told you he's a BOY!" and it was confirmed. She then laughed saying he was not afraid to flaunt the goods. Which is so funny to me because when we had Merloe she was always bashful and shy, so I know we've got a wild one coming soon.

Like I mentioned earlier, we had gone to an outside ultrasound to check the gender. With Merloe, I wanted to know before anyone else so we found out at the doctor's office but did a surprise reveal with our family and close friends. This time Seth really wanted to be surprised so we went to the ultrasound tech and received an envelope with the results inside. During our appointment she was having trouble checking, saying the baby was being shy and not cooperating. The heart rate was above 160, similar to Merloe so I left thinking it was a girl. It had to be a girl. Seth felt the same way, especially since my pregnancy up until that point had been identical. 

For the Gender Reveal we took the envelope to my parents house and invited both families over. I didn't want to do a big reveal, it made me anxious. I don't know why since we would've been happy with a girl or a boy but it was an overwhelming experience for me. My mom insisted on making it special so she decorated the house to the theme "What Will Baby Bee?" and had bumblebee themed food and decorations. For the reveal, we decided to open the envelope and read what it said out loud to our families so we still knew "before them" but also shared the excitement at the same time. As you can tell from our photos, we were surprised and so excited to find out it was a BOY! We both truly thought it was a girl so it was a fun surprise and I'm thankful Seth pushed me to do the reveal this way. 

 


I don't think Merloe has quite figured out what this means, she knows if I point to my belly she'll say "baby" but that's about it. She's quite motherly though taking care of all her baby dolls, even at school they say it's her favorite thing to do. She'll bring them out to the playground, feed them, change their diaper and give them kisses. It's the sweetest! So I know she'll make a great big sis for baby boy.

At 20 weeks pregnant we took Merloe to Disneyland to celebrate her 2nd Birthday a little early. It was a really great trip for us to take as a family before baby boy comes and have special time celebrating her. My parents came along as well so it was a family affair at the Happiest Place on Earth! 

I still have a few more weeks left before my Second Trimester comes to an end, but so far it's been pretty good. I know it's only going to get harder and more uncomfortable these next few months so I'm trying to enjoy what I can. I will say, it's been different having to manage a toddler at the same time. And working! When I was this far along with Merloe's pregnancy, I was still on furlough (Covid Pandemic). So managing work stress and toddlerhood, it's been a different experience as a whole! I've tried to stay active and go to Pilates a few times a week. I'm hoping this helps with delivery and recovery. 



Questions + Answers

Here are some questions and answers about my Second Trimester (same questions I answered with my first pregnancy)...

Eating, Working Out and New Cravings?
No weird cravings or food aversions. My first trimester I couldn't fathom coffee. Now I can drink coffee again but I get decaf. I can't handle the amount of caffeine in regular coffee, chai or matcha so decaf works best for me right now! I've been going to Core Pilates since before I was pregnant. My goal is 4 times a week, but depending on my schedule I sometimes only make it twice a week. They're so great there accommodating my pregnancy and making modifications. I just listen to my body and don't push too hard. It's definitely getting harder to keep up, which is hard mentally because I know I can do it. But I have to remember I have another human growing inside of me, so it's ok to not keep up.

Have you started your nursery?
Ah no! From what I learned with our first pregnancy, not much is needed in the nursery at first. But it's nice to have a place to put clothes and baby items. We're going to move Merloe's crib in his room once it's needed. And then we have an extra dresser we'll move from Seth's office to his room. We just haven't made the time to clear it out and move it upstairs. It's on our to do list!

Have you decided on a name?
I think so! We've shared it with our families and went back and forth on a few names. With Merloe we knew right away that was her name, so it's weird to be in this position. We had a baby boy name picked out for years but recently felt it wasn't a right fit for us anymore. So we thought of two more names, neither have anything to do with family or wine themed (that's usually everyone's first question) but simply two names we liked. We'll share soon! I'm pretty sure we have the name but I just can't quite write out yet.

Maternity Wear
So this has been a new challenge since I'm working. With my first pregnancy I wasn't working so I would lounge at home in athleisure, but that's not cutting it this time! Luckily I have an amazing friend who gave me a huge box of maternity work wear, and I'm so so thankful! I pretty much just rotate through dresses. But now that it's getting colder I might need to invest in a pair of tights or faux leather leggings.

Book Recommendations
I haven't read any new parenting books for this baby, but wanted to share some from my first pregnancy that I still think are helpful:

Tips for Taking Your Toddler To The Beach

Friday, May 13, 2022

We just got back from our summer beach trip to Newport Beach, California. Last year we stayed in Dana Point, which was also an amazing trip but so much further to get to the sand. I'll go through why it was better to stay closer to the beach and what we packed to make life easier.

I mentioned last year we stayed in Dana Point, which we loved the area, but we had to drive to the beach every day. The one thing I really loved was the Baby Beach. 

 

Tip #1 - Put On Sunscreen First

It was easier for us to put the sunscreen on before we went outside, knowing she'd be too excited to stop once we hit the sand. Another tip is to buy a makeup brush to apply face sunscreen, we didn't do this but it might've worked better than the stick.

Remember to put the swim diaper on RIGHT before you leave, since it doesn't hold pee. This worked for us since we were steps from the beach, but when we had to drive we wouldn't put the swim diaper on until we got there. Otherwise you'll have a puddle in the car seat when you arrive. 

Disposable Swim Diapers - this brand worked best for us. There's also reusable options if that works better for your lifestyle. For us the disposable is great since it was always full of sand. 

Babyganics Sunscreen - I love that this brand is clean! We used the SPF 50 to rub on her body and we also used their Face Stick (note, this is a little difficult to put on but it works). Another awesome clean brand is ThinkBaby Sunscreen if your store has it in stock!

Sun Bum Lip Balm - we forgot this the first day and quickly ran out to buy some! I haven't found any brand specific for baby lip balm, but this is another good clean brand. 


Tip # 2 - Long-sleeve Sun Protection Swimsuit or Rash Guard

To keep your baby protected from the sun, make sure to bring a sun protection swimsuit. I found a few cute options at Old Navy, Target and Cotton On Kids. If you're putting a cute bikini on your babe, then grab a rash guard to throw on top! I've also listed some coverup options which was nice to protect from the chilly wind. 

Cat & Jack Pink Ruffle Rashguard

Carter's Blue Gingham One Piece Swimsuit - perfect for July 4th!

Old Navy Long-Sleeve Rainbow Stripe Swimsuit

Old Navy Hooded Coverup

Old Navy Bucket Hat

Cotton On Long-Sleeve Floral Swimsuit


Tip # 3 - Beach Toys & A Shower Curtain

You heard that right - bring a shower curtain liner! This was probably our best hack. Last year Merloe couldn't walk, but this year she was running into the ocean (which can be quite scary for a first time mom!) But get this, as soon as we (my husband) dug a hole, placed the shower curtain on top and then filled it with water - she didn't want to get out! It became her own mini baby beach. She had water, sand and plenty of toys that kept her busy. 

Shower Curtain Liner - only $3!

Beach Toys - we bought our set from Costco but Merloe loved the water tower, floating boats, shovel and bucket the most! The bucket was perfect for collecting seashells in the morning. 

Pink Beach Toys - cute all pink option!


Tip # 4 - Water & Snacks

Make sure to bring plenty of snacks or pack a lunch if you're going to be out for a while. We used her Bentgo lunchbox and brought water in her insulated water bottle to keep it cool.


Tip # 5 - Beach Chair & Umbrella 

We brought Merloe's white beach chair from our house, which was a bit of a pain since it doesn't fold up easily but she still loved using it. She even used it at the beach house. The week we spent at the beach wasn't too hot, honestly it was more on the chilly side so we didn't need much shade but we did bring an umbrella. Last year we brought the California Beach Co. Tent and it was perfect for a crawling baby, but now I think Merloe is too active to be stuck in a tent so we didn't use it.

Toddler Beach Chair

Collapsible Toddler Beach Chair  - comes with a tray to serve food or snacks, too!

California Beach Co. Tent  - this pop n go play tent is easy to pack and quickly pops up! Again this works great for smaller babies, offers them a safe space to play or nap and even comes with a shade cover. In my opinion you don't need the playpen mattress, but up to you! We put down a beach towel and it worked well.


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Hopefully this helps you plan for your next beach trip with your toddler. Overall, remember to have patience! Going to the beach with a toddler is not easy (or relaxing), just prepare and bring what's needed to have the best experience. We also rented a beach wagon, it didn't work that well in the sand but was still helpful carrying our stuff. You'll create many lasting memories and don't forget to take a family photo of everyone together! 

What other tips or questions do you have? Did I miss your must have beach item?

Let me know in the comments!

I have included commissionable links on this post. Thank you for supporting me and my family!



Hospital Bag

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Obviously we're home from the hospital now, but I thought I'd share what we packed in our Hospital Bag. We worked on them for a least a month before Merloe arrived -- I didn't want to forget anything! 

I did a lot of research through Pinterest and other blogs to compile my Hospital Bag Checklist (see below). As a first time mom, I didn't know what to expect or how I would feel. So some might say I slightly overpacked. Plus with the addition of COVID, the hospital had a few more restrictions than normal. We actually took a Birthing 101 Course a few months prior and the Labor & Delivery Nurse that taught the class said not to feel bad about bringing extra items, whatever's going to make you feel more comfortable will help you stay relaxed, therefore making it an easier delivery!

I made a checklist for any other first time mamas out there, hopefully this will make your packing a little bit easier. Don't forget to get this done by 36 weeks, you never know when your little one might make an appearance! I made notes below to show what I packed and then what I actually used or wish I would've brought.

Also I ended up packing my items, baby girl's things and the pillows + blankets in one large suitcase. Seth packed his items in a duffle bag and then our "extras" are in a small duffle bag. We tried to combine everything into as few bags as possible by using packing cubes, but there's so many things to bring! Overall, just don't feel bad or silly for bringing in all the necessities. 




Pack or Pass

Pack in Hospital Bag:
  • Delivery Gown - I purchased this gown from Amazon and loved having a comfortable gown. The only problem with this one is I couldn't easily do skin to skin after she was born so we ended up cutting one of the shoulders. 
  • Pajamas - honestly I ended up just wearing a nursing bra and the mesh underwear most of the time. It was much easier to breastfeed and go to the bathroom. But eventually I used the nightgown and never used my other pairs.
  • Coming Home Outfit - I packed a few options, I didn't know how I would feel but I ended up wearing leggings, a nursing tank and sweatshirt since it was cool outside. That was perfect and the leggings helped me feel more secure. 
  • Makeup/Mirror - Loved having a little mirror! The next morning I pulled it out to put on a little mascara and lip balm. I brought some makeup but kept it minimal. It definitely made me feel more put together after a long night of  cluster feeding. 
  • Insurance Card/ID - we ended up filling out our paperwork prior to arrival which was nice to not worry about once we arrived.
  • Daddy - Seth used all of his items, maybe just overpacked on the number of shirts/pants. He just wanted to wear comfy clothes the entire time so joggers and tees. He didn't shower either. Last minute we decided to throw in some bed sheets and a blanket and he said it made all the difference! The sheets provided by the hospital are stiff and crunchy. 
  • Baby - I packed a couple of swaddles and we ended up using one from Lou Lou & Company the most, it's so soft and stretchy! I brought the Ollie swaddle (which is what we use at home now) but it was a little too big for her. I wish I had brought an extra onesie, she pooped in the only one I brought so the hospital gave me another one. All of her other outfits were mainly for photos, I loved having the options. I brought my baby book to fill out in the hospital, which I did the following morning. But throughout our stay we just took notes on my phone so I wouldn't forget -- those drugs make you a little loopy some times!
  • Extras - OMG the nurses LOVED their baskets! They were so appreciative of all the goodies, so this was a must do! We loved having our own pillows and blankets, it was kind of a hassle to carry them in but so worth it to be extra cozy. (Tip: use a colored pillow case so you don't get it mixed up with the white hospital pillows). Another big item was a personal fan, I had Seth hold this during delivery and it was needed!! Make sure you bring the 10 ft. phone chargers. There wasn't one near my bed so I was glad we had that available. We brought water and drinks in our cooler which was nice to have but they also had a little kitchen area with free drinks and coffee. Plus we got breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Note: check the menu when they bring you your food, we just assumed we got whatever they brought us but turns out you could order whatever you wanted! We didn't realize that until the last day.) We loved having the Hatch sound machine, honestly we used it the entire time, even before Merloe arrived. It was nice to have! And lastly our portable speaker. We used this during delivery which was amazing! I listened to a worship playlist to get me through the toughest moment of my life. It was nice to have music that kept me calm. 
  • Forgotten Items - The only item I might've missed was my breast pump. And that's really up to you if you plan on pumping or not. I wasn't sure and it was just another item we had to carry so I didn't pack it. But after getting home I realized I needed to start pumping to boost my supply and I had no idea how to use it. After a lot of research and reaching out to my fellow mamas I was able to figure it out, but it would've been nice to have the nurses show me before I left.

Pass on packing: 
  • Robe - I never pulled this out, but it was nice to have just in case! 
  • Underwear - I didn't know what I would need, but you don't need these LOL you remove yours right away and then you're wearing the mesh underwear the rest of the time.
  • Shower Items - we stayed Tuesday night and Wednesday night and never showered. You could definitely shower, but since we had a scheduled induction we showered at home before we left. 
  • Baby - We didn't use pacifiers in the hospital, but we did once we got home. Merloe loves the Bibs Pacifiers the most! 
  • Apple TV/Electronics - we personally didn't have any extra time to use this. Maybe if my induction would've taken longer but we never pulled it out.

Just a reminder, the hospital truly does have everything for you! I didn't bring any postpartum items, they supplied it all. And they let me take a bunch of extras home. Don't be afraid to ask for more and sneak them in your bag! 

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Did I forget any must haves that worked for you?
Let me know in the comments!

I have included commissionable links on this post. Thank you for supporting me and my family!


Disneyland | Baby's First Trip

I've always dreamed of one day taking my kids to Disneyland for their first time and it finally happened! We planned a Summerhays Family Vacation to Dana Point and spent one of our days at Disneyland. This was a last minute idea so I only had a little time to prepare and research -- "Baby's First Trip to Disneyland" to plan for the best trip ever! 

 

Hotel Stay
We started our morning by arriving around 7:00 AM to the Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim Resort. We ended up getting a hotel room to stay in that night so we wouldn't have to drive all the way back to Dana Point. This ended up working out great because it was a warm summer day, so in the afternoon we went back to the hotel to give Merloe a break, shower and refresh before dinner. The hotel was only a 10 minute walk to the main entrance so it's very close and we felt safe the entire time. Definitely recommend if you're looking for a close hotel that's fairly priced and clean. It just opened recently so everything inside is brand new. 

Ticket Reservations 
We purchased our tickets in advance online and scheduled our date for the parks. Now with Covid restrictions, you have to book far out to confirm your park selection and arrival dates. Our original plan was to just do Disneyland, but the single day passes sold out so we purchased a Park Hopper. The current process for Park Hoppers is you chose your first park of the day (we went with Disneyland) and then you're able to enter the second park (California Adventure) after 1:00 p.m. I think this is their way of managing capacity and keeping guests evenly spread out. Make sure to download the Disneyland app before you go. This is very helpful when scanning your tickets into the park, Virtual Queue process (more on this later), PhotoPass, Dining Availability, Mobile Food Orders (this is key!), Park Hours, Park Map and attraction wait times. 

Disneyland App
Like I mentioned above, once you purchase your tickets download the app so your passes are easily accessible when entering the park. Once you enter, they will give you physical tickets that you'll need to hold on to once you activate your Park Hopper. The Virtual Queue process is a new feature for Disneyland's newest ride - Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and California Adventure's newest ride - Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure. These passes go QUICK. If you're wanting to ride either of these rides, you have to get a pass through the queue. There's no regular line for them and Fast Passes are currently disabled (for all rides). Depending on what park you're entering first is the queue you're allowed to join. Since we started at Disneyland, I planned on joining the Virtual Queue for Star Wars, which opened at 7:00 AM (one hour before gates). These passes go within minutes so you have to be prepared. What worked for me was to be on the Disneyland app 5 minutes before the queue opened. I turned off my Wi-Fi and refreshed the page every minute until 7:00 AM. I was able to secure 4 passes for an afternoon time. Another great feature of the app is Mobile Food Orders. Since our trip was booked last minute, I wasn't able to get dining reservations so we did a lot of Mobile Food Orders. You can order from a variety of restaurants, then you walk up to the pick up window and show them your code and it's prepared right there! They also have the PhotoPass feature. In the app you'll have a PhotoPass QR Code and to make things simple, take a screenshot of it and set it as your iPhone or Apple Watch background.

Baby Care Center 
Mamas - take advantage of this space! All of the bathrooms throughout Disneyland have changing table stations, but the Baby Care Center was much nicer and more private. They have a Changing Table Room, complete with disposable sheets to lay under baby and easily accessible trash cans to toss those dirty diapers! They also have nursing rooms and feeding areas with highchairs. And if you forget anything, they have a vending machine with diapers, wipes, formula, snacks, sunscreen, pacifiers and more! Plus it's a nice break from the heat. Seth was able to go in and out as well which was nice. He felt comfortable going into the changing room, even though it was mostly moms - dad's are welcome too! We also used this space to rinse out her used baby bottles.

What I Packed
I didn't want to forget anything and not have the accessibility to buy baby items so I brought:
  • Diaper Backpack - we had two backpacks, one for diaper/baby items and one for personal items. We would leave the baby backpack in the stroller during rides, but kept our personal items on us at all times.
  • Stroller - we invested in the Zoe stroller - absolute must have for stroller naps and sunny days. The expandable canopy was so nice to block the sun from Merloe's face. And it reclines almost flat, giving her the best possible stroller naps! Not to mention it only weighs 11 pounds but still has great basket storage space.
  • Lunch Bag - Since it was warm I brought ice packs, cooling towels, cool water and yogurt snacks. I was able to keep this in the basket storage with the baby backpack.
  • Stroller Fan
  • Cooling Towels 
  • Insulated Water Bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Baby Bottles
  • Formula
  • Change of Clothes
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper Cream
  • Pacifiers & Clips



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Hopefully this helps you plan your first trip to Disneyland with your baby! I didn't know what to expect but overall felt very comfortable in the parks. We'll definitely go again soon, maybe once the weather cools off. 

What other tips or questions do you have?
Let me know in the comments!

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6-9 Month Favorites | Merloe's Must Haves

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

 

 

Halfway through her first year of life! Merloe has reach many milestones during her 6-9 months including crawling, sitting up, pulling up on furniture and standing. She's a great sleeper, due to many of these items and loves to drink water from her cup. Here are a few of Merloe's must haves...

Feeding

Happy Baby Teether Crackers - Her bottom two teeth popped through and ever since she's been chewing on everything! She loves these crackers and they dissolve quickly which makes this nervous mama more comfortable. 

Munchkin Straw Cup - She loves to drink from her straw cup. I've done some research and I believe the earlier you start on the straw cup and skip the sippy cup -- the better! She took to this right away after we got the approval from her pediatrician to introduce water and she loves it! 

Mushie Silicone Bib - Very easy to clean. You can toss it in the dishwasher or hand wash it. I had some fabric ones, but these are just too easy to use I always grab these first.

ezpz Tiny Cup - Another option for introducing a cup. I took the Feeding Littles course and they recommended this cup. Merloe loves drinking from her cup - with mommy & daddy's assistance! 

ezpz Utensils - Same brand as above, very easy to use! Short and wide handle so it's easy for baby to grab.

Sleeping 

Kyte Baby 1.0 Sleep Bag - Kyte is made from bamboo, making it SO soft and stretchy. We love all of our Kyte brand products. We sized up to the 6-18 month in 1.0 tog (based on the temperature of your home). I really think Merloe sleeps much better in this sleep bag. They are very spacious so I know it'll last a long time. Just be sure to check the sizing on your babe so it doesn't cover their mouth while sleeping.

Hatch Sound Machine - Again, one of our favorite most used products. Add this to your baby registry!!

VAVA Baby Monitor - I wanted a monitor with NO wi-fi and this one came highly recommended. And it does not disappoint. I actually had an issue with the charging cord and their Customer Service sent me a new one right away with no hassle.

Cleaning & Care

Munchkin Baby Bath Tub - Merloe eventually outgrew her other bath tub so we moved to this one. We currently don't have a bathtub so this makes it easy for us to give her a sink bath. It has a small drain at the bottom which allows it to quickly air dry. 

Grab Green Laundry Detergent Pods (Rosewood Scent) - These smell beautiful! A mixture of rosewood essential oils, these natural pods make it easy to clean her laundry and removes stains. 

Water Wipes - During our beach trip, Merloe got her first really bad diaper rash. Probably from the traveling, moisture in the air and teething (mom's you know what this means) she started to bleed a little. So we quickly ran to Target and picked these up. She never seemed to cry when we use these!


Toys & Such
Five Minute Stories - Seth and I both read to her every night, but we were quickly repeating books so I found this online and it supplied us with multiple 5 minute stories! Just enough time for her nighttime baba. 

Playpen - Now that she's more active we had to get an official playpen. This one is HUGE! So double check your measurements. But it allows her to move around on her own and I know she's safe inside.  

Bibs Pacifier - She's a binky baby. These are her favorite and have been from the beginning. We just went up to Size 2 so I was worried she would notice a difference in nipple size, but nope! They're still her favorite.

Skip Hop Crawl Toy - I really think this helped her learn how to crawl. She loved trying to catch this toy and scoot on her tummy before getting the courage to fully crawl.




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Did I miss any of your favorites? What toys or gadgets did your babe like?

Let me know in the comments!


I have included commissionable links on this post. Thank you for supporting me and my family!