Hayes’s First Christmas

Every year we get matching pajamas and this year we went with camo, Kyle was THRILLED.


I have never been more excited about Christmas than I was this year. It was our very first Christmas as a family of 3 and I could NOT wait to start our own little family traditions! I’m not going to lie though, I totally stressed myself out trying do all.of.the.things and come up with the most perfect traditions and finding the cutest most creative way to document them all…which is honestly ridiculous because Hayes is litarally 10 months old and won’t remember any of this and doesn’t even understand what’s going on…BUT I just wanted it to be perfect, which is understandable right?! Well, the good news is, it was perfect. And it was perfect in our own special way. I don’t think we did ONE of the traditions that I had in my head that I wanted to do, but WHO CARES.
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Kyle has a really big family so we typically spend a few days with his side. We spent the 22nd and 23rd over at his Nanas with the whole crew and it was pure chaos but SO much fun! All of his cousins were in town and we’re all SO close so it’s just a ton of fun every time we get together.

terrible picture but the best people – there will be {at least} 3 more babies this time next year!

The weather was so beautiful the days we were over there so we spent the majority of our time outside playing games and wearing the kiddos out and did a WHOLE lot of eating. So far Hayes is the ONLY boy on both sides…he has two girls cousins and will be getting two more girl cousins in the Spring!! Hoping and praying someone (or we) have a boy soon so he has a buddy to play with. Kyle’s family is mainly boys so it looks like the roles are reversing, funny how it always seems to do that!!

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So I fully intended on our Christmas Eve being filled with decorating Christmas cookies, driving around looking at Christmas lights, eating a special dinner together, and just doing all of the picture perfect things that families do on Christmas Eve. Well, none of those things happened…The majority of my Christmas Eve was spent running around Target by myself in a panic searching for last minute gifts (typical Monica), getting home to realize we have no food to eat, sending Kyle off to get fast food and him calling me 3 different times to tell me each place was closed. We ended up eating grilled cheese sandwiches and sipped on some eggnog, which was honestly phenomenal, so looks like grilled cheeses and eggnog just may be our new Christmas Eve family tradition!
We also let Hayes drive to his Uncle Bryan & Aunt Skyes house on Christmas Eve…10 months old and already behind the wheel, Lord help us!

just out searching for Santa Claus!

After we put Hayes down Kyle and I got to play “Santa” together for the first time and it was honestly THE BEST. I was so excited to set out all of Hayes’s new toys. When I was little we’d always wake up on Christmas morning and have some presents wrapped underneath the tree and those were from my parents and then the ones Santa brought would just be sitting out and ready to play with (because Santa is always in a hurry, duh)

Christmas morning was spent playing with all of his new toys!

Then we got ready and headed over to my parents house to celebrate with my side of the fam! Which is WAYYY smaller and more chill than Kyle’s side haha It’s usually just my parents, my sister and brother in law and us 3!

Hayes decided to pick his nose for the very first time during our family Christmas photo

It was a perfect day of opening presents, eating a TON of food, and relaxing together. We were desperate for a chill day after all of the Holiday festivities all week long.

Hayes’s first Christmas was definitely a success. Cannot wait for next year when he can really understand more and enjoy it!! So far he has been LOVINGGGG all of the gifts he got and plays with them every single day!

Last Minute Gift Guide for the Baby in your Life

Okay y’all I know Christmas is LITERALLY in 6 days but I’m still purchasing last minute gifts so I’m sure some of you are as well!! Don’t worry, I’m only sharing items that are guaranteed to be here before or by Christmas so if you still need an item or two for your sweet babe or someone elses sweet babe…I’ve got you covered!!! I’m only sharing items that I KNOW are awesome. Hayes has the majority of these items/toys, and the ones he doesn’t have he’s either getting them for Christmas or I know someone who personally has the same item/toy and absolutely loves it! So basically, you will not be disappointed whatsoever with any of these!! I also linked our playmat because I get questions about it ALL the time and our exact one is finally back in stock

WHOOP WHOOP!!

These are some of Hayes’s absolute favorite toys, just click on the photo to shop the item! Most of these are extremely affordable, there are a couple pricier items, like the red flyer wagon but holy smokes y’all I truly do not know what we would do without that thing! Also, our playmat is THE BEST, especially if you have a dog, this one has a tougher top layer so claws don’t go straight through it! Let me know what you end up grabbing and
Merry Christmas Y’all!

Introducing solids – tips from the mom that has no clue what she’s doing

Well friends, I know this post is long overdue and I’m so sorry to keep y’all waiting!
I’ve been spending a lot more time off of my phone and computer during the day because I want my time with Hayes to be special and with as little distractions as possible. Trying to keep up with a blog, making sure I am present & growing on social media, running an online store and being a dog mom + a mom to an almost 10 month old wild crawler is FREAKING HARD. Honestly, each of those things I listed is a full time job so trying to balance all 5 is pretty dang exhausting, I know SO many of you who do it and make it look like a piece of cake, so SHOUT OUT to all you supermom boss babes! I’m just over here trying to keep my dang head above water!!
I usually call it a successful day if I remember to brush my teeth before 3pm. Lord help me.

ANYWAYS…I’ve gotten tons and tons of questions on how I started introducing solids to Hayes and a lot of you requested a blog post. Not going to lie, I’ve totally been putting this post off – mainly because I’ve been winging it when it comes to feeding him and I feel like I am not a person that needs to be giving out “advice” on this topic when I really don’t even know what the heck I’m doing lol
BUT I think most of you know that when I do come on here (like what, once every two months now?) and share blog posts with y’all it’s not because I think my way is right, or that I have all of the answers, it’s because we’re all in this together and maybe just MAYBE my story of the day will help you feel more normal, or give you an idea, or maybe even just make you laugh, so today’s post is all about introducing solids – from the mama who has no clue what she’s doing.

Before I dive into this post, a lot of you have also asked if I’m still breastfeeding, yes I am! I just nurse Hayes on demand, and it’s been pretty consistent with every 3 hours or so still, but he nurses much quicker these days, well during the day at least, like literally under 5 minutes sometimes. He’s going through a “no bottle” phase right now, so that’s been fun. Oh and lately at night (the last 3-4 nights) he wants nothing but the boob…like from 5pm and on he is such a savage and it’s almost as if my nipples forsake me and go back to the new mom cracked raw and bleeding nips during those hours. They don’t actually bleed and they aren’t cracked BUT I’m just making it a point to say that he is tearing my boobs apart lately and if anyone else is dealing with this please let me know because holy smokes I’m about to just cut my nipples off and give them to him.

OKAY back to the main topic…I’m honestly really surprised at myself because with as much anxiety as I have in general, feeding Hayes solids has never been something that scares me – I know SO many of you have told me that you’re so scared of your baby choking and that’s why you’ve been hesitant to start introducing solids but for some reason that hasn’t been a big fear of mine. Which is shocking considering all of the other things that I’m fearful of, but ya, anyways…
Kyle and I started introducing solids a little before 6 months (pediatricians recommend starting at 6 months) We seriously could not wait to start giving Hayes real food and were SO excited to see his reactions to different tastes. When he was around 5 months we would just give him little tastes of things off of our fingers, nothing too crazy! We didn’t REALLY start giving him food until 6 or 7 months though. We did some traveling during that time and I didn’t want to mess with trying to introduce solids while traveling, especially if he ended up having a weird reaction to something! So once we were done traveling we decided to give it a go.

I honestly forgot what exactly we did first and all the steps we took. I think we tried baby oatmeal w/ breastmilk first, he hated it. Then we tried mashed up avocado, didn’t hate it but still wasn’t a fan, he did seem to like mashed up bananas! But got sick of them pretty quickly. But ya, basically we started out with the usual purees. I would boil veggies and then we’d mash them up into a puree and BOY did he hate them, all of them! It was funny at first, watching him make disgusted faces and of course the overly dramatic gagging was hysterical…I’m sure the majority of you have seen Hayes’s carrot video that didn’t but totally should’ve gone viral lol. Well after about a week  of trying purees and him wanting nothing to do with them I decided to say “screw it” and try something different. Whenever we were trying purees Hayes would actually try to chew them so part of me knew that he was ready for softer foods. So instead of mashing up bananas or avocados I just started cutting them up into super small chunks for him. And just like that, he started to LOVE food. Giving him small chunks of food instead of mashed or pureed food was a complete game changer. I started out with foods that had a really smooth texture so that if he didn’t chew them good they would still go down easily for him! So we didn’t do the traditional purees first like most people, but we also didn’t do baby led weaning…we kind of just did our own thing. I would cut up small chunks of food and feed him myself. Because if I was going to take the extra time to make him a special meal I wasn’t going to let it be all over the floor and I wanted him to actually get nutrients out of it lol BUT then finally around 7.5 months he started wanting to pick up the food and feed himself so I let him and it’s been great! I still feed him some things that are hard for his little fingers to pick up like avocado or bananas but for the most part he LOVES feeding himself.

Our pediatrician gave us this incredibly helpful chart that we keep on the fridge!

{you can download your own copy here}
I was shocked when some of my friends told me they had never seen this chart before, I just assumed everyone gets one!  Like I said, we keep it on the fridge and I look at it pretty regularly. We definitely give Hayes more than just what’s listed, and I’m sure we feed him more than the recommended tablespoon amounts or whatever, I’ve honestly never measured.

Once I realized that Hayes loved to actually chew his foods I started to get a lot more adventurous with foods I would give him. Instead of mashing up veggies I would cut them into small pieces, put a little oil on them and then put them in the oven for 20 minutes or so to soften them up a bit. Hayes LOVES meat. Turkey and chicken are his favorite, I just buy organic turkey lunch meat and tear it up or a rotisserie chicken and peel off pieces for him. Eggs are another one of his favorites. I’ve realized he loves something for about a week and then if I try to keep giving it to him he gets annoyed because he wants to change things up, which is totally understandable. I think noodles might be his absolute favorite thing, he never gets sick of those and could eat A TON. I’m kind of at the point where I don’t know what the heck to feed him lately. He’s starting to get bored with his usual meals so I need to change things up…I always find myself going to BrittLessers Instagram page when it comes to baby food ideas! She’s always feeding her dude the best stuff and shares awesome ideas and recipes!

Here’s an example of what a typical day looks like for us:
Wakes up at 7ish – Breastmilk
(he nurses about every 3 hours, every day is different though! Some days he’ll be too active to stop and nurse and others he’s super consistent and will do a full nursing session every 2-3 hours)
Breakfast – cheerios / eggs / fruit/veggie pouch / bagel / pancake / banana
Snack – Puffs / Teethers / Cheerios
Lunch – Turkey / chicken / veggies / pouch
sometimes he’ll have another snack before dinner
Dinner – Usually the same as lunch – we’re pretty boring over here – going to start trying to make his meals more fun and more of a variety

Hayes is NOT a fan of broccoli, he’ll eat peas and zucchini and squash (roasted in the oven), loves sweet potatoes! He likes small chunks of sweet potato though not mashed! He really gets most of his fruits & veggies from the Happy Baby Pouches, they have them by age which is great! Some days he’ll literally go through 4 and other days I can barely get him to finish one. I’m pretty sure you can get them anywhere, we typically grab them at either Kroger or Target!

Q&A:
1. How long did you wait between giving him solids/introducing him to a new solid? 
I’m pretty sure the rule says to wait at least 2-3 days before introducing a new food in case your baby has some sort of negative reaction to a food, that way you’ll know which food your baby is reacting too!…but we never followed that rule. I have been so chill about food it’s honestly kind of weird, because I totally am a paranoid helicopter mom. I should probably start being a little more cautious.

2. How long do you continue supplementing with breastmilk after starting solids?
Breastmilk or formula should be your babes primary source of nutrients until they’re 1! It’s totally up to baby and mama on how long you continue to breastfeed after that!

3. How did you get over fear of him choking?
I talked about this a little in the post but for some reason this hasn’t been a big problem for me or a big fear of mine. Maybe because Hayes has always been a good chewer??

4. How much solids is he eating per day and has his milk intake decreased?
Honestly, every day is SO different. Some days he can’t get enough solids and I feel like he’s just eating all day long, and other days I almost feel like I have to force feed him. His milk intake has definitely decreased since starting solids…but with that as well, every day is different. Some days he’ll nurse constantly every 2-3 hours and take both boobs and other days he’ll latch on one boob for 2 minutes and that will be all for that session.

5. How many times a day and days of the week did you start feeding solids?
I may be answering this wrong, because for some reason it feels like FOREVER ago that we started introducing solids…even though it’s literally only been 4-5 months. But I’m pretty sure once I started I’d try to give him solids 3 times a day every day, even if it was just a tiny bit. Some days he wasn’t interested and others he was!

6. What was your go to brand for rice cereal / oatmeal?
I only tried Gerber, but he wanted nothing to do with it – Hayes has got a weird thing with textures! lol

7. Do you like your hair chair?
Yes! It’s honestly super easy and convenient and ridiculously affordable. I’ve heard really great things about the Beaba high chair but it’s definitely pricey!

8. How and when did you introduce peanut butter?
This is one thing I AM fearful of! We haven’t introduced peanut butter yet. A friend told me that her pediatrician gave some to her baby while they were there just in case anything happened they were already in a safe place and literally right in front of the dr!  I’m going to ask ours about doing that at Hayes’s next appointment!

9. When did you introduce a sippy cup with water?
At Hayes’s 6 month appt our pediatrician told us that he could start drinking small amounts of water with every meal! It took him a little while to get the hang of it but now he LOVES his water. It also took some trial and error with sippy cups. Our favorite has been the Nuby sippy cup. Other ones tend to come out SOOOO slow.

10. Did your pediatrician suggest bottle first and then solids or the other way around?
My pediatrician actually told me to feed him solids first and then nurse afterwards…buttttttt I nurse him first. lol Clearly, not a rule follower.

I hope this answers most of y’alls questions!! SORRY it took me so long to finally get this post up!
Hope y’all have a great week!!

Black Friday Sales – Best of the Best!!

SO many of my favorite stores are having amazing sales right now!
I know most of y’all like to see more personal/family blog posts but there are still quite a few of you who are around here for outfit inspo and to see my fashion picks so I GOT YOU BOO!
Click on the stores name to go directly to their site and shop the sale or scroll to see my top picks from each store!!

Before I share my fav items from the sales I want to share my TOP FIVE must haves, if you’re going to get anything I HIGHLY suggest these 5 items. I own them, love them, and wear them weekly!!


 

Nordstrom up to 60% off:

Abercrombie 50% off select styles: 

American Eagle 40% off + Free Shipping:

Express 40% off everything:

Goodnight Macaroon up to 50% off sitewide:

PinkLily Boutique 30% off site wide + free shopping:


 

Happy Shopping!!!

Top Ten Fall/Winter Staples for the Trendy Mom

I couldn’t be more excited to be teaming up with Rank & Style to share my Top Ten List!!
I’m sharing 10 items that I think are absolute MUST HAVES and that will be staples in your closet during the cooler months.
You can create SO many cute looks with each item on this list and that’s something that I really look for when buying clothes these days. I’m all about finding ONE piece of clothing that I can wear multiple ways and get a lot of use out of!

So here it is ladies, my Top Ten Fall & Winter Staples for the “Cool Mom”, or just any mom. But I mean, I like to think that I’m a cool mom…so I’m just going to stick with that…Okay ANYWAYS, here it is!

#1. Over The Knee Boots (3 diff colors available)

I have shared these boots with y’all SO much and that’s because they are truly the best.
I have searched long & hard for the perfect OTK boots for years now and I’m not lying when I say that these are legitimately like the sisterhood of the traveling boots…
They fit no matter how thin or thick your legs are and no matter how tall or how short your legs may be.
Why do I love them?? Read below!
-They stay up all day long
-They have a small heel to make your legs look longer but the heel is small enough that you can wear them all day and still be comfortable (no joke I wore them all day while 9 months pregnant)
-They are a little pricey but they go on sale often, I have 2 colors and paid full price for both, and they are 100% worth the price!
They’re actually 30% OFF right this minute with code “GMJOY30” so RUN!!


#2. Chenille Sweater

A good sweater is a MUST, and by “good sweater” I mean a sweater that is extra soft, warm, but also somewhat light weight and flexible. You want a sweater that you can easily create different outfits with, a sweater that is easy to tie in a knot, tuck in, or just leave loose over leggings!


#3. (Faux) Leather leggings
These are something that will never go out of style, and they instantly make any outfit dressier or edgier without much effort.
You can find affordable faux leather leggings pretty much anywhere, but I have heard GREAT things about the Spanx leather leggings, and I hear they last for years and years so they’re worth the price! I’m linking an affordable pair as well as the Spanx leggings for y’all!

#4. Joggers
If you’re a mom, especially a stay at home or work at home mom, joggers will be your BFF.
Joggers are basically a glorified version of your husbands old sweatpants that you live in at home, but 100x cuter & more flattering. They’re easy to throw on and wear around the house all day but you can also run errands in them and still feel put together! Aerie, hands down, has THE best joggers. I love that they have some that are more fitted like leggings and also some that are more of a sweatpant style! I own about 100 pairs, and that still isn’t enough!

#5. Comfy Sneakers

I mean, there’s really no explanation needed here. If you’re a mom, sneakers are a necessity. For daily life, play dates, errands…you name it! I love finding sneakers that you can wear with anything. I’ve worn these with jeans, leggings, dresses, everything!


#6. Sweatshirt / Pullover

Sometimes you just want to be comfortable and that’s A-OKAY in my book. I found the worlds softest pullover and have been sharing it on Instagram nonstop since it’s been on sale. It comes in 5+ colors and is the coziest thing you will ever wear…but of course also adorable.


 

#7. Sweater Dress
Sweater dresses are everything, it’s basically like wearing a blanket out and about. I love loose sweater dresses so that you can wear it loose and flowy or belt it for a more figure flattering look! These are great especially around the Holidays when you need to be a little dressier but still want to be comfortable!


 

#8. Booties
Honestly, booties are something I wear year round and if I could own 500 pairs I totally would. I love wearing them in the Summer with shorts and they just seem to make any outfit a tad bit cuter and more trendy. When it comes to Fall & Winter I always make sure I have a good pair of neutral booties that can go with pretty much any outfit!

 

#9. White Jeans

Just like booties, white jeans are something that I wear all year long and it is SO essential to have a good pair that will last you for years and years to come. That “no white after Labor Day” rule went out the window a long time ago. I think my favorite “go to” outfit during Fall & Winter is a pair of white jeans with a cozy sweater and boots, ya just can’t go wrong with that look!

#10. House slippers
I mean, this is a given. Every mom needs a good cute pair of slippers. Especially if your baby uses a walker…Hayes slammed into my middle toe the other day and about ripped my entire toenail off…Lord have mercy, it was BAD. I snagged a pair from Target the other day, they always have the cutest and most affordable option when it comes to cozy slippers!


 

And that’s it!! My Top Ten List!
Make sure you head over to Rank & Style’s website to see me on their “Blogger spotlight” section!!
And let me know if you end up snagging any of these items.
Happy Thursday babes!!!