The baby book of my dreams

Happy Friday Friends,
I’ve been a little quieter on Instagram stories this week because Hayes and I had our first {bad} cold and
BOY was it rough…
Not only did I feel like absolute crap but seeing Hayes be so uncomfortable was freaking heartbreaking.
BUT we are almost back to feeling ourselves and I can’t thank all of you enough for your prayers and sweet messages!!

I’m talking all about Hayes’s new baby book today and I’ve got a DISCOUNT CODE for y’all!!
Use code “MONICA99” to get this baby book for $99 (originally $120), code is valid through October 12th!
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I remember before Hayes was born, finding “the perfect” baby book was extremely important to me. I absolutely love going through my old baby book and old photos anytime I’m back home at my parents house, and I wanted to make sure Hayes’s baby book was something I was proud of, something that he’d love to look through one day, and something that was unique. I purchased a baby book before Hayes was born but for some reason I just wasn’t in love with it like I was hoping to be. When I’d go to fill in the blanks or add photos I kept finding myself stressed or disappointed because it just wasn’t looking how I wanted it too.

 Well, Recently I came across this baby book called “The Story of You” by Artifact Uprising and I pretty much fell in love as soon as I saw the name of it. It was a more modern take on a baby book and the more I researched it the more I knew I NEEDED it.

As soon as the book arrived in the mail I was SO excited, it even comes with a rose gold pen and some adhesives for your prints!
OH, and the best part?! You can order print sets straight from the Artifact uprising site and they come in a variety of different sizes. You can also choose to have a border (like mine) or no border. I wasn’t aware of this before I ordered my prints but they’re actually not regular prints, they’re this awesome textured card stock paper and the pictures are such good quality!!
Kyle was SO impressed when he saw them and loved the uniqueness and quality of the pictures.

This baby book is typically $120 (worth every penny) but they’re offering all of my followers a special discount code through October 12th and you seriously DO NOT want to miss this deal! I wish I could go through and show you every page BUT I didn’t have time to take that many photos haha BUT I just might hop on instagram stories today and do a little flip through so y’all can see the book in more detail!

Some of the pages have the sweetest quotes that literally bring tears to my eyes, this book is so incredibly well made and is definitely not your “average baby book”. But it still has all the best things that a baby book should have!
Each month has the same three prompts + two unique prompts or questions!
Each month you’ll get to write about the following
“You spent most of this month…”,
“You surprised us when you…”,
“This month we learned…”

I LOVE that this book gives you prompts and it’s not just a list of things you check off.
You can write as much or as little as you want and make it as personal and detailed as you want it to be!


I can’t wait to fill these pages with the sweetest memories – thank you Artifact Uprising for creating just what this mama had always pictured but couldn’t find.

Make sure y’all head over to my Instagram to see a more in depth look at the book!
And if you decide to order don’t forget to use my code.
Love y’all, hope you have the best weekend ever!!

Flying with a baby – What I learned + Tips & Tricks

We’re back from our Hawaii vacation and I’m happy to say that the flights went SO MUCH better than I had anticipated!!
We also happened to get incredibly lucky and got our own row for every single flight there and back.
I remember SO many of you telling me to pay for Hayes to have his own seat because it would be SO worth it,
but Kyle and I didn’t want to spend that much extra cash…BUT we both agreed that for future flights we will definitely pay extra for Hayes to have his own seat because it was a TOTAL game changer and I honestly don’t know what we would have done if we were squished between a stranger and Hayes didn’t have room to spread out and play.

So my #1 tip, if you’re able too…PAY for an extra seat so you get an entire row to yourselves!
Hayes loved sitting in the middle seat and playing with his toys, it also made it so much easier and less stressful to nurse him!
I was able to just whip my boob out and not worry about a stranger next to me seeing my boob or making them uncomfortable, or Hayes’s head or feet being on them!
Also, when booking your seats choose seats towards the back of the plane! Most people like being near the front of the plane so it’s more likely that there will be open seats towards the back that you can snag and it’s easier to stand up and walk around in the back if you need too and also close to the bathroom for diaper changes etc! ALSO, if you don’t book a seat for your babe, head to the counter before boarding (make sure you’re holding your baby lol) and ask if the plane is fully booked/if they think you can get a row to yourselves! Some were rude when I asked and some were super friendly and went out of their way – but we managed to get an entire row for all 4 flights – so it doesn’t hurt to ask!!!

Tip #2, Pack a few gallon sized baggies with diaper changing essentials. This was a life saver. Instead of trying to haul the diaper bag into a tiny airplane bathroom I was able to just grab a baggie and go. I packed 5 of them in our carry on and they didn’t take up much space at all! Each baggy had 2 diapers, wipes and an extra onesie just in case! Once we were on the airplane I put the baggy in the pocket in the seat in front of me for easy access! So they say pack a diaper for every hour that you’re on the plane, so I packed 10! We definitely didn’t need or use them all but better safe than sorry!

Tip #3, I packed a ton of new toys for Hayes to introduce to him on the plane and I think I only ended up getting out 2 of them for both flights. He was so amused by the all of the people around him and honestly, he played/chewed on his diaper changing baggy the majority of the time haha BUT I would still pack some new toys to be safe — I had more than we needed but I liked it that way! But again, better safe than sorry! I’ll link some of the toys we brought below that were his favs!

Tip #4, bring all the things to keep your routine as normal as possible, we brought Hayes’s sleep suit (he wears it for naps and bedtime) as well as some gripe water, essential oils,  and Tylenol for emergencies. Our flight to Hawaii was during the day so he didn’t sleep a ton but we tried to do his typical nap time routine on the plane and he took 2 decent naps!

Tip #5, Nurse/bottle/paci during takeoff and landing! I got super lucky and Hayes’s ears didn’t seem to bother him at all but there were other babes on the plane that did cry during takeoff and landing!
So I actually packed my pump and then brought two full bottles in a little lunchbox w/ an ice pack onto the plane (will link ice chest below) I wanted to have the bottles on the plane in case of emergencies, also when I’m stressed sometimes my let down takes forever and Hayes gets super frustrated. They had to check the bottles but it literally took less than 5 minutes. I asked them to change their gloves before handling the bottles and then they asked me to open each one and they just waved a little test trip over it and then that was it! Hayes ended up not taking the bottles, he’s high maintenance and will only drink if they’re freshly steamed so I ended up just nursing him our entire trip and never needed the bottles or my pump!

Tip #6, it’s OKAY if your baby cries/fusses/is loud…they’re a baby! There will be rude and insensitive people on the plane that may give you dirty looks but there will also be kind and understanding people who have been there or just get that babies cry and it is what it is! Take deep breaths, baby can feel your stress…I’m typically a stress ball but I mentally prepared myself to just laugh everything off that happened on the plane, there’s really nothing you can do so you might as well laugh instead of get super upset!

Tip #7, bring lots of blankets // comfy things for YOU & BABY. We put Hayes in a footed sleeper so he’d be warm and cozy and I brought one of his “big” blankets, a smaller blanky and a muslin swaddle blanket – we used ALL of them & honestly couldve used more. Planes are not comfy so if you’re able to pack some stuff to make the flight more bearable then DO IT. I didn’t bring the boppy pillow but if I would’ve known we were going to have our own row I definitely would’ve brought it or some type of small pillow!

Tip #8, bring an iPad & lots of snacks for mom, dad and baby! Hayes is only 7 months but we were still able to keep him occupied with Mickey Mouse for a little while on the plane, Kyle also used the iPad to watch shows/movies on the flight when Hayes napped. Snacks are a MUST, if your baby is obsessed with food like mine is then make sure you bring snacks that take a while to eat!!

Tip #9, if you’re breastfeeding wear a good easy access nursing bra (preferably one with no clips, one that you can just pull down) & a good loose v neck on the flight! You want your boobs to be easily accessible and don’t want to be fighting with clothing while you’re already stressed and trying to get your baby to latch!
I wore this nursing bra with one of these tees and it was PERFECT, I actually ended up wearing an oversized hoodie on top which worked out great too because I was able to pull down my bra and top and use the hoodie as a cover. Linking exactly what Hayes and I wore on the flight for y’all below!!

Tip # 10, If you’re able too I would honestly just rent baby gear once you get to your destination! We had planned on bringing both Hayes’s car seat and stroller but decided against the stroller last minute. We checked on our luggage as well as the car seat, all at the gate! We ended up renting a crib while we were there which was PERFECT, I just googled “baby rentals in Kauai” and a sweet couple brought and set up the crib for us. I also brought Hayes’s fitted crib sheet so it would smell like home and he’d be more comfortable!

Everyone told me it would go way smoother and be easier than we thought it would and good news, they were right!! Of course we had some stressful moments in the airport and on the plane and moments where we were all just freaking exhausted and DONE but overall, Hayes did SO well and we are so proud of him for being such a trooper! I’m going to go ahead and link some of our “life saving” items below!

Saying big prayers for all of you about to travel with your babes!! YOU GOT THIS MAMA!!
A lot of you asked about sharing what we packed in Hayes’s carry on so I’m going to go back and add those stories to my Instagram highlights so check there!!

Kissing the last days of Summer goodbye

Thank you JaM Cellars for sponsoring this post. Looking for JaM Cabernet and Butter Chardonnay near you? Check out their easy-to-use Store Locator! Just pop in your zip code and the wines will be waiting!

Well y’all, Fall is officially here! My little fam spent the last week of Summer vacationing in Hawaii and it was SO nice getting away. It was really important to me to spend the last few days of Summer soaking up the sun, soaking in some beautiful scenery and relaxing with some GOOD wine (and my 2 best dudes of course). This past week we stayed at a cute little condo in Kauai that actually sat on a cliff which made for some pretty awesome views, and some really relaxing evenings!

Now, If y’all know me, you KNOW that I’m a huge fan of wine – red, white, rose…you name it, I love it all. Having a picnic in Hawaii near the ocean & on top of a cliff was all my heart wanted and I’m happy to say WE MADE IT HAPPEN. We ordered a pizza from a local pizza place and had the cutest little picnic outside of our condo, and I mean, is a picnic even a picnic without wine?! NOPE. We enjoyed some JaM & Butter from JaM Cellars, which may just be my new “go to” weekly wine order.

JaM Cabernet and Butter Chardonnay both made an appearance at our date night picnic, because sometimes ya just can’t choose between white or red so you gotta go with BOTH. We did a little exploring, a whole lot of sipping and listened to the waves crash into the rocks – talk about #SummerBucketList goals…

All my wine loving ladies LISTEN UP,  I’m obviously no wine connoisseur BUT I do know what I like and what I don’t like and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first sip of JaM Cabernet. It was ridiculously smooth and so delicious, the flavor has just the right amount of fruitiness and if I’m being honest I could totally drink the entire bottle in one sitting…Okay, okay I totally did drink the entire bottle in one sitting because Lord have mercy it was GOOD and mama needed some wine!! Don’t worry I did share some with Kyle, the JaM Cab was both mine and Kyle’s favorite – I typically get sick of the taste of red wine after one or two glasses but JaM Cab is definitely an exception. I’m placing an order for more this evening because Kyle and I are completely obsessed. The Butter Chardonnay was really tasty as well, and SO refreshing, we actually took it to the beach with us one day – it kind of just melts in your mouth which is actually fitting seeing as it’s called “Butter”…and I mean, let’s be real, everything’s better with butter!

Oh, and the best part?! JaM Cellars products are extremely affordable. so If you go through wine QUICKLY, like me, these are perfect for you! Let me know if you end up getting some for yourself, these would also make such a great gift!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

One jumpsuit – three outfits!

Happy Thursday friends!

I did a poll on Instagram and asked all of you if you prefer to shop my looks on the LiketoKnow.it app or on my blog and the majority of y’all chose the blog SO I’m going to start being more consistent on sharing different looks on here!

Today’s post is all about this cozy grey jumpsuit that literally feels like Heaven. I actually saw this jumpsuit online and scrolled right past it because it looks ridiculously frumpy on the model (WHY Nordstrom?!) But then I saw it on one of my fav bloggers and realized it actually looks super cute on!

I have been searching for a great “lounge” jumpsuit for Hawaii for weeks now so I was super excited when this came in and it was softer and cuter than I was thinking it was going to be.

I ordered the size small and it fits great, the drawstring allows you to cinch the waist however much you want and I pulled the legs up and tucked the extra fabric in for a (in my opinion) cuter look.
You can seriously create SO many different looks with this jumpsuit, but I’m just going to show y’all 3 today!
One loungewear/athleisure look, one date night look, & one comfy casual look!

This jumpsuit is just under $60, which I don’t typically consider cheap BUT
you can create so many different looks with it so I totally consider that a major steal!

This first look is more casual and extra cozy. Both this jumpsuit and this sweater are two of the softest things I own which pretty much makes this the most comfortable outfit I’ve ever created.
You could throw any comfy sweater over this jumpsuit for a cozy Fall look. You obviously can’t do a front tuck BUT any sweater would look SO cute with a little knot tied up in the front.

 

Look # 2 is a dressier look and would be so perfect for date night or a girls night out – Cute but still SO comfy.

Look #3 is my “go to” mom look, perfect for running errands, travel, soccer games, brunch with the girls…you name it!

Which look is your fav?!

Why we decided to transition Hayes into his own room

Well y’all, It really is true what they say, you will completely surprise yourself when you become a parent. All of the things you said you would never do, you do them. You will be completely against something one week and the next week you’re ALL for it and implementing it. One month you will be a “go with the flow” parent that doesn’t believe in strict schedules and the next month you are staring at the clock to make sure your baby is napping and eating and sleeping EXACTLY when he/she is supposed to be in order to stay “on schedule”. Parenting is full of ups and downs and changes of heart, so if you’re new to this whole parenting thing, know that it’s totally okay to do something you said you’d never do…

Hayes has always been a pretty decent sleeper/easy baby. When he was a newborn he was up every 2 hours or so to eat, but he’d never scream he’d just grunt a little and I’d pick him up, nurse him, then lay him back down and he’d fall back asleep immediately…easy breezy (with a few rough nights of cluster feeding or just being extra fussy mixed in between of course).
I was even able to set him down awake and he’d just slowly fall asleep on his own. At 3 months he slept through the night for 7 nights straight and I legitimately thought we had the worlds best baby, I even bragged about him on facebook a little (rookie mistake)

Because then 4 months came…and that dreaded sleep regression everyone talks about hit us HARD.
We knew the sleep regression was coming so we were slightly prepared for it…but holy smokes it was ROUGH.
He was no longer our easy breezy baby and he would cry and scream when we tried to put him down at night,
was up every 2-3 hours again (some nights every 30 minutes) and not just awake, but screaming, which was SO hard. Most people said that their babies were back to their normal selves once they hit 5 months so I kept telling myself to just hang in there for a few more weeks and that this was temporary. Well, 5 months came around and nothing was changing. I was getting little to no sleep and was SO tired and grumpy and frustrated. I knew something needed to change, but I couldn’t even fathom him not being in the same room with us, that honestly wasn’t even an option.

I had ALWAYS said Hayes would be in our room for the first 6 months at the very very least, and honestly deep down I figured he’d be in our room until our next baby came and forced him out haha. I ended up talking to a few girlfriends who had recently done the Ferber method with their babes, also known as the “cry it out” and I was like “LOL NOPE, no way, can’t”. I ended up trying out the “Moms On Call” schedule that is supposed to help babies sleep through the night, and that didn’t work…I was going on 2 months of basically 30 minutes of sleep a night and I was LOSING it y’all. I was not myself and I didn’t have the energy to play and entertain Hayes during the day, and the littlest things were starting to make me have meltdowns and I was just DONE. I had lunch with one of my girlfriends who has a baby girl just 2 days older than Hayes and she was telling me about her experiences on sleep training.
She, along with a ton of other people basically told me that it would be 3 really really rough nights but then Hayes would be sleeping through the night and it would all be SO worth it. I knew it was time for Hayes to be in his own room, but it totally broke my heart.

The thought of my sweet baby boy not being right next to me absolutely killed me and I just couldn’t even comprehend it. Would I be able to stop staring at the monitor? Would he be okay? Would he think I abandoned him?! Will this make him grow up even faster?!

It was not an easy decision but it was one that HAD to be made. Kyle and I were so exhausted from no sleep and we both agreed that we were going to “sleep train” Hayes. My plan was to follow the Ferber Method, but kind of do it my own way. I was going to see how Hayes acted and how things went and if I wasn’t comfortable with hearing him cry then I was going to do whatever the heck I wanted to do no matter what the “method” said. I pretty much made myself SICK the day leading up to the night of “sleep training”. I did try to have him nap in his crib first before putting him there at night, so we did a few days on and off of him napping in his crib. Naps have always been hit or miss with him so some days he would fall asleep for an hour and some days he wouldn’t fall asleep at all.

ANYWAYS, the night came…the night that we were going to sleep train and that I was going to have to listen to my baby cry and I was going to be a crying mess myself…I was SO sick that entire day just thinking about how hard the next few nights would be…
Well, we did our normal bedtime routine, I sat in the rocking chair and I nursed him and he always falls somewhat asleep during his bedtime nursing session…I gently set him in his crib and I walked out. I stared at the monitor ALL NIGHT LONG, just waiting for him to wake up scared and screaming and needing me. I didn’t sleep for even 5 minutes that night because I just knew he was going to wake up ANY MINUTE. Well, he slept through the ENTIRE night…didn’t even make a peep! I was in complete shock. The next night wasn’t as easy but it wasn’t hard at all, he woke up a few times and cried but no longer than 2 minutes each time and I never had to go in there, he would end up soothing himself and falling back asleep.

{TRUST ME I’m aware that we are EXTREMELY LUCKY and this is not normal for most babies…most parents have to suffer through a few nights or weeks of hearing their babies cry and scream and it is absolutely awful and devastating…so please don’t think that I’m assuming sleep training is easy..we are SO fortunate and didn’t really have to “sleep train”.
I’m not telling y’all that if you do what we did your baby will magically sleep through the night, I’m just sharing my experiences and honestly I think Hayes was ready to be in his own room way before we moved him but I just wasn’t ready}

He has done SO well and has LOVED being in his own room and seriously sleeps so much better.
It’s also nice because we put him down around 7:30 and Kyle and I can hang out together or watch Netflix // just have some time as the two of us with no distractions.

One thing I’ve realized is that babies make a lot of noises when they sleep, sometimes they even cry in their sleep and when your baby is right next to you your natural instinct is to jump up and grab them. I can’t tell y’all how many times Hayes has been in his own room and has let out a big cry (in his sleep) only to be silent and content just 15 seconds later…Also, I know Kyle and I make noises in our sleep too which I’m sure would wake Hayes up when he was in our room!

It’s been exactly one month since we moved him into his own room, and every night hasn’t been perfect but we are ALL getting so much more sleep now than we were when he was in our room. We went out of town and it’s taken him a week or so to get adjusted again, he was waking up about once or twice a night because he’s teething and just wants to nurse for comfort and to soothe those aching gums, but he slept all night last night! I’m not really following any plan or method. If I can tell his cries are “fake” then I will let him cry for a little while and see if he ends up soothing himself, if he’s crying hard I’ll typically go in there and rub his back and try to calm him, and every now and then I’ll have to pick him up and nurse him.

Every day is different, and that’s okay.
I’ve been trying to get him to nap in his crib for 30 minutes now, & I gave up & he’s attached to my boob on the couch.
Give yourself grace mamas, & know that it’s okay to not be on a schedule.
& it’s also okay to be on a strict schedule.
If co sleeping works for you then DO IT.
YOU DO YOU MAMA.

With allllllll that being said, I really think Hayes was ready to be in his own room, it was definitely way harder on me to move him than it was for him. He loves his crib and also loves sleeping on his tummy!

Things that I believe help Hayes sleep more soundly and through the night: 
#1. Magic Sleep Suit
We’ve tried to transition him out of this and it’s been awful so we’re sticking to it for as long as we can. He prefers to sleep on his tummy now and he can lift up his head/entire body while wearing the suit so I haven’t found the suit to be dangerous whatsoever. We keep it cool in our house at night so there’s no chance of him overheating. He LOVES this suit and it makes him feel secure and cuddled all night long and he sleeps SO much better when he’s wearing it.
#2. Sound machine
I linked the one we have and it is AWESOME, it is a sound machine + night light and it has multiple different sound options, we’ve been using the rain sound and Hayes loves it! I will never use another sound machine – this once is seriously THE BOMB.
#3. Diffusing Essential Oils
I have a diffuser in Hayes’s room and I diffuse lavender during his naps and bedtime and I just feel like it makes it extra calm and relaxing in there
#4. Black out shade
We just got this super cheap one from Home Depot and it gets the job done!!
#5. Going to bed around the same time every night
This is super important, it does limit your night life as a parent BUT if we try to keep Hayes up past his bedtime (7:30/8) he gets super grumpy and it’s way harder to put him down and get him settled at night, and the later you put them down DOES NOT mean that they will wake up later – every now and then you may get lucky but typically they will wake up at their usual time no matter how late you put them down.
#6. Fill up their bellies REALLY WELL during the day! Make sure they get all of their nursing sessions in.
I had no clue that this affected their sleep (total newbie) I thought the older they got the longer they could go between feedings, NOPE. You should continue feeding your babe around every 3 hours or whenever they are hungry during the day!
I was trying to have Hayes go every 4 hours and he was waking up way more often at night.
I feed him every 2-3 hours during the day now and he sleeps so much better at night.
Apparently most people already know this, BUT I didn’t so I figured I’d share that with y’all just in case.

Feel free to comment any questions you have here or on my latest Instagram post!!