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Playing Around With pediped®

In Mommyhood

Playing Around with pediped®

*This product was given to me in exchange for my honest opinion.

If your kids are anything like my two, they can go through some shoes. Sometimes it’s because they outgrow them within the month or it’s because they play hard. Playing is serious business so my boys need shoes that can stand up to the challenge.

This is why I’m loving pediped®shoes. pediped® footwear has been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for the promotion of healthy foot development, and preeminent orthopedic medical professionals, Dr. Mininder S. Kocher and Dr. Thomas W. Vorderer, deem pediped® shoes an excellent choice for parents/caregivers who want their children’s feet to develop naturally and healthily. pediped® has received numerous industry awards and accolades including recognition from Earnshaw’s, the premier media resource serving the children’s market. In 2015 pediped® was recognized by the Footwear Industry Awards as the Children’s Footwear Brand of the Year and earned a 2016 Earnie Award from Earnshaw’s magazine as the Footwear Brand of the Year.

Playing Around with pediped®

Ro’s new shoes are definitely standing up to the toddler test. Whether he’s in soccer class or on the playground, he has the support he needs. Ro is still in that clumsy stage of toddlerhood and, let’s just be honest, he falls a lot. I’ve noticed that he’s much more in control when running around at soccer and the shoes have good traction to keep up with him.

Playing Around with pediped® Playing Around with pediped® Playing Around with pediped®

My favorite feature of these shoes is the FLEX FIT SYSTEM™.  Both Gav and Ro have wide feet. (Gav not so much now that he’s older but both come by big feet naturally between me and my husband.) This has always limited our selection when purchasing shoes for them. I was so pleased that I could pick whichever shoe I liked for Ro because width is not an issue.  The inserts come out to custom fit your child’s foot as it grows.

Playing Around with pediped®

These are some of our favorite shoes and they are definitely helping Ro as his coordination and activity mature.

*pediped® is sold in over 750 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide with an offering of more than 120 designs for boys and girls between its three lines, Originals®, Grip ‘n’ Go™ and Flex®. The award-winning footwear is available in EU sizes 17 to 38 (US newborn to 6 Youth). For more information, visit www.pediped.com.  LIKE on Facebook at /pedipedfootwear and follow on Twitter and Instagram @pedipedfootwear.

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Roman’s 2nd Trip Around The Sun (Part One)

In DIY, Mommyhood

Roman's 2nd Trip Around The Sun

It’s almost surreal to think that just a little over 2 years ago I was sharing my pregnancy journey with little Ro.  Now he’s a big boy two year old.  And I do mean big!  We just had his check up and we’re up there in the percentiles.

We had so much fun celebrating him this past Saturday with a sun, moon, and stars themed party.  I especially loved planning this one because black and gold are two of my favorite colors and this party had a ton of both!  Be sure to scroll to the bottom for details on where you can find some of the decorations.  ENJOY!Continue reading

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Roman’s Lumberjack Bash

In DIY, Mommyhood

Finally the day came for the big party!  I made as much as a could for this one and had been planning it since about July.  Ok…ok…to be honest, I knew his theme from about the time he was born.  I’m weird like that.  Anyway, I wanted to have as much for the party that I could and by starting so early, it was definitely more affordable.Continue reading

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How I Got My Baby to Sleep Through the Night

In Mommyhood

I want to preface this by stating that I, in no way, consider myself an expert.  I did read (ok…skimmed) a book or two when I went through it the first time and I also acknowledge that no baby is “textbook”.  I understand that some people are just blessed with great sleepers.  (Yeah…that’s me.  But I’m gonna knock on wood because I just wrote that and, therefore, said it publicly)  To the same degree, I understand that some people have little ones that just don’t do that whole sleep at night thing.  (Yeah…also me, but me as a baby.  Sorry, Mom and Dad!)

But, in most cases, this works.  Night time cues are so helpful when it comes to, for a lack of a better word, training your little one.  When Ro was a newborn, he had his days and nights flipped for the LOOOONGEST time.  Well, it felt like it anyway!  It probably didn’t help that I would eat ice cream at night and then he’d be all hyper in utero for about an hour.  But when I started implementing night time cues, he slowly started to add a hour or so to his sleeping time.  Then one morning I woke up and it was 8 AM!  No middle of the night feedings and barely a stir.  I can’t say the same for him now since I’m pretty sure he’s going through a growth spurt and/or he’s teething.  But still, he only gets up once, anywhere from 4:30-5:30, and then goes right back to sleep until it’s time to get up and going.

So what are these night time cues?

1. Keep it dark at night and light during the day.

That probably seems ridiculously simple and obvious but hear me out.  When we brought Ro home, we had him in a bassinet in our room.  My husband likes to sleep with the TV on and I knew that wasn’t going to be good for when we needed to transition to the crib in the nursery.  So there were no little lights, no TV, and no sound other than his sound soother owl.  I basically recreated what it would be like in his own room.  If you have a vibrating feature on your bassinet, like we did, go ahead and use it for awhile but don’t turn it back on when it goes off.  I didn’t mind it at first to sooth Ro to sleep, but I also wanted him to be able to transition without it.  If he’s in the crib, there won’t be anything like that turning on in the middle of the night.

As for keeping it light durning the day, I didn’t try to darken the room when he napped.  I left the blinds/curtains open and, basically, let him nap in broad daylight.

2. Keep it quite at night.

Another pretty simple sounding cue, but it’s very helpful.  Like I said, hubby likes to sleep with the TV on, so we had to nix that while Ro was still in our room.  (I won’t lie to you, hubby slept on the couch a lot but he understood.) But the hardest part is not talking to them when you get up in the middle of the night.  That squishy beautiful little bundle of love is just so precious but you must fight the urge to coo and talk to them.  You can do little “Shhhh”s and what not, but keep it to “womb-like” or sound soother type sounds.

3. Don’t try to be quite during the day.

If this is not your first child, this isn’t as big of a problem.  Gav was just over 3.5 when Ro was born this past September and, if you’ve ever tried to keep a 3.5 year old quiet, you know that’s  not really possible.  But if this IS your first child, go ahead and go about your regular routine.  Of course, during the early days, nap when they do!  But, you may leave the TV or radio on just for some background noise.  After awhile, Gav would sleep so deeply that I vacuumed under him while he was napping in a swing.

4. Dress them for sleeping.

I cannot recommend a Sleep Sack enough!  (And no, this is not a sponsored post!)  When they’re smaller, you can use these or Sleep Sack even makes a swaddling version.  but once they’ve grow out of it, and for both my boys that was very early, the Sleep Sack is the way to go.  However, if your little one doesn’t like it, go for a zippered sleeper.  (Ones with snaps will just frustrate you at 2 in the morning and make you want to cry.) Whatever you choose to go with, be consistent and put them in their “jammies” around the same time.

However, I don’t recommend putting them in these for nap time.  Establish them as nighttime clothes first and then, once you’ve done that, you can start to use something like the Sleep Sack for nap time as well.  My best friend’s daughter used hers forever and it was a great tool in getting her to nap well into toddlerhood.

This is what worked very well for Ro.  He was sleeping through the night at 11 weeks.  I actually had one of the parents of a student tell me I looked well rested when I returned to work! #WINNING! I wish I could tell you it was the same for Gav, but I honestly don’t remember.  I do remember that he was sleeping through the night by 3 months though.  So, Ro was even sooner.  What do you have to lose? Give these a try and I’m almost positive you’ll get at least one extra hour of shut eye! (Almost…I’m no expert!)

XO, Kelly

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The Bond of Brothers

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Sometimes I just sit back and watch as my boys interact and it simply amazes me.  The love that those two have for each other, that they don’t even realize is there, is sometimes overwhelming to me.  But in a good way.  I see the awe in Ro’s face as he takes in his big brother.  He knows that this is an older kid, babies have that sense in them, but he also knows that this is someone special.  I also see the protectiveness in Gav when he’s around his baby brother.  When the girls in his class flock to the baby carrier when I visit his school, Gav is right there beside it saying, “This is my baby brother.”  He takes ownership, he’s proud.

The older Ro gets, the more I see their bond evolving into something amazing.  This isn’t something I have ever experienced myself.  I don’t have any sisters and my brother is 9 years older than me.  While I definitely got to experience what it was like to have and be a sibling, we are so different in not only gender but age.  I’m watching these two incredible little boys make one another laugh.  I’m watching Gav show concern and caring when Ro cries.  I’m watching the look in Ro’s eyes as he sees his brother playing or talking.  The smiles these boys can get out of one another is heart melting.

I’m so beyond thrilled that God has given me not only the blessing of being their mother, but the blessing of witnessing this relationship.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there will come a time when Ro is “annoying” or Gav is “being mean”.  I’m fully prepared to breakup wrestling matches that get a little too real and tend to wounds inflicted in revenge.  It’s only natural.  I’ve heard some of my hubby’s stories between him and his sister, so I can only imagine what lies ahead with two boys! But I know that the good will far outweigh any of the trips to urgent care and ER struggles.

As any mother will admit, I want my babies to stay little forever but I also look forward to watching this bond of theirs blossom.  I look forward to little things like how Ro will say “Gavin” when he starts talking or late nights when I can hear them talking to one another when they know they should be asleep.  Knowing that they will go to each other for advice and one day, very far in the future, listening to a best man speech or two.  Every day watching these boys of mine grow together is such an incredible gift and I am so blessed to call them “my boys”!

XO, Kelly

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Handmade Shop Spotlight // Sugar Maple Toys

In Uncategorized
I am absolutely thrilled to bring you the very first handmade shop spotlight!  I adore anything homemade and I pretty much live on Etsy.  Working with my hands, creating, everyday is something I’m passionate about and these wonderful shops that I will be bringing to you are doing just that.  Their products are one of a kind and made with handwork, love, and often in the wee hours of the night.  So without further ado, today I’ll be sharing with you a wonderful baby toy brand out of New York, Sugar Maple Toys.
Right off the bat, I was smiling as I opened my package.  I’m a sucker for cute packaging and Sugar Maple Toys delivers!  Such attention to detail really speaks to my handmade lovin’ heart.  
A wonderful feature of the teethers is that they all come with a braided vegan leather clip.  I don’t know about you, but my Ro cannot keep anything in his hands for longer than five seconds.  That’s probably because he’s only four months old, but even the older ones tend to throw things on a whim.  It’s so nice to clip onto his shirt and not have to wonder where the heck it landed.  Also, the craftsmanship is just impressive.  The super smooth wood provides a natural way for my baby to relieve his sore gums.  And thank goodness, because he was really starting to chow down on his hands!  
Next, can we talk about the adorable design?  As a photographer on the side, I just couldn’t pass up on this one!  Regardless of which design you like though, each teether is designed in a way that really helps little ones get a good grip.  Ro loves holding his camera teether and its the perfect size for his little hands.  Another personal favorite from their shop is the drumstick teether!


Here’s Tiffany with a little more insight into what Sugar Maple Toys is all about.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself! 
Hi I’m Tiffany, a 33 year old wife and mom. I am also a pediatric occupational therapy assistant, but I have put that career on hold so I can stay home while my children are still little. The other half of the business is my husband Mike. He is 35 years old and works for the railroad. We met 9 years ago, fell in love, got married and had 2 beautiful boys Mikey and Tommy. This past December we bought our first home and are still trying to wrap our heads around the fact that we are homeowners now! Oh we also have 4 lovely hens: Lucy, Rose, Anna and Sara that are not only fantastic pets, but also give us some of the best eggs on the planet.
2. Tell us about your shop. 
Our business started as a crazy idea in 2008 after our first son was born, but it wasn’t until 2014 that we decided to finally go for it. 15 months later on July 4th we officially launched on Etsy and it has been non stop since then. All of our products are made one at a time in our home based shop. We wanted to give our customers a voice so we allow for wood customization on pretty much all products in the shop except teethers. I think this is a fun element that not a lot of other wooden toy shops offer, so it definitely helps us stand out. We also wanted most if not all components of the shop to be US based. All of our materials are all locally sourced and/or purchased right here in the US; we have spent countless hours making sure of that. We primarily work with three main hardwoods that do not splinter: maple (lightest in color), cherry (medium color), and walnut (darkest). Occasionally we will throw in some ethically sourced/repurposed exotic hardwoods to give our customers a little variety and exposure to different woods located around the globe. Our glue is used minimally; however, we have made sure that it is made in the US and also organic, eco-friendly, and non-toxic. We do not stain our wood with any harmful chemicals. In fact we make our own wood sealer using local beeswax and organic jojoba oil. Our teethers are sanded very smooth and never receive a finish. Since they spend a lot of time in babies mouth, we wanted to stick with a less is more approach.
3. What made you want to start a handmade shop?
I think for us, we both love working with our hands. There is something really satisfying about making something yourself. I have been involved with the fiber world for sometime (knitting, crochet, spinning etc), but I always like to branch out and try new things. Mike likes to rebuild vintage campers. It is something that he has been passionate about for a few years now. He too loves to try new things and is always looking for a challenge. This is not our first handmade shop, but it is the most successful one by far. Being involved in something from start to finish and seeing others positive reaction to something we created, makes the both of us very happy that we decided on a handmade shop.
4. What do you love most about being a handmade shop?
I love that we get to know our customers on a more personal basis. I love how they send us emails and photos of their children playing with our toys. They really let us in and give us a backstory to create our products. I love knowing that their children are loving their toys as much as we love making them. When we make our toys its not just a police badge, its a police badge because this little girls daddy just joined the force, or a grandmother on the west coast is sending her grandchildren in the midwest a heart rattle because she loves and misses them. Our toys are so much more personal than a mass produced toy. We get to help make memories and that really makes it all worth while for us.
5. What inspires your designs?
Our children and other children inspire most of our designs. Adults inspire us too since they are the ones buying our products. We have to think of ideas that can connect them personally to our toys in order to keep them coming back. A lot of times an idea kind of just pops up at random times: in the car, watching a movie, people watching etc. I keep a notebook with me at all times to write any ideas down as they come to mind.
6. What are your favorite designs from your shop? 
We do enjoy making certain toys a little more than others, but I cannot say we have an all time favorite. It sounds a little cliche’ but we do really love them all. Since we have to make each one over and over they all have to be our favorites. I can tell you that our customers really enjoy the State Shakers, camera teether, and drumstick teether. Those toys seems to be a big hit right now.
7. What can we look forward to from your shop?
We do have a few things cooking here. Some new teether and rattle designs and a few new category of toys completely. I am pretty excited to see how 2016 will pan out for Sugar Maple Toys.
8. What one piece of advice would you give someone starting up their own handmade business?
Just go for it! You are going to make MANY mistakes (we sure did), but you learn from them and grow. Never give up, stay passionate, stay hungry, and always keep pushing ahead.
So, are you ready to get your hands, and your baby’s teeth, on your own Sugar Maple Toys teether?  Of course you are!  Sugar Maple toys is giving away one teether of the winner’s choice and, if you just can’t wait for that, they’re offering 10% with the code GAVANDRO!  
Head over to their Etsy shop to see their great line of teethers as well as rattles, blocks, and more!
XO, Kelly

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A Letter to my Second Child

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Dear Ro,

Oh my sweet baby boy.  I never really knew that I could love another little person, let alone another little boy, as much as I did when your big brother was an only child.  I remember specifically one night, not being able to sleep because I didn’t know what it was going to be like.  I had heard that your love just multiplies but I couldn’t fathom it.  I knew that I loved you, my child, my blessing from the Lord.  But how on earth was I going to love two of you the same.  And that’s just it, I don’t love you the same.  I love you both fiercely and with all my heart, but differently.  I suppose you can say that my love multiplied but I feel like I grew a second heart just for you.  That God gave me an extra heart so that I could have one for each of you.

With all this being said, I apologize.  Why?  Because sometimes things fall to the wayside.  I try to take as many pictures of you as I can, and believe me, I probably take too many.  But things like your first Thanksgiving and your first Christmas are barely documented.  I may have roughly five million of each of your brother’s firsts and just two of yours (I kind of want to cry thinking about that…) but please know that that does not mean I love you any less.

Sometimes I feel like I probably don’t hold you as much as I did your brother.  A lot of times it’s because I’m busy doing mommy/wife things like laundry, writing, or trying desperately to get all three of us ready for church.  But please know this does not mean I love you any less.

I so wish I could spend just as much one on one time with you at this age as I did your brother, but he needs me too.  Maybe now even more than he used to.  But please know that this does not mean he loves you any less.  I see how much your big brother loves you and wants to protect you.  He may not always want to hold you or, heaven forbid, take a picture, but he loves you something fierce.  And I know you love him as well.  The smiles you give when he’s near, not even talking to you, are enough to make this mama burst.  Luckily I do get some quality time with you when Gav is in school or when he goes with Daddy on an errand.  I cherish these fleeting moments we get, just the two of us.  These times when I can soak in you, my sweet Ro, as just you.  Not little brother, or “baby Roman”, but as the amazing little wonder that you are!

I will never forget the moment, and I talk about it often, shortly after you were born and they placed you in my arms for the second time.  You were beginning to fuss and they laid your sweet little swaddled body in my arms.  A soon as they did, it was like you realized, “Hey, I know her!”, gave a little shuttered sigh, and immediately became calm.  That is the moment I gained my second heart.  My second heart, just for you, emblazoned with your initials, RC.

I love you more than all the stars in the sky!
XO, Mommy

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