What I Learned About Motherhood from my Own Mom

What I Learned About Motherhood from my Own Mom

This past weekend I enjoyed a visit from my mom and sister. I love spending time with those two, they’re a big part of my life even when we’re physically separated (they live in Hampton Roads) and I turn to them for laughs and advice daily. Spending time with them as my household continues to prep for baby #3 led me to reflect on my own childhood. My mom had me when she was just a teenager, and went on to accomplish so much. I’m even more impressed by her sacrifices now that I’m a mother myself. One of the biggest lessons that I learned from my mom was that we as women are always capable of more than we think.

I know that things weren’t easy for my mom. Her version of parenthood included being a teenage mother and a single mother while working to support me and my sister, eventually earning a Bachelors and a Masters degree, and building a career. Once during grad school she became so stressed by everything she was juggling that she started experiencing physical symptoms that had to be treated with medication. But no matter what she always pushed on and made things look more effortless than they were. She didn’t let anything stop her from accomplishing her dreams AND being a good parent. Her level of achievement despite the previous obstacles in her life makes me feel like anything I want is achievable with time and persistence.

Her positive attitude about life is a big part of why I usually try to be positive (online and in real life) about motherhood. Of course I have days where I’m feeling exhausted or stressed out and overwhelmed. Parenting will do that to anyone, especially when you have small children back to back. Just adulting in general can be overwhelming some days. And being real about that can be cathartic. BUT I’ve learned from my mom that you choose how you react to your stress. Wallowing in negativity doesn’t change anything. You still have to put on your big girl pants and get things done regardless. As women we do this every day in one way or another. We always keep pushing even when things are hard.
Coming from a place of positivity instead usually involves feeling or expressing gratitude, which makes any situation better. So on the days when I’m exhausted and everyone in my household is driving me crazy, I try to remember to be grateful for them and that I wouldn’t change a single thing about my family. I keep pushing on when things are tough because I know that I’m capable of getting things done.
Another thing that I learned from my mom is that you can make positive memories for your children that will outlast many of the harder memories, and that you don’t need a big budget to do so. Things like going to the beach, getting ice cream in the summer, and carving pumpkins still stand out in my memory. Those memories make me want to treat my boys to positive experiences, so I try to schedule fun things on the weekends like play space time, farm trips, days at some of our favorite DMV locations like Old Town Alexandria or National Harbor etc. And I’m always looking for more fun things to do if you have any suggestions.

My mom also encouraged me to pursue different hobbies and interests like sports (although that didn’t last long for me) and playing the violin (which did last from elementary through most of high school). I can’t wait until my boys are old enough to join teams or develop their own hobbies. I could go on and on about what I’ve learned about parenting from my mom, but I’d love to hear from you. What are some of the biggest lessons your parents taught you?
Xo,
Courtney

What’s In My Hospital Bag- Round Three

What’s In My Hospital Bag- Round Three

I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy (my due date is next month!) and I have my hospital bag packed early this time. During my second pregnancy I also packed early and it turned out to be a smart move because I spontaneously went into labor at 36 weeks. Now that I know what to expect, I’ve narrowed my hospital bag list to some essentials and a few comfort/splurge items (because at this point I feel like I deserve it). Hopefully this list helps another expecting/future mom out there, but if you’ve already gone through labor and delivery I’d love to hear about what you packed. A lot of these items can be ordered and delivered to you within a couple of days on Amazon. I think the most important thing to remember though is that the hospital will provide most of what you really need. Here is everything currently in my hospital bag:

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Kindred Bravely French Terry Racerback Nursing BrasI know I raved about Everlane’s tank bra in my previous post about my favorite maternity items, but I’ve been meaning to post an update. They were a God-send, pretty much until I hit third trimester. As my breasts continued to increase in size (and I haven’t even started breastfeeding yet) I started to experience spillage with the Everlane bras. They just aren’t big enough to accommodate my pregnancy/breastfeeding size, but I’m hoping to get some use out of them later after I’m done breastfeeding. While looking for an alternative, I came across the Kindred Bravely nursing bras and decided to give them a try. These bras are amazing! Not only are they incredibly soft but they’re also supportive. Even with pesky pregnancy hormones they don’t irritate me at all. I don’t experience any spillage and the straps always stay in place because of the racerback style. The Kindred Bravely website has a really helpful guide for choosing the right size. Just fyi, this particular style is meant for sleep/loungewear, so there’s no padding. I have two packed in my bag.

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Emma + Ollie Postpartum Belly WrapThis will be my first time using a belly wrap after pregnancy, but I’ve heard good things from friends about how the right wrap or girdle can offer support as your stomach (and other organs) settle back into place. I found this affordable option on Amazon and I’m looking forward to trying it out. 

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Motherhood Maternity Long Sleeve V-Neck Ruched TeeI packed a maternity top and leggings for my going home outfit. Unfortunately a pregnant stomach does not go back down immediately after delivery (I usually look like I’m still several months pregnant) so maternity items will ensure that I’m comfortable when I leave. Motherhood Maternity’s ruched t-shirts are a great basic to have in your pregnancy wardrobe. They’re flattering and can work with a variety of looks. 

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Zella Mamasana Live In Maternity Ankle LeggingsI love these leggings because they suck in everything below the belly and they’re still comfortable because of the over-the-belly panel. I picked them up during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale and have kept them in heavy rotation. I’m sure they will offer great support when I leave the hospital. 

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Stars Above Soft Notch Collar NightgownYou should pack at least a couple of pairs of comfy pajamas that allow for easy breastfeeding. I love these pajama dresses from Target because they’re comfortable, nice enough to wear in front of guests if you want, and the neckline unbuttons easily for breastfeeding. 

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Barefoot Dreams Cozychic Socks, Lite Ribbed Robe, and Lite Circle CardiganI’m a huge fan of everything Barefoot Dreams makes. A couple of these items were splurges for me, but I really think this Oprah endorsed brand is amazing. The cardigan and robe are so incredibly soft and cozy and give me all the fall feels. It’s a good idea to pack a robe and slippers or cozy socks in case you want to walk around the hospital while you’re dressed in your delivery gown or to feel a little cozier in your room. 

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BabyBliss Reusable Bamboo Nursing PadsIt takes a few days for your milk to come in after birth, but before that you’ll produce colostrum (an important source of nutrients) for your baby. If you’ve already had a baby before the milk may come in faster. Once it does come in you will need nursing pads to absorb leaking milk in your bra. I’ve used disposable nursing pads in the past but prefer the reusable kind that I can just throw in the washing machine. This saves money and I think they’re more comfortable. 

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Frida Mom Upside Down Peri BottleIf you haven’t experienced childbirth yet I don’t want to gross you out, but things get very messy and if you have a vaginal birth you will be sore and may even need some stitches. The hospital provides all sorts of things to help you recover like ice packs, witch hazel, pads, and a plastic peri bottle to rinse yourself off every time you use the restroom (and they’ll send you home with a ton of extra supplies). A lot of women aren’t huge fans of the standard issue peri bottle though, and Frida Mom (the makers of the amazing Frida Baby products) came out with an upside down version that is supposed to be so much easier to use. A friend recently introduced me to the Frida Mom line and I can’t wait to try this. 

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Frida Mom Disposable Postpartum UnderwearAnd because things get messy after birth (think an extremely heavy version of your period) the hospital will provide disposable mesh underwear to wear with giant pads. Some women don’t like them but I actually think they’re pretty comfortable. The only problem is I always run out of them and then resort to using inexpensive Hanes briefs until the bleeding slows down (but there’s nothing wrong with using regular, comfortable underwear that you don’t mind ruining if you want). This time I plan to keep the stretchy comfort going a little longer with Frida Mom’s disposable underwear. They also make a variety of other postpartum products that I may order once I run out of my stockpile from the hospital. 

Headbands and hair ties- I’ll probably stick to simple buns while I’m in the hospital so I packed a few hair supply essentials. 

Toiletries- I also packed the essentials like a toothbrush, deodorant, etc. The hospital will also provide some basic toiletries but you may prefer to have your own. Some women like to bring their own towels for comfort too but I always leave mine at home. 

Makeup- If you like to wear makeup it’s a good idea to bring some along for pictures and/or visits with family and friends. Putting on a little makeup always makes me feel more put together after birth.

Electronics and entertainment – I packed a phone charger, and if you have an Ipad you may want to download a few of your favorite shows or movies on that, or bring a book or two for entertainment. 

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Boppy Nursing PillowBoppies make certain breastfeeding positions more comfortable by providing extra support as you hold the baby. I used mine often the last time I was in the hospital, and they make great infant loungers later on. 

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Aden + Anais Stroller BlanketThe hospital will provide everything you need for the baby while you’re there, including clothing, diapers, pacifiers, and blankets for swaddling (and let you take a lot home). But you may want to bring something personal to drape over the baby in the car seat when you leave. I like Aden + Anais because they make high-quality muslin products and muslin fabric is breathable and therefore gives me peace of mind. 

Going home outfit for baby- You’ll also need an outfit for the baby when you leave, although you can usually dress the baby in clothing you brought the entire time if you want. I usually pack 1-2 going home outfits. 

That’s everything in my hospital bag! I’d love some feedback, is there anything I missed? If you’ve gone through labor and delivery in a hospital what items were you glad you packed and what do you wish you had left at home?

 

Xo,

Courtney

Pre-Fall Inspiration + 5 Fun Things to do with Your Kids in the DMV Area Next Month

Pre-Fall Inspiration + 5 Fun Things to do with Your Kids in the DMV Area Next Month

*The sweater below was gifted by Pink Blush but all opinions are my own.

 

I’m currently 29 weeks into my pregnancy and attempting to have a pretty low-key summer, but my family and I do have a lot on our agenda for August. I’m already thinking ahead to fall though, and I love that we’ll be transitioning to fall next month. I can’t wait for cozy sweaters, warm lattes, changing leaves etc in addition to the fact that I’m excited about having a fall baby this year. 

Speaking of cozy sweaters…I’m no stranger to the Pink Blush brand (I’ve worn their clothing in all three of my pregnancies and they also have non-maternity clothing for women) but they recently gifted me with this gorgeous and very on-trend leopard print maternity cardigan, and gave me the perfect opportunity to start thinking about my pre-fall wardrobe. I love that the leopard print is both bold and neutral, you can easily pair it with a variety of items in a neutral color palette. It’s also incredibly soft and I can’t wait to get cozy in it both before and after the baby comes. You can shop the cardigan here

Other items at the top of my pre-fall list include hats (they instantly add a dose of style to any outfit), open toe booties for the summer to fall transition, and denim. 

Another thing I’m excited about is taking my kids to do fun activities as the weather starts to cool down next month. I can’t say I’ll miss these 90+ degree temps. Here are 5 fun activities to do with kids in the DMV area in September:

  • Visit a farm- I love taking my boys to farms. Wide open spaces, fresh air, animals, and delicious fresh food are perfect for families with small children. Some farms even have elaborate outdoor play spaces. A few of my favorites are Great Country Farms (Bluemont, VA) Cox Farms (Centreville, VA),  Miller Farms (Clinton, MD) and Braehead Farm (Fredericksburg, VA- worth a trip for families who live in the Stafford area). The Cox Farms Fall Festival also starts September 14. 
  • Visit the zoo- The Smithsonian National Zoo’s free admission makes it a great choice for families, and visits are much more enjoyable when the heat isn’t unbearable. 
  • Attend a Washington Nationals home game- Another activity that’s great when the sun isn’t beating down on you is attending a baseball game. The stadium has a great selection of food, fun family theme nights, and places you in close proximity to other DC area attractions.
  • Attend the Prince George’s County Fair (Sept 5-8, Upper Marlboro, MD)- who doesn’t love a good carnival? Find more info here
  • Visit a Museum- DC has a number of amazing museums with free entry every day, but take advantage of Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day to visit a handful that normally charge an entry fee on September 21. You can download tickets here starting August 15. 

Do you have any recommendations for fun things to do with kids in the DMV area this fall? I also travel a lot and would love to hear about activities in Hampton Roads, NYC, and other areas. What are you looking forward to the most about fall?

 

Xo,

Courtney

Body Positivity After Pregnancy

Body Positivity After Pregnancy

I recently thought about the fact that I have been pregnant every year since 2016 in the process of having three kids. This has not been easy on my body. Pregnancy has its beautiful, magical moments, but my body has also cycled through hormonal changes, weight gain and loss, and breastfeeding for the past four years. That much constant change can take a mental toll, and I do have some days when I’m not feeling my most confident, days when I look back at pre-pregnancy pictures a bit wistfully despite the fact that I have always had a short, curvy figure. But for the most part I have always been ok with giving myself time and have never felt the pressure to “bounce back” right away.
This hasn’t been an easy attitude to maintain, because we live in a society that is image obsessed, and for many people being thin is the most important marker of good physical and mental health. There have been countless times that well-meaning friends or family have casually referenced me “getting my body back” after the babies in conversation, and I know other women who have recently had children who feel pretty down about their bodies. I really believe this is an attitude we need to challenge.
People are starting to talk more openly about the immense mental and emotional challenges motherhood can bring, and the isolation many women feel, thanks in part to social media and a recent push for better maternal health care. I believe we’ve only scratched the surface of this subject. My own experience was that the transition to motherhood for the first time was tough. Hormones, surviving on very little sleep, and learning to cope with being responsible for another human’s well-being 24/7 really put me through the ringer. Thankfully I had an easier time when I transitioned to being a mom of two, but every pregnancy and every baby is different. For me, focusing on being in a good place mentally has always been vastly more important than bouncing back physically. I know that I can’t be the kind of mother I’d like to be if I’m not in a great mental or emotional state, and there’s time for everything else to happen later.
But I also know that prioritizing your mental health looks different for everyone. And for some people their mental and physical progress are linked. I would challenge women to think about what they really need postpartum, not what they feel pressured to want. If being in a certain clothing size will really make you feel happier and more confident, then by all means prioritize it (safely) postpartum. If being physically fit gives you the endorphins that make it easier to thrive in this experience, then work out as much as you can! But if trying to fit others’ expectations of what your body should look like, or trying to adhere to someone else’s timeline for when a woman should “bounce back” only adds to your stress, then let go of that and focus on what you really need. Don’t let anyone define your postpartum experience for you.
The time it takes to lose weight can also vary from person to person, and there are many factors that go into it. Some women shed weight naturally while breastfeeding. I am not one of those lucky women, I actually think its a bit harder for me to lose weight while breastfeeding. My personal goals after having my baby include prioritizing healthy eating, drinking lots of water, and working out when I can until I gradually increase my workouts over time. My goals don’t include focusing on any specific numbers, whether they’re on a scale or a clothes tag. That’s what I need to support myself in the best way possible. After having a baby you should be focused on the amazing things that your body accomplished and continues to accomplish. Women are really incredibly powerful.
What are your tips for dealing with body image issues? And if you’re a Mom, how did you feel about your body during or after pregnancy? Are you pro dieting postpartum? Let me know in the comments.

Xo,

Courtney

The Routines That Keep My Household Afloat

The Routines That Keep My Household Afloat

Now that I’ve been a Mom of two for over a year (and am getting closer and closer to being a Mom of three!) I’ve realized the key to success in my household is creating routines and sticking to them, and how routines might help others even if you’re a parent (or future parent) of one. My household does the best when we stick to established routines, and when we stray from them for too long chaos usually ensues! Below I’ve listed some of the routines that I use to keep my sanity on weekdays, including the kids’ daily routines, my weekday mealtime routine, and most importantly our bedtime routine (is there anything parents want more than more sleep?) 

The Kids’ Daytime Schedule

We typically follow the same schedule Monday through Friday. When the kids wake up I let them play for about half an hour, make breakfast, then let them watch cartoons while I do some laundry or cleaning (yes, I am pro screen time when I need a distraction).

After that we do an at home preschool program by Susie of the Busy Toddler. It’s meant for kids ages 2.5 and up, but my youngest Myles still participates sometimes. The lessons typically involve a song or two, a book, and 2-3 hands on activities. I get most of the suggested books from the library, and the rest of the books and supplies on Amazon.

After “preschool” and more play time I make lunch and put the boys down for a nap. It took a little while to get both of them on the same nap schedule. This involved doing my best to keep Myles awake until after lunch, until he got used to it. Getting them down for a nap at the same time is so worth it, because it guarantees me an hour or two of free time where I can get some things done or take a nap myself (which has been helpful this pregnancy). If you have two children close in age I recommend getting them on the same nap schedule as early as possible. 

After nap time I take them out in the stroller for a walk or some time at the park or library. Then I just let them play until my husband comes home and he takes over while I make dinner. The rest of the evening typically revolves around whatever my husband and I are doing.

Mealtimes

I love to eat but I am not the type of person who loves to cook. I’ve developed a few hacks to make things easier for myself. The first thing I do to make things easier is never taking my kids grocery shopping. I rarely go to the grocery store at all these days, unless I’m running in for a quick item or two. The rest of the time I order groceries through Amazon Prime Now. They are conveniently delivered to my door and as long as you buy at least $35 worth of groceries the delivery fee is free (although you can add on an optional tip for the driver). This means no more struggling with a crying toddler or two while I schlep down aisle after aisle, and grocery shopping no longer raises my blood pressure like it has in the past. 

For breakfast I usually alternate between whole wheat pancakes, Abe’s amazing vegan muffins (I cannot stress enough how amazing they are), cinnamon raisin toast, or scrambled eggs with fresh fruit for my kids. In the future I’d love to expand to some more healthy recipes but for now these options are quick and always work.

Lunch is usually peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or Dr. Praegar’s spinach, broccoli, sweet potato or kale littles with veggies or fruit. I don’t experiment much with lunch foods because my oldest Mason is so picky.

Dinner is when I do the most experimenting. I recently restarted my Hello Fresh subscription so that I can learn more vegetarian meals, and we go meat free 3 times a week with their veggie plan. I won’t keep the subscription going forever, but for now it’s a great way to learn new recipes and cooking skills, and having a subscription has definitely increased my interest in cooking. The rest of the week I cook with meat from a farm CSA (community supported agriculture) share. This allows us to purchase 15 lbs of pasture raised, hormone-free meat each month. I purchase my share through Liberty Delight Farms. And once a week we order takeout for dinner (my favorite night of the week).

Bedtime

Thankfully both of my children sleep through the night at this stage (I’m getting ready to start over with baby #3 so wish me luck!) but we got there by moving the kids out of our bedroom, establishing a bedtime routine, and using the cry it out method (aka sleep training) for a little while. Moving the kids out of my bedroom was vital for me. I always start off with co-sleeping before moving my kids to a bassinet or pack n play in my room. But there’s something about having me nearby that just causes my kids to wake up looking for my attention (or milk) more often. I was amazed at how much longer they started sleeping when they left my room. This is only recommended when your kids are about 6 months +.

Crying it out is a controversial method, I know some parents can’t stand to hear their little ones’ cries go unanswered and I felt the same way at first. We tried it with my son Mason when he was about 5 months old because I was still getting up multiple times a night and feeling like a zombie at work. The first night of crying it out my husband had to stop me from going to him and I felt so sad. But then when he finally fell asleep, he slept for the rest of the night! On the second night he cried for a much shorter interval before falling asleep. After a few days he barely cried at all. The time it takes to get this method to work can vary but trust me it does work. And both of my kids survived the experience and are happy and very attached to me. 

Some people are amazed at how easily they usually fall asleep at home but it’s because we’ve been doing the same bedtime routine for so long that they’re very used to what comes next. I use Honest Calming Lavender Bubble Bath to help the boys get in a sleepy mood. After bath time I read 1-2 board books that are appropriate for Myles, then take him to his bed and turn on 15 minutes of bedtime music on his Scout dog (I’ve also used a noise machine and night light in the past- the Hatch Baby Rest is amazing, but found that they do fine without it now). I rock him in my arms for 2-3 minutes then lay him down and leave. He’s usually asleep within 10 minutes without any fuss. Then I read 1-2 more advanced books for Mason and repeat the same music/rocking routine with his Scout dog. Sometimes he takes longer to fall asleep but he lays in his crib without crying until he does. Then I give myself a mental pat on the back and relax for about 30 mins before joining my husband for a Netflix show. 

I know a lot of people who co-sleep end up doing so long-term, but once my babies reached the 6 month mark having designated kid-free time every night and sleeping in my bed without them has been so beneficial to my mental health and my marriage.

Those are the most important aspects of my daily routine. I would love to hear your thoughts/tips for establishing a routine in the comments. 

 

Xo,

Courtney

My All-Time Favorite Clothing/Accessories for Pregnancy and Beyond

My All-Time Favorite Clothing/Accessories for Pregnancy and Beyond

I’m currently at the 20 week mark of my pregnancy. That means we’re officially halfway to our new adventure. Actually I’m probably a little more than halfway- my babies have a tendency to come a bit early. Mason made his debut at 38 weeks and Myles made his at 36 weeks. I’m praying I make it to 37 weeks just to be safe and also taking progesterone to help my chances. With my first pregnancy I didn’t really start showing (in an obvious way) until almost third trimester. With my second and third pregnancies my baby bump made a much earlier appearance. That means I’m already reaching for some of my favorite pregnancy items.

Below I’ve listed some of my absolute favorite accessories (and a couple of must-have clothing items) for pregnancy and beyond.

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Everlane Tank Bra

During my first pregnancy all of the hormonal changes left me feeling like I had barbed wire strapped to my chest when I wore bras. I tried switching to wireless bras and nursing bras from maternity stores but I never found anything that was truly comfortable, especially when I had a dramatic increase in cup size (c cup pre-pregnancy to DDD during breastfeeding).

I had pretty much given up on ever feeling comfortable in a bra again until I tried Everlane’s tank bra. It’s so soft and lightweight I barely feel like I’m wearing anything, even with pesky pregnancy hormones. It’s shaped like a sports bra, but has the effortlessness of a bralette, and the low cut is very flattering. Unfortunately, this may not be a great bra for work (there is no padding whatsoever) but it’s perfect for lounge, sleep, and weekend wear. I’ll definitely be wearing these bras well past my pregnancy.

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Ingrid & Isabel Bellaband

I honestly loathe buying maternity jeans and pants. They’re very comfortable, but they can often be a bit of an investment considering the short amount of time you’ll be wearing them, and it’s not always easy to find styles that are as flattering as your pre-pregnancy jeans. A bellaband makes life easier by allowing you to wear your pre-pregnancy jeans much longer. Just keep your jeans unbuttoned and put the bellaband over your waistband. It looks like you’re simply wearing a tank layered under your shirt. You can find the original here and a less expensive version at Target.

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Dwell and Slumber Caftan

Dwell and Slumber has a cult following for a reason. Their caftans make the perfect hospital gown. I changed into mine right after my delivery with Myles and got so many compliments during my hospital stay.  They’re incredibly comfortable and easy to wear without the structure and fussiness of a traditional dress, and they’re more stylish than the standard issue hospital gown. They accommodate a baby bump or postpartum belly perfectly, and the bust unsnaps for easy breastfeeding. During those late nights that turn into early mornings with a new baby, I was so grateful to have these caftans to throw on. You can also belt them and throw on some cute accessories for a casual daytime boho look.

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Bably Baby Diaper Backpack

When I was in college, I spent one summer babysitting a two-year old boy. His mom had a gorgeous floral Vera Bradley diaper bag that really stuck with me. When I became a mother I celebrated this transition with my own Vera Bradley diaper bag, but it didn’t work out for me. While some people may love it I found it a bit too heavy and cumbersome to work as a shoulder bag. And then when my second son arrived I quickly ran out of room in that bag and other traditional diaper bags that I tried. I transitioned to a diaper backpack, and liked being hands free much better, but I ran out of room in that as well ( clearly I need a lot of stuff for two boys who are 18 months apart).

Not long after I found out about my third pregnancy I went into panic mode thinking about how I would tote around all of the things two toddlers and a baby would need. I started researching as many bags and backpacks as possible, trying to find one that would be large enough and organized enough to accomodate my growing family. I found the answer to my prayers in the Bably Baby Diaper Backpack. Not only is it large, but it’s also extremely organized and has a lot of cool features for a very reasonable price. I love it so much I recently featured it in my Instagram stories. Some of the highlights include 4 insulated drink holders, a wipe dispenser, a tablet slot, packing cubes, a changing pad, a wet bag, and built in stroller clips. You can find this backpack on the Bably Baby website and on Amazon.

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ToteSavvy

If a diaper bag or backpack isn’t your thing, you can stick with a regular tote bag and turn it into a diaper bag with a totesavvy insert. There are different sizes, and the inserts feature a variety of pockets and a changing pad. I know these are a popular addition to luxe totes like the LV Neverfull, but they can work with almost any tote bag. I personally love Everlane’s tote bags. They’re made from buttery leather and are chic and minimal.

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Adidas Casual Sneakers

A chic casual sneaker is a must when you’re going to be pushing a stroller around or running after small children. I love Adidas because they’re comfortable, perfect for running errands or taking my kids out, and stylish. Two of my favorites are the Gazelles and Pharrel Williams’ Tennis Hus.

 

Those are some of my favorite items for pregnancy, postpartum, and life in general. What are your must-haves or gifts that you know another Mom really appreciated?

 

Xo,

Courtney

The Best Indoor Playspaces in the DMV

The Best Indoor Playspaces in the DMV

I hope you all are enjoying the warm weather. I love this time of year and really appreciate being able to take my kids outdoors. There are still times when we need a good indoor location though, like when it’s 90+ degrees outside or when its raining, and I’m a huge fan of indoor play spaces. I’ve tried several in the DMV area and have a few favorites that I’ve listed below. One caveat is that I haven’t tried any in DC. I live outside of DC and as many of you know, driving and parking (or taking the metro) in DC can be a hassle at times, especially with kids, so we typically reserve that for bigger occasions like taking them to the National Mall and museums. If you know of any good indoor play spaces in DC please let me know in the comments. We also travel to Richmond, Hampton Roads, and New York fairly often so I’d love to hear about fun things to do with kids in other cities.
The Best Playspace for Babies- Nook (Arlington, Fairfax)


Nook features soothing neutral colors that won’t overstimulate a baby and age appropriate activities for those who aren’t walking or crawling yet. Each station is equipped with fun but educational toys and there’s also a small ball pit (with white balls, also low stimulation) and places to curl up and read to your baby. Nook is also a popular spot to host instagram worthy birthday parties.

The Best Playspace for Toddlers and Older Children- Scramble (Alexandria)

Scramble has the best toddler section of all the indoor play spaces we’ve tried and is my favorite overall. The toddler section is large and runs along one side of the facility, and there are cute stations like a mock starbucks and a racing pit. The other side of the facility has plenty for older kids to do including climbing equipment and ball courts. You can easily play with your children but it’s designed to allow kids to play independently and features a cafe and generous seating area for adults. Everything is bright, clean, and well maintained.

The Best Playspace for the Adults- Badlands (North Bethesda)

Badlands is another good choice for older children. Instead of the typical toys and climbing structures that play spaces usually have, it truly brings the outdoors indoors with faux rocks and tunnels, hills, grass, and trees. Kids can have a great time running and climbing and everything is supervised well by the attendants. It’s my favorite choice for the adults though because it features an actual bar. Yes, you can schedule a playdate with a friend and indulge in wine and other drinks at Badlands. That feature alone is pretty amazing but it also won’t overstimulate you with bright colors since everything is so natural. They host parties in event pavilions that look like chic cabins so they’re another great spot for instagram worthy moments.

Those are my top three recommendations for playspaces in the DMV area. What are some of your favorite places to take kids for a fun outing?

Xo,

Courtney