Think Before You Speak.

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I’ve experienced a series of what you could call, unfortunate events.

Yesterday at the grocery store, a stranger told me I was so big that “this baby better get out soon because he’s going to mess up my hips”.

This past weekend, a stranger at a restaurant asked me if I was “sad that I’m having another boy and not a girl”. They said this in front of my entire family, including my two sons.

Then at Everett’s baseball game, a stranger told me a story about her friend who had six boys while trying for a girl, only to have her husband leave her and have a baby girl with another woman. “I’m sure that won’t happen to you,” she said.

Are you flabbergasted? I still am. Like I said, these are some unfortunate events.

Add this to the collection of others who feel the need to walk up to me, ask about my baby’s due date and gender, and proceed to tell me their horror pregnancy stories. Their emergency stories. Their near-death labor and delivery experiences. I don’t know why people do this, but they do indeed do it. They feel the openness and comfort level to talk, talk TALK to pregnant women. They wouldn’t do this to a stranger on the subway. I don’t think.

My response over the weekend was anger. “People should NOT speak to pregnant women!”, I told Stevie. “We aren’t dogs! Don’t come up and try to pet us and then say foolish things!” I contemplated not going out in public anymore, just to avoid any other triggering situations. Should women in their third trimester be subject to people’s verbal opinions on how they look?

Since the weekend has passed, I’ve had more time to think about it and I think I have actually learned a personally valuable lesson from all this.

I can learn from the hurtful things that people say to me. Because I am human, too, and just like my parents used to tell me when I was a little girl, I need to learn to THINK before I SPEAK.

Even though I was the target of these comments (or rather, my belly), the truth is that I don’t always think before I speak to someone, and as a result I could hurt someone’s feelings by carelessly remarking on something I don’t need to have an opinion on.

There is a reason pregnant women don’t want to tell people their chosen baby name, the baby’s gender, OR their due date. They don’t need to hear commentary from a stranger who isn’t invested in this baby. They don’t need to hear insensitive remarks. I didn’t need that over the weekend, as I felt puffier than ever and really, really tired.

This is such a lovely community of friends here, so I don’t share this because I feel attacked here. The opposite in fact. But I think we could all use the reminder (myself included) to do as our mothers told us when we were little, and THINK before we SPEAK. You never know how your own random words can seriously rattle someone, even if you walk away and don’t think a thing of it. That pregnant, hormonal woman (who knows exactly how big she looks, by the way), is most likely dealing with her own insecurities, fears and anticipation (as well as an array of discomforts!) and doesn’t need a strangers’ input/commentary.

If you see a pregnant woman and are desperate to say something to them because you just REALLY can’t help yourself, there are two appropriate things you can say:

1. How are you feeling?
2. You look wonderful!

That’s all! There is no need for you to follow up with your own stories or input. Because without even realizing it, that woman is definitely reading between the lines of what you’ve already said (pregnancy hormones make us extra sensitive!!!), so those few words are more than enough.

I share this today so that we can all be more aware and sensitive to those around us. Our words are powerful, they hold weight and they can make a difference in someone’s day. Today is a great day to brighten someone’s day with your powerful, KIND words!

P.S. - Just so you know, after that women’s comments at the grocery store, I stumbled upon an enormous, beautiful pre-lit Christmas wreath in the store, and I BOUGHT IT. So don’t feel bad for me - Costco seems to always have my back.

A Boy Mom Pregnancy.

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Wearing:

Blanqi Maternity Tank, Carly Jean Maternity Tank, Blanqi Maternity Leggings, Nike Free Run Shoes


We took these photos one morning in Central Park and it was cool. I am craving that cool feeling right now! Just this week I’m really starting to feel big and so round and slow and gosh… I still have 3 months left to go. I don’t think there are enough popsicles in the world to cool me down. I am not usually one to want to rush the seasons, but this time around I am fine with saying goodbye to summer and moving into a little fresh fall air. Ready for a little sweater weather, or at least the ability to feel COOL and watch other people wear sweaters ;)

This pregnancy has been different from my others. At first, I thought I must be having a girl because I was just SO SICK, and since that was unique to my other pregnancies, I assumed that meant it was a different gender. I’m so happy to be wrong! We are thrilled to be having a bunch of boys - it certainly makes for easier planning and prep! Don’t get me wrong - I am so girly and it would be fun to have a little girl, but apparently God wants to stock our family with manly men! My little boys are such wonderful people, and I am just so excited to experience raising another little one with his own personality and quirks and LIFE. I am so excited to snuggle a little baby boy again. There is truly nothing sweeter. I just need to get to the finish line without waddling my way there!

I have been a part of an amazing small group of women over the past several months, where we gather and watch an online faith-based parenting course called Moms of Men. I highly recommend it! If you have struggled with knowing how to best raise your little boys (like I have!), this course gives so many amazing resources, tools and wisdom for how to lean into your own gut instincts as a mother. I’ve also been reading this book (very slowly, haha), but I am really loving the insights about boys and how they develop and grow! When I first found out I was having Everett (over five years ago! Where has the time gone?!) I was honestly freaked out about knowing how to raise a boy. How to discipline, how to talk about sex (seriously howwwww), how to give him space and freedom but also have a close relationship where we can talk about anything - how how how?! I was so overwhelmed. I’ve learned that it’s just a step-by-step, day-by-day adaptation. As the boys are growing up, I’m growing into my own sense of motherhood. It’s a long story, slow and drawn-out, something that we are all writing together. I am so grateful for the slow pace, because it gives me time to learn and grow and make mistakes, and hopefully - learn from them too!

I am so curious about this new little boy. What will he look like?! How will his birth order impact his personality and demeanor? How will he interact with his brothers? I am so excited and also so prayerful that I can give the same amount of love and investment into this little guy as my others. It’s so strange to anticipate loving someone who isn’t quite here yet. I mean, he’s HERE (kicking me all the live long day), but you know what I mean, right?

I can’t wait to meet you, little boy! But I can. So stay put in there until it’s necessary to evict. xx


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Family Summer Trip to NYC!

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I can’t go too many months before I get the itch to get back to New York. Stevie is up there almost weekly for work so we talk a lot about NYC as a family - we have a bunch of great books (this one and this one are our faves), and it helps the boys understand where he spends time when he’s working. It also has helped us create a fun bucket list of places to visit and explore! Which is just what we did as a family a few weeks ago. We loved taking the boys up there for a few fun days in the city and I just I love sharing with them all the things I appreciate so darn much about that wondrous place. In case some of you are planning a trip or curious about what to explore with your kiddos, I wanted to share!

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A quick note: If you think traveling with kids in NYC is absolutely terrifying and insane - I promise you it’s neither. Like anything else with kids, it just requires some planning before the trip and some grace & flexibility during the trip. Believe me, our travel times aren’t without challenges and moments of frustration. But I truly love traveling with these boys - we have so much fun together and make such sweet memories as a family! It’s definitely worth the work and the sometimes frustrating moments that are inevitable. Definitely let me know if you have questions. Okay, on to the pictures and recs!

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Central Park and Washington Square Park were our jam this time around. We were in Central Park every single day - I don’t know how people live in the city without getting into some green space every day #suburbanthoughts. It’s so grounding and green and SO BEAUTIFUL. The trees are magnificently old and feel like they have endless stories to tell. I just love it. We also love Bryant and Riverside Parks but didn’t spend any time in those on this particular trip.

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Things to do in Central Park with kids:

  • bring a frisbee and run/play freely on Sheep’s Meadow

  • explore the 10+ playgrounds (some with splashpads - if you’re visiting in summer, bring a towel!) Our faves are the Diana Ross Playground (westside), the James Michael Levin Playground (eastside) and the Heckscher Playground (just north of Central Park South).

  • see a show at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Puppet Theater (seriously, these shows are SO incredible!) Puppetry feels like a lost art (kind of like tap dance?) and I love that this form of puppetry is still celebrated here.

  • grab lunch at Shake Shack at 77th & Columbus Ave. and walk your lunch into the park. We like to eat on the big rocks that overlook the lake :) Yum I want another Shackburger right now…

  • walk from the Bethesda Fountain down through the mall (a gorgeous tree-lined pathway)

  • play on the Alice and Wonderland statue on the eastside of the park at 75th street. It’s really fun for the kids to climb and it overlooks a pretty little pond and it’s just such a peaceful reprieve.

    We didn’t get to sail boats or do a horse carriage ride yet (two requests that we couldn’t make happen this time!), but those are still on our list!

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A tower of blondes.

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I wear my Blanqi supportwear every day - if you’re pregnant, you have to check them out! Made walking around the city so much more bearable, especially since I tend to carry big, heavy babies. My favorites are the maternity tanks - an absolute must for any pregnancy! I wear one everyday, either by itself or with layers.

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Juice Generation!! It’s become a family fave.

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^ The BOB Double Stroller that has endured a lot of abuse over the years traveling with us - it’s still rocking!!

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We took the boys to get cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery in SOHO! It was so much fun sharing a sweet treat there. I honestly have no idea how we were able to snag some because when we used to live here, the line was LONG and they would sell out first thing in the morning. But they were SO GOOD. I can’t remember what the flavor was - they change it monthly but whatever it was, it was GOOD. We also really like the DKA and Everett chose some kind of Nutella bread and he chose well. Haha I’m so proud.

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New buildings going up all the time!

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We explored two museums on this trip - first, the American Museum of Natural History (Daxton is REALLY into dinosaurs right now), which we have spent a lot of time in on multiple trips. They really loved it this time and the dinosaurs wowed them more than ever. Haha I love this age. And we also visited The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which was awesome! It literally has a space shuttle on the ship. Like, in every direction, this is a dream museum for boys.

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I forgot to mention that we found an EXCELLENT pizza place that is completely kid/family-friendly called Patsys Pizzeria - if you are looking for something on the upper west side, you will not be disappointed! I can still taste the goodness.

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“Cleaning fossils” at the American Museum of Natural History. They were cracking us up. We found the Discovery Room this time around and it is honestly such a perfect place for kids to get hands-on! So often, museums can be a bit boring because they can’t actually touch anything, but this is a dedicated space that is for kids to use their hands and discover! They dusted away at fossils (pretend ones), used those fossils to build the structure of a dinosaur, pet little live critters (I’ll admit I was grossed out), used a telescope and microscope, you name it! It was really fun to see their minds at work in a new way. I HIGHLY recommend visiting this room if you come to the museum.

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We got mildly addicted to Juice Generation a few years ago and now we basically go as much as possible whenever we’re in the city. “Get Ur Green On” is my favorite juice!

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The Alice in Wonderland Statue in Central Park! We had never been there before but they LOVED climbing it! It looks out over a beautiful pond - would be a great spot to bring a book and read for a bit. That wasn’t really the case for me, but if you were alone it would be splendid.

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Everett really wanted to visit “Town Square” (Times Square), and we didn’t have the heart to correct him because it was SO CUTE. So off to Town Square we went. Haha for like 10 minutes. Then we left again because oh, it’s so bright. It’s one of those places that you HAVE to go to see a show, but otherwise you don’t really want to be in that mess of lights and sounds.

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^ My dream is to one day see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular here!

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To make things easy, we usually stay at a hotel close to Central Park. Our favorites are The Warwick (where we stayed this time around) but if that one is sold out or if the prices are crazy, we like The Hilton NYC Midtown, which is located just across the street. Honestly, it’s just nice being able to walk the kids into the park everyday, so this location works well for us. Also there’s a Starbucks on the way from our hotel into the park #priorities. But there are SO many trendy, cool hotels everywhere - I’m always filling my bucket list with new ideas!

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There you have it! We had such an amazing trip. I loved watching the boys light up at so many new experiences this time around. They have been so much littler in the past when we’ve taken them to NYC that I have just made all the decisions about where we eat and what we do, but this time around they had opinions! They wanted to walk more, which I’ll be honest, terrified me at times, especially when we were close to lots of street traffic. But just like anything else, it took a little practice and learning and we were all finding our rhythm as a family exploring the city. And all their suggestions and ideas were so much fun to make happen. Except when Everett insisted we ride the subway and I watched Daxton basically lick one of the subway poles while we were riding. I felt like I was in slow motion yelling, “NOOOOOO”, but thankfully, somehow, he didn’t get sick after that. Ahhhh I don’t even want to think about it.

We had so much fun! I also put together a little IGTV episode about our trip, you can see it here. Do you have questions? Have you ever taken your kiddos on a city trip? Did you/they like it? Would love to hear from you!

Favorite NON-TOXIC Sunscreens.

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Although I should probably be wearing SPF every day of the year, it’s this particular time of year that I’m even more aware of the sunshine and its effect on my skin (and my boys’ skin!) So when it comes to choosing sunscreen, I take some time to consider the ingredients. Why? Because our skin is the largest organ in our body and anything we apply to our skin is immediately absorbed into our bloodstream. Conventional sunscreen is loaded with ingredients that are less than reputable. Did you know that the FDA is calling for sunscreen reform after discovering the way that traditional sunscreens penetrate the skin and potentially cause endocrine disruption and other harm? There are two surefire safe ingredients when it comes to sunscreen (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide), so those are the ones that I hone in on when I purchase!

If you’re confused about which ingredients to look out for, have no fear! I’m here to break down what I’ve learned (but please, know that this is just my research and my discovery - please do your own research, friends! I’m linking to everything in this post so please feel free to check all my sources!)

Okay, there are 2 types of sunscreen on the market- chemical and mineral. Because of the sneaky toxic ingredients that are in chemical sunscreen, I avoid those all together and look for mineral sunscreen.

Active Ingredients

First up, when checking out your sunscreen, make sure to look at the Active Ingredients. On the label, under “active ingredients”, look for:
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR:

  • Titanium Dioxide

  • Zinc oxide

Conventional chemical sunscreens will use chemicals such as the following:
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS TO AVOID:

  • Oxybenzone: detected in nearly every American and found in mother’s milk; this chemical acts like estrogen in the body, alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women.

  • Octinoxate: also detected in mother’s milk, this chemical has hormone-like activity and is associated with reproductive system, thyroid and behavioral alterations in animals.

  • Homosalate: disrupts estrogen, androgen and progesterone.

  • Octocrylene: relatively high rates of skin allergy

Inactive Ingredients

After looking at the “active ingredients” I also look at the “inactive ingredients” to make sure they are free of harmful chemicals, too. This is where things can often get dicey. You don’t have to be an ingredient guru to make an informed decision here (seriously).

INACTIVE INGREDIENTS TO AVOID:

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Grossed out yet? Me too. But there’s no cause for alarm because I have found SO many great sunscreens that perform well without all the nasty toxic ingredients listed above. I’ve tried a LOT more than what is listed here, but these are the few that made it in the top running.

My Sunscreen Picks

Runner Ups

  • Bare Republic
    You have to check the individual types of sunscreen to make sure the ingredients are as clean as you would like. I like to use the Think Dirty app and the EWG as a resource for this. They also have some wild colors and metallic options which I think would be fun to try, but they aren’t so clean, ingredient-wise.

  • Coola
    Same as the Bare Republic - some of the products are cleaner than others.

  • REN Clean Screen SPF Mineral SPF 30
    Contains fragrance but otherwise has good ingredients.

That’s all I’ve got for you friends! I hope this guide is helpful as you navigate the sunscreen game! Keep in mind that this is simply my own research - PLEASE do your own research and trust your gut instinct when it comes to decisions for yourself and your family! Even though we are more than halfway through summer (say it ain’t so!), we will all be enjoying warm weather (and sun exposure) until basically November down here where I live in Georgia. So our sunscreen isn’t going to get retired for a good long while! Happy summer-ing to you! xx

Amazon Prime Day Deals the I am Drooling Over.

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*** Sold out items are marked BOLD and updated/new items will be listed with “***” !

It’s time for Amazon’s biggest sale of the year - Amazon Prime Day! Since we use Amazon Prime practically weekly around here, I wanted to make sure to share some of these deals that I am always keeping an eye on when it comes to this sale. These deals are only good for today and tomorrow (July 15-16), and I’m so excited to share them because some of these deals are better than Black Friday! And bonus, you can shop from home in your pjs. Which is basically the only way I do it these days.

If you don’t have an Amazon Prime Membership, you can try the 30-day free trial and still take advantage of these deals. They are flash deals with a limited stock, so the key it to take advantage of them (as in, “add to cart” and check out quickly!) today and tomorrow.

The number 1 reason why I love Amazon Prime? Free 2-Day shipping! It’s a mama’s dream come true, getting everything delivered to my door. It also keeps me out of trouble from meandering around Target all too often and coming home with items I don’t really need.

In this post, I’m narrowing down the best deals (and my favorites!) in the following categories: tech, home, baby, family & kids. FYI, if you make a purchase through the links on this page I will receive a small commission, so thanks for shopping “with me”! And keep in mind that some Prime Day deals are time sensitive, so prices are subject to change. Happy shopping, friends!


TECH:
Echo Dot - Only $22 today! We are obsessed with our Echo Dots (we have them all around the house), and this is the best price I’ve ever seen on them! Also, this makes an awesome gift.
Fire TV Stick with Alexa Remote - Normally $39.99, today this is $14.99 and SUCH an awesome addition to controlling and syncing all your TV wants and needs.
New Kindle Fire 7 - $29.99 today (normally $50), this is a road trip must-have for us and such a great deal today! I’m kicking myself for how much we paid for ours.
Seagate 4TB Backup Hard Drive - Running out of storage on my computer is one of THEE most frustrating things. I have several of this Seagate drives and I LOVE them! This is a crazy good deal under $100 for a TON of storage!
Bose Wireless Headphones - Normally $229, these are $159 today and sooo pretty! If you’ve been in the market for these, buy them!
Beats Solo Over-Ear Wireless Headphones - Another awesome brand on sale! Normally $259, on sale for $139 today! Would love these for the gym!

HOME:
Roomba iRobot - I am freaking out over the deals on these three models of the iRobot, especially this one for less than $300! This has been the deal I’ve been waiting for! SO many of my family members have the iRobot and pinky promise that it has changed their life. They let turn it on at night before they go to sleep and wake up in the morning to clean floors. My dream come true.
Dyson V7 Animal Pro Cordless Vaccum - If you’re in the market for an upright vacuum, this is a killer deal on a tried-and-true brand and model. I want this one, too!
FLASH DEAL ENDED. Instant Pot Pressure Cooker - Literally the best thing I added to my kitchen in 2019. Have no dinner plan at 5pm? No problem for the Instant Pot! You can throw anything in there any 45 minutes later be eating a delicious home cooked meal.
FLASH DEAL ENDED. Nespresso VertuoPlus - I am in love with my Nespresso. This model is a bit different than mine, but it is only $99! Unheard of!
*** Mellanni Bed Sheets - Only $24.97! We have several sets of these sheets and LOVE them! They are crazy soft and super on sale today only!
*** KitchenAid Mixer Pasta Roller Attachment - Over 50% off! This is SUCH a steal!
*** KitchenAid Sifter and Scale Attachment - Over 70% off!
*** NuLoom Moroccan Area Rug - I’ve literally never seen such a deal ($58.66!) on this kind of rug. I think I’m gonna grab this one for our reading nook!

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BABY:
FLASH DEAL ENDED. Skip Hop Baby Jumper - Normally $130, today this is a steal for $65.99! I love the Skip Hop brand and have been so impressed with all their products. Listing a few others in the “Kids” section as well!
Baby K’Tan Wrap Carrier - Normally $49.95, on sale today for $34.99! I have this wrap and I love it! So great for the itty-bitty baby stage where you need to have your arms but they want you to hold them all day long.
Chicco Keyfit30 Carseat - Save 20% on this carseat today! We used this one with Daxton and LOVED it and bought another for our second car. Durable, so safe and compatible for our stroller. Such a winner in my book.
VTech Sit to Stand Walker - This has been probably the most-used toy for my boys when they are in the 1-2 year age range. Such a deal today!
***Freshly Picked Newborn Moccs - $29! This is the cheapest you will ever see these cutie moccs! I loved having these for my babies and they make the sweetest baby gift for others.
*** Ergobaby 360 Carrier - You better believe I grabbed this deal so fast! This is by far the BEST baby carrier you will ever spend money on. I love a lot of carriers, but this one reigns supreme! I grabbed the gray color so Stevie and I could share it with our new babe!
*** Burts Bees Fitted Crib Sheet - We LOVE these and have at least 5! This is the only crib sheet that I found didn’t pill and shrink when I washed it, which, spoiler alert, you do a LOT when you have babies ;)

FAM & KIDS:
Magnetic Building Blocks - My boys love playing with these and I love how quiet they are when they are playing with them! They are typically expensive and never marked down, so this is a great one to snag for a Christmas gift ;)
FLASH DEAL ENDED. Radio Flyer Lean N Glide Scooter - Everett has been asking for one of these for his birthday and voila! The perfect deal!
FLASH DEAL ENDED. Green Toys Airplane - One of our favorite toy brands! This is a fun one to add to our collection of other Green Toys vehicles :)
SOLD OUT ***Camelbak Eddy Kids 2 Pack - We go through these bottles like water. Pun intended.

P.S. - If you’re interested in doing some other shopping, I have an Amazon Shop page for other items that I love and use with my Amazon Prime account.