Checking out the Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40

I was excited to be invited to an event sponsored by Graco to learn more about their new car seat, the Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40. The event was hosted by Charlene of Charlene Chronicles and SITS Girls.

First off, I have to give kudos to an amazing event. As someone who has planned events as part of my “day job,” the event was well-done. The event was held at MiniLuxe Wellesley and it was the perfect spot to get a bunch of moms (some with little ones and others who are expecting) together to learn about Graco’s new product.

There was a chance for a little pampering…wine…and a chance to learn about the Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40. I think all the moms who attended were very appreciative of the spa services, as well as learning about an awesome new car seat.

Now for the car seat. The Graco peeps are super nice to have given me a car seat to take home from the event. I wish I had photos or video of this happening…I carried it on my head, teetering to my car in my 4″ stiletto Louboutins. Working it all the way! Here is a picture of the car seat box in the back of my small SUV.

Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 is the only infant car seat that provides rear-facing protection for babies from birth to 2 years old, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The infant car seat grows with babies from four pounds up to 40 pounds, so parents can keep their children rear facing longer, while making sure they stay comfortable as they grow. You can learn more about the car seat by checking out the Graco Safety site.

I decided to take a video of me installing this new car seat in my car. So check it out:

I used the car seat all week and here are some of my thoughts:

  • I love the idea that Graco provides an option to help us keep our babies safe in a rear facing seat up to 2 years or 40 pounds.
  • It’s great to be able to get longer use out of baby gear, so to be able to keep baby in the same seat for 2 years is great. Then transfer to a forward facing seat!
  • It was very easy to install and figure out how to adjust the settings
  • There are eight (8) different recline positions to provide more room for growing babies…
  • HOWEVER, as you give baby more and more space, you lose more and more space for the front passenger seat. I have a small SUV and it was a TIGHT squeeze on the last recline position, and that is with the front passenger seat pushed all the way forward. If we are to use this seat going forward, we will need to put it in my husband’s car, since the front passenger in that car is usually little ole 4’8″ me!
  • I’d be shocked if you could put the seat in full extended mode in a compact or mid-size car
  • My 15-month-old seemed happy in the seat….I think ;)

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The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

What a difference a year makes

Next week, my baby turns one. Yes, one. Already. How can she be one already? I obviously haven’t come to terms with this yet. But that’s a conversation for a different post.

I was looking through pictures and thought a last year vs this year picture post could be fun.

Since I was 9 months pregnant last year at this time, we’ll start with me :)

                          

Whoa….what a different a year makes. But a funny note, I still wear the dress that I was wearing last year, I just belt it. And the dress I’m wearing in this year’s picture, I wore last year unbelted. Fun fact ;)

Now for my princess….

           

And my baby princess….

            

I can make one prediction for next year….I will not be pregnant again! I love comparing pictures year to year, and now pictures of my girls at the same ages.

My Expanding Family: Anticipating #2

As many of you know, I am a mom to two little girls, ages 3 and 9 months. The age difference is 2 years, 3 months.

When I found out I was pregnant, my little one was 18 months old. She was walking, talking and being a crazy little toddler. When I found out I was pregnant, of course I wanted to tell her and tell her she would be a big sister. But what would that mean to an 18-month-old?

Probably nothing. So I didn’t tell her.

During my pregnancy, I wondered if she was curious about what was happening. Let’s face it, I could eat all the cupcakes in the world and my belly would never grow as large as it did during my pregnancy. I was definitely tired….a lot. I had some days/weeks of doctor ordered bed rest which was very tough. My daughter definitely started picking up on something come my last trimester.

But I still felt it was too early to start explaining what was about to happen. Finally in my last month, we started telling her there was a baby in mommy’s tummy and she was going to be a big sister. We talked about how being a big sister is the best thing in the world. How much fun it would be. To be honest, she didn’t really care much. She’d entertain our conversation for a few minutes, then want to build blocks or play outside.

As she should….at this point, she just turned two.

I think we made the right decision. There is no way a little one can understand 9 months of waiting and anticipation. And if she did get it, that’s a long time to have to wait for something.

Here are some other tips and ideas for getting your toddler ready for their new little brother or sister:

  • Don’t change a lot at once. We had to get out the Moses basket, the swing, and other “baby” items that were put away. We did this slowly and gradually.
  • Her room didn’t change. Many families move their toddler to a new bedroom to make room for the new baby. I don’t agree with this. You don’t want your toddler feeling like you are taking things away from him/her to give to the new baby. The transition of adding a new baby to the family will be easier if you keep as many things  for your little one as possible.
  • Similarly, think ahead about things like high chairs, car seats, etc. If your little one will be ready for a booster seat, instead of a high chair, try to transition in advance of the new baby needing it. Same with the car seat so that our little one thinks it’s a natural progression for him/her, not because of the new baby.
  • Many people say getting your little one a doll works well. Our little one didn’t take to it much, but I’ve seen it work with others and is a great idea.
  • Take your little one shopping to buy a gift for the new baby. A lovey makes a great welcome to the family gift.
  • When the new baby arrives, have a gift that you bought ahead of time for the baby to give his/her big sister/brother. From personal experience, balloons make a great gift, especially for toddlers! When my little one came to visit me and the baby in the hospital, we had balloons for her…from her little sister of course.

Fashion for your Pregnancy

No, I’m not pregnant again. I likely will not ever be pregnant again. I’m 98% sure I’m all done. But my little cousin is…and by little I mean almost turning 30 this year, but still little to me. As soon as I found out, I forced her to come over and look through my maternity clothes and baby stuff. As it turns out, my baby will be one just before her baby arrives, so there are some things I’d love to give her if she wants them. And I’m secretly hoping she takes it all so I can get rid of it!

Anyway…we talked a lot about what to wear when you are pregnant. Even though I had some maternity clothes (thank you Liz Lange maternity leggings and More of Me Maternity dress), I didn’t have a lot, because I wore a lot of regular clothes, maybe just a size or so larger. I’ve blogged about my maternity fashion before (here and here).

So, I dedicate this post to my cousin Tiffany and offer up some fun outfits for your pregnancy:

Don’t lose your personal style. When I was pregnant the first time around, my mother and I went shopping for some maternity clothes. I bought a few things and NEVER wore them. They weren’t me. And they just didn’t fit right. During my pregnancy, I found regular clothes in a larger size worked better for me. I love the look of this outfit. A pretty shift or empire waist dress (I bought a size or two larger than I normally wear) paired with boots and lots of accessories. Notice these boots from a recent post? Top with a cardigan, or for an edgier look, a dark denim vest. The sweater or jacket can be your regular size, there is no need to button it. After pregnancy, wear the dress belted!

 

Fitted is often better. Many expecting moms thing maternity wear must be big, baggy and loose. I totally disagree. I loved showing off my bump, and found that fitted tops actually looked much better. A staple outfit for me during my pregnancy included maternity leggings, a long fitted tank top (I bought one size up and they fit until my 9th month) or a maternity tank top, a blazer or cardigan (again, I bought or wore my own size, just didn’t button), and then tied in some fun accessories such as scarves, bangles (love piling on Alex & Ani) and leopard print flats. The staples of this ensemble, the tank and leggings, have endless possibilities. A sequins blazer and heels for a night out? High boots and a chunky cable knit sweater?

Buy lots of accessories. When I was pregnant, I bought very few pieces of clothing, but I SPLURGED on accessories. Why? First of all, they pull any basic outfit together. Secondly, they will fit you during and after pregnancy. I loved wearing soft, stretchy jeggings or skinny jeans while I was pregnant. I bought some cheap ones (Forever21 or Old Navy are great options) in a size or two larger and if they are a low waisted style, you will get a lot of wear out of them. I opted not to buy an expensive pair of maternity jeans and instead bought a few cheap, regular options. This look shows the skinnies paired with a fitted tank, green scarf, gold hoop earrings, shades and Tom’s. This same look would be great with boots or pumps and a blazer.

Maxis are a must! I was pregnant through spring and summer my second time around. My daughter was born on August 1st. My favorite item to wear once the weather turned warm was a maxi dress. I bought a few from H&M and Forever 21. Some were my same size, others were a size larger. And they are forgiving and they stretch. Pair a maxi with an awesome hat, sandals, bangles and a scarf. Toss in a great bag and you are ready for shopping or lunch with girlfriends. The best thing about the maxi dress is it will fit after you are pregnant…and as I mentioned above, so will the accessories!

 

So, what are the must-have pieces?

  • Maternity leggings
  • Skinny jeans (low-rise)
  • Fitted long tanks
  • Maxi dresses (may fit during and after pregnancy)
  • Accessories!!!! Scarves, bangles, bags and hats.
  • Jackets, vests, cardigans! These can all be your regular size b/c they don’t need to button

A Great New Baby Gift – Email & Domain

Okay, let’s face it…we are in a time where technology rules. Our kids will not grow up learning cursive or taking “typing” on a typewriter. They don’t talk on the phone, they text. Things aren’t stored in servers, they are in the cloud. Kids play video games with “friends” around the world. So let’s get into this century with our “new baby” gift giving. Let’s face it…every new parent ends up with a ton of blankets, way too many towels, and onesies up the a$$. Right?

Give a gift that well…a baby won’t grow out of. An email address and a domain.

I’m sure you think I’m crazy but an email address was one of the best gifts I received when my first daughter was born. A good friend of mine named Bryan set up a gmail address in my first born’s name the day she was born. It can obviously be done in advance if you know sex and name, but we didn’t find out the sex of our baby and kept our name options a secret. I was so excited and thought it was such a great idea. I even use the address to send out updates, pictures, etc.

It’s so great that we have her name secured and she won’t be lpd837374@gmail.com. When daughter #2 arrived, I made sure to secure her email as well and also did so for a friend of mine who just had her first baby.

So why stop with just an email? Secure baby’s domain name, twitter handle, blog addresses and anything you can get your hands on! If it is available, why not? Now, I know you have to “fudge” birth dates in order to do this….but hey, it’s worth it!

And the best part? The email address is free, and domains can be secured for very little investment.

Thanks Bryan for such a great gift…and sorry that I’m stealing it now for all my friends who are having babies!

Post-Partum Fashion Dilemma

The day before baby #2 arrived. Whoa belly!

I enjoyed my pregnancy fashion. Probably because I strived NOT to wear maternity clothes…it was like a little game to me. Luckily, maxi dresses are everywhere right now, and leggings are still on trend so I was able to get through my entire pregnancy with only a few maternity items. The rest of my pregnancy wardrobe consisted of items already in my closet, or new items that I could wear after baby.

Now, I’m 2 1/2 weeks post delivery of my second daughter via c-section and I find myself saying, “What the *$&% am I supposed to wear?”

I stand at my closet staring blankly. My dilemma? My boobs and my tummy. Sounds pretty typical I’m sure for anyone who just had a baby. For my 4’8″ frame, my chest is way too big (yes, I’m nursing). It throws the proportions completely off. And my tummy, of course it’s still a little plump from being pregnant, as to be expected. I don’t mind that. It’s more the tenderness from the c-section. I fit into many of my normal pants, but the waist falls just at that tender area.

I basically still have my maxi dresses that I can wear, but I feel like they are too big for my size right now and make me look bigger than I really am. I have a lot of flowy tops, but only have leggings that I can wear with them, again, does that make me look larger? Plus I have my granny panties on and the VPL with those are ridiculous!

In no way am I complaining about my post-baby body…it is what it is, and for a very good reason. I am confident all will return to normal in a few months as it did after my first baby. But in the meantime, I still don’t know what the #*$& to wear!!!!

The Tale of Two Pregnancies

As many of you may know, I gave birth to my second daughter on August 1st. I love her birthday and stats…born on 8/1/11, at 9:01am weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce. I should play those numbers in the lottery don’t you think?

During my pregnancy, everyone asked if this was pregnancy was different from my first. Most people asked so they could try to predict our baby’s sex since we didn’t find out in advance. Most people asked about the nausea, weight gain and how I was carrying,  as those seem to be some of the major predictors.

I decided to breakdown my pregnancies side by side. After reading the side-by-side-comparison, would you guess baby #2 was another girl?

We were so excited to welcome our second daughter into the world…and she is a carbon copy of her big sister. Our new addition is on the left, a baby pic of our 2-year old on the right. Can it be…twins 2 years apart?

Extreme Nesting: Pregnancy Edition, Part 1

I am in an extreme nesting phase right now. I’m scheduled to welcome baby #2 to the world on Monday and I can’t sit still. Yesterday, I began my day scrubbing some carpet stains. Awesome.

Since I’ve already been up since 5am today, I figured I’d get a jump on things early and started cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and the refrigerator. Not really sure why, but seemed like a good thing to do at 5am. I found some funny things that have reminded me of my journey over the past 9 months.

If you’ve been pregnant and have had cravings, you will understand. I had a lot of cravings. Not the pickles and ice cream type, but just something would pop in my head and I needed it. I had more with my first pregnancy, and they were for sweet items. This time around, I am craving saltier foods. But, I have to admit, I also have cravings when I am not pregnant. There have been many time when I see someone eating something, whether on TV or in person and I MUST have that same thing.

Anyway, here are some interesting items that I found when cleaning through the kitchen…many are not normal for my diet and our kitchen:

  • Spaghettios w/ meatballs – WOW…blast from the past. This was one of my cravings during my first pregnancy. And the “meatballs” made a big difference, gives it a totally different flavor, trust me. And look at the can…it has protein! I remember sending my husband to the store for these one night. He came home with one can. The next day I went back and got 10. I guess my craving stopped before I finished them all.


  • Nestle Nesquik Strawberry Powder  - you know, the stuff to make strawberry milk. My strawberry milk craving happened fast and furious one day as I was grocery shopping. I saw a little bottle of it in the dairy section, put it in my cart…but then finished it before I left the aisle. So I went back, grabbed another one and chugged it down. I went through the register paying for 2 empty bottles with my groceries. I got home and threw up pink liquid all over the place. The next day, I went and bought the powder so I could mix it at my leisure at home with skim milk. I threw that up too..but it didn’t deter me. I tired again a few days later and it stayed down. That started a daily trend for about a week.


  • Frozen Pretzels- You know what, I’m not apologizing for these…they are delicious, pregnant or not!



  • Luigi’s Italian Ice – Both the cherry and lemon flavors got me through some tough times during pregnancy #2. I’m not throwing these away….


  • Heluva Good Onion Dip – Just found a barely eaten tub of this buried in the back of the fridge. Way over its expiration date. Good thing or I may have just dug right in.


  • I also found frozen Brussel spouts and creamed spinach that sounded good at the time but I never touched.

Okay, now that my morning nesting is over, I’ll move on to another room! Did you have crazy pregnancy cravings? Let’s discuss!

My Controversial Pregnancy Decisions

Okay, so they really aren’t that controversial.

  1. We didn’t find out the sex of our baby
  2. We are not telling anyone our choices for names for the baby

Who knew these two topics, of all things, could heat people up and illicit so many strong opinions?

Our daughter was born in 2009. When we found out we were pregnant, we talked about it and we agreed quickly and easily that we didn’t want to know the sex. As we finalized our names, we decided to keep our choices a secret too. I had been to a slew of baby showers where the dessert was a cake that read “Welcome Thomas” or “Can’t wait to meet Chloe.” It just seemed strange to me. Where’s the fun and surprise in that?

As I continued on in my pregnancy, I started realizing how annoyed our decisions made other people. It was really funny, and made my husband and I more confident in our choices. It can be pretty entertaining to annoy others so easily.

What were people’s comments?

  • Oh my god, you guys are crazy! How can you NOT find out?
  • I’m too much of a planner to not find out. I’m a control freak.
  • What are you going to do about a nursery?
  • What do you mean you won’t tell me names? Why not?

Okay, I’ll address the comments:

Oh my god, you guys are crazy! How can you NOT find out? – It’s easy, you just tell the ultrasound tech you don’t want to know the sex of the baby before every ultrasound. That’s all. Done. 

I’m too much of a planner to not find out. I’m a control freak. Okay, I am a planner too, I’ve planned events, parties, marketing strategies…I have my addresses in a spreadsheet and have columns for baby announcements, thank you cards and birthday party invitations. I’ve planned events for 1,000+ people. So being a planner or not really has no impact here. And the control freak part? Maybe just “freak” is the better description. Control? Let’s face it…do any of us really have control during pregnancy? It’s pretty much the one time we lose total control of everything (hello expanding waistline, ginormous nipples and uncontrollable bladder). If we try to control too much during this time, we will drive ourselves crazy. So get over it.

What are you going to do about a nursery? Well, we never planned to paint it pink if it were a girl or blue if it were a boy. I had two different design ideas in my head, and both matched perfectly with the beautiful sage green walls we painted. The furniture we bought is pretty unisex, maybe skewing boy, but it is easier to “girlify” than the opposite. We used an amazing Moses basket for the first weeks, which gave us time or oder the appropriate bedding (from Restoration Hardware Baby & Child…my fav) for the baby once we knew the sex. And regardless of the sex, I never planned to go crazy in one direction, since we assumed we’d have #2 while still living in this same place, and they will be sharing a room anyway. 

What do you mean you won’t tell me names? Why not? To be blatantly honest, I don’t want to hear your opinion. How’s that for an answer? You know how difficult it is to choose a name. So many names you think of are either too popular, don’t match with the last name or remind you of someone you don’t want your child named after. You finally choose a name and tell someone, and they make a funny face, or decide to tell you about a kid at their child’s school with that name who eats his poop. See what I mean? People say strange things, and when we come up with our name selections, we are happy and confident with them. We don’t need outside influences deterring us away from a name.

We have less than 2 weeks before we meet our second child and we can’t wait. Another girl would be amazing…sisters would just be so cute. But a boy would be awesome as well. See why we really don’t care one way or another? And the name…well, you’ll just have to stay tuned for that one (but if you have any really good suggestions, I’ll hear them!).  

Keeping Cool and Chic in Summer While Pregnant: My Pregnancy Fashion Journal

This is not a good weather forecast when you are 37 1/2 weeks pregnant! Hazy, hot and humid are not three words you want to hear. But it’s July in Boston, so what do I expect?

I’m doing my best to stay cool…doing any outdoor activities in the morning and trying to remain indoors in the AC come afternoon. And I’m also trying to stay cute, comfy and chic, despite being ready to pop! You may have read an earlier post I wrote about my non-maternity maternity wardrobe. I’m happy to report that even now at 37 weeks pregnant, I have kept my maternity items to a minimum…a pair of white denim capris from Old Navy I rarely wear b/c I hate the high-waist, over the bump panel…and my favorite More of Me Maternity dress that I bought when I was pregnant the first time. I donated all my other maternity items that I had to charity.

So what am I wearing? A lot of inexpensive non-maternity options that stretch…a lot…and will still be part of my wardrobe post-baby. Most I had as part of my wardrobe before this pregnancy, some I bought while pregnant this time. Here are some of my recent outfits that keep me cool in the heat of the summer:

21 weeks

We took our first family trip to Disney back in March and it was warm…high 80′s every day. For our day at Magic Kingdom, I opted for a long tank dress from H&M. I bought it in my regular size and luckily, the torso stretches and I’m still able to wear it now. I literally wear this all the time and bought it in black and navy. It was under $20 and a great purchase. I usually accessorize with a fedora, long necklace and/or bangle bracelets.

I’m a big fan of showing off the bump as opposed to trying to hide it. Especially on my little frame, if I wear things too big and baggy, it makes me look huge.

32 weeks

The next pregnancy ensemble that I showed off at 32 weeks includes the following:

  • H&M long tank top
  • Forever 21 elastic waist jeggings
  • Burberry scarf tied in my hair
  • Tory Burch flip-flops

Again, non-maternity. I did and can wear all of these items when I’m not pregnant! The jeggings have been my main staple during this entire pregnancy, and even before I was pregnant, they were so comfy…and great to wear with high boots. I wore this same ensemble with a cardigan sweater over it and boots during late winter/early spring. 

The next three dresses again are all non-maternity. The dress on the left is Forever 21, accessorized with large shades (always), a long necklace and my fav Tory Burch sandals again. The middle dress and dress on the right are both Gap. When not pregnant, I usually wear them with a wide belt. As you can see, I always try to accessorize! And in this crazy heat, I typically wear a bun or chignon.

36 weeks

36 weeks

36 weeks

Just in case these pictures are deceiving, here is a belly shot taken yesterday, at 37 1/2 weeks…the full profile shot the clearly shows the magnitude of the bump.

37 weeks...whoa belly

So, what’s best to stay comfy in the heat of summer when pregnant?

  1. Wear what you are comfortable in…whether maternity or not.
  2. If you can get away with non-maternity, it’s a good choice as to not invest in things you will only wear for a few months.
  3. Long flowy dresses are perfect for hot weather, and typically, you can find non-maternity that will fit you all 9 months.
  4. Keep the clothes simple and accessorize! Earrings, long necklaces, tons of bangles…
  5. Don’t forget the SPF and big shades ;)

What are you favorite items to keep chic and cool in summer when pregnant?