What’s in My Citi Babies Diaper Bag? | Day Trip to Central FL Zoo!

Hey guys!

I’m so excited to share this post with you!

Hubs has this entire week off to spend with us so, we’re kicking things off with a day trip to the Central Florida Zoo! It’s not far from us and being that this will be our first trip since re-instating our annual passes, I knew we’d need a pretty stocked backpack for a full day!

When our Citi Babies Explorer backpack came in last week, I couldn’t wait to pack it full for a day full of adventure! We’re always going with the boys so, I knew this backpack would be perfect for our active family!

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Let’s get into our packing list:

  • Hats for each boy
  • Swim Suits
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Drinks for the little boys
  • Water Bottle for us
  • Snack Cup with Trail Mix
  • Towels
  • Picnic Blanket
  • Wet Bag
  • Sunscreen
  • Baby Powder
  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • Changing Bag *Included

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Honestly, I couldn’t believe anything more than 2 huge beach towels fit inside this backpack. I rolled each towel and pushed them to the bottom which left tons of room to continue stacking the rest of our necessities for the day!

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I wasn’t exaggerating, look at the size of just one of those towels compared to the backpack’s size! You seriously wouldn’t think anything more that two of those would fit!

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I’m a huge sucker for organization so, the fact that this backpack has 5 internal pockets, a zipper section, plus two exterior open pockets, and two exterior zipper pockets, quickly gave the Citi Babies Explorer and A+ in my book!

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Check out that exterior front pocket! Each of the cup holders are insulated so, we filled the boys’ cups for the day before heading our and they stayed cold during our outing! We’re usually packing an additional lunch cooler to keep drinks cold so, the insulated cup pockets were a lifesaver!

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Raising Gains for Baby Kain | A FUNDRAISER!

Most people don’t like to ask for help. It’s tough, some may even say demoralizing but, sometimes at one point in our lives or another, we need it. It’s one thing we all have in common.

As I’m sure all of you know, this family is one that we cherish so incredibly deeply. They’ve become family to us and during this time of need, I can’t even begin to share the ways in which I want to help them so, we’ll start here:

We’re all busy, I know. So, if you can’t read Kain’s entire story at the link, I get it, I really do. But, please at least take a few minutes now that your kids are (maybe almost or already) in bed, you’re wrapping up your long week, and maybe finally sitting to eat dinner yourself (or if you’re like me, having your first shower in more than overrr a day) to read a short piece of this family’s hardship.

You all may remember the pictures I shared from the hospital holding this sweet, tiny little baby only a few short months ago. His name is Kain. His parents waited over two years for him, thinking they would never have a second baby on their own because of a past surgery mama (Karrah) had to have for her own health and safety. Thankfully, their miracle baby happened and grew through a healthy, normal pregnancy until week 28. Mom started going into preterm labor more times than we can all begin to count and with a hopeful heart, she and her team of professionals pushed to try and keep him in his temporary home any way possible until there was no other option. Sweet little Kain was born 3 weeks early on March 22, 2018. With, at the time, no worries more than that of a small, early born baby, they were able to take him home after two days.

After a short time being home, his parents started noticing he had significant weight loss that wasn’t ending or staying put, alongside severe vomiting, diarrhea, and an extremely uncomfortable and fussy Kain. With their pediatrician, they made a plan to see to see a pediatric GI doctor immediately.

Fast forward to today- After being diagnosed as failure to thrive in less than the 1st percentile in body fat, continuing to lose or not gain substantial amount of weight (we’re talking mere OUNCES that can not be gained), and a baby who’s stomach empties at an alarmingly slow rate causing severe reflux and gastric symptoms, Kain has spent several days/weeks in the hospital with unanswered questions. He’s

seen multiple Specialists, had more IV’s than I’ve had as a mom of three, been pricked and poked almost as much as the days he’s been in our world, and has been given no promise for answers in the days ahead.

Through research and tests, Kain’s professional team at Winnie Palmer has decided it is best for him to transition permanently from breast feeding to ‘prescription grade’ formula. Due to Kain’s early arrival and proceeding troubles, Karrah (mama) has had to extend her leave indefinitely as an ER nurse at one of our largest local hospitals. She’s currently not received leave pay and her husband is working as many overtime hours in his career as a local Law Enforcement Officer as he possibly can while we all help to juggle their sweet, beautiful daughter Kinsley between homes when Kain has been admitted to the hospital or has had specialist appointments far from home.

At this point, because a double income family is now down to a single income family with heartbreaking trouble that no-one expects, Karrah and her family (with great regret) need help.

No one anticipates a premie baby but, most who birth one, end up with an almost full term sized baby within the first month. Unfortunately, the case for Kain is not that. This precious boy is still in premie diapers at roughly ten weeks old with no change to be seen in the near future. As you may or may not be aware, premie diapers aren’t normally sold in large packs because babies don’t typically stay that size for long and because they are juggling so many obstacles as it is, cloth isn’t a feasible option so, this family is purchasing several small packs of premie diapers at $8.99 only to last a couple days before needing to replace their diaper “stash.”

Not only are they running through highly priced tiny sized diapers as quick as my 9 month old uses his size 3’s but, with professional recommendation are feeding their baby formula at double the cost of regular over the counter baby formula, of $400 per month. Their formula can not be purchased in a store so, with the risk of running low in the middle of a feeding, they must stock accordingly. We can also factor in the trips back and forth to the hospital, doctors, specialists, to and from bringing Kinsley to be cared for when her parents have to be away, medical bills, medications, and regular living expenses. Again, on a single income of a double income family.

•The Future:

After seeing a genetic specialist amongst their group of current specialists during their most recent hospital stay, they are now looking for possible metabolic conditions, as well as cystic fibrosis and other possible pancreas dissorders. Brant (Dad) and Karrah (Mom) are remaining extremly optimistic under the circumstances. In the meantime, they will continue on this path with their new formula as they await results or future testing.

How can you help?

•Head to this link and donate if you can! A donation of any amount, big or small, will help to feed baby Kain a meal when his family is struggling to find the means!

•Pick up a pack of premie diapers during your next Target run! (*Shoot me a message and I’d be happy to meet you for pickup!)

•Send a can of Kain’s new formula to his Honey (grandmother) for her to bring to his family! (Please message me for the address. It will be a business address.)

•If you pray, pray. If you send good juju, send good juju. If you keep people in your heart, keep them in your heart. If you just think happy thoughts and carry good energy, please think happy for them and send some energy. Whatever you do, please for this baby and his family, will you?

DIY Donut Cork Boards!

We’re so excited to add these sweet little things to our homeschooling corner! I’m a sucker for cork boards: if it keeps a push pin in place, I’ve got to have it!

When we came across these circular cork mats on our most recent IKEA run, all I envisioned was a dreamy wall of Donut cork boards swimming with bright colored pins holding some of my favorite Astrobright projects in place!

To get started on your own Donut cork boards you’ll need a few supplies!

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  1. Use the base of a cup or small pinch bowl to trace out your donut center from your cork mat.
  2. Cut the inner circle with an exact knife.
  3. Paint a squiggly circle onto your cork base.
  4. Let dry.
  5. Now, paint a squiggly line to replicate icing onto your dried base.
  6. Optional: Attach picture hanging hooks!
  7. Use your colored push pins to decorate your donut cork board and hang your favorite photos, projects, or cards!

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DIY Donut Floppy Hat

How adorable is this DIY Donut Floppy Hat for today’s National Donut Day celebrations?! What makes it even more awesome is that it only took a few supplies, less than an hour to create, and can be worn until Summer’s end!

You’ll need:

  • Floppy Hat
  • Acrylic Paints
  • 1 1/2 inch Sponge Brush
  • Crafting Paint Brush

step by step

  1. Paint the base of your donut with pink.
  2. Let dry.
  3. With the edge of a 1 1/2 inch foam brush, sponge on your sprinkles.

That’s it! Seriously, thats all it takes, I know! Simple, stylish, and totally mom worthy for your family trips to the beach this summer!

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WENTWORTH FAMILY TAKEOVER | Greenville, SC

All this Florida heat has my heart aching for another trip to Greenville like the one we took last Fall!

As a top contender on our bucket list for the South East, we knew our official “See The Trees” trip for 2017 would be this beautiful South Carolina town! Since we don’t get to see too much of the jaw-dropping Fall colors in Florida, our entire fam jam looks forward to our Autumn road trips!

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The first box on our list of things to do was marked off when we wandered through downtown and took in all of the breathtaking historic buildings, statues, and clock!

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The weather was perfect for exploring and traffic was light so, wandering on the sidewalk was less risky with three littles as we walked through town! Along the road were full trees worth of leaves laying on the ground waiting for a couple of boys to toss and kick around! I bet you can guess who was first in! K was in heaven and couldn’t resist laying in the fallen leaves!

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As we made our way through town, we could clearly see the beautiful Falls Park on the Reedy!

Equipped with tiny cafe’s, a suspension bridge, stairs, waterways full of ducks, and incredible falls right in the center of town, this spot definitely made for a family favorite!

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See that bridge up there? It’s called the Liberty Bridge and it’s 345 feet of onlooking views of some seriously awesome cascading falls!

This bridge was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in life so far! Being that it’s suspended by cables and it was a bit windy on this day, you could feel the entire bridge sway! The boys spent most of their time running from one end to the other and looked down on the rocks in the falls below!

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The boys were obsessed with the rock walls and climbing structures throughout the park so, prying them away was a chore and thankfully I had a little surprise up my sleeve that hubby and I knew was coming up in our explorations!

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Not far from the Liberty Bridge is the edge of the park that is home to exposed roots of the Medusa Tree. Yes, you read that right. This tree literally looks like someone flipped Medusa upside down and shoved her into the side of a small mountain!

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After touching almost every root of the tree, we were ready for a quick Pizza pit stop! We stopped into a small mom and pop pizza spot on our way back through town and filled our bellies before heading out for more adventure!

At some point in all of our trips, we like to just pile into the car with snacks, blankets, pillows, and spare clothes to hit the road and explore! It may sound a little scary but, we always make the best memories pulling onto the roadside and finding hidden streams, hiking trails, and parks!

This adventure found us under an old gothic stone bridge collecting leaves and and splashing in a creek!

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This bridge is called Poinsett Bridge and it’s the oldest bridge (built in 1820) in South Carolina and presumably the oldest standing bridge in the South East! If you trek atop rocks in the creek, you can stand under the 14 foot tall arch and see well off past the bridge where the creek continues to flow!

Finding the bridge was easy, as it was on the side of the road and clearly visible after a major curve in the mountainside!

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This was definitely a high in our family travels list and we will definitely be going back this year for more adventure!


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Donut Paper Plate Craft!

Tomorrow is National Donut Day! To celebrate, we’re pulling out all the stops and creating some super fun Donut-themed crafts and DIY’s!

To start, I can’t resist a good paper plate craft so, we’re doing a Paper Plate Donut! For this adorable kid-friendly project, scroll below for a short supply list and a peek at our final result!

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  1. Trace your paper plate onto a brown sheet of construction paper.
  2. Cut your circle 1 inch in from your trace line.
  3. Using the hole in your construction paper sheet, draw a squiggly circle onto an Astrobrights sheet of paper.
  4. *Make sure not to forget folding your papers in half and cutting out the center hole of your donut!
  5. Glue your squiggly circle onto your donut base.
  6. Glue your donut base onto your paper plate.
  7. Cut strips from Astrobright paper in a variety of colors as your sprinkles, and glue!

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Happy National Donut Day!

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Nest Like a Pregnant Pro! + FREE Home Organization Labels!

Since we’re in the first week of summer, I know this school year will approach quickly! So, I’m reusing this Nesting Checklist post to organize our home and get ready for schooling this coming year!

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This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on the blog and sometimes, Friday night pizza nights!

Thankfully, the nesting that typically comes over expecting mamas in their second trimester has finally graced my home after months of nausea and an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion! Since I’m now racing the clock to complete my list of “Things to Accomplish Before I Become a Milk-Producing Mombie,” I decided it was best that this time around I plan out each room and closet before tearing them apart and leaving a disaster in every square foot of our home at some point suddenly having to head out for the hospital!

I know how difficult it can be getting on and off the floor when you feel you’re at your fattest, most sluggish self. So, before you settle in on your bedroom floor and start dumping the dresser…

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Not Quite Narwhal | Paper Plate Craft!

Would you rather be a Sea Unicorn or a Land Narwhal?

Like Kelp in Not Quite Narwhal, the boys had some trouble deciding! So, we set out to make our very own Kelp masks to see if it would persuade their choice!

If you haven’t seen or read Not Quite Narwhal, you’re missing out on some super sweet fun! The illustrations are beautiful, the pages are shimmery, and this easy-to-read, short-story is intriguing for children of all ages!

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To get started on your mask you’ll need:

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Instructions:

  1. Cut the center out of your plate.
  2. Decorate with gems + glitter.
  3. Cut a tall, thin, rounded triangle out of card stock and attach to the top of your paper plate.
  4. Cut your laminate sheet in a circle, the same size as your paper plate.
  5. Flip your plate over and attach your laminate sheet circle to the back of your plate with adhesive squares.
  6. Attach your lollipop stick or dowel.
  7. Use your mask to pretend you’re a Sea Unicorn or a Land Narwhal!

 

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Once we finished our masks, K had made his decision: He would rather be a Sea Unicorn than a Land Narwhal! So, once the Florida rain cleared away, we turned him into a Sea Unicorn with Crayola sidewalk chalk!

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How to Have a Natural Labor + Delivery in the Hospital!

We’re about 9 months home with our new bubba and I haven’t quite had the will to put him down long enough to share his birth story but, now that he’s a daily napper and I have a few free hands for an hour each day, I want to give you all the tools to have a wonderful, natural birthing experience in the hospital like I did!

Being that this was my third pregnancy, my decision was already made when we were ready to start trying to get pregnant-I would go au’ natural again during labor and delivery and strive for the most undisturbed experience as possible. To make it easy, I’ve made a list of things that I truly feel were the best tools to have when planning for a natural birth in a hospital!

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FIRST + FOREMOST: PREPARE YOUR MIND + BODY!

I don’t feel like I can stress this as hard as I probably need to through a simple blog post but, I promise you: It’s not enough to just think in you’re head, “hey, I’m just gonna try this all natural thing with ZERO practice or preparation” and magically make it work. Not going to cut it sister. Your mind and body have to study harder than it ever has in your life. Yes. Seriously, I just said study to give birth.

I don’t care if it’s just 15 minutes every day from today until you have your sweet new baby, make the time to:

  • Meditate
  • Stretch
  • Exercise
  • Get your Downward Dog on
  • Sleep
  • Belly dance (seriously!)
  • Watch birthing videos

Get your body moving, stretching, and grow your mind with meditation! Head HERE  and HERE to get my personal experience with prepping my mind and body and some pre-labor faves!

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SECOND: INCLUDE YOUR HOSPITAL BIRTHING TEAM

The next thing I encourage you to do is to include everyone from your birthing team in your plan. Ask your caregiver their opinion, let them know your hopes and desires, and remind them closer to your due date of your birthing plan.

When it comes to family and those who will be in the room with you, make sure to let them know that just because you are still having your baby at the hospital does not mean that you want to have a medicated birth. Your hopes are the opposite. You want the safety and security that comes with the hospital standard but, on your own terms!

*We gave C the choice to be in the room with us during labor and delivery and he was so excited to be able to make this decision for himself. We let him know beforehand what he may see, how I may sound, look, and feel, and what to expect when it came time to bring Lincoln into the world. We also gave him total access to leave with one of our parents during the intense stages of labor and pushing if he felt like it became too unsettling. As a proud mama I have to praise him because this little guy stuck it out the ENTIRE time! My soundtrack to Lincoln’s arrival was C’s little voice shouting, “He’s here! I see him, I see him!!” 

  • OBGYN
  • Partner
  • Parents
  • *Children
  • Grandparents
  • Doula

 

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THIRD: BE OPEN-MINDED

Remember, not every birth is the same just like not all pregnancies are the same. Even if it’s the same woman, the same man, the same doctor and L&D Team, no birth is ever the same! So, be open-minded when it comes to the tools available to you during labor and delivery.

   *Before my first natural birthing experience, I thought I would HAVE to get in the birthing tub at the hospital. When it came down to the day, I never did. BUT. When I was laboring with Linc, I was incredibly nauseous. By incredibly, I mean ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLY NAUSEOUS. When one of my L&D Nurses suggested that I hop in the tub to relieve the intensity of my contractions, I refused because I just didn’t want to switch positions. I didn’t end up needing it the first time so, why would I need it now? WRONG. She suggested it again, and again, and finally once she left the room and I had exhausted all of my other resources besides medication, I took her advice…Do you know what happened? I wished I had listed to her sooner and hopped in that tub LONG before I actually did!

     Although, the tub did relieve my contractions for the short time I was in, I ended up needing medication to subside the nausea and vomiting. THIS is where the Hospital part of this post comes in! Situations like these are exactly why you have a natural birth in a hospital and not at home. There are circumstances, small and big, that can arise during labor and birth. I know, I know, woman didn’t always used to have modern medicine ages ago and we used to birth babies in the woods but, we’re also farther off as a society now. I don’t have anything against home birth, I love it! If I didn’t have debilitating anxiety, I may have had a home birth myself BUT, for me, a natural birth in the hospital takes a few less notches off my stress buckle!

 

Here’s the thing: YOU CAN DO IT! Whether you’re at home, a birthing center, a hospital, or yes, even in the middle of the woods! Your body, just like mine and every other woman’s body on this planet, was MADE to do this!

Before you go do your fifteen minutes of cat-cow, watch our birthing video and give it a like + subscribe! Then, head HERE and HERE for more tips on having a natural labor!

 

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HYATT REGENCY | Sarasota, FL

Last year before having our newest little guy, we decided our fam jam better take as many family trips as a quartet as we could!

One of our favorite Florida trips ever has been our stay at Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, FL! We spent the weekend Kayaking (included in resort fee), shark tooth finding, shell picking, pool splashing + swimming under waterfalls, aquarium visiting, and digging into some really amazing bites (hello, room service!)!

The resort sits above a beautiful waterway and has an amazing breeze when you walk into the lobby! The boys of course were itching to get in the pool or to the closest beach so, after check-in we headed straight for the pool!

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Once we let them get their feet a little wet, we had a super fun surprise! They had never been kayaking in the ocean before so, I knew with the option to do so included in our stay, we had to take them for a swing out to the resort’s private beach!

K was a little timid at first and had to sit right on top of me but, after we got to the open waterway from the canal he was totally into it!

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The private beach was amazing and there wasn’t another soul in sight! We collected seashells, swam, and caught some rays!

After our drive down, pool play, and private family time kayaking, we were ready for some serious grub! Room service is always our go-to when we’re ready to just shower, chill, and fill our bellies! So, we ordered the kids pizza, and shared a Shrimp + Grits dinner and some yummy dessert!

One day two of our trip, we visited Blind Pass Park on Manasota Key to shuffle through the sand for Shark Teeth! We left with a cup FULL of shark teeth of all different shapes and sizes and the boys still bring them out to play, examine, and count them often!

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The water on Florida’s West Coast is stunning! We could have stayed forever if the world would have let us!

Once we had our fair share of sun for the day, we went to visit the MOTE Aquarium back in Sarasota! The boys spied on some super strange and really amazing sea creatures, touched a baby crocodile, watched manatees kiss their tank, played with otters, and saw caimans for the first time ever!

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We wrapped up our trip from the MOTE Aquarium with another order of, yet again, in room dining, and made our way back home bright and early on day 3! This was such a beautiful memory that we made as a family of 4 and I can’t wait to see what this same adventure will bring now that we are 5!

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