Thursday, January 29, 2015

Walker is ONE!

Walker, you are ONE! Since everything is basically the same as last month, I'm using your 12-month post to share some pictures of this past month and an open letter to you. 


My sweet boy,

Everyone told me that the time goes by so quickly, and I never believed them until I looked at you and rocked you in my arms on the eve of your first birthday. This time last year, you were a mere 4 hours and 57 minutes old, and regardless of how exhausted I was, I couldn't stop staring at you and drinking you in. I had waited so long to meet you, to see you - and you were finally here. As cliché as it sounds, our lives weren't complete until you entered them. The second they laid you on my chest, I couldn't stop whispering, "Happy Birthday." I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you, and I knew that I would always do everything in my power to protect you, to fight for you and to love you. 



We brought you home from the hospital and we had zero idea what to do with you. Yes, we had held babies before; rocked them; changed their diapers. But you were ours, and as confident as we were going into the hospital the evening of Jan. 27, we were scared out of our minds when we walked in the door with you the afternoon of Jan. 30. You were this tiny, dainty little thing with a loud - and I do mean loud - cry. You didn't like sleeping, you loved eating and you loved laying on mama's chest. I think we spent our entire first week alternating our nights between the couch and the recliner. 



We slowly but surely figured each other out, and our love for you continued - and continues - to do nothing but grow. The first year is such a big one: you go from not sleeping, eating every two hours, and not even able to hold your head up to walking across our living room and saying "duck" over and over in the back seat of the car while doing your iPad learning app. How this all happened in 12 short months is beyond me. 


I remember feeding you in the middle of the night when you were a little less than a month old. Your daddy was gone on a business trip to who knows where, and I was an exhausted, emotional mess. The Winter Olympics were on {on repeat from their original broadcast earlier the evening before}, and I sat on my phone Googling, "When do babies sleep through the night?" I remember thinking that six weeks {what all the people on the forums said...what do they know?} sounded so far away and wondering if we'd ever get there. 

Now, at one year old, I would give anything to snuggle with you and have you lay on my chest at 2 a.m. All you wanted - and needed - was me. 


This year, we have learned so much and done so much together. From your first time sleeping through the night {which, at that point, your dad and I reacted like we won $1 million in the lottery}; to your first haircut; to the first time you said "mama," we have celebrated the victories. The big ones and the small ones. And we will do that forever: celebrate you, my sweet one. 


As a mom, there is so much that I want to teach you: how to drive a car, how to open the door for women, how to add and subtract, how to tie your shoes. But little do you know, there is so much you're teaching me. You have taught me patience - especially when getting snot out of your nose with the NoseFrida - but you have also taught me how to love unconditionally. 


We are so thankful for you and can't imagine our lives without you in them. Thank you for making us a Mommy and Daddy; we are so thankful God chose us to be your parents. 


As I think back on this year, my heart explodes with love for you. You are such a loving, sweet, precious boy, and God knew exactly what he was doing when he created you. You are a joy and a delight, and we love you to the moon and back. 


Happy 1st Birthday, my sweet Walker. We can't wait to celebrate you this weekend! 

Love, 
Mommy and Daddy 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reese's Spreads Vox Box Review

I recently received my Reese's Spreads from Influenster. It came in a cute little orange box in my mail box. 



Inside my box was the Reese's Spreads in the Peanut Butter Chocolate flavor. The other flavors they have are chocolate, hazelnut and almond. 


Brandon was super pumped to try it, because he loves anything sweet {as do I}, and we can both down a container of Nutella or Cookie Butter in a matter of minutes. Brandon is also an avid peanut butter lover, so he was chomping at the bit to open this up. 

However, he did lament that it was pretty difficult to open up, and the safety label was pretty tough to peel back. 


We tried our spreads with some Ritz crackers {you know, a little salty and a little sweet}. The spread was very tasty, but neither of us could put our finger on exactly what it tasted like. Until, finally, I said, "It tastes like a melted Reese's Peanut Butter Cup." I mean, duh. It was the Peanut Butter Chocolate flavor. After that, it was a bit hard to eat it with a cracker, and instead I {shamefully} got a spoon out and took a few bites out of the container. 

Overall, we did like it. Would I buy it for myself? Probably not. I think I'll stick to my Trader Joe's Cookie Butter or Nutella, but it was yummy to try! I'll just look forward to my not-melted Reese's Eggs in my Easter Basket. ;) 


I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Over-the-Counter Items You'll Need for Baby

My best friend is having a baby next month {!!!}, and she texted me the other day asking for a list of necessary over-the-counter items she'll need for sweet Austin. So, I texted her the following list and thought I'd share it with all of you soon-to-be mamas who read this blog, too! 


one // two // three

four // five // six



-ONE-
We use this diaper rash cream on Walker and it is a lifesaver. I know a lot of mom's like Boudreaux's Butt Paste or Dr. Smith's cream, but this cream has been the best for us and Walker's sensitive bum. Yes, it's on the pricey side, but we have had the same tub since Walker was born - almost exactly a year ago! This stuff lasts forever. 

-TWO-
I received these pacifier wipes as an "extra" at one of my baby showers, and I had honestly never seen them before. I keep them in my diaper bag at all times, and they seem to taste better to him than a regular wipe. 

-THREE-
Walker hates these things {just because he hates getting his nose wiped}, but they are amazing. They literally dissolve boogers and make their little snot face smell better. 

-FOUR-
Again, Walker hates this thing, but we love it. It is so much more sanitary than one of those bulb syringes {seriously, have you seen the inside of one of those?} and I think it does a better job. 

-FIVE-
We use this on Walker's chest, under his nose and on the bottoms of his feet when he's congested. Just like it does for adults, I feel like it really helps open him up. 

-SIX-
I heard about this from a friend, and it works wonders for Walker's upset tummy, teething or just plain ol' fussiness. You can find this in the baby aisle of your local drugstore or grocery store. 

-SEVEN-
I didn't know babies could take kids' Benadryl, but the Urgent Care pediatrician told us they can have small doses {after 6 months}. Walker was able to take 3 mL at 11 months, but check with your pediatrician before giving to your baby. 

-EIGHT-
We use Baby Aquaphor on Walker's face every night. It works wonderfully for chapped skin from drool, weather or any rubbing. I have also used this on my own cracked hands, too! 

-NINE-
This is a STAPLE in our house. We always, always have baby Tylenol {AKA: Acetaminophen} on hand. You can alternate Tylenol and Motrin {AKA: Ibuprofen} every four hours for things like fever, teething, etc. 

-TEN-
We haven't used these in a while, but they were very helpful when Walker was first home from the hospital. My milk hadn't come in yet and the formula we were supplementing with gave him gas {and a hard tummy}, so these drops helped him go to the bathroom. 

-ELEVEN-
This thermometer is great! I take it with us every time we travel and it gives very precise readings. I have never {and probably never will} do a rectal thermometer on Walker, so this is very helpful. Our doctor uses a similar one, so I figure it's pretty good then! 

-TWELVE-
See number nine above! :)

-THIRTEEN-
These little medication dispensers typically come with any prescription you'll get at the doctor's office and also come in every bottle of infant Tylenol or Motrin I have purchased. However, I recommend buying 4-5 to have on hand just in case. 

I hope this is helpful to y'all! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekending

Happy Monday! Man, that came really quickly, didn't it? Let's get to it...

-FRIDAY-
I had my last event of the week, and man, was I happy when I got home Friday night! Brandon was able to catch an early flight home and surprised Walker at school. They had a boys' night, and I picked up supper from our favorite Mexican restaurant on the way home. We caught up on some DVR'd TV shows and I went to bed around 9 p.m. I was exhausted

-SATURDAY-
We all slept in until 7:30 a.m., which was heavenly! 

Walker's first birthday is Thursday, and my grandparents mailed their gift to him {since they live in Mexico City and won't be able to be here for his party}. Brandon put together his new car, and I think it's safe to say he loves it! He kept screeching and giggling so hard when Brandon was finished putting it together, and then would just climb in and out, in and out. 


I had a few repairs done on my engagement ring and wedding band {and was ring-less all week}, so I drove over to the Galleria area by myself - such a little treat! - to pick it up. I missed it! 


We spent the rest of Saturday running errands and doing a few things around the house. I had my first Which Wich experience {um, yum!}. While we were out and about, Brandon gave Walker an old pair of sunglasses that he found in my glovebox. Walker was such a ham playing with them! He would make faces at himself in the backseat mirror and would crack himself up. 


Brandon knew how crazy stressful my week was, so he booked me a one-hour hot stone massage for Saturday night. It was absolutely amazing! While I was getting pampered, he grilled chicken and made baked sweet potatoes, sautéed spinach and rolls for supper. Love that man! We had a mini date night and watched "Gone Girl" on Netflix after we ate. Um, can we talk about how CRAZY that movie is?! I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. Loved it! 

-SUNDAY-
We went to church, then came home and had a clean-out-the-fridge lunch. I grew up doing that on Sunday afternoons, did any of y'all?! 

After lunch, we all took 2.5 hour naps {AMAZING!!!} and then went on a walk around the neighborhood in Walker's new car. As an aside, that's my left hand and Brandon's left hand on the handle. I don't have a giant man-looking right hand! HA! 


I made my family's famous meatloaf recipe for supper  along with smashed potatoes, peas and rolls. Even Walker loved it! My grandparents had a housekeeper for more than 40 years {from the time my dad was born until I was in middle school}, and the recipe is hers. It's lovingly called "Mozell's Meatloaf," and it's the only meatloaf in this world I'll eat. Everything else is so gross to me! Brandon never ate it until he married me, and now he says it's the only kind he'll eat, too. 

Brandon watched the Pro Bowl while I watched "Downton Abbey," and we both got ready for the week. I'm looking forward to a three-day work week this week and finalizing things for my sweet one's first birthday! 

Happy Monday! 

Linking up with Biana and Meghan


Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday!

Happy Friday!

-ONE-
Brandon left for a business trip on Sunday night, and he's getting home today {hallelujah!}. This has been a hella crazy week: I had an evening event on Tuesday night, a Board meeting on Wednesday night and one last evening event tonight...all for work. Boo! I'm so looking forward to resting and hanging out with my little fam this weekend. 

I spent all weekend juggling the little man between my mother-in-law, aunt and myself, and Brandon is picking up Walker from school today. Whew! I need a glass of wine {or three} tonight. Looking forward to not having to do this juggling act much longer. ;) 


-TWO-
Do any of y'all watch "Parenthood?" Seriously, that show never ceases to make me bawl like a baby every single dang episode. I'm so sad it's the last season; I'm really going to miss the Braverman clan! 


-THREE-
Brandon and I resolved to not spend as much money this year on stupid little things, and I'm happy to report that nearly a month in, we're still holding strong on that goal! I got so bad at random Target runs, making too many Zulilly purchases, clicking "Purchase" on my Amazon Prime app and splurging at too many Ann Taylor Loft sales last year, so that was my biggest New Year's resolution this year: be more mindful about my spending. By no means are we in any sort of debt or trouble - I don't want y'all thinking that! - this is just a great way for us to be more mindful and accountable, allowing us to be good stewards of our money. {Hebrews 13:5} 

We're using mint.com and it's very helpful to us. We set a yearly budget on Jan. 1, and between that budget worksheet and Mint, we are both held accountable to one another. I always ask myself before buying something: "Is this is a need or a want?" and "Do I need this right now?" 

I am not a financial advisor by any stretch of the imagination, but if you're interested in the little ways we're saving money this year, I'd be more than happy to talk to you about it! 


-FOUR-
Brandon and I tried Moscow Mules for the first time last weekend, and I must say: I think I've found my new drink! If you haven't tried one, you must! We used this recipe below, which I found on Pinterest



-FIVE-
Walker has learned to blow kisses, and it's basically the sweetest thing ever. 

video

Hope y'all have a fabulous day! 

Linking up with:



Amy and Karli


and Tif



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thoughts for Thursday: Traveling by Car With a Baby

When we were going to my parents' house for the weekend before Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas, I was truly at a loss for how to travel on a four-hour car trip with Walker. Yes, we have traveled with him before, but shorter distances. And the last time we had gone down there, it was Easter {sad, I know}, and he was nearly three months old and was still nursing. So this was a completely different trip entirely. The last time, we were weighted down with a pump {and all of those 5,001 accessories} and I practically packed his entire nursery for the trip. 

I scoured Pinterest for any tips, and all I found were 99% "flying with baby" posts and 1% "doing a 20,000-hour car trip with kids" posts. Clearly we were doing neither. So, I just kind of winged it and thought I'd share our experiences with you. Note that these are what worked best for our family. :)

Tip 1: Write everything down that you'll need for the baby. 
Packing for us? That's easy. I used to think I took a lot until I started packing for Walker! 

The best thing I did was write down everything I would need for him, and then check it off when it was packed. My list was in no order because I just left the spiral notebook out on the kitchen counter and wrote something down when I thought of it. I also kept a running to-do list on this same page to make sure I didn't forget to do any last-minute items, such as leaving food out for our crazy cat. 


Tip 2: Pack bottles in wine bottle bags! 
You'll look like the life of the party rolling up with your wine bags! Ha! But seriously, this was so helpful to me. Goodness knows I have enough of these bags stored away in my pantry from Kroger, so I put them to good use. 

Note I didn't pre-make the bottles; just stored the clean, empty ones in these going down and coming back. 



Tip 3: Leave around their schedule.
Walker has been on BabyWise since about two months old, so we know when he is tired, when he will eat, etc. For us, it was easier to feed him breakfast at home, get ready, feed him his morning snack and then hit the road. That way, he was napping for two hours into our drive. 

Tip 4: Pack a food bag. 
For the day-of, I packed an insulated lunch bag full of snacks and lunch for Walker. Since we left after his breakfast and morning snack, I just had to pack his lunch, bottle and afternoon snack. 

Since he loves his bottle warmed, I packed his formula into this amazing device; an empty bottle; and a thermos full of warm water. {Before I left, I measured 6 oz. of water into a Pyrex measuring cup, microwaved it for 1 minute, and poured it into an insulated thermos. It was still hot four hours later when Walker was ready for lunch!} 

I also try to take snacks/lunch that doesn't need to be kept warm or cool. However, we do have a Koolatron cooler for the car that heats and cools as needed, so that is very helpful if I need to take yogurt or something else that should be kept warm. 

On this note, I pack a bag of sandwiches, chips, cookies and bottled water for us so we don't have to spend money on food. If there's one thing I hate, it's food bags at my feet {along with my purse, the diaper bag and my camera} while we're traveling. I much prefer one grocery sack with about four Ziploc bags in it to stinky fast food. Plus, it saves money, too! 

Tip 5: Make sure to have entertainment items for baby.
Walker is like his mama and gets bored quite easily. Ha! When packing for him, I make sure to take my {charged} iPad that has educational games on it. He isn't too into this, but it does keep him entertained for about 10 minutes. Personally, we love Fisher Price's iPad apps {especially the animal sounds, shapes and letters apps.} I take some of his cars, extra pacifiers and this little maraca that my grandparents brought back from Mexico. And, if everything fails, I get in the backseat with him and we play peek-a-boo or sing songs. Whatever works, right?! 


Tip 6: Carve out bathroom/diaper change/nursing time.
Four hours in a car is a long time for anyone, so carve out some time to go to the restroom, eat lunch, get gas if needed {we always fill up before we leave home}, or even nurse. When I was still breastfeeding, we stopped at a gas station parking lot {Buc-ee's, the best!} so I could feed Walker while Brandon went to the restroom, topped us off with gas, we changed Walker, I went to the restroom, etc. 

Now that Walker is mobile, it's nice to just stop and let him stretch his legs while we take turns using the restroom. 

Tip 7: Have patience.
Unless your baby is a complete angel baby, they will cry or fuss a bit. I mean, wouldn't you, too, being in a car for four hours? So just take it all in stride and know that crying will happen. Don't be afraid to crawl in the back with them, if needed, and don't be afraid to let them fuss for a bit, either. We would find that Walker would fuss for about five minutes and then either busy himself with something or close his eyes and take a cat nap. 

I hope these tips help you the next time you're taking a road trip with your baby or toddler. Good luck! 

Linking up with Annie and Natalie

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recent Favorite Beauty Finds

Hi, my name is Brittany, and I am addicted to beauty products. Whew. There. I said it. {Ha!} 

Now that it's all out in the open, here are some of my recent beauty favorites: 


one // two

three // four 


-ONE-
Since having Walker, my skin has been all over the place. I tried this Kiehl's face wash out of sheer desperation, and it works! Plus, I love the little tingle. I purchase this online, but Nordstrom also carries it, and there are Kiehl's stores, too. 

-TWO-
Working in PR, I need all the stress relief I can get. I picked this up at Bath & Body Works at Christmas when I was getting my boss a gift, and I love it! It smells heavenly and leaves my skin feeling super soft and smooth.

-THREE-
I have had my Clarisonic Mia for a while now, but I just have a renewed faith in it. I use the acne brush heads, and they really do work. I use mine in the morning and at night. I bought mine at Nordstrom. 

-FOUR-
I LOVE the Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics palette! The cool colors really compliment my light skin and blue eyes, and I like the smaller "basics" as opposed to the big, giant palette. April asked me to do a make-up tutorial a couple of weeks ago, so stay tuned for that in the coming days! {I buy this at Sephora.}

-FIVE-
Once Walker got here, I needed a heavier-duty concealer that wasn't heavy or pore-clogging. This concealer really covers the dark circles {I use a concealer brush} without being too thick or pasty. And, one tube lasts me at least 3-4 months, if not more. I buy mine at Target, but I'm sure any drug store would sell it! 

Do you have any recent beauty faves or busts?