GB Lyfe Travel System

This post was sponsored by @GBChildUsa as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received the GB Lyfe Pram Travel System to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.GB_Lyfe_travel_system (1)

Going into the baby mode again last fall, I wanted to make sure I had the baby gear to be able to keep up with our busy lives, but also welcome Ford with loving arms. I knew with three kids three and under, I would need some top notch gear to keep up but I also wanted to be able to look good doing it all. When I found the GB Lyfe Travel System that comes with the car seat, base, and stroller sold at Babies ‘R’ Us, I knew I had to share it with you guys. I have been in love with it since mine came.GB_Lyfe_travel_system (2)GB_Lyfe_travel_system (3)

One of the first things I noticed was that the whole set looks good. I love how simple the design is, which is part of what makes it so stylish and sleek. It also made it really easy to put together, even all by myself. The base was super easy to install and makes putting Ford in and out of the car a breeze. GB_Lyfe_travel_system (4)

With my first two boys, I moved them from an infant carrier to a rear-facing car seat really quickly because it was so hard to carry them in the infant carrier. The way that the handle is shaped on the GB car seat is so comfortable that I can carry my 20 pounds baby around without it being awkward and uncomfortable. I love how plush the car seat is too, it seems like he’s riding in a little cloud!GB_Lyfe_travel_system (5)

One of my favorite features about the stroller is that you can either just click the car seat into it or use the stroller insert as a pram or upright seat. When I had my first, I searched everywhere for a pram stroller. They are so classic and stylish and they were so hard to find. I’m so glad I was able to get the GB Lyfe with Ford  and take him anywhere and he’ll be comfortable. I think the husband’s favorite part is how easy it is to open-up and click in either the car seat or pram/stroller seat. He’s probably gotten sick over the years of me asking him to lug heavy strollers up and set them up for me.

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This one clicks together so easily and is the smoothest push I have ever felt. The brake is really easy to put on a take off too. This is by far the most comfortable stroller I’ve ever pushed. When you have three kids, it’s hard enough just to go out and about with them, the last thing I need is the stroller wheels locking up and skidding (that drives me crazy!) or it being too hard for me to set up with one hand.GB_Lyfe_travel_system (11)GB_Lyfe_travel_system (12)

Now that Ford’s trying to sit up more, I love that once he’s awake, I can simply press a button to raise the pram into an upright seat and clip the foot rest so he can sit up and see the world. It’s so nice that he can face out or face me if misses Mom. It’s great for going to the park so he can watch his big brothers play and look at the ducks, and it comes with an awesome hidden compartment on the canopy that has an extra sun shade in case it gets too bright or he falls asleep.GB_Lyfe_travel_system (13)GB_Lyfe_travel_system (9)

The GB Lyfe travel system is available at Babies ‘R’ Us in both Charcoal (like mine) and a pretty Merlot. If you want your baby to be riding in style, this is the travel system for you!

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My Guilty Pleasure

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OREONowTHIN #CollectiveBiasOreo Thins (10)

Being a Mom is hard. Like cry in the shower hard- we’ve all done it. So how do we survive? I’m guilty of hiding treats where my kids can’t find them and as soon as my kids heads hit their pillows for naps, you better believe I’m reaching up on the fridge and pulling out something sweet. It helps give me a little escape from all the craziness I have going on and take a minute to just indulge myself. Oreonowthin

Have you tried OREO THINS? This week I went to Sam’s Club and bought their big box of OREO THINS to hide for myself. 35 packs of OREO THINS and they are all mine. 35 packs, and four per pack, mean I’ve got 140 delicious, crispy, cookies just waiting for me to sneak away and eat them and not share with any of my adorable cookie loving kids. They’re that good and I’m not going to mention how many of them are already eaten…

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I love them.

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They’re like little adorable, baby size OREOS. Who doesn’t love eating tiny things?

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Like I said, they help me keep my sanity, whether that’s by eating them or apparently making weird faces with them. I call that last picture Janis Joplin OREO THINS. Coming to an art museum near you 🙂 What fun is food if you can’t play with it a little? This is my Sam’s Club’s store’s stock of them. I’m thinking I should have an equally big stock at my house.

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Have you tried them yet? If not, get out there and get you some OREO THINS!

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Car Emergency Sick Kid Kit

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FightFever #CollectiveBiasEmergency-car-kit-for-kids

Doesn’t sickness always seem to hit at the most inconvenient times? A few months ago, we were on our way to Alabama to see my nephew play in a baseball tournament when Sawyer came down with the flu. He had been totally fine when we left, but by the time we got there he was red and burning up. I didn’t have any supplies for his fever or anything to keep him happy.

Lucky for me, my sister had some Children’s Advil in a little bag full of emergency sick kid supplies. I realized I needed to keep some stuff in my truck in case my kids got sick away from home or there was an emergency. I tend to be a go with the flow kind of person, but when it comes to my kids, I have to be prepared, and so here’s what I keep in my car in case of sick emergencies; it’s really simple and only takes a minute to put together. I also gave some ideas for some surprising ways you can use the items to entertain your kids in case you get stuck far away from home like we did. Here’s what I keep in my car:

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1. Water- It’s so important to keep kids hydrated, especially if they’re not feeding well. I always always have bottles of water in my car and am constantly putting new ones in, but I do try not to use the ones in my emergency kit unless I really need them and then I always make sure to replace them as soon as possible. If you have a child with a fever, you can pour water over their head to help lower the fever. My mom used to do that, and if nothing else, it always made me laugh. If your kids are old enough for medicine in tablet form, you might need it for swallowing too.

2. Undies- Sometimes getting sick means clothes get gross, and at the very least, I keep some underwear in case they need to change. It’s a good thing for any young kid to have an extra pair anyways.emergeny car kit (5)

3. Children’s Advil- Sick kids are no joke. That day we went to my nephews baseball tournament, Sawyer was fine when we left home, but an hour later, he was burning up and miserable, just crying and upset. He felt horrible and we were in the middle of nowhere. I was lucky my sister had Children’s Advil in her car because once I gave it to him and it started working I was able to keep him happy, and it even made him comfortable enough to fall asleep on the way home instead of crying. I use Advil instead of Tylenol because it works faster and keeps the fever down longer and with less medicine. Children’s Advil comes in six different flavors, my favorite are the dye-free ones in case we spill any, but since it taste good, it’s easy to get Sawyer to take it. It also comes in Grape chewable and small tablet forms. They carry all of the different kinds at Walgreens, where I got mine, so you can get exactly what your kids need.

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4. Bandages- Obviously these are important for cuts, but I’ve given them to my kids even when they need cheering up, we use it like a sticker on their shirt. I try to get fun looking ones (these ones have cars on them) to make them cool. It’s a good way to make them feel special or distract them if something is going on or your stuck in traffic and it’s also a good way to entertain a sick kid when you are in the car. I’ve given them to my sick toddler before and told him to try and get the wrappers open; it gave him something quiet to do that kept his mind off feeling crummy.

5. Candy/Snacks- Nothing distracts kids like snacks, which is why mom vans all smell they way they do. I keep a box of granola bars in the back of my car too, and apple sauce pouchies in my purse. I’ve grabbed snacks from my car supply tons of times when we’ve gotten stuck in traffic or errands ran long and I need something to hold my kids over until we get home. Just make sure to replace anything you use and if you don’t use it regularly, check the expiration dates.

6. Diapers- If you have kids in diapers, always have extras in the car.

7. Wipes- When kids get sick, things tend to get gross. Baby wipes are great for cleaning yucky hands, throw-up, etc.

8. Books/Coloring Supplies- The only reason ours aren’t pictured is because my kids just used the last ones but I usually keep some coloring pages and crayons in case we need something to do. Entertaining kids can be hard, and it’s even harder when they don’t feel good. I just grab some of the free coloring pages that our grocery store has when I’m in there, and they fit perfect in my kit. My kids love when I pull them out and if they’re bored with coloring, we make paper airplanes.

I always like having books in the car for emergencies too. If one of my kids is sick and we end up in the E.R. or an hour away from home like when we were at the soccer game, reading them a book can usually keep them calm at a time where they might not be content.

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9. Scissors- My scissors stay out of the kit in my center console (which my kids can’t open) so they don’t stab other things in the kit. I added these after reading a couple stories about children almost strangling themselves on seat belts on accident when playing in the car/trying to escape their car seats. In all of those stories they were frantically searching for something to cut the seat belt and recommended keeping scissors in your car. So scary, and I want to know exactly where they are if I ever needed them. When my kids are sick, I can use scissors to opening medicines in the car or cut paper into fun shapes to entertain them.

10. Grocery bags- they can hold dirty clothes, throw-up, dirty diapers and more and you don’t have to think twice about throwing them away, plus they’re free. I keep a nice wad of them under the seat.

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My emergency sick supplies stay right in my center console so I can always reach them and so if a kid were to throw up, they would still be clean. I do keep some extra snacks in the back, and I have a more elaborate first aid kit under the seat, but this is my easy to grab emergency sick kit for our family. I’d love to hear what you keep in your car or how you taper your emergency kit to your family, do you keep snacks and Children’s Advil, or maybe you keep it somewhere else in your car? Let me know in the comments because I’m sure mine isn’t complete, and if you don’t have one, make one! It’s so easy and you’ll be glad you did.

Potty Training- What Not To Do

Thank you Acorn Influence and Charmin for sponsoring this post, which this blog has been compensated for but all thoughts are opinions are mine. #charminatSamsClub #ad

Awkward topic, but I’m so glad it’s done that I’m announcing it to the world- Sawyer is finally potty trained! Fully, completely, takes himself every-time, potty-trained. I’m embarrassed to say how long it took us to finally get it down, but at least it’s done. I dreaded potty-training. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and Rhett was only a few months old when we started so I wasn’t exactly looking for more work to add to my plate, but it had to be done. A few of my friends had the kind of kids who wake up one morning and decide to potty train themselves and never have another accident again; I wish that had been us. I started out, like I do with everything, turning to Google and Pinterest to educate myself on the nine million different tactics and ways of approaching potty training. Even with all that, it took us over a year to get him finally going every time on the potty, and since there’s already a million different potty training “how-to’s” out there, I thought instead I’d share with you my mistakes, so you don’t have to learn the hard way, and maybe your potty-training experience will be much shorter, and cleaner, than ours. I also threw a good roach story in there for good measure, and a giveaway at the bottom where you can share your potty-training tips!Potty-training-mistakes

Mistake #1- I was wishy-washy. SO wishy-washy. For the first week or so of potty training, I was a rock star. We did the whole stay at home for a week and let the kid run around bare-bum and throw them on the potty whenever they started going or if it had been awhile technique. It worked great, I was seeing progress, but when we finally needed to leave the house to go somewhere, I didn’t take him regularly like I was at home and he’d go in his training pants. It was convenient, but didn’t teach him to hold it or reinforce to not go in undies. I think had I been more diligent about taking him to a bathroom as often as I was taking him at home, he would have gotten the hang of the whole thing sooner and stopped having accidents.

Mistake #2- Trying to save undies. When we first started, if Sawyer had a #2 accident in his undies, I would go through the trouble of cleaning it all out, super cleaning the undies, and washing them so he could wear them again. He didn’t care and it only made potty training that much more dreadful for me; it was gross and encouraged me to be wishy-washy (see mistake #1) because it’s a whole lot easier to clean up a messy diaper than it is to remove and clean up messy undies. At some point I realized it wasn’t worth the money that I was saving on undies and started throwing them in a grocery bag and chucking it in the trash.

Mistake #3- Having the right/wrong supplies. Sure, there’s no way to know exactly what you’re going to need for potty training, every kid is different, but there are a few things you definitely need. I made the mistake of not switching to a  specifically super-soft toilet paper right away. Transitioning from gentle baby wipes to toilet paper isn’t easy for kids (think raw bum), so make sure you get some of the good stuff and don’t run out! Charmin Ultra Soft is definitely a winning choice- it’s super soft and a great value. Sam’s Club has packs for a limited time that have 1,000 extra bonus sheets, so stock up! (maybe with the gift card I’m giving away at the bottom) I grew up in a big family and we always seemed to be running out of toilet paper, so when I find a good deal like that, I stock up. No one wants to get creative because you’re out of toilet paper.Potty training with Charmin (4)

Another supply to have on hand is some kind of reward (bribery). When we first started, Sawyer got a small candy or some kind of treat every time he went #1 on the potty. It encouraged him to want to try. Once he had that down, he got treats when he went #2 on the potty. It took him a looong time to get going #2 down, so we even tried promising new toys at times. Sawyer was still having accidents every once in awhile until we told him he could go to Monster Jam if he didn’t have an accident for a whole month. He’s been accident-free ever since. It’s funny what works for some kids.

Mistake #4- Making sure all caretakers are on the same page. There were times when I’d leave the kids with my husband and Sawyer would have an accident, and I’d ask if Brandon had taken him potty while I was gone. He’d say he didn’t know he needed to take him so often and so he had an accident. Make sure that whatever you’re doing for potty training is made clear to anyone who watches your kid, whether that means taking them every fifteen minutes, or just giving the baby sitter a heads-up of what your toddler does when they need to go so that the babysitter can send them potty. Seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget.

Mistake #5- This one is a bonus, because it actually didn’t come from me, it came from my Mom, and seems out there, but you don’t want it to happen to you. My Mom used to baby-sit a little girl, Jenna, and since she was at our house all day, my Mom did a lot of her potty training. Well, in the South, bugs find their way inside sometimes, and like any housewife in Dixie has had to do, my Mom saw a roach, smashed it with a wad of toilet paper, and threw it in the toilet. Well, she forgot to flush it down, and the nasty little roach floated up to the surface of the water. The next time Jenna ran to the bathroom to go potty, she saw that roach in the toilet, screamed and refused to sit on a toilet for months; she didn’t even want to go near the bathroom. I guess she thought that’s where roaches came from, and if that was true, I wouldn’t want to sit on a toilet either haha. It might sound crazy, but it happens. Just make sure you flush those bugs down before your kid’s traumatized haha.

Now, Sawyer is potty trained, so must have done something right; here is my potty training arsenal-Potty training with Charmin (3)

1. Like I said above, good toilet paper, and lots of it. All the toilet paper in that picture is from the one pack of Charmin I talked about before. I’m telling you, it’s the stuff to get.

2. Cleaning Supplies- Look, pee and poop aren’t always going to happen on the potty during potty training. I’m about to say something gross but new moms need to know: at some point, your adorable, wonderful child is going to have diarrhea on your carpet. They all do, and the only way to get that out is with a carpet cleaner. I bought a small, portable one when Sawyer was a baby and it might be one of the greatest purchases I’ve ever made. It has made potty training so much easier for me, and has been used for a million little spills or when my kids have the flu. Get yourself one, its worth every penny. Also, I keep cleaning wipes under the bathroom sink for anytime someone misses.

3. Treats- See “bribery” above.

4. Extra clothes and undies- I did a lot of laundry during potty training, you want to make sure to have plenty f extra undies and pants around. I kept an extra set in the car too. It never hurts to be prepared. Potty training with Charmin (5)

5. Entertainment- When you’re teaching your kid to go potty, they spend a lot of time on the toilet. They’re much more willing to sit there and try if you entertain them. We read books and blew bubbles and he loved it! It also kept my littler one from trying to play in the toilet water.

Well I hope with all my heart that your potty training takes less time and effort that ours did, and hopefully with these mistakes behind me and one successful potty-training under my belt, I’ll have an easier time with the next one! If you’re that parent who is in the trenches still and it seems like your kid will never get, don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes it just takes time. If you have any great potty training tips, here’s your chance to share them and maybe win one of 53 $50 gift cards to Sam’s Club!

$50 Sam’s Club Gift Card Giveaway for Charmin

Overnight Bags For Older Siblings

Hospital-Bags-for-SiblingsBefore everything gets crazy and with the unpredictability of a due date, I decided to pack the boys bags for while I’m gone and they go stay with Grandma. While she will have a key to our house and most likely be staying there, I wanted to have something I could grab really quick with all the essentials they might need in case I needed to drop them off really fast or they went to stay with my Aunt for the afternoon or something until my Mom gets off work. When it’s go-time and I’m in labor, the last thing I want to do is be looking for diapers or toothbrushes.

I got these adorable bags from Groopdealz with each of their names on them that way Grandma can easily tell whose stuff is whose, like which bag to find diapers in (and really I just wanted an excuse to order such cute bags). They sell them on and off through-out the year, if you sign up with them you can get notified of new sales and see when they’re for sale again.

what to pack for siblings brother sister when mom goes to the hospital to have babyIn my three-year-olds bag: an outfit (with his big brother shirt to wear to the hospital!), a pair of pajamas, undies, his toothbrush and toothpaste (most people only have grown up toothpaste at their house), a pouchie, granola bar and a sucker in case he gets missing mom and Grandma needs to bribe or distract him

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In my one-year-olds bag: an outfit (with his shirt to wear to the hospital), pj’s, lots of diapers (you just never know), wipes, toothbrush, a bottle, and pouchies, a lollipop and granola bar as snacks in case they need them.

I threw in the snacks and might add a toy in case Grandma needs a quick distraction or bribe. Being away from Mom for two days can be really hard, especially on the littlest ones and I want to do all I can to make the hard moments easier both for my kids and for the people watching them. I love going and having my newborn but it’s tough being away from the ones at home. If my Mom wasn’t so used to my boys routine, I would probably also be adding a note saying what time the boys nap and go to bed and anything they are used to at bedtime. It might seem controlling or bossy but I know when I watch other people’s kids it is so much easier to get them to bed if I stick to their normal routine. hospital bag for siblings when mom goes to hospital what to pack for brother sister vacation travel baby is born

A few more ideas you might want to add to your kids bags and that I might add to mine are favorite stuffed animals (if my boys stay overnight at Grandma’s I’ll remind her to grab them since Sawyer sleeps with one), a favorite toy or treat, a fun new game they’ve never played to distract them from having mom gone, a book about becoming a big brother or sister, a note for your child, their pillow (anything to help them sleep better away from home, a.k.a. be easier on whoever is watching them), a fun new movie, or a gift for them to bring to their new baby sibling.

Here’s the little brother onesie that match the big brother shirts for those who are interested!Personalized-Bagspacked and ready to go!

Did you pack your kiddos overnight bags for while you were gone? Did they have anything special in them? I love hearing other families great ideas!