PackIt Love {giveaway}

I discovered PackIt through a friend a little of a year ago. I won a blog giveaway for their original Personal Cooler. When they heard I was expecting two babies, they graciously also included two of their smaller sized mini coolers too.

I use the Personal Cooler as a lunch bag for myself or as the bag to take Zach & Lucy’s 6 daycare bottles & food in. At 8″ x 10″ x 5″, it’s big enough while still fitting in our {giant} diaper bag along with their cloth diaper wet bags.

The Mini Cooler has become my go to so much that I asked for {& received!} a third as a Christmas gift. I take one every day to bring home my pumped bottles. Three 9oz tall Gerber bottles fit perfectly in the 8″ x 8″ x 3″ bag. I store the bag & bottles in my work mini fridge door through out the day then know my milk will stay cold while running errands & on the drive home in my PackIt. The mini will also hold three daycare bottles & a couple small baby food containers, so when we don’t use another PackIt cooler for daycare, we use two minis. I pack the Packits the night before so I rotate between the different sized bags.

I chatted again recently with PackIt as they just launched a couple new bags. My babies big bottles & ever increasing solids containers for daycare means we’ve started almost outgrowing our smaller PackIts. Just in time, PackIt sent me the Social Cooler. This bag is like my others that its gel lined so the bag itself goes right in the freezer then keeps bottles {or whatever you want} cool for up to 10 hours. But the social cooler is big! It’s a roomie 12″ x 13″ x 5″. Perfect for six bottles, four containers of baby food & room to spare. It’d also be great for a day at the beach or a family picnic lunch.

PackIt

My PackIt freezer shelf, the social cooler: front, back & all ready for daycare.

PackIt is willing to generously offer you, my awesome readers, a PackIt bag of your choice. Do you want a wine bag {or two!} for your BYOB girls’ nights? Or is a double baby bottle bag more your speed right now? Check out the different bags & leave a comment letting me know what you’d choose & why as your giveaway entry.

As a second entry, follow me {@suzstreats} & PackIt {@packitcool} on twitter & tweet something like “Enter to win a @packitcool cooler #giveaway of your choice with @suzstreats http://suzstreats.com/packit-love-giveaway/”. Leave a link to your tweet in another comment, please.

Feel free to also like PackIt on facebook & instagram.

I’ll leave the giveaway open until next Friday May 24th at midnight. I’ll draw a winner using random.org & let the winner know by Memorial Day Monday May 27th. Good luck!

I won three PackIts in a long ago giveaway. I was sent the social cooler for purpose of this review but I was not compensated in any other way. Nor did their generosity sway my honest opinion on their awesome product. 

On the verge of One

How is it April?! How is it that I have to answer 10.5 months when people ask how old Lucy & Zach are?! How is it that I’m on the verge of having to start calling them ‘toddlers’ versus ‘babies’?!

Where has this year gone?

I find myself spending more time than I care to admit re-reading my posts from last April and last May. They’re full of hope & joy & bittersweetness. It seems like so long ago & yet not long ago at all that my old life ended & really, my life began.

I’m so thankful {again} for my lil place online & that I had the forethought to type out my thoughts on my pregnancy, bed rest & birth experiences. So many details I’ll never forget, so many have been lost to pregnancy- then mommy-brain.

I’m both in denial & almost ready for my two babies to turn one. To check off that we not only survived but thrived through our first year together.

Yet I still haven’t really planned their first birthday party{s}. There are dates set though. First the weekend before their big day we’re going to get together with some close friends. Theme, food, party accessories are all TBD {where is a cleaning service & Suzanne when I need her?!}. The Sunday before their birthday we’re having one year photos made. I can’t wait to have photos of them at this age & to see how they do trying birthday cake!

The day of, we have their 12 month doctor visit & I’m considering taking the rest of the day off to just hug on them {but daycare does their own lil party on birthdays & I don’t want them to miss out}.

The weekend after their birthday is Memorial Day weekend. Yay for always having a beach bound holiday to celebrate on! {I planned that. Ok, more like Zach planned that}. We are having a big family get together at OIB to both celebrate their first year & also to have them baptized that Sunday morning on the beach by the minister who married us. It’s going to be a special family weekend.

My musing over O.N.E. aren’t over just yet. Still six weeks to go. I’m holding tight to each.

Babies First Easter

Last Easter was my last time travelling while pregnant/without babies in hand. It seems like a lifetime & just weeks ago at the same time.

My parents, Lucy, Zach & I packed up & headed down to my grandparents’ on OIB Thursday night. Lucy & Zach slept & did great until about 15 minutes left & then I was finding Baby Eisten videos on youtube as quick as they would load!

Friday, we brought Lucy & Zach along for Mom, Nana & I to make Walmart & grocery store runs. They fell asleep in the van so we ended up shopping in shifts leaving one adult & both babies in the car at all stores. My Nana has agreed to make Lucy & Zach baptism outfits using the fabric from my mom’s wedding dress. We found patterns at Walmart & I’m so excited!

Friday night, my mom made this awesome shrimp & wild rice casserole. The recipe will soon be it’s own post & to be remade soon at my house.

Saturday morning, I took a mommy break with my Nana & went to Happy Nails for a pedicure & my first shallac manicure. So far, my nails are holding up to all that two babies can throw at them. I returned in time to feed both & for Lucy to take a nap while Zach accompanied Jason, Nana, my mom & me to the local neighborhood Easter egg hunt & raw egg toss. We just watched from the sidelines this year. But it’ll be so fun for Lucy & Zach to participate next year in something that’s been going on since before I was born!

Easter 13 1

Saturday afternoon, Mom & I took the babies for a long stroll {yay for stroller naps!}. We took over the floor in my grandparents’ den with baby toys. Their dog Bocce was unsure what to think of mobile babies at first. He quickly learned to like them after we let him clean up the floor around their high chairs! And he learned quick to follow behind to pick up dropped Cherrios from the stuffed plastic eggs we gave them to play with.

We dyed Easter eggs that evening. The babies thought they were pretty cool.

Easter 13 2

Sunday we started off at the beach church service. Both babies were interested at first then got warm & snuggly on us & took a nap. I found their super cute, casual & coordinating without being too matchy/matchy bunny onesies at The Children’s Place on clearance btw.

Easter 13 3

We arrived home by late afternoon {the babies napped most of the car ride while I read a book in the back seat!}, enjoyed Easter lunch KFC leftovers for dinner & went to bed early. Happy {late} Easter all!

Throwing Away My To-Do List

Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope yours is very sweet & filled with all the things & people you love. My littles are at daycare dressed in red & pink. We skipped learned at 6p on the 13th that we’d be doing Valentine’s cards for their classmates {que running to Kmart in the rain with both babies in tow} & chose also to treat their teachers with DD’s Munchkins using Brandy’s teacher appreciation idea.

I’m sharing over on Liberating Working Moms today my love of to-do lists. And why I think I’m a better parent when I toss {some of} them aside.

I thrive on lists. I love making them. I always have. Shopping lists, to-do lists, grocery lists, packing lists, weekly schedule list. I love seeing it on paper {yes, I still hand write my lists}. I love checking off items; it leaves me with a quick feeling of accomplishment.

With the arrival of Zach & Lucy & my return to work, list making has been crucial. Without one of my precious lists, errands get forgotten as does applesauce.

Jump over to LWM to read the rest & I’d love to hear what household chores you can or can’t put off for your kids.

PS~ For the sake of true openness, I will say that I have a two page to-do list & pack list combination on-going for this upcoming week’s work trip. My list broken down to two words: thirty bottles.

Is our king sized bed too small?

Alternative titles, ‘my hippie side is showing’ or ‘I should’ve been a hippie’; sung to the tune of my favorite Toby Keith song ‘I should’ve been a cowboy’.

I learned pre-babies to never say never. But as a new mom, I’ve continued to learn that lesson.

In our birth class, the instructor mentioned that 85% of new patents will co-sleep with their baby{s}. My husband was adamant that would not be us. I said sure; we’ll see.

I was sure Lucy & Zach were going to be sleeping in their cribs from day 1. Then day 1 & 2, Lucy slept in a pack-n-play while Zach was still in the NICU. We pulled out our rock-n-plays on her second day home & never looked back. For the first 3 months, they slept there in our den while there was an adult either up 24/7 or on the couch. We transitioned Lucy into a pack-n-play around 3 mos.

By 4-5 mos, they were sleeping in their cribs. And if Z or L wouldn’t return to their crib, either J or I would end up on the couch napping for the reminder of the night.

At some point over the last few months, with them being sick & also bigger, we’ve brought a baby, usually Zach, in bed with us occasionally. Other than the scary wheezing RSV nights & nights with his 24 hour stomach bug, these co-sleeping nights aren’t planned. Both babies will go down in their cribs pretty easily; we get them 99% asleep on us by rocking, jiggling or nursing, then transfer them into their crib with a kiss on the cheek & sound machine & humidifer turned on.

They’ll both fall asleep during overnight nursing. But sometimes there’s something about their crib that means little eyes pop open. And no rocking, bouncing, jiggling, or repeated nursing works. It’s those nights that Zach gets to cuddle into me nestled snugly in our king size bed between my husband & I. Co-sleeping in our house ends up being a result of me being too exhausted to fight getting them back to sleeping in the crib.

I will typically fight for crib sleeping if it’s before 4a. But there’s something about after 4a when the pull for more sleep beats out my desire to not share my bed with a tiny bed hog.

I think my husband’s desire to not co-sleep had more to do with fear of rolling over on said baby than anything else. I think they’re big enough now that he’s no longer worried about that. On principle, I don’t overly love the idea nor starting co-sleeping being a habit. But I go back to the ‘any sleep is better than none’ mantra.

Lucy, because she so often sleeps through the night (830-630!!), doesn’t co-sleep much during the week days. It’s weekends though that she’ll get in on the snuggles. After our nursing around 6, instead of running the risk of her waking still sleeping Zach, she & I will sneak past the nursery into our room.

As Tracy wrote on LWM this week, co-sleeping is also a little extra time that as a working mom, I get to spend in close proximity to my babe{s}. Waking up to Zach’s sweet snoring & tiny tucked hands brings a smile every time.

I’ve discovered more & more as I go along this parenting road that I’m pretty laid back. That I might’ve been a hippie in a prior life – an extended-breastfeeding, baby-wearing, homemade-baby-food-making {post to come}, co-sleeping hippie. And I like that!