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Baby, Motherhood

Flying With 2 Kids: What You Need (and what you DON’T!)

August 30, 2017

I’ve flown with my kids in all different ages and stages and there’s only one thing I know for sure: Flying with kids is NEVER easy.

Blog post over.

Just kidding!

It might not be easy but we have learned a few things over the years. Every time we travel we always say to ourselves, “OH LETS REMEMBER THIS FOR NEXT TIME”… and I either forget about it or by the time we travel again we are into a new stage and there’s a whole new learning curve. ugh.

note: this post contains affiliate links. Please see full disclosure policy for more details. 

Flying With 2 Kids: What You Need (and what you DON'T!)

  1. SNACKS  – Maybe this is a no brainer for most but I always severely under pack the snacks and always regret it. Usually when we fly it’s only an hour or two for the flight which isn’t bad, but I forget about the bag check up line, security, waiting in the terminal, boarding the plane, waiting for our bags…. there’s a whole lot of time spent waiting where the kiddos are hungry, bored, and frankly just not happy. Having snacks at the ready like boxes of raisins or these healthy goldfish alternatives save our butts every time. I just need to remember to pack more than I think we’ll need.
  2. STROLLER & CARRIER – Flying with a big stroller sucks. But sometimes you have no choice! Fortunately, we usually can fly without a stroller or a car seat and family picks us up on the other end with all the stuff we need. When we are able to do it that way, we opt for a carrier or an easy to fold up umbrella style stroller. Unfortunately, you can’t wear your baby in a carrier during taking off and landing (at least in Canada) which is an absolute pain in the butt. I kept my 3-month-old in a carrier during a flight from the East Coast to the West Coast and he slept almost the entire time and I was even able to sleep because I didn’t have to worry about dropping him or turbulence.
  3. PRE-BOARDING – When you travel with kiddos, you are able to get on the plane first and receive assistance if you need it. But just a tip, if you DO need extra help, you’ll have to ask for it. I’ve been so close to breaking down in tears while flying alone with kids and it’s not fun. I wish I hadn’t been too proud to ask for help when I needed it. Even if it’s someone to just hold your baby while you get settled, a flight attendant would gladly help you.
  4. ENTERTAINMENT – Our kiddos don’t use screens at home and I’m pretty adamant about not letting them use them, even if it’s educational. But flying and traveling is a whole different ball game. It’s literally about survival. Loading your phone or a tablet with some downloaded Netflix shows is a really smart idea. I’ve personally never done this but will be doing it ahead of our next flight so I have a back up plan.
  5. TOYS – Before a trip, we usually head to Chapters with $10 – $20 to spend on little toys, books, and stickers to surprise out toddler with. We found these awesome stickers that are reusable and they worked amazingly on the windows of the plane and on the tray table. Little trains and cars make awesome little surprises. The trick is keeping them hidden until you need to pull them out and gain another 30 minutes of sanity.

Flying With 2 Kids: What You Need (and what you DON'T!)

 

Baby

How to Cottage with Kids Without going Insane

July 31, 2017

I’m not going to pretend I know it all because I really just wing in 99% of the time when we travel to the cottage with the kids. But through all that trial and error we’ve learned a few lessons and have started to figure out this whole traveling with small people thing. Scroll down to see some pics from our trip!

And keep reading to find out the single best tip I discovered this year.

This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure policy here.

// Baby Life Jacket // Disposable Diapers // Wipes // Travel High Chair // Rashguard // Silicone Play Mat // Sunscreen // Water Bottle // Sun Hat // Closed Toe Sandals //

Baby Life Jacket  // Essential for us because we need to take a boat, but also just the best for peace of mind, especially when you have two tiny people to watch near the water!

Disposable Diapers // As a cloth diapering family, we don’t mind to take a break from diaper laundry. The single best thing I did this summer was order diapers and wipes ahead of time. Figure out where the closest post office is and have your diapers and wipes sent to it so you can just pick them up on the way. Obviously, if you’re going to a place that’s near grocery stores, this isn’t the greatest tip. But for us, this has been a real life saver. Our cottage is on an island so trips to town are far and few between. We ordered our diapers and wipes on Well.ca and had them shipped to the post office with Canada Post’s Flex Delivery program. But Amazon also gives you the same option!

Wipes // You can never have too many wipes. From diaper changes to cleaning up after digging in the garden, wipes are my best friend.

Travel High Chair // The highchair we use at home is actually designed to be a travel high chair that can clip onto a table. We take ours to restaurants all the time but especially love how easy it is to take along with us to the cottage.

Rashguard // Kids usually don’t enjoy getting sunscreen applied and reapplied through out the day so I like to minimize the amount of exposed skin by throwing the kids into a sun safe suit that can go in the water!

Silicone Play Mat  // Our littlest guy just started solids, so meal times are messy! To protect the countertops and prevent plates from hitting the ground, we just use an Ezpz Play Mat that suctions to the table! Plus it does double duty by also being a mat that Oliver can paint and get messy on!

Sunscreen // Sunscreen is kind of a no brainer, but this specific sunscreen is one we love because it’s safe for baby and toddler, smells amazing, and blends in well. It also comes in a stick for easy application and my personal fave is the tinted face sunscreen!

Water Bottle // I love using glass with the kids because I know it’s clean and safe but hate the idea of them dropping glass cups. We love these ones because of the silicone sleeve to protect the glass. + the colors are so fun! They even make sippy cup and nipple tops for the glass bottles.

Sun Hat // My favorite sun hats! So many fun patterns to choose from and the quick breakaway clasp and drawstring are an amazing feature. We’ve lost every other hat in the wind, except this one!

Closed Toe Sandals // Water proof leather sandals! The best of both worlds. I have a pair for myself, too. I love that you can wear them out in the rain or get them muddy and they’ll clean up easily so you can wear them for something formal. I detest bringing so many pairs of shoes to the cottage with us so when one pair can work for so many different outfits and activities, I’m happy!

A post shared by Stephanie McDougall  (@mommyzoid) on

A post shared by Stephanie McDougall  (@mommyzoid) on

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

Baby, DIY & Home

Quick & Easy Wood Baby Gym IKEA Hack

July 18, 2017

My favorite thing to do once the kids are both asleep is to kick back in the living room with a good HGTV show and a glass of fizzy water. But I just can’t truly relax until all the toys are put away. But there are some things that you just can’t put away. Like the IKEA Baby Gym, for instance.

Quick & Easy Wood Baby Gym IKEA Hack

We originally got this little gym from the in-laws for Oliver for him to use while we were staying at the cottage. He loved it! And eventually used it to learn how to stand up and then pushed it around the house for his first few steps. Fast forward to now, this little play gym has a few scratches and I’ll be honest, the color scheme is not my favorite.

I had some leftover Fusion Mineral Paint from the Tones for Tots collection that we used to fix up a chest of drawers that we found on the side of the road. It calls our living room home and hides all the toys out of sight. I had been eyeing up the play gym for quite some time, waiting for the right time to make my move. On a nice sunny day, I opened up the garage door and set to work! You can see the transformation in the video below:


Quick & Easy Wood Baby Gym IKEA Hack

Quick & Easy Wood Baby Gym IKEA Hack

Quick & Easy Wood Baby Gym IKEA Hack

 

Quick & Easy Wood Baby Gym IKEA Hack

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

Baby

My Baby is Half a Year Old?!

July 14, 2017

It’s true what they say: Babies don’t keep. How on earth is my littlest baby a half a year old? And more importantly, my maternity leave is half over. Where is time going?

|Reid’s Shirt|

Photo Credit: Morgan Webb Photography

Now that’s he’s six months old he’s starting to sit up for longer stretches and even trying really hard to crawl. Guys, it won’t be long until I need to install baby gates. Holy stairs. We are so excited to start trying foods with him. He has been watching us and his brother with such interest and gets quite vocal about the fact that he has no food in front of him yet. Patience, my little Ellie! We will be giving baby-led weaning a shot, just like we did with Oliver. His first food will likely be some banana or avocado. Something mushy!

|Reid’s Shirt|

Photo Credit: Morgan Webb Photography

He’s loving to watch his brother. Elliot might be crying but if he hears his brother’s voice, he starts to calm down immediately. No one can make him laugh like his big brother can. I truly am in absolute awe watching them together. Their love for one another is so obvious.

|Oliver’s Shirt|Oliver’s Shoes|

Photo Credit: Morgan Webb Photography

So much babbling! Oliver wasn’t much of a babbler so this is all new to us. He’ll just be laying there in his car seat kickin’ his feet and making funny noises. He is always in a good mood. Like, seriously. It’s a bit bizarre!

We are such a happy little family of four! It’s better than I could have ever imagined. We feel pretty complete. <3

Here’s to many more milestones with our sweet little Ellie-Bean.

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure policy here.

Baby, Mom

My Post-Pregnancy To-Do List: Home Teeth Whitening + GIVEAWAY

July 12, 2017

Before kids, I loved doing my makeup, my teeth were always sparkly white and my hair was always nicely bleached. Once I transitioned into being a mom, I was either too depressed to keep up any of that stuff or there was just literally no time for it. Somewhere around 7 months pregnant with Elliot, I started thinking about the things that I wanted to make a priority after the pregnant, and one of them was my self-care. Self-care looks different to everyone and even to me, it can look different from day to day. I made myself a post-pregnancy to-do list for once the baby is born: I wanted to go back to being blonde, buy myself a bunch of new makeup, and get my teeth whitened. So when Smile Brilliant approached me to try out their custom teeth whitening system, I was beyond excited to knock something off this to-do list.

Need to whiten your teeth? Stick through until the end for all the giveaway details! 

When I was younger, I had braces for 5 years and it sucked. My teeth weren’t too crooked, they were just misaligned and it took forever to get them to where they needed to go. In the end, the midline could never be lined up on both the top and bottom. My dentist hooked me up with some custom trays to do whitening at home and it was quick and easy. But it cost an arm and a leg. Plus I had to go to the dentist to have the impressions made of my teeth so they could create the custom trays.

Smile Brilliant is the exact same product I received from my dentist, except there were no trips to the dentist. I was able to create my impressions at home, mail them off to Smile Brilliant’s lab and they sent me back the custom trays for me to start using. I was able to create my impressions quickly and easily while the kids slept. Guys, I didn’t even have to leave the house!

Once the custom trays arrived at my doorstep, it was time to start the whitening process.Within about 2 whitening sessions, I saw a noticeable difference in the color of my teeth. Yahoooo! Buh bye coffee stains, hello white teeth.

Since becoming a mom, my coffee intake has like, quadrupled, and so has the staining on my teeth. And let’s be honest, the coffee ain’t going anywhere. I’m going to keep drinking my coffee! But now I have my secret weapon to combat the coffee stains. and what a boost in confidence I have now that my teeth are whiter and brighter! Still have questions about teeth whitening?


How Much Is Teeth Whitening

 

Now for the fun part. Enter to win your very own custom home teeth whitening kit so you can get those pearly whites in tip-top shape. The winner will receive $139 store credit to www.smilebrilliant.com*Giveaway open to UK, Australia, Canada, and USA residents*

If you just can’t wait, here’s a coupon code for 5% OFF: mommyzoid5

HAPPY WHITENING!

 

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post has been sponsored by Smile Brilliant. All opinions (and teeth!) are my own. Please read for disclosure policy for more information.

Baby, DIY & Home

Toddler Jeans-into-Shorts Upcycle

July 4, 2017

I feel like it was only yesterday that I was trying to convince my toddler to go from shorts into jeans in the fall. Now I’m trying to coerce him out of jeans and into shorts and he’s just not having it! But it’s nearly 30 degrees and he’s way too hot. Enter JORTS. Jean shorts!

A perfect little DIY for those jeans that still fit in the waist but the length in the legs is just way too short. It’s a common problem with growing kids!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

Baby

A Proper Diagnosis: The Road to Recovery

June 16, 2017

I’ve been pretty open and honest about my experience with depression and anxiety during my first pregnancy and during my second pregnancy. It’s been cathartic for me to share my journey, but also really awesome because I know I’ve helped some other women out along the way. I know this because they’ve reached out to me and thanked me, which was so brave! It’s because of those people and their kind words that I’m able to keep on sharing so others can read through my experience, see themselves in my story, and maybe get some answers to some questions they’ve had, or even get a proper diagnosis like I finally did.

The first time I really felt depressed was when I was 17 and I had just moved out on my own. I would have daydreams about driving off the highway and crashing my car on my way to class, wondering if anyone would even notice or care. This was the first of many times in my life where I would attempt something new, not enjoy it/lose interest, and feel like a complete failure. This cycle has been playing out for years and years and years and it wasn’t until very recently that it become clear that this wasn’t just a flaw in my character, but rather a really common disorder that I had no idea I had been living with my entire life.

Lets back up to the feelings of depression and anxiety. Since I was 20, I’ve been taking medications to help ease those feelings, and they worked, somewhat. I was certainly less depressed and less anxious, but still not living my best life. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my second child when I started receiving really amazing care at the children and women’s hospital in my city and I was given a whole new diagnosis. Sure, I was depressed and anxious but the underlying reasons for those feelings was because I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Say what? When my psychiatrist told me this I was so shocked. I mean, surely she was mistaken. But she wasn’t.

I was under the impression OCD looked a certain way because I’d only seen it portrayed in movies and TV one way. But there’s a type of OCD called Pure-O where you have these really intrusive obsessional thoughts. Here’s an example of an intrusive thought I have quite often. When my husband says goodbye before leaving for work and I wish him off to work, tell him to be safe, and that I love him, the second he shuts the front door I think back to what was the last thing I said to him in case he dies on his way to work and that was our last exchange. and instead of just leaving that thought there and thinking about something else, I’ll create this entire narrative about how I’ll be a widow with two kids. I let myself wander down this really unhelpful path.

One of my favorite quotes from one of my therapists:

There is no such thing as good thoughts or bad thoughts. All we have is thoughts and some are helpful and some are unhelpful.

With the help of my psychiatrist, we found the right medication that actually helps me with the real problem, which was these scary and unhelpful thoughts, and it was these thoughts that caused me anxiety and depression.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.

This journey has been like peeling back an onion — each layer that gets peeled back reveals even more.

The intrusive thoughts were all but gone which meant the anxiety and depression lessened considerably. But then I started noticing other aspects of my life that weren’t improving and becoming glaringly obvious as other aspects of my health improved. For example, I could stand in the kitchen and look at the sink full of dishes, go to wash them. But then I’d see something else I needed to do and start working on that, meanwhile the dish water is getting cold and the dishwashers half unloaded and the washer has wet clothes in it that I forgot to switch to the dryer last night and the garbage needs to be emptied and then I remember that thank you card I need to send, an appointment I forgot to book and my to-do list is growing and I can’t seem to focus on one thing long enough to finish a task. In these moments I feel like I’m spinning in circles but going nowhere.

I had all but accepted that this was just who I was. This was part of my character. That I just wasn’t cut out to be an adult. I would go to the store to get a specific thing and leave with everything but that one thing I needed. Then I’d beat myself up about forgetting something so basic. I would cause myself to become depressed and anxious over these things that felt out of my control. I was trying so hard to stay on track but nothing worked. It didn’t matter how many reminders, day planners, calendars, and to-do lists I had. I couldn’t get my s-h-i-t together.

But then a friend posted an article on Facebook about Adult ADHD in women. As I was reading this article the tears were streaming down my face. WHAT? Who wrote this? How do they know exactly what I’ve been through? But then I was confused because I thought ADHD was for hyperactive little boys.

What I didn’t know is there are different types of ADHD and girls don’t get diagnosed like boys do because boys generally have the hyperactive ADHD while girls trend toward inattentive or impulsive. I fall somewhere in the inattentive zone and I can see so much evidence of this behavior all through my life.

For a moment I was really sad. I thought about all the time I’ve lost and how much of my life I’ve spent beating myself up, calling myself a failure, starting things and never finishing them. But then I became so happy. Happy that I finally have some answers. Finally able to start living my life and enjoying it. The way I felt before was that I was just getting through life but never really enjoying the journey. The journey was agonizing and arduous so why would I enjoy it?

It’s been such a journey to get to this point and I know it’s just beginning but I have to say it’s such a wave of relief to know I’m on the right path, surrounding myself with the right information and learning lots of new skills to help me cope with my new diagnosis.

The moral of my story is if you think something is going on, trust your instincts. Talk to your doctor and keep digging. My doctors were never wrong. I was depressed and I was anxious but that was just a symptom of a much bigger issue.

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: All photos c/o Morgan Webb Photography

Baby, DIY & Home, Recipe

3 Easy Toddler-Friendly Popsicle Recipes

May 11, 2017

Healthy popsicle recipes that are sure to delight everyone this summer! Perfect for toddlers and teething babies, but still yummy enough for mama!

I’ve always loved giving my toddler smoothies. They are such a wicked way to make sure they get all their fruits (& veggies, too!) without them even realizing it! Plus we always have lots of fun creating new flavors and Oliver loves having a say in what we throw into the blender. With the warmer months coming (I swear they are coming!) I see lots of smoothies in our future. But another fun way to have our smoothies is frozen in popsicle molds! YUM!

Another fun way to have our smoothies is frozen in popsicle molds! YUM! Jam packed with fruit and real ingredients, these are some of our favorite popsicle recipes that are sure to cool you down in the hot sunshine. My advice is to have these outside, because of the STICKY MESS! Our popsicles are reserved for an afternoon hangout on the front porch or a post-park treat on the deck.

I’m also going to be busy making these to have on hand for Elliot who will be able to start baby-led weaning in June when he’s 6 months old! He’s also teething like crazy so it will be a yummy way to soothe those little gums while getting some nutrients and cooling down.

Chocolate Fudge

1 Cup of yogurt 

1 Scoop of Chocolate Protein powder

1 TBSP of Peanut Butter

Mix everything up in a bowl using a spoon until it’s a pudding consistency. Scoop mixture into a popsicle mold. This recipe makes about one popsicle in the molds I have, which are on the larger size. Freeze in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours.

Pineapple Coconut

1/2 Cup of Frozen Coconut

1/2 Cup of Frozen Pineapple 

1 Cup of Coconut Almond Milk 

1 TBSP of honey (optional)

Blend in blender until nice and smooth and then pour into a popsicle mold. This recipe makes about one popsicle in the molds I have, which are on the larger side. Freeze in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours.

 

Mixed Berry

1 Cup of mixed berries (I use a mix of blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries)

1 Cup of Coconut Almond Milk

1 TBSP of honey (optional)

Blend in blender until nice and smooth and then pour into a popsicle mold. This recipe makes about one popsicle in the molds I have, which are on the larger side. Freeze in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours.

If you try one of our favorite popsicle recipes, make sure to let us know! Tag me on Instagram so I can see what you made. and if you discover a fun new concoction, let me know! I want to try making as many new recipes this summer as we can!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. Please see full disclosure policy here.

Baby

A Letter to my Pre-Motherhood Self

May 8, 2017

Photo by Morgan Webb Photography

I can’t begin to describe to someone who’s about to become a mom how motherhood is going to feel. It’s just impossible to predict how it will feel for any given individual. My story has been remarkably normal, and not because it’s been without trials and tribulations. That’s exactly what has made it so terribly normal. It’s normal to have highs and lows. Every emotion & experience I’ve had has been completely and utterly normal. These kids of mine have changed me in ways I didn’t know were possible. Motherhood is a beautiful thing!

Not only is Mother’s Day in the month of May but May is also National Maternal Depression Awareness Month. In honor of this very important topic, I’m sharing a glimpse into my experience with motherhood, anxiety, depression and OCD. It breaks my heart to think of the thousands of women out there suffering in silence. I won’t be silent any longer because by sharing my story I know other women might see themselves in my words and seek the help they deserve.

This post is part of the ECM Media Mother’s Day Blog Hop! Stick through to the end to see all the posts from other east coast bloggers.


Dear Pre-Motherhood Self,

Happy Mother’s Day! You’re going to become a mom very soon. It’s going to be both everything and nothing at all like you’ve always imagined it to be.

You’re going to be amazing, even when it feels like you’re failing miserably. Your hardest critic is going to be yourself, but you’re going to learn how to parent yourself in the process, and you’re going to come out the other end stronger than ever.

There will be days, weeks, and months that feel like you’re just treading water, and I know this sounds scary, but your darkest days are yet to come. It may feel like a setback at the time, but wait until you see what a leap you’re going to make. You’re going to grow and it’s going to be beautiful.

Right now you’re studying up on all the different parenting techniques and figuring out what kind of humans you plan to raise. But what you aren’t preparing for is how these tiny humans will raise you. They have a gift for you and that gift is hope and healing.

There will be times when your world is void of color. You’ll have black days and gray days. But eventually, you’ll have days filled with color again, I promise!

Your children will be the greatest gift you’ll ever receive, and not in the material sense. Your two babies will be the reason you get help. The reason you reach out and access the care that you so desperately need and deserve.

Just relax and just breathe. It’s going to be a wonderful journey. And like every good journey, it’s not about the destination. Everything that is about to happen will happen for a reason. Be strong and please, for the love of god, just hold on.

Love from,

You as a mom of two!

Photo by Morgan Webb Photography

Now on to the blog hop! Check out some of my blogger friends below and see what they’re up to on their blogs for Mothers Day!

East Coast Moms Blog Hop - A Collection of Blog Posts Celebrating Motherhood


Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

 

Baby

Gifts Mom Really Wants

May 6, 2017
For Her

// Phone Case // FitBit Alta // Art Print // Mascara // Straw bag // Sandals // Lamp // Bar Cart //

 

Maybe I’m the odd one out but I really don’t like getting gifts. They make me feel uncomfortable and indebted to someone, which is NOT the point, I know. But it’s how I feel. It’s also extremely tough for my husband and me to get each other gifts because there’s really nothing we need. Since becoming a mom though, I don’t really spoil myself and I tend to gravitate toward gifts for the kids. I mean, I can justify pretty much anything for them. It’s a little harder to justify a new pair of Birkenstocks for myself or an upgraded FitBit, right? Even frivolous things for the house are harder to justify! I mean, I really don’t need artwork or a bar cart. I don’t even drink! But that bar cart would be totally adorable styled in my dining room! But sometimes you have to just do you for a moment and buy yourself the dang bar cart!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid