10 More Newborn Must-Haves

Hey, guess what! It turns out every baby is actually different. Go figure. Several things that worked for Julia aren’t needed for Madilyn (see ya later, yoga ball), so I have different products that we’re using now and loving. Consider this a follow up to my other post called 10 Newborn Must-Haves.

While having an additional child under your belt is slightly easier since you know what you’re doing, you still need to figure out the new baby’s personality, likes, and dislikes. Different strokes for different folks, ya know?

So here are 10 more newborn must-haves:

1. Rockaroo Swing by 4Moms

I love this thing. It has a small footprint compared to other rockers out there, it’s quiet, and it puts her to sleep almost instantly. Actually, when nothing else is on in the house (and if both girls are magically asleep at the same time), I sometimes just watch it move back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…and then the next thing I know, I’m waking up from a delicious nap. It works for moms and babies. Win/win. (Rockaroo in Mulit Plush, $179)

2. Play Mat

This baby loves to move and stretch. She started rolling over right after she turned two months, and by
three months she was rolling over both ways. She also does this army crawl thing and gets to the other side of the mat in no time at all. I love being able to put her down in a safe area for her to do her tummy time. Julia wasn’t terribly interested in all the toys that hang down from it, but Madilyn adores everything and actually plays with them. Ours is an older version of this one since baby number two got the hand-me-down, but both girls have loved looking at the animals, and the extra items that come with it are great. (Bright Starts Sunny Safari Baby Play Place, $100 – keep an eye on this, because it was about $30 cheaper the last time I checked)

3. Solly Baby Wrap

You’ve heard me mention this wrap before, but here’s my official “I love you” brag. It’s lovely, so comfortable, and she’s just snug as a bug in it. I wore Madilyn a lot as a newborn, but now that she can be worn in it with her legs out, I love it even more. The colors are divine, the material is so soft, and it’s lightweight, which helps us both stay cool. There are some times when I have this overwhelming desire to hold her close to me, but she’s a wiggly baby, so I pop her in my wrap and…BAM…instant cuddles. And seriously, nothing beats those lovely warm baby snuggles. (Solly Baby Wrap, $65—but they often have sales, so keep an eye on their Instagram account!)

4. An Awesome Diaper Bag

Okay, I technically have a diaper bag on the other list, but I truly adore this bag, so I really needed to mention it again. It’s fabulous and I think I’d love it even if I didn’t have a baby. It’s just a really great bag! If you want to hear more about it, you can read my review here.

5. Breastfeeding Supplements

I was really worried about my supply in those early days, so I made some awesome “boobie bites” with brewer’s yeast ($13) and snacked on those bad boys during the endless cluster feeding nights. I also put some in my oatmeal and even in smoothies. I also used the Motherlove More Milk Special Blend ($25) three times a day, and could tell when I had an increase in my supply. I’ve since tapered off on using them since my supply is holding steady, but I still have them on hand for the days that I don’t drink enough water or if I’m extra stressed.

6. Diaper Genie

Apparently people either love or hate these things. We fall into the love department over here, because anything that a) keeps the stink away and b) means I have to take less trips out to the big trash can is a keeper in my book. You’ll hear it time and time again that breastfed baby’s poop doesn’t stink, but they’re lying. It does stink. Sure, it’s not as strong as formula fed babies, but it still smells…especially if it’s sitting in an open trash can for more than a day. We’ve had our Diaper Genie for more than two years and it’s still working just fine. (Diaper Genie, $30)

7. Blooming Baby Bath

In our old home we had a really large sink, so with very careful hands (with wash cloths over them for “grip”), we’d give Julia a bath. Then, as she got older, we transitioned to the infant tub. The sinks in this house are on the tiny side, and even though we still have the infant tub, it just didn’t seem all that comfy to me, plus I didn’t want to be bending over our bathtub to reach her. This lovely device is awesome and I kinda wish they made a grown-up version. Maddie actually loves her baths and she looks adorable when
she sits in it for bath time. (Blooming Bath Baby Bath in Hot Pink, $47)

8. Woombie

We swaddled Julia for quite awhile, but gave up early on with the wrap swaddle for Maddie. It wasn’t worth all the constant reswaddling in the middle of the night. You know what is good in the middle of the night? Sleep! This thing is awesome, because it zips right up SO THEY CAN’T GET THEIR ARMS OUT. Genius. Serious genius. (Woombie, $28)

9. A Comfy Chair

This was our big splurge item for baby number two and it was worth every single penny. The actual brand name of it is called the “Best Chair,” and it’s totally true. I’ll sing this chair’s praises until the sun goes down, but the number one factor is that it’s  extremely comfortable. This particular chair is also super quiet when the recliner leg goes up and down (which is awesome if you have a sleeping baby in your arms), and it’s large enough to fit both girls and myself on it. Obviously you don’t have to get this chair, but I highly recommend a comfortable glider or rocker where you can put your feet up. (Best Chair Storytime Series Irvington in Ash, $500—but you can use a 20% off coupon from Buy Buy Baby)

10. Bouncer

I know most moms probably won’t admit this, but I occasionally don’t want to wear my baby, and sometimes she doesn’t want to be on her playmat, and sometimes I have a million other things I need to do around the house. I sometimes need my personal space (i.e. don’t want a baby all up on me), but she also doesn’t want to be on the ground (can’t blame her for that one), so what’s a mom to do? Enter: the bouncer. This baby must-have travels from room to room some days. It’s in the kitchen so I can cook, it sits outside my shower so I can clean myself up from all of her spit up, and it goes outside with us so she can get some fresh air while her sister plays with her water tower. Did I mention I picked ours up at a yard sale for five bucks? Not all baby gear has to break the bank! (Bright Starts Playful Pinwheel Bouncer, $22)

Okay, now it’s your turn! What are your newborn must-have items?
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Sweet and Spicy Red Chile Rubbed Ribs {recipe}

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® Smithfield® and Farmland®, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #GetUpandGrill #GetFiredUpGrilling http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

‘Tis the season for grilling! If there’s one thing I like about the spring and summer months it’s that we use our grill almost every single night. There’s something about eating meat and veggies hot off the grill that gives them so much extra flavor.

Confession time: I used to not eat meat, especially barbecued meat, and I most definitely never ever touched ribs with a ten foot pole. I was the girl nibbling a grilled cheese when everyone went out for BBQ. But now? Now I LOVE all things cooked on the grill, and ribs are no exception. Call me crazy, but eating ribs is kinda like being able to take out aggression with my teeth. YUM—GET IN MY BELLY!

Bringing it back to the topic at hand….

It turns out that May is one of my favorite months, and the only reason I say that is because it’s nice enough to be outside without feeling like you’ve stepped into a sauna. But more importantly, it’s when we usually bust open the grill. (And just for the record: when I say “we” in this post in regards to grilling, I usually mean “my husband.” I know how to turn the grill on, and technically I could certainly get my grill-on, but I’d rather be inside…away from the bugs and the additional heat from the grill.)

When we made our menu last week I had a craving for ribs. After I stopped singing, “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back…(you know the song!),” I headed over to Walmart and picked up a slab of Smithfield baby back ribs. I had a brilliant idea for them, and I’m pumped to share that with you today.

This is technically a family recipe, passed down from my father-in-law, but is so easy to tweak to your liking. We’ve put this rub on prime rib and roasts, and now on ribs. There’s a hint of sweetness, followed by a twang of spices, and then there’s the kick of heat that’s so addicting you’ll just want to keep eating—it’s literally finger-licking good.


  • Smithfield Pork Style Ribs
  • 4 Tablespoons New Mexico red chile powder (you can actually sometimes find this in your produce section or you can substitute regular chile powder)
  • 4 Tablespoons Brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoons Ginger powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce


Five hours before you want to eat, open the package of ribs, drain, and pat dry. Place a rack over a cookie sheet; put ribs on rack, meat side up. Mix all ingredients together really well. Pat red chile rub over the meat and sides really well. Let ribs sit for three hours so the flavors can seep in and mingle with the meat. About two and a half hours before eating, turn the grill on to its lowest setting (~225 degrees—for our grill that meant turning on just one burner to its lowest setting). Place ribs on the grill, bone side down, on indirect heat (whatever burner isn’t on). Close the grill lid and walk away. When the temperature of the ribs gets to around 145 degrees, baste (paint) a light coat of BBQ sauce over the ribs. Close the lid and walk away. Repeat every five minutes until meat reaches 155 degrees. Flip ribs (so it’s meat side down) to get some nice char on the meat. Take ribs off the grill and let them rest for around five to 10 minutes (carry over heat will bring it up to 160 degrees). Five minutes before eating: cut up ribs, plate them, grab some napkins, and enjoy!

Y’all, these ribs are even good cold, straight out of the fridge. I know this, because I can’t stop snacking on leftovers. One day I lacked some serious patience, because the ribs were calling to me, and I couldn’t bother heating them up before popping ’em in my mouth. I know I said this before, but they’re lip-smacking and finger-licking deeelicious. Trust me on this.

How do you like your ribs? Check out Get Fired Up Grilling for more recipes and tips from BBQ Pitmasters Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone. While you’re there, enter to win a trip to the American Royal BBQ contest and other great grilling prizes!

Madilyn Rose {three months}

It must’ve been a fluke that between month one and two was lovely and leisurely, because month two to three sped on by. With that said, this little girl is getting more delightful by the day! Her personality is starting to shine through—I’m pretty sure she’s going to be a people person by the way she lights up whenever she makes eye contact with anyone, especially her sister. It was also wonderful having my husband back home around for most of the month; it’s amazing having our family complete again.

At one point during the month (over a weekend, of course) I had a plugged duct, so my breast was super sore. Thankfully, after lots of nursing, heat, and massaging, it unclogged, but I was worried for a little bit. I have a feeling Maddie’s going to be an early crawler/walker by the way she gets her scoot on during tummy time. I put her down at the end of her play mat and/or blanket, and in a matter of minutes she’s at the other end. Did I mention this was happening before she even hit the three-month mark? Uh oh!

Dear Maddie Roo,
You, my little love bug, are a delight. I absolutely adore waking up to your giggles, and screeches, and coos. If someone has to wake up before an alarm clock goes off, that’s the way to do it. You rarely cry, so when you do I love on you and hold you close to get you to calm down, and usually within seconds you’re back to smiling again.

You’ve discovered your hands and feet this past month, so now I’m just waiting for you to start sucking on your toes—it was one of your sister’s favorite pastimes. While we wait, you’re enjoying tummy time, watching people, watching TV (we try moving you so you can’t see it, but goodness, you try pretty darn hard to see that bright screen), and you like to practice standing and sitting, but you still need help with both.

Take it easy, little one, because I’m in no big rush for you to grow up. I know that once you start moving, things will definitely change around here, and I’m kind of enjoying all of the snuggle time I get with you!

Love you lots,

Dear lil ‘Roo

Oh my goodness. Basically, that’s what I say every time I see you. I was gone the first few weeks of this month, which was really sad. When I left you, you would wiggle some, and squeak here and there, but that was about it. Once I got back it was seriously cray-cray how much bigger you were!!! You’re already a full pound and a half heavier than your sister was at that age, and about ten times more talkative. When you wake up in the mornings (side note, “morning” does not equal 5 am) you just sit there blabbing and giggling and having a confab with your mama and me and everyone!

The really awesome part is that for most of the rest of the day you’re just as happy and full of giggles. I like this. Things I’m not fond of? The Drool. See, here’s the thing about it: you drool everywhere. All. The. Time. I’ll pick you up from your mat and it’ll look like you just hopped out of a pool. So maybe try to work on that. Also, thanks for not pooping on me or your mama. We always appreciate that.

I love you!
Love, Your Papa

Maddie Roo, Mads, Sister Maddie, Little Bug

Watching your sister, people watching, tummy time (for the most part)

Waking up hungry, going to bed (some nights), being in the car (that needs to change)

Rolling over both ways, grabbing your feet, grabbing everything, watching objects as they move

No well-check this month, but your unofficial weight on our scale is a little more than 13 pounds, and I’m sure you’re more than 24″ (you were 23.75″ last month). 

Clothing Size:
Oh man. I put you in a six-month outfit this month. SIX MONTHS! Almost everything else is 3-6 months, but a few things (like your monthly picture above) are still 0-3 months. Actually, Wal-Mart’s clothes run a little bigger, so you can wear them for longer. Also in size two diapers.

You’re not sleeping through the night, because you wakes up anywhere from 2-4 times a night, but I still feel like it’s more sleep than I had with Julia. You used to go to sleep/bed easily, but lately it’s just not happening. Overall, though, I’m getting way more sleep than I thought I would with a baby, so sleep is okay.

Random Tidbits: 
We’re going on our first road trip with both girls next week. Cross your fingers and toes for us that it’ll go well!

The Transition to Two Under Two

I had a good day today. It’s easy to write—to think, to breathe—on the good days, and today was a good day. Most days, if I’m being completely honest, are way, way, better than I imagined. I had nightmares that life would cease to exist, because of how chaotic it would be with two kids underfoot. In reality, life goes on, and it’s not as hard as social media may lead you to believe.

Granted, I’m writing this at the tail end of the newborn phase. Ask me what it’s like again once the littlest is mobile and starts demanding more attention. Also talk to me once the summer hits and the oldest stops going to her mom’s morning out program a few times a week and we’re stuck inside because of hell-ish temperatures coupled with humidity (I’m sweating just thinking about it).

I think this transition has been somewhat easy, because Julia is a pretty fantastic big sister. We hit the jackpot with how she reacted to the new baby. Early on in my pregnancy I cried and cried and cried just thinking about how the dynamics of our family would drastically change once we went from three to a family of four. It could have been the first trimester morning sickness, but I basically made myself sick over thinking about how sad I was to not have Julia be my baby anymore. But then Madilyn arrived and it was like she’s been with us all along. People told me that would happen, and while I wanted to believe them, it’s not something I could comprehend until it actually happened. Julia constantly wants to hold her “Sister Maddie,” and she’s always asking about her and loving on her with hugs and kisses. The jealousy for attention peeks in every now and then, so we shower Julia with a little extra TLC when that happens.

In part, I think the ease of having two kids right now helps because they’re already so vastly different. Upon reflection, Julia had colic for the first several months of her life, which gave us little to no sleep for weeks at a time. That, combined with a rocky breastfeeding start made for some very trying times, especially as first-time parents. With the exception of Maddie having RSV during the second week of her life, she’s been a very “easy” baby. Breastfeeding is awesome, she coos, smiles, and giggles the majority of the time, and she even (*knocks on wood*) sleeps really, really well. All of this could of course change at a moments notice, but overall, the initial transition to two under two has been relatively great.

Our “fourth trimester” technically draws to a close today, and
I’m already sad she’s not a tiny baby anymore, but at the same time, I’m growing impatient and wishing she could walk, talk, and run off to go play with Julia. Whenever she sees her, Madilyn literally brightens up and is completely fixated on her big sister. Of course they’ll fight and be jealous of each other in the future, but I’m so excited to see them play together as sisters. The love that oozes out of both of them right now, at such a young age, is a sight to see.

Before we got married, and shoot—after I even had Julia—I was adamant that I would only want two kids. But now? Now I want more…lots and lots more. Watching them grow and love on each other, is utterly priceless; not to mention that seeing us as a family is quite possibly the best feeling in the entire world.

I know this sounds like our days are full of rainbows over here, and trust me, there are plenty of tears from at least one of us once a day, but overall, the transition far exceeded my expectations for what life would be like with a toddler and a newborn. And before you pop my happy bubble with “just wait” comments about what life will be like once they grow up, please just don’t. I know there will be bumps and I know how siblings will fight. But for right now with a toddler and a baby, things are better than good.

Currently {Mama’s Day + Disney Planning}

Monday mornings where both girls sleep in until almost 9 am call for a lazy blog post. Funny, though, that these are sometimes the ones I enjoy reading and writing the most.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! 

I’m currently…

Wishing that…
Mother’s Day was every day. I could certainly get used to having flowers delivered to me, eating my favorite French Toast for breakfast, opening presents, and not having to change a single diaper all day. Plus, the extra hugs and kisses from my girls were just icing on the chocolate dipped strawberries, which I ate after the little ladies went to bed!  

Listening to
The white noise machine. My husband’s
already at work, but I’m sitting in bed typing on my computer.
Somehow both girls are still asleep. (Although I’m sure I totally just jinxed that and they’ll both be up any minute.) 

Laughing at…
The picture below. Because everybody weighs themselves with an apple on the scale. 

Eating healthy again.
Not that I wasn’t eating healthy before, but after I had the baby I kinda gave myself a free pass to scarf down anything and everything in sight. Tired of seeing the number on the scale creep back up, I joined Weight Watchers (again*) and I’m loving it (again). I desperately needed some structure in my life as far as food goes. I love that they have an option for breastfeeding mamas, so I know I’m not messing with my supply. I haven’t felt one bit deprived, and I’m losing weight again…finally. I’ve only been on it for 3.5 weeks, but I’m already down more than 6 pounds. I’m so, so happy I joined. *I did WW before I got married and it helped me get to my goal weight back then, so I know it works. I actually dug out my super old tracker from 6 years ago, and let’s just say that if I ever make it back down to that weight, I think I’ll throw a party. 

Meal planning again!
My husband and I LOVE cooking, and when we were doing Paleo we kicked butt at meal planing. But then life got in the way and we kinda stopped. I got pregnant, he deployed, then the holidays were here, then the baby came, and yada, yada, yada. Well, we’re back at it now and I love knowing what we’re going to eat each night of the week. I don’t think I’ll have the time to devote a new post to it every week, but in the meantime, I may just post a picture on Instagram (#ThisWeeksEats). Oh, and if you’re new to menu planning and want to get started, here’s a quick guide.

Enjoying the weather.
We’re on the cusp of feeling like we’ve stepped into a sauna every time we leave the house, but for now the weather is tolerable out here. In other words, I’m not sweating the second I step foot outside. I know that’s about to change very quickly, though, so we’re basking in the lack of extreme humidity by going on walks at night…or at the very least, driving with our windows down.

Giving awaythis book (you should totally go enter—entries are low!)

Reading back issues of magazines.
It’s funny how the titles have changed over the years. Good Housekeeping, FamilyFun, and Parents magazines now come to my house. I’m also reading The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos, one of my favorite authors. I’m so happy she has a new book out!

Watching Jane the Virgin, and I’m sad tonight is the last episode of the season. 

Planning our trip to DISNEY WORLD!!!! 
Oh-em-gee, y’all, I’m so excited for this trip, but planning it makes my head spin. Luckily, Casey from Road Less Traveled Vacations is helping me—this girl knows how to travel, and I’m thankful it’s literally her day job. I need some help, though. If you’ve hung out with Mickey and the crew lately, tell me about all the delicious places you ate at. We’re going in November, and I’m days away from being able to book reservations at restaurants, but I have ZERO clue on where I should book. Help a girl out, please!

That’s about it from me. Hope you all have a great Monday!