Hayden is 7 months

Hayden is 7 months | chocolateandcarrots.com

Hayden is a sweetheart! He smiles at everyone and gets tickled at our dog, Leland. He has a temper when he doesn’t get his food fast enough, loves to grab his toes and jump up and down. Happy 7 months, Hayden Blaise!

Hayden is 7 months | chocolateandcarrots.com

  • Date: September 5th, 2015
  • Height: 28 inches
  • Weight: 22 pounds
  • Sleeping Pattern: Hayden wakes up around 6am and is awake for one hour before taking his first one hour nap. Then he stays awake for 2-3 hours and takes a 1-2 hour nap. He is awake for another 3 hours before taking his last 1-2 hour nap. He falls asleep for the night around 8pm and sleeps anywhere from 4-8 hour stretches until his final wake up at 6am. Towards the tail end of this month, he was sleeping all night long. I was the one that would come in to dream feed him in the mornings after 8 hours since the last feeding.
  • Eating Habits: The regular schedule is breastfeeding after every sleep (3 times during the day and 2 times at night), two 4 ounces of baby food during the day and 1-2 four ounce bottles during the evening hours.
  • Development: In addition to flipping from tummy to back, he is almost sitting up on his own! I will sit behind him or make a pillow fort around his back to prevent boo boo’s, but otherwise, he’s doing great!
  • Mischief: He’s learning how to take his pacifier out and put it back in. More often than not he gets mad that it won’t go back in like he wants it to and it ends up on the floor. Silly boy.
  • Cuteness: He throws smiles to anyone who looks his way. Taking him out in public is always a treat and he gets lots of smiles and “he is so cute!”, “those eyes! gorgeous!”.
  • Talking: He’s not so much as talking, but will certainly let us know when he’s hungry or has a diaper. He has quite the temper when he sees a bottle or a spoon and it’s not instantly in his mouth!
  • Favorites: He is still loving his blanket while sleeping. He’ll bring it from his feet up to his face and fall sleep rubbing it on his face. It’s so cute! He is also pretty attached to his pacifier.
  • Firsts: Hayden tried rice crispies for the first time and likes them! The only frustrating thing for him is getting them in his mouth fast enough. Hayden has also added a few foods to the list like peaches (loves!), whole milk yogurt (a fan when mixed with fruit) and green beans, butternut squash and sweet potatoes. We’ve also switched him to a convertible rear facing car seat. He doesn’t like it nearly as much as his infant car seat because it’s not equipped with a toy across it and he often drops the toys I give him.
  • Concerns: He still has crossed eyes when he is tired. We’re going back to the eye doctor in October to see if he has had any improvements or what we can do to help fix it.
  • A Day in the Life: Well, life for Hayden’s sleep just got a little easier with his daddy now working from home, too! He actually gets to take full naps in his crib while I take Liam to/from school and run errands. Hayden will wake up for the day around 6am, breastfeed, play for 1 hour and go back to sleep for 1 hour. He will wake up again, breastfeed, play for 1 hour, solid food, play for 1-2 hours and go back to sleep for 1-2 hours. Again, he will wake up, breastfeed, play for 1 hour, solid food, play for 2-3 hours and go back to sleep for 1 hour. He’ll wake up for a final evening session of breastfeeding, playing and bottle and breastfeeding before bedtime around 8pm. He’ll wake up 1 time throughout the night to feed again.
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DIY Baby + Toddler Haircut

A step by step guide to giving a toddler a haircut in the bath tub. I’m honored to be a contributor for Inspired Home, sharing these tips and much more!

DIY Baby + Toddler Haircut | chocolateandcarrots.com

I’ve had to get creative over the years with hygiene and haircuts for my boys. It all started out when my husband received unfavorable haircuts from discount salons. I couldn’t take it! So, I bought a pair of scissors and went to practicing. My husband was very patient with me while I learned to cut hair. When it came time for Liam to get his first hair cut, it was only natural that I do it!

Since that first baby haircut, Liam has had about 10+ haircuts. I hope my trial and error of giving a baby and toddler haircut will help you ease into home grooming in no time!

DIY Baby + Toddler Haircut | chocolateandcarrots.com

All you need is a few tools and you’ll be well on your way to being a pro at hair cutting. With all of this practice, I now cut my husband, sons and even our dog’s hair. When I’m lucky, my sisters even let me trim their hair!

Before and After:

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DIY Baby + Toddler Haircut | chocolateandcarrots.com

Head over to Inspired Home to see step by step of how I cut my kid’s hair, nails and more!

DIY Baby + Toddler Haircut | chocolateandcarrots.com

I have been selected by the International Housewares Association to be a contributor for Inspired Home. While I have been compensated for my time, my opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

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NYC #EndMommyWars Event!

I’m honored to be a Sisterhood of Motherhood partner, a sponsored blog partner this year. I’m joining #SisterhoodUnite and making my pledge to end the mommy wars.

#EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com

Here we go!

Hayden and I traveled to New York City this week to meet up with Similac, the Sisterhood of Motherhood bloggers, the Today Show and the Duff sisters! What?!? It was a dream.

We took our very first cab ride to our hotel, the Langham Place (hotel review to come!) and had a little down time to rest in the hotel before a lovely dinnertime with the bloggers, Similac and MSL Group.

#EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com

#EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com

Dinner

We traveled to a restaurant called Gallow Green for a roof top dinner. It was full of wonderful conversation and fun making friends! Hayden loved getting snuggles from all the ladies.

#EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com

The Next Morning

We were up early for a behind the scenes tour of the Today Show. While inside we saw the anchors: Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Carson Daly, Natalie Morales, Dylan Dreyer and Wrangler the dog. We also saw Carol Burnett a few times near the control room!

Meanwhile, Hayden had everyone wrapped around their fingers with his adorable outfit.

#EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com

Next stop, the 65th floor of Rockerfeller Center…the Rainbow Room!

I’m so passionate about the Sisterhood of Motherhood campaign that Similac has initiated this year. It’s all about spreading parental support, not judgement towards each other. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by parents during this event (especially since I was the only one who brought a baby…he was spoiled rotten by these lovely ladies!) that were in full support of me as a mom. It was a total no judgement zone. If only we could surround every other parent in our lives with the same support that I felt during the event in New York City, what a beautiful world it would be.

Back to the Rainbow Room. We first sat down to watch the debut of the #EndMommyWars trailer (movie comes out in October). You can watch the trailer here! It looks so good!

Next up was the main event: a roundtable/panelist talk all about why we judge, how we feel when we’re judged and what we can do about all the judgement. It was moderated by Sheinelle Jones and the panelists were Hilary Duff, Haylie Duff, Jenna Wolfe, Rebecca Dube and Dr. Shefali Tsabary.

Here’s a summary of the best advice that I got from the event:

  • Everyone is going to have an opinion and you can’t stop people from judging you, but what you can do is not let other people’s judgements affect how you raise your children.
  • There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. We’re all a work in progress and no one has the right answers. Ever. All you can do is do the best you can, love your children with all that you’ve got. If you do all of that then you’re doing it right.
  • Take responsibility for what you put out in the world. You are in charge of you and only you can stop yourself from judging other parents and from judging yourself!
  • Give yourself a break and remember that people are coming from all walks of life.
  • End the mommy wars and support one another!

 

Here’s the entire panel video if you’d like to watch it!

 

Now, for the fun pictures!

#EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com #EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com

Credit NBC TODAY at The Rainbow Room

Our table! Photo Credit NBC TODAY at The Rainbow Room

Credit NBC TODAY at The Rainbow Room

Sisterhood of Motherhood bloggers with the Duff sisters! Photo Credit NBC TODAY at The Rainbow Room

Credit NBC TODAY at The Rainbow Room

The whole crew! Photo Credit NBC TODAY at The Rainbow Room

Credit NBC TODAY at The Rainbow Room

Hilary melting over Hayden sleeping. Photo Credit NBC TODAY at The Rainbow Room

Credit NBC TODAY at The Rainbow Room

Hilary loving Hayden’s sweet sleeping face! Photo Credit NBC TODAY at The Rainbow Room

#EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com

#EndMommyWars NYC Event! | chocolateandcarrots.com

This post was sponsored by Similac and has partnered with bloggers like myself for its Sisterhood of Motherhood program. As a part of this program, I have received compensation for my time, but all opinions are my own. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.
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Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party

I’m honored to be a member of the Pampers Baby Board, sharing all about their new Cruisers diapers, a video of our playdate party and lots of cute baby booties. Thanks Pampers!

Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party | chocolateandcarrots.com

This summer Hayden and I traveled to the Pampers headquarters in Ohio where we got a first look of the new Cruisers diapers! I was so excited to try them on my baby and share with you.

In celebration of the new diapers, I hosted a playdate party to showcase how well the babies and toddlers could move and groove in these new diapers. It’s what Pampers is calling going from #SagtoSwag.

Sag:

#SagtoSwag | chocolateandcarrots.com

To Swag!

Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party | chocolateandcarrots.com

The science behind it is pretty fascinating. In the Pampers labs, we were able to see how they built the diapers and got to perform experiments. We poured liquid into the ordinary diapers and the new Cruisers to see how they absorbed it and reacted when movement was applied. With the help of my lab partner, Janssen (Everyday Reading), we poured the equivalent of a full nights wetting into the diaper and then shook it from one end to see how the wet insides moved. The ordinary diaper’s insides fell straight down with gravity when shaken, however the new Cruisers stayed in place.

It’s the new diaper’s three new Extra Absorb ChannelsTM inside that helps distribute wetness evenly so it stays drier and doesn’t sag like ordinary diapers. Woot!

Pampers #SagtoSwag

They still have the have three layers of protection and the thin core to help lock away wetness and provide up to 12 hours of protection. You won’t believe how thin and soft the diapers are when you first put it on. That was the first impression of the parents at the playdate. I love how they saw a noticeable difference from the start, just like I did!

Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party | chocolateandcarrots.com

The new Cruisers give baby the freedom to move and play in their own unique way, bringing out their own one-of-a-kind SWAG! Think of “Swag” as your baby’s unique personality and the movement that makes them who they are. Swag in this case is more about movement, not necessarily style. Love it!

Further, it’s all about what’s #BetterforBaby. I’m still in awe that that is Pampers’ constant mission. It makes me feel so good as a parent to know that I’m purchasing products from a company that truly cares about my baby.

Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party | chocolateandcarrots.com

We’ve been using the Cruisers with Hayden for the past few weeks and so far I love how they work! I can’t wait until he’s up and walking to really see how well they work…well, maybe I can wait a little longer. I can’t believe my baby is getting so big!

Anyway. We hosted a playdate party for all of the kids.

First up, presents! I got each child their very own pack of Pampers Cruisers and a little toy to take home! Gosh, I get into so much trouble at Target.

Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party | chocolateandcarrots.com

Then, it was time to party! Just look at all of those cute booties.

Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party | chocolateandcarrots.com Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party | chocolateandcarrots.com

And here’s a little video from our playdate:

Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party | chocolateandcarrots.com Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party | chocolateandcarrots.com Pampers #SagtoSwag Cruisers Playdate Party | chocolateandcarrots.com

The Pampers Cruisers diapers are geared towards active babies and toddlers (diaper sizes: 3 through 6) which allow little ones to move and play freely with Pampers best protection and fit. I’ve been buying them for my kids at Target, but I bet you can find them at any retailer or online. Yay, for no more sagging!

What do you think?
Do you have any sag stories?
Are you ready to try the new Pampers Cruisers?

Pampers #SagtoSwag

Pampers Twitter
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This review was made possible by iConnect: Influencer Management and Pampers. I received product free of charge and was compensated for my time, but all opinions are 100% mine. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

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how to get your toddler to eat healthier lunches

I’m honored to be a Stonyfield Ambassador this year, sharing tips and tricks like how to get your toddler to eat healthier lunches. Come see what I’m sharing today!

how to get your toddler to eat healthier lunches | chocolateandcarrots.com

I’ve been really lucky that Liam has always been a decently good eater. We’ve gotten into ruts before where all he’ll eat are pancakes or pretzels and that’s all he’ll eat for a while. Once we’ve run out, I tell him we need to buy more at the grocery store and that usually satisfies him. We’ll pause on the unhealthier foods for a few weeks while he learns to try and love other healthy foods. By the time we purchase more goodies, he loves the new foods so much that he gets a good balance of both.

What steps have I taken to get him to eat healthier?

  • Getting kids involved in the food prep – Liam will either stand on a stool next to me or on the counter by me while I chop and prep fruits and vegetables. I will offer samples of these healthy foods and he loves tasting them! Even when he goes back to playing, he’ll come back and ask for more samples.
  • Explaining what is on the plate or what we’re cutting – Asking questions and talking about the foods makes him more likely to eat it. We talk about the color, shape, size and what it tastes like!
  • Giving kids variety – If you offer the same fruits and vegetables every single time, it gets boring. Instead, take your kids to the grocery store and let them help pick out new fruits and vegetables to take home and try. This will get them invested in the decision making process and allow them a wider variety of healthy foods to learn to love.
  • Serving Dishes – It’s like me and my favorite coffee cup: coffee just tastes better when it’s in there! Having fun divided plates, containers or lunch boxes just makes it taste better!
  • Sweets – At the other end of the spectrum, I like to also incorporate a little sweet treat into the mix. It’s all about balance and moderation. I grew up with some kids who weren’t allowed any candy, snacks or even sweet cereals. Because of that, when they got to be older they would binge eat the junk food when out of the parent’s watch. I don’t want my kids to be like that. Life’s too short to not allow kids to experience junk food! But, again, it’s all about balance, right?

how to get your toddler to eat healthier lunches | chocolateandcarrots.com

After all of this practice, meal time eating becomes less of a battle of broccoli versus chips, but more of a fun and healthy learning experience! And now that school is starting back up, you won’t be there to explain or encourage eating the healthy foods in your child’s lunch box. By exploring healthy foods prior to packing them in lunches, there won’t as much hesitation to trying the foods. And who knows, your child might really love it! There’s no reason healthy foods can’t be tasty!

Here are some healthier lunch box ready options for your toddler:

  • carrot and cucumber sticks with dressing
  • whole grain tortellini
  • grapes cut in half
  • Stonyfield yogurt pouches
  • thinly sliced apples (dipped in lemon juice to keep from browning)
  • grilled chicken cubes with seasoning
  • red, orange, yellow and green bell pepper slices – kids love colors!
  • applesauce pouches
  • peanut butter and strawberry slices on whole wheat bread
  • honey dew melon or cantaloupe cut into shapes

What foods does your child like to eat for lunch? How do you help your children eat healthier?

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

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dear parent of the tantruming toddler

I’m honored to be a Sisterhood of Motherhood partner, a sponsored blog partner this year. I’m joining #SisterhoodUnite and making my pledge to stop the mommy wars.

Most of us have experienced dealing with a tantruming toddler in public. I tend to go in embarrassment mode: red face, avoiding all eye contact from strangers and will do or say anything to my child to get him to stop the outburst. I always come stocked with a tantrum tools in my diaper bag as bribes for the said coaxing. Sometimes my bribery works, but sometimes we have to just leave our cart and go home. Been there, too?

And most of the time when we’re out running errands, we’ll see or hear at least one other toddler have a melt down in the aisle next to us. Sh*t hits the fan and that little person can’t be consoled. I think the worst part about it isn’t the fact that your child is screaming, it’s that you’re too worried about what the onlookers are thinking of you and your parenting. Inside you feel judged. You just want to crawl inside a little hole and wait until the coast is clear to leave. It’s so embarrassing! Try as you may, the little creature won’t calm down and you see glares and stares out of the corner of your eye.

As onlookers, what do you do? What can you do? Would they want you to do something? I feel awful being just feet away from the poor parent who is clearly embarrassed, too. I want to run to them and give them a hug and say, “I’ve been there! That was me yesterday!” But instead of being a creeper, I keep on walking. Thankfully, my own toddler’s words are out of ear shot of the parent when he asks, “Why he upset?”

Every time my toddler has a tantrum, I get the stares and just keep on keeping on, red face and all. However, let me tell you the most memorable act of kindness I’ve ever received when it happened to me.

Story time!

I was very pregnant with Hayden and had to make a quick run to Whole Foods with Liam. I didn’t even get a cart, just a basket because I only needed two quick things from the baking aisle. I knew Liam was nearing nap time and his patience was running low. I took the risk of taking him in to the store anyway.

*Bashes palm on forehead.*

We went straight to the aisle that I needed, which also happened to house the candy. Oye. Queue the break down when I said, ‘no’:

You said no? No! My life is over! What am I going to do with myself? There’s nothing to do except scream and cry, flail my arms in the air and make it look like I’m making snow angels on the dirty floor.

Yep. That’ll show her.

It was taking me longer than I would have liked to locate my items and there was no way I could carry my toddler and basket with my giant pregnant belly. So, I let him tantrum all over the floor of the grocery store aisle.

Within minutes of his tantrum beginning, this Whole Foods angel came right up to me with a grocery cart and an applesauce pouch. She didn’t say a word, just smiled. She put my items in the cart and handed me the applesauce pouch. Instantly, the tantrum stopped and he got right in the cart to enjoy his snack. What?! We proceeded to have a glorious shopping trip, staying longer than I had planned because Liam was being so good.

A small part of me wondered if she did it to get the annoying kid to stop crying, but I like to think the best of people, so most of me likes to think that she did it because she saw a pregnant mother in need. I felt so special and supported with that act of kindness.

Anti-Tantrum Tools for your Toddler | chocolateandcarrots.com

Since then, I always come prepared with a diaper bag stocked with anti-tantrum tools:

  • Snacks – I make sure to always stock up on my toddler’s favorite snacks to give out when I see a tantrum about to emerge. He doesn’t get fruit snacks at home, so it’s always a special treat to get through shopping trips, too.
  • Water – The tantrums that are brought on because I wasn’t prepared for a thirsty child are the worst. Nothing will subside the fit and we usually have to leave. I forgot the sippy cup once and I never will again.
  • Toys – I bring small toys that my toddler hasn’t seen in a while. I keep small cars in my diaper bag for extra entertainment.
  • Germ Juice – You wouldn’t believe the distraction wiping hands with antibacterial hand sanitizer will do. And if your child is like mine, I can give him a wipe in the cart and he’ll spend a good 15 minutes wiping every inch of it. Win/win!

When I was the onlooker

I was shopping in Target with my crew the other day and saw a dad and his child. The child was at the beginning of a temper tantrum and the mother-in-me noticed that he came without a diaper bag. Ah, judgement #1. Bad. I kept thinking how crazy he was, but sometimes you forget or like me in Whole Foods, you think you’ll be okay during your quick trip.

I wanted so badly to go over to him and share a fruit snack with him, in hopes of making their trip better. I didn’t. Would it have been weird if I did that, like a creeper giving out contaminated candy? Would he have felt supported? Would he have felt less judged?

I want to commit to #SisterhoodUnite and want to do anything I can to help the parent of the tantruming toddler feel not judged. I want to help end the mommy wars.

I’m curious, if you were the parent with the toddler who is having a tantrum, what would you want strangers to do? Ignore you and your child and keep on walking? Give you a smile and keep walking? Accept a snack for the child or a hug for you? Give you a little reassurance, “I was there yesterday! I hope today gets better for you!”? Tell me! I want so badly to not be awkward and want to put a smile on my fellow parent’s faces, so they don’t feel alone in this.

Similac’s #SisterhoodUnite is aiming to end the judgement and made a wonderful video that highlights the real life anecdotes from parents:

After you watch, join in #SisterhoodUnite and head over to the Similac Facebook page and share the one thing you will do to help end the mommy wars. I’m doing it! Oh, and the Duff Sisters (Hilary + Haylie, the new faces of this campaign…gorgeous faces) are doing it, too!

This post was sponsored by Similac and has partnered with bloggers like myself for its Sisterhood of Motherhood program. As a part of this program, I have received compensation for my time, but all opinions are my own. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.
Posted in toddler | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

a HUGE donation to make life #betterforbaby

I’m honored to be a member of the Pampers Baby Board. I am not paid for this; I just love the brand and the people behind the brand SO much that I want to share. Today, I’m sharing about what I did to help make life #BetterForBaby in Charleston, South Carolina, thanks to Pampers.

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity | chocolateandcarrots.com

Oh, Pampers. Where do I begin?

I’ve always been a huge Pampers fan. After trying all the different brands on my children, I liked Pampers the best. Fast forward 3 years and I get a call from Pampers! Pampers!!! They want me to be on the Pampers Baby Board. Of course, I accept.

Coincidentally, they were hosting the Pampers Baby Board Blogger Day a few weeks after I joined the board. I got the opportunity to take Hayden with me to meet the amazing people at Pampers and on the Pampers Baby Board.

I was in love.

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity | chocolateandcarrots.com

Upon returning home and learning all of the amazing things Pampers does beyond just innovating comfortable and practical diapers for my little ones, I got an email about submitting a proposal to do something that I believed would help embody the meaning behind #BetterForBaby. Basically, #BetterForBaby stemmed from the thought that:

“Babies are the most powerful agents of change in the world. When a baby comes into your life, you want to be a better person for that baby. We are all affected by a baby’s power to change us for the better. And because of this, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do to make life better for baby.” -Pampers

Gosh, I just love that!

I mean, what person doesn’t see a baby in the grocery store and not smile? Okay, if the baby is crying like a crazy drunk renegade…you may not want to smile at it. But, if it’s sleeping, looking around or even smiling, you can’t help but smile.

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity | chocolateandcarrots.com

Speaking of #BetterForBaby, have you seen the video that Pampers put out showing what it really means? Check it out. They actually showed this video to us at the Blogger Day in June and I’m not going to lie, I was bawling.

Tears of happiness.

Now, I catch myself humming the song to Hayden as I lay him down to sleep.

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity | chocolateandcarrots.com

After talking with people from my community, I learned of Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina, where they are on a constant mission to help make life better for babies.

At Florence Crittenton (who have been serving SC for 118 years!!!) their mission is to help young, at-risk pregnant and parenting women to become self-sufficient and responsible mothers. They house pregnant girls ages 10-21 from ANYWHERE in South Carolina (not just in Charleston). These girls are not only pregnant, but also have other challenges and risk factors. But, at Florence Crittenton, they receive residential care, academic education, group and individual counseling, pre-natal care, and life skills instruction.

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity  | chocolateandcarrots.com

They are preparing these girls to take ownership of their pregnancy and their lives. That way, they will be more inclined to make informed, beneficial choices for themselves and their babies.

Now, here’s where we come in!

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity | chocolateandcarrots.com

There is a point system for doing good things like going to school, pre-natal visits and good behavior. These points can be ‘cashed’ for things like diapers in preparation for their baby arriving! Love it!

I knew I wanted to extend this $2500 #BetterForBaby grant as far as it would take me to get the maximum for Florence Crittenton.

Here’s what I did.

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity | chocolateandcarrots.com

I waited until there was a sale on Pampers products at Target (they always seem to sell Pampers the cheapest). It just so happened that this sale was for any box of Pampers diapers for $24.99. Then, if you bought 2 boxes, you got a $10 Target gift card in return for a later purchase.

Stay with me here.

After many hours of calculations and phone calls to Target, I came up with this:

Donated Diapers and Wipes Table | chocolateandcarrots.com

These numbers were all based on what Target had in stock and of course, what sizes Florence Crittenton could use the most.

Then, I first made 5 large transactions, purchasing as many boxes of diapers in even numbers (to get the maximum gift cards in return) as the $2500 would allow. Then, those shipped out…and I received 23 huge boxes via FedEx.

Boy, did my mail man hate me that day.

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity  | chocolateandcarrots.com

Next, I used the 43 $10 Target gift cards to make 10 transactions of Pampers Sensitive Wipes. The number of wipes transactions here was due to Target.com’s regulation for only allowing 4 gift cards per transaction and needing free shipping (purchase total over $25).

All in all, I was able to get $430 MORE Pampers for Florence Crittenton with the use of the sale prices and gift cards. With a little number crunching, you can make a little go a long way!

How to extend your money to make a huge donation like this Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity | chocolateandcarrots.com.jpg

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity | chocolateandcarrots.com

Finally, the day arrived when my family and I loaded up the trailer with all of the diapers and wipes!

It was a scorcher, so thank you for all of your sweat, family!

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity | chocolateandcarrots.com

Within minutes, we had filled the prize room to the brim. I can just picture the girl’s faces when they walk into that room and see all of those glorious Pampers!

Please enjoy the rest of the photographs of our team delivering the diapers, the Florence Crittenton campus and some amazing facts about the programs.

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity  | chocolateandcarrots.com

Florence Crittenton 2015 Fact Sheet

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A huge THANK YOU to Pampers for the #BetterForBaby grant!

Please visit Florence Crittenton’s website for more information on how you can help make life better for baby.

Pampers #BetterForBaby Donation to Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina #donation #charity |  chocolateandcarrots.com

This post was created in partnership with Pampers. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. I received this grant to use for this wonderful program. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

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Hayden is 6 months

Hayden is 6 months | chocolateandcarrots.com

How cute is this guy’s baby mohawk! I couldn’t help myself. 

  • Date: August 5th, 2015
  • Height: 27.5 inches
  • Weight: 19 pounds 9 ounces
  • Sleeping Pattern: Hayden wakes up around 6am and is awake for one hour before taking his first one hour nap. Then he stays awake for 2-5 hours and takes 30-60 minute naps throughout the day. Despite our efforts to be quiet, he doesn’t nap very long during the day (you try keeping a 3 year old quiet). He goes down at night for good around 7pm and sleeps anywhere from 2-8 hour stretches until his final wake up at 6am.
  • Eating Habits: Up until the last week of his 5th month, Hayden enjoyed lots of breastfeeding (every 2 hours during the day and every time he wakes at night), 3-4 4oz bottles and one ‘meal’ of baby food (usually 2 ounces). However, during the last week of the month, he has added a second ‘meal’ of baby food.
  • Development: He’s officially mastered flipping from his stomach to his back. Every time I come into his room after he’s awake, he’s laying there on his back talking and sucking on his blanket.
  • Mischief: This boy knows how to create amazingly huge diapers. Since starting solids, it’s been a poop in the diaper after almost every meal. Pee yew! He also has ‘man burps’ after every feeding…what can I say, he takes after me (the burp part, that is). 😉
  • Cuteness: He loves watching Liam and smiles back at any one who throws him a smile, even strangers. His hair has gotten long enough to put in a mohawk…precious. He’s been doing this all along, but now he does it more frequently: when nursing, rubbing his hand up and down the breast and grabbing at my shirt or bra. So sweet.
  • Talking: The last week of the month he discovered his voice! He now yell/grunts all the time, especially when he’s trying to get things into his mouth to chew on.
  • Favorites: He loves putting blankets and washcloths in his mouth. He also loves his car seat toy (he’s become a pro at pushing the buttons). He continues to love the ExerSaucer, too. The pacifier is still very soothing to him, but he doesn’t necessarily need it 24/7.
  • Firsts: Hayden had his first solid food (peas) when he was almost 5.5 months old. He did not like them one bit. He’s since tried green beans, carrots, prunes and pears. He’s not a fan of vegetables alone (at all), so I mix them with fruits. Hayden started getting his first two teeth (the bottom center) on July 31st.
  • Concerns: Teething is driving him crazy. He’s drooling and biting down when nursing.
  • A Day in the Life: He gets up, has his first breastfeeding session and we play quietly together before the rest of the house wakes up. He plays for an hour and goes down for his morning hour nap. He wakes up and has his second breastfeeding session followed by his first solid food meal of the day. He will play for about 2 hours (this will be in his ExerSaucer, activity mat, bouncy seat, mommy’s lap, in the Ergo or in the car seat when running errands). He’ll take another nap, drink (breastfeed and possibly a bottle, too) and play…repeating this all day until 7pm. He’ll wake up 1-3 times during the night until he wakes up for good at 6am.
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#unitemonday #giveaway

I’m honored to be a Sisterhood of Motherhood partner, a sponsored blog partner this year. Thanks to the support of #unitemonday, I’m trying hard to stop judging myself for my mommy slip ups and you should, too!#UniteMonday | chocolateandcarrots.com

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been terrible at comparing myself to others. It goes back to middle school when I was comparing my sense of style to my peers. Then, in high school, I was comparing my figure to all of the petite girls. This fueled a low self-esteem in an already challenging environment. Ouch. After college, it turned to comparing my occupation with others (she works for NASA, she runs her own business, she’s traveling the world, etc.).

Then, after years of battling infertility (all the while being very angry at my friends who were easily getting pregnant…why did I do that?!?) I got pregnant and was on cloud nine. Pretty soon the comparisons snuck back in. It became all about comparing how good of a parent I was and being judgmental about my own parenting!

Stop. Just stop. I have to just stop!

Sometimes the shit hits the fan, literally (or at least it’s hit the walls in my house), and you just have to move forward.

Just take a deep breathe, regroup and tell yourself it’s going to be okay. No one is perfect, even though it may look like it sometimes. It doesn’t help that with the birth of social media, other people’s lives through photos may look perfect. They’re not, trust me. Everyone is just putting the best of themselves online for everyone to see, because who doesn’t like to seem perfect? I know I don’t!

Even if I’m not comparing myself to others, I still have self-judgmental feelings creep back in.

You see, when I first had Liam, I felt like it was my job to be as perfect of a parent as possible. I read all of these parenting books and had all of these rules in my mind that we would follow to parent him the best that we thought possible. Still to this day, I like sticking to a routine and following through with the rules that we’ve set up. I feel like that keeps us all honest and the day predictable.

Butttt…there’s always a but (or butt…we’re potty training)… since we’ve added to our family with the birth of our second child, life has been a little crazier. It’s been especially crazy because my husband is insanely busy with work and going back to school. Because of all the craziness, it’s hard for me to always stick to the rules. No day is perfect and sometimes we all just need to let down our hair (or else I’d pull it all out…oh wait, it’s all falling out post baby anyway…ugh).

As a fun little weekend treat, I let our 3 year old decorate his pancakes with chocolate and sprinkles (yes, I have a 7 pound jug of sprinkles…from the baby sprinkle!) instead of the usual mound of berries. Then, on Sunday, he asked for the same thing. And you know what? I let him. Because, well why not? He was so cute.

He said, “Pleeeeease cancakes pinkles NNNs”, all with his hands folded like he was praying and begging all at the same time. How could I not? So, I did.

#UniteMonday | chocolateandcarrots.com

Then, comes Monday again and I can’t let him have straight up candy for breakfast every morning. I broke the rules over the weekend and I feel terrible. How do I explain it to a toddler who doesn’t understand days of the week?

Now that I think about it, I’m breaking all sorts of rules that we set for our kids because, well, life is hard and I could use a little more screen time for my kids on the weekends.

Instead of feeling guilty about my rule breaking over the weekend, I’m joining the Sisterhood of Motherhood and celebrating #UniteMonday. Every Monday follow the hashtag #UniteMonday and share any of your rules you bent over the weekend. We won’t judge. We get it. We’re all in it together.

Now, let’s all eat sprinkles:

Giant Jug of Sprinkles #giveaway | chocolateandcarrots.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was sponsored by Similac and has partnered with bloggers like myself for its Sisterhood of Motherhood program. As a part of this program, I have received compensation for my time, but all opinions are my own. Similac did not provide the giveaway. I paid for that on my own and it was not sponsored by anyone but me. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.
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Hayden is 5 months

Hayden is 5 months | crackersandcarrots.com

  • Date: July 5th, 2015
  • Height: 27 inches
  • Weight:  17 pounds  8 ounces
  • Sleeping Pattern: See “A Day in the Life”.
  • Eating Habits: Hayden breastfeeds every 2-3 hours all day and night. He also has 1-2 4oz bottles during the day.
  • Development: He grabs things and puts them in his mouth.
  • Mischief: Waking up 2-3 times during each this month. Bad habit? Not sure.
  • Cuteness: When you get close to him and start talking to him, he gets very excited and does this high pitch squeal.
  • Talking: Usually in the form of blowing bubbles.
  • Favorites: Pacifier, excersaucer, close face-to-face interaction, acting like a zombie and wanting to eat your face or shoulder.
  • Firsts: Hayden had his first one-on-one time with mama this month! Together we flew to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit Pamper’s headquarters for two days!
  • Concerns: I’ve been experiencing more plugged ducts and milk blisters this month. I’m thinking it’s due to Hayden’s lazy feeding. Those bottles just produce a lot quicker results for a hungry boy…I can’t blame him for wanting bottles. 😀
  • A Day in the Life: Hayden wakes up around 5:30am and stays awake just long enough to fall asleep just as Liam is waking up (around 7am). He sleeps for 1 hour and wakes up for 1 hour. Then, he sleeps for 2 hours and is awake for 2 hours. Sleeps for 1 hour and wakes for 2 hours. Sleeps for 30 minutes and is awake for another 2.5 hours until he falls asleep for good at 7pm. I’ll dream feed him once around 10pm and he’ll wake up around 2am for another feeding. Then, he’ll start it all over again at 5:30am!

Hayden is 5 months | crackersandcarrots.com

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